Lactobacillus casei is a probiotic bacterium that can be found in the reproductive and gastrointestinal tracts of humans, as well as cheeses, wines, pickles, and other fermented foods. L. casei has been shown to provide a number of beneficial effects in the body. Managing constipation, preventing diarrhea, assisting in chemotherapy, and reducing the frequency of common respiratory infections are just a few of the many benefits that L. casei can provide.
L. casei helps with general digestion and waste functions in the body
L. casei has the ability to help in managing chronic constipation.1 It is also able to help in alleviating antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and aides in the prevention of C. difficile diarrhea in adults. C. difficile diarrhea is common in people that are taking antibiotics.2
Similar to strains like B. bifidum and S. thermophilus, L. casei can help in managing lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme that breaks down lactose. This enzyme is called lactase. People can have lactase deficiencies for a number of reasons. Some people are unable to produce lactase because of damage to the lining of their gut, while others were simply born without the ability to produce it. It has the enzymatic capabilities to break down lactose, so it can help lactose-intolerant individuals by serving as a pseudo replacement for lactase.
L. casei can help with common illnesses and serious diseases
Some studies suggest that L. casei has significant anti-tumor capabilities,3 and it could be used as an adjuvant treatment during anticancer chemotherapy.4 An adjuvant treatment is one that modifies or enhances the effect of another treatment. In this case, L. casei supplementation was able to enhance the effects of the chemotherapy treatment so that it could perform its functions more effectively. It has also been shown to be useful as an adjuvant therapy for H. pylori eradication.5
L. casei helped to reduce the frequency of upper respiratory tract infections in athletes training during the winter in a recent study.6 Imagine the impact this could have on college and professional athletic teams where entire seasons ride on the health of individual players. If probiotic strains like L. casei prove to reduce illness rates for star athletes, regular probiotic supplementation seems like a no-brainer. The study was performed on athletes, but the results can be applied to anyone. In fact, here’s a different study where L. casei reduced the rate of respiratory infections in middle-aged office workers.7 If probiotic supplements can help to prevent these kinds of illnesses, you should probably be taking some!
Another study has demonstrated that live L. casei is capable of counteracting the pro-inflammatory effects of E. coli in Crohn’s disease.8 When E. coli causes inflammation in the gut, it can lead to intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to a variety long-term health problems, like autoimmune diseases, so its ability to counteract this inflammation is a big deal.
As you can see, L. casei can provide your body with a number of important benefits. Keep your eyes peeled for this important strain the next time you’re shopping for a probiotic supplement.
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