Lactobacillus helveticus (L. helveticus) is a lactic acid bacterium that is used in the manufacturing process of many Swiss and Italian cheeses, such as Emmental, Gruyere, and Parmigiano Reggiano. It has recently been accepted as a medicinal ingredient in Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) database. L. helveticus is a probiotic bacterium that has been gaining popularity as a health-promoting culture in probiotic and nutraceutic food products.1 The reasons for its increasing popularity probably has something to do with all of the great health benefits associated with healthy levels of L. helveticus in the gut. L. helveticus is an acid and bile resistant strain, allowing it to survive in the stomach and reach the intestine alive more easily than many other bacteria. It is capable of exerting antimicrobial activities against pathogens.2 This probiotic bacteria also provides a number of indirect benefits for overall digestion when found in adequate numbers in the gut. Enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients, removing allergens and other undesired molecules from food, and producing bioactive peptides through digestion of food proteins are just a few of the ways in which L. helveticus is able to promote healthier digestion. This is all just scratching the surface of the benefits this probiotic strain is able to provide. In fact, the number of studies available on this strain is on the higher end of probiotics in general.
L. helveticus is one of the most well-research probiotic strains.
Probiotics are still a relatively new and exciting area of study, so research for these helpful bacteria is still in its relative infancy. Compared to most probiotic bacteria, L. helveticus has a good deal of research that demonstrates its wide range of potential benefits. Let’s run through just a few of them here.
- These studies suggest that L. helveticus possesses the ability to control high blood pressure3 and even lower high blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.4
- This study showed that it had a favorable effect on sleep efficiency in healthy elderly people.5
- L. helveticus could be useful in alleviating symptoms of arthritis, as suggested by this study.6
- L. helveticus can have a significant impact on the overall composition of microbiota in the gut. Studies show that supplementation with L. helveticus can increase overall levels of Lactobacilli while also reducing the population of more problematic bacteria, like enterobacteria.7
- A combination of L. helveticus and S. thermophilus can help to deal with two major allergens found in cow’s milk.8
- It shows promise in bone support as demonstrated a this study in which increased bone formation was recorded,9 and another study in which L. helveticus-fermented milk prevented bone loss by increasing bone mineral density.10
- It has also been shown to help combat anxiety in combination with B. longum,11 depression,12 and even cognitive dysfunction related to stress.13
By now, you’ve probably realized that it’s easy to make a case for L. helveticus as an important probiotic bacterium. The research available proves its wide range of benefits, and that research is only growing each day as more studies are performed and more people discover the magic of probiotics. Next time you’re shopping for a probiotic that has proven ingredients, look for one with this strain.
1Giraffa G. (2014). Lactobacillus helveticus: importance in food and health. Frontiers in microbiology, 5, 338. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2014.00338
2Taverniti, V., & Guglielmetti, S. (2012). Health-Promoting Properties of Lactobacillus helveticus. Frontiers in microbiology, 3, 392. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2012.00392
12Huang, R., Wang, K., & Hu, J. (2016). Effect of Probiotics on Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients, 8(8), 483. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8080483
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