What is Lactobacillus bulgaricus?
Lactobacillus d. bulgaricus (L. d. bulgaricus) is a beneficial bacteria found in the digestive tract. Intestinal bacteria is referred to as gut flora or microbes. This strain of bacteria may also be found in foods or supplements. When it’s consumed, it’s referred to as probiotics.
The proper balance of gut flora helps to keep your intestinal walls strong and bad bacteria at bay, and can reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that may play an important role in maintaining your health when consumed. The last decade has seen an explosion in the popularity of probiotics. But what does the research say about these bacteria? Read on to find out more.
What are the benefits?
The FDA has not approved L. d. bulgaricus or any other probiotic to treat disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cautions that research behind probiotics is inconclusive.
The NIH did note some potential health benefits of L. d. bulgaricus and probiotics. Early-stage research suggests that they may play a role in managing the following health conditions:
- liver disease
- common cold
- ·diarrhea caused by antibiotics
- inflammatory bowel disease
- atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- tooth decay
- periodontal disease and other oral health problems
- preventing necrotizing enterocolitis
What the research says
Scientists have begun to explore the health benefits of probiotics through research.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD)
A recent study in JAMA analyzed research behind probiotics and AAD. The study results suggest that probiotics can reduce AAD, but they also noted that more research is needed.
C. dificile (CDD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
An analysis on probiotics indicates that they may be helpful in treating ulcerative colitis. Another study showed that probiotics such as L. d. bulgaricus is helpful in managing other forms of IBD, including Crohn’s disease. However, more research is needed.
Some studies on mice show that L. d. bulgaricus may decrease constipation symptoms.
Good bacteria may help more than just your digestive system. An analysis from 38 studies showed that probiotics might help manage a variety of mental health conditions. This may include ADHD and depression. However, most of these studies were performed on animals and more research is needed.
Safety concerns of probiotics
A recent study found that most of the available evidence shows that probiotics are safe. According to the NIH, most people who are generally healthy can take probiotics.
Some groups are more likely to develop infections. They include:
- people in intensive care units
- ill infants
- people who have recently had surgery
- people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV
The most common infections include:
- GI ischemia
Probiotics shouldn't be a substitute for more established treatments. They may interact with antibiotics and prescription drugs. Talk to your doctor before using probiotics.
Side effects of probiotics
L. d. bulgaricus and other probiotics commonly cause some bloating and intestinal gas as you’re introducing new bacteria into the gut. This is typically only temporary. If you develop these side effects, consider lowering the dose or taking it less frequently.
Where can you find Lactobaccilus d. bulgaricus?
You can find L. d. bulgaricus and other probiotics both in natural foods or in supplement form. L. d. bulgaricus can be found in a variety of fermented common foods, including:
- certain cheeses
- some soy sauces
- fermented bean pastes
These foods have varying degrees of L. d. bulgaricus and other probiotics. A dietitian can help you determine how many probiotics each type of food has.
You can obtain L. d. bulgaricus through a variety of supplements. It’s important to note that supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. This means that there isn’t a large body of research to support their health claims, unlike prescription medications.
How much Lactobaccilus bulgaricus should you take?
Producers of probiotics usually measure by the number of live organisms they contain. A typical dosage of L. d. bulgaricus ranges from one billion to about a hundred billion live bacteria per dose.
There isn’t an established amount of probiotics you should take. It’s safe to take a standard dose of L. d. bulgaricus and other probiotics. However, remember to reduce or stop supplements completely if you experience any side effects or have drug interactions.
The bottom line
More research is needed to show the benefits of L. d. bulgaricus and probiotics. It’s important to remain cautious about claims about probiotics. It’s best to talk to your doctor before taking probiotic supplements.