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Lactic acid bacteria

Lactobacillus and Lactococcus are lactic acid bacteria. They are critical for maintaining a healthy and balanced gut microbiome. They aid digestion, the immune system, and the function of the gut barrier, as well as inhibiting harmful bacteria and modulating inflammation. They may also play a role in mental health via the gut-brain axis. Let’s take a look at them in more detail:

  • Digestion and nutrient absorption: LAB helps the body absorb essential nutrients by breaking down complex carbohydrates and proteins in food. They also aid in the production of short-chain fatty acids, which are used as an energy source by the cells lining the gut.1De Filippis F, Pasolli E, Ercolini D. The food-gut axis: lactic acid bacteria and their link to food, the gut microbiome and human health. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2020 Jul 1;44(4):454-489. doi: 10.1093/femsre/fuaa015.2Scheers N, Rossander-Hulthen L, Torsdottir I, Sandberg AS. Increased iron bioavailability from lactic-fermented vegetables is likely an effect of promoting the formation of ferric iron (Fe(3+)). Eur J Nutr. 2016 Feb;55(1):373-82. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0857-6.3Tang H, Huang W, Yao YF. The metabolites of lactic acid bacteria: classification, biosynthesis and modulation of gut microbiota. Microb Cell. 2023 Feb 8;10(3):49-62. doi: 10.15698/mic2023.03.792.4Landete JM, Gaya P, Rodríguez E, Langa S, Peirotén Á, Medina M, Arqués JL. Probiotic Bacteria for Healthier Aging: Immunomodulation and Metabolism of Phytoestrogens. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:5939818. doi: 10.1155/2017/5939818.
  • Immune system support: LAB interacts with the cells that line the gut, stimulating and regulating immune responses. They help to build a strong immune system, which protects the body from harmful pathogens and prevents infections.5Mathur H, Beresford TP, Cotter PD. Health Benefits of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) Fermentates. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 4;12(6):1679. doi: 10.3390/nu12061679.6Steiner NC, Lorentz A. Probiotic Potential of Lactobacillus Species in Allergic Rhinitis. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2021;182(9):807-818. doi: 10.1159/000515352.7Perdigon G, Alvarez S, Rachid M, Agüero G, Gobbato N. Immune system stimulation by probiotics. J Dairy Sci. 1995 Jul;78(7):1597-606. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(95)76784-4.8Szydłowska A, Sionek B. Probiotics and Postbiotics as the Functional Food Components Affecting the Immune Response. Microorganisms. 2022 Dec 31;11(1):104. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11010104.
  • Inhibiting harmful bacteria: Lactic acid and other antimicrobial substances produced by LAB create an acidic environment in the gut. This inhibits the growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria and yeasts, preventing them from colonising the intestines and causing illness. 9Anjana, Tiwari SK. Bacteriocin-Producing Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria in Controlling Dysbiosis of the Gut Microbiota. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 May 16;12:851140. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.851140.10Zapaśnik A, Sokołowska B, Bryła M. Role of Lactic Acid Bacteria in Food Preservation and Safety. Foods. 2022 Apr 28;11(9):1283. doi: 10.3390/foods11091283.11Alakomi HL, Skyttä E, Saarela M, Mattila-Sandholm T, Latva-Kala K, Helander IM. Lactic acid permeabilizes gram-negative bacteria by disrupting the outer membrane. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 May;66(5):2001-5. doi: 10.1128/AEM.66.5.2001-2005.2000.12Kim DH, Jeong D, Kim H, Kang IB, Chon JW, Song KY, Seo KH. Antimicrobial Activity of Kefir against Various Food Pathogens and Spoilage Bacteria. Korean J Food Sci Anim Resour. 2016;36(6):787-790. doi: 10.5851/kosfa.2016.36.6.787.13Tan LL, Tan CH, Ng NKJ, Tan YH, Conway PL, Loo SCJ. Potential Probiotic Strains From Milk and Water Kefir Grains in Singapore-Use for Defense Against Enteric Bacterial Pathogens. Front Microbiol. 2022 Apr 1;13:857720. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.857720.
  • Maintaining gut barrier function: LAB help to keep the gut lining healthy by preventing harmful substances and pathogens from entering the bloodstream. This contributes to the maintenance of a healthy gut barrier, which is essential for overall health.14Ağagündüz D, Yılmaz B, Şahin TÖ, Güneşliol BE, Ayten Ş, Russo P, Spano G, Rocha JM, Bartkiene E, Özogul F. Dairy Lactic Acid Bacteria and Their Potential Function in Dietetics: The Food-Gut-Health Axis. Foods. 2021 Dec 14;10(12):3099. doi: 10.3390/foods10123099.15Ren C, Dokter-Fokkens J, Figueroa Lozano S, Zhang Q, de Haan BJ, Zhang H, Faas MM, de Vos P. Lactic Acid Bacteria May Impact Intestinal Barrier Function by Modulating Goblet Cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Mar;62(6):e1700572. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201700572.16Zeng J, Li YQ, Zuo XL, Zhen YB, Yang J, Liu CH. Clinical trial: effect of active lactic acid bacteria on mucosal barrier function in patients with diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Oct 15;28(8):994-1002. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03818.x.
  • Modulating inflammation: LAB have anti-inflammatory properties and can help modulate the immune system’s response to inflammation, reducing harmful inflammatory reactions.17Ménard S, Candalh C, Bambou JC, Terpend K, Cerf-Bensussan N, Heyman M. Lactic acid bacteria secrete metabolites retaining anti-inflammatory properties after intestinal transport. Gut. 2004 Jun;53(6):821-8. doi: 10.1136/gut.2003.026252.18Chengcheng Ren, et al. “Lactic Acid Bacteria Secrete Toll Like Receptor 2 Stimulating and Macrophage Immunomodulating Bioactive Factors.” Journal of functional foods, v. 66 ,. pp. 103783. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2020.103783
  • Gut-brain communication: LAB and other gut bacteria may play a role in the gut-brain axis, influencing mood and mental health, according to new research. A healthy gut microbiome, including LAB, may contribute to better mood, anxiety reduction, and cognitive function.19Rajanala K, Kumar N, Chamallamudi MR. Modulation of Gut-Brain Axis by Probiotics: A Promising Anti-depressant Approach. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2021;19(7):990-1006. doi: 10.2174/1570159X19666201215142520.20Yang H, Liu Y, Cai R, Li Y, Gu B. A narrative review of relationship between gut microbiota and neuropsychiatric disorders: mechanisms and clinical application of probiotics and prebiotics. Ann Palliat Med. 2021 Feb;10(2):2304-2313. doi: 10.21037/apm-20-1365.21Oroojzadeh, P., Bostanabad, S.Y. & Lotfi, H. Psychobiotics: the Influence of Gut Microbiota on the Gut-Brain Axis in Neurological Disorders. J Mol Neurosci 72, 1952–1964 (2022). doi: 10.1007/s12031-022-02053-3

What are the best sources of lactic acid bacteria?

Lactic acid bacteria are commonly found in a variety of foods that have undergone the process of “lacto-fermentation”, i.e. fermentation by microbes that produce lactic acid. Some of the richest food sources of lactic acid bacteria include kefir, yoghurt, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) and kimchi (spicy Oriental fermented cabbage), miso and tempeh (fermented soy products that are common in Japanese cuisine), some types of cheese, e.g. Parmesan, Some types of cheese, especially aged cheeses, contain lactic acid bacteria, sourdough starter, vegetable pickles, and kombucha.22Khushboo, Karnwal A, Malik T. Characterization and selection of probiotic lactic acid bacteria from different dietary sources for development of functional foods. Front Microbiol. 2023 May 5;14:1170725. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1170725.23Rezac S, Kok CR, Heermann M, Hutkins R. Fermented Foods as a Dietary Source of Live Organisms. Front Microbiol. 2018 Aug 24;9:1785. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01785.24Dimidi E, Cox SR, Rossi M, Whelan K. Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2019 Aug 5;11(8):1806. doi: 10.3390/nu11081806.

What foods can lactic acid bacteria feed on?

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are able to metabolise a range of carbohydrate sources to produce lactic acid. These sources are typically found in the food very fermented foods that are created thanks to the fermentation by LAB, and include simple sugars like glucose and fructose, which are found in many fruits, honey, and some vegetables, lactose (milk sugar), starches, and fibres such as inulin and other oligosaccharides, which are found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.25Zielińska D, Kolożyn-Krajewska D. Food-Origin Lactic Acid Bacteria May Exhibit Probiotic Properties: Review. Biomed Res Int. 2018 Oct 1;2018:5063185. doi: 10.1155/2018/5063185.26Lee SJ, Jeon HS, Yoo JY, Kim JH. Some Important Metabolites Produced by Lactic Acid Bacteria Originated from Kimchi. Foods. 2021 Sep 10;10(9):2148. doi: 10.3390/foods10092148.

Where to find lactic acid bacteria in the Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Test

You will find your Lactobacillus and Lactococcus scores in a section called “Lactic acid bacteria” in the “Probiotics” report of your Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Test.

Synonyms: LAB, Lactobacilli, lactic acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillales, lactic-acid producing microorganisms, Lactobacillus species

Version and date: Version 1. 20th June 2023

Author: Dr Miguel Toribio-Mateas BSc (Hons) MSc DProf MRSB

Important disclaimer

The Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Handbook is an educational resource built to translate complex science into plain English. The information provided on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Always check with your GP for interactions with medications/health conditions before changing your diet or starting to take food supplements.

References

  • 1
    De Filippis F, Pasolli E, Ercolini D. The food-gut axis: lactic acid bacteria and their link to food, the gut microbiome and human health. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2020 Jul 1;44(4):454-489. doi: 10.1093/femsre/fuaa015.
  • 2
    Scheers N, Rossander-Hulthen L, Torsdottir I, Sandberg AS. Increased iron bioavailability from lactic-fermented vegetables is likely an effect of promoting the formation of ferric iron (Fe(3+)). Eur J Nutr. 2016 Feb;55(1):373-82. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0857-6.
  • 3
    Tang H, Huang W, Yao YF. The metabolites of lactic acid bacteria: classification, biosynthesis and modulation of gut microbiota. Microb Cell. 2023 Feb 8;10(3):49-62. doi: 10.15698/mic2023.03.792.
  • 4
    Landete JM, Gaya P, Rodríguez E, Langa S, Peirotén Á, Medina M, Arqués JL. Probiotic Bacteria for Healthier Aging: Immunomodulation and Metabolism of Phytoestrogens. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:5939818. doi: 10.1155/2017/5939818.
  • 5
    Mathur H, Beresford TP, Cotter PD. Health Benefits of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) Fermentates. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 4;12(6):1679. doi: 10.3390/nu12061679.
  • 6
    Steiner NC, Lorentz A. Probiotic Potential of Lactobacillus Species in Allergic Rhinitis. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2021;182(9):807-818. doi: 10.1159/000515352.
  • 7
    Perdigon G, Alvarez S, Rachid M, Agüero G, Gobbato N. Immune system stimulation by probiotics. J Dairy Sci. 1995 Jul;78(7):1597-606. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(95)76784-4.
  • 8
    Szydłowska A, Sionek B. Probiotics and Postbiotics as the Functional Food Components Affecting the Immune Response. Microorganisms. 2022 Dec 31;11(1):104. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11010104.
  • 9
    Anjana, Tiwari SK. Bacteriocin-Producing Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria in Controlling Dysbiosis of the Gut Microbiota. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 May 16;12:851140. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.851140.
  • 10
    Zapaśnik A, Sokołowska B, Bryła M. Role of Lactic Acid Bacteria in Food Preservation and Safety. Foods. 2022 Apr 28;11(9):1283. doi: 10.3390/foods11091283.
  • 11
    Alakomi HL, Skyttä E, Saarela M, Mattila-Sandholm T, Latva-Kala K, Helander IM. Lactic acid permeabilizes gram-negative bacteria by disrupting the outer membrane. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 May;66(5):2001-5. doi: 10.1128/AEM.66.5.2001-2005.2000.
  • 12
    Kim DH, Jeong D, Kim H, Kang IB, Chon JW, Song KY, Seo KH. Antimicrobial Activity of Kefir against Various Food Pathogens and Spoilage Bacteria. Korean J Food Sci Anim Resour. 2016;36(6):787-790. doi: 10.5851/kosfa.2016.36.6.787.
  • 13
    Tan LL, Tan CH, Ng NKJ, Tan YH, Conway PL, Loo SCJ. Potential Probiotic Strains From Milk and Water Kefir Grains in Singapore-Use for Defense Against Enteric Bacterial Pathogens. Front Microbiol. 2022 Apr 1;13:857720. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.857720.
  • 14
    Ağagündüz D, Yılmaz B, Şahin TÖ, Güneşliol BE, Ayten Ş, Russo P, Spano G, Rocha JM, Bartkiene E, Özogul F. Dairy Lactic Acid Bacteria and Their Potential Function in Dietetics: The Food-Gut-Health Axis. Foods. 2021 Dec 14;10(12):3099. doi: 10.3390/foods10123099.
  • 15
    Ren C, Dokter-Fokkens J, Figueroa Lozano S, Zhang Q, de Haan BJ, Zhang H, Faas MM, de Vos P. Lactic Acid Bacteria May Impact Intestinal Barrier Function by Modulating Goblet Cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Mar;62(6):e1700572. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201700572.
  • 16
    Zeng J, Li YQ, Zuo XL, Zhen YB, Yang J, Liu CH. Clinical trial: effect of active lactic acid bacteria on mucosal barrier function in patients with diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Oct 15;28(8):994-1002. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03818.x.
  • 17
    Ménard S, Candalh C, Bambou JC, Terpend K, Cerf-Bensussan N, Heyman M. Lactic acid bacteria secrete metabolites retaining anti-inflammatory properties after intestinal transport. Gut. 2004 Jun;53(6):821-8. doi: 10.1136/gut.2003.026252.
  • 18
    Chengcheng Ren, et al. “Lactic Acid Bacteria Secrete Toll Like Receptor 2 Stimulating and Macrophage Immunomodulating Bioactive Factors.” Journal of functional foods, v. 66 ,. pp. 103783. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2020.103783
  • 19
    Rajanala K, Kumar N, Chamallamudi MR. Modulation of Gut-Brain Axis by Probiotics: A Promising Anti-depressant Approach. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2021;19(7):990-1006. doi: 10.2174/1570159X19666201215142520.
  • 20
    Yang H, Liu Y, Cai R, Li Y, Gu B. A narrative review of relationship between gut microbiota and neuropsychiatric disorders: mechanisms and clinical application of probiotics and prebiotics. Ann Palliat Med. 2021 Feb;10(2):2304-2313. doi: 10.21037/apm-20-1365.
  • 21
    Oroojzadeh, P., Bostanabad, S.Y. & Lotfi, H. Psychobiotics: the Influence of Gut Microbiota on the Gut-Brain Axis in Neurological Disorders. J Mol Neurosci 72, 1952–1964 (2022). doi: 10.1007/s12031-022-02053-3
  • 22
    Khushboo, Karnwal A, Malik T. Characterization and selection of probiotic lactic acid bacteria from different dietary sources for development of functional foods. Front Microbiol. 2023 May 5;14:1170725. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1170725.
  • 23
    Rezac S, Kok CR, Heermann M, Hutkins R. Fermented Foods as a Dietary Source of Live Organisms. Front Microbiol. 2018 Aug 24;9:1785. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01785.
  • 24
    Dimidi E, Cox SR, Rossi M, Whelan K. Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2019 Aug 5;11(8):1806. doi: 10.3390/nu11081806.
  • 25
    Zielińska D, Kolożyn-Krajewska D. Food-Origin Lactic Acid Bacteria May Exhibit Probiotic Properties: Review. Biomed Res Int. 2018 Oct 1;2018:5063185. doi: 10.1155/2018/5063185.
  • 26
    Lee SJ, Jeon HS, Yoo JY, Kim JH. Some Important Metabolites Produced by Lactic Acid Bacteria Originated from Kimchi. Foods. 2021 Sep 10;10(9):2148. doi: 10.3390/foods10092148.

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