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Lactobacilli: What They Are and Functions

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What are lactobacilli?

Lactobacilli are a genus of bacteria with a rod-like structure, Gram-positive, facultative anaerobes or microaerophiles.

Most of these microorganisms have the ability to ferment lactose and other sugars, producing acids, in particular – but not only – lactic acid.

Consequently, some lactobacilli are used by the dairy industry, where they are fundamental for the acid coagulation of proteins, which is the basis of the production of yogurt and cheese.

Lactobacilli also abound in the human intestine, while in women they constitute an important bulwark against intimate infections, localizing – especially in the fertile period – at the vaginal level.

Particular lactobacilli are used as probiotics in supplements, dietary products and even in medicinal specialties.

The term probiotic refers to all those microorganisms of human origin which, when ingested in adequate quantities, manage to arrive alive and active in the intestine, colonizing it and exerting a positive action on the development of the intestinal microflora and the maintenance of health. All these qualities must naturally not be lost during the conservation of the product.

To know more:
Probiotics: What They Are and Functions

Functions and biological role of lactobacilli: what are they for?

Most probiotics belong to the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus. Although the intestinal bacterial flora is a sort of fingerprint – therefore more or less variable from individual to individual in relation to the state of health, diet and possible use of drugs – among the most useful probiotic lactobacilli we remember Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Caseisp. rhamnosum, Lactobacillus johnsonii.

These bacteria, among other things, are the subject of intense research and are widely used in probiotic preparations for food use.

The most characterized therapeutic field is that of intestinal infections (gastroenteritis), followed by the restoration of a friendly microflora following prolonged antibiotic treatments, and by the improvement of lactose intolerance.

However, the possible therapeutic and health (preventive) applications are varied and numerous, given the presence in the literature of a large amount of studies, unfortunately often with conflicting and therefore still preliminary results.

For example, probiotic lactobacilli could be useful for preventing and/or treating (mainly as adjuvants) inflammatory intestinal diseases, allergic phenomena, urinary tract infections, colon cancer, hypercholesterolemia and constipation.

To know more:
What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?

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