Disclaimer – The information in this article is intended solely for educational purposes. Culturelle® products are not intended to diagnose, mitigate, treat, cure, or prevent diseases and conditions such as COVID-19, allergies or allergic conditions, cognitive function/impairment, neurological conditions, and atopic dermatitis. Inform a healthcare professional before starting any dietary supplement.
It’s a common misconception that all probiotic strains are the same. In fact, different probiotic strains do different things. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG or Lactobacillus GG) is the premier probiotic in the world.
First identified in 1985, Lactobacillus GG is the most extensively studied probiotic strain, being the subject of more than 200 human clinical trials including over 100 in children and babies.
It survives stomach acid and bile, sticks to human intestinal epithelial cells, and produces numerous substances that support digestive and immune health. Lactobacillus GG helps restore the balance of the microbiota — communities of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi within the human body — that supports a healthy immune system and digestive health.
Culturelle®, a leading probiotic brand± focused on supporting the overall health of families worldwide, offers probiotic supplements featuring 100% Lactobacillus GG.
Scientists have been studying the “gut-brain axis” which describes how gut microbiota influences psychological, behavioral, and cognitive functions. Disturbances to the microbiota commonly lead to inflammatory responses and occasional gastrointestinal concerns.
“We know that by changing or by modifying the composition of the microbiome — so changing the proportion of the types of bacteria in the GI tract — that we can actually lead to direct changes within the brain,” says John Gunstad, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the department of psychological sciences at Kent State University.
Clinical trials show how Lactobacillus GG can help kids, adults and even older adults better support their microbiome.
Helping children’s immune systems
Lactobacillus GG has been studied as a way to support infant and children’s well-being, including healthy skin, improved digestion and support of natural defenses.
Early studies indicate Lactobacillus GG may help kids with occasional abdominal pain and diarrhea, allergy symptoms and skin conditions.
“We found this probiotic is very active in modulating the gut microbiome,” says clinician and researcher Roberto Berni Canani, M.D. Ph.D. His research shows the effect of Lactobacillus GG on kids with atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that he says affects 20% of kids.
“We were able to demonstrate that supplementing the diet of a child every day with this probiotic, it’s possible to have a positive effect on the severity of skin conditions,” he says. “We were also able to demonstrate an effect on the quality of life of these patients, and on the number of inflammatory biomarkers. Last but not the least, we observed a beneficial modulation on the gut microbiome structure.”
Participants in the study provided stool and skin samples before and after the 12-week intervention. The samples showed that Lactobacillus GG supplementation worked to boost good gut bacteria and restore healthier bacteria ratios.
“Modulating the structure and function of the microbiome at the gut level, means that I can modulate the inflammation, and this could be helpful to support the inflammatory response,” says Dr. Berni Canani, noting Lactobacillus GG is safe and well-tolerated.
He’s excited about the future of using Lactobacillus GG probiotic in a product like Culturelle® and says it’s part of a “new era of intervention” and an important part of the strategy to support children’s overall health.
Improved cognition in adults and older adults
Lactobacillus GG may also improve cognitive performance in middle-aged and older adults with cognitive impairment; that’s the finding in a clinical trial conducted by Kent State’s Dr. John Gunstad. His research found probiotic supplementation, with Lactobacillus GG in Culturelle®, may support cognitive health.
His work is based on the premise that the gut microbiome has been linked to cognitive function. Since probiotic supplementation has been found to improve the health of the gut microbiome, he wondered if probiotic supplementation could protect the aging brain.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial enrolled 200 adults, aged 52-75, who were given two Culturelle® Lactobacillus GG capsules (10 billion CFUs each), or a placebo, daily for three-months.
The results showed those with cognitive impairment who consumed probiotics had greater total cognition score improvement, compared to those with cognitive impairment in the placebo group, as well as cognitively intact persons in probiotic or placebo groups.
While it’s known that exercise and diet can positively influence the microbiome and potentially improve cognition, Dr. Gunstad says not everyone is willing to make those changes. Supplementing with Lactobacillus GG, seems like an easier way to make a change that could help support cognition.
“If we can kind of make a change for an average individual, not somebody who’s necessarily already had the neurological condition, this really has the opportunity to make a difference at a societal level,” he says.
Dr. Gunstad says the next step is to focus on using probiotics as prevention, rather than treatment.
“Probiotics can protect against inflammation, and to some extent, the effects of inflammation on the brain,” he says “Being able to kind of bolster against that extra support or protection over a long period of time, I think, is going to have an even larger effect.”
Protecting against development of COVID-19 symptoms
Research shows Lactobacillus GG may provide certain protection against the development of COVID-19 symptoms when used as post-exposure prophylaxis within seven days after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, headache, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, loss of sense of smell, loss of sense of taste, rash, etc.
Duke University researchers, Dr. Paul Wischmeyer and Dr. Anthony Sung, conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effect of Lactobacillus GG on the microbiome in households where contacts were exposed to COVID-19.
“Our goal was to prevent COVID-19 infection in the high-risk population of exposed household contacts,” says Dr. Sung. “So if you are living with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19, and it’s been less than seven days since diagnosis, you would be eligible for our trial.”
In the study 182 participants took two capsules per day of either Culturelle® with Lactobacillus GG (10 billion CFUs each) or the placebo for 28 days; completed questionnaires; and provided nasal swab and stool samples.
Results showed participants who received Lactobacillus GG were less likely to develop COVID-19 symptoms compared to those who received the placebo, (26.4% vs. 42.9%), demonstrating that taking Lactobacillus GG for four weeks after COVID-19 exposure was effective in reducing the risk of developing symptoms. Additionally, changes to the gut microbiome structure showed a greater abundance of Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Culturelle® with Lactobacillus GG was well-tolerated with no increased side effects.
“I think there’s growing awareness of the potential of microbiome-directed therapeutics to improve human health and to combat disease,” says Dr. Sung.” I would certainly recommend any individual discuss any potential therapies with their physician.”
Maintaining ongoing benefits
Inform a healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplement. Regular daily consumption of Culturelle® is recommended to maintain ongoing benefits of Lactobacillus GG. Culturelle® products are non-GMO, allergy friendly, and free of dairy^, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts.
Each product is manufactured, packaged and protected to ensure the survivability of the probiotics and thus shelf-stable without refrigerationᶳ.
Learn more about how Culturelle® may help improve the gut microbiome: https://www.culturelle.com
Culturelle® is a trademark of DSM
± Based on Nielsen xAOC 52 weeks ending 04/23/2022.
^ While there may be no dairy-derived ingredients in the product, it may be produced in a facility that also handles dairy ingredients.
ᶳ Culturelle® products should be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.