Lactobacillus casei


Lactobacillus casei

Supplement Class

L. casei Probiotic 

Immune support

Your gut is home to about 80% of your immune system. Imbalanced amounts of good vs bad bacteria can cause a major dysfunction in how your immune system responds to viruses and bacteria.

This species is naturally occurring in the mouth and in the small intestine. It is used for milk fermentation, breaks down carbohydrates and inhibits the growth of pathogenic and putrefactive bacteria in the small intestine. It is resistant to both gastric acid and bile. It contains enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of milk proteins and polypeptides as well as gluten. It is helpful in treating diarrhea caused by antibiotics and viruses. It inhibits growth of E. coli, as well as being effective against other types of infections.

Other uses

Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria. There are many species of lactobacillus. These are "friendly" bacteria that normally live in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems without causing disease. Lactobacillus is also in some fermented foods like yogurt and in dietary supplements.
Lactobacillus is most commonly taken by mouth to treat and prevent diarrhea, including infectious diarrhea and diarrhea linked with using antibiotics. Some people also take lactobacillus by mouth for general digestion problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colic in babies, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), inflammation of the colon, stomach pain, constipation, and many other conditions but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.
Stomach pain. Taking lactobacillus short-term seems to reduce symptoms in children with stomach pain. Early research also shows that taking lactobacillus and bifidobacterium short-term can improve symptoms in women with stomach pain.
Hay fever. Taking 2 billion colony-forming units of lactobacillus daily for 5 weeks can improve quality of life by almost 18% in people with grass pollen allergy that doesn't respond to the anti-allergy drug loratadine. In children with allergies that persist throughout the year, taking 10 billion colony-forming units of lactobacillus for 12 weeks seems to improve itchy eye symptoms. But taking lactobacillus during pregnancy doesn't seem to prevent the infant from developing allergies.
Diarrhea in people taking antibiotics (antibiotic-associated diarrhea). Taking probiotics products containing lactobacillus strains helps prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics in adults and children. The most well-studied strain of lactobacillus seems to reduce the chance of diarrhea by about 60% to 70% when started within 2 days of beginning antibiotic treatment and continued for at least 3 days after finishing the antibiotics.

Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Most research shows that taking lactobacillus products can reduce eczema symptoms in infants and children. Research also shows that lactobacillus can help PREVENT eczema from developing. When taken by a mother during the last month of pregnancy, lactobacillus probiotics can reduce the chance of the child developing eczema. But not all strains seem to work.

Prone to allergies and allergic reactions (atopic disease). Research shows that taking certain lactobacillus strains can prevent the development of allergic reactions, such as asthma, runny nose, and eczema, in infants with a family history of this condition. However, not all strains seem to work.

Overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Researchers have found that lactobacillus suppositories and vaginal tablets may be effective in treating this condition. Researchers have also found that eating yogurt or using vaginal capsules containing lactobacillus can help prevent these infections from occurring again. But taking lactobacillus capsules does not seem to prevent bacteria overgrowth in the vagina in pregnant women.

Diarrhea caused by cancer drug treatment. A chemotherapy drug called 5-fluorouracil can cause severe diarrhea and other gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. There is some evidence that patients with cancer of the colon or rectum have less severe diarrhea, less stomach discomfort, and shorter hospital care when they take lactobacillus.

Excessive crying in infants (colic). Some research shows that giving lactobacillus to nursing infants reduces daily crying time. Some research suggests that lactobacillus is more effective at reducing crying time than using the drug simethicone. But one large study shows that lactobacillus does not reduce crying. It's possible that infants in the large study had more severe colic than those in the earlier research.

Constipation. Taking lactobacillus probiotics for 4-8 weeks can reduce symptoms of constipation including stomach pain and discomfort, bloating, and incomplete bowel movements. It might also increase the number of bowel movements in some people.
Diabetes. Taking lactobacillus starting at the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy helps to prevent diabetes during pregnancy, especially in mothers over 35 years of age and mothers that had diabetes during another pregnancy. In women who develop diabetes during pregnancy, taking lactobacillus seems to help control blood sugar. In non-pregnant adults with diabetes, some early research shows that lactobacillus reduces sugar in the blood.

Diarrhea. Giving lactobacillus to infants and children 1-36 months old when they are admitted to the hospital seems to reduce the risk of developing diarrhea. Also, lactobacillus can reduce the risk of diarrhea from all causes in undernourished children. But most research shows that giving lactobacillus to children who already have diarrhea does not help them to get better faster.
A digestive tract infection that can lead to ulcers (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori). Research shows that taking lactobacillus probiotics along with "triple therapy" that consists of the prescription drugs clarithromycin, amoxicillin, and a proton-pump inhibitor helps treat stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori. About 7-11 patients with H. pylori infections need to be treated with lactobacillus plus "triple therapy" for one additional patient to achieve remission compared to what would be achieved with "triple therapy" alone. But taking lactobacillus probiotics does not help treat the infection when taken alone, with only an antibiotic, with other "triple therapies," or with "quadruple therapy" that includes bismuth. It is unclear if lactobacillus can reduce triple therapy-related adverse effects.

High cholesterol. Taking lactobacillus probiotics can lower total cholesterol by about 10 mg/dL and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol by about 9 mg/dL in people with or without high cholesterol. However, lactobacillus probiotics do not seem to improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol or fats called triglycerides.
Swelling (inflammation) and sores inside the mouth (oral mucositis). Research shows that taking lozenges containing lactobacillus from the first day of radiation/chemotherapy treatment until one week after reduces the number of patients who develop severe mouth sores.

A complication after surgery for ulcerative colitis (pouchitis). Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to help treat pouchitis, a complication of surgery for ulcerative colitis. Taking a probiotic containing lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and streptococcus for one year seems to maintain remission in 85% of people with this condition. Taking a different formulation containing two lactobacillus species and bifidobacterium for 9 months seems to reduce pouchitis severity.

Infection of the airways. Some research shows that lactobacillus probiotics can help prevent airway infections in infants and children. Giving lactobacillus to infants and children seems to reduce the chance of upper airway infections. Also, children ages 1-6 years who attend daycare centers seem to get fewer and less severe airway infections when given milk containing lactobacillus. However, not all strains seem to work. In adults, drinking fermented milk or taking powder that contains lactobacillus might help prevent airway infections and decrease how long the symptoms last.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Research shows that taking lactobacillus for 8 weeks reduces tender and swollen joints in women with rheumatoid arthritis.

Travelers' diarrhea. Travelers' diarrhea is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that the traveler has not been exposed to before. Taking lactobacillus seems to help prevent diarrhea in travelers. The effectiveness can vary a lot depending on the travel destination because of differences in bacteria in different locations.

A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Lactobacillus probiotics seem to increase remission in people with ulcerative colitis. The best evidence of benefit is for a multi-species probiotic containing lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and streptococcus. Research shows that taking this product can increase remission rates by almost 2-fold when used with standard ulcerative colitis treatment. Taking a single strain of lactobacillus also seems to improve symptoms. But lactobacillus doesn't seem to prevent ulcerative colitis relapse.

How it works

Many bacteria and other organisms live in our bodies normally. "Friendly" bacteria such as Lactobacillus can help us break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight off "unfriendly" organisms that might cause diseases such as diarrhea.


When taken by mouth Lactobacillus is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Side effects are usually mild and most often include intestinal gas or bloating.

When applied to the vagina Lactobacillus is LIKELY SAFE for women to use inside the vagina.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Lactobacillus is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately in children.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Lactobacillus is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Weakened immune system: There is some concern that lactobacillus from supplements that contain live bacteria might grow too well in people whose immune systems are weakened. This includes people with HIV/AIDS or people who have taken medicines to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. Lactobacillus has caused disease (rarely) in people with weakened immune systems. To be on the safe side, if you have a weakened immune system, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.

Short bowel syndrome: People with short bowel syndrome might be more likely than other people to develop lactobacillus infections. If you have this condition, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.

Ulcerative colitis: People with ulcerative colitis that is severe enough to require hospitalization might be more likely than other people to develop lactobacillus infections. If you have this condition, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.

Damaged heart valves: Lactobacillus can cause an infection in the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valve, but this is extremely rare. However, people with damaged heart valves might be more likely than other people to develop this type of infection, especially if they take lactobacillus before dental or invasive stomach and intestinal procedures. People with damaged heart valves should stop taking probiotics before dental procedures or invasive stomach and intestinal procedures such as an endoscopy.

Interactions with medications

Antibiotic drugs

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Antibiotics are used to reduce harmful bacteria in the body. Antibiotics can also reduce friendly bacteria in the body. Lactobacillus is a type of friendly bacteria. Taking antibiotics along with Lactobacillus can reduce the effectiveness of Lactobacillus. To avoid this interaction, take Lactobacillus products at least 2 hours before or after antibiotics.

Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)

Interaction Rating = Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Lactobacillus contains live bacteria and yeast. The immune system usually controls bacteria and yeast in the body to prevent infections. Medications that decrease the immune system can increase your chances of getting sick from bacteria and yeast. Taking Lactobacillus along with medications that decrease the immune system might increase the chances of getting sick.

Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.

Interactions with Herbs, Supplements, and Foods

Some lactobacillus seems to increase the absorption of iron when taken at the same time. It's possible that taking this lactobacillus species along with iron supplements might cause some people to get too much iron.

Some lactobacillus seems to increase the absorption of iron from food when taken at the same time. It's possible that taking this lactobacillus along with iron supplements might cause some people to get too much iron. But this has not been reported in humans.


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