Are probiotics really that good for you? Is yogurt the best source of probiotics? I regularly hear these and many other questions about probiotics. Probiotics is a straightforward subject, but confusion persists regarding these beneficial microbes. The fact that there are so many different probiotic species, and their many strains, doesn’t help. Let’s start by discussing Lactobacillus gasseri, one of the beneficial microorganisms that assist with digestive health and against harmful organisms.
The Benefits of Probiotics
There are many benefits of probiotics. For it to function properly, your digestive system depends on these microorganisms. Probiotic bacteria help your body break down nutrients, stimulate your immune system, and protect your intestines from harmful toxins and organisms. The cardiovascular system, bones, blood sugar, and mental health are also connected to probiotic status.[3, 6] These wide-reaching effects stem from your digestive tract’s role as a gateway to the rest of your body. The healthier your gut, the more it can withstand the assault from today’s most common germs and toxins. These include pesticides, herbicides, and the artificial sweeteners found in many processed foods. Some research suggests your microbiota may play a role in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and mood.
Lactobacillus gasseri: A Strain You Want
Also known as L. gasseri, the Lactobacillus gasseri species is one you don’t hear about often. It is, however, extremely powerful for weight maintenance and possibly protects against harmful organisms. So far, research suggests the strains of L. gasseri speed up metabolism and encourage weight loss. A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reported obese adults who took L. gasseri SBT2055/LG2055 lost more than 8% of their abdominal fat over a 12-week period simply by adding these probiotic strains to their diet. 
A 2010 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found taking this same strain reduced abdominal body fat and waist size. Other studies have reported effects such as lowering cholesterol, reducing allergic response, easing symptoms of asthma in children, and even lessening menstrual pain in women suffering from endometriosis.   Other research suggests this species could enhance the effectiveness of modern approaches to addressing H. pylori.
Sources of Lactobacillus gasseri
You can get L. gasseri through your diet if you eat fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, lassi, natto, miso, and tempeh. When it comes to yogurt, make sure it’s organic, preferably grass-fed, and contains “live active cultures” on the package. For a powerful probiotic boost, I recommend taking a supplement like Global Healing's Ultimate Probiotic that contains L. gasseri and 24 other probiotic strains. This is a high-quality supplement that also contains prebiotics, that nutrients that feed probiotics.
- Harvard Medical School. Health benefits of taking probiotics. Harvard Health Publications.
- University of Michigan. Probiotics. University of Michigan Health System.
- Zohreh Mazloom, PhD, Abbas Yousefinejad, PhD student, and Mohammad Hossein Dabbaghmanesh, MD. Effect of Probiotcs on Lipid Profile, Glycemic Control, Insulin Action, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammatory Markers in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Clinical Trial. Iran J Med Sci. 2010 Mar; 36(1): 38-43.
- Mohammadi AA, Jazayeri S, Khosravi-Darani K, et al. The effects of probioitcs on mental health and hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in petrochemical workers. Nutr Neurosci. 2015 Apr 16.
- Purchiaroni F, Tortora A, Gabrielli M, et al. The role of intestinal microbiota and the immune system. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Feb;17(3):323-33.
- Miguel Bixquert. Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with probiotics: growing evidence. Indian J Med Res. 2013 Aug; 138(2): 175-177.
- Kadooka Y, Sato M, Ogawa A, et al. Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov 14;110(9):1696-703. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001037.
- Kadooka Y, Sato M, Imaizumi K, et al. Regulation of abdominal adiposity by probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055) in adults with obese tendencies in a randomized controlled trial. Eru J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun;64(6):636-43. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.19.
- Ooi LG, Ahmad R, Yuen KH, Liong MT. Lactobacillus gasseri [corrected] CHO-220 and inulin reduced plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol via alteration of lipid transporters. J Dairy Sci. 2010 Nov;93(11):5048-58. doi: 10.3168.jds.2010-3311.
- Chen YS, Jan RL, Lin YL, Chen HH, Wang JY. Randomized placebo-controlled trial of lactobacillus on asthmatic children with allergic rhinitis. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2010 Nov;45(11):1111-20. doi: 10.1002/ppul.21296.
- Itoh H, Uchida M, Sashihara T. Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2809 is effective especially on the menstrual pain and dysmenorrhea in endometriosis patients: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Cytotechnology. 2011 Mar;63(2):153-61. doi: 10.1007/s10616-010-9326-5.
- Ryuzo Deguchi, Hidemasa Nakaminami, Emiko Rimbara, et al. Effect of pretreatment with Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716 on first-line Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 May; 27(5): 888-892. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.06985.x.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.