L. fermentum is one of the less studied probiotic strains that shows many promising health benefits, such as boosting the immune response, improving liver health and lowering cholesterol levels.
What is Lactobacillus fermentum?
Lactobacillus fermentum is a Gram-positive lactic acid bacterium, commonly found in fermenting animal and plant material. It is also commonly found as a component of the human microbiota.
Health Benefits of L. fermentum
1) Is an Antioxidant
2) Increases Nutrient Bioavailability
3) Lowers Cholesterol
L. fermentum modestly improved cholesterol in a clinical study .
4) Boosts Immunity
L. fermentum Combats Viruses
Oral administration of L. fermentum potentates the immunologic response of an anti-influenza vaccine and may provide enhanced systemic protection by increasing the Th1 response and virus-neutralizing antibodies. The incidence of an influenza-like illness 5 months after vaccination was decreased in the group that consumed this probiotic [7, 8].
L. fermentum Combats Bacteria
L. fermentum suppresses the growth of staphylococci, enterotoxigenic enterobacteria and Candida albicans . It was shown to combat S. aureus and P. aeruginosa, common pathogens in hospital-acquired infections .
L. fermentum alleviates pain and reduces the load of Staphylococcus in the breastmilk of women suffering from painful breastfeeding .
L. fermentum Alleviates Infections
L. fermentum reduces the duration and severity of respiratory illness in highly trained distance runners .
L. fermentum reduced the severity of gastrointestinal and respiratory illness symptoms in male but not female cyclists .
L. fermentum May be Beneficial in Aging
L. fermentum alleviates immunosenescence by enhancing antioxidant enzyme activities and was shown to reduce E. coli infection in aging mice .
5) May Alleviate Inflammation
L. fermentum can reduce inflammation of the upper small intestine in mice .
L. fermentum ameliorates the inflammatory response in colitis rats .
6) May Increase Lactose Tolerance
L. fermentum degrades αS1-casein and lowers the recognition and the binding of this casein to IgE from the blood of patients with cow’s milk allergy .
7) Is Beneficial for the GI Tract
L. fermentum ameliorates ethanol-induced gastric injury in mice .
8) May Improve Mood and Cognitive Function
L. fermentum reduces anxiety-like behavior and alleviates the ampicillin-induced impairment in memory retention in mice .
9) May Protect Against Liver Damage
L. fermentum enhances the protective effect of Ssanghwa-tang (SHT), a traditional herbal medicine formula, on rat liver .
10) May Combat Urogenital Infections
L. fermentum inhibits both C. albicans and C. glabrata, the two most common pathogenic yeasts of humans, in the laboratory .
- Increases the activity of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase .
- Increases the IgG2a response over IgG1, indicating a Th1-biased humoral response [8, 21].
- Increases IgA [6, 7, 44], and decreases IgE .
- Increase in the proportion of natural killer (NK) cells .
- Increases IFN-γ [8, 21, 6, 17] (a study where it was decreased: ).
- Increases IL-2 [6, 33] and decreases IL-6  and IL-8 .
- Both increases  and decreases IL-4 [21, 6].
- Both increases [14, 15, 37] and decreases IL-10 [21, 6].
- Decreases IL-1β, TNF-α, and iNOS [22, 25, 37 ].
- Decreases Rac, p38, and NF-kappaB activation .
- Increases occludin, EGF, EGFR, VEGF, Fit-1, IκB-α, nNOS, eNOS, Mn-SOD, Cu/Zn-SOD, CAT .
- Increases PGE2 [33, 37].
- Stimulates mucosal immunity, by stimulating tracheal lymphocyte proliferation and increasing lung macrophage population .
- Elevates mineralocorticoid and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in the hippocampus after ampicillin treatment .
L. fermentum is commonly found in fermented food products and is considered a “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) organism by the US FDA . It was found to be safe in infants and children [47, 48].
However, in immunocompromised individuals, it can lead to bacteremia . Use of probiotics in patients with organ failure, immunocompromised status, and dysfunctional gut barrier mechanisms should be avoided.
A strain of L. fermentum AGR1487 causes a pro-inflammatory response in the host and should be avoided .
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