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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