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6+ Scientific Health Benefits of Lactobacillus helveticus

Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:
Jonathan Ritter
Puya Yazdi
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology), Puya Yazdi, MD | Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:

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L. helveticus
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L. helveticus makes cheese taste great. It also confers a multitude of health benefits. The most promising results have come from studies on blood pressure, while other clinical trials have observed benefits to mental health, sleep, immunity, and more.

What is Lactobacillus helveticus?

Lactobacillus helveticus is a lactic acid bacterium, traditionally used in the manufacture of Swiss-type cheeses and long-ripened Italian cheeses such as Emmental, Gruyere, Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano [1].

More recently, L. helveticus has become increasingly recognized as an important health-promoting probiotic [1].

Health Benefits of L. helveticus

L. helveticus probiotic supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.

Possibly Effective For

1) Blood Pressure

L. helveticus fermented milk lowered blood pressure in 154 hypertensive subjects [2, 3].

In 40 subjects with high-normal blood pressure or mild hypertension, daily ingestion of tablets containing powdered fermented milk with L. helveticus reduced blood pressure without any adverse effects [4].

Long-term treatment with L. helveticus-fermented milk reduced arterial stiffness in 89 hypertensive subjects [5].

L. helveticus produces angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory peptides that may prevent or control high blood pressure [6].

Insufficient Evidence For

The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of L. helveticus for any of the below-listed uses. Remember to speak with a doctor before taking L. helveticus probiotics, and never use them in place of something your doctor recommends or prescribes.

2) Depression

In a study of 55 volunteers, L. helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum reduced psychological stress levels and markers of depression in subjects who took the probiotics regularly [7].

L. helveticus also improved depression in rats [8].

3) Sleep

L. helveticus-fermented milk significantly improved sleep efficiency in 29 healthy elderly people [9].

4) Immunity

In a study of 39 athletes, L. helveticus supplementation significantly shortened the duration and decreased the number of symptoms of upper respiratory tract illness and increased their sense of vigor [10].

L. helveticus containing cheese exhibits immunoregulatory actions, including an increase in regulatory T cell population and a reduction in proinflammatory cytokines in mice [11].

L. helveticus has the ability to inhibit different pathogenic microorganisms and has beneficial effects on the intestine, vaginal mucosa, and pharyngeal epithelium [12].

Milk fermented by L. helveticus protects against Salmonella infection in mice [13].

Milk fermented with L. helveticus may enhance specific and nonspecific immunity [14].

5) GI Tract

L. helveticus may positively affect the host microbiota composition. Administration of L. helveticus to 3 healthy human subjects resulted in a significant increase in butyrate, beneficial for gut homeostasis [15, 12].

In mice, the administration of L. helveticus increased the levels of total Lactobacilli and decreased total enterobacteria and sulfur-reducing clostridia [16].

6) Calcium Absorption

L. helveticus increased blood calcium levels in 59 elderly volunteers [17], and 20 postmenopausal women [18].

Animal & Cell Research (Lacking Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of L. helveticus for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.

7) Anxiety

L. helveticus improves anxiety-like behavior in rats with neuroinflammation [19].

L. helveticus prevents the negative effect of a Western-style diet on anxiety-like behavior and memory in mice [20].

L. helveticus combined with Bifidobacterium longum decreases anxiety-like behavior in rats and humans [21].

8) Cognitive Function

L. helveticus restores cognitive function in rats with neuroinflammation [19].

L. helveticus improves stress-induced cognitive dysfunction in rats [8].

An L. helveticus-fermented milk product significantly improves scopolamine-induced cognitive impairments, and object recognition memory in mice [22].

9) Inflammation

L. helveticus is protective against colitis in mice and increases anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) [23].

L. helveticus alleviates colitis in mice [24].

10) Arthritis

L. helveticus strongly alleviated symptoms of arthritis in mice [24].

11) Allergies

L. helveticus alone or in combination with S. thermophiles reduced the antigenicity of α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin, the major allergens in cow’s milk [25].

L. helveticus significantly degraded the major allergens in propolis, including esters of caffeic acid [26].

12) Bone Loss

L. helveticus fermented milk whey contains bioactive components that may promote bone formation [27].

L. helveticus-fermented milk prevented bone loss by decreasing bone turnover and increasing bone mineral density in rats [28, 29].

13) Dermatitis

Oral intake of L. helveticus-fermented milk whey lowered water loss, reduced dermatitis area size, and ameliorated the moisture content in mice [30].

14) Candida

L. helveticus shifts vaginal microflora and inhibits vulvovaginal candidiasis in mice [31].

15) HACs

L. helveticus has a high ability to inactivate heterocyclic aromatic amines (HACs), the most abundant mutagens in charred red meat [12].

Cancer Research

L. helveticus inhibited the proliferation of human gastric cancer cells [32], human colon cancer cells [33, 34], and liver carcinoma cells [35].

L. helveticus inhibited the development of fibrosarcoma in mice [36].

L. helveticus delayed the development of breast tumors in mice [36].

The relevance of these studies to human cancer is unknown.

Mechanism of Effect

In cell and animal studies, researchers have observed that L. helveticus:

Safety

L. helveticus is considered generally safe. However, probiotics should be avoided in immunocompromised individuals, people with organ failure, and dysfunctional gut barrier, where they may cause infection.

To avoid adverse effects and unexpected interactions, talk to your doctor before starting L. helveticus probiotics.

About the Author

Biljana Novkovic

Biljana Novkovic

PhD
Biljana received her PhD from Hokkaido University.
Before joining SelfHacked, she was a research scientist with extensive field and laboratory experience. She spent 4 years reviewing the scientific literature on supplements, lab tests and other areas of health sciences. She is passionate about releasing the most accurate science and health information available on topics, and she's meticulous when writing and reviewing articles to make sure the science is sound. She believes that SelfHacked has the best science that is also layperson-friendly on the web.

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