L. rhamnosus is great for the gastrointestinal system, but also for balancing our immune system. This probiotic can alleviate allergies, asthma, and dermatitis. It has many other benefits, including its weight-reducing and anti-cancer properties.

What is Lactobacillus rhamnosus?

Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a gram-positive lactic acid bacterium that is part of the normal gut microflora in humans. It is generally regarded as safe and has been used extensively in food products and health supplements.

Among many other health benefits, L. rhamnosus balances the immune system and can alleviate allergies and dermatitis.


  • Suppresses the production of inflammatory cytokines: IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8R, IL-13, IL-17, TSLP, IL-1β and TNF-α [123456].
  • The mechanism of proinflammatory cytokine suppression involves CD4(+) CD25(+) Foxp3(+) Treg cells [173].
  • Elevates anti-inflammatory IL-10 [82, 4].
  • Elevates and decreases interferon gamma (IFN-γ) [823].
  • Elevates IgG and IgA [82].
  • Decreases IgE, IgG, IgG1 [29].
  • Decreases IGF1 gene expression in the skin [10].
  • Increases FOXO1 gene expression in the skin [10].

Health Benefits of L. rhamnosus

1) Helps Reduce Weight

L. rhamnosus induced weight loss in women, reducing fat mass and circulating leptin concentrations [11].

L. rhamnosus significantly lowered weight in mice [12].

2) Combats Obesity

L. rhamnosus shows anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties [13].

L. rhamnosus improved liver parameters in obese children with liver dysfunction noncompliant with lifestyle interventions [14]. It protects from high-fat diet-induced adiposity and reverses insulin resistance in mice [15].

It significantly reduced blood levels of triglyceride and cholesterol, decreased liver fat content, and reduced the expressions of lipogenic and pro-inflammatory genes in mice liver [16].

3) Beneficial in Diabetes

L. rhamnosus exerts an anti-diabetic effect in mice, with an anti-hyperglycemic effect in several rodent models. L. rhamnosus further improves glucose tolerance and enhances insulin sensitivity [17].

4) Beneficial for the Liver

In obese children with NAFLD, L. rhamnosus restored liver function [18].

L. rhamnosus protects against alcoholic liver injury [195].

L. rhamnosus protects against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice, by increasing beneficial bacteria in the distal small intestine and attenuating liver fat accumulation and portal alanine-aminotransferase concentrations [6].

5) Beneficial for the GI Tract

L. rhamnosus has often been selected as candidate probiotic for the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal infections and diarrhea. It can reduce the duration of diarrhea, particularly in children. It was also shown to reduce the risk of acquiring gastrointestinal infections when administered daily in hospitalized children [20].

L. rhamnosus has been proven to reduce symptoms in children with functional gastrointestinal disorders [21].

It is beneficial as a treatment of stress-induced intestinal dysmotility in mice [22].

L. rhamnosus Prevents Diarrhea

Treatment with L. rhamnosus reduced the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in patients treated with antibiotics from 22.4% to 12.3% [23].

L. rhamnosus administration was associated with significantly lower rates of and symptomatic rotavirus gastroenteritis diarrhea in hospitalized children L. rhamnosus was well tolerated, and no harms were reported in any of the trials [24].

L. rhamnosus Prevents GI Infections

L. rhamnosus has been shown to prevent enteric colonization by Candida species in preterm neonates and Clostridium difficile induced colitis in children [20].

L. rhamnosus is Ameliorates Ulcers

L. rhamnosus promotes gastric ulcer healing in rats [25].

L. rhamnosus is Beneficial in IBS

L. rhamnosus was beneficial in patients with irritable bowel syndrome [21].

It can reduce pain frequency and intensity in children with abdominal pain-related disorders, particularly among irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) [20].

6) Beneficial for Dental Health

L. rhamnosus reduces oral counts of Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium correlated with caries formation [20].

Long-term consumption of L. rhamnosus containing milk reduces caries development in children [20].

7) Boosts Immunity

L. rhamnosus activates humoral as well as cellular immune responses in mice [26].

L. rhamnosus Fights Bacteria

Long-term L. rhamnosus supplementation has an influence on the composition of the intestinal microbiota in children, and reduces the frequency of gastrointestinal complaints after antibiotic use, preventing certain bacterial infections for up to 3 years after the trial [27].

Non-viable L. rhamnosus combats pneumococcal infection in malnourished immunocompromised mice [28].

Mice with pneumonia treated with L. rhamnosus had significantly improved survival [29].

L. rhamnosus can overcome the pathogenic strain Salmonella enterica [30].

L. rhamnosus Fights Parasites

L. rhamnosus promotes parasite (nematode) expulsion in mice [31].

L. rhamnosus Combats Respiratory Infections

Fermented milk containing L. rhamnosus was efficient in reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections that lasted longer than three days in hospitalized children [20].

Preterm infants treated daily with L. rhamnosus in capsules starting within one week after birth, appear to have a significantly lower incidence of RTIs and rhinovirus-induced episodes in the first 2 months [20].

Consumption of L. rhamnosus reduced the occurrence of respiratory illness in children attending day care centers [32].

Children receiving L. rhamnosus probiotics had fewer days with respiratory symptoms per month than the children in the control group [33].

Capsulated L. rhamnosus was shown to protect hospitalized patients against ventilator-associated pneumonia, mainly when caused by Gram-negative pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa [20].

In cystic fibrosis patients with P. aeruginosa, long-term L. rhamnosus significantly decreased the incidence of pulmonary exacerbations and increased body weight [20].

L. rhamnosus Fights Fungi

L. rhamnosus strains exhibit antimicrobial activity against food spoilage organisms and gastrointestinal pathogens, as well as Candida and Aspergillus [34].

L. rhamnosus Fights Viruses

L. rhamnosus protects against influenza virus infection in mice [35] and beneficially modulates inflammation. Furthermore, the non-viable heat-killed L. rhamnosus is as effective as the viable strain to beneficially modulate respiratory antiviral immune response [36].

L. rhamnosus enhances macrophage viability of herpes (HSV-1) elimination [37].

Treatment of mice with L. rhamnosus significantly reduced lung viral loads and tissue injuries after infection with the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) [38].

High dose of L. rhamnosus has protective effects against rotavirus infection in newborn mice [39].

8) Reduces Inflammation

L. rhamnosus beneficially regulates the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the lungs [38].

L. rhamnosus ameliorates inflammation by down-regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines in rats [4].

9) May Alleviate Asthma

L. rhamnosus has an anti-inflammatory effect on allergen-induced airway inflammation in mice [9].

Oral administration of L. rhamnosus attenuates the features of allergic asthma in mice [3].

10) Combats Allergies

Administration of L. rhamnosus in early life has a role in food allergy prevention [40].

L. rhamnosus accelerates oral tolerance acquisition in cow’s milk allergic infants [4020].

It decreased the allergic response to peanuts in children [41].

L. rhamnosus supplementation shows good clinical and immunologic response in children with allergic rhinitis [7].

The combination of prenatal maternal (2-4 weeks) and postnatal pediatric (6 months) L. rhamnosus treatment in families with a history of atopic disease, significantly lowers the risk of eczema at the age of 2, 4 and 7 [20].

In milk-hypersensitive adults, L. rhamnosus has been shown to reduce the immunoinflammatory response [20].

Consumption of L. rhamnosus-fermented milk by mothers and offspring showed a reduction in physical allergic symptoms in newborn mice [2].

11) Great for the Skin

Supplementation with L. rhamnosus normalizes skin expression of genes involved in insulin signaling and improves the appearance of adult acne [10].

L. rhamnosus Prevents Eczema

L. rhamnosus efficiently prevents the development of eczema and possibly also atopic sensitization in high-risk infants up to 6 years old [42].

Cumulative prevalence of eczema and prevalence of rhinoconjunctivitis were significantly reduced in the children taking L. rhamnosus [43].

L. rhamnosus Prevents Atopic Dermatitis

L. rhamnosus is effective in decreasing symptoms of atopic dermatitis after 8-weeks of treatment in children aged 4-48 months [44].

Oral application of L. rhamnosus prevents the development of atopic dermatitis in mice by suppressing the production of inflammatory cytokines [1].

12) Beneficial in Pregnancy

Prenatal supplementation with L. rhamnosus has been reported to change the composition of the newborn microbiota, promoting a beneficial profile dominated by Bifidobacteria [20].

L. rhamnosus affects the immune regulation and immune responses favorably in mothers and offspring. In addition, some of the beneficial effects of prenatal L. rhamnosus supplementation extend into the postnatal life of the offspring, suggesting a possible immune programming effect of L. rhamnosus [8].

13) Prevents Urogenital Infections

Probiotic supplementation with vaginal L. rhamnosus is useful in hindering bacteria growth especially after antibiotic therapy [45].

L. rhamnosus vaginal tablets have demonstrated to be a reliable topical effective and safe treatment to reduce the bacterial vaginosis recurrence rate. No side effects have been reported [46].

14) Combats Cancer

Both viable and nonviable L. rhamnosus kill cancer cells [25].

L. rhamnosus kills human cervical and colon adenocarcinoma cells in the laboratory [47].

L. rhamnosus has been shown to decrease the incidence of carcinogen-induced colon tumors and precancerous lesions in experimental animals as well as in human cells [47], and possess antitumor effects in animal models of bladder cancer [48].

15) Could Combat Pollutants

Dietary supplementation with L. rhamnosus reduces absorption and toxicity of consumed organophosphate pesticides in Drosophila [49].

16) May Combat Depression

L. rhamnosus administered for 28 days reduced depression in rats [50].

17) May Combat Anxiety

L. rhamnosus decreases anxiety-like behaviors in mice [51].

18) May Ameliorate OCD

Both a 2- and 4-week L. rhamnosus pretreatment attenuated OCD-like behavior induction in mice [52].

19) Can Reduce the Feeling of Pain

L. rhamnosus can attenuate neonatally induced chronic visceral pain, and significantly alters levels of serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine in rats [53].

Supplementing with L. rhamnosus


L. rhamnosus is safe and well tolerated in healthy adults, and does not seem to cause adverse effects in young or elderly subjects [5455].

However, it should not be taken by immunocompromised individuals where it can lead to bacteremia [5657]. Use of probiotics in patients with organ failure, immunocompromised status, and dysfunctional gut barrier mechanisms can lead to infections [58].

Food Sources

L. rhamnosus is a human probiotic strain. It was first isolated from two healthy adults, Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldwin, which is why it got “GG” added to its name [59].

As such, L. rhamnosus is not naturally found in animal- or plant-based foods. Instead, it has to be added during the fermentation process. Various foods may have added L. rhamnosus, including yogurt, cheese, and fermented legumes [60, 61].

Buy Lactobacillus rhamnosus

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About the Author

Biljana Novkovic - PHD (ECOLOGICAL GENETICS) - Writer at Selfhacked

Dr. Biljana Novkovic, PhD

PhD (Ecological Genetics)

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 & 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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