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Health Benefits of P. freudenreichii + Safety

Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:

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Wine and Cheese P. freudenreichii

P. freudenreichii produces great-tasting cheese and important vitamins. This bacterium also beneficially modifies our microbiota and has beneficial effects on the GI tract.

What is Propionibacterium freudenreichii?

Propionibacterium freudenreichii is widely used in the food industry, especially as a starter in the production of Swiss-type cheeses such as Emmental and Maasdam. These bacteria are essential for the development of a nutty and sweet flavor, and produce CO2 responsible for the appearance of the typical cheese “holes” [1].

An estimated one billion living cells of P. freudenreichii are present in one gram of Emmental [2].

In the food industry, P. freudenreichii is also used as a vitamin producer, certain strains having the ability to produce vitamins such as riboflavin [3] and cobalamin (vitamin B12) [4].

In addition to its traditional use, research has recently focused on health benefits related to P. freudenreichii [1]. It was shown that the consumption of this bacterium modulates the gut microbiota, which makes P. freudenreichii both a probiotic and a prebiotic [5].

Health Benefits of P. freudenreichii

1) Beneficially Modifies Gut Microbiota

Propionibacterium freudenreichii stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria in the colon in healthy volunteers [6, 7].

Bifidogenic growth stimulator (BGS) is a prebiotic preparation produced by P. freudenreichii that stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria [8]

2) Is Anti-inflammatory

A component from P. freudenreichii suppresses the production of proinflammatory cytokines and attenuates colitis in mice [9].

3) May be Beneficial in IBD

Propionibacterium freudenreichii was effective in the treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis in a human pilot study [8].

P. freudenreichii accelerates the healing in rats with colitis [6, 10].

A component of P. freudenreichii improved survival rate and reduced damage in mice with colitis, by attenuating colonic inflammation through balancing intestinal bacterial flora and suppressing lymphocyte infiltration [11].

4) Relieves Constipation

Propionibacterium freudenreichii relieves constipation in young healthy women [12].

5) Binds Toxins

Propionibacterium freudenreichii binds cadmium and lead efficiently at low concentration ranges commonly observed in foods [13].

6) Combats Cancer

Propionibacterium freudenreichii is able to kill colon cancer cells in rats [14].

Propionibacteria induce intrinsic apoptosis of colon cancer cells, via the production and release of SCFA (propionate and acetate) acting on mitochondria [15].

Milk fermented by P. freudenreichii kills human gastric cancer cells and enhances the cytotoxicity of camptothecin, a drug used in gastric cancer chemotherapy [16].



P. freudenreichii is widely used in the food industry and considered safe.


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About the Author

Biljana Novkovic

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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