The Most Common Probiotic Strains (and What They Do)

It’s pretty commonly known that foods and supplements that contain the best probiotic strains may help support digestion, ease occasional gas and bloating, and even support immune function. But less commonly known are the interesting facts about different probiotic strains. 

Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria are the two most widely used species of probiotics from which different strains, such as each of the below, are made. Interestingly, each probiotic strain has unique characteristics and even a favorite microbiome location or two they tend to gravitate to. 

Read on for a list of probiotic strains commonly used in foods and dietary supplements. While certainly not exhaustive (there are thousands!), these are considered among the most important probiotic strains used in probiotic supplements.  

11 Common Probiotic Strains and What They Do

1. Lactobacillus acidophilus

Belonging to the lactobacillus genus, lactobacillus acidophilus helps break down lactose in dairy foods into lactic acid by producing the lactase enzyme. 

Preferred microbiome location: The small intestine, mouth, and vagina 

2. Lactobacillus rhamnosus

This probiotic strain also belongs to the lactobacillus genus. L. rhamnosus’s claim to fame is from its ability to survive both acidic and basic conditions in your body. 

Preferred microbiome location: Intestines

3. Lactobacillus fermentum

It is thought that L. fermentum may support balance by supporting the breakdown of fats. It is also one of the few strains that may offer unique support for the vaginal tract, making it an excellent consideration for those in search of probiotics for women

Preferred microbiome location: The gastrointestinal tract, mouth, and vaginal tract

4. Lactobacillus bulgaricus

If the microbiome were putting on a Broadway show, L. bulgaricus would be your favorite ensemble member. While this probiotic strain rarely steps into center stage, it plays an important role in supporting the overall balance of your microbiome. 

Preferred microbiome location: The mouth and gut

5. Lactobacillus reuteri

Lactobacillus reuteri may help support the tummies of children. It has been shown to help support a range of uncomfortable symptoms like occasional gas.

Preferred microbiome location: The mouth and gut

6. Lactobacillus brevis

Brevis is an incredibly versatile probiotic strain, even being used in the making of wine and beer. Winemakers, for example, might use L. brevis to balance red wine and make it less tart, or to impart a mild buttery flavor. Beer makers also use L. brevis (and some of the other lactic bacteria mentioned above) to bring out a sour flavor in the beer. It’s also used for making pickles and wine.

Preferred microbiome location: The mouth and gut

7. Lactobacillus helveticus

Another incredible member of your microbiome’s “ensemble,” lactobacillus helveticus may help to support overall digestion and balance.

Preferred microbiome location: The gut

8. Bifidobacterium bifidum

Belonging to another important probiotic bifidobacteria genus, B. bifidum produces lactic acid as well. It attaches itself to the large intestine and vagina walls to offer support and balance.

Preferred microbiome location: The large intestine, colon, vaginal walls

9. Bifidobacterium lactis

This probiotic strain is another multi-talented ensemble member that may help support both digestive health and immune function. 

Preferred microbiome location: The gut

10. Bifidobacterium longum 

Bifidobacterium longum is one of the first bacteria to colonize a newborn infant’s digestive system. It’s also present in breast milk, and may help to maintain a healthy gut balance. 

Preferred microbiome location: The gut

11. Bifidobacterium infantis

Also one of the first probiotic strains to colonize the digestive system of a newborn infant, bifidobacterium infantis may be one of the most important probiotic strains for children and adults. In addition to overall digestive support, B. infantis may also provide support for digestive distress, irregularity and occasional gas and bloating. 

Preferred microbiome location: The gut

What All of These Probiotic Strains Have in Common

Several commonly used probiotic strains are widely available in the form of supplements and other products, including those on this list. Probulin makes a point to incorporate the strains of bacteria highlighted in this article in some or all of the products in our line of digestive probiotics

If you’re unsure of which probiotic strains are best for you, consult a doctor or healthcare professional–they may recommend you take a single probiotic strain or a formula of multiple probiotic strains.

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