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Lactobacillus reuteri naturally inhabits the gut of humans as well as most animals. Each animal seems to have its own particular strain of the bacteria. It is part of the phylum Firmicutes. It was named after the German microbiologist Gerhard Reuter, who distinguished it from lacotbacillus fermentum. It is also found in many food products, especially meat and milk products (1,2), as well as breast milk (3). It is primarily marketed as a probiotic by Swedish company BioGaia AB, which owns patents on several strains as well as other patents regarding commercial usage.

The bacteria produces three distinct substances: reuterin (4), reutericin 6 (5),and reutericyclin, which all have biological activity. (6). Reuterin inhibits the growth of certain harmful Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, along with yeasts, fungi, and protozoa (7). In the quantity it is normally secreted, it seems to selectively eliminate bad gut invaders, while keeping normal gut flora intact. Animal studies have shown it to be effective in stopping harmful strains of E. coli. For example, in chickens, it was found to as effective as the antibiotic gentamicn in preventing E. coli-related deaths (9).

It has been shown to effective in the treatment of infant colic (10,11), in the reduction of helicobacter pylori, which causes peptic ulcers (12,13), in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea in children (14-16), and helping alleviate necrotizing enterocolitis in pre-term infants (17). It has further been used to kill bacteria responsible for tooth decay (18) and help in the treatment of gingivitis (19)

Carefully double-blind randomized clinical research studies have found that the bacteria significantly improves health in infants in child care centers compared both to a placebo and to a competing probiotic, Bifidobacterium lactis (20). Other studies have shown significant improvement in a number of health measures (21).

It produces three distinct substances: reuterin (4), reutericin 6 (5),and reutericyclin (6). Reuterin inhibits the growth of certain harmful Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, along with yeasts, fungi, and protozoa (7). Since about four to five times the amount of reuterin is needed to kill “good” gut bacteria (i.e. L. reuteri and other Lactobacillus species) as “bad”, this would allow It seems to eliminates bad gut invaders while keeping normal gut flora intact, in part because it requires far more to kill good bacteria (8). The bacteria is capable of producing reuterin in the gastrointestinal tract. Animal studies have shown it to be effective in stopping harmful strains of E. coli from affecting their hosts, for example in chickens it was found to as effective as the antibiotic gentamicin in preventing E. coli-related deaths (9).

It has been shown to effective in the treatment of infant colic (10,11), in the reduction of helicobacter pylori, which causes peptic ulcers (12,13). It has been shown to effective in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea in children (14-16). It has also been shown to help in the necrotizing enterocolitis in pre-term infants (17). It has further been used to kill bacteria responsible for tooth decay (18) and help in the treatment of gingivitis (19)

Carefully controlled double-blind randomized research studies have found that the bacteria significantly improves health in infants in child care centers compared to a placebo and to the competing probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis (20). In adult studies have also shown a significant improvement in health measures (21). Similar results have been found in adults; those consuming the bacteria daily end up falling ill 50% less often, as measured by their decreased use of sick leave (21).

 

Research

 

  1. Reuter G. (1965). “Das vorkommen von laktobazillen in lebensmitteln und ihr verhalten im menschlichen intestinaltrakt”. Zbl. Bak. Parasit. Infec. Hyg. I Orig. 197 (S): 468–87.
  2. Kandler O.; Stetter K.; Kohl R. (1980). “Lactobacillus reuteri sp. nov. a new species of heterofermentative lactobacilli”. Zbl. Bakt. Hyg. Abt. Orig. C1: 264–9.
  3. Sinkiewicz G, Nordström EA (2005). “Occurrence of Lactobacillus reuteri, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in human breast milk”. Pediatr Res. 58 (2): 415, abstract 353. doi:10.1203/00006450-200508000-00381.
  4. Talarico TL, Casas IA, Chung TC, Dobrogosz WJ (1988). “Production and isolation of reuterin, a growth inhibitor produced by Lactobacillus reuteri”. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 32 (12): 1854–8. doi:10.1128/aac.32.12.1854. PMC 176032Freely accessible. PMID 3245697. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
  5. Kabuki T, Saito T, Kawai Y, Uemura J, Itoh T (1997). “Production, purification and characterization of reutericin 6, a bacteriocin with lytic activity produced by Lactobacillus reuteri LA6”. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 34 (2): 145–56. doi:10.1016/s0168-1605(96)01180-4. PMID 9039561. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
  6. Gänzle MG, Höltzel A, Walter J, Jung G, Hammes WP (2000). “Characterization of reutericyclin produced by Lactobacillus reuteri LTH2584”. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 66 (10): 4325–33. doi:10.1128/aem.66.10.4325-4333.2000
  7. Talarico TL, Dobrogosz WJ (May 1989). “Chemical characterization of an antimicrobial substance produced by Lactobacillus reuteri. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 33 (5): 674–9. doi:10.1128/aac.33.5.674. PMC 172512Freely accessible. PMID 2751282.
  8. Savino F.; Pelle E.; Palumeri E.; Oggero R.; Miniero R. (2007). “Lactobacillus reuteri (ATCC strain 55730) versus simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: a prospective randomized study”. Pediatrics. 119 (1): 124–130. doi:10.1542/peds.2006-1222. PMID 17200238.
  9. Savino F.; Cordisco L.; Tarasco V.; Palumeri E.; Calabrese R.; Oggero R.; Roos S.; Diego Matteuzzi. (2010). “Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 in Infantile Colic: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial”. Pediatrics. 126 (3): e526–e533. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-0433. PMID 20713478.
  10. Cleusix V, Lacroix C, Vollenweider S, Le Blay G (January 2008). “Glycerol induces reuterin production and decreases Escherichia coli population in an in vitro model of colonic fermentation with immobilized human feces”. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 63 (1): 56–64. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6941.2007.00412.x. PMID 18028400.
  11. Edens FW, Parkhurst CR, Casas IA, Dobrogosz WJ (January 1997). “Principles of ex ovo competitive exclusion and in ovo administration of Lactobacillus reuteri. Poult. Sci. 76 (1): 179–96. doi:10.1093/ps/76.1.179. PMID 9037704.
  12. Schreck, Bird A; Gregory, PJ; Jalloh, MA; Risoldi Cochrane, Z; Hein, DN (March 2, 2016). “Probiotics for the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Systematic Review.”. J Pharm Pract. doi:10.1177/0897190016634516. PMID 26940647.
  13. Harb, T; Matsuyama, M; David, M; Hill, RJ (May 2016). “Infant Colic-What works: A Systematic Review of Interventions for Breast-fed Infants”. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 62 (5): 668–86.
  14. Imase K, Tanaka A, Tokunaga K, Sugano H, Ishida H, Takahashi S (July 2007). “Lactobacillus reuteri tablets suppress Helicobacter pylori infection—a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled cross-over clinical study”. Kansenshogaku Zasshi. 81 (4): 387–93. PMID 17695792.
  15. Saggioro A, Caroli M, Pasini M, Bortoluzzi F, Girardi L, Pilone G (2005). “Helicobacter pylori eradication with Lactobacillus reuteri. A double blind placebo-controlled study”. Dig Liver Dis. 37 (Suppl 1): S88, abstr. PO1.49.
  16. Francavilla R, Lionetti E, Castellaneta SP, et al. (April 2008). “Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori infection in humans by Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 and effect on eradication therapy: a pilot study”. Helicobacter. 13 (2): 127–34. doi:10.1111/j.1523-5378.2008.00593.x. PMID 18321302
  17. Athalye-Jape, G; Rao, S; Patole, S (June 9, 2015). “Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 as a Probiotic for Preterm Neonates: A Strain-Specific Systematic Review.”. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 9: 783–94. doi:10.1177/0148607115588113. PMID 26059900.
  18. Nikawa H, Makihira S, Fukushima H, et al. (September 2004). Lactobacillus reuteri in bovine milk fermented decreases the oral carriage of mutans streptococci”. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 95 (2): 219–23. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2004.03.006. PMID 15282133.
  19. Krasse P, Carlsson B, Dahl C, Paulsson A, Nilsson A, Sinkiewicz G (2006). “Decreased gum bleeding and reduced gingivitis by the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri“. Swed Dent J. 30 (2): 55–60. PMID 16878680
  20. Weizman Z, Asli G, Alsheikh A (January 2005). “Effect of a probiotic infant formula on infections in child care centers: comparison of two probiotic agents”. Pediatrics. 115 (1): 5–9. doi:10.1542/peds.2004-1815. PMID 15629974.
  21. Tubelius P, Stan V, Zachrisson A (2005). “Increasing work-place healthiness with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study”. Environ Health. 4: 25. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-4-25. PMC 1298318Freely accessible. PMID 16274475.

 

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