The Culturelle probiotic is advertised as the only supplement on the market to contain 100 percent of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a well-studied probiotic strain that works on gut health.
On its website, Culturelle
refers to L. GG as "the No. 1 clinically studied probiotic strain," citing 25 years of research and more than 800 scientific studies.
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L. rhamnosus GG, frequently shortened to LGG, refers to a specific strain of bacteria, and it's one that is typically found in the human body where hundreds of bacterial strains work to maintain health. According to Drugs.com
, research has shown the probiotic to be effective in treating diarrhea in some conditions, such as when children taking antibiotics get antibiotic-associated diarrhea, or AAD. In addition, it also has been rated "possibly effective" in treating diarrhea that occurs when you travel or undergo chemotherapy, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and bacterial vaginal infections, the website said.
Along with a focus on digestive health, Culturelle recently expanded its products by adding a probiotic geared toward immune health. "Since 70 percent of your immune system resides in your digestive tract, a balanced digestive system can also support a healthy immune system," the product's website said. The new "Culturelle Advanced Immune defense" combines antioxidants and vitamins with LGG.
The evidence-based research on Lactobacilli focused primarily on gut health, but research on the bacteria's impact throughout the body and on other diseases has expanded. Research is being done on its effects on the lungs and respiratory infections, skin problems, and even weight loss.
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WebMD pointed to strong evidence
around lung infections. "Children ages 1 to 6 years who attend daycare centers seem to get fewer and less severe lung infections when given milk containing lactobacillus GG or a specific combination product containing both Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium," the website said.
At the University of Maryland School of Medicine
, researchers recently tackled the complicated issue of how LGG works.
What they found is the bacteria appear to modify the activity of other gut bacteria. "This species of bacteria has a reputation for being really useful to humans,” Claire M. Fraser, PhD, and study co-author said on UMSM's website. "So we wanted to better understand how it might work in the human intestine. This is a new idea, that some probiotics may work by affecting the overall ecosystem of the gut. Previously we tended to think that LGG and other probiotics worked directly on the host. I think this finding has many exciting implications.”
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