Lactobacillus casei

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lactobacillus casei

Lactobacillus casei (L.casei)  is a probiotic bacterium that is commonly found in the human gut, as well as in many fermented foods and beverages. Researchers have been working hard to explore more about its efficacy to improve digestive health, enhancing the immune system, and potentially even preventing certain diseases. 

In this article, we will delve deeper into Lactobacillus Casei, exploring its history, health benefits, sources and safety. Whether you are a health enthusiast or simply curious about the world of probiotics, this article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of this fascinating bacterium.

A Brief History of Discovery 

Foremost but not renowned

Although it was first identified by the French scientist Maurice L. Bottazzi in 1906 by isolating it from Italian cheeses, it was not until the mid-20th century did Lactobacillus Casei gain wider recognition for its health benefits.

Gained global attention

However,  in the 1930s, a Danish researcher named Carlisle V. Hanson isolated a strain of Lactobacillus casei from sour milk that was found to have antimicrobial properties. This discovery dramatically sparked interest in the potential health benefits of this bacterium, and called for deeper research into its properties and uses throughout the 20th century.

Why aren’t they killed by stomach acid? 

Although they belong to the bacteria family, they are not killed by strong acid from our stomach when taken orally. This is because they are resistant to low pH acidic medium and able to survive in different environmental conditions. 

What are the Potential Health Benefits of Lactobacillus Cacei

Although being under research for several decades, there have been conflicts and debates regarding their efficacy for medical uses. However, several pieces of evidence that they are potentially beneficial for various medical conditions. That being said, stronger randomized controlled trials and scientific studies are necessary for using them as a “Sole” treatment.

Let’s follow through to see how they are potentially beneficial for your well-being. 

Facilitate Gut Health 

lactobacillus casei benefit for gut health

Lactobacillus Casei has been shown to help improve digestive health by aiding in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, producing enzymes that aid in digestion, and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. It has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of diarrhea and constipation mainly by: 

Reduction of Gut Inflammation

L.casei can reduce gut inflammation by producing anti-inflammatory compounds and regulating the immune response in the gut. This can help alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and promote overall gut health. It has been shown to improve conditions such as leaky gut, and diverticulitis.

Production of Short-Chain Fatty Acids 

Lactobacillus Casei produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate, which can provide energy to the cells lining the gut and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Maintenance of Gut Microbial Balance

Lactobacillus Casei can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria by producing antimicrobial compounds and competing with harmful bacteria for resources in the gut.

Promote Immune System

lactobacillus casei immune benefits

Stimulation of Immune Cell

Studies have suggested that Lactobacillus Casei may help enhance the immune system by promoting the production of beneficial immune cells such as T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. These immune cells play a crucial role in fighting off infections and other diseases.

Improved Gut Barrier Function

L casei has been found to improve gut barrier function by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and increasing the production of mucus in the gut. A healthy gut barrier is essential for immune system health, as it helps prevent harmful bacteria and toxins from entering the bloodstream.

Anti-Inflammatory Agent

Lactobacillus Casei has been found to regulate the body’s inflammatory response, which is important for a healthy immune system. Inflammation is a natural response to infection or injury, but chronic inflammation can lead to a weakened immune system and a range of health problems.

L. casei produces anti-inflammatory compounds (eg. Short chain-fatty acids) that can help regulate the immune response and reduce chronic inflammation.

It also competes with harmful and infectious microorganisms that trigger inflammation.

Potential Anti-Cancer Properties

lactobacillus cancer benefits

Some studies have suggested that Lactobacillus Casei may have anti-cancer properties, particularly in preventing colon cancer. Some of the mechanisms behind its anti-cancer properties are; 

  • Inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and promoting apoptosis (cellular suicide) of harmful tumor cells.
  • Enhance the immune system’s response to cancer by promoting the production of immune cells that can recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Reduce the incidence of colon cancer by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut.
  • Reduce chronic inflammation with its anti-inflammatory properties which can help lower the risk of developing cancer.

So, how to incorporate L.cacei into my diet? 

lactobacillus casei food rich in

Though the explanation and its mechanisms seem quite technical and scientific, it is not that difficult to include them in your diet as they are already in the everyday diet you consume. 

The following foods contain a rich amount of Lactobacillus cacei. 

Fermented Foods: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, etc

Non-Dairy Products: Some non-dairy products, such as certain types of soy-based yoghurt or kefir 

Probiotic Supplements: Lactobacillus Casei is commonly included in many probiotic supplements available in the market. It is advisable to look for supplements that specify the presence of L.casei and follow the recommended dosage instructions.

Probiotic Drinks: There are probiotic drinks available that contain Lactobacillus Casei. Look for specific brands that include this strain and follow the recommended serving size.

Research well, and Consult if necessary
When choosing any food or supplement, it’s important to consider the quality, storage, and expiration date. It is advisable to take them when you are necessary to take probiotics
Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine the most appropriate sources and amounts of Lactobacillus casei for your specific dietary needs and health goals. 

What are the side effects of Lactobacillus casei? 

side effects of lactobacillus casei

Generally, probiotics including Lactobacillus cacei are generally considered safe if we take in an adequate amount. In my daily general practice, I rarely found people who present with side effects of a probiotic diet. 

However, if taken in excessive amounts which is more common in taking as multiple probiotic supplements, they might cause discomfort mainly in your stomach and gut causing diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. You can see how overconsumption of Probiotics can bring some unwanted symptoms in your body in my article,”Side effects of Probiotics”.

What do we need to know more about Lactobacillus cacei?

As research on the health benefits of probiotics continues to grow, there is an emerging interest in exploring the potential therapeutic effects of Lactobacillus casei in various areas

Some areas that may warrant further investigation are mental health, skin health and sports medicine since these become areas of interest for the youth population. 

If we better understand its potential health benefits, we may expand its potential therapeutic applications for our well-being. 

Let’s wind it up

  • Lactobacillus Casei is a strain of probiotic bacteria with potential health benefits for the immune system, gut function, cancer prevention, and inflammation reduction. 
  • It can be found in various dietary sources, such as fermented foods, probiotic supplements, and non-dairy products.
  • It’s important to exercise caution when consuming Lactobacillus Casei and to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement or dietary regimen. 
  • Future research on Lactobacillus casei may help to better understand its potential health benefits and expand its potential therapeutic applications.
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Dr Tun Min is s GP working in NHS UK and writing articles about supplements and vitamins based on personal clinical experience and clinical research.

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