When you think of probiotics, yogurt is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Probiotics consist of healthy bacteria strains naturally found in the intestines and in some foods.
There are over 500 strains of probiotic bacteria, each with their own benefits for boosting intestinal function, the immune system and overall health.
Some strains are more beneficial than others. Lactobacillus reuteri is one of the more potent bacterias that you want to be getting in your diet or through supplementation.
What Is Lactobacillus Reuteri?
Lacto-what? Its very name is a tongue twister.
Lactobacillus reuteri, or L. reuteri for short, is one of the more extensively studied probiotic strains with numerous health benefits. In layman’s terms, L. reuteri is a lactic acid bacteria strain that lives in the intestine, with smaller traces found in the stomach.
Reuteri itself is categorized into smaller sub-strains. The L. reuteri strain Primadophilus reuteri, for instance, is known for supporting healthy digestion and strong immune system.
How Do Probiotics Work?
Before we discuss the health wonders of L. reuteri, a general primer of probiotics is in order.
According to the latest studies, there are about 40 trillion bacteria in the human body. Some of the bacteria is good, while others contribute to the common cold, the flu, and other illnesses. The body naturally maintains a balance of good to bad bacteria. However, factors like a poor diet and stress can increase the ratio of bad to good bacteria.
Pro tip: Your gastrointestinal tract should have a balance of 85 percent probiotics and 15 percent “bad” bacteria to effectively ward off constipation and bloating.
Increasing probiotics in your body through foods and supplements helps to rebalance the scale and improve digestive function.
For a healthy body, researchers believe your gastrointestinal tract should have a ratio of 85 percent probiotics to 15 percent bad bacteria. This enables probiotics to fight off constipation, bloating, reduce toxins and break down food into usable nutrients.
What Are Some Lactobacillus Reuteri Benefits?
Probiotics in general are known for digestive health, but what are some of the benefits specific to the L. reuteri? Various independent studies suggest this probiotic may hold a multitude of benefits for men and women.
1. L. Reuteri Improves Sex Drive
A 2014 study published in the PLoS One journal revealed a link between L. reuteri and testosterone. Laboratory mice that ingested L. reuteri-fortified water exhibited higher levels of serum testosterone levels as well as an offset in gonadal aging.
More testosterone means a higher drive in bed, along with improved body composition and motivation.
Probiotics stimulate the production of the love hormone, oxytocin.
Furthermore, the probiotic is also known to increase the hormone oxytocin. This has been colloquially known as the “feel good” or “love hormone” and has been shown to intensify orgasms. Those – especially men – who took oxytocin before intercourse reported greater pleasure in contentment after sex.
2. L. Reuteri Stops Balding and Improves Hair Quality
While the bald look can certainly be appealing, most people would prefer the choice to be bald rather than being forced by nature.
Luckily, L. reuteri is known to reduce hair thinning, stimulate follicle development and accelerate hair growth.
Something women specifically might find appealing is that the probiotic increases hair acidic pH. This improves hair moisture retention and creates that silky hair look you often see in shampoo commercials.
3. L. Reuteri Promotes Thyroid Health
You may have heard stories of celebrity weight gain and some of them attributing the extra pounds to a chemical imbalance in the thyroid. The thyroid gland is a large butterfly-shaped organ located in the base of your neck that regulates various bodily functions, including body weight and most importantly, metabolism.
Thyroid dysfunction has been linked to includes weight gain, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, high stress levels and poor sleep.
Because thyroid controls how your cells produce energy, which underlies all areas of your health, thyroid dysfunction has been linked to other aspects of the body going haywire. This includes brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, high stress levels and poor sleep.
A study in 2014 published in the Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy showed that mice given L. reuteri through their water exhibited healthier thyroid function. Consequently, the mice were also thinner compared to the control mice. In this sense, the strain may indirectly promote weight loss. This leads us to the next benefit.
4. L Reuteri Makes You Fit Into Skinny Jeans
No, supplementing with probiotics doesn’t mean you can get sloppy with your diet. However, when combined with exercise and diet, probiotics may help you trim down.
In laboratory studies, mice given probiotics exhibited less weight gain even when fed a Western diet.
Lower fat levels were also observed in the liver. Too much fat in the liver causes scarring in the organ and increase risk of diabetes.
5. L. Reuteri Promotes a Cavity-Free Mouth
While it’s not a replacement for seeing a dentist, you may partially combat cavities by supplementing with L. reuteri. There isn’t a whole lot of studies in this area, since most of probiotic research focuses on gut health, but there is one study that suggests some degree of correlation between oral health and certain probiotic strains. Given all the other benefits of L. reuteri, it makes sense that you might notice improvements in oral health as well.
How to Get More Probiotics Into Your Body
While many foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha have naturally occurring probiotics in them, these foods don’t necessarily have the specific bacteria strains, like L. reuteri, that you really want. Not to mention these foods can be a bit strange and uncommon, making them hard to include regularly. However, there are also probiotic supplements that contain L. reuteri, along with other highly beneficial bacteria.
You must exercise some caution, though, when selecting probiotics. Purchasing the cheapest supplement at Walmart is not a wise choice. Those contain mostly dead bacteria strains or strains that will die before they reach your guts.
How to Choose a Probiotic Supplement
Here is a quick guide when picking out a probiotic supplement:
- Pick a product that specifically lists L. reuteri and other highly beneficial strains like L. rhamnosus.
- Opt for one with multiple strains rather than a product with extremely high concentrations of just a few strains. Many strains work synergistically rather than separately. Other notable strains to look for include Lactobacillus acidophilus, B. bifidum, and B. longum.
- Examine how the probiotics are packaged. Various preparation methods ensure the strains stay healthy and alive while sitting for long periods in store shelves.
- Finally, look at the expiration date. Even with the most advanced preservation methods, probiotics don’t live forever.
Remember this: Your body isn’t a single functioning unit. It’s comprised of smaller microorganisms numbering in the trillions.
Lactobacillus reuteri is just one of the hundreds of strains that work overtime to keep you alive and healthy. Additionally, it is one of the strains included in Floracil50, our own take on probiotics.