Lactobacilli are a genus of rod-like, Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic or microaerophilic bacteria.Most of these microorganisms have the ability to ferment lactose and other sugars, producing acids, in particular – but not limited to – lactic acid.
Consequently, some lactobacilli are used by the dairy industry, where they are essential for the acid coagulation of proteins, which is the basis of the production of yogurt and cheese.
Lactobacilli also abound in the human intestine, while in women they constitute an important bulwark against intimate infections, localizing – especially in the fertile period – at the vaginal level.
Particular lactobacilli are used as probiotics in supplements, dietary products and even in medicinal specialties.
The term probiotic belongs to all those microorganisms of human origin which, ingested in adequate quantities, manage to arrive alive and active in the intestine, colonizing it and exerting a positive action on the development of the intestinal microflora and maintenance of health. All these qualities must of course not be lost during the preservation of the product.
Most probiotics belong to the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus. Although the intestinal bacterial flora is a sort of fingerprint – therefore more or less variable from individual to individual in relation to the state of health, diet and possible use of drugs – among the most useful probiotic lactobacilli we mention Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Casei , sp. rhamnosum, Lactobacillus johnsonii.
Among other things, these bacteria are the subject of intense research and are widely used in probiotic preparations for food use.
The most characterized therapeutic field is that of intestinal infections (gastroenteritis), followed by the restoration of a friendly microflora following prolonged antibiotic treatments, and by the improvement of lactose intolerance.
However, the possible therapeutic and health (preventive) applications are varied and numerous, given the presence in the literature of a large body of studies, unfortunately often with conflicting and therefore still preliminary results.
For example, probiotic lactobacilli could be useful for preventing and / or treating (mainly as adjuvants) inflammatory bowel diseases, allergic phenomena, urinary tract infections, colon cancer, hypercholesterolemia and constipation.