Glossary - L
Lactic acid is an organic acid involved in many biochemical processes and produced by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates. Lactic acid bacteria, or LAB, are a group of gram-positive bacteria that ferment sugars into lactic acid. This acid then makes it difficult for other bacteria or microorganisms to grow and thus inhibits the growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Lactobacillus (singular) or Lactobacilli (plural) is a family (genus) of bacteria that includes strains such as acidophilus or paracasei. Lactobacillus bacteria convert sugars to lactic acid and tend to reside in the small intestine and genito-urinary tract. In women of European ancestry, Lactobacillus species are normally a major part of the vaginal microbiota and is also the most common bacteria found in food such as yoghurt.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the primary strains of Lactobacillus bacteria.
Lactobacillus paracasei is a species of probiotic that belongs to the Lactobacilli genus and is one of the four strains in the LAB4B group of bacteria found in the ProVen Probiotics’ pregnancy and baby products. This strain of Lactobacillus paracasei is naturally present in a baby’s developing gut.
Lactobacillus plantarum is a member of the Lactobacillus family of bacteria, which is commonly found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, and was first isolated from saliva. It is a natural resident of the human gastrointestinal tract and a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum has recently been added to the LAB4 group of bacteria to produce LAB4P, which has been shown to help support weight loss.
This species has been connected to IBS (although we would always stress the importance of strain-specificity) – in that a certain strain of Lactobacillus plantarum has been well researched in IBS sufferers. Other strains of the plantarum species have been researched in other groups of people, for example the strains CECT 7527, CECT 7528 and CECT 7529 have been tested and shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Lactobacillus reuteri is a research-backed strain of Lactobacillus bacteria that occurs naturally in the digestive system of many people and forms part of a number of probiotic products. ProVen Probiotics’ CardioPro product contains one strain of Lactobacillus reuteri, identified by the strain number NCIMB 30242.
The large intestine is the final part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or gut. Its primary function is to absorb water and to eliminate undigested food from the body in the form of faeces. It is around 1.2 metres long and includes the colon, rectum and anus. When it is working optimally, food will remain in the large intestine for around 18 hours. The large intestine hosts huge numbers of bacteria dominated by Bacteroides species.
LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is a compound known as a carrier, that carries cholesterol around the body. As cholesterol is a fatty substance and cannot dissolve in the blood, it requires a carrier to transport it around the body. LDL particles tend to be less dense than other lipoproteins and as a result are also known as ‘bad cholesterol’ due to their ability to deposit fat molecules in cell walls, which can cause a build-up, leading to blocked arteries (atherosclerosis).
This is a term which is used to describe increased intestinal permeability in the lining of the digestive system. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the lining of the digestive system is impaired and damaged and therefore allows substance such as microbes, undigested food and toxins through the gut wall. This condition can impact negatively on digestion and is also thought to play a role in the development of certain autoimmune conditions. Although leaky gut syndrome is not completely understood, it is thought that factors such as stress, alcohol consumption, dysbiosis and the overuse of certain pharmaceuticals may play a role.
Live cultures and live bacteria are alternative names for probiotics or friendly bacteria. These terms all refer to beneficial microorganisms which are found naturally in the gut and some foods, including fermented foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut. They are also found in probiotic supplements and include strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
Additions to our Probiotics Glossary
If you come across a term you feel should be within our Probiotics Glossary, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and we will endeavour to research and add them. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org/uk