Strains strain our knowledge of probiotics

In an earlier post, I had illustrate the problem of whether L.Reuteri produced histamine. The answer is “Not sufficient information to answer” — why is shown below. It depends on which strain you have! The source (human/not human) is not sufficient. In general, the probiotic species is insufficient to answer the histamine question.

From prediction to function using evolutionary genomics: human-specific ecotypes of Lactobacillusreuteri have diverse probiotic functions[2014].

Lactobacillus Casei and Paracasei

On many studies, this is reported to reduce hay fever and allergies. If you check the web, you will find that it is also reported as a histamine producer. How can this be true since increased histamines would make allergies worst. The answer is simple. BOTH ARE CORRECT when you look at the fine print… (and you need the fine print that may be missing on the probiotic label).

  • “histamine production were found in … Lactobacillus casei 18, isolated from cider)” [2013]
  • “According to the results,  Lactobacillus casei CCDM 198 exhibited the best degradation abilities…. significantly (P < 0.05) reduced BAs (putrescine, histamine, tyramine, cadaverine), up to 25% decline in 48 h.” [2020]
  • ” Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei CB9CT and another strain (CACIO6CT) of the same species that was able to degrade all the BAs were singly used as adjunct starters for decreasing the concentration of histamine ” [2016]
  • “Seventeen isolates were found that were able to degrade tyramine and histamine in broth culture. All 17 isolates were identified by 16S rRNA sequencing as belonging to Lactobacillus casei.” [2012]

For Lb Casei and Paracasei, most of the studies suggests that it degrades histamine.

Worked Example

We use L. Casi and L. Paracasei from Custom Probiotics, for two main reasons, they are the cheapest per BCFU, they have no fillers, pre-biotics, etc so we do not have to deal with counter-indicated formulation that often happens with commercial probiotics blends (often using a marketing-driven formulation).

So looking up the strains, I see Lc-11 and Lpc-37, Time to search for information on these:

On LPC-37

On Lc-11

Table 1.
Semanic Scholar

Bottom Line

IMHO, you need to:

  • Know every strain in your probiotics (not just species!)
  • You need to be able to locate studies using that strains (Lb. Casei Snakeoild may be just a marketing name to hide that fact that the manufacturer/packager does not know the strain)
    • I have seen some product literature claiming benefits from a different strain because they were the same species —FALSE LOGIC.
  • Ideally, you will find some relevant studies using these strains — ideally on humans!

If you are using antibiotics, you may wish to search for the probiotics antibiogram. Ideally, the manufacturer/seller would provide all of that information with a simple email requesting it.

2 thoughts on “Strains strain our knowledge of probiotics

  1. Best information. My son was put in multistrain probiotics (pbx) after three course of antibiotics prescribed for his chronic fevers and they suspected viral 🙄. The autism literate naturopath put him on a multistrain pbx product . After two months heavy spitting started . I was not a biomed literate mother but I was sure that pbx was causing this at that time After few years reading researching and gathering information about probiotics I knew pbx was causing / increasing histamines in the gut which triggers acid reflux hence the spitting. He was prescribed zantac for acid reflux which caused black poop and severe constipation which he never had before. The combination of wrong antibiotics and probiotics wrecked his gut and even after 8 yrs I haven’t recovered his gut. Most probably he developed SIBO after abx and adding probiotics for SIBO gut was a disaster causing severe histamine intolerance. His throat swab for strep is always negative but gut labs ( gi maps) always report overgrowth of ST .

    Your information about probiotics antibiogram is very useful Ken. I have learnt/ learning a lot from your posts.Thanks for taking time to educate us. I appreciate your time

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