Have you heard of this amazing probiotic? L. Reuteri has lots of research behind it, showing benefits for the immune system, dental health, reducing skin wrinkles, accelerated wound healing, and a lot more. It even makes its own antibiotic! But once common, L. reuteri has nearly disappeared from the human microbiome over the past few decades. It is still found in indigenous people, but only 4 percent of us are fortunate enough to have L. reuteri in their intestines. But now there is a way to bring this amazing probiotic back into your system.
L. Reuteri: The Love Bug that Went Missing
Valerie Blankenship, AH, AHG 2022
Before refrigeration was introduced in 1927, the fermentation of foods for preservation
and food safety purposes was standard practice for most cultures across the world.
Although they may not have been fully aware of the benefits of the probiotics in the foods
they were consuming, humans were constantly fortifying their digestive and immune
systems with trillions of powerful probiotics on a regular basis and enjoying the benefits
that came with the healthy dietary habit. Today, most people eat fermented foods on an
occasional basis, as a condiment. Because we are no longer getting an on-going flood of
probiotics in our foods, most of us no longer enjoy the multitude of benefits those live
probiotics can offer us.
The study of the human microbiome has been the focus of an avalanche of research,
especially over the past several years. The benefits of probiotics that inhabit our
microbiome, as well as specific probiotic species that provide us with unique and critical
health benefits, have been the topic of loads of scientific studies. In 2014, the Integrative
Human Microbiome Project (HMP) began the study of microbial communities that live in
and on our bodies and the roles they play in human health and disease. Investigators
published over 650 scientific papers that have been cited over 70,000 times. Topping the
list is an incredibly promising probiotic that is attracting the spotlight recently: the lactic
acid bacteria Lactobacillis reuteri, which is my new favorite probiotic. Ever. A
L. reuteri has nearly disappeared
Since the turn of the century, the diversity of beneficial gut bacteria has dwindled to a
paltry handful of different beneficial microbes. Although it used to be one of the most
common organisms found in the human gut, the critical bacteria L. reuteri, has almost
disappeared from the human microbiome over the past few decades. It is still found in
indigenous people living in mountainous and jungle regions as well as the intestines of
various animals, including rodents, pigs, sheep and chickens. Only 4 percent of humans
alive today are fortunate enough to have it in their intestines. This is believed to be due to
the usual bad actors: lack of fermented food consumption, widespread antibiotic use,
overuse of household cleaners, chemical exposure, and our processed western diet.
L. reuteri boosts feelings of love
One of the most fascinating benefits of L. reuteri is its effect on the production and release
of oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called the “love hormone” because when it is released - for
example when we fall in love or have a baby - we feel a flood of warmth and love toward
others, facilitating our ability to bond with other humans. Studies done at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveal that this unique microbe creates more
oxytocin in the brain. In fact, it was found to increase blood levels of oxytocin by more than
300%! In addition, it may help to lower overall stress levels, as studies show it reduces levels of
the stress hormone cortisol.
During this time in our world, when disconnectedness, combined with a power grab by big
pharma/business/government have left many of us feeling isolated and powerless, we
need the healing of human kindness and compassion more than ever. And instead, we are
left missing this critical microbe with its ability to raise our oxytocin and our feelings of
connection and tenderness. Who knows how much of an impact this missing microbe is
having on our stress levels! B, C.
The fountain of youth?
Skin and mucosal surfaces of mammals are populated by millions of bacteria that support the
integrity of skin and hair. A cancer research group at MIT stumbled upon the beneficial
effects on elderly animals given L. reuteri in a double-blind study. The probiotic quickly
induced youthful vitality characterized by “rich and luxuriant” fur within a week of receiving the
probiotic species. Higher oxytocin blood levels can also provide smoother skin, fewer wrinkles,
deeper sleep with vivid dreams, and preservation of bone density—all markers of youthfulness.
By replacing the missing L. reuteri microbe, your brain sends a signal via the vagus nerve to the
hypothalamus to release oxytocin. The result is a continuous increase in oxytocin. Could this
help folks who suffer from addictions? I say, it’s worth a try!
L. Reuteri helps restore the immune system
The thymus gland provides an important function within our immune system by manufacturing
T-cells. T-cells provide an important protection against viruses, bacteria, and most cancers. The
thymus gland begins to shrink after the age of 15. By age 70, the thymus is only 10% of its
former measurement and its ability to produce T-cell shrinks dramatically. Aged mice with
atrophied thymus glands who were supplemented with L. reuteri were restored to youthful
thymus gland size once more! D
L. reuteri kills colon cancer cells
One of the best probiotics for colon protection may be L. reuteri. But it’s easily wiped out by
antibiotics. In one study, those prone to colon cancer had their risk of tumors cut in half, simply
by supplementing with L. reuteri! Plus, replenishment with these good bugs was linked to
smaller and less harmful cancers when they did form.
L. reuteri makes its own antibiotic
One of the incredible things about L. reuteri is that it makes its own special antibiotic called
reuterin, which slows the growth of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and protozoa.
And reuterin has been shown to eliminate these microbes without harming other,
beneficial bacteria that are part of a healthy microbiome. L. reuteri offers powerful benefits
for healing inflammatory GI disorders, and is effective at eliminating many GI infections,
including H Pylori and Salmonella. With L. reuteri missing from the modern gut, it may be
no coincidence that SIBO, IBS and other inflammatory diseases have skyrocketed. E, F.
An answer to the SIBO epidemic?
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is an increasingly common disorder where
the wrong types and quantities of bacteria live in the small intestines. I see these cases
more and more in my herbal clinic, but I’m starting to see very promising results as folks
start to recover from this painful, debilitating disorder with the addition of L. reuteri. The
microbe has unique properties as compared to most bacteria that live in the colon. For
example, L. reuteri prefers to reside in the upper gastrointestinal tract, the stomach,
duodenum, jejunum, and the ileum. But once it has colonized in the upper GI tract, it begins
to produce its reuterins that are very effective at driving out undesirable bacteria species in
the small intestine that can cause SIBO. F
An answer to leaky gut?
Leaky gut is extremely common, not only as part of SIBO disorders, but in lots of folks. This
destructive disorder involves the movement of bacteria across the intestinal epithelium
(gut lining), into the tissues, which normally creates lots of damaging inflammation and
ultimately leaky gut. Research is showing that L. reuteri can strengthen the intestinal
barrier and stop the damage of leaky gut, simply by colonizing the gut with L. reuteri. G
L. reuteri is powerful against candida
L. reuteri exhibits powerful antifungal abilities against 5 of the 6 most common candida
species, completely eliminating the fungus and is now being studied for its effects against
Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth (SIFO), which is a small intestinal imbalance that is
associated with painful GI symptoms. H, I
Aids in childhood digestive issues
Not only does this probiotic aid in digestive issues that typically effect adults, it has also
been found to be extremely helpful in treating children. A serious disease that responds
well to L. reuteri is necrotizing enterocolitis in premature babies. Necrotizing enterocolitis
is a devastating intestinal disease that affects premature or very low birth weight infants,
often in developing countries. Symptoms may include poor feeding, bloating, blood in the
stool, vomiting of bile, bowel death, multiorgan failure, and even death. L. reuteri was found
to reduce the incidence of sepsis and to shorten the length of hospital stays for this serious
In developing countries, multiple episodes of diarrhea from a variety of infections, can lead
to serious problems, including malnutrition and dehydration. In the United States and
Canada, young children have an average of two episodes of diarrhea per year. L. reuteri to
the rescue once more. In kids with viral diarrhea, introduction of this beneficial bug has
been found to significantly reduce duration and severity of the diarrhea. And it works even
better as a preventative. It also helps relieve infant colic. In a clinical research study
including eighty-three infants, L. reuteri improved colic and crying time in breast-fed
infants by 95%! Studies showed that babies fared significantly better when they used L.
reuteri than with the commonly prescribed medication Simethicone. J, K, L, M
A slenderizing effect
In a mouse study: “Microbial Reprogramming Inhibits Western Diet-Associated Obesity” it
was discovered that a cultured dairy product containing L. reuteri alone reduced appetite
and prevented weight gain, even when subjects ate a fast food diet. Researchers found that
eating L. reuteri bacteria created slenderness and appetite control without changing the
existing microbial composition in stool, nor by reducing calories; “instead,” they stated,
“the slenderizing microbial mechanism involved bacteria-triggered changes in the host
immune system composition.” The study shows that the feeding of Lactobacillus reuteri can
have a significant impact on western diet obesity. N
Accelerated healing of skin wounds
Supplementation with the probiotic showed wound healing occurred in half the normal time
required, which was interpreted as a sign of youthfulness. Subjects receiving L. reuteri were
also found to have thicker skin, with a substantial increase in dermal collagen.
An increase in libido
L. reuteri preserved mating behavior in elderly mice–typically lost by mice with age. It increased
blood levels of testosterone in males with low levels. It did this by increasing the size and
number of Leydig cells that produce testosterone. It also increased blood levels of human growth
hormone, which is well known to increase energy and stamina, as well as muscle strength and
size in addition to decreasing body fat and increasing bone density. O, P
L. reuteri helps to increase dental health
Research into the effects of L. reuteri on dental health have been found to be very promising.
The microbe was found to reduced salivary bacteria streptococcus, which causes cavities. A
2010 study involving 30 adults with no significant health problems other than chronic
periodontitis improved significantly with the use of L. reuteri. Subjects underwent scaling and
root planing on days 0, 21, and 42 on one side of their mouth while the other side went untreated.
On day 21 of the study through day 42, each subject was given lozenges containing 100 million
colony-forming units of the probiotic bacteria L. reuteri. They were instructed to suck one
lozenge in the morning and one at night after brushing their teeth. Each subject underwent a
dental examination to assess dental health. After 42 days, those receiving the probiotic alone
were assessed and researchers found a 57.2% improvement in reduction in gingival bleeding,
19% decrease in plaque and 5.6% decrease in pocket depth. Q, R
How to colonize our guts with this amazing bug!
So how do we get this love bug into our guts?? Supplementation with L. reuteri probiotic pills is
one way, but the effects have been found to be fleeting. What you want is to colonize these
sentient beings in the gut so they take up residence and continuously replicate. This is best done
by eating a 1/2 - 1 cup of a cultured food containing L. reuteri each day. And of course you must
nurture and feed them daily with lots of fibers in the form of seeds, nuts, veggies and fruits.
Popular gut health author and Cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, who specializes in gut health
research, has recently developed a method of fermenting L. reuteri for a prolonged period of 36
hours using a L. reuteri probiotic supplement combined with a prebiotic to increase quantities of
the microbe. He has tested the resulting probiotic food and found it to yield as many as 262
billion counts per 1/2- cup serving!
Davis he has shared this technique with hundreds of people that have since reported restoration
of muscle, lowered urge for food, and elevated libido and the erotic content material of desires,
reduced pores and skin wrinkles, deeper sleep with vivid desires and prolonged intervals of
REM, lowered signs of menstrual cycles, elevated depth of affection and affection for different
folks, a greater capacity for tolerating different points of view, moister pores and skin, extra
speedy progress of fingernails and toenails! He calls the reports “a spectacular assortment of
well-being results.” He is currently working with his staff to explore these phenomena through a
number of medical trials they have in place.
Make your own L. reuteri food
You can do this yourself! It can be a little tricky at first, but can easily be mastered. The
fermentation process is a bit different from that of conventional yogurts. Replicating Dr. Davis
methods can be done at home using strains of L. reuteri which may be purchased as
probiotic capsules and inoculated into milk and prepared as cultured dairy or coconut – a
yogurt-like food that is fermented over 36 hours, far longer than the 12 or so hours it takes
to ferment yogurt. Dr. Davis has found that it must be cultured at 97-100 degrees, a much
lower temperature than yogurt typically is cultured. The final product tastes much like
yogurt. It is not to be confused with kefir, which is made using fermentable grains at room
temperature. I will be going into more detail on exactly how to make these amazing love
bugs (and offering samples) during my fermentation class held at the 2022 Plant Healer
Conference. I hope to see you there! S
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Valerie Blankenship, Registered Herbalist, AHG
Sage Consulting & Apothecary
Retail & Wholesale Herbal Apothecary • Herbal Consultations and second opinions • 27-class
in-person Sage Herbal Foundations Program
2727 N. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, CO 80907
www.SageWomanHerbs.com – We offer mail order and retail of live kefir grains, dried culture
starters, and fermented veggie supplies including the Perfect Pickler