Lactobacillus reuteri reduces bone loss in older women with low bone mineral density

Background and methods

Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC PTA 6475 (L. reuteri 6475) has been reported to increase bone mineral density in mice, but its effect on human bone is unknown.

The aim of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was to investigate the effect of L. reuteri 6475 on bone loss in older women, 75-80 years old, with low bone mineral density. The study included 90 women who received L. reuteri 6475 (1×1010 CFU/day) or placebo for 12 months.


L. reuteri 6475 significantly reduced bone loss in older women with low bone mineral density.

What are the health benefits of probiotics?

BioGaia offers consumers around the world clinically-proven, patented and user-friendly probiotic products. However, due to the regulatory situation we cannot communicate the effect of our products or claim health benefits. In Europe the use of nutrition and health claims is regulated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and today there are no approved health claims for probiotics.

If you want to know more about probiotics and the effect of good bacteria we recommend you to contact a healthcare professional.

Why is strain specificity so important?

Different probiotic products contain different probiotic strains. This means that one probiotic product with Lactobacillus reuteri, for example L. reuteri NCIMB 30242, is not equal to another probiotic product that contains another strain of Lactobacillus reuteri, for example L. reuteri DSM 17938. This is why bacteria must be defined and tested in clinical trials at strain level.

What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of bacteria in the digestive system in ways claimed to be beneficial to health.

Why are we called BioGaia?

The name BioGaia is made up of two words, Bio and Gaia. Bio stands for life and living organisms, natural, biological research and ecological systems. Gaia, according to Greek mythology, is a goddess, the creator of all life, the sister of Eros and a personification of the Earth.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that are found in food or supplements. The definition is ”Live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” (WHO/FAO, 2002). Important criteria for qualifying as a true probiotic is that health benefits should be proven in clinical trials. Furthermore, a probiotic product must contain the same bacterial strain(s) and the same dose that was used in the clinical trials.

Read more about probiotics.



Effectiveness of Lactobacillus reuteri in children with active distal ulcerative colitis

This was a prospective, randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial in children (6-18y) with moderately active distal ulcerative colitis who were concomitantly treated with oral mesalazine. The aim was to investigate the adjunctive effect of the probiotic on inflammation and cytokine expression in the rectal mucosa.

Forty children were enrolled, of whom 31 completed the 8-week study. Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 (10^10 CFU, n=16) or placebo (n=15) was administered once daily as a rectal enema before bedtime.

The score for the Mayo Disease Activity Index, DAI, (including the criteria stool frequency, bleeding, physician’s assessment of disease activity and mucosal appearance) was evaluated at baseline and on the day after the intake of study product had stopped. The Mayo DAI decreased significantly in the Lactobacillus reuteri group: 3.2 ± 1.3 vs. 8.6 ± 0.8 at baseline (p < 0.01), compared to placebo: 7.1 ± 1.1 vs. 8.7 ± 0.7 (NS); p<0.001 for mean values between groups. The histological score was significantly decreased in the active group: 0.6 ± 0.5 vs. 4.5 ± 0.6 (P < 0.01), but not in the placebo group (2.9 ± 0.8 vs. 4.6 ± 0.6, NS). The mucosal expression of cytokines was evaluated at baseline and after 8 weeks. It was significantly changed only in the Lactobacillus reuteri group: the anti-inflammatory IL-10 increased (p<0.01) whereas the pro-inflammatory IL-1beta, TNF-alpha and IL-8 all decreased (p<0.01). Clinical remission (DAI < 2.0) was achieved in 5 patients (31%) taking the probiotic but in none of the placebo subjects (p<0.05). All patients in the Lactobacillus reuteri group showed a clinical response, defined as a decrease of ≥ 2 points in the Mayo DAI, compared to 53% in the placebo group. No disease flare-ups occurred in any of the groups.

In children with active distal ulcerative colitis, rectal infusion of Lactobacillus reuteri effectively attenuated mucosal inflammation and changed the mucosal expression of cytokines to a less inflammatory pattern.