- Is a powerful probiotic
- Has shown to have beneficial and therapeutic effects on human health
- Improves the health of the gastrointestinal tract
- Prevents infections and inflammation of the vagina
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Helps in the treatment of respiratory diseases
- Has antioxidative properties and protects the tissues from oxidative stress
- Has antimicrobial properties and eradicate harmful bacteria from the gut
- Is beneficial for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis
- Is helpful in the treatment of constipation
L. fermentum is a common inhabitant of the human mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina (Woodmansey et al., 2004). L. fermentum produces a wide range of metabolically active compounds. One such beneficial compound is glutathione. According to Peran et al. (2006), L. fermentum can produce glutathione, which is an antioxidative compound. Glutathione was found to be an effective agent in preventing inflammation of colon epithelial cells in rat models of colitis.
According to Mikelsaar and Zilmer (2009), L. fermentum ME-3 is an antioxidative and antimicrobial probiotic. It helps fight against oxidative damages to the cells and tissues and protects the small intestine against microbial infection. There are a number of conditions that are related to high grade exposure of oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). These include inflammatory bowel syndrome, atherosclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, retinopathy, and skin disorders. All these conditions can be controlled and alleviated by the use of L. fermentus probiotic. According to Vincent et al. (2007), the development of several tumors, obesity, and several metabolic disorders are also aggravated by the prevalence of ROS in the body. Kullisaar et al. (2009) have proposed that L. fermentum ME-3 possesses a very efficient machinery for glutathione synthesis.
It has the ability to suppress the growth of gram-negative bacteria, including Shigella sonnei, and Salmonella thyphimurium. L. fermentum can inhibit the growth of gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and enterococci. The antimicrobial effect of L. fermentum is attributed to ethanol, acetic acid, succinic acid, and lactic acid. According to Hutt et al. (2004), L. fermentum ME-3 secretes a certain type of antimicrobial peptides that have an antagonistic effect on the growth of Helicobacter pylori. In this way, the consumption of L. fermentum-based probiotics is useful in treating symptoms of gastritis and peptic ulcers. L. fermentum protects the GI tract by forming a protective layer on the gut epithelium and alters the permeability of GI tract. It produces a specific type of lectin that aids in the competitive adhesion to the inner layer of the gut and prevents the colonization of harmful bacteria.
The addition of L. fermentum ME-3 as a probiotic in a number of dairy products has become a common practice all over the world. The reason behind this step is the remarkable ability of suppressing the growth of potential contaminants of dairy products including milk, yoghurt, and cheese. The pathogenic bacteria that are suppressed by L. fermentum ME-3 include E.coli, Shigella spp., Salmonella spp., and S. aureus. Thus, L. fermentum ME-3 have double benefits when it comes to human health, the suppression of harmful bacteria, and the elimination of oxidative stress (Mikelsaar et al., 2007). L. fermentum has also shown promising impacts in lowering the level of triglycerides in the blood and improving HDL levels (Kullisaar et al., 2006).
Kullisaar, T., Songisepp, E., Aunapuu, M., Kilk, K., Arend, A., Mikelsaar, M. (2009). Complete glutathione system in probiotic L. fermentum ME-3. Appl Biochem Microbiol, 45
Kullisaar, T., Zilmer, K., Vihalemm, T., Zilmer, M. (2006). Consumption of antioxidative probiotic probiotic L. fermentum ME-3 and its impact on post-prandial lipid profile in human volunteers. Third Central European Congress on Food; Sofia, Bulgaria. p. 208.
Mikelsaar , M. and Zilmer, M. (2009). Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 – an antimicrobial and antioxidative. Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 – an antimicrobial and antioxidative. Microb Ecol Health Dis, 21(1),1–27.
Mikelsaar M, Zilmer M, Kullisaar T, Annuk H, Songisepp E. (2007). Strain of microorganism Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 as novel antimicrobial and antioxidative probiotic. United States Patent 7, 244, 424
Woodmansey, E.J., McMurdo, M.E., Macfarlane, G.T. & Macfarlane, S. (2004). Comparison of compositions and metabolic activities of fecal microbiotas in young adults and in antibiotic-treated and non-antibiotic-treated elderly subjects. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Oct; 70(10):6113-22