As much as I have been discussing our experience with Lactobacillus reuteri lately, it seems that many people have still not gotten the memo. Let me therefore reiterate some of the fascinating and powerful features of this microorganism and the effects it has on humans who have this species restored in their gastrointestinal tracts.

First of all, here is how you make L. reuteri yogurt. But bear in mind that it is NOT about yogurt—making yogurt is simply a bacterial count amplifying system, a means of increasing bacterial counts to many tens of billions and thereby yielding greater benefit. If you don’t want to make the yogurt, you can also obtain most, if not all, of the benefits by supplementing the single strain contained in the commercial Osfortis probiotic (that contains the ATCC PTA 6475 strain). Besides yielding some astounding health benefits, some perceived, others occurring below the threshold of perception, L. reuteri fermentation also yields a rich, thick (that’s the yogurt above, so thick it can stand up on a plate), delicious yogurt, better than the insipid, briefly fermented stuff you buy in grocery stores. And, of course, commercial yogurt is fermented with unspecified strains of Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and others that, while they provide probiotic benefits, do not provide the impressive menu of benefits that L. reuteri provides.

Because the majority of modern people have lost L. reuteri from their gastrointestinal tracts, we are simply reimplanting this microorganism where it belonged whether you achieve this with the yogurt or the probiotic.

The experience varies (likely based on genetic variation among humans in such things as the oxytocin receptor), but recolonizing your gastrointestinal tract with the two strains of L. reuteri we use—remember: strain specificity is crucial—yields effects that include:

  • Appetite suppression—a dramatic reduction in appetite, the so-called “anorexigenic effect,” frees you from temptation and cravings. Combined with the reduction in appetite that results with loss of gliadin-derived opioid peptides with wheat/grain elimination, and you are in absolute control over appetite. Food still tastes good, of course, but you are no longer a slave to temptation.
  • Deeper sleep—with vivid child-like dreams and prolongation of the REM phase of sleep.
  • Increased strength and muscle mass—restoring strength and muscle lost with aging.
  • Smoother, moister skin—This is due to the explosion in dermal collagen and sebum production that results from the oxytocin boost we obtain with L. reuteri.
  • Acceleration of healing—Likewise due to oxytocin, healing time is reduced by about 40%. This alone is a huge health advantage.
  • Preservation of bone density—Marked reduction in bone density loss is experienced, something you would not be aware of unless you were tracking DEXA or other methods of measuring bone density.
  • Improved immunity—The boost in oxytocin reverses age-related thymic involution (atrophy), increases T-lymphocyte responses (increased anti-inflammatory T-reg cells), and increases intestinally protective secretory IgA antibody release .
  • Colonization of the entire gastrointestinal tract—Unlike most other bacterial species that “prefer” the environment of the colon, L. reuteri “prefers” the upper gastrointestinal tract where it produces natural antibiotics, bacteriocins, effective primarily against Enterobacteriaceae, the species of SIBO. L. reuteri may therefore confer protection again SIBO and SIBO recurrences. L. reuteri has also been shown to reduce abnormal intestinal permeability (as occurs in SIBO) and provides protection against a number of viruses and fungi.
  • B vitamin productionL. reuteri produces vitamins B12 and folate.
  • Increased libido—It is not clear whether this is due to the oxytocin boost we get with L. reuteri or due to some other effect such as increased testosterone (that we shall be exploring via clinical trials).
  • Increased empathy—The oxytocin boost we obtain with L. reuteri increases your sense of empathy for other people.
  • Desire for human connectedness—People tell me that they find themselves talking to strangers, seeking out the company of old friends, reconnecting with people around you. I list these two aspects of Reuteri-restoration last, but they are by no means the least important. I suspect that, if we were to restore L. reuteri to most Americans, we would see a reversal of troubling modern trends such as increasing social isolation and suicide.

That’s what we know. The list is likely to grow longer and more impressive as the science evolves. We are planning to perform dose-response studies to better chart out the effects of L. reuteri bacterial counts on various biomarkers such as oxytocin, testosterone, and estrogens. In the meantime, restoring L. reuteri into your gastrointestinal tract, whether via L. reuteri yogurt or as the Osfortis probiotic, is among the most powerful strategies you can follow for health, both physical and emotional.