Streptococcus Thermophilus – Main Benefits + Potential Side Effects

There is a variety of probiotics which are doing the best that they can to maintain our gut and with that our overall health, in a good and satisfactory condition. One of those probiotic strains is Streptococcus Thermophilus. Today, we are here to discuss the many benefits, but also the possible adverse effects of adding more S. thermophilus to your daily diet and how you can do that.

What is Streptococcus Thermophilus?

Streptococcus thermophilus

Streptococcus thermophilus is a gram-positive, thermophilic bacterium, also classified as a lactic acid bacterium. It was as early as the 1900s when S. thermophilus was first discovered of being able to turn lactose, which is the sugar found in milk, into lactic acid. It was then that S. thermophilus was first recognized as a lactic acid bacterium. 


By increasing the levels of lactic acid in the milk, S. thermophilus can turn milk into the yummy yogurt that many of us have for breakfast. Since then, S. thermophilus can be found in other fermented dairy products such as cheese. If you are interested in adding more of this probiotic to your diet, simply increase your intake of dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. You can also invest in a quality probiotic supplement

The benefits of using Streptococcus thermophilus

But S. thermophilus is not found only in milk. It is also one of the earliest colonizers of our gut, being a part of the healthy gut flora. Along with the other helpful probiotics, S. thermophilus is included in the maintenance of multiple body functions. 

s thermophilus

Research has shown that including S. thermophilus in our daily diet has many benefits for our physical and mental health, knowing how strong the link gut-brain, but also gut and any other body organ is, this does not come as any surprise. 


Here are some of the biggest benefits of using S. thermophilus daily:

Improved skin health

Anyone interested in skincare probably knows how important of a role do ceramides have. Ceramides are special lipids found in your skin’s barrier where they are helping it retain moisture, but also protect it against the many environmental aggressors such as pollution and harmful UV rays. 

Luckily, S. thermophilus can increase the levels of ceramides in the skin, thus improving the hydration and the protection of the skin. Back in 1999, after 17 healthy subjects were treated with a topical cream that contained S. thermophilus, an increase in their ceramide levels was measured. 

Another study showed that a topical cream containing S. thermophilus was able to improve the hydration and ceramide levels in 20 healthy women as well. But S. thermophilus was also successfully used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, efficiently reducing the usual symptoms such as redness, scaling, and itchiness, among others.

Prevention of gastritis

Gastritis or the inflammation of the stomach lining is commonly caused by the long-term use of aspirin. Managing this condition can be rather difficult. So, it was good to learn that when S. thermophilus was used in aspirin-treated mice that were struggling with gastritis, researchers could see a major improvement in their symptoms. 

Alleviated antibiotic-associated diarrhea

Long-term use of antibiotics increases your risk of C. difficile infection. Once a C. difficile infection takes place, symptoms such as diarrhea, colitis, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, etc. take place. But in 2012, research showed that the mice that were treated with S. thermophilus experienced reduced weight loss, diarrhea, nausea, and generally better health that has been compromised due to their C. difficile infection.

Improved lactose intolerance

Yet another study done on mice has shown that the use of S. thermophilus, along with other helpful probiotics such as L. delbrueckii, has helped improve the lactose digestion in mice with known lactose intolerance. 

Reduced IBS symptoms

In people with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, the use of probiotics has been indicated. With the use of probiotics, we are changing the gut bacteria, which is considered helpful in the majority of IBS patients. Research has talked about the benefits of using a variety of probiotics, including the use of S. thermophilus, in the treatment of this condition, being especially helpful with symptoms such as abdominal bloating and gas.

Decreased leaky gut symptoms

The cause behind leaky gut syndrome is often the imbalance between the good and bad bacteria found in the gut. Naturally, by increase the levels of probiotics in the gut, improvements in the leaky gut syndrome symptoms can be expected to happen. 

They will help strengthen the gut barrier, heal the gut itself, and balance its pH, among causing other beneficial effects. S. thermophilus is one of the probiotics that has shown positive results in improving the leaky gut syndrome symptoms.

What are the potential side-effects of Streptococcus thermophilus?

S. thermophilus is widely used in the dairy industry since it is generally considered safe to be used. Like any other probiotic, S. thermophilus, too, can cause some minor adverse effects. These would include diarrhea, gas, abdominal bloating, abdominal cramps, skin rash, etc. Most of these side-effects go away on their own after a few days.

It is worth mentioning that S. thermophilus, and any other probiotics, should be avoided by immunocompromised individuals, anyone with organ failure, and individuals that may have a dysfunctional gut barrier. In these cases, probiotics are considered a potential cause of an infection. S. thermophilus can also produce histamine and tyramine. Although these amounts are rather small, it should be avoided by anyone with known histamine intolerance.

Conclusion

You may not know it, but S. thermophilus is working hard to make sure that your gut is healthy and happy. And when it is not, it is working even harder to fix issues such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea, IBS, leaky gut, lactose intolerance, and even go as far as to improve your skin health. S. thermophilus is one of the probiotics that you do not want to forget about.

More strains?

If you’re interested in finding out more about specific probiotic strains read our articles below:

References

About Ahmed Zayed

MBBch Ahmed gained his medical degree from the University of Alexandria in Egypt. He is a fitness and health enthusiast and is the author of a range of health related books. When he isn't treating patients in hospital he enjoys spending his time raising awareness about public health issues.

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