What are the Different Types of Probiotics?

What are the different types of probiotics that are known to e exist. How are probiotics named, identified, categorized or classified? What are the most popular probiotics in the market? Read on to learn more…

Types of Probiotics. How are Probiotics Classified?

There are different types of probiotics that have been discovered and already in the market today. Thanks to advanced techniques in the health/medicine research labs. How do you classify or identify the various types of these microorganisms? MedicineNet.com states that probiotic bacteria are usually identified and named basing on three features;

  1. Genus
  2. Species
  3. Strain

For instance, with the strain Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001, the genus is Lactobacillus, the species is casei and the strain is DN-114 001.

Despite the fact that there are many types of probiotics, each has its own health benefit or benefits. Be sure to know what it is that you want from the various strains at least seek advice from your doctor. Following are some of the known types of probiotics.


Lactobacillus is one of the most common probiotic bacteria. According to a study published in Natiotional Institutes of Health (NIH), the genus Lactobacillus contains over 80 recognized species, and is characterized by a high level of diversity, reflected in its complex phylogeny. It has over 18 different bacteria strains.  Lactobacilli inhabit your small intestine. It’s commonly found in yogurt and other fermented foods. You can also find it in dietary supplements.

Research has established that lactobacillus is good for treatment and/or prevention of yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), urinary tract infection, traveler’s diarrhea, antibiotic-related diarrhea, diarrhea resulting from Clostridium difficile, skin disorders (acne, fever blisters, canker sores, and eczema), treating lactose intolerance, and prevention of respiratory infections.

The most popular lactobacilli is Lactobacillus acidophilus. Other lactobacilli found in foods and supplements are  Lactobacillus rhamnosus , Lactobacillus blugaricus,  GG, Lactobacillus plantarium, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus reuteriLactobacillus salivariusLactobacillus caseiLactobacillus sporogenes, Lactobacillus johnsonii, and Lactobacillus gasseri.


Bifodobacteria is also a widely known probiotic bacteria. These microorganisms,naturally present in the dominant colonic microbiota, represent up to 25% of the cultivable faecal bacteria in adults and 80% in infants. As probiotic agents, bifidobacteria have been studied for their efficacy in the prevention and treatment of a broad spectrum of animal and/or human gastrointestinal disorders, such as colonic transit disorders, intestinal infections, and colonic adenomas and cancer.[NIH]

The Bifidobacterium genus consists of eight strains and approximately 30 species. Some of the bifidobacteria used as probiotics are Bifodbacterium bifidum,Bifodbacterium lactisBifodbacterium longumBifodbacterium breve,Bifodbacterium infantisBifodbacterium thermophilum, Bifodbacterium animalis, and Bifodbacterium pseudolongum.

Other Probiotic Types

The other type include; Saccharomyces boulardii, Streptococcus thermophiles Enterococcus faecium, and Leuconostoc. Read on to learn more about each

Saccharomyces boulardii

Saccharomyces boulardii is the only yeast probiotic. As you might have noted earlier, not all probiotics are bacteria. It is also referred to as S. boulardii. Only 10 species this microorganism are recognized.

Some studies have established that it is useful in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics and traveler’s diarrhea. It aids in regulating the intestines and protecting them from pathogens and other substances that can be harmful to the intestinal lining.

It also modulates different parts of your immune system and keeps the intestinal barrier function up and running.

Boulardii has also been reported to prevent the reoccurrence ofClostridium difficile, to treat acne, and to reduce side effects of treatment forHelicobacter pylori.

Streptococcus thermophilus

This type of probiotic is also classified as a lactic acid bacterium. S. thermophilus is found in fermented milk products, and is generally used in the production of yogurt alongside Lactobacillus bulgaricus. It is said to produce large quantities of the enzyme lactase, making it effective in the prevention of lactose intolerance.

In addition to its wide use in the dairy industry, S.thermophilus, according to research, has shown some positive results on;

  • Reducing incidences of lung cancer
  • Maintaining stable growth rate in children
  • Reducing risks of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD)

Enterococcus faecium

Just like the other types of probiotics, enterococci are part of the normal intestinal flora of humans and animals. They have been long identified as human pathogens that are of great value. The genus Enterococcus includes more than 17 species, although only a few cause clinical infections in humans.

Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis   are the most common species cultured from humans, accounting for more than 90% of clinical isolates.

According to an article published in medicine and health section of the Oxford Journals, a probiotic that containsEnterococcus faecium (SF68 strain) has been said to be clinically effective in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and in the treatment of diarrhea in children. The article states that though enterococci generally have low pathogenicity, they increasingly are a cause of nosocomial infection in the United States and Europe, especially in immunocompromised patients.

Other enterococcal species known to cause human infections include Enterococcus avium, Enterococcus gallinarum, Enterococcus casseliflavus, Enterococcus durans, Enterococcus raffinosus, and Enterococcus mundtii. E faecium is responsible for most vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections.


Leuconostocs are traditionally found in association with plant matter, fermenting vegetables, milk, dairy products, and wines and meats.[Microbe Wiki]

It has been used extensively in food processing throughout human history, and ingestion of foods containing live bacteria, dead bacteria, and metabolites of these microorganisms has taken place for quite a long period of time.

Have you heard of sauerkraut or “sour cabbage”? It is Leuconostoc , along with other lactic acid bacteria such as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus, responsible for the fermentation ofcabbage, making it sauerkraut.

Some species include, L. carnosum, L. citreum, L. durionis, L. fallax, L. ficulneum, L. fructosum, L. garlicum, L. gasicomitatum, L. gelidum, L. inhae, L. kimchii, L. lactis, L. mesenteroides, L. pseudoficulneum, L. pseudomesenteroides

However, some species are also capable of causing human infection. In a studyLeuconostoc bacteremia was associated with fever, leukocytosis, and gastrointestinal complaints.

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