Live Cultures

At Optibac we specialise entirely in live cultures. We know the importance of strain specificity so use different strains for different groups of people and for different reasons. With our range of specialised live culture supplements, we aim to offer each of our customers a specific supplement to suit their individual needs. When it comes to live cultures, it is not a question of 'one-size-fits-all'.

What are live cultures?

The term ‘live cultures’ is often used instead of the word ‘probiotics’. Live cultures are live bacteria and beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, that naturally exist in the digestive, vaginal and urinary tracts. It seems that there is currently some movement in favour of the term 'live cultures', perhaps due to recent. European legislation (the Nutrition & Health Claims regulation) which suggests that the word ‘probiotics’ could be seen as a health claim.

What is a live cultures strain?

A strain is a specific type of bacteria, in the same way that a Golden Retriever is a specific type of dog. Different manufacturers use different strains but, unlike Optibac, not all live cultures specialists share details of these strains on their product packing. We are proud of using only the most highly researched strains in our live cultures products and are happy to share which strains are in which products. And, most importantly, why. Strain information is what Nutritional Therapists, GPs and other Health Care Professionals look for when recommending live cultures supplements.

The naming of live cultures can seem complicated at first, so we've tried to explain it here as simply as possible, as it is so important! The strain name can tell you all about the research and mode of action behind the live bacteria. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 tells you the name of the genus (Lactobacillus), the species (acidophilus) and the strain (Rosell-52) of the live cultures.

Genus, species, strain for Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52

Without knowing the strain name you don't know exactly what you are getting. One acidophilus supplement is not equal to another acidophilus supplement. It is therefore best to choose a live bacteria supplement that uses robust, well-researched strains.

Which live culture strains are best?

Strains that have been extensively researched in many gold standard human clinical trials are best. You want to know that the strains in the live cultures supplements you choose are proven to reach the gut alive complement your natural gut bacteria.

It is worth being aware that some big well-known brands, such as Holland & Barratt, sometimes use strains which don’t have a lot of research behind them. Other brands don't even list the strains on their packing.

Live cultures are all individual, and different strains have different modes of action in the body. Therefore, the best live cultures for you might not be the best for somebody else. In general, however, there are a few good ways to tell if a strain is high quality:

  • It should be guaranteed to reach the gut alive
  • It should be well-researched
  • It should have been featured in gold standard human clinical trials and not just in-vitro tests

Optibac live culture strains

Our range has something for everyone - find why these strains matter, and which Optibac supplements you can find them in.

Bacillus coagulans Unique IS-2
Scientifically researched and shown to survive and reach the guts of children alive. Find this strain in Kids Gummies and Gut Health Gummies.

Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71
Well-researched and proven to survive to reach the gut alive and adhere to the gut lining. Find this strain in Every Day and One Week Flat.

Bifidobacterium breve M-16V®
Clinically trialled and proven to be safe from birth. Find this strain in Baby Drops and Babies & Children.

Bifidobacterium breve Rosell-70
Well-researched and proven to survive to reach the gut alive and adhere to the gut lining. Find this strain in Every Day.

Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12®
Thought to be the world's most well-researched strain of the entire Bifidobacteria genus. Find this strain in Bifido & Fibre.

Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04®
Extensively researched and often trialled with B. lactis Bi-07® and L. acidophilus NCFM®. Find this strain in Every Day EXTRA and Every Day MAX.

Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07®
Clinically researched and proven to survive and reach the gut alive, alone or in combination. Find this strain in Every Day EXTRA.

Bifidobacterium lactis HN019
From the incredibly well-researched Bifidobacterium genus, HN019 was originally isolated from a yoghurt source. Find this strain in Every Day MAX and Pregnancy.

Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94
This strain is well researched to reach the gut alive even alongside taking antibiotics. Find this strain in For Those On Antibiotics.

Bifidobacterium longum Rosell-175
Well-researched and proven to survive to reach the gut alive and adhere to the gut lining. Find this strain in Every Day and Travel Abroad.

Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14®
Well-researched in pregnant women and shown to reach the vagina alive. Find this strain in Pregnancy

Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®
The most well-researched strain of L. acidophilus in the world. Find this strain in Every Day EXTRA and Every Day MAX.

Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52
Often trialled with L. rhamnosus Rosell-11, this strain is well-researched and proven to reach the gut alive even during antibiotics. Find this strain in Every DayTravel AbroadOne Week Flat and For Those On Antibiotics.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001
Clinically trialled and shown to survive and reach the guts of children alive. Highly researched in pregnant women, and shown to safely reach the gut and vagina alive. Find this strain in Babies & Children and Pregnancy.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
The most scientifically studied strain in the world. Find this strain in Babies & Children.

Lactobacillus casei Rosell-215
Well-researched and proven to survive to reach the gut alive and adhere to the gut lining. Find this strain in One Week Flat.

Lactobacillus paracasei CASEI 431®
One of the most well-researched strains of Lactobacillus; described in over 80 scientific publications, and tested on thousands of people in over 20 clinical trials. Find this strain in Immune Support. 

Lactobacillus paracasei Lpc-37®
Well-researched and proven to survive to reach the gut alive and adhere to the gut lining. Find this strain in Every Day EXTRA.

Lactobacillus paracasei F-19®
Clinically trialled to support intimate health. Find this strain in For Women.

Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1®
Extensively researched and proven to reach the intimate area; mostly trialled as a pair, in 26 trials and in over 2,500 women. Find this strain in For Women.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11
This strain has been trialled with L. acidophilus Rosell-52 alongside antibiotics. Find this strain in Every Day, Travel Abroad and For Those On Antibiotics.

Lactococcus lactis Rosell-1058
Well-researched and proven to survive to reach the gut alive and adhere to the gut lining. Find this strain in Every Day and One Week Flat.

Saccharomyces boulardii
Actually a transient yeast, S. boulardii boasts international acclaim and was introduced to the UK and Ireland by Optibac. This strain is found in Travel Abroad and Saccharomyces Boulardii.

In conclusion, it is very important to look at live bacteria and yeasts on a strain-specific level, rather than only the genus and species of the microorganism in question.

Where do live cultures come from?

Every live bacteria strain is unique, and this is also true of their origins. Saccharomyces boulardii, for example, is actually a yeast, and was originally derived from the lychee fruit. Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, on the other hand, was first extracted from a yoghurt source. Many strains of friendly bacteria are known as 'human strains', this means they were initially isolated from healthy digestive tracts of humans and are natural residents of the gut! This doesn't, however, mean they are extracted from humans for commercial use or that live cultures you may take are directly taken from that source. In fact, the original strains are stored in microbiology 'banks' and future generations are cultured by scientists in laboratories.

To find out more about the Optibac range, visit our live cultures shop or take a look at our 'Why Optibac?' article.

You may also like to read: Which is the best friendly bacteria supplement


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