Lactobacillus GG

Lactobacillus GG


Lactobacillus GG(ATCC 53103) is named after it's co-discoverers, Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldin. It was identified as the result of a screening effort that evaluated dozens of strains of lactobacilli to identify those with a certain set of probiotic attributes1, namely(from US patent 4,839,281):

Proven probiotic attributes

Lactobacillus GG was the first probiotic proven to colonize the GI tract2, sometimes referred to "implanting". This is not permanent, but occurs during continued administration. However, most bacteria ingested orally die in the stomach and never colonize the gi tract even temporarily. This is an important protection against gi infection by organisms such as salmonella.

Lactobacillus GG was later shown to adhere to the colonic epithelia3, 4, and confer specific health benefits. A few of these include:


Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldin were awarded a patent on this strain on June 13, 1989(4,839,281). This patent's abstract reads:

"A biologically pure culture of a strain of a Lactobacillus species in which the bacteria have avid adherence to intestinal cells, are able to survive at low pH, and produce large amounts of lactic acid."

They received another patent on July 16th, 1991(5,032,399) which covered the ability of at least 50 of the bacteria to adhere to one human small intestinal mucosal cell after five minutes of inucubation.

Amin Nanji was awarded a patent on the use of Lactobacillus GG to reduce the quantity of endotoxin circulating in the blood plasma. This patent, number 5,413,785 was awarded May 9, 1995.


Valio Ltd. was granted exclusive license for Lactobacillus GG in 1987, and they spearheaded an extensive research effort7. Valio Finnish Cooperative Dairies Association, of Helsinki, Finland is a large Finish dairy/food company. Some of the research authors were associated with Valio, and research was often conducted in Finland at Tampere University. Valio released a fermented milk product,"Gefilus", that contains Lactobacillus GG, around 1992. The value of Lactobacillus GG as a probiotic is used in the marketing of Gefilus, which is now exported to several European countries.

CAG Functional Foods

CAG Functional Foods was formed in 1996 as a division of ConAgra, Inc. They market proprietary supplements, especially probiotics. CAG Functional Foods purchased the right to sell LGG in the Unites States from Valio. In 1998, they began selling "Culturelle", a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus GG. It's their first probiotic on the market. CAG Functional Foods has set in motion clinical trials to determine additional health-promoting benefits of Lactobacillus GG.

CAG Functional Foods hired a public relations firms to help with the release of Culturelle. They invested significant resources duplicating European probiotic studies, to satisfy American physicians that Lactobacillus GG has legitimate medical value. Culturelle is the first Lactobacillus GG product available in the United states, and CAG expects sales to reach $25 million after three years. Lactobacillus GG will next be available in yogurt.

Obtaining Lactobacillus GG in the Unites States

Culturelle can ordered from CAG Functional Foods online, or by calling 1-888-828-4242. Their website also has an online map of retail stores which carry Culturelle. In addition, a drug store or pharmacy can order it for you if they use distributor "McKessen". You will need to ask your local "Snyders", "Walgreens", etc. if they use that distributor to know if they can get it for you.


Lactobacillus GG was not specifically designed for eliminating or reducing candida in the GI tract. However, Lactobacillus GG has been tested against GI candida in mice8. The results were positive. Lactobacillus GG may not be a magic bullet against candida in humans, but the above study represents an important "proof of concept" for a probiotic anti-candida therapy. The benefit seen in the above study may be mediated by the immune system, as opposed to direct antagonism of Lactobacillus GG against candida.

My experience with LGG

I have GI symptoms and fatigue that began after a year of tetracycline use. Anti-candida medication was helpful, but not a cure. I tried Lactobacillus GG and Lp299v, two probiotics proven to colonize the GI tract; Lactobacillus GG helped the most, reducing my fatigue. I found it was more effective for me when I cultured it in milk(Gefilus, the cultured milk made with Lactobacillus GG by Valio of Finland, is not available in the U.S. market).


  1. Goldin BR and Gorbach SL "Lactobacillus GG: a new strain with properties favorable for survival, adhesion and antimicrobial activity in the gastrointestinal tract" FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 46(3), 72, 1987
  2. Goldin, BR et al. "Survival of Lactobacillus species (strain GG) in human gastrointestinal tract." Digestive Diseases and Sciences 37(1):121-128, Jan 1992
  3. Alander M, et al. "Recovery of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG from human colonic biopsies." Lett Appl Microbiol. 24(5):361-4, May 1997
  4. Alander M, Satokari R, Korpela R, Saxelin M, Vilpponen-Salmela T, Mattila-Sandholm T, von Wright A "Persistence of colonization of human colonic mucosa by a probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, after oral consumption." Appl Environ Microbiol 65(1):351-4, Jan 1999
  5. Gorbach SL, Chang TW, Goldin BR "Successful treatment of relapsing Clostridium difficile colitis with Lactobacillus GG" [letter] Lancet 2(8574):55-56, Dec. 26, 1987
  6. Majamaa H. and Isolauri E. "Probiotics: a novel approach in the management of food allergy" Allergy Clin Immunol (99):179-85, 1997
  7. Gorbach S "The discovery of Lactobacillus GG", Nutrition Today, 31(6):2S-4S Supplement Dec. 1996
  8. Wagner RD et al. "Biotherapeutic effects of probiotic bacteria on candidiasis in immunodeficient mice" Infection and Immunity 65(10):4165-4172

This page last modified 2014-02-15