Yogurt, living cultures, and gut health

Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5 Suppl):1248S-50S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073072. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Bacteria used to ferment milk to obtain yogurt belong to thermophilic, bile-sensitive species of lactic acid bacteria, which are not ideally suited for survival into the human gut. However, assessing the viability of these bacteria through the digestive tract may be relevant to evaluate their potential to deliver some beneficial effects for the well-being of the consumer. The well-known reduction in the symptoms caused by lactose maldigestion is not the only benefit provided by yogurt starter cultures; some additional effects will be reviewed here, with special attention paid to data that may suggest a strain-dependent effect, features that are not present with lactose hydrolysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fermentation
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Lactose Intolerance / prevention & control
  • Probiotics
  • Streptococcus / metabolism
  • Yogurt / microbiology*


  • Lactose