Last reviewed 01/2018

Lactobacilli are gram positive bacilli which are commensal with human beings.

There is evidence, via a meta-analysis by Van Niel et al (1), that treatment with Lactobacillus (a probiotic) is effective for accelerating the recovery from infectious diarrhoea. The effect size was a reduction of diarrhoea of 0.7 days and reduction of 1.6 stools on day 2 of treatment. Note however in this meta-analysis:

  • different types of lactobacilli may have different effect sizes - in this study the results of Lactobacillus GG, L reuteri, L bulgaricus and L acidophilus were combined
  • a clear dose-response relationship was found

The results of this meta-analysis are encouraging but there is a need for more data before a universal recommendation on the use of lactobacilli can be made (2)


  1. Pediatrics 2002 Apr;109(4):678-84
  2. Evidence Based Medicine 2002, 7(6): 185.