Just Google “L. reuteri” and you will come up with an impressive list of results—nearly all of them wrong or only partial truths. Getting your L. reuteri program right can mean spectacular health benefits, while getting it wrong will deny you these benefits.
So let me try and clear up some of the confusion and misinformation because it would be a darned shame if you miss out on the life-changing benefits of this microorganism with bacterial counts amplified via yogurt-making, benefits such as smoother skin with less wrinkles, restoration of youthful strength and muscle, accelerated healing, and increased empathy for other people.
Among the widespread examples of misinformation about L. reuteri:
You can get L. reuteri in some probiotic brands.
That is indeed true of a few brands. However, unless they are the strains provided by BioGaia, they are not the strains that we know provoke oxytocin and all its health benefits.
Remember: Bacterial strain is crucial. My favorite example is E. coli: You have E. coli; I have E. coli; most other people have E. coli. But eat lettuce contaminated with E. coli from cow manure and you can die of kidney failure and sepsis—same species, E. coli, different strain. Strain can literally make a life-and-death difference. Only the BioGaia strains (ATCC PTA 6475 and DSM 17938) have been shown to yield the effects we desire. There are even strains of L. reuteri that cause inflammation and have other unhealthy effects. (You may also begin to appreciate what a huge mistake it is for commercial probiotic products to fail to specify strains.) We may uncover other strains that mimic the effects of the BioGaia strains in future, but that has not yet been determined. (I am commissioning an experimental mouse study to help us explore this question, by the way.)
You can get L. reuteri in yogurt.
Unless you make the yogurt with L. reuteri, as we do, it will not contain this species nor the two strains we know boost oxytocin. It means that no commercial yogurt contains the species nor the strains of reuteri that we are looking for. (I’ve asked BioGaia repeatedly for permission/licensing to allow us to have a company produce the yogurt for us commercially; they have refused, fearing erosion of their intellectual property.)
You can get L. reuteri in kefir.
Same as with yogurt: Wrong. A kefir may contain L. reuteri, but once again it won’t be the BioGaia strains that we know work.
You can get L. reuteri from cheese.
Just as with kefir, you might have L. reuteri, but not the strains we know yield the effects we desire.
Dairy and meat products contain L. reuteri.
I hope that you are catching on and already know the answer: Yes, but not the strains we are interested in!
There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other strains of L. reuteri and we do not know which or how many other strains provoke oxytocin release like the ATCC PTA 6475 and DSM 17938 strains. It is likely that the majority do not.
My interest is to provide clarity and effectiveness in both L. reuteri yogurt-making, as well as numerous other health and nutrition issues. Getting the L. reuteri yogurt right is actually quite straightforward and simple but you would be well-advised to stick to the way I have been advocating. Of course, if you do not want to make the yogurt but still want the benefits, you can find the new BioGaia Osfortis probiotic available in the Wheat Belly Marketplace; 2 capsules per day provide 10 billion CFUs of L. reuteri ATCC PTA 6475. Stick to the Wheat Belly Blog for continued clarity on this topic.