Lactobacillus helveticus is a lactic-acid producing, rod-shaped bacterium of the genus Lactobacillus. It is most commonly used in the production of American Swiss cheese and Emmental cheese, but is also sometimes used in making other styles of cheese, such as Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano, provolone, and mozzarella. The primary function of L. helveticus culture is to prevent bitterness and produce nutty flavors in the final cheese. In Emmental cheese production, L. helveticus is used in conjunction with a Propionibacterium culture, which is responsible for developing the holes (known as "eyes") through production of carbon dioxide gas.
Bergey et al. 1925
A 2010 double-blind study published in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded, "L. helveticus R0052 and B. longum R0175 taken in combination display anxiolytic-like activity in rats and beneficial psychological effects in healthy human volunteers," showing statistically-significant lowering of anxiety, depression, and anger in the test subjects, as well as improving problem-solving and lowering cortisol.
Ingestion of powdered milk fermented with L. helveticus was shown to decrease blood pressure due to the presence of manufactured tripeptides that have ACE inhibitor activity. However, results have been contradictory in later studies.
The bacterium's specific name is an adjective derived from "Helvetia", the Latin name for the region occupied by the ancient Helvetii (and for modern Switzerland). The bacterium is also used as probiotic.
- Messaoudi M, Lalonde R, Violle N, Javelot H, Desor D (Mar 2011). "Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects". Br J Nutr. 105 (5): 755–64. doi:10.1017/S0007114510004319. PMID 20974015.
- Aihara K, Kajimoto O, Hirata H, Takahashi R, Nakamura Y (Aug 2005). "Effect of powdered fermented milk with Lactobacillus helveticus on subjects with high-normal blood pressure or mild hypertension". J Am Coll Nutr. 24 (4): 257–65. doi:10.1080/07315724.2005.10719473. PMID 16093403. Archived from the original on 2008-04-13.
- Van, K; der Zander, K; Bots, M; Bak, A; Koning, M; de Leeuw, P (2008). "Enzymatically hydrolyzed lactotripeptides do not lower blood pressure in mildly hypertensive subjects". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 88 (6): 1697–1702. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26003. PMID 19064533.
- Engberink, M; Schouten, E; Kok, F; van Mierlo, L; Brouwer, I; Geleijnse, J (2008). "Lactotripeptides Show No Effect on Human Blood Pressure". Hypertension. 51 (2): 399–405. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.586.647. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.098988. PMID 18086944.
- Boelsma E, Kloek J (2009). "Lactotripeptides and antihypertensive effects: a critical review". The British Journal of Nutrition. 101 (6): 776–86. doi:10.1017/S0007114508137722. PMID 19061526.
- Taverniti, Valentina; Guglielmetti, Simone (2012-11-19). "Health-Promoting Properties of Lactobacillus helveticus". Frontiers in Microbiology. 3: 392. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00392. ISSN 1664-302X. PMC 3500876. PMID 23181058.