Streptococcus Thermophilus: Benefits & Side Effects

If you’re delving into the world of probiotics, you might have noticed that there are many, many different kinds and each of them are better at supporting different aspects of your health than other strains. Streptococcus Thermophilus is one of the strains of probiotic that you may see pop up on your search for the best probiotic product for your health.

IN THIS ARTICLE: We take a detailed look into the main benefits and side effects of S. thermophilus so you can decide if it’s a strain you want in your daily routine.

What is Streptococcus Thermophilus?

Bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus, 3D illustration. Probiotic Gram-positive spherical bacteria used in cheese and yogurt production

Streptococcus Thermophilus (S.thermophilus) is one of the earliest probiotic strains to colonise the human gut and has even been found in infant microflora and breastmilk. It’s a gram-positive bacteria and a homofermentative facultative anaerobe – basically meaning it has thick cell walls and creates a crucial fermentation process inside the intestines.

It’s one of the lesser known and used probiotic strains, possibly due to the association of the name ‘Streptococcus’ with harmful bacteria. However, S.thermophilus is a beneficial strain that has no known side effects and is classified as safe for human consumption.

What can Streptococcus Thermophilus do for your health?

Like most probiotic strains, S.thermophilus’ strengths include improving digestion and supporting your immune system. Specifically though, this strain has been shown to assist with these areas of your health:

Helps other probiotics grow

This strain is most commonly used as a yoghurt starter ingredient as it’s great at encouraging the growth of other friendly bacteria due to its powerful fermenting abilities, especially with many highly beneficial strains of Lactobacillus species. It also continues this process in the intestines where trillions of friendly bacteria live. S.thermophilus doesn’t travel through the gut like other strains do, it hangs around and helps with beneficial fermentation processes instead, boosting the function of the friendly bacteria living there.

Stimulating the immune response in your gut

Protecting the gut is super important due to the fact 70% of your immune response originates there. S.thermophilus is able to stimulate cell regeneration, inhibit certain forms of diarrhea, decrease intestinal irritability and even boost the production of macrophages and T-cells that seek out and destroy harmful bacteria and any infected cells lurking around the body.

Protecting the gut lining

S.thermophilus does this by binding to the cells along your intestinal wall, strengthening them and preventing harmful pathogens attaching to them instead. It has a similar action with beneficial cells that live in the gut, binding to them to prevent harmful bacteria from otherwise doing so and causing illness.

Breaks down sugars in milk to assist with lactose intolerance

This is probably the most important and strongest ability of S.thermophilus and one that it has in common with many probiotic strains. It’s able to break down lactose into an easier to digest form of sugar, therefore alleviating lactose intolerance symptoms for sufferers.

Does Streptococcus Thermophilus have any side effects?

S.thermophilus is thought to be a very safe strain of probiotic, with no abnormal side effects. However, consuming probiotics in general can come with some uncomfortable side effects that you should be aware of.

Mild digestive issues

If you’ve just started taking a new probiotic supplement, it’s totally normal to feel a bit of mild digestive discomfort as your body gets used to it. You may notice some bloating and gas, however, these symptoms should stop after a couple weeks and can be avoided altogether by choosing a probiotic supplement with a lower colony forming unit (CFU) amount to begin with.

Allergic reactions

Some probiotic supplements, whilst uncommon, can contain common allergens like soy, dairy or egg. By carefully reading the ingredients list you should be able to avoid these easily.

Risk of infection

When choosing a probiotic supplement with S.thermophilus in it, you’re most likely going to be purchasing one that also has a bunch of beneficial Lactobacilli strains included as wellUnfortunately, about one in every million people will develop an infection from these Lactobacilli bacteria and the risk is heightened for those who have undergone recent surgery or been in hospital for an extended period of time. If you fall into either of these categories, steer clear of probiotics completely until your doctor gives you the green light.

If you’re concerned about any of the above side effects or you think your probiotic supplement may not be agreeing with your body, it’s always best to cease use and consult a doctor.

Top-rated Streptococcus Thermophilus probiotic product

S.thermophilus can be found in some of the top probiotic products on the market because of its beneficial nature, we’ve found a great all-rounder that contains it and analysed it below for your convenience.

NewRhythm Probiotics

This is an excellent probiotic supplement that ticks a lot of boxes. With 50 billion CFU, 20 different strains of probiotic including S.thermophilus, plus acid resistant and delayed release technology to make sure the beneficial bacteria get to where they’re needed, this product is formulated carefully and precisely to ensure you’re getting the full benefits.

S.thermophilus will be able to encourage the fermentation of prebiotics in the gut which are tiny indigestible fibres that feed your probiotics and allow them to multiply, strengthen and thrive inside your intestines. We’d recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a new probiotic product that packs a punch and covers all bases. For beginners you may want to try a product with a few less CFU to start out with.


S.thermophilus is a highly beneficial strain of probiotic that can assist with lactose intolerance, stimulating your immune system, strengthening your gut lining, helping other probiotics to grow through it’s fermentation superpowers, and more!

It’s included in many highly rated probiotic products on the market right now due to it’s efficacy and we’d recommend considering adding it to your daily routine if you’re looking for an immune and gut health boost. As with all new health supplements, be sure to consult your doctor first if you have any questions about which product might be right for you.

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