Faecalibacterium prausnitzii: The Peacekeeping Bacteria of the Gastrointestinal Tract


Faecalibacterium prausnitzii belongs to the phylum of Firmicutes and is one of the most abundant anaerobic bacteria in the human gut microbiota, with a proportion of around 5%-15% of total bacteria in feces.  It is named in honor of German bacteriologist Otto Prausnitz.

Relative abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is a biomarker of intestinal health in adults.

Function and Health Benefits of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii plays a very important role in health benefits and biological functions.  Faecalibacterium prausnitzii:

  • Provides energy to the coloncytes to maintain intestinal health.  1
  • Controls inflammation through inflammatory-cytokine inhibition  2 
  • Protects against glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes due to positive effects on insulin resistance  3
  • Produces and supplies the short chain fatty acid butyrate to the colonic epithelium  4
  • Has mucosal protective properties  5

Low and decreased levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii have been correlated with several pathological disorders, such as:

  • Crohn’s disease  6  7
  • Ulcerative colitis  8  9
  • Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD)  10  11  12
  • Diabetes  13
  • Obesity  14
  • Asthma  15
  • Major Depressive Disorder  16 
  • Eczema  17
  • Atopic dermatitis  18

Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is also known to be very sensitive to oxidative stress which means that high levels of free radicals kill off this bacteria.

Image result for Faecalibacterium prausnitzii

Source:  Philippe Langella: “Commensal Bacteria and Recombinant Lactic Acid Bacteria as Novel Probiotics for Human Intestinal Health”

Increasing the Population of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in the Gut Microbiome

Currently there is no probiotic supplement that contains Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.  Therefore, the most important and primary way to increase Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is to increase the consumption of fiber in the diet.  19

Various studies show that a high fermentable fiber with a low glycemic index will increase Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.  20  The following fibers have been shown to increase the population of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii:

  • Sumac-sorghum  21
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)  22  23
  • Apple Pectin  24 
  • Inulin  25  26
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)  27 

There are other methods to increase the population of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, such as:

  • Calorie restriction and fasting  28
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) supplementation 29
    • patented formula containing riboflavin for the selective stimulation of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in the gastrointestinal tract  30 
  • Uronic Acids (glucuronic acid or Calcium D-Glucurate)  31
  • Grape polyphenols  (grape seed extract)  32
  • Bacillus coagulans GBI-30  (6086 (BC30); GanedenBC(30)  33

Seminar: "Commensal Bacteria as Novel Probiotics for Human Intestinal Health" (Philippe Langella)

The Human Gut Microbiome - Its Impact on Our Lives and Our Health

Informational References:

The following companies can test for levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in your gut microbiome:

Genova Diagnostics – GI Effects® Comprehensive Profile – Stool

uBiome – Gut Explorer

MVZ Institute for Micro Ecology GmbH – KyberKompakt Pro