The Yakult Company

Our History & Research

Yakult is a fermented milk drink containing Lacticaseibacillus paracasei Shirota (L.paracasei Shirota), the strain of bacteria unique to Yakult. In the field of probiotics and microbiology, Yakult has an unparalleled reputation for quality, safety and scientific research, with over 100 published human clinical trials.  

Science has always been at the heart of the Yakult company, since the microbiologist Dr Shirota selected and cultivated L. paracasei Shirota and produced the first bottle of Yakult in Japan in 1935. Continuing this passion for science, Yakult remains at the forefront of scientific research and education, and is committed to supporting healthcare professionals in enhancing the understanding of the gut microbiota and probiotics.

Dr Shirota

Dr Shirota, founder of Yakult and a microbiologist at the University of Kyoto’s School of Medicine in Japan, was devoted to ‘preventative medicine’ and harnessing the potential beneficial action of microorganisms.

In the 1920s, inspired by the work of Elie Metchnikov, Dr Shirota focused his research on lactic acid bacteria and human health. Recognising that Lactobacillus bacteria most suited his purpose, he carefully selected strains that would survive the intestinal tract, resulting in the selection and cultivation of L. paracasei Shirota.

1899 Dr Shirota
Research Centre

Research Centres

At Yakult’s research centres in Japan and Belgium, scientists are continuously investigating the role and application of intestinal bacteria in health and disease. 

Yakult Central Institute (Tokyo, Japan), established in 1955 and refurbished in 2015, has about 300 employees conducting cutting-edge research to seek new scientific advances in the application of intestinal bacteria.

Yakult Honsha European Research Centre (Ghent, Belgium) opened in 2005, and focuses on the application of intestinal bacteria in the European population, using technology developed by Yakult scientists. 


Yakult & Research

Yakult has substantial scientific data from over 80 years of research, including over 100 publications of human trials, and several trials have shown that L. paracasei Shirota survives the human gastrointestinal tract. 

Yakult continues to support independent research in hospitals, universities and institutes worldwide, including the UK and Ireland, to further investigate the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease.

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Gut Health

The health of the gut is vital for it to perform its function of digesting and absorbing food.

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Meet the science team

Find out who's who in the Yakult Science Team.

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Latest News

Read up on some of the latest news, events and research

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