Probiotics – Bifidobacteria
Everyone has heard of antibiotics. We know anti means against and the biotic means backteria. Probiotics are the exact opposite with the prefix pro. Probiotics consist of a variety of different types of bacteria and even some yeast. Probiotics or the friendly bacteria have positive effects toward healthy colon bacteria. Today will look at Bifidobacteria.
Bifidobacteria are small rod shaped bacteria that are a part of the normal colonization of our colon. Our colon is made up a very complex ecosystem of bacteria that is so large that there are more bacteria in our body than human cells. Bifidobacteria are a part of the lactic acid bacteria. They are found in different types of fermented foods such cheeses, yogurt, and kimchi.
Bifidobacteria are the common flora of breast-fed infants. Bifidobacteria are thought to perhaps help protect children who are breast fed from GI infections. This same protection is not afforded bottle fed babies. Bifidobacteria are not as common in the adult colon however they do appear to help protect the gut from attachment of the pathological bacteria coliform. Bifidobacteria in adults will disappear from the colon after 2 week from discontinuing intake. To continue to get the effect you must use the product to keep up the colonization.
Bifidobacteria has immune modifying effects. In adults it has been found to improve the function of white blood cells and killer cells. It also increases interferon levels in the adult. Bifidobacteria may also help to protect against cancer by decreasing the carcinogens in the gut.
Bifidobacteria is resistant to gastric acid and grows very well on FOS or inulin. FOS and inulin work particularly well
in helping the Bifidobacteria grow.
Conditions Potentially Helped by Bifidobacteria
- H pylori – Bifidobacteria has been tested with Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces and found to reduce symptoms.
- Eczema in infants – helpful when combined with Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces
- Irritable Bowel – Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 at 1 billion cells daily reduced symptoms.
- Respiratory Tract Infections in Children – Bifidobacterium animalis with Lactobacillus acidophilus has a 45% reduction in fever, cough and runny nose. When the children did get sick the symptoms were shorter.
- Ulcerative colitis
- Traveler’s diarrhea
Bifidobacteria has been used safely in adults in trials lasting a year. Children also seem to do well even under 2 years of age. It has been used on critically ill neonatal children for as long as 8 months. Safety in nursing or pregnant women hasn’t been established.
- May cause diarrhea in children
- GI upset
As you can see Bifidobacteria is safe and an effective probiotic. It is worth making sure your probiotic regime includes Bifidobacteria.