Bifidobacterium bifidum (B. bifidum) is the most common probiotic bacteria found in the human body. It’s a good thing it’s so plentiful because this bacteria is responsible for a wide range of beneficial effects in the gut like maintaining the balance of good and bad bacteria, supporting the immune system, and aiding in digestion.
When bad bacteria are passing through the gut, they have to latch on to cells in the intestines before they have time to do their dirty work. If they don’t attach to these cells, they’ll just pass on through without causing any harm. B. bifidum latches on to these same cells so the bad bacteria can’t. In a healthy gut, most of the intestinal cells will have B. bifidum attached to them. This means that there are very few cells left for bad bacteria to grab onto before they’re swept out of the gut. Controlling the number of bad bacteria is very important for balancing the body’s immune system functions.
Another benefit of B.bifidum’s regulatory function is that it can help to reduce allergy symptoms, like itchy skin, sinus congestion, headaches, cramps, or even diarrhea. It does this by discouraging the production of histamine, a chemical that is released in the body to trigger allergic reactions during times of stress or allergy. By helping to keep the amount of bad bacteria under control, B.bifidum reduces stress in the gut and prevents the need for histamine release.
That sounds pretty helpful, but is that it?
Not even close! B. bifidum isn’t a one-trick pony. This helpful ally provides a number of benefits in the gut in addition to its important regulatory functions. It provides anti-inflammatory benefits and reduces bloating in the gut. It helps to manage chronic constipation by increasing mucus production in the colon and promoting smoother bowel movements. B. bifidum can help to improve nutrient absorption, and it also acts as a vitamin synthesizer and supplier for vitamins like B12, biotin, and K2.
One of the most interesting functions B. bifidum can perform is in lactose intolerant individuals. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme that breaks down lactose. This enzyme is called lactase. People can have lactase deficiencies for a number of reasons. Some people are unable to produce lactase because of damage to the lining of their gut, while others were simply born without the ability to produce it. B. bifidum has the enzymatic capabilities to break down lactose, so it can help lactose-intolerant individuals by serving as a pseudo replacement for lactase.
B. bifidum is one of the most beneficial bacteria in the body, but like most probiotic bacteria, antibiotic use will kill it off and drastically alter the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. That’s why it’s so important to complement antibiotic regiments with probiotic supplements in order to quickly restore this balance in the gut.
After all of that, it is easy to see that B. bifidum is one of the most important probiotic bacteria and a critical component of a good daily probiotic supplement.
- Yoshinori HAMAJI, Minoru FUJIMORI, Takayuki SASAKI, Hitomi MATSUHASHI, Keiichi MATSUI-SEKI, Yuko SHIMATANI-SHIBATA, Yasunobu KANO, Jun AMANO and Shun’ichiro TANIGUCHI, “Strong Enhancement of Recombinant Cytosine Deaminase Activity in Bifidobacterium longum for Tumor-Targeting Enzyme/Prodrug Therapy”, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., Vol. 71, 874-883 (2007).
- Xiao,JZ et al. “Clinical Efficacy of Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum for the Treatment of Symptoms of Japanese Cedar Pollen Allergy in Subjects Evaluated in an Environmental Exposure Unit”. Allergology International. Published March 2007.
- Ohno Hiroshi, Tsunemine Satoru, Isa Yasuhiro, Shimakawa Masaki, Yamamuru Hideki. Oral Administration Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 Suppresses Total and Antigen SpecificImmunoglobulin E Production in Mice. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 28(8)pp.1462-1466 20050801
- Amenta, Michele et al. “Diet and chronic constipation. Benefits of oral supplementation with symbiotic zir fos (Bifidobacterium longum W11 + FOS Actilight)”. Acta Biomed. Published December 2006.
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