Bifidobacterium Bifidum – Know the facts
Question: what is one of the most well-known and widespread probiotics used to enhance gastrointestinal wellness, improve immunity screening, and reduce mental tension? If your answer is Bifidobacterium bifidum, then you are already on the right tract.
We all know that staying healthy is the foundation of any happy and fulfilling life. We are also probably aware of the fact it is becoming increasingly hard to maintain a wholesome lifestyle in this day and age, with everything ranging from bad eating habits to pollution exposing us further to various kinds of diseases.
Luckily enough, probiotics such as Bifidobacterium bifidum are becoming an increasingly popular and safe alternative for boosting one’s natural sense of wellbeing from the inside out. But what exactly are probiotics and how do they work?
The pros and cons of probiotics
In recent years, the popularization of probiotics and probiotic-based items has experienced an exponential increase. This is the direct result of scientific inquires performed all over the world, which have shown just how beneficial these bacteria can be not only for the gastrointestinal system but for the rest of the body as well.
Probiotics are generally regarded as live microorganisms that reside throughout the length of the gut in the form of colonies. They come in different shapes and perform various functions, depending on their classification and transient or non-transient nature.
The main role of probiotics is to aid with food decomposition within the stomach, small intestine, and colon, as well as improve nutrient assimilation and regularize bowel motility.
In addition, they can exhibit antiseptic effects over airborne or ingested pathogens (microbes, fungi, yeasts, etc.) and thus protect you from numerous types of respiratory, intestinal, and urogenital imbalances.
Probiotics frequently display a heightened resistance in the face of temperature and acidity changes, which allows them to be processed in numerous ways outside the context of the human body.
For instance, the most renowned probiotics nowadays come from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera, with dairy and supplement companies infusing their products with these bacteria as a result of their all-around health advantageous properties.
Even so, there are instances where probiotics can turn out to cause side effects or even illnesses. Individuals who start a high probiotic regime might experience a series of unwanted symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, and nausea during the first days of consumption; although unpleasant, these should fade out quickly and ‘transform’ into overall meliorated digestive rhythms.
People diagnosed with a short-bowel syndrome or a compromised immune system should definitely avoid probiotic enhancement because this type of regime increases their chances of developing complications such as various infections and sepsis.
Moreover, you should consult with your doctor before administering probiotics if you are undergoing serious medical treatments that include medication of any sort.
Does this mean we ought to completely steer away from probiotics then? Absolutely not. Aside from the aforementioned isolated cases, probiotics are widely considered to be safe for usage by the general public, whether in the shape of foods or commercial enhancers.
As long as you take into account your personal medical history and culinary preferences, everything should be just right when employing probiotics as a natural alternative towards better health and happiness alike.
Why choose Bifidobacterium probiotics in the first place?
In all honesty, it sometimes seems impossible to select just one probiotic out of all the families and species available these days on the market. For instance, most companies offer multi-strain blends in their products, while others specialize in certain probiotic types exclusively.
When it comes to the Bifidobacterium genus, things are pretty clear – and advantageous – from a scientific standpoint. This particular microorganism group is considered to be one of the most common probiotic presences inside a person’s oral cavity (mouth), gastrointestinal tract, and urogenital system.
Bifidobacterium bacteria are nonmotile, meaning that they do not travel throughout the body and thus are very rarely associated with cases of infection (unlike motile or spore-forming counterparts). Because they are also anaerobe, they thrive in the absence of oxygen and are not destroyed by the lack of it over time.
The discovery of the Bifidobacterium branch goes back to the late 19th century, when French researcher Henry Tissier managed to isolate a ‘y’-shaped bacterium which he then called Bifidus. The sample he used was microbiota pertaining to infants who had been previously breastfed, a detail that later on allowed Tissier to determine both the predominant presence and importance of such probiotics during the early stages of life (and not only).
His discovery couldn’t have come at a better time: in less than a decade later, pioneer immunologist Élie Metchnikoff concluded that bacteria capable of transforming milk sugars into lactic acid (like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, for example) are a valuable asset to one’s overall health levels and can be used to augment said readings when administered with regularity.
Needless to say, studies focused on Bifidobacterium bacteria and probiotics, in general, have evolved greatly since then, with specialists being, therefore, able to determine more specific details regarding these ‘good’ microorganisms as technology advanced as well.
For instance, post-1960s experiments were able to determine that, in fact, the Bifidobacterium was a genus in its own right and not a variant of the Lactobacillus group (specifically, Lactobacillus Bifidus).
Moreover, it was determined that Bifidobacterium sub-strains can be found not only in the human organism but also in animals and varying kinds of foods.
The health benefits of Bifidobacterium bacteria have also taken center stage in the past few years, with research favoring the positive influence of these ‘friendly’ microorganisms or, conversely, their lack of negative side effects during diverse experiments.
From reduced episodes of skin breakouts to more stable mental health, probiotics seem to have covered a wide spectrum of human wholesomeness.
The most evident impact Bifidobacterium had was on gastrointestinal performance, which – as you might have already guessed – improve and normalize when aided by a probiotic boost. The food processing capacities of these bacteria include ameliorating substance decomposition and absorption within the gut, as well as reduced instances of bloating, gas, nausea, abdominal cramping, etc.
As mentioned before, Bifidobacterium members are also a good means of eliminating pathogens from your body because they actively seek out ‘bad’ bacteria in order to inhibit their growth.
These germicidal properties are a direct outcome of the immunomodulatory abilities pertaining to probiotics, as well as a clear example as to why specialists consider the gut to be the ‘house’ of up to 70%-80% of a person’s immune shielding.
Bifidobacterium bifidum and its role within the human body
You might be asking yourself by now: if all Bifidobacterium bacteria are good for you, then what makes Bifidobacterium bifidum so special after all? The answer might surprise you.
In theory, Bifidobacterium bifidum constitutes a nonmotile and anaerobic probiotic of human origin (breast milk, vagina, colon, etc.).
Its more than common presence within our body does not come as news to anyone in the field, since this probiotic has been known to the scientific community for over 50 years now. What is uncommon though is the highly beneficial impact Bifidobacterium bifidum can have on a person’s head-to-toe welfare, as follows:
- Gastrointestinal system – as demonstrated in recent studies from all over the world, Bifidobacterium bifidum can be considered a crucial component in any correctly functioning gut. Its implications within the gastric and intestinal tracts involve better digestion, improved lactose tolerance, and accelerated nutrient assimilation (especially that of vitamin K). For instance, the regularized production of folate (or folate acid, pertaining to the B-vitamin complex) is often associated with the presence of Bifidobacterium bifidum colonies. In addition, these same Bifidobacterium colonies have been linked to an increased quality of life for individuals suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
- Immunity – arguably one of the best advantages brought about by Bifidobacterium bifidum is its contribution to immune responses in the face of pathogen threats. As a matter of fact, research argues that having stable Bifidobacterium bifidum colonies within your gastrointestinal system can boost immunomodulatory reactions in the eventuality of microbe infections. This also applies to ‘false alarm’ situations such as asthma and allergies, where your body ‘exaggerates’ its reactions to certain stimuli it finds harmful at that time, thus creating an autoimmune response accompanied by unpleasant symptoms (runny nose, skin breakouts, swelling, etc.).
- Mental health – as any proper nutritionist or specialist can certify, your mind is heavily dependent on your stomach and vice-versa in terms of chemical and hormonal balancing. The gut-brain axis, as it is so often called within the probiotic community, represents a direct ‘communication’ line between your physical health and your mental stability, with an imbalance on either side automatically reflecting onto the other. Fortunately enough, Bifidobacterium bifidum should help equal out this scale by regulating your organism’s management of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Oral cavity – as pointed out before, probiotics do not exist solely within your gut, but also throughout the entire length of the gastrointestinal system – mouth included. This characteristic implies that Bifidobacterium bifidum microorganisms have the potential to cover a significant spectrum of oral health, from cavity protection to increased pathogen screening. Take, for instance, a 2005 paper which acknowledges that direct enhancement of this probiotic may reduce the incidence of cavities by diminishing the number of Streptococci bacteria within the mouth and saliva. Moreover, this 2010 experiment shows how Bifidobacterium bifidum can ameliorate episodes of allergic rhinitis otherwise connected with side effects like sneezing, itching, stuffiness, and a generally reduced quality of life.
- Urogenital tract – with an ever-increasing popularity of Bifidobacterium bifidum supplements and products aimed specifically at women, it should be obvious by now that this probiotic is a normal and welcomed presence within the urogenital environment. The vagina and urinary tract are two very sensitive mediums containing microbiota of their own, with any disruption of their delicate balance usually resulting in Candida albicans overgrowths, itching, frequent urination, redness, and persistent discomfort. The good news is that maintaining a healthy Bifidobacterium bifidum level within this area can restore damaged microflora and eliminate most side effects caused by pathogens.
- Skin – as one 2011 research paper claims, Bifidobacterium bifidum should prove to be of real and noticeable help in the case of acne breakouts by both regulating emotional (hormonal) levels and replacing the more aggressive action of traditional skin treatments such as antibiotics (which otherwise cause a number of side effects as well during administration). Another 2010 study also points out that this probiotic can be successfully used to prevent the onset of eczemas and allergies in infants with a family history of these skin issues.
- Liver – we all know that liver problems like hepatitis and cirrhosis are a big health threat nowadays, with infections and alcohol respectively being among the main culprits of these internal imbalances. One pilot study from 2008 has managed to associate Bifidobacterium bifidum supplementation with a distinctly ameliorated microflora for patients suffering from hepatitis, as well as a greater healing rate for those presenting alcohol-induced liver damage. In addition, the antiseptic properties of this probiotic have a greater chance of warding off pathogen overgrowths over time, hence helping the immune system combat such infections from the early stages of contamination.
Although an all-around asset within the human economy of physical and mental prosperity, Bifidobacterium bifidum abides by the same probiotic rules when it comes to potential side effects and interactions with other diseases/ medicine.
Consequently, avoid active supplementation of this bacterium if you are experiencing a particularly weakened immune system or if you suffer from any major gastrointestinal affliction (like short-bowel syndrome, for example).
It would also be best to avoid combining Bifidobacterium bifidum sources with an antibiotic treatment not only because the latter tends to cancel out the ‘good’ colonies themselves, but because such a process could end up in a number of unwanted side effects like bloating, flatulence, visceral pain, and even nausea.
How to boost your Bifidobacterium bifidum intake
Having previously explored just how much good Bifidobacterium bifidum can bring to your body, it is important to know where and how you can obtain this probiotic in a safe and wholesome fashion. Here are today’s most widespread choices with regards to Bifidobacterium bifidum enhancement:
- Dietary supplements – the market for probiotic supplements has grown considerably in the last few years, with the quality of said products often elevating in accordance. As a result, you are more than likely to find a good Bifidobacterium bifidum enhancer suitable for your specific health needs. Be sure to check for your desired strain combination (single or multi-strain), CFUs count (colony-forming units or the number of live bacteria present in each dosage), and a satisfactory customer guarantee (for both the cultures and the product itself).
- Fermented vegetables – from sauerkraut and pickles to Kimchi and Umeboshi plums, your selection of fermented foods containing Bifidobacterium bifidum probiotics is nothing short of abundant nowadays. Keep in mind to stick to brine bases for fermentation (since vinegar ones kill the beneficial bacteria in the process), as well as check for products which have not been pasteurized (the heat also destroys probiotics alongside the harmful bacteria).
- Dairy products – the same issue of pasteurization can be applied to dairy variants as well. While probiotics play a very important part in the fermentation of milk sugars into lactic acid, the majority of manufacturers choose to thermally process their items in order to ensure customer safety during distribution and consumption. Therefore, be on the lookout for natural yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and soft cheeses (Parmesan, Cheddar, Gouda, etc.) which have Bifidobacterium bifidum cultures added into their composition post-pasteurization for maximum health benefits.
- Infant formulas – the early years of infancy is when probiotics really shape our gastrointestinal functions for later on in life, so it is important to ensure these microorganisms do their ‘job’ properly and on time when it comes to kids. This is why many companies oriented on baby food and baby formulas have created Bifidobacterium bifidum products aimed at children who are not able to breastfeed. The benefits of this early Bifidobacterium bifidum supplementation include shorter episodes of diarrhea, decreased chances of developing skin eczemas, and an overall improved sense of gastrointestinal wellness.
- Other sources – because they are so resistant, Bifidobacterium bifidum cultures can be added to a myriad of products before they reach the general customers. These include sourdough bread, various cured meats (sausages, for instance), wine, and even dark chocolate. The advantage of such foods is that they can potentially accommodate more restrictive diets and also diversify your probiotic intake on a day-to-day basis.
Choosing Bifidobacterium bifidum
By now, one thing should be clear: probiotics are our allies for achieving better health in the body and mind alike. Their presence within the gastrointestinal system is as vital to our wellbeing as is any other function of the organism, with any disturbance showing us (not so pleasantly) that something must be done to restore that internal balance.
The good news is that we have countless sources of ‘friendly’ bacteria supplementation in terms of products, strain combinations, and formats (fermented or dairy foods, pills, powders, liquid drops, tablets, etc.).
Bifidobacterium bifidum is one of many such probiotic options, but it could be just the right one for your gut, brain, and everything in between those two. All that is needed is for you to try it out in a meal or as a supplement and see whether the good things associated with this beneficial microorganism apply to you as well.
Who knows? You might never turn back from Bifidobacterium bifidum ever again!