Bifidobacterium Breve – Know the Facts
Did you know that probiotics constitute up to 70% of a person’s immunity protection? Or that you really need these beneficial bacteria in order to benefit from correct gastrointestinal rhythms? How about the fact that Bifidobacterium breve is one of the largest presences inside the gut of infants and therefore one of the most important for your wellbeing eve later on in life?
Regardless of your current know-how about these things, the fact of the matter is that probiotics are becoming more and more popular around the globe these days. With good reason too, since their contribution to both physical and psychological integrity is essential in the context of increasingly unwholesome lifestyles and eating regimes.
Probiotics and the human body
The most basic definition for probiotics such as Bifidobacterium breve would be that of ‘good’ microorganisms that exist in a variety of sources, from soil and plants to fermented vegetables, dairy assortments, and the gastrointestinal tract of most mammals. In the case of humans, probiotics can be found throughout the length of the gut, beginning with the mouth cavity and ending with the colon. They are also a common presence inside the vaginal and urinary tracts, as well as in breast milk.
To understand probiotics correctly, we must think of our gastric and intestinal microbiota as the common ground for ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria alike. The first are represented by probiotics themselves, which create a symbiotic link with these environments by promoting ameliorated food decomposition, boosted nutrient processing, and normalized bowel movement via stable and otherwise harmless colonies.
Improved gastrointestinal patterns are accompanied by noticeable abdominal comfort in the shape of reduced gas formation and bloating, alongside lowered cholesterol levels, increased energy, and even potential weight loss.
Conversely, pathogens like microbes, protozoa, and viruses frequently disturb this probiotic balance, resulting in anything between abdominal pain and indigestion to respiratory problems and various inflammatory or allergenic reactions.
Probiotics have the fortunate ability to kill off these harmful elements by simultaneously increasing the organism’s own antiseptic barriers (lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, for example) and combating the ‘bad’ bacteria overgrowths themselves. This process hence impacts immunomodulatory responses in a positive manner and helps diminish the incidence of health problems before their very own onset.
And did you know that the advantages of having stable probiotic colonies inside your gut can extend even to your mood stability and mental welfare as well? As it turns out, the neurological and gastrointestinal systems are linked via the brain-gut axis, a strong connection which becomes equally reflected in your visceral and emotional state of being.
Consequently, more recent studies claim that a healthy probiotic count will translate into regulated hormonal activity and therefore an inclination towards more satisfying and lighter dispositions.
Understanding Bifidobacterium breve as a probiotic
Bifidobacterium breve is a rod-shaped, non-motile probiotic bacterium pertaining to the Bifidobacteriaceae family and Bifidobacterium genus respectively. Its optimal developing environment is one lacking in oxygen (anaerobe), with colonies of Bifidobacterium breve being more common than singular cell structures.
Bifidobacterium breve was first classified as a probiotic in the 1970s, when specialists isolated this beneficial microorganism from the faecal matter of infants. Further research in this sense has thus uncovered that Bifidobacterium breve is a highly important factor in the gastrointestinal formation of young children.
This ‘friendly’ bacterium is usually transmitted from mother to baby through the process of natural birth, as well as through breastfeeding. As a result, those born through C-section or who are switched to formula milk early on might experience intestinal problems later on in life due to their lack of initial Bifidobacterium breve colonies.
But why are these so essential in the first place? Well, the major advantage of Bifidobacterium breve is its biological specialization in the processing of carbohydrates such as oligosaccharides, for instance. These milk sugars are generally tough to digest – especially by infants – with Bifidobacterium breve mobilizing a series of enzymes that accelerate such metabolic activities and meliorate their unfolding. In addition, this probiotic is also able to boost the production of lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, two substances which improve both digestion and immunomodulatory responses in the long run.
While Bifidobacterium breve colonies can comprise up to 80% of a child’s intestinal microbiota, these numbers gradually decline with age. Some specialists argue that this is owed to Bifidobacterium breve’s incapacity to resist antibiotic influence, while others suggest that the maturation process of the gut renders this ‘good’ bacterium’s presence obsolete.
Regardless, you should know that Bifidobacterium breve does not completely disappear from the gastrointestinal system. In fact, its colonies become even more valuable as we age owing to their carbohydrate and lactose-processing abilities, as well as their acid-elevating properties (lactic acid, acetic acid, etc).
Sources of Bifidobacterium Breve
Probiotics might be a natural component of the human organism, but even these resistant microorganisms can be often faced with an array of adverse factors such as improper dieting patterns, periods of increased stress, water pollution, food contamination, etc. Therefore, it becomes mandatory that we help our internal probiotic count regain its colony advantage in the face of pathogens and digestive issues alike.
As a lactic acid bacterium, Bifidobacterium breve can be more than a common occurrence in dairy products of all sorts. You will most likely come across different brands of natural yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk containing this probiotic as their starter culture or, even better, as their post-pasteurization addition (since heat treatments tend to kill off the beneficial bacteria used as fermentation boosters). Soft cheeses of the Gouda, Emmental, and Mozzarella variety can also have Bifidobacterium breve in their composition.
An equally practical and widespread source of Bifidobacterium breve enhancement is that of fermented vegetables. Companies focused on the production of sauerkraut, green olives, and various brine pickles can employ Bifidobacterium breve as a means to maximize fermentation and draw more attention to their selection of health-focused items.
As previously mentioned, brine should be preferred to vinegar in light of the latter’s high acidity that can then negatively affect the probiotic cultures during their development. If you are looking for something more ‘exotic’ to include into your diet, there is always the choice of Asian-based dishes like Natto, Miso paste, Umeboshi plums, Kimchi, etc., which combine their distinct flavours with a wholesome ‘kick’ of probiotics too.
Undoubtedly, Bifidobacterium breve supplements are amongst the most popular and versatile forms of regulating your probiotic intake on a day-to-day basis. In general, people prefer these dietary enhancers because they offer a higher microorganism concentration in one single dosage, whereas certain dietary restrictions and personal preferences might deter them from consuming dairy or pickles on a constant basis.
For example, a single tablet or powder measure of a Bifidobacterium breve can contain up to billions of live cultures (depending on the brand and product), alongside additional probiotic strains or prebiotics (fibre-based elements like chicory root, asparagus, and honey that act as protection and nourishment for the ‘good’ bacteria).
Other possibilities of giving your Bifidobacterium breve intake a little ‘push’ include certain varieties of cured meats, sourdough bread, milk, Kombucha tea, tempeh (fermented soybeans), wine, and dark chocolate.
Health, happiness, and Bifidobacterium breve
By now, it has probably become obvious that Bifidobacterium breve significantly (and positively) contributes to how we carry out our daily lives. Of course, we owe the vast majority of this key information to recent scientific endeavours focused on Bifidobacterium breve in particular. These experiments then come as a more formal validation of first-hand accounts pertaining to probiotic users who maintain that their meliorated quality of life is directly linked to such ‘friendly’ microorganisms to begin with.
And, in all truthfulness, the majority of medical papers seem to support the aforementioned claims, leading us to believe that Bifidobacterium breve could indeed be a handy tool in metabolic, immunomodulatory, and other functions of the organism.
One study aimed at finding out how Bifidobacterium breve colonies can help prematurely born children has shown that this probiotic pushes infants into gaining weight faster and combating a series of health threats normally associated with their typical circumstances (sensibility in the face of pathogens, frequent bloating, etc.).
The same applies to children who suffer from acute episodes of necrotizing enterocolitis, a health difficulty which is as age-specific as it is currently (still) misunderstood. More recent findings argue that enterocolitis is caused by pathogens infections that generate symptoms like nausea, fever, and overall bad moods. In turn, Bifidobacterium breve supplementation would then be able to reduce intestinal inflammation, eliminate the ‘bad’ bacteria growths, and restore gastrointestinal patterns to their normal rhythms.
Children who frequently go through bouts of acute diarrhea can benefit from Bifidobacterium breve too. An experiment using a blend Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium breve for this age group has revealed that these probiotics reduce the duration and intensity of digestive imbalances, as well as that of nausea, dehydration, and general discomfort.
Speaking of intestinal wellness, you should know that Bifidobacterium breve is probably most famous nowadays within the medical community as a consequence of its early inclusion in what is known as VSL#3. This ‘concoction’ contains some of today’s most popular and prized probiotics, that is Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Streptococcus thermophilus.
Research has shown that active VSL#3 supplementation has a beneficial impact on local microflora in the case of chronic bloating and diarrhea normally associated with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Similarly, patients suffering from fatty liver disease or alcoholic liver cirrhosis who were relying on VSL#3 boosting reported better management of their diseases over time.
The immunomodulatory characteristics of Bifidobacterium breve apply both to the gastrointestinal passage and likewise outside of it. Not only does the lactic acid created by this probiotic accelerate metabolic activity, but it also suppresses the formation of pathogens like Helicobacter hepaticus, let’s say. The outcome is that of fewer episodes of gut inflammation, reinforced intestinal barriers, and an increased sense of wellbeing.
While we are on the subject of mental stability, you should also be aware of the fact that many nutritionists urge us to keep in mind how proper gastrointestinal functionality is responsible with hormonal and psychological stability on a very intimate level. The brain-gut axis therefore quite literally mirrors the relationship between what you eat and how you feel, with Bifidobacterium breve being capable of tipping the scale towards a more positive outcome. This particular supplementation can be related to diminished anxiety and depression otherwise caused or aggravated by long-lasting intestinal disturbances such as IBS, for instance.
All in all, it seems that Bifidobacterium breve colonies are more than a necessary presence inside the gut, especially since they simultaneously extend their good impact on other parts of the body. While it cannot be denied that studies still need to be conducted with regards to this probiotic element, the current data is promising and satisfactory enough so as to shed a good light on Bifidobacterium breve and its potential as an even more well-known and subsequently utilized ‘pro-life’ bacterium.
When to avoid Bifidobacterium breve supplementation
In spite of all the good outcomes engendered by Bifidobacterium breve, you should also be aware of the specific situations in which probiotic supplementation is not in the least recommended.
The most relevant in this sense is the case of immunomodulatory problems such as a severely weakened or compromised immune system or if you are undergoing medical treatments involving immunosuppressant medicine (as required by organ transplant surgeries, for instance).
While probiotics like Bifidobacterium breve are characterized as non-motile, they can become dangerous in these conditions and even lead to life-threatening afflictions like sepsis (a dangerous type of blood poisoning).
Special caution with probiotic enhancement is equally advised if you are taking medicine for any other major health issue (like antidepressants, let’s say) or if you have been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal imbalance that might be worsened by Bifidobacterium breve supplementation (short-bowel syndrome is one of them).
A doctor’s appointment is also advised if you are under the age of 18 years old, a pregnant/ nursing mother or if you simply have any doubts regarding the effects probiotics might have on your body.
A healthy individual will most likely experience minor discomfort when starting Bifidobacterium breve enhancement in the shape of distention (bloating), gas, visceral cramping, and rarely instances of nausea or bowel irregularity (constipation/ diarrhea). Even so, these symptoms should disappear once your gut gets accustomed to the new Bifidobacterium breve colonies and take a turn for the ‘better’ in terms of digestion and immunity alike.
Picking Bifidobacterium Breve as the probiotic for you
In all fairness, we cannot overlook the fact that there is no shortage of probiotics to choose from nowadays. All you have to do is take a peek around a supermarket’s dairy or pickle aisles and have names like Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacterium longum immediately catch your eye.
On the other hand, Bifidobacterium breve is nowadays gaining progressively more ground and popularity in the world of probiotics, as reflected by its inclusion in numerous products and commercial supplements alike.
But the best, safest, and probably most effective way of knowing whether Bifidobacterium breve is the probiotic for your personal needs and wants is to give it a try on your own. So why not give it a shot then? You might be pleasantly surprised by the results after all!