Bifidobacteria are a group of bacteria that normally live in the intestines. Bifidobacteria seem to be the most important organisms in the intestine because they provide a microbial barrier to infection. Bifidobacteria belong to a group of bacteria called lactic acid bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria are found in fermented foods like yogurt and cheese. Bifidobacteria are considered "friendly" bacteria and are taken to grow and multiply in areas of the body where they normally would occur. Some people take bifidobacteria to restore good bacteria in the gut that have been killed or removed by diarrhea, radiation, chemotherapy, antibiotics, or other causes.
Also known as: B. Bifidum, B. Breve, B. Infantis, B. Lactis, B. Longum, Bifido, Bifido Bacterium Longum, Bifidobacteria Bifidus, Bifidobacterias, Bifidobactérie, Bifidobactéries, Bifidobacterium, Bifidobacterium Animalis DN-173 010, Bifidobacterium Regularis, Bifidum, Bifidus, Bifidus Brevis, Bifidus Infantis, Bifidus Longum, L. Bifidus, Lactobacillus Bifidus, Probiotic, Probiotique
Diseases and Conditions
Probiotic Use: Some people take bifidobacteria to restore “good bacteria” in the gut that have been killed or removed by diarrhea, radiation, chemotherapy, antibiotics, or other causes.
Bowel Disease: Bifidobacteria are also used to treat a bowel disease called ulcerative colitis, as well as a condition called pouchitis, which sometimes develops after surgery for ulcerative colitis. Some people use Bifidobacteria to prevent a particular bowel infection called necrotizing enterocolitis in newborns.
- Treating a skin condition in infants called atopic eczema
- Yeast infections (candidiasis)
- Reducing flu-like symptoms in children attending day-care centers
- Breast pain (mastitis)
- Lactose intolerance
- Lyme disease
These bacteria are also used to boost the immune system and lower cholesterol.
Bifidobacteria may be safe when taken orally although for up to a year. Bifidobacteria may be safe for children when used up to 12 months under the supervision of a physician. There is insufficient information on the use of bifidobacteria on pregnant and breastfeeding women; best to avoid. Possible side effects of bifidobacteria include bloating, gas, decreased HDL cholesterol levels, excessive immune stimulation. It is not advised for individuals with a weakened immune system, AIDS, or undergoing cancer treatment to consume bifidobacteria as it may cause infections
Some antibiotics can debilitate the effectiveness of bifidobacteria, killing the live organisms that compose it.
Supplement and Food Interactions
There are no known supplement or food interactions for bifidobacteria.
The correct dosage of any supplement requires a comprehensive analysis of many factors including your age, sex, health conditions, DNA, and lifestyle.
The strength of bifidobacteria preparations is usually quantified by the number of living organisms per dose:
- For irritable bowel syndrome: 1 billion cells of Bifidobacterium infantis daily in a malted milk drink.
- For lung infections in children: 120 mL of milk twice daily containing 5 billion colony forming units each of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium contained in a specific product (HOWARU Protect, Danisco).
- For chronic pouchitis: a dose of 600 billion bacteria consisting of species of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus (VSL#3) given once daily.
- For Helicobacter pylori treatment: a dose of 5 billion bacteria consisting of Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus once daily.
- For constipation: 1-100 billion cells of a specific Bifidobacterium breve powder (Yakult Co., Japan) once daily.
- For ulcerative colitis:
- 100 mL per day of a specific fermented milk product (Yakult Co., Japan) containing at least 10 billion live Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus strains per dose has been used.
- 3 grams of a specific combination probiotic containing living freeze-dried bacteria species including lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, and streptococcus (VSL#3) twice daily has also been used.
Bifidobacteria can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt and cheese.