Bifidobacteria are one variety of “good” bacteria that live in a healthy intestinal tract. Since bifidobacteria exist naturally in your gastrointestinal system, you might guess that nature intends bifidobactera to serve a specific purpose there, and your guess would be correct. Along with many of the other gut flora, which is the collective term for the bacteria that occur naturally in your intestines, bifidobacteria aid in the food digestion process.
The bifidos were originally identified in the feces of a breast-fed infant. These good bacteria are some of the first microbes to take up residence in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract of newborns, and they dominate the intestines in breast-fed babies. This is one reason why the status of probiotics in the mother in pregnancy is very important! As babies age and are weaned, the bifidobacteria numbers and species change as the diet changes. Typically, their numbers continue to decrease with age.
Bifidobacteria are a group of bacteria that normally live in the intestines. They can be grown outside the body and then taken by mouth as medicine.
Bifidobacteria are used for many conditions affecting the intestines, including preventing diarrhea in infants and children; as well as traveler’s diarrhea in adults. 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. 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.
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.
Written By: Israr Choudhary