What is Bifidus or Bifidobacterium?
Bifidus or Bifidobacterium, otherwise, is also more commonly known as a type of “Probiotics”. The term probiotics essentially means ‘for-life’ and is actually a type of microorganism that is known to help humans maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria within our body. The most well known or commonly seen probiotics include the bifidobacterium and lactobacillus types. And of course, these bacteria can be further stratified into specific strains such as the bifidobacterium bifidus or lactobacillus acidophilus (Sounds more familiar at this point? You may have read about probiotics at some point in a separate health magazine or seen it on TV or even the label on your yogurt bottle!)
What is the importance of gut or intestine health?
Believe it or not, it is actually very important to pay attention to your gut or intestinal health! Like most things in life, we must strike a good balance of things we do and things we have. It is a similar story within our gut or intestines, due to daily stress or anxiety, and in certain cases, due to a prolonged use of antibiotics and poor diet, this could lead to an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria and harmful gut bacteria within your body. When such an imbalance happens, it affects your immune system and allow opportunistic pathogens to grow within your gut or intestine, thereby, increasing the chance of you being unwell!
What is the benefit of having probiotics or Bifidobacteria in my body?
Bifidobacteria exists in human bodies with a symbiotic relationship, meaning that there is mutual benefit towards the human body and the bifidobacteria itself. Bifidobacteria or other similar probiotics are known to promote good gut digestive health, and inhibit the growth of certain harmful bacteria within our body, such as E. Coli or opportunistic fungus species such as Candida albicans. Eating food that are rich in probiotics are good for our body because it promotes the growth of the ‘good’ bacteria and suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria. Many times, we may hear people say that probiotics are good as a self-treatment for diarrhea or certain yeast infections or vaginitis. A particular strain of bifidobacteria, known as B. Infantis has been scientifically shown to reduce symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS- A type of large intestine disorder that results in stomach cramps, diarrhea/constipation, bloating, gas, and other stomach discomfort), and in certain patients, when used alone, has been found to normalized patient symptoms.
There are some reports that indicate that the benefits of probiotics may even stretch towards treating specific conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease etc. Some resources even show benefits of probiotics in regulating stress levels, anxiety, and even an elevated blood sugar level.
Aside from benefits shared above, probiotics is known to help with alleviating inflammatory processes within the body, help produce important vitamins such as biotin and vitamin B12, reduce the effects of food allergies, aid in your digestion of food, improve memory and brain health, relieve constipation or diarrhea issues in normal healthy individuals, and the best of all, it helps promote weight loss as well!
How does the Bifido bacteria probiotic work?
Bifido bacteria and probiotics works by regulating the pH within our gut or intestinal environment which is done through the production of lactic acid and acetic acid. Bifidobacterium ferments sugar and turns it into lactic acid. Supposedly, such mechanisms allow for the probiotics to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and regulate the immune system accordingly.
Therefore, as a whole, we could summarize by indicating that Bifidobacteria or probiotics exerts its benefit on the human body by maintaining a good balance of healthy gut bacteria and suppressing the growth of harmful ones that tend to be opportunistic at colonizing the gut or the intestinal environment. Probiotics also ultimately converts dietary substances into useful compounds for the human body.
Where can I find a good amount of Bifidobacteria to consume?
Bifidobacteria and other ‘good’ bacteria can mostly be found in fermented dairy food sources such as yogurt. Often times, you may notice that the yogurt drink from your local supermarket may mention that it contains a healthy dose or amount of bifidus and/or lactobacillus acidophilus (another type of probiotic that is beneficial for human gut health) or even probiotics and other active cultures.
Your other alternative is to have a daily and consistent intake of probiotics via supplements. Some products come in capsules and some comes in powder form that you may conveniently sprinkle on top of your favourite food. (e.g. Applesauce, beverages etc.) But do take note, for the probiotics that are in powder form, most may advice you to refrain from adding it to hot food or hot beverages, because this may end up inactivating the benefits of the probiotics and ultimately, your money goes to waste and you do not get the benefits of the bifidobacteria or lactobacillus.
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Childs, C. E., et al. “Bifidobacterium longum bv. infantis CCUG 52486 combined with gluco-oligosaccharide significantly reduces the duration of self-reported cold and flu-like symptoms among healthy older adults after seasonal influenza vaccination.” Proceedings of the Nutrition SocietyOCE1 (2013): E10.
Martinez, Fabio Andres Castillo, et al. “Bacteriocin production by Bifidobacterium spp. A review.” Biotechnology Advances4 (2013): 482-488.
Lau, Amy Sie-Yik, Jin-Zhong Xiao, and Min-Tze Liong. “Bifidobacterium for Infants: Essence and Efficacy.” Beneficial Microorganisms in Medical and Health Applications. Springer International Publishing, 39-72.
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Guglielmetti, Simone, et al. “Randomised clinical trial: Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMBb75 significantly alleviates irritable bowel syndrome and improves quality of life––a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics10 (2011): 1123-1132.