In 2004 it was decided that Bifidobacterium animalis and B lactis were more related than first thought and they were put into the same species.
This has lead to some confusion between the two. The official categorization of them is thus:- what was B animalis is now B animalis subsp. animalis and what was B lactis is now B animalis subsp. lactis.
Nothing too much for most of us to worry about as these two probiotics are very similar but just be aware that you might see any of these names on a probiotic supplement and it is hard to be certain exactly which one they mean unless they give the supspecies name as well.
If you're just looking for the best probiotic containing this species then Theralac is the one you want.
There are several probiotic strains. Unfortunately these often have several numbers or names assigned to them and are not always the easiest to make sense of.
Most well known and documented is strain:
Bb12® [deposited under accession number DSM15954] CHCC5445.
There are also:
BlC1 (very similar to BB12)[deposited under accession number DSM 17741, LMG 23512] and found in functional foods and supplements
Bl-04 also know as DGCC2908
HN019 also know as DR10™ CHCC7158, DSM17280 and HOWARU™ Bifido
The various probiotic strains of B animalis subsp lactis are widely used in food products and dietary supplements because of their documented health benefits and their ability to survive within both the human gastrointestinal tract and acidified dairy products2.
Although they survive well, they are only rarely found in intestinal biopsy samples whereas they are frequently found in fecal samples. This suggests that they may not adhere well within the human intestinal tract5 but impart their beneficial effect as they pass through.
In one study of 326 children aged 3 to 5 years, twice daily consumption of a supplement containing this probiotic as well as L acidophilus NCFM reduced cold and influenza-like symptoms, as well as the incidence and duration of these winter ills3.
The use of antibiotics was reduced by 84% in the group that took both of these probiotics.
The identical strains that were used in the study are in both Theralac capsules and Easiyo yogurt. And if idea of making your own yogurt in a non-electric yogurt maker is all abit foreign to you, then read my EasiYo yogurt maker page where you'll discover how very easy it is.
Usually the label simply calls it by it older name Bidifobacterium lactis.
My pick here is Theralac. Why? - you're getting double the bang for your dollars because Theralac contains not one strain of this good probiotic but two!.
Theralac contains 10 billion cfu of Bifidobacterium lactis-34 (also called Bl-04) AND another 3 billion cfu of B lactis Bi-07 in every capsule.
And that's not all! (I'm feeling like a TV infomercial about now!) Theralac also contain the exact strain of acidophilus that was combined with B lactis in the study mentioned above.
If you eat a brand of yougrt that simply states it contains Bifidobacteria then it is very likely that it will be this strain because this one is able to handle the aerobic conditions of yogurt much better than other strains. So more or less any yougurt which contains Bifidobacteria will contain this one.
This species seems to take a back seat and I am not aware of its inclusion in any supplements.
So what is the difference between these two?
I really was hoping you wouldn't ask that!
This is what one expert says: "B. animalis subsp. lactis exhibits properties such as elevated oxygen tolerance, differential growth in milk-based media, and hydrolysis of milk proteins; these properties differ from B. animalis subsp. animalis and facilitate its growth in commercial products under nonanaerobic conditions."4
In short, the lactis subspecies is much easier for manufacturers to use in dairy products.
1. Liesbeth Masco, Marco Ventura, Ralf Zink, Geert Huys and Jean Swings. Polyphasic taxonomic analysis of Bifidobacterium animalis and Bifidobacterium lactis reveals relatedness at the subspecies level: reclassification of Bifidobacterium animalis as Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. animalis subsp. nov. and Bifidobacterium lactis as Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis subsp. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 54 (2004), 1137-1143; DOI 10.1099/ijs.0.03011-0.
2. Briczinski EP, Loquasto JR, Barrangou R, Dudley EG, Roberts AM, Roberts RF. Strain-specific genotyping of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis by using single-nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions, and deletions. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Dec;75(23):7501-8. Epub 2009 Oct 2.
3. Leyer GJ, Li S, Mubasher ME, Reifer C, Ouwehand AC. Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children. Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9. Epub 2009 Jul 27.
4. Gloria Solano-Aguilar, Harry Dawson, Marta Restrepo, Kate Andrews, Bryan Vinyard, and Joseph F. Urban, Jr. Detection of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (Bb12) in the Intestine after Feeding of Sows and Their Piglets. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 October; 74(20): 6338-6347.
5. Francesca Turroni, Elena Foroni, Paola Pizzetti, Vanessa Giubellini, Angela Ribbera, Paolo Merusi, Patrizio Cagnasso, Barbara Bizzarri, Gian Luigi de'Angelis, Fergus Shanahan, Douwe van Sinderen, and Marco Ventura. Exploring the Diversity of the Bifidobacterial Population in the Human Intestinal Tract. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 March; 75(6): 1534?1545.