What is Bifidobacterium bifidum?
A useful probiotic of human orgin with numerous successful health trials behind it. It is one of only 5 from this family on the List of Probiotic Cultures recommended by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) in China.
What does it do?
Although B bifidum is not one of the largest numbered of the Bifidobacterium family to be found in adult humans (it makes up around 2% of the Bifidobacterium1) it is believed to somehow have a clear ecological advantage in adults1.
It is considered the best species at metabolizing mucin (a protein produced by the cells of the epithelium, or the tissue that lines the cavities and structures of the body)
Bifidobacterium bifidum has been shown to play an important part in the fermentation of Galactooligosaccharides2.
Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are the non-digestible, carbohydrate part of human milk. They are often added to things such as infant formula and milk products, granola etc.
GOS are selectively fermented by bacteria in the colon contributing to our good health. "Selectively fermented" means they are chosen before other substances. This is a very positive thing.
Both the supplements below contain B bifidum
Coeliac disease (CD) is characterized by an negative immune response to cereal-gluten proteins.
Specific Bifidobacterium strains are known for their anti-inflammatory properties which they achieve by inducing IL-10 production and regulating the Th1/Th2 balance.
One study indicated that the intestinal microbiota of Coeliac disease patients could contribute to the Th1 pro-inflammatory effect of the disease, while strains of B longum and B bifidum could reverse these damaging effects4.
Probiotics have shown themselves to be useful in the prevention of allergies.
A once daily supplement, of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4, B lactis AD011, and Lactobacillus acidophilus AD031, taken by the mother and starting at 4-8 weeks before delivery and continuing until 6 months after having the baby reduced the rate of eczema or atopic dermatitis in babies born to families with history of allergic diseases3.
The baby was getting the probiotic through the mothers blood supply and later through breast milk. However other studies where the baby was given cow's milk supplemented with probiotics (different type to the study above) the result was not so positive with no real change.
1. 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.
2. Flore Depeint, George Tzortzis, Jelena Vulevic, Kerry I'Anson and Glenn R Gibson. Prebiotic evaluation of a novel galactooligosaccharide mixture produced by the enzymatic activity of Bifidobacterium bifidum NCIMB 41171, in healthy humans: a randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled intervention study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 87, No. 3, 785-791, March 2008
3. Kim JY, Kwon JH, Ahn SH, Lee SI, Han YS, Choi YO, Lee SY, Ahn KM, Ji GE. Effect of probiotic mix (Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus) in the primary prevention of eczema: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2009 Oct 14. [Epub ahead of print]
4. Marcela Medina, Giada De Palma, Carmen Ribes-Koninckx, Miguel Calabuig, and Yolanda Sanz. Bifidobacterium strains suppress in vitro the pro-inflammatory milieu triggered by the large intestinal microbiota of coeliac patients. J Inflamm (Lond). 2008; 5: 19. .
5. Deguchi Y, Morishita T, Mutai M. Comparative Studies on Synthesis of Water-soluble Vitamins among Human Species of Bifidobacteria. Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 49(1), 13-19, 1985.
6. De Vrese M, Winkler P, Rautenberg P, et al. Effects of Lactobacillus gasseri PA 16/8, Bifidobacterium longum SP 07/3, B. bifidum MF 20/5 on common cold episodes: A double blind, randomized, controlled trial. Clin Nutr, 2005; 24:481-91.