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Bifidobacterium infantis is found in the intestines of both infants and adults. In 2002, three previously distinct species of Bifidobacterium, B. infantis, B. longum, and B. suis, were unified into a single species named B. longum with the biotypes infantis, longum, and suis, respectively(1). Research now refers to it as a subspecies of Bifidobacterium Longum. One of its interesting characteristics is its ability to digest and consume human milk oligossaccharides, which are found in breast milk but have no obvious nutritive value for the child. Their primary purpose seems to be to help shape the babies microbiome.

B. infantis has a number of unique properties. Research shows that it displays anti-inflammatory activity in premature intestinal cells, and decreases intestinal permeability. In randomized controlled trials of probiotics in premature infants, B. infantis has been shown to decreases the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis more than other probiotics. Necrotizing enterocolitis is common in premature infants and is a life-threatening disorder caused by damage to the intestinal tissue (2). It has also been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in women (3, 4). As many as one in five adults living in the U.S. experience symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which include: constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, excessive amounts of gas, bloating, or urgent need to defecate. Like many other lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, bacteria B. infantis has many other positive effects on health (5,6).

 

Research

  1. Sakata, S.; Kitahara, M.; Sakamoto, M.; Hayashi, H.; Fukuyama, M.; Benno, Y. (2002). “Unification of Bifidobacterium infantis and Bifidobacterium suis as Bifidobacterium longum”. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 52 (Pt 6): 1945–1951. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.02221-0. PMID 12508852.
  2. Underwood, M. A., (Jan 2015 ) Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis: champion colonizer of the infant gut.Pediatr Res. 77(0): 229–235. doi: 10.1038/pr.2014.156, PMCID: PMC4350908
  3. Whorwell PJ, Altringer L, Morel J, et al. Efficacy of an encapsulated probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 in women with irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jul;101(7):1581-90.
  4.  Hungin AP, Mulligan C, Pot B, Whorwell P, Agréus L, Fracasso P, Lionis C, Mendive J, Philippart de Foy JM, Rubin G, et al.Systematic review: probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms in clinical practice — an evidence-based international guide. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Oct; 38(8):864-86. Epub 2013 Aug 27.
  5. Brenner DM, Moeller MJ, Chey WD, Schoenfeld PS. The utility of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Apr;104(4):1033-49; quiz 1050. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.25.Rossi M, Amaretti A, Raimondi S. Folate production by probiotic bacteria. Nutrients. 2011 Jan;3(1):118-34. doi: 10.3390/nu3010118.
  6. Kolsoom Parvaneh, Rosita Jamaluddin, Golgis Karimi, and Reza Erfani. Effect of Probiotics Supplementation on Bone Mineral Content and Bone Mass Density. The Scientific World Journal. Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 595962, 6 pages. doi: 10.1155/2014/595962.