Are a baby’s gut bacteria the secret to growing healthier with age?
A month after birth, Bifidobacteria probiotic organisms dominate a healthy, breastfed baby’s gut — making up as much as 91 percent of the microbes that live there.1 These good-for-you bacteria help tone the gut barrier and cultivate strong immunity. But unfortunately, not everyone starts out with a microbial ecosystem ruled by Bifidobacteria.
Coming back in stock soon! Body Ecology’s Bifidus Power Blend is designed to help restore the beneficial bacteria that can be found in a healthy gut from birth. Though these protective Bifidobacteria naturally diminish with age, they’re exactly what your body needs to help regulate digestion and support immunity.
There are a few factors that may disrupt a baby’s gut:
- Premature birth
- Cesarean section delivery
- Use of baby formula
- Antibiotic use
The bad news is that babies are born via C-section, fed formula, and given antibiotics on the regular. Chances are high that one of these happened in your own life when you were an infant. But at what cost?
While your own story is unique, science illuminates specific trends. For example, during infancy, Bifidobacteria help turn up the volume on one arm of your immune system, regulating its activity.
Without high numbers of good Bifidobacteria, your immune system may fall out of balance. With this, your risk of inflammation, autoimmune disease, and eczema goes up.2
It turns out that in adults and babies alike, Bifidobacteria can help curb inflammatory signals that have spun out of control and led to gastrointestinal distress.3
- Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (seen in babies)
Bifidobacteria are able to help reduce intestinal permeability and seal a leaky gut. They take control of the inner ecosystem and push out bullying, bad bacteria.4
Eating for great gut health can be easy. It doesn’t hurt that Body Ecology recipes are delicious too.
Fact: Your Bifidobacteria decline as you age
If you were breastfed as a baby, special sugars in breast milk made sure your infant ecosystem was thriving with plenty of Bifidobacteria. However, as you move into adulthood, your levels of Bifidobacteria start to drop.
Under the right circumstances, this is okay — you want diversity and a healthy mix of microbes. But if a dip in healthy tribes of good bacteria involves antibiotics or a diet filled with processed foods, this may impact your overall immune health.
As we mentioned earlier, Bifidobacteria help fight inflammation and keep the gut healthy.
They’re essential in warding off infection, and there’s even evidence that Bifidobacteria help protect against the development of potentially life-threatening disease.5 Along with establishing a baby’s gut health, this is one reason why probiotics are also important as you get older.
Research shows that a probiotic with Bifidobacteria lactis enhances the immune system’s ability to get rid of cellular debris.6 And in animal studies, some strains of Bifidobacteria increase longevity by suppressing chronic low-grade inflammation.7
A high-quality Bifidobacteria probiotic can support both the immune system and digestion, while helping restore the inner ecosystem, as the body ages.
One more thing — genetics can mean Bifido-disaster:
- If you’ve run a genetic panel, you might know a thing or two about your genes and the genetic SNPs — or variations — that you carry.
- Roughly 20 percent of the population carries a variation of the FUT2 gene that thwarts the growth of Bifidobacteria probiotic.8
If you’re a breastfeeding mother and fall into this 20 percent, your breastfed baby will have less Bifidobacteria.9
What kind of Bifidobacteria probiotic is right for you?
With all the probiotic supplements sitting on market shelves, you might wonder, “Which is best?” The first thing to do is to read the label and look for strains that begin with Bifidobacterium.
These four strains of Bifidobacteria probiotic are known to support and help strengthen digestion, immunity, and emotional outlook:
1. Bifidobacterium longum.
- Research shows that B. longum may help reduce cholesterol and relieve constipation.10
- In older adults, B. longum may help minimize flu and cold-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, and runny nose.11
- Scientists have also found that B. longum could curtail anxiety by way of the gut-brain axis.12
2. Bifidobacterium bifidum.
- Like its Bifidobacteria friends, bifidum may lower markers of inflammation.13
- Studies have even found that a probiotic containing only B. bifidum may be enough to significantly improve IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and its symptoms.14
- Research also shows that B. bifidum (along with B. lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus) may help safeguard against eczema when taken in the third trimester of pregnancy.15
- And because Bifidobacteria levels decrease with age — increasing your risk of infection — researchers observed that supplementing with B. bifidum can help rebuild the inner ecosystem, even after supplementation ends.16
3. Bifidobacterium breve.
- In children with constipation, breve may help increase bowel movements, soften stool, and reduce pain related to constipation.17
- Researchers also found B. breve to be “safe and effective” in helping to enhance memory in older adults with suspected cognitive impairment.18
- Other studies show that a probiotic blend of Lactobacillus rhamnosous and B. breve may have an anti-inflammatory effect in cigarette smokers.19
4. Bifidobacteria infantis.
- Researchers have looked closely at the impact of infantis on inflammatory disorders that manifest within or outside the gut.
- Among patients diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, B. infantis has demonstrated the ability to help trim down inflammatory markers.20
- In those with celiac disease who are still consuming gluten, B. infantis may help reduce inflammatory markers, as well as indigestion, reflux, and constipation.21
From the mouth of babes, we can find our source of vitality. We can reclaim our health by emulating nature. If nature puts Bifidobacteria at the beginning of life to establish a baby’s inner ecosystem, then we should do the same to help reestablish our inner ecology as we age.
Body Ecology’s Bifidus Power Blend (coming back in stock soon!) has been specially crafted with a baby’s gut in mind — made with four protective strains of Bifidobacteria and two other probiotic strains, designed to restore the healthy gut that is our birthright.
- 1. Grimm, Verena & Westermann, Christina & Riedel, Christian. (2014). Bifidobacteria-Host Interactions—An Update on Colonisation Factors. BioMed research international. 2014. 960826. 10.1155/2014/960826.
- 2. Martinez, Fabio Andres Castillo, et al. “Bacteriocin production by Bifidobacterium spp. A review.” Biotechnology Advances 4 (2013): 482-488.
- 3. 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, 2015. 39-72.
- 4. Saez-Lara, Maria Jose, et al. “The role of probiotic lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and other related diseases: a systematic review of randomized human clinical trials.” BioMed Research International 2015 (2015).
- 5. Loh, Yung-Sheng, et al. “Roles of Probiotics on Lifelong Diversifications of Gut Microbiota.” Beneficial Microorganisms in Food and Nutraceuticals. Springer International Publishing, 2015. 245-263.
- 6. Gill, Harsharnjit S., et al. “Enhancement of immunity in the elderly by dietary supplementation with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis HN019.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 6 (2001): 833-839.
- 7. Matsumoto, Mitsuharu, et al. “Longevity in mice is promoted by probiotic-induced suppression of colonic senescence dependent on upregulation of gut bacterial polyamine production.” PLoS One 8 (2011): e23652.
- 8. Kelly, Robert J., et al. “Sequence and Expression of a Candidate for the Human Secretor Blood Group α (1, 2) Fucosyltransferase Gene (FUT2) HOMOZYGOSITY FOR AN ENZYME-INACTIVATING NONSENSE MUTATION COMMONLY CORRELATES WITH THE NON-SECRETOR PHENOTYPE.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 9 (1995): 4640-4649.
- 9. Zivkovic, Angela M., et al. “Establishment of a milk-oriented microbiota (MOM) in early life: how babies meet their MOMs.” Funct Food Rev 1 (2013): 3-12.
- 10. Ruscica M, Pavanello C, Gandini S, Macchi C, Botta M, Dall’Orto D, Del Puppo M, Bertolotti M, Bosisio R, Mombelli G, Sirtori CR, Calabresi L, Magni P. Nutraceutical approach for the management of cardiovascular risk – a combination containing the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB536 and red yeast rice extract: results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr J. 2019 Feb 22;18(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s12937-019-0438-2. Erratum in: Nutr J. 2019 Sep 9;18(1):54. PMID: 30795775; PMCID: PMC6387491.
- 11. 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 Society OCE1 (2013): E10.
- 12. Reis DJ, Ilardi SS, Punt SEW. The anxiolytic effect of probiotics: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical and preclinical literature. PLoS One. 2018;13(6):e0199041. Published 2018 Jun 20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0199041.
- 13. Spaiser, Samuel J., et al. “Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2 Ingestion Induces a Less Inflammatory Cytokine Profile and a Potentially Beneficial Shift in Gut Microbiota in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 6 (2015): 459-469.
- 14. Andresen V, Gschossmann J, Layer P. Heat-inactivated Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMBb75 (SYN-HI-001) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Jul;5(7):658-666. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(20)30056-X. Epub 2020 Apr 8. PMID: 32277872.
- 15. Kim, Ji Yeun, et al. “Effect of probiotic mix (Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus) in the primary prevention of eczema: a double‐blind, randomized, placebo‐controlled trial.” Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 2p2 (2010): e386-e393.
- 16. Bartosch, Sabine, et al. “Microbiological effects of consuming a synbiotic containing Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, and oligofructose in elderly persons, determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction and counting of viable bacteria.” Clinical Infectious Diseases 1 (2005): 28-37.
- 17. Tabbers, M. M., et al. “Is Bifidobacterium breve effective in the treatment of childhood constipation? Results from a pilot study.” Nutrition Journal 1 (2011): 1.
- 18. Xiao J, Katsumata N, Bernier F, Ohno K, Yamauchi Y, Odamaki T, Yoshikawa K, Ito K, Kaneko T. Probiotic Bifidobacterium breve in Improving Cognitive Functions of Older Adults with Suspected Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;77(1):139-147. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200488. PMID: 32623402; PMCID: PMC7592675.
- 19. Mortaz, Esmaeil, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lactobacillus Rahmnosus and Bifidobacterium Breve on Cigarette Smoke Activated Human Macrophages.” PloS One 8 (2015): e0136455.
- 20. Groeger, David, et al. “Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 modulates host inflammatory processes beyond the gut.” Gut Microbes 4 (2013): 325-339.
- 21. Smecuol, Edgardo, et al. “Exploratory, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Bifidobacterium infantis natren life start strain super strain in active celiac disease.” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 2 (2013): 139-147.