Are a Baby’s Gut Bacteria the Secret to Growing Healthier with Age?
One month after birth, bifidobacteria 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 to tone the gut barrier and cultivate a strong immune system. But unfortunately, not everyone starts out with a microbial ecosystem ruled by bifidobacteria.
There are a few factors that 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 a baby. But at what cost?
Body Ecology’s Bifidus Power Blend is designed to restore the beneficial bacteria that can be found in a healthy gut from birth. Though these protective bifidobacteria naturally decline with age, they are exactly what your body needs to regulate digestion and strengthen immunity.
While your own story is unique, science illuminates specific trends. For example, during infancy, bifidobacteria turn up the volume on one arm of your immune system, regulating its activity. Without high numbers of good bifidobacteria, your immune system falls 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 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 reduce intestinal permeability and seal a leaky gut. They take control of the inner ecosystem and push out bullying, bad bacteria.4
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Your Bifidobacteria Decline as You Age
If you were breastfed as a baby, special sugars in breast milk made sure your baby ecosystem was thriving with plenty of bifidobacteria. However, as you move into adulthood, your bifidobacteria decline. Under the right circumstances, this is okay — you want diversity and a healthy mix of microbes. But if a drop in healthy tribes of good bacteria involves antibiotics or a diet filled with processed foods, this can impact your overall immune health.
As we mentioned earlier, bifidobacteria fight inflammation and keep the gut healthy.
They’re essential in warding off infection, and there’s even evidence that bifidobacteria 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 age.
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 probiotic can support both the immune system and digestion, while helping restore the inner ecosystem, as the body ages.
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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.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 are known to support and strengthen digestion, immunity, and emotional outlook:
- Bifidobacterium longum: Research shows that longum can reduce cholesterol, promote weight loss, and relieve constipation.10 In older adults, B. longum minimizes flu and cold-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, and runny nose.11 In 2011, scientists found that B. longum could curtail anxiety by way of the gut-brain axis.12
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: Like its bifidobacteria friends, bifidum lowers markers of inflammation.13 One study published in 2011 even found that a probiotic containing only B. bifidum was enough to significantly improve signs of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), such as bloating, abdominal pain, and gas.14 Research also shows that B. bifidum (along with B. lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus) can 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 found that supplementing with B. bifidum can rebuild the inner ecosystem, even after supplementation ends.16
- Bifidobacterium breve: In children with constipation, breve can increase bowel movements, soften stool, and reduce pain related to constipation.17 In animal studies, researchers found that B. breve suppresses weight gain, improving both cholesterol and blood sugar.18 Other research published in 2015 shows that a probiotic blend of Lactobacillus rhamnosous and B. breve has an anti-inflammatory effect in cigarette smokers.19
- Bifidobacteria infantis: In 2013, researchers looked closely at the impact of infantis on inflammatory disorders that manifested within the gut or outside the gut. Patients had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, or chronic fatigue syndrome. In all cases, B. infantis had the ability to trim down inflammatory markers.20 In those with celiac disease who are still consuming gluten, B. infantis reduces inflammatory markers, as well as indigestion, reflux, and constipation.21
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From the mouth of babes, we can find our source of vitality. We can get back to our best health by copying nature. If nature puts bifidobacteria at the beginning of life to establish a baby’s inner ecosystem, then we should do the same to reestablish our inner ecology as we age. Body Ecology’s Bifidus Power Blend 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.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Within the gut of a healthy, breastfed baby, you might be surprised at what you find. A breastfed baby’s gut is made up of as much as 91 percent bifidobacteria, needed to tone the gut barrier and strengthen the immune system. If a baby’s gut has been disrupted by premature birth, C-section delivery, or baby formula or antibiotic use, levels of these protective bacteria may decline.
Bifidobacteria are also known to decline with age, making a daily probiotic even more important.
A gut lacking in bifidobacteria can cause plenty of health problems for adults and babies alike. A healthy gut relies on bifidobacteria to regulate immunity and calm inflammation, eczema, and even autoimmune disease. Bifidobacteria can also protect against digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease — and so much more.
If you’re looking for a probiotic that can defy age and ward off the effects of chronic disease, it all goes back to a newborn baby’s gut. The Body Ecology Bifidus Power Blend is expertly formulated with four strains of bifidobacteria, along with two other protective probiotic strains, needed to strengthen and restore the inner ecology you were born with.
- Grimm, Verena, Christina Westermann, and Christian U. Riedel. “Bifidobacteria-host interactions—an update on colonisation factors.” BioMed Research International 2014 (2014).
- Martinez, Fabio Andres Castillo, et al. “Bacteriocin production by Bifidobacterium spp. A review.” Biotechnology Advances 4 (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, 2015. 39-72.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shin, Hea Soon, et al. “Hypocholesterolemic effect of sonication-killed Bifidobacterium longum isolated from healthy adult Koreans in high cholesterol fed rats.” Archives of Pharmacal Research 9 (2010): 1425-1431.
- 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.
- Bercik, P., et al. “The anxiolytic effect of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 involves vagal pathways for gut–brain communication.” Neurogastroenterology & Motility 12 (2011): 1132-1139.
- 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 Nutrition6 (2015): 459-469.
- 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 & Therapeutics 10 (2011): 1123-1132.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kondo, Shizuki, et al. “Antiobesity effects of Bifidobacterium breve strain B-3 supplementation in a mouse model with high-fat diet-induced obesity.” Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 8 (2010): 1656-1661.
- Mortaz, Esmaeil, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lactobacillus Rahmnosus and Bifidobacterium Breve on Cigarette Smoke Activated Human Macrophages.” PloS One 8 (2015): e0136455.
- Groeger, David, et al. “Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 modulates host inflammatory processes beyond the gut.” Gut Microbes 4 (2013): 325-339.
- 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.