While bacteria can cause serious infections, the vast majority of them are not only helpful, but necessary for good health. As long as the good bacteria in our bodies win the war of numbers against those which are harmful, both our immune systems and digestive tracts will benefit.
Among the most ferocious warriors in this army of advantageous microbes is a type of probiotic called bifidobacterium bifidum, which inhabits the colon and vagina. Its job is to maintain the micro flora balance within the intestines, control the increase of detrimental bacteria, bolster the immune system, and aid in the digestive process. Research is currently ongoing to clarify the role of bifidobacterium bifidum in treating certain health conditions and the best way to increase the production of helpful colonies of this probiotic within the human body.
Several of these studies center on infant nutrition and the role that bifidobacterium bifidum can play in increasing the immune response of premature or weakened digestive systems in the tiniest among us. A study done concerning the effects of bifidobacterium bifidus on neonatal necrotizing entercolitis (NEC), one of the chief causes of death in premature babies, showed some promising results. The study was done on a premature rat population, who were placed under conditions which caused the development of NEC. In this controlled study, bifidobacterium bifidus caused a reduction in NEC occurrence from fifty-seven percent in the control group to seventeen percent in the study group. This suggests that bifidobacterium bifidus, which is prevalent in breast milk, might reduce inflammation and regulate the mucus layer to improve digestion in infants.
Another intriguing study, concerning the effect of bifidobacterium bifidus in controlling allergic diseases, involved newborns of families with a history of eczema. A probiotic compound including bifidobacterium bifidus was given to a group of mothers before delivery and to their babies for a year afterwards. The control group received no probiotic treatment. The prevalence of eczema in the placebo group was much higher than that of the intervention group until the babies were three months old, and the preventive effects lasted in the intervention group until their second birthday.
Current research has also shown that bifidobacterium bifidum might be useful in managing allergic reactions. When researchers gave mice an oral dose of this probiotic to test its effect on the production of immunoglobulin E in mice, they discovered that there was a strong suppressive action. They concluded that bifidobacterium bifidum could be a great weapon in controlling diseases caused by allergic response.
As the scientific community continues to investigate this probiotic powerhouse, it is important to note that oral bifidobacterium bifidum has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, some in the medical community do recommend it specifically for intestinal regularity and maintenance. Those with severe digestive system disorders or blood in the stool should discuss these with their physician before using this probiotic. Although no side effects have been reported, bifidobacterium bifidum pregnant and lactating women will need to consult with their physicians, who may not recommend any use of this probiotic during these phases, as it could possibly be passed through the breast milk of the mother to her infant.
(1) Montrose DC, Floch MH.. Probiotics used in human studies. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul; 39(6):469-84.
(2) Ludmila Khailova, Katerina Dvorak, Kelly M. Arganbright, Melissa D. Halpern, Kinouchi, Masako Yajima, and Bohuslav Dvorak Bifidobacterium bifidum improves intestinal integrity in a rat model of necrotizing enterocolitis Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 297: G940-G949, 2009. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00141.2009.
(3) Martín R, Rijkers G, Sengers F, Timmerman H, van Uden N, Smidt H, Kimpen J, Hoekstra M. The effects of selected probiotic strains on the development of eczema (the PandA study). Allergy. 2009 Sep; 64(9):1349-58. Epub 2009 Apr 9.
(4) Ohno Hiroshi, Tsunemine Satoru, Isa Yasuhiro, Shimakawa Masaki, Yamamuru Hideki. Oral Administration Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 Suppresses Total and Antigen SpecificImmunoglobulin E Production in Mice. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 28(8)pp.1462-1466 20050801.
(5) medicinenet.com/bifidobacterium_bifidum-oral/article.htm. 2009 Nov 21.
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