Bifidobacterium Longum: What is it, the benefits, side effects and dosages
Bifidobacterium Longum is a member of the Bifidobacterium family; a group of friendly bacteria. The family are also commonly known as probiotics, found within the intestines.
Bifidobacterium Longum is one of the most commonly found beneficial bacterias in the digestive tract.
These bacteria live in our digestive system in high numbers and they are there to provide assistance to our digestive function, immune system, and more. A low count of Bifidobacterium has been linked with different diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Some other names Bifidobacterium Longum goes by are:
Bifidum, BB536, B. Breve, B. Infantis, Bifidus.
As well as in the body, Bifidobacterium is present in certain foods such as:
- Fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut)
- Sourdough bread
- Cured meats
The bacteria can be grown outside the body and taken as a health supplement. These are referred to as probiotics.
Bifidobacterium Longum is commonly used to help relieve pain caused by gastrointestinal, immunological and infectious diseases. Once inside the digestive tract, they can multiply. By multiplying, they take up space and consume resources which can help prevent pathogenic (harmful) bacteria from multiplying or causing an infection in your gastrointestinal tract.
So, what is a probiotic exactly?
Probiotics are a combination of live bacteria and yeasts that live naturally within the body. They help your body carry out vital functions such as protecting your intestines against harmful bacteria.
What are the benefits?
Bifidobacterium Longum is one of the most established strains of probiotic, clinically known for being useful for:
- Improving Gastrointestinal Conditions
- Maintaining healthy Gut Microbiota
There are also claims that there are several other benefits to this bacteria. However, there have not been enough studies to support these claims at this time.
Some of the additional benefits could be:
- Maintaining good skin health – there are claims that it helps increase the skin’s resistance to temperature and product-related irritation
- Improving poor liver health – a study has found improvement of liver injury from inflammatory changes of liver failure in rats
- Preventing the development of allergies – a recent study identified a possible correlation between Bifidobacterium Longum and reduced effects of food allergies
- Lowering Cholesterol – one study on rats, found significantly reduced cholesterol when given Bifidobacterium Longum
- Treatment for colorectal cancer – one study found a combination of probiotics reduced cancerous cells in mice
- Preventing septic complications – a recent report suggests Bifidobacterium Longum playing an integral role in suppressing specific markers of septicemia in critically ill patients
What does science say?
Research into bifidobacterium has exploded because of their extensive range of health benefits.
Studies have most commonly occurred around the following two conditions:
Bifidobacterium Longum is one of the most recognized probiotics for being effective in improving gastrointestinal conditions.
These conditions include: constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, anal fissures, perianal abscesses, anal fistulas, perianal infections, diverticular diseases, colitis, colon polyps and cancer.
In a study involving 168 patients over 65, the findings were that after 16 weeks of being given doses of Bifidobacterium Longum, their bowel movements significantly increased.
Another study found improvements in participants’ gastrointestinal conditions (mainly abdominal pain, bloating, and bowel movements) within 30 days. The participants were given a specific probiotic including Bifidobacterium Longum, compared to those given a placebo.
The gut microbiota is the term given to the collection of bacteria, archaea and eukarya that colonize the GI tract, otherwise known as the digestive system. The digestive system plays an essential role in human health.
Bifidobacterium is most present in the healthy infant gut, decreasing in adulthood, but remaining at relatively stable levels. As we age further, the levels continue to decline.
One study has found that Bifidobacterium Longum restored the fluctuation of the gut microbiota caused by an animal-based diet.
The study involved 33 healthy Japanese subjects and demonstrated that “intake of yogurt supplemented with BB536 (≥2 × 109 CFU/100 g) once a day could maintain a normal microbiota composition during the consumption of animal-based diet”.
Furthermore, another study identified that Bifidobacterium Longum is a superior strain of probiotic. The study administered Bifidobacterium Longum fermented milk three times daily for three weeks and found that this “significantly improved the intestinal microbial balance of 45 human participants with a remarkable increase in the abundance of Bifidobacterium and decrease in the levels of putrefying bacteria”.
This change did not occur in participants given fermented milk with other probiotic strains.
Is it safe to take, and does it have any side effects?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has evaluated Bifidobacterium Longum for safety and has listed it on the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) notice inventory (GRN No. 268).
In some cases, the supplement may upset the stomach and intestines causing diarrhea, bloating, and gas. In most cases, this is only temporary.
There may be side effects for people with underlying health conditions. Therefore, make sure to speak to a medical professional before taking any probiotics.
What dosage should I be taking?
A Bifidobacterium Longum supplement contains a dry form of the bacteria and is available as a capsule, powder, or liquid.
Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units (CFU).
The CFU amount varies from product to product; however, higher CFU counts do not necessarily improve the product’s health effects.
The recommended dosage for adults varies depending on why the supplement is being used.
- Constipation in adults – 100 million to 20 billion CFUs has been used daily (1-4 weeks)
- Irritable bowel syndrome – 100 to 1 billion CFUs have been used daily (4- 8 weeks)
It is best to speak with a medical health care professional to discuss the condition you are taking it for and how the dosage should be as a result.
Make sure to store the supplement in a dry and dark environment as they are susceptible to damage in light, heat, and moisture conditions.
As Bifidobacterium exists in each stage of life, there is no doubt that it plays a vital role in maintaining gut health. Numerous studies support the many benefits of taking Bifidobacterium Longum and its clinical efficacy.