Bifidobacterium is one of the friendly bacteria that naturally occurs in the intestines of both infants and adults and in the vaginal tract of adults. As one of the first good bacteria to colonise in the intestines of infants who are breastfed, bifidobacterium is believed to protect newborns from diarrhea as these species produce acids that prevent the growth and proliferation of harmful bacteria in the colon. While bifidobacterium generally remains in the body until old age, factors such as stress, diet and antibiotic usage may reduce its presence in your intestine.
Your body is exposed to putrefactive or harmful bacteria everyday. Normally, probiotics or friendly bacteria protect you by attacking these harmful organisms. Problems may arise when your body does not have enough good bacteria to keep the bad bacteria from colonizing in your intestine. When this happens, you may suffer from diarrhea, stomach discomfort, bloating, and even yeast infection.
Bifidobacteria helps your digestive system in the following ways:
These good bacteria produce organic compounds such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid that fight bad bacteria by lowering the pH level of the intestine making it slightly acidic and difficult for most harmful bacteria to survive.
As food enters your intestine, bifidobacteria breaks it down making it easy for your digestive system to process. This makes it beneficial for those with food intolerance arising from a dysfunctional digestive system.
Bifidobacteria also protect the digestive system by overcrowding the intestine. These grow so well and in great numbers that there is no room left for putrefactive or bad bacteria to grow.
When you take antibiotics to fight bacteria present in other parts of the body, you also kill friendly micro-organisms in your intestine leaving your body defenseless against subsequent attacks of bad bacteria, parasites and other harmful micro-organisms. In the absence of probiotics like bifidobacterium, harmful bacteria can rapidly colonize and cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea. To prevent this from happening, it is essential to re-introduce bifidobacteria into your body and restore the healthy balance of bacteria in your digestive system.
Bifidobacteria helps stimulate the secretion of gastric juices that are necessary for proper digestion.
A clean colon keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Regular clearing of the bowels also contributes to a healthy digestive tract. Good bacteria like bifidobacteria feed on wastes in the colon clearing the way for more waste coming out of the stomach and large intestine.
Bifidobacteria are naturally found in fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese, kefir and fermented milks. They may also be obtained in supplement form. They are also added to dairy products like children's milk to prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance and diarrhea. Supplements and cultured milk products deliver bifidobacteria in dosages ranging from 1-10 million colony-forming units (or CFUs). The higher the number of CFUs, the better it is for your digestive system. To experience lasting benefits, bifidobacteria must remain present in your intestine and should be taken regularly, at least 3 or 4 times a week.