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Bifidobacterium

Bifidobacterium species or Bifidobacteria are beneficial microbes found in the human gut, fermented foods and food supplements. Bifidobacterium species or Bifidobacteria play a critical role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Here is an overview of how Bifidobacterium interacts with human health:

  1. Digestion and nutrient absorption. Bifidobacterium supports digestion by breaking down complex carbohydrates, particularly dietary or prebiotic fibres. Bifidobacterium also enhances nutrient absorption in the intestines.1Derrien M, Turroni F, Ventura M, van Sinderen D. Insights into endogenous Bifidobacterium species in the human gut microbiota during adulthood. Trends Microbiol. 2022 Oct;30(10):940-947. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2022.04.004.2Deleu S, Machiels K, Raes J, Verbeke K, Vermeire S. Short chain fatty acids and its producing organisms: An overlooked therapy for IBD? EBioMedicine. 2021 Apr;66:103293. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103293.3Hosmer J, McEwan AG, Kappler U. Bacterial acetate metabolism and its influence on human epithelia. Emerg Top Life Sci. 2023 Mar 22:ETLS20220092. doi: 10.1042/ETLS20220092.
  2. Immune regulation. Bifidobacterium interacts with cells in the gut lining, triggering and regulating healthy immune responses that help protect the body from harmful pathogens.4Servin AL. Antagonistic activities of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria against microbial pathogens. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2004 Oct;28(4):405-40. doi: 10.1016/j.femsre.2004.01.003.5Liévin V, Peiffer I, Hudault S, Rochat F, Brassart D, Neeser JR, Servin AL. Bifidobacterium strains from resident infant human gastrointestinal microflora exert antimicrobial activity. Gut. 2000 Nov;47(5):646-52. doi: 10.1136/gut.47.5.646.6Bevilacqua L, Ovidi M, Di Mattia E, Trovatelli LD, Canganella F. Screening of Bifidobacterium strains isolated from human faeces for antagonistic activities against potentially bacterial pathogens. Microbiol Res. 2003;158(2):179-85. doi: 10.1078/0944-5013-00192.
  3. Pathogen inhibition. Bifidobacterium produces natural antimicrobial substances, preventing harmful bacteria from growing and causing illness.7Iram D, Kindarle UA, Sansi MS, Meena S, Puniya AK, Vij S. Peptidomics-based identification of an antimicrobial peptide derived from goat milk fermented by Lactobacillus rhamnosus (C25). J Food Biochem. 2022 Dec;46(12):e14450. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.14450.8Darbandi A, Asadi A, Mahdizade Ari M, Ohadi E, Talebi M, Halaj Zadeh M, Darb Emamie A, Ghanavati R, Kakanj M. Bacteriocins: Properties and potential use as antimicrobials. J Clin Lab Anal. 2022 Jan;36(1):e24093. doi: 10.1002/jcla.24093.
  4. Gut barrier support. Bifidobacterium helps to maintain the integrity of the gut lining. A healthy gut lining is essential for keeping harmful substances, e.g. microbial toxins, and pathogens out of the bloodstream.9Al-Sadi R, Dharmaprakash V, Nighot P, Guo S, Nighot M, Do T, Ma TY. Bifidobacterium bifidum Enhances the Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junction Barrier and Protects against Intestinal Inflammation by Targeting the Toll-like Receptor-2 Pathway in an NF-κB-Independent Manner. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 28;22(15):8070. doi: 10.3390/ijms22158070.10Gou HZ, Zhang YL, Ren LF, Li ZJ, Zhang L. How do intestinal probiotics restore the intestinal barrier? Front Microbiol. 2022 Jul 14;13:929346. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.929346.11Zheng Y, Zhang Z, Tang P, Wu Y, Zhang A, Li D, Wang CZ, Wan JY, Yao H, Yuan CS. Probiotics fortify intestinal barrier function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Front Immunol. 2023 Apr 24;14:1143548. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1143548.
  5. Anti-inflammatory function. An abundance of Bifidobacterium is linked to lower inflammation levels in the gut and throughout the body.12Riedel CU, Foata F, Philippe D, Adolfsson O, Eikmanns BJ, Blum S. Anti-inflammatory effects of bifidobacteria by inhibition of LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation. World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun 21;12(23):3729-35. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i23.3729.13Ruiz L, Delgado S, Ruas-Madiedo P, Sánchez B, Margolles A. Bifidobacteria and Their Molecular Communication with the Immune System. Front Microbiol. 2017 Dec 4;8:2345. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02345.
  6. Cross-feeding. Bifidobacterium species ferment fibres like fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) into acetate, which is then used by Faecalibacterium to produce the health-promoting short-chain fatty acid butyrate. Cross-feeding contributes to microbial diversity, a marker of gut health.14Rivière A, Selak M, Lantin D, Leroy F, De Vuyst L. Bifidobacteria and Butyrate-Producing Colon Bacteria: Importance and Strategies for Their Stimulation in the Human Gut. Front Microbiol. 2016 Jun 28;7:979. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00979.15Goyal, A., Wang, T., Dubinkina, V. et al. Ecology-guided prediction of cross-feeding interactions in the human gut microbiome. Nat Commun 12, 1335 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21586-6
  7. Gut-brain connection. According to research, several Bifidobacterium species play a role in gut-brain communication, influencing mood and cognitive function.16Mörkl S, Butler MI, Holl A, Cryan JF, Dinan TG. Probiotics and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: Focus on Psychiatry. Curr Nutr Rep. 2020 Sep;9(3):171-182. doi: 10.1007/s13668-020-00313-5.17Liu L, Huh JR, Shah K. Microbiota and the gut-brain-axis: Implications for new therapeutic design in the CNS. EBioMedicine. 2022 Mar;77:103908. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.103908.18Xiao 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-200488.19Li J, Wang J, Wang M, Zheng L, Cen Q, Wang F, Zhu L, Pang R, Zhang A. Bifidobacterium: a probiotic for the prevention and treatment of depression. Front Microbiol. 2023 May 10;14:1174800. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1174800.20Ma T, Jin H, Kwok LY, Sun Z, Liong MT, Zhang H. Probiotic consumption relieved human stress and anxiety symptoms possibly via modulating the neuroactive potential of the gut microbiota. Neurobiol Stress. 2021 Jan 12;14:100294. doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2021.100294.

What are the best sources of Bifidobacterium?

Apart from living in the gut, Bifidobacterium species are naturally present in breast milk and are responsible for the development of a healthy infant microbiome. Adults can boost their Bifidobacterium levels by consuming fermented dairy products like yoghurt and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi. Sourdough starter also contains live Bifidobacterium cultures. Additionally, a range of Bifidobacterium strains can be found in probiotic supplements.21Hidalgo-Cantabrana C, Delgado S, Ruiz L, Ruas-Madiedo P, Sánchez B, Margolles A. Bifidobacteria and Their Health-Promoting Effects. Microbiol Spectr. 2017 Jun;5(3). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0010-2016.

What foods can Bifidobacterium feed on?

Prebiotic fibres such as inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are preferred sources of nourishment for Bifidobacterium. Foods rich in FOS include chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, bananas, and a wide variety of whole grains such as oats, rye, barley, brown rice, and whole wheat. Bifidobacterium can also thrive on galactooligosaccharides (GOS) from legumes/pulses, and resistant starch from green bananas and cooked and cooled potatoes.

Where to find Bifidobacterium in the Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Test

The Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Test features a general score for Bifidobacterium as a group (genus). It also provides readings for several Bifidobacterium species known to have an impact on human health, including Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium animalis. You will find your Bifidobacterium scores in the “Probiotics” report of the Chuckling Goat Microbiome Test.

Synonyms: Bifidobacteria, Bifidobacterium species, Bifidus bacteria, Bifidus probiotics, Bifidobacteriales, Bifido

Version and date: Version 1. 20th June 2023

Reviewed by: Dr Miguel Toribio-Mateas BSc (Hons) MSc DProf MRSB

Important disclaimer

The Chuckling Goat Gut Microbiome Handbook is an educational resource built to translate complex science into plain English. The information provided on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Always check with your GP for interactions with medications/health conditions before changing your diet or starting to take food supplements.


References

  • 1
    Derrien M, Turroni F, Ventura M, van Sinderen D. Insights into endogenous Bifidobacterium species in the human gut microbiota during adulthood. Trends Microbiol. 2022 Oct;30(10):940-947. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2022.04.004.
  • 2
    Deleu S, Machiels K, Raes J, Verbeke K, Vermeire S. Short chain fatty acids and its producing organisms: An overlooked therapy for IBD? EBioMedicine. 2021 Apr;66:103293. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103293.
  • 3
    Hosmer J, McEwan AG, Kappler U. Bacterial acetate metabolism and its influence on human epithelia. Emerg Top Life Sci. 2023 Mar 22:ETLS20220092. doi: 10.1042/ETLS20220092.
  • 4
    Servin AL. Antagonistic activities of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria against microbial pathogens. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2004 Oct;28(4):405-40. doi: 10.1016/j.femsre.2004.01.003.
  • 5
    Liévin V, Peiffer I, Hudault S, Rochat F, Brassart D, Neeser JR, Servin AL. Bifidobacterium strains from resident infant human gastrointestinal microflora exert antimicrobial activity. Gut. 2000 Nov;47(5):646-52. doi: 10.1136/gut.47.5.646.
  • 6
    Bevilacqua L, Ovidi M, Di Mattia E, Trovatelli LD, Canganella F. Screening of Bifidobacterium strains isolated from human faeces for antagonistic activities against potentially bacterial pathogens. Microbiol Res. 2003;158(2):179-85. doi: 10.1078/0944-5013-00192.
  • 7
    Iram D, Kindarle UA, Sansi MS, Meena S, Puniya AK, Vij S. Peptidomics-based identification of an antimicrobial peptide derived from goat milk fermented by Lactobacillus rhamnosus (C25). J Food Biochem. 2022 Dec;46(12):e14450. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.14450.
  • 8
    Darbandi A, Asadi A, Mahdizade Ari M, Ohadi E, Talebi M, Halaj Zadeh M, Darb Emamie A, Ghanavati R, Kakanj M. Bacteriocins: Properties and potential use as antimicrobials. J Clin Lab Anal. 2022 Jan;36(1):e24093. doi: 10.1002/jcla.24093.
  • 9
    Al-Sadi R, Dharmaprakash V, Nighot P, Guo S, Nighot M, Do T, Ma TY. Bifidobacterium bifidum Enhances the Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junction Barrier and Protects against Intestinal Inflammation by Targeting the Toll-like Receptor-2 Pathway in an NF-κB-Independent Manner. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 28;22(15):8070. doi: 10.3390/ijms22158070.
  • 10
    Gou HZ, Zhang YL, Ren LF, Li ZJ, Zhang L. How do intestinal probiotics restore the intestinal barrier? Front Microbiol. 2022 Jul 14;13:929346. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.929346.
  • 11
    Zheng Y, Zhang Z, Tang P, Wu Y, Zhang A, Li D, Wang CZ, Wan JY, Yao H, Yuan CS. Probiotics fortify intestinal barrier function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Front Immunol. 2023 Apr 24;14:1143548. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1143548.
  • 12
    Riedel CU, Foata F, Philippe D, Adolfsson O, Eikmanns BJ, Blum S. Anti-inflammatory effects of bifidobacteria by inhibition of LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation. World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun 21;12(23):3729-35. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i23.3729.
  • 13
    Ruiz L, Delgado S, Ruas-Madiedo P, Sánchez B, Margolles A. Bifidobacteria and Their Molecular Communication with the Immune System. Front Microbiol. 2017 Dec 4;8:2345. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02345.
  • 14
    Rivière A, Selak M, Lantin D, Leroy F, De Vuyst L. Bifidobacteria and Butyrate-Producing Colon Bacteria: Importance and Strategies for Their Stimulation in the Human Gut. Front Microbiol. 2016 Jun 28;7:979. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00979.
  • 15
    Goyal, A., Wang, T., Dubinkina, V. et al. Ecology-guided prediction of cross-feeding interactions in the human gut microbiome. Nat Commun 12, 1335 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21586-6
  • 16
    Mörkl S, Butler MI, Holl A, Cryan JF, Dinan TG. Probiotics and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: Focus on Psychiatry. Curr Nutr Rep. 2020 Sep;9(3):171-182. doi: 10.1007/s13668-020-00313-5.
  • 17
    Liu L, Huh JR, Shah K. Microbiota and the gut-brain-axis: Implications for new therapeutic design in the CNS. EBioMedicine. 2022 Mar;77:103908. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.103908.
  • 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.
  • 19
    Li J, Wang J, Wang M, Zheng L, Cen Q, Wang F, Zhu L, Pang R, Zhang A. Bifidobacterium: a probiotic for the prevention and treatment of depression. Front Microbiol. 2023 May 10;14:1174800. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1174800.
  • 20
    Ma T, Jin H, Kwok LY, Sun Z, Liong MT, Zhang H. Probiotic consumption relieved human stress and anxiety symptoms possibly via modulating the neuroactive potential of the gut microbiota. Neurobiol Stress. 2021 Jan 12;14:100294. doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2021.100294.
  • 21
    Hidalgo-Cantabrana C, Delgado S, Ruiz L, Ruas-Madiedo P, Sánchez B, Margolles A. Bifidobacteria and Their Health-Promoting Effects. Microbiol Spectr. 2017 Jun;5(3). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0010-2016.

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