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What Is Lactobacillus Bifidus?

By Meg Brannagan
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The body contains many species of microorganisms that assist with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and immunity. Lactobacillus bifidus is one of these types of positive microorganisms typically found in the human gastrointestinal tract. L-bifidus is a type of Gram-positive bacteria that does not require oxygen for survival and is not mobile within the body. Aside from its main location in the intestinal tract, it is also found in the vagina in adult women.

Another name for lactobacillus bifidus is bifidobacterium. This type of organism is considered to be a kind of bacteria that works to keep the environment of the gastrointestinal tract at a higher level of acidity. Microorganisms that cause disease, called pathogenic organisms, often flourish in an environment that is less acidic. By maintaining high acidity, L-bifidus creates an unfavorable setting for pathogenic organisms to grow and cause illness or infection.

The natural growth of helpful microorganisms is called the normal flora in the intestines. A change in the amount of normal flora can affect the body’s ability to control the overgrowth of bacteria that can cause infection and disease. Frequent use of antibiotics can disrupt the balance of positive microorganisms in both the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina. Although antibiotics are used to kill pathogenic bacteria and fight disease, they can also destroy the lactobacillus bifidus, resulting in deficient protection in defending the body from further disease.

Human breast milk supports the growth of lactobacillus bifidus in a baby’s digestive tract through a component called bifidus factor. This is why many proponents of breastfeeding assert that a mother’s milk helps to build her baby’s immunity. Some infant formula companies have also begun to create special types of formula that contain prebiotics, which stimulate growth of L-bifidus in a baby’s digestive tract.

Lactobacillus bifidus may also be taken as a type of probiotic, which works as a prevention measure against the development of some types of diseases. Probiotics work to stop the overgrowth of pathogenic organisms that can cause illness and can stimulate the body’s own immune system of defense. Probiotics are often taken as supplements in pre-prepared form such as powders, caplets and chewable tablets. Some symptoms or illnesses that may occur when lactobacillus microorganisms are out of balance include diarrhea, urinary tract infections, vaginal infections and urogenital infections during pregnancy. Lactobacillus may also inhibit the growth of some tumors.

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Discussion Comments

By serenesurface — On Jul 07, 2011

I have really bad digestion. Almost everything I eat causes bloating, acid and gas with me. I admit that I don't have the best eating habits. I work a lot and eat a lot of easy but unhealthy meals.

My doctor recommended this bacteria for me during my last visit. He said that sometimes the digestive fluids are not able to break down everything which causes the kind of problems I have. Bacteria in the intestines help take care of it if the digestive fluid misses any of the food.

I must say that since I've started taking the supplements two weeks ago, there has been a complete transformation with my digestion. My symptoms are all but gone! I guess this is exactly what I needed.

By ysmina — On Jul 06, 2011

I completely agree that babies who are not getting mother's milk should have a formula with prebiotics in it. My son actually had a bad bug when he was three months old and the doctor suggested bifidobacterium.

I had a real hard time finding a bifidobacterium supplement that was safe for infants though. Most of the supplements are made for adults, not to mention the price. Then, I found a formula that already has bifidobacterium and a bunch of other prebiotics in it. I switched my formula to that one immediately. It worked out really well for my son. I would recommend it.

By bear78 — On Jul 06, 2011

I believe kefir has bifidobacterium in it as well. And it might be a little bit better than supplements because it has live cultures. I know that many supplements guarantee live cultures too, but somehow, I'm never too sure of that.

You can also make kefir at home, kind of like making yogurt, except using kefir to culture the milk rather than yogurt. I eat a lot of kefir especially after using antibiotics. I feel like it balances it out and replaces the bifidobacterium lost from the treatment.

By Jester39 — On Jul 06, 2011

Is this the reason we are told to eat yogurt or drink acidophilus milk while taking an antibiotic? To keep the good bacteria in balance while the antibiotic is killing off the infection?

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