'Bifidobacterium' Probiotics

PERKii has recently announced a brand new sparkling variant to our range of probiotic drinks. Bubbles and flavour (while the most obvious) are not the only changes, in comparison to PERKii's still variant. A new, 100% plant based probiotic has also been introduced, and in this blog we'll cover some of the background information on what exactly it is, and can do for you. Need to gather some more information on what exactly probiotics are before you start? Click here

Introducing Bifidobacterium

Bifidobacterium has been described in over 300 scientific publications and more than 100 clinical studies. It has been tested in clinical trials including subjects from preterm infants to elderly. The results have proven its beneficial health effect both within gastrointestinal health and immune function. This blog will focus on three key benefits that can be associated with Bifidobacterium. 

1. The Effect of Bifidobacterium on Undesirable Bacteria

As we know from our previous blog on Lactobacillus Casei, the human large intestine is host to a wide variety of bacteria. During old age, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli begin to decline in number, coinciding with a increase in other bacterial groups, including clostridia and members of the Enterobacteriaceae family, which are believed to have adverse effects on gastrointestinal health. Probiotics that are capable of controlling the increase of undesirable bacteria and increasing the levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the colon, are considered beneficial. Several clinical studies have shown that Bifidobacterium, alone or in combination with other probiotics or ingredients, is associated with an increase in beneficial bacteria and a reduction in potentially pathogenic bacteria. 

Example Study 

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled dose-response study investigated the impact of a four- week consumption of Bifidobacterium, on fecal bacterial counts in 58 healthy adults (Savard et al. 2011). Results showed significant increases in bifidobacteria counts in the active groups compared to baseline. Numbers of viable fecal lactobacilli were significantly higher and those of enterococci (negative bacteria) were significantly lower after the intervention when compared to placebo.

2. Gastrointestinal Function

Regular bowel movements, natural transit time and normal stool consistency are part of a well-functioning bowel. However, the boundaries for normal bowel function are wide and vary to a large extent from person to person. Normal movement of the bowel is five to 14 times a week, with outer boundaries of three to 21 times a week. A frequency higher or lower is considered diarrhea or constipation, respectively. The passage time for food through the gastrointestinal tract is normally within half a day to three days. Lazy tummy or constipation is a widely experienced challenge, especially in the elderly population. Probiotics may support the bowel function in a beneficial way by increasing bowel movement or transit time, or by softening of the stools.
Example Study
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Eskesen et al. 2015 resulted in the largest dataset ever published from a randomized, placebo-controlled study on the effect of probiotics on bowel function. Two primary outcomes were tested - defecation frequency and gastrointestinal well-being. A total of 1248 subjects were randomized after a 2 weeks run-in, with BB-12® in doses of 1 billion or 10 billion CFU per day in a capsule or matching placebo for 4 weeks .No significant differences were detected on gastrointestinal well-belling between the groups. 
It was found that Bifidobacterium improved defecation frequency compared to the placebo. Effects on defecation frequency were similar for the two tested dosages, suggesting a ceiling effect of Bifidobacterium which was reached at a dosage of 1 billion CFU/day.
3. Immune Function
Studying the immune system in healthy humans poses a special challenge. The immune system carries a high degree of buffering capacity of several components which makes it difficult to interpret or predict the exact response at a given time (Albers et al. 2005). The use of a model infection (exampled below) is therefore considered to provide the best method for exploring the function and the response of the immune system in healthy humans (Albers et al. 2005, Burleson and Burleson 2007). Probiotics may interact with the immune system in various ways:
  • Increasing local and systemic antibody production, 
  • Increasing immune cell activity,
  • Modulating signals in epithelial and immune cells
  • Induction of phenotypic changes in dendritic cells.

Example Study 

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Rizzardini et al. 2012. In this study, 54 subjects were given BB-12® and 52 placebo for six weeks. After two weeks subjects received an influenza vaccination. Plasma and saliva samples were collected at baseline and after six weeks for analysis of influenza specific and total antibodies. Bifidobacterium increased the influenza specific antibody responses compared to placebo.

If you would like some extra information on probiotics, head over to the CHR Hansen website, found here. For more information on these studies, see full reference below, or email us at hello@perkii.com.
Eskesen D, Jespersen L, Michelsen B, Whorwell PJ, Muller-Lissner S, Morberg CM. Effect of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, BB-12(R), on defecation frequency in healthy subjects with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Br.J.Nutr. 2015:1-9.

Rizzardini G, Eskesen D, Calder PC, Capetti A, Jespersen L, Clerici M. Evaluation of the immune benefits of two probiotic strains Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis, BB-12® and Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei, L. casei 431® in an influenza vaccination model: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Br.J.Nutr. 2012;107:876-84.

Savard P, Lamarche B, Paradis ME, Thiboutot H, Laurin E, Roy D. Impact of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 and, Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5-containing yoghurt, on fecal bacterial counts of healthy adults. Int.J.Food Microbiol. 2011;149:50-57.

June 04, 2020 — Andy Kelly