Nutrition Market

Bifidobacterium lactis Explained

What is Bifidobacterium lactis?

Bifidobacterium lactis is a gram-positive anaerobic bacterium that is a common probiotic strain found in various dietary supplements. It is one of several Bifidobacterium species present in the human gastrointestinal tract and plays an important role in gut health.

B. lactis is used in probiotic supplements due to extensive research demonstrating its potential health benefits when consumed. Some of these possible benefits include improved digestive health, enhanced immunity, and better overall wellbeing.

Health Benefits of B. lactis

Some of the research-backed ways B. lactis probiotics may improve health include:

Digestive Support: B. lactis has been studied for its ability to help reduce digestive issues like bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort and irregular bowel movements. The probiotic may assist digestion by promoting growth of other healthy gut bacteria.

Immune Function: Studies indicate B. lactis aids immune health by increasing secretory IgA production - an antibody that plays a key role in mucosal immunity. This could lead to fewer illnesses.

Cholesterol Levels: Early research found that B. lactis probiotic supplementation helped lower LDL cholesterol levels over a 6 week period compared to placebo. More research is underway.

Antioxidant Capacity: One study saw increased antioxidant enzyme activity and reduced oxidative stress markers in athletes taking a B. lactis probiotic supplement over 4 weeks.

Common Forms & Dosages

B. lactis probiotics used in supplements typically provide a dose of 1-10 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per serving. They may come in forms like:

    • Capsules: B. lactis probiotic capsules can be taken orally with water once or several times per day.
  • Powders: Probiotic powders are dissolved into liquids or soft foods allowing versatile consumption options.
  • Chewables: Chewable probiotic tablets containing B. lactis provide easy dosage control for children and adults.

Of course, always follow the usage instructions provided with your specific B. lactis supplement. And consult your health practitioner if you require individualised probiotic guidance.

Evidence Behind B. lactis Probiotics

Much of the promising B. lactis research stems from in vitro and animal based studies so far. However, a growing number of randomised, double-blind human clinical trials have emerged.

For example, a 2020 trial published in Advances in Nutrition saw participants experience gut microbiome improvements and significantly lower LDL cholesterol after taking daily B. lactis supplements for 12 weeks.

Additionally, a 2021 study in Frontiers of Nutrition found 4 weeks supplementation with a multi-strain probiotic containing B. lactis helped reduce workout muscle damage and inflammatory markers in a group of trained athletes.

So while more extensive human trials are still needed, current results remain encouraging about the potential therapeutic effects of B. lactis probiotics. And ongoing research initiatives aim to substantiate some of the preliminary findings.

Safety & Side Effects

B. lactis is generally recognised as safe (GRAS) by the FDA and is associated with minimal risk of adverse side effects in healthy people. Mild digestive symptoms may occasionally occur when first taking probiotics with strains like B. lactis.

As with any supplement, check with your doctor before taking probiotic products if you have underlying health conditions or take medications that could interact. Specific individuals who may want to exercise more caution with probiotic use include:

  • Immunocompromised patients
  • Those with short bowel syndrome
  • People with central venous catheters
  • Critically ill people

For most healthy consumers however, B. lactis probiotics remain very low risk thanks to the extensive history of safe use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the top questions people considering B. lactis probiotic supplements may have:

Q: Do I need to refrigerate B. lactis probiotic capsules or powders?

A: Refrigeration can help maximise probiotic potency and shelf life. However, many quality supplements use time-release technologies that allow ambient temperature storage without potency losses. Check your specific supplement instructions.

Q: When is the best time to take B. lactis probiotics each day?

A: Most experts recommend probiotic supplementation first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or last thing at night before bed. This aids delivery of probiotics to the gut unaffected by food or drink.

Q: Can B. lactis probiotics help with weight loss?

A: Emerging research indicates probiotic strains like B. lactis may help regulate appetite hormones, reduce fat absorption, lower inflammatory triggers of obesity and support a healthy metabolism. More studies are investigating direct ties to weight loss.

Q: Are there any foods high in Bifidobacterium lactis?

A: While foods don’t contain measurable amounts of specific probiotic strains, fermented dairy like natural yogurt, kefir and aged cheeses do harbour high levels of healthy Bifidobacterium species that B. lactis belongs to.

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