What is Bifidobacterium Infantis?

Nick Doniger

Bifidobacterium infantis, or bifantis, is a probiotic primarily found in certain dairy products and also available in supplement form. Probiotics are often described as "friendly bacteria," as they promote overall health and fight off harmful bacteria. Like many probiotics, bifantis has been linked to digestive health, most notably in its ability to relieve the effects of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in women. Various double-blind human studies have been conducted using bifidobacterium infantis. A study among rats suggested that the probiotic may even aid in relieving the symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD).

Probiotics like Bifidobacterium infantis may help some patients with ulcerative colitis.
Probiotics like Bifidobacterium infantis may help some patients with ulcerative colitis.

Like most probiotics, bifidobacterium infantis is found in certain types of yogurts and fermented milk products. By definition, probiotics are bacteria that are perceived as beneficial for digestive health. In addition to dairy products, they are found in some naturally fermented foods such as pickles. Bifantis works by producing acids to stunt the growth of harmful bacteria in the colon, while also lowering the overall pH within the intestinal tract. Bifantis is also available in capsule form.

Bifantis can relieve the effects of irritable bowel syndrome in women.
Bifantis can relieve the effects of irritable bowel syndrome in women.

Most proponents of the use of bifidobacterium infantis cite its ability to relieve the symptoms of IBS. This is a highly common bowel disorder that causes ailments such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. Approximately one in five adults in the U.S. are estimated to suffer from IBS. Bifidobacterium infantis is noted as being particularly effective at relieving the symptoms of IBS among women.

A study conducted among rats induced with colitis noted an anti-inflammatory effect after they were given bifidobacterium infantis.
A study conducted among rats induced with colitis noted an anti-inflammatory effect after they were given bifidobacterium infantis.

A study was conducted in the United Kingdom among over 300 adult women suffering from IBS in which some were given bifantis and some were given placebos. Those who received bifantis showed the most drastic relief of IBS symptoms. In fact, those who were given the highest doses of the bacteria were shown to have the most significant improvements. No adverse reactions were noted in this study.

Bifidobacterium infantis can cause abdominal pain and bloating.
Bifidobacterium infantis can cause abdominal pain and bloating.

Other studies have been conducted with bifidobacterium infantis as well. Some have shown that this bacteria is far more effective than other probiotics, such as Lactobacillus salivarius. Bifantis is perceived as the only probiotic capable of covering all the symptoms of IBS, whereas others may only target a few symptoms.

Some dairy products contain Bifidobacterium infantis.
Some dairy products contain Bifidobacterium infantis.

It is possible that bifantis may also benefit those who suffer from IBD. This disorder differs from IBS in its severity, as IBS is considered a functional disease and IBD is not. Those who suffer from IBD may experience anemia, internal bleeding, and severe weight loss and suffer from conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. A study conducted among rats induced with colitis noted an anti-inflammatory effect after they were given bifidobacterium infantis.

Individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may experience nausea and vomiting.
Individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may experience nausea and vomiting.
Probiotics are bacteria that are viewed as beneficial to digestive health.
Probiotics are bacteria that are viewed as beneficial to digestive health.

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