There are various types of bacteria that live within the human intestinal tract, some of which have a mutually beneficial relationship with us, their host. These bacteria that have a positive influence within the gastrointestinal system are called probiotics.
One of those probiotics found to have health benefits was first discovered in human infants and is called bifidobacterium breve.
What is bifidobacterium breve?
Bifidobacterium breve, or B. breve for short, is a helpful bacteria found in the human body within the gastrointestinal tracts of infants and adult humans, as well as in breast milk.
There is still much to be learned about this this healthy probiotic, but findings up until this point have been numerous and positive.
There is preliminary evidence of a variety of health benefits of bifidobacterium breve. Those benefits include:
Fights Against Weight Gain/Obesity
- In a study of 52 adults with a tendency towards obesity, subjects experienced a significantly lowered fat mass compared to the control group, showing that bifidobacterium breve could be used in the treatment of metabolic disorders. 
- Additionally, anti-obesity effects were found in mice that were administered a high-fat obesity-induced diet.
- A study in rats indicates that bifidobacterium breve led to less lipids being absorbed into the body.
Improves and protects the health and appearance of skin
- There is evidence that bifidobacterium breve might improve skin hydration.
- Bifidobacterium breve appears to counteract the harmful effects of UV rays. It also may help with keeping the skin hydrated and maintaining its elasticity, as reported in another mouse study.
Alleviation of Allergies
- In preterm infants, bifidobacterium breve may possibly reduce allergic reactions.
- People of all ages may experience a hypersensitivity to cow’s milk, resulting in conditions such as eczema. In a small study of 17 infants in Japan Bifidobacterium was shown to possibly reduce this form of atopic dermatitis in infants.
- It also may provide a means to prevent eczema in infants who were at high risk of the condition.
- A study on newborn mice showed that it reduced markers of allergic rhinitis in the blood through oral ingestion.
Alleviation of Constipation
- In a pilot study of children with chronic constipation issues, bifidobacterium breve was effective in increasing bowel movements and significantly decreased episodes of abdominal pain. Further studies are required.
- Infants who consumed formula made with bifidobacterium breve had less incidents of dehydration, less diarrhea and they had fewer overall medical consultations, leading researchers to believe bifidobacterium breve could be effective in treating diarrhea in otherwise healthy infants.
- It was effective in reducing the frequency and severity of diarrhea in rats afflicted with the rotavirus infection, the most common cause of diarrhea.
- Bifidobacterium breve was also observed to reduce rotavirus shedding in a small study of 19 infants.
Combats the harmful effects of asthma
- A beneficial immunomodulatory relationship was observed when bifidobacterium was administered to allergic asthmatics.
- Conclusions from a study done on asthmatic mice revealed that bifidobacterium breve could have serious positive implications for the treatment of asthma, a condition estimated to affect some 300 million people worldwide.
- Bifidobacterium breve also was shown to have a mitigating effect on allergic airway inflammation in mice suffering from dust mite-induced asthma.
- Bifidobacterium breve suppressed pulmonary inflammation in mice with asthma as well.
Bifidobacterium breve appears to improve the overall health of the GI tract
- Bifidobacterium breve was found to help with weight gain in very low birth weight infants, most likely through the stabilization of intestinal flora.
Reduces Blood Markers of Inflammation
Bifidobacterium breve was effective in reducing markers of inflammation in the blood in children with celiac disease.*
Could Protect Against the Flu
- One study found that this probiotic increased the antibodies needed to fight against influenza.
- Another study demonstrated that bifidobacterium breve “increased anti-influenza virus IgG antibodies in serum and protected against influenza virus infection”.
How can you get more bifidobacterium breve in your diet?
- Dairy products like yogurt: yogurt naturally contains some probiotics, but due to modern day manufacturing and pasteurization processes, the cultures don’t always survive. Some yogurt companies add bifidobacterium in post-processing, but if you want to get this probiotic from yogurt, you must check the label to confirm that it was added and is of sufficient amount to have the intended benefits.
- Probiotic Supplements
Another way to get the benefits of this probiotic is through taking a supplement containing the strain. Probiotic supplements are a great way to potentially improve your digestive health, and even your health overall.
When shopping for probiotic supplements though, it’s a good idea to focus on more than just bifidobacterium breve. Probiotic strains generally each have their own health benefits, so choosing a probiotic supplement with a wide variety of strains may be in your best interest.
If you’re looking for a probiotic supplement containing this strain, it’s best to check the label to ensure that it was included in the ingredients because not all supplements contain it.
Also, given that this does not constitute as medical advice it’s best to check with your doctor to confirm that this would be a proper addition to your diet for your specific health condition.
Additional Recommendations on Choosing Your Probiotics
- Probiotic strains included in the product
- As you most likely know, bifidobacterium is not the only probiotic out there. There are several other probiotic strains that serve different functions than bifidobacterium breve. Some of the more essential probiotics include: lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum, bifidobacterium longum, lactobacillus fermentum, and lactobacillus rhamnosus.
- The way a manufacturer packages its probiotics is important because if the bacteria don’t survive the journey from manufacturing plant to, your gut, it won’t do you much good. Probiotic supplements delivered in controlled-release tablets have the highest chance of survival. It also should be noted that probiotic bacteria need to be shielded to whatever extent possible to sources of light, heat and moisture.
- Number of Organisms
- Good probiotic supplement companies will list the number of organisms their product contains, the dosage amount, and how often you should take it. A good measure to go by is 5-billion colony-forming units.
- Expiration Date
- Be suspicious of any supplement brand that doesn’t list an expiration date on their product and check for it on any probiotics that you purchase.
Side Effects of Bifidobacterium Breve
According to WebMD, for those with a weakened immune system, bifidobacterium breve should be avoided because it can grow too well within a compromised immune system. This applies to all probiotics.
Overall, bifidobacterium is believed to be safe for adults and children alike when ingested orally. In some people, this strain of probiotic may upset the stomach.