You may have a hard time answering the question, are you bifidobacteria rich since most people have never heard this word before.
Well my suggestion is to learn how to help your gut microbiome become rich in bifidobacteria as they are key to your health.
Your gut microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms that play a significant role regulating your immune system, endocrine system, digestive system, and your overall metabolism. Plus your gut microbiome is linked to cardiovascular health, cognitive function, mood, and your ability to fight disease.
One of the most important and beneficial bacteria of your entire gut microbiome is a group called bifidobacteria. And the rest of this blog post will help you understand why they’re important to your health. As well as how you can take dietary steps to make sure they dominate your abdominal microbiome.
What are Bifidobacteria?
This is a classification of 32 different species of anaerobic lactic acid bacteria. Anaerobic means that they don’t require oxygen to exist. They live in our intestinal and urogential tracts. And they are typically some of the first bacteria to colonize in our bodies.
For breastfed infants Bifidobacteria dominates (up to 90%) their gut microbiome. Unfortunately as we age our diets change. Combine this with antibiotic use and there is a significant decline in this gut bacteria.
For most adults, bifidobacteria makes up 30 to 40% of their microbiome, This falls to about 10% for those who are in the late 50s and early 60s, and can be as low as 5% for older adults.
Why is this reduction dangerous to your health?
Because as bifidobacteria decline, more unhealthy and dangerous bacteria take over. Which brings us to the next question.
Why Do We Need Bifidobacteria?
Bifidobacteria are critical to your health as they product antibacterial chemicals, needed enzymes to help you properly breakdown your food, vitamins B and K, lactic acid, and acetic acid, which is a short chain fatty acid that is an energy source for your cells.
They crowd out undesirable bacteria and coat the lining of our colon to help protect us from toxins.
They can help reduce inflammation, improve bone and joint health, assist in regulating our weight and metabolism, help promote emotional wellness, all while supporting colon and digestive health. And the following five strains are allstars when it comes to vibrant health:
B. longum – This species helps improve lactose tolerance as well as creates an acidic environment that is inhospitable to harmful bacteria. Plus research shows that they have anti-aging benefits. In a Japanese study of 23,000 men and women over the age of 50 who regularly consumed B. longum they had:
fewer problems with regularity
and improve immune function
B. bifium – This species products the enzyme lactase to help those with lactose intolerance. They also protect the cells lining our mucous membranes from toxins. And they are anti-inflammatory. Plus they help to reduce abdominal discomfort, gas, and bloating.
B. lactis – This species is key to optimal digestion, improved bowel regularity, provide immune support and will help you digest lactose. Additionally, this species seems to inhibit the toxic effects of wheat gliadin, the protein found in gluten that is such an issue for many people.
B. breve – This species is a workhorse in breaking down sugar and other food molecules. Even non-digestible plant fibers. It especially helps in boosting the immune response to yeast to help control this from overgrowth in your system.
B. infantis – This species is vital for babies. It thrives on HMO’s, which is a special sugar in breast milk. And they will consume other sugars like glucose and fructose so they are crucial to older adults. Why? Because they produce BLIS (bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances) that fight harmful bacteria while producing B-vitamins for energy. And this species help with mental clarity.
So the next question is:
How Do You Boost Bifidobacteria In Your Gut Microbiome?
Well there are several approaches:
Consume foods that are rich in Bifidobacteria, which would be almost any type of fermented foods like yogurt, cheese, brine-cured olives, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, temppeh, miso, and apple cider vinegar.
Consume a nutritional supplement that contains Bidifobacteria.
But the best approach is to give your existing Bidifobacteria prebiotic foods that will accelerate their growth and dominant your gut micriobiome.
Let’s discuss the best way to increase your Bifidobacteria, which is to consume prebiotic foods that supports their growth.
Prebiotics are typically soluble fiber, which is a great food source for your gut microbiome. The most common one used to boost Bifidobacteria is a type of soluble fiber called fructooligosaccarides. The problem with this soluble fiber is the amount needed, which is typically 10 to 20 grams per day. This can be problematic for some because this high dose can result in excessive gas, bloating, and intestinal cramps.
However, recent research has discovered a prebiotic that is specific to the growth of Bifidobacteria. It’s called XOS or xylooligosaccharide. In a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study participants were given a placebo, 1.4 grams of XOS, or 2.8 grams of XOS on a daily basis for eight weeks.
The results showed that both groups that got XOS experienced significant increases in their Bifidobacteria levels. And the group with the higher dose experienced significantly larger increases in their Bifidobacteria levels.
The other good news from this study is that XOS didn’t promote any growth of harmful bacteria. Only the growth of Bifidobacteria.
Because of the results of this study were so significant, a second study was done without the control group. This study showed that you could achieve a healthier gut in just two weeks.
The lower-dose group of 1 gram of XOS experienced significant increases in Bifidobacteria in 28 days.
But the higher-dose group of 2 grams of XOS experienced significant increases in just 14 days.
And the benefits of increasing your Bifidobacteria levels also had other positive health effects like:
A significant increase in fecal acidity, which helps to control harmful bacteria while promoting the growth of healthy bacteria.
An increase in fecal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, which means that XOS helps to remove excess cholesterol and triglycerides from the body. This was also demonstrated in significant reductions in serum triglycerides and cholesterol levels, as well as significant drops in blood-sugar levels.
Hopefully all this information helps you understand that you have a workhorse ready and willing to help you improve your health. It is called Bifidobacteria. Now your job is to support their growth. And the easiest way is to start consuming 1 to 2 grams of XOS on a daily basis.