What is bifidus in yogurt?

Bifidus is a beneficial bacteria species also known as Bifidobacterium. It’s a species of probiotics you’ll find in fermented foods like yogurt. You may recognize this ingredient from the name Bifidus regularis, which is a marketing name trademarked by the yogurt company Dannon for their yogurt line Activia. But just like most probiotics, bifidus is still a natural part of the microflora in a healthy digestive system, as well as in and on other parts of the body.

Eating yogurt or other foods that have bifidus can help improve your health inside and out. As a strain of probiotics, bifidus is believed to help:

  • regulate the digestive system
  • improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • boost the immune system
  • promote weight loss
  • improve some food and amine intolerances

Read on to learn the health benefits of the bifidus probiotic, how often you should take it, side effects, and more.

If you’re thinking about adding bifidus to your daily diet, here are 10 good reasons to get started:

1. Boost your immune system

Research suggests that bifidus and other probiotics can enhance immune function. This means fewer colds and other infections.

2. Keep you regular

Have constipation? Probiotics are known to help. One study from 2007 found that bifidus improved bowel regularity in nursing home residents, who often experience constipation.

3. Combat IBS

One theory suggests that IBS is a result of disruption in healthy intestinal bacteria. Clinical studies show that bifidus can help improve stool frequency and reduce discomfort overall in people with IBS who experience symptoms like constipation.

4. Lower your cholesterol and blood pressure

Some evidence suggests that probiotics might improve cholesterol levels and even lower your blood pressure. Like most foods, the effects aren’t immediate. Participants in the cardiovascular study took probiotics for eight weeks before there was significant changes in blood pressure.

5. Help you lose weight

Not only does gut microbiota play a role in metabolism and fat storage, it also influences satiety, the feeling fullness after a meal. Preliminary evidence also showed that probiotics may help with reducing the risk of obesity.

6. Prevent diarrhea

When you take antibiotics, you may experience diarrhea. Antibiotics don’t discriminate between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Bifidus has been shown to prevent the diarrhea caused by antibiotics. Make sure to take bifidus at least two hours before or after taking antibiotics.

7. Prevent eczema

Bifidus has shown some promise for preventing eczema in high-risk children, but more research is still needed to confirm these effects.

8. Reduce risk of yeast infections or UTIs

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections are a result of having an overgrowth of yeast or bad bacteria. Taking bifidus can help rebalance your system and prevent these types of infections.

9. Treat traveler’s diarrhea

Traveling to another country? Bifidus and other probiotics can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea — diarrhea that’s usually the result of eating contaminated food or being exposed to foreign bacteria, typically in developing countries.

10. Treat a stomach ulcer

Research suggests that bifidus and other probiotics can inhibit the growth of the bacterium H. pylori. This bacterium can live in your stomach and is the main cause of stomach ulcers.

The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests a dosage of 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units per day for adults, and 5 to 10 billion units per day for children. To put that in perspective, one container of Activia-brand yogurt contains 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units per 4-ounce portion.

You’ll need to take probiotics regularly to strengthen the bacterial colonies in your body and help them to gradually drive out harmful bacteria and yeast growing in your tract. There are billions of probiotics inside your gut already, including bifidus, so the risk of taking too much is low for most people.

Be sure to keep your supplement in the temperature-controlled setting that the manufacturer requires. This depends on if you’re taking the probiotic pills or yogurt. Make sure to read the product label for specific storage instructions.

In general, bifidus is safe for everyone, even infants and children. People who shouldn’t take bifidus include:

  • people with a compromised immune system
  • people with short bowel syndrome
  • premature infants

Keep in mind that as with any supplements, probiotics do not require FDA approval nor extensive safety testing before they’re sold. Probiotics may also occasionally cause gas.

Contact your doctor immediately if you or your child has severe abdominal pain or abnormal stools after taking a probiotic.

To get the maximum benefits from bifidus, you should take it on a regular basis. Bifidus is easy to find in supplements, both powders and capsules, and in common foods, like yogurt. If you have any health concerns and think probiotics might help, talk to your doctor. During your visit, you can also ask:

  • Can bifidus help with any of my medical conditions?
  • Will bifidus affect any medications I’m taking?
  • Am I getting enough probiotics in my diet, or should I take a supplement?
  • Do you recommend any particular type of probiotic supplement?

Your doctor will be able to help.