B. Infantis, the forgotten
but essential probiotic strain

The microbiome plays an essential role in our immunity. We are born with a “capital” that is directly linked to the one of our mother, as our first exposure to external pathogens is in the womb, and colonization of the baby microbiome happens at birth soon as the water bag breaks, and natural delivery allows the baby to come in contact with the mother’s microbiome to seed its own.

Children born through c-section may lack exposure to some beneficial microbiota strains
(probiotics) which are essential support for digestive health and building strong immunity.

The Bifidobacterium infantis strain of bacteria is one of them. Like the Bifidobacterium Longum, it is a probiotic acquired naturally during childbirth and then with breastfeeding(1). This would explain the greater resistance to infection in breastfed children(2).

From the same family as Longum, its high nicotinic and folic acid content makes it specific. A theory called “hygiene hypothesis”(3) demonstrates that the increase, in many developed countries, of atopic allergic diseases (such as asthma, dermatitis or rhinitis) is due to the absence of an early exposure to Bifidobacterium Infantis.

Numerous scientific studies support this theory and have shown that breastfeeding and the environmental conditions in which babies are born and fed can influence the composition of their intestinal flora(4).

This intake (or lack) of probiotics, including Bifidobacterium Infantis, can alter the initial regulation of the developing immune system and then influence the intestinal balance and digestive health of an individual throughout their life.

In addition, Bifidobacterium Infantis is particularly recommended for reducing symptoms of IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome – in women. According to a study sponsored by the P&G Health Sciences Institute and published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, this strain is effective in relieving bloating, bowel problems and pain(5).

Sources:
[1] Mark A. Underwood, J. Bruce German, Carlito B. Lebrilla, David A. Mills. Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis: champion colonizer of the infant gut. Pediatr Res. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 March 5. Study here
[2] Yoshioka H. et al., Development of the normal intestinal flora and its clinical significance in infants and children, Bifidobacteria and Microflora, 1991, 10(1): 11-17.
[3] Hypothèse de l’hygiène Professeur Pierre MASSON Institut Christian de Duve – Université Catholique de Louvain
[4] Sarah L. Young, Mary A. Simon, Margaret A. Baird, Gerald W. Tannock, Rodrigo Bibiloni, Kate Spencely, Juliette M. Lane, Penny Fitzharris, Julian Crane, Ian Town, Emmanuel Addo-Yobo, Clare S. Murray and Ashley Woodcock. Bifidobacterial Species Differentially Affect Expression of Cell Surface Markers and Cytokines of Dendritic Cells Harvested from Cord Blood. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 Jul; 11(4): 686–690. doi: 10.1128/CDLI.11.4.686-690.2004. PMCID: PMC440611
[5] Whorwell PJ 1, Altringer L , Morel J , Bond Y , Charbonneau D , O’Mahony L , Kiely B , Shanahan F , Quigley EM . Efficacy of an encapsulated probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 in women with irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jul;101(7):1581-90.
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306945
[7] Nikfar 171
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23759244

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