One of the most common types of probiotics, bifidobacterium is extremely prominent in the intestinal tract and vagina. These helpful bacteria play an important role in maintaining the proper levels of harmful and helpful bacteria in these tracts, as well as in digestive functions. When levels of bifidobacterium fluctuate too much in either direction, the delicate balance of microorganisms in our bodies can get thrown off, resulting in illness and infection.
Many foods and probiotic supplements contain strains of bifidobacterium. The two main types that can be found in foods and supplements are:
- B. bifidus - This probiotic is often found in yogurts and is vital in the absorption of important nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Also helps to regulate the growth of other types of bacteria in the intestines.
- B. longum - Commonly found in the vaginal tract, this important probiotic is common in supplements and is meant to offset the side effects of antibiotics. It helps to regulate the growth of yeast and unfriendly bacteria that can cause yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
If you are interested in influencing your bifidobacterium levels, you should first consult with your doctor. As with any new supplement or change in diet, it is important to get the opinion of your health care provider in order to identify any side effects you may experience with bifidobacterium and to determine what your specific needs may be.