Bifidobacterium infantis is a subspecies of the Bifidobacterium longum species. Bifidobacterium longum is one of the most commonly found species in human faeces and is subdivided into 3 different biotypes – longum, infantis and suis.
The B. longum species is most specifically suited to the intestinal environment of breast-fed infants, because it appears to thrive best by consuming a prebiotic known as human milk oligosaccharides (HMO’s), so named because they are unique to human breast milk and not found in any other sources. A positive synergy has evolved between B. infantis and HMOs, indicating how evolution has naturally created an environment which temporarily protects a baby’s gut environment. It also suggested that this particular strain can be very beneficial for babies with a disrupted microbiome, and that a probiotic supplement containing this strain can benefit formula fed infants, giving them what they may naturally lack, thereby protecting their microbiome.
Interestingly, in babies who are breastfed, Bifidobacteria make up around 90% of their gastrointestinal bacteria. This number appears to be lower in infants who are bottle-fed. This lower number of Bifidobacterium in formula-fed babies might explain the higher incidence of allergies found in the same group. In vitro studies have also found that Bifidobacterium infantis displays anti-inflammatory activity in premature intestinal cells, as well as decreasing intestinal permeability. A healthy B. infantis colonisation has also been associated with an increased response to vaccines.
As some properties & benefits of probiotics may be strain-specific, this database provides even more detailed information at strain level. Read more about the strains that we have included from this genus below.
Bifidobacterium lactis strains: Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07®, Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12®, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04®.
Bifidobacterium infantis strains: Bifidobacterium infantis 35624.
Bifidobacterium breve strains: Bifidobacterium breve M-16V®.
For more insights and professional updates on probiotics, please visit the Probiotic Professionals pages.
Lee Y. and Salminen S., (2009), ‘Handbook of Probiotic and Prebiotics’. 2nd edition, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Underwood, M.A. et al., (2015), ‘Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis: champion colonizer of the infant gut’. Pediatric Research, 77(0):229–235.
Information on this species was gathered by Joanna Scott-Lutyens BA (hons), DipION, Nutritional Therapist; and Kerry Beeson, BSc (Nut.Med) Nutritional Therapist
Last updated - 18th September, 2018