The benefits of probiotics are numerous, but did you know different bacterial strains provide different benefits? While all of them are helpful for digestion, not all probiotics are equal. This fact has led to a lot of confusion. Let’s clear up a few questions and take a closer look at one specific probiotic strain your body depends on: Bifidobacterium breve.
Bifidobacterium breve: The Health Benefits of Probiotics
It can be a difficult task to understand there are good bacteria but your gut is home to many of them, and they’re called probiotics. The term “pro-” means “for” and “-biotic” stands for “life.” So, probiotics translate “for life.” All the bacterial strains grouped under this term share one thing in common – they work with your body and have positive effects on your health. Think of them as friendly bacteria. Here’s two key benefits.
Probiotics Support Digestion
These friendly bacteria digest sugars, starches, and carbs into nutrients your body can easily digest, and they also break down fiber.  If you have trouble digesting fiber, it may mean you don’t have enough probiotic bacteria in your gut. On top of all this, your gut is the gateway all nutrients pass through to get to every cell in your body. When your gut isn’t working right, you lose a lot of these nutrients, and the body is at a greater risk for nutritional deficiency.
Probiotics Strengthen the Immune System
It turns out probiotics are your first line of defense against invading bacteria like E. coli, C. difficile, and H. pylori.  Considering that 80% of your immune cells are in the gut, it makes sense that probiotics protect the immune response. Probiotics line the surface of your intestines, preventing germs from attacking you and making you sick. And some, like B. breve, even inhibit them from doing anything other than pass through (and out) your digestive tract.
More Benefits of Probiotics
But this doesn’t come close to all of the benefits of probiotics. Scientists also report people who have balanced probiotic levels:
- Are less likely to become depressed. 
- Focus and concentrate more easily.
- Have fewer blood sugar spikes and instances of high blood sugar. 
- Enjoy healthy, strong bones. 
- Experience fewer allergies. 
- Have better overall heart and vascular health.
And many people report the easing up of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne after taking probiotics. It’s unlikely to know whether or not probiotics actually affect skin health directly, but many dermatologists recommend it when administering antibiotics–a whole other story in itself.
Not All Probiotic Strains Are Equal
Mainstream food manufacturers want you to think all probiotics are the same, but nothing could be further from the truth. Probiotic bacteria differ from one species to another. Some specialize in immune support, some produce vitamins, and some breakdown different types of sugars and fiber.
There’s even difference between the strains of the same species. To help add clarity, scientists have added strain identifiers to the end of the name. So you might see L. acidophilus labeled with DDS-1, or B. infantis 36624. Some probiotic strains are little powerhouses. Often, these are bacteria you have when you’re born and diminish as you age due to exposure to germs, antibiotics, pesticides, and foods loaded with artificial sugars like HFCS.
Prebiotics: Probiotics’ Better Half
Organisms like B. breve use fiber, inulin, and natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables as food, or prebiotics. Prebiotics feed your probiotic bacteria, keeping them hearty and robust. Simply increasing your fiber intake through whole plant foods can be helpful. Supplementation with inulin or gum acacia can also be extremely helpful for supporting B. breve population.
Bifidobacterium breve: A Probiotic Strain You Want
This powerhouse probiotic bacteria plays a key role in your health. B. breve also protects colon function, alleviates constipation, and reduces gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Additionally, it stimulates your immune system, inhibits E. coli, and suppresses the fungus Candida. While there’s always a big focus on the positive effect of probiotics on digestion, B. breve has proven effective in reducing oral candida in the elderly.  This helps prevent the spread of candida to other areas of the body, like the gut. Researchers speculate that many cases of Irritable Bowel Disease may be a result of a Candida infestation. 
Kombucha, water kefir, and raw sauerkraut are excellent food sources of probiotics. Supplements are another way to get the probiotics you need. But make sure it’s a high-quality supplement. For B. breve, it should have CFUs (colony forming units) around 3 billion, and your supplement should use microencapsulation to make sure these friendly bacteria survive digestion so you get the best result.
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