Bifidobacterium animalis– The Probiotic Beasts

Bifidobacterium animalis are the probiotic beasts you need, especially if you have any constipation problems that are hindering your ability to be healthy.

Like devoted dogs, this probiotic bacteria works to keep you safe by helping to protect you from pathogenic bacteria taking up residence in your intestines. It helps your colon to function normally, too, so like my devoted dogs pictured above, B. animalis beasts keep you healthy. [It’s a matter of opinion if family dogs keep you healthy, but since super-hygiene is linked to allergies, my opinion is that family dogs keep you healthy (as long as you don’t share doggie saliva, {yuk!} but that’s another topic)]. It's one of the great probiotics for constipation.

Like other Bifidobacterium species, B. animalis is a lactic-acid bacterium that also produces acetic acid, ethanol, and formic acid. Some strains can produce succinic acid. The succinic acid is involved in energy production in your cells.

Why Is B. animalis So Confusing?

B. animalis is a confusing species as far as the naming of it is concerned and manufacturers of probiotic products don’t help us consumers! Manufacturers are not always specific about what B. animalis subspecies and strains are included in their products.

There are basically 2 sub-species in the Bifidobacterium animalis species: B. animalis subsp. animalis and B. animalis subsp. lactis. Each of those sub-species has their own strains in a family tree like this (note that not all strains are listed):

Bifidobacterium animalis classification example

Any of these strains, or any other B. animalis strains, can simply be called “Bifidobacterium animalis” or B. animalis, even in scientific publication summaries. Or the strain may be abbreviated as B. animalis MB5, for example.

To confuse things even further, sometimes the lactis strains are referred to as “Bifidobacterium lactis”, or B. lactis because B. animalis and B. lactis used to be considered 2 different species.

What You Need to Know When Purchasing Probiotics

The main B. animalis strains used in human probiotic foods and supplements are the lactis subspecies, and they are usually from milk. So when you read a label that says "B. animalis", unless stated otherwise, and especially if it's in a product containing milk, odds are it's of the lactis subspecies.

Looking for a Supplement with B. animalis?

There are many probiotic supplements with B. animalis bacteria in them. Most of them will state "B. lactis" in the ingredients list. Here is one:

Renew Life Ultimate Flora RTS Senior Care probiotic supplement contains all Bifidobacterium species

A product that contains 30 billion CFU of 6 strains of shelf-stable Bifidobacterium (2-B. lactis strains, B. bifidum, B. breve, B. infantis and B. longum) is Ultimate Flora RTS Senior Care Probiotic from Renew Life. It is gluten- and dairy-free at can be found at

You can read my review of this all-bifido probiotic supplement here.

B. animalis Species You May Encounter

Here are links to the main Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis strains you may encounter: If you want to know about others, please leave me a comment.

Nutritional consultations can help you choose the best B. animalis for your needs.

Return to Bifidobacterium page.

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