Bifidobacterium infantis (B. infantis) is a probiotic bacterium. It is common in some, but not all, breast-fed infants.
Like other Bifidobacterium species, B. infantis is a Gram-positive, non-motile, non-spore forming, rod-shaped lactic-acid bacteria.
B. infantis, as it is commonly known, is actually a sub-species of the Bifidobacterium longum species, but since products and supplements still refer to it separately, that’s what this website is doing to minimize confusion.
This probiotic is more specifically suited to the intestinal environment of breast-fed infants because it prefers to consume the prebiotic human milk oligosaccharides (HMO’s) found in human breast milk over other sources of energy.
It can, however, utilize other carbohydrates commonly found in a whole-foods diet of teens and adults, similar to other Bifidobacterium species of bacteria.
B. infantis generally survives stomach and bile acids, and is generally able to adhere to intestinal tissues.
B. infantis produces predominantly acetic acid, with other acid production more dependent on the type of prebiotic food it consumes.
Most B. infantis produce bacterocin-like inhibitory substances against pathogenic bacteria, and some strains are able to produce the B-vitamins thiamine (B1), nicotinic acid (a B3 derivative) and folate.
With a name like infantis, you would expect it to be harmless. So far the research shows that it is safe, and it is on the European QPS (Qualified Presumption of Safety) list along with other bifidobacteria.
One strain was found not only to have probiotic probiotic properties in vitro, but also to be able to be incorporated into yogurt and survive below zero (C and F) temperatures for 60 days as frozen yogurt. Perhaps strain ATCC 11551 will be in a frozen yogurt near you starting in 2018.
As you can see from the information above, actions of B. infantis are strain-specific.
One of the most widely studied strains of this species is “Bifantis”, B. infantis 35624, found in the probiotic supplement Align. (link takes you to my review of it)
B. infantis is one of the species in the extensively-studied probiotic VSL#3. (link takes you to my review of it)
Many products, such as Probifia Pearls, (link takes you to my review of it) contain undisclosed strains of B. infantis, as does:
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