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7+ Surprising Benefits of Bifidobacterium breve

Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:
Jonathan Ritter
Puya Yazdi
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology), Puya Yazdi, MD | Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Last updated:

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B. breve is a promising probiotic that has suppressed allergies, gastrointestinal infections, and inflammation in children. Other research suggests that it could improve skin health in adults. Could you benefit? Learn more here.

What is Bifidobacterium breve?

Bifidobacterium breve is a beneficial bacterium that can be found in human breast milk and the gastrointestinal tracts of infant and adult humans. As an individual ages, the total population of B. breve within their gut decreases [1].

Potential Benefits of B. breve

B. breve supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing with probiotics.

Possibly Effective For

1) Skin Health

B. breve and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) increased skin hydration and clearness in two studies of a total of 141 healthy young adult and adult women [2, 3].

B. breve also prevented water loss, improved skin elasticity and hydration, and attenuated the damage induced by chronic UV irradiation (photoaging) in mice [4, 5, 6].

2) Allergies

B. breve reduced the risk of developing eczema and atopic sensitization in 117 infants at high risk of allergic disease [7].

Administration of B. breve to 19 preterm infants triggered an anti-inflammatory response that may be of benefit in attenuating allergic reactions [8].

B. breve improved symptoms of allergic hypersensitivity to cow’s milk and atopic dermatitis in 17 infants and 15 children [9, 10].

Oral administration of B. breve shortly after birth can significantly alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in newborn mice [11].

B. breve mediates anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic reactions in newborn rats [12].

Oral administration of B. breve suppresses the Th2 immune response and IgE production and modulates the systemic Th1/Th2 balance in allergic mice [13].

3) Gut Health

Gut Microbiota in Infants

In a study of 30 low birth weight infants with no other deformities, chromosomal abnormalities, or intrauterine infections, early administration of B. breve promoted the colonization of Bifidobacteria and the formation of normal intestinal flora [14].

B. breve also significantly decreased aspirated air volume and improved weight gain in 10 very low birth weight infants [15].

B. breve inhibits coliforms in laboratory settings, suggesting that it could outcompete harmful gut flora [16].

Constipation and Diarrhea

Bifidobacterium breve together with Streptococcus thermophilus reduced the severity of acute diarrhea and dehydration among 971 healthy young infants [17].

Bifidobacterium breve is effective in diminishing abdominal pain and increasing stool frequency in 20 children with functional constipation [18].

Bifidobacterium breve reduced the incidence, severity, and duration of diarrhea in rats with rotavirus infection [19].

Insufficient Evidence For

The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of B. breve for any of the below-listed uses. Remember to speak with a doctor before taking probiotics, and never use them to replace something your doctor recommends or prescribes.

4) Obesity

B. breve significantly lowered fat mass and improved γ-glutamyltranspeptidase and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in 52 adults with a tendency for obesity [20].

B. breve reduced body weight gain and accumulation of visceral fat in a dose-dependent manner, and improved serum levels of total cholesterol, fasting glucose and insulin in a mouse model of diet-induced obesity [21].

B. breve modified gene expression of pathways involved in lipid metabolism, response to stress and insulin sensitivity in multiple mouse studies [22, 21].

Soy germ isoflavones fermented by B. breve lowered triglyceride (TG) levels and suppressed the absorption of excessive lipids and fat cell differentiation in rats [23].

5) Necrotizing Enterocolitis

B. breve was associated with decreased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in 1755 neonates [24].

Oral administration of B. breve reduced the production of butyric acid in 66 infants, which may be helpful in protecting low birth weight infants from digestive diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis [25].

However, one study found no benefit in B. breve administration for the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and late-onset sepsis in 1315 very preterm infants [26].

B. breve suppresses inflammation, reduced the pathology and increases survival in rats with necrotizing enterocolitis [27].

B. breve suppressed inflammation in weaning rats with colitis [28].

B. breve significantly attenuated the severity of colitis [29] and inflammatory cytokine expression in mice [30, 31].

6) Celiac Disease

B. breve decreases the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF in 49 children with Celiac disease on a gluten-free diet [32].

7) Infection

B. breve significantly inhibited rotavirus multiplication and prevented rotavirus infection in 10 infants [33].

Oral administration of B. breve enhances antigen-specific IgA antibody against rotavirus and prevents rotavirus-induced diarrhea in mouse pups [34].

B. breve enhances the antiviral immune response [35]. Mice fed Bifidobacterium breve and immunized orally with influenza virus were more strongly protected against influenza virus infection [36].

Orally administered B. breve improved the intestinal environment and suppressed bacterial translocation in pediatric surgical cases [37, 38].

Animal & Cell Research (Lacking Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of B. breve for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.

8) Asthma

B. breve showed promising probiotic properties and beneficial immunomodulatory activity in blood cells taken from volunteers with allergic asthma [39].

B. breve had strong anti-inflammatory properties in asthmatic mice [40].

B. breve combined with fructooligosaccharides prevented allergic airway inflammation in mice [41].

B. breve with non-digestible oligosaccharides suppressed pulmonary airway inflammation, T cell activation, and mast cell degranulation in mice with asthma [42].

9) BDNF

B. breve increased total BDNF total in rats [43].

10) Cigarette Smoke Associated Pulmonary Diseases

Based on anti-inflammatory effects in human blood cells activated by cigarette smoke, B. breve is being investigated for its potential to help cigarette smoke-associated diseases such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) [44].

Mechanism of Effect

Researchers have investigated the mechanism of the effect of B. breve in cell and animal studies. In these, B. breve has:

Safety

Probiotics are generally considered safe but should be avoided in patients with organ failure, immunocompromised status, and dysfunctional gut barrier mechanisms. To avoid adverse effects, talk to your doctor before starting a new probiotic.

B. breve was shown to be a suitable probiotic for routine use in preterm neonates [48].

Adverse events related to the use of B. breve have an extremely low incidence and are mild in severity [49].

About the Author

Biljana Novkovic

Biljana Novkovic

PhD
Biljana received her PhD from Hokkaido University.
Before joining SelfHacked, she was a research scientist with extensive field and laboratory experience. She spent 4 years reviewing the scientific literature on supplements, lab tests and other areas of health sciences. She is passionate about releasing the most accurate science and health information available on topics, and she's meticulous when writing and reviewing articles to make sure the science is sound. She believes that SelfHacked has the best science that is also layperson-friendly on the web.

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