Patented Probiotics – Help Choosing the Right Strain
Lisa Murray, RDN, LD & Meredith Murray, ND
Great gut health is a key starting point for overall well-being and healthy body function. With that, it’s impossible to ignore the power of probiotics. You may be recommending them regularly, but how familiar are you with the strains included in many of the product your purchase?
Members of our Medical Education team decided to take a closer look at the research behind some of the most common patented strains to put together a series that will summarize their beneficial qualities according to the research. First up, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019!
Overview of Bifidobacterium
In infants who are breast-fed, Bifidobacteria constitute about 90% of their intestinal bacteria typically B. bifidum, B. infantis, B. breve.  The number is lower in infants who are bottle fed, and bifidobacteria in the GI system normally declines with age, but still remains one of the most abundant bacterial groups in normal human GI microbiota.
Research over the past 5 years testing various strains of Bifidobacteria has found them helpful in promoting “regularity” (reducing episodes of occasional constipation and increasing number of movements per week). In addition to educating on adequate hydration and adequate plant foods (fiber) in the diet, I usually recommend a “high bifido” probiotic for patients who complain of occasional constipation and the feedback is always overwhelmingly positive.
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019
One of the patented strains of Bifidobacterium with positive results in this area is Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. Results of studies show that Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 decreases whole gut transit time (WGTT) in a dose-dependent manner and improves GI function in adults, by reducing occurrences of constipation and improving consistency and frequency of bowel movements. The study also concludes that the beneficial effect of daily B. lactis HN019 on WGTT is at least equivalent to that of dietary fiber. However, unlike fiber, B. lactis HN019 also improves functional gastrointestinal symptoms.
Another study looked at the effect of this strain on immune function in the elderly. Results showed increases in the proportions of total, helper and activated T lymphocytes and natural killer cells in the blood of the test subjects after consuming B. lactis HN019. The conclusion was that B.lactis HN019 may enhance some aspects of immune function.
Stay tuned for more in this series!
 Reuter G1. The Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium microflora of the human intestine: composition and succession. Curr Issues Intest Microbiol. 2001 Sep;2(2):43-53. PMID: 11721280
Philip A Waller, et al. Dose-response effect of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on whole gut transit time and functional gastrointestinal symptoms in adults. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2011 Sep; 46(9): 1057–1064.
Published online 2011 Jun 13. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2011.584895.PMCID: PMC3171707
 Harsharnjit S Gill, Kay J Rutherfurd, Martin L Cross, and Pramod K Gopal. Enhancement of immunity in the elderly by dietary supplementation with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Dec;74(6):833-9.