Bifidus regularis is a trademarked strain of bacteria developed by Dannon. Also known by its scientific name Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010, Bifidus regularis is an ingredient in Dannon's Activa yogurt, though other brands of yogurt may contain similar strains of Bifidobacterium. Foods like yogurt that contain beneficial microorganisms are known as probiotics. Bifidus regularis may be useful in preventing some medical problems, but more research is needed to determine if it is more effective than other probiotics.
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Function in the Body
According to Dannon, Bifidus regularis is superior to other strains of beneficial bacteria because it passes from the stomach to the intestines without being destroyed by stomach acids. Johns Hopkins Medicine confirms that the bacteria arrives in the colon intact. Dannon clams that Bifidus regularis can improve intestinal health and help prevent constipation and other digestive problems by speeding the passage of food and waste through the digestive system.
In a 2007 study published in "Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics," researchers found that adults who regularly suffered from constipation related to irritable bowel syndrome experienced a decrease in their symptoms after eating two 4-ounce servings of Activa yogurt daily for at least three weeks. The study was fully funded by Danone, Dannon's parent company, however, and included Danone employees on the research team. Independent clinical studies are needed before yogurt containing Bifidus regularis can be recommended as an effective treatment for digestive ailments.
Comparison to Other Probiotics
Live-culture yogurts that contain bacteria other than Bifidus regularis -- primarily Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus -- have also demonstrated health benefits in research studies. Regular intake of these bacteria strains may help treat diarrhea in children, reduce the symptoms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and aid in the prevention of urinary tract and yeast infections in women, says Harvard Medical School. Scientists do not know if yogurt containing Bifidus regularis is more or less effective than regular yogurt in treating these problems. Yogurt supplemented with Bifidus regularis is more expensive per ounce than other live-culture yogurts.
In 2010, Dannon was ordered to pay $45 million in damages to settle a class action lawsuit brought by customers who claimed that the company's advertisements touting the digestive benefits of yogurt containing Bifidus regularis were false and misleading. Dannon was required to remove the words "scientifically proven" and "helps support the immune system" from Activa labels and ads. If you choose to consume yogurt containing Bifidus regularis, do not do so in an attempt to self-treat digestive or immune problems. Talk to your doctor about including Bifidus regularis in your diet.