Probiotics again show potential for IBS relief

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Irritable bowel syndrome

Daily supplements of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v may reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) like abdominal pain and bloating, says new research from Institut Rosell.

Results of the randomized placebo-controlled trial involving 214 people with IBS showed that daily supplements of the Lactobacillus strain may offer relief from bloating and gut pain, researchers from Rouen University Hospital in France told attendees of Digestive Disease Week in New Orleans.

The precise numbers of IBS suffers in the US are not known, as many people with mild symptoms do not consult a physician, but it is believed to be between 15 and 30 million.

The long-term condition, from which more women suffer than men, involves abdominal discomfort accompanied by diarrhoea or constipation. Although it is not life threatening and dose not lead to other, more serious health conditions, IBS is untreatable. At present, intervention involves management of symptoms.

Led by Prof. Philippe Ducrotté, the Rouen-based scientists sought to build on recent findings that the microbiota may be involved in the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome.

“The symptomatic efficacy of probiotics is strain-dependant,”​ explained the researchers. “The aim of this study was to assess the symptomatic efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v in a large subset of IBS patients.”

The participants, all of whom fulfilled the Rome III criteria for IBS, were randomly assigned to receive placebo or a capsule containing Institut Rosell-Lallemand’s L. plantarum​ 299v at daily dose of 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs) for four weeks.

At the end of the study the researchers reported a significant decrease in the symptoms of IBS, and particularly for abdominal pain and bloating, compared with baseline values and participants in the placebo group.

“A four week treatment with Lactobacillus plantarum 299v has been shown to be effective for the relief of symptoms, particularly abdominal pain and bloating, in IBS patients fulfilling the Rome III criteria,”​ concluded the researchers.

The data was presented at the Digestive Disease Week in New Orleans, which ran from May 1-5, 2010. NutraIngredients has not seen the full data.

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