UK National Health Service undertakes probiotic colon study
The NHS-backed study is investigating if the blend can reduce pain, bloating and diarrhoea or constipation that can occur with the ailment that causes pouches to form in the colon.
Research shows 25% of the UK population will develop diverticula by the time they reach 60; two-thirds by the age of 85. Of those about 20% develop diverticulitis, when the pouches become inflamed and infected by bacteria from trapped faeces.
The typical treatment in these cases are antibiotics, or surgery.
“Patients with diverticulitis frequently develop symptoms reminiscent of irritable bowel syndrome after their attack,” said lead researcher, professor Ingvar Bjarnason.
“Intestinal bacteria undoubtedly play an important role in diverticulitis and it is hoped that by modifying the gut flora [the blend] will improve their symptoms.”
The double-blind placebo controlled trial is being run with 200 patients with symptoms of diverticulitis and uses a probiotic product manufactured by UK start-up going by the same name as the product – Symprove.
There are four probiotic strains in Symprove – L. casei, L. acidophilus, L. plantarum and E. faecium. It contains 10 billion colony forming units – the standard measure of probiotic content – per 50ml serving.
Patients will receive 1ml/kg/day for three months with the placebo containing all the ingredients in Symprove except the probiotic strains.
Patients will visit the lab monthly and be offered post-trial treatment for two months for the control and five months for the placebo group.