The four-week study showed that 68% of participants in the probiotic group reported IBS symptom relief, compared with only 37.5% of participants in the placebo group.
In addition, the probiotic group reported improvements in abdominal pain/discomfort and bloating, while no such reports were obtained from the placebo group, according to findings published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The study used the commercial LacClean Gold-S multi-species probiotic product by Korea’s Cell Biotech, which contains a mixture of Bifidobacterium longum, B. bifidum, B. lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and Streptococcus thermophiles.
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 diarrhea or constipation. Although it is not life threatening and does not lead to other, more serious health conditions, IBS is untreatable. At present, intervention involves management of symptoms.
Researchers from the University of Oxford recently reported that daily consumption of yogurt containing a single strain, Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173010, had no clinical benefits for people with IBS.
The new study showed that a multi-species probiotic may confer benefits for IBS sufferers.
“Multi-species probiotics may have a variety of different beneficial effects on IBS symptoms because each species act in a particular way on the gastrointestinal tract and two or more species acting together may have a synergistic effect,” wrote the researchers from Hanyang University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea.
The researchers recruited 49 people with IBS and randomly assigned them to one of two groups: One group received the multi-species probiotic product, and the other group received placebo twice a day for four weeks.
Results showed that a significantly higher proportion of the probiotic group had improvements in IBS symptoms, compared to the placebo group.
In addition, analysis of feces showed increases in B. lactis, L. rhamnosus and S. thermophiles, in the probiotic group, while only B. lactis increased in the placebo group.
“Multi-species probiotics given to IBS patients are effective in the global relief of IBS symptoms as well as in alleviating abdominal pain, discomfort and bloating. Furthermore, the multi-species probiotics induced the alterations of intestinal microbiota,” wrote the researchers.
“These findings support that probiotics therapy is effective by mechanism of gut microbiota alterations in IBS.”
Source: Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/jgh.12322
“Effect of multi-species probiotics on irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: Yoon JS, Sohn W, Lee OY, Lee SP, Lee KN, Jun DW, Lee HL, Yoon BC, Choi HS, Chung WS, Seo JG.