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Probiotic Supplementation Alleviates the Symptoms of IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common diagnosis in gastroenterology. Reduced quality of life caused by IBS affect approximately 20% of adult Westerner.  Studies suggest certain probiotics to be beneficial, and provide a promising therapeutic alternative.

To investigate the effects of multispecies probiotic supplementation on abdominal symptoms, quality of life, intestinal microbiota and inflammatory markers in irritable bowel syndrome, eighty-six irritable bowel syndrome patients participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled 5-month intervention.  Patients were randomized to receive daily either multispecies probiotic supplementation (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. rhamnosus Lc705, Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB12), or placebo. Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, quality of life, microarray-based intestinal microbiota stability, serum cytokines and sensitive C-reactive protein were monitored.

The composite IBS symptom score (abdominal pain +distension + flatulence + rumbling) at the end of trial has decreased 14 points from baseline in the group with the multispecies probiotic supplement, compared to 3 points in the placebo group.  This represents a mean reduction of 37% in IBS score in the probiotic group compared to a 9% reduction in the placebo group.

In addition, distension and abdominal pain were significantly milder in the group with the probiotic supplementation group.  A stabilization of the microbiota was observed, as the microbiota similarity index increased with the probiotic supplementation, while it decreased with placebo

The authors conclude that the multispecies probiotic supplementation seems to be an effective and safe option to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and to stabilize the human intestinal flora.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2008; 27:48–57

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