New studies examine the evidence on probiotics in IBS

October 31, 2005

HONOLULU, October 31, 2005 -- A new study of the probiotic strain B. infantis 35624 shows promising results in normalizing frequency of bowel movements in patients suffering from constipation or diarrhea - the two ends of the spectrum in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Probiotics, viable microorganisms with beneficial physiologic or therapeutic activities, were the subject of several analyses presented at the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. Recent studies have suggested a role for probiotics in treating IBS.

Dr. Eamonn M.M. Quigley and colleagues at University Cork College, Ireland and the University of Manchester in the U.K. presented the results of a subset analysis of a trial of the novel probiotic strain B. infantis 35624 in which 85 women with IBS received the probiotic and 80 women received placebo for four weeks. These researchers found that use of this probiotic strain significantly normalized bowel habit among IBS patients with diarrhea or constipation, increasing the number of bowel movements in constipated patients and reducing frequency in those with diarrhea.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, conducted a meta-analysis of clinical trials of probiotics in IBS, examining seven randomized, controlled trials in their research. Specifically, they looked at improvement in the symptom of bloating. There was a significant variation in the effect of probiotics across the studies, and the Mayo researchers concluded that these studies reveal only a modest improvement in bloating, but they note that larger trials are needed.

A team of investigators at the University of New Mexico conducted a systematic review of the safety and efficacy of probiotics in IBS that included eight randomized clinical trials in adults. The New Mexico group noted that there was large variation among the studies, and that many of the trials included only a small number of patients. "We found that various probiotic regimens may be useful in IBS, but larger trials are needed to verify findings from the smaller studies we analyzed," said Dr. Paveen Roy, the study's lead researcher.

About Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder characterized by recurring symptoms of abdominal discomfort or pain associated with an altered bowel habit, either constipation, diarrhea, or both. More than 58 million people suffer from IBS, which affects more women (80%) than men. IBS is a real medical condition, but it is not life threatening, and will not lead to other serious diseases. In IBS, the GI tract may function differently, processing more slowly (or more quickly) than the average person. While the cause of this different "pace" of the GI tract in IBS is not known, and there is no cure, there are usually ways to help manage specific symptoms. Physicians now have more scientific knowledge and an improved range of treatment options that can provide relief for IBS sufferers. The American College of Gastroenterology has resources for patients with IBS online at and free educational materials are available by calling ACG's toll-free hotline 866-IBS-RELIEF.
About the American College of Gastroenterology
The ACG was formed in 1932 to advance the scientific study and medical treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The College promotes the highest standards in medical education and is guided by its commitment to meeting the needs of clinical gastroenterology practitioners. Consumers can get more information on GI diseases through the following ACG-sponsored programs:

  • 1-800-978-7666 (free brochures on common GI disorders, including ulcer, colon cancer, gallstones, and liver disease)
  • 1-866-IBS-RELIEF and (free educational materials)
  • 1-800-HRT-BURN (free brochure and video on heartburn and GERD)
  • (ACG's Web site)

    American College of Gastroenterology

    Related Probiotics Articles from Brightsurf:

    Probiotics may help manage childhood obesity
    Probiotics may help children and adolescents with obesity lose weight when taken alongside a calorie-controlled diet, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020.

    Which bacteria truly qualify as probiotics?
    Today, the word probiotic is used to describe all kinds of 'good' microorganisms in foods and supplements.

    AGA does not recommend the use of probiotics for most digestive conditions
    After a detailed review of available literature, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has released new clinical guidelines finding that for most digestive conditions there is not enough evidence to support the use of probiotics.

    Probiotics may help treat acne
    Acne is caused by chronic inflammation and is often treated with antibiotics.

    Beware probiotics in ICU patients
    A collaborative study published in Nature Medicine sounds a note of caution in using probiotics in the ICU.

    Using probiotics to protect honey bees against fatal disease
    A group of researchers at Western and Lawson combined their expertise in probiotics and bee biology to supplement honey bee food with probiotics, in the form a BioPatty, in their experimental apiaries.

    Scientists revealed how probiotics influence human gut bacteria
    A group of researchers from ITMO University and Knomics company studied how gut microbiota of 150 volunteers changed after a month of regular consumption of yogurt fortified with probiotics.

    Breastmilk sugars differ in pregnant women on probiotics
    The complex sugars found in human breastmilk, long believed to be fixed in their composition, may change in women who are taking probiotics, according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).

    Probiotics could help millions of patients suffering from bipolar disorder
    About 3 million people in the US are diagnosed every year with bipolar disorder, a psychiatric condition characterized by dramatic shifts in mood from depression to mania.

    Probiotics no help to young kids with stomach virus
    A major US study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

    Read More: Probiotics News and Probiotics Current Events
  • is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to