Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder of unknown aetiology.
The effect of probiotics in this syndrome remains unclear.
Dr Korpela and colleagues investigated whether a probiotic mixture is effective in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
The probiotic mixture contained Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. rhamnosus LC705, Bifidobacterium breve Bb99 and Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. and Shermanii JS.
The researchers included a total of 103 patients fulfilling the Rome I or II criteria in this 6-month, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial.
The patients received a probiotic capsule or a placebo capsule daily, and the team recorded gastrointestinal symptoms and bowel habits.
| Total symptom score including abdominal pain, was 8% points lower in the probiotic group|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
At the end the total symptom score, consisting of abdominal pain, distension, flatulence, and borborygmi was 8% points lower in the probiotic group.
The reduction in total symptom score represents a median reduction of 42% in the symptom score of the probiotic group compared with 6% in the placebo group.
In individual symptoms, the team found that borborygmi was milder in the probiotic group.
The researchers noted that for the rest of the symptoms there was a non-significant reducing trend.
Dr Korpela's team commented, “The results indicate that this probiotic mixture is effective in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.”
“Considering the high prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome and the lack of effective therapies, even a slight reduction in symptoms could have positive public health consequences.”