Bifidobacteria Infantis Probiotic Use in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Two new review articles cover therapeutic approaches to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in the July issue of Nutrition in Clinical Practice, and show growing evidence that probiotics, and specifically Bifidobacterium infantis35624 (B Infantis), are effective in helping manage IBS. Both articles point to data that suggest B. Infantis – has anti-inflammatory properties that help normalize gut function at a cellular level.

Bifidobacterium infantis

Bifidobacterium infantis -Courtesy of visualphotos.com

In “Behavioral and Complementary Approaches for the Treatment of IBS,” the authors acknowledge that there is “increasing evidence of efficacy” for probiotics. The first study evaluated patients randomly receiving Lactobacillus salivarius, B. infantis or placebo, and after eight weeks found that the patients receiving B. infantis had the greatest reduction in IBS symptoms. The study also found that these patients experienced a reduction of inflammatory cytokines compared with those taking placebo.

The second review article, “Update on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gender Differences”, which cites the same study by O’Mahony et al., notes that the “strain and type of probiotic used may be responsible for the degree and type of improvement. Patients receiving B. Infantis experienced a reduction of IBS symptoms ranging from constipation, diarrhea and bloating for up to four weeks. .

“We think that imbalances in gut microflora lead to a chronic, low-level inflammation in the intestines and the presence of these inflammatory biomarkers in the bloodstream. The overall impact of these circulating biomarkers is unclear, but it’s been suggested that they could negatively impact healthy tissues,” said O’Mahony. “The B. Infantis results not only have great implications for the treatment of digestive conditions, but offer researchers a potentially new path of exploration around inflammation-based diseases like arthritis.”

About IBS

IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by a group of symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, urgency, abdominal discomfort, gas and bloating. A painful and embarrassing condition, IBS affects about 10 – 20 percent of the American population and is most common among women. The cause of IBS is unclear, but can include medication (antibiotics), stress, and dairy.

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