Two new review articles on probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) cite growing evidence that the probiotic bacterial strain Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 is effective in helping manage IBS. Both articles point to data that suggest Bifantis (available in the U.S. only in supplement form, marketed as Align®) – has anti-inflammatory properties that help normalize gut function at a cellular level. The reviews can be found in the July 2008 issue of Nutrition in Clinical Practice.

In the first article, “Behavioral and Complementary Approaches for the Treatment of IBS,” authors note that probiotic and IBS studies are “fraught with inconsistencies” but also note that there is “increasing evidence of efficacy” for probiotics . Two studies on Bifantis are cited. The first study evaluated patients randomly receiving Lactobacillus salivarius, Bifantis or placebo, and after eight weeks found that the patients receiving Bifantis 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 study cited in the review article established the therapeutic dose for Bifantis in capsule form at 1 × 108 colony forming units as significantly superior to placebo and all other doses for improvement in abdominal pain, bloating, bowel dysfunction, straining, and gas at the end of the four week study .

“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 Liam O’Mahony, the lead investigator of the inflammation study cited in the review article. “The Bifantis 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.”

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. The article highlighted efficacy data from the O’Mahony study, noting that the patients receiving Bifantis experienced a reduction of IBS symptoms ranging from constipation, diarrhea and bloating for up to four weeks.

About Irritable Bowel Syndrome – 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.

About Bifantis® and Align®
Bifantis® (Bifidobacterium infantis 35624) is a natural probiotic strain. Clinical trials have demonstrated that regular use of Bifantis helps to build and maintain a strong, healthy digestive system. Capsules of Bifantis deliver millions of good bacteria to work within the digestive system to restore intestinal balance and maintain normal digestive health.

Align® is a daily probiotic supplement that helps build and maintain a strong and healthy digestive system. Align works by providing a natural defense against episodic digestive upsets such as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, urgency, gas, and bloating. Align is the only probiotic supplement containing Bifantis, an FDA-approved NDI. Align is sold in boxed blister packs of 28 easy-to-swallow capsules (Newswise).

References:

1. Arnold Wald and David Rakel; Behavioral and Complementary Approaches for the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Nutrition In Clinical Practice; 2008:23 (3): 284-292.

2. O’Mahony L, McCarthy J, Kelly P, et al, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptom Responses and Relationships to Cytokine Profiles, Gastroenterology, 2005;128 (3): 541-551.

3. Whorwell PJ, Altringer I, Morel J, et al, Efficacy of an Encapsulated Probiotic Bifidobacterium Infantis 35624 in Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Am. J Gastroenterol, 2006:101(7): 1581-1590.