BY BENJAMIN MAKEHAM November 30, 2021
Abnormalities in the gut microbiome are believed to be an important underlying cause of functional gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS. As a result, probiotics have long been investigated for potential benefits in these conditions because of their targeted effects on the composition and function of the gut microbiome. The research has shown that specific probiotic strains have demonstrated a significant ability to relieve the symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS in human clinical trials.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is diagnosed when all other causes for irregular bowel habits and digestive discomfort are ruled out. The cause of this collection of uncomfortable digestive symptoms is still under investigation, but it is thought to involve a complex combination of many different factors.
As the gut microbiota can influence so many different aspects of gastrointestinal function (including hormones, nerve cell function, gut barrier integrity, and inflammation), it is often considered to be one of the most important contributing factors to IBS.
For example, research into potential underlying causes of IBS has revealed abnormalities in the composition of the gut microbiome in people with IBS when compared to healthy people. These changes to the gut microbiome are thought to contribute to hormonal and nerve cell dysfunction, leaky gut, and increased inflammation, which in turn cause IBS symptoms such as alternating bowel habits, bloating and abdominal pain.
Therefore, abnormalities in the gut microbiome are being considered as an underlying cause of functional gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS. These changes can be caused by many different factors, including acute gastrointestinal infections (e.g. food poisoning), poor diet and lifestyle, or medications such as antibiotics.
Because of the role that the gut microbiome plays in IBS, research has investigated the potential for probiotics (live beneficial bacteria) to reduce the severity of symptoms and resolve IBS. Unsurprisingly, a number of different probiotic strains have been shown to help to restore balance to the gut microbiome, improve the way the digestive system functions, and offer symptom relief.
However, clinical research performed on probiotic strains in IBS has demonstrated varying levels of effectiveness, depending on the strain used, with some strains clearly offering greater benefits than others. Therefore, when selecting a probiotic for IBS, it is important to select a probiotic with strains that have been shown to be effective in human clinical trials.
L. plantarum 299v is one of the most extensively studied probiotic strains in IBS and has demonstrated a consistently strong ability to relieve symptoms of IBS.
In a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trial, people who took 10 billion CFU of L. plantarum 299v demonstrated a significant reduction in the severity of their abdominal pain and bloating within 4 weeks when compared to those who took a placebo (2). After 4 weeks, 78% of people who took the probiotic rated the effect of their treatment as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, compared to only 8% for those who received the placebo only. Other clinical trials have also demonstrated significant reductions in flatulence, abdominal pain and overall IBS symptoms (3, 4).
As one of the most extensively studied probiotic strains available, L. rhamnosus GG offers many different benefits to the health of the digestive tract and has also demonstrated an ability to improve IBS symptoms.
In a randomised 6-week controlled trial, people who received L. rhamnosus GG demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the severity of their IBS symptoms when compared to those who continued a normal (Western) diet. (5).
The gut microbiota is an important target in the management of IBS due to its ability to influence many different aspects of digestive health. Specific probiotic strains can therefore provide assistance in the management of IBS by helping to restore balance to the gut microbiome, improving digestive function, and relieving symptoms. Biome IBS™ was formulated to create a targeted probiotic for IBS relief and includes two specific probiotic strains which have been shown to significantly improve symptoms of IBS in human clinical trials: Lactobacillus plantarum 299v and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use.
To relieve the symptoms of medically diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome