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Probiotics Role in IBS DebatedProbiotics Role in IBS Debated

November 23, 2009

2 Min Read
Probiotics Role in IBS Debated

LONDONInternational gastroenterology and microbiology experts were invited by Institut Rosell-Lallemand to share and discuss with representatives from the pharma and health care industry the latest research on probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) ahead of the UEGW/Gastro 2009 conference. As from the clinicians , since there is no cure for this debilitating chronic disorder, other than symptomatic treatments, both patients and physicians are frustrated and in need of effective and global solutions. Certain probiotics are backed by strong scientific evidence and recognized as effective and safe solutions to tackle IBS symptoms in patients. The particular probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, which was at the center of attention, is one of the best documented probiotic strains for IBS, showing benefits on all symptoms (abdominal pain, bloating, changes in digestive transit) in randomized, double blind, placebo-control trials, similar to the type of studies  used to test drugs.

Lynne V. McFarland, Ph.D., research health specialist, Puget Sound Veterans administration & affiliate associate professor, University of Washington, Seattle, spent two decades investigating the clinical use of probiotics. She explained how changes in the gut microflora were associated with IBS, hence probiotics, with their ability to act on the microflora balance, were a good strategy in IBS. But she also insisted that not all probiotics were equal: Unlike a pharmacological molecule which will have a specific action on a given target, probiotics are live microorganisms and their effects are based on their biological activity in the gut. Because all strains are different, depending on the probiotic characteristics but also its environmentthe hostand the quality of the products, its effects will be different. We have to keep in mind that one strain cannot do everything. 

When it comes to the consumer, faced by a multitude of offers in the store or from the internet, Mc Farland recommends following some basic guidelines:

  • Selecting the appropriate strain for a given application

  • Checking that efficacy isbe based on solid scientific evidence

  • Sourcing the product from a reputable manufacturer with high level of quality and safety

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