Gastrointestinal (GI) issues are, unfortunately, becoming more pervasivefrom constipation to overall GI discomfort. Many consumers have turned to products such as yogurt and kefir for their probiotic content, and rightfully so. Results from one of the world’s largest clinical studies on probiotics was published this month in the British Journal of Nutrition , which showed the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (BB-12®) improves GI health and symptoms (Sept. 18, 2015). A total of 1,248 healthy adults with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort were included in the randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. After a two-week run-in period, subjects were randomized to one or 10 billion colony-forming units (CFU) per day of BB-12 or a placebo for four weeks.
A treatment effect on average defecation frequency was found, with the frequency being significantly higher compared with placebo at all weeks for probiotic treatment overall. Effects on defecation frequency were similar for the two doses tested, suggesting that a ceiling effect was reached with the one billion dose. Overall, four weeks of suplementation with the probiotic strain BB-12 resulted in a clinically relevant benefit on defecation frequency. The results suggest that consumption of BB-12 improves the GI health of individuals whose symptoms are not sufficiently severe to consult a doctor.