Recent research suggests that a certain microbe, Bifidobacterium infantis, relieves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome to a degree that is comparable to common drugs prescribed for the treatment of this condition.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that involves symptoms of cramping, diarrhea and constipation.
Previous studies of probiotic preparations have been small and yielded inconsistent results. In contrast, treatment with another probiotic microbe, Lactobacillus salivarius, appears to have no effect.
For the current study, 75 irritable bowel syndrome patients were randomly assigned to take L. salivarius or B. infantis mixed in a malted milk drink or the malted milk drink alone every morning for 8 weeks. Patients kept track of their symptoms on diary cards collected weekly for analysis. The B. infantis mixture was better than the malted drink alone at reducing overall symptoms, abdominal pain and discomfort, and bloating. In contrast, the L. salivarius mixture was no better than the malted drink alone in reducing symptoms.
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