Review of probiotics in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A review by researchers at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL.) and University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) of the utility of probiotics in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) found that Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 was the only probiotic strain out of 13 different individual strains or preparations reviewed to significantly improve symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain, bloating and bowel movement difficulty.

Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 is marketed as Bifantis® and can be found in a daily probiotic supplement by Procter & Gamble. The researchers reviewed 16 random-controlled-studies, evaluating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of probiotics in the treatment of IBS. With the exception of the Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 studies, researchers found the other trials did not use an appropriate study design and did not adequately report adverse events. The article was published on the American Journal of Gastroenterology website in advance of appearing in the publication's April 2009 issue 1 .

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects one in five Americans and treatment options are limited. Darren. M Brenner, Division of Gastroenterology and Department of Internal Medicine, at Northwestern University and lead investigator of this study, hypothesized that alterations in gut microflora may contribute to the development of IBS symptoms, and believed these symptoms could be improved by probiotics. "Probiotics are gaining popularity for the treatment of multiple gastrointestinal disorders, including IBS," said Brenner, MD. "After assessment of the methodological and statistical designs of these studies, B. infantis 35624 was the only probiotic that showed repeated efficacy."

Clinical evidence and support for Bifantis continues to grow

Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, discovered in the early 1990s by microbiologists at Alimentary Health in Cork, Ireland in partnership with P&G, has been independently tested and evaluated in several clinical trials conducted with humans. This latest review provides continued clinical evidence of Bifantis efficacy in helping to manage a range of gastrointestinal issues including abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas and urgency. Bifantis efficacy data has been published or referenced in several medical journals, including the American Journal of Gastroenterology 2 , Gastroenterology 3 , New England Journal of Medicine 4 , Public Library of Science ( PLoS ) 5 and Nutrition in Clinical Practice 6 . Bifantis is found in the number one gastroenterologist recommended probiotic supplement in the United States 7 .

Susan Abeln, Principal Scientist at Procter & Gamble said, "P&G has worked with Alimentary Health to study and develop a supplement with Bifantis because we firmly believe in the benefits of this strain for the millions of Americans struggling to manage digestive upsets each day. We're excited to make Bifantis available to consumers nationwide this spring."

Further credentialing the probiotic strain, P&G recently announced that Bifantis meets the probiotic guidelines established by The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP). These guidelines include five key criteria that consumers should consider when selecting a probiotic product - strain specificity, clinical proof, packaging, and the quality and quantity of probiotics in a product. Bifantis is proven to fully meet these guidelines, making it a good option for those who want to build and maintain a natural defense against abdominal discomfort and episodic digestive upsets such as constipation, diarrhea, urgency, gas and bloating.

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