New Study: Probiotics and IBS

One of the big players in our microbiome is a type of bacteria called “lactobacillus.” There are hundreds of different lactobacillus species, all little rod-shaped guys who help convert sugar to lactic acid. And it seems that a healhty lactobacillus population can be beneficial in many ways, including preventing infection, promoting a healthy weight, and aiding in digestive health.

Click here to read more about lactobacillus on the NIH website… including a long list of all their potential do-gooding activities in our bodies.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology (Oct 2016), researchers reported that a taking a daily probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri supplement reduced the severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and altered gene expression. Thirty-four people with various types of IBS were given 1.3 x 108 units a day of L. gasseri in a yogurt-type drink for 4 weeks; a control group received a placebo drink. Improvement was using the IBS-severity index score, and compared with the control group, the severity of symptoms went down in the participants taking the probiotic. And, interestingly, the people taking L. gasseri also reported a decline in health-related anxiety.

In addition, in the test subject, IBS was associated with reduced activity of 82 genes. In the people who responded to the probiotic, 23 of these genes showed a significant increase in expression, which was associated with reduced IBS severity. Many of these 23 genes are related to promotion of cellular recovery--which indicates L. gasseri may also play a role not just in symptom reduction, but in actual repair and recovery in IBS.  The researchers concluded that L. gasseri is a “potential candidate” for treating patients with IBS.

Yogurt, anyone?

Microbiome 101Sarah Gupta