Background: Alterations of intestinal flora, such as reduction in the concentration of bifidobacteria and increase in that of Bacteroides species, are apparently associated with the severity of ulcerative colitis.
Objective: We conducted a randomised clinical trial of the use of a bifidobacteria-fermented milk (BFM) supplement as a dietary adjunct in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Methods: The subjects were randomly divided into two groups: a group with BFM supplementation (BFM group, 11 subjects) and a control group (control group, 10 subjects). The BFM group was given 100 mL/day of BFM for one year. Colonoscopies, general blood markers and examinations of intestinal flora including the analysis of fecal organic acids were performed at the commencement of the study and after one year.
Results: Exacerbation of symptoms was seen in 3 out of 11 subjects in the BFM group and in 9 out of 10 in the control group. Log rank statistic analysis of the cumulative exacerbation rates showed a significant reduction in exacerbations for the BFM group (p = 0.0184). The analysis of microflora and the organic acids in the feces showed a significant reduction in the relative proportion of B. vulgatus in Bacteroidaceae and butyrate concentration, respectively, after supplementation with BFM, in comparison with before.
Conclusion: Supplementation with the BFM product was successful in maintaining remission and had possible preventive effects on the relapse of ulcerative colitis.