Bifidogenic growth stimulator for the treatment of active ulcerative colitis: a pilot study

Nutrition. 2006 Jan;22(1):76-81. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2005.04.013. Epub 2005 Oct 12.


Objectives: Experimental studies have shown that luminal antigens are involved in chronic intestinal inflammatory disorders. Bifidogenic growth stimulator (BGS) is a prebiotic preparation produced by Propionibacterium freudenreichii isolated from Swiss cheese. Previously BGS was shown to act in the colon as a growth stimulator of Bifidobacteria. This study investigated the efficacy and safety of BGS in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

Methods: Twelve patients with mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis received orally 4.5 g of BGS daily for 4 wk in an open-label treatment protocol while the baseline anti-inflammatory therapy was continued. The response to treatment was evaluated clinically and endoscopically. Concentrations of short-chain fatty acids and the composition of commensal bacteria, including Bifidobacteria, Enterobacteria and Bacteroides species, were studied in stool samples.

Results: Patients showed improvement in their clinical activity index scores, with a significant decrease in the score from 7.4 +/- 2.8 to 4.7 +/- 1.5 (mean +/- standard error of the mean, P < 0.01). The endoscopic index score decreased from 4.4 +/- 1.7 to 2.8 +/- 1.8 (P < 0.05) with treatment. Patients showed an increase in stool butyrate concentrations after BGS treatment (P < 0.05). There were no significant changes in stool levels of bacteria as a result of BGS treatment. No side effects related to BGS were observed.

Conclusions: Oral BGS therapy may represent a non-toxic way to treat ulcerative colitis. However, controlled studies are needed to demonstrate its efficacy in the treatment of this disorder.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bifidobacterium / growth & development*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Probiotics* / administration & dosage
  • Probiotics* / adverse effects
  • Propionibacterium / physiology*
  • Safety
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fatty Acids, Volatile