Background: The effects of probiotic bacteria in IBS remain controversial.
Aim: To study the effects of a probiotic product on IBS symptoms.
Methods: We randomized 74 IBS patients to receive 8 weeks of daily treatment with 400 mL milk fermented with the yoghurt bacteria and containing Lactobacillus paracasei, ssp. paracasei F19, Lactobacillus acidophilus La5 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 (Cultura; active) or acidified milk without these bacteria (control). The primary endpoint was the proportion of subjects reporting adequate relief of their IBS symptoms at least 50% of the weeks. IBS symptom severity, psychological symptoms and quality of life were assessed.
Results: The proportion of responders was 38% (14/37 patients) in the active group and 27% (10/37 patients) in the control group (P = 0.3). IBS symptom severity improved significantly in both groups during the treatment period. This change was greater in the active group during the first 2 weeks, but thereafter, no significant group differences were seen.
Conclusions: We could not detect a clearly positive effect of fermented milk containing three probiotic bacteria on GI symptoms in IBS patients compared with the control treatment. However, a trend towards a more favourable effect during the first weeks was seen in the active group.