Background: Recent data suggest a role for the intestinal microbiota in the pathogenesis of functional bowel disorders (FBDs). Probiotic studies in FBDs generated inconsistent results suggesting a strain-specific and product-specific effect.
Aim: To investigate the clinical efficacy of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM (L-NCFM) and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 (B-LBi07) in nonconstipation FBDs.
Methods: A double-blind, placebo-control clinical trial of the probiotic bacterias L-NCFM and B-LBi07 twice a day (2×10(11) CFU/d) versus placebo over 8 weeks. Primary endpoints were global relief of gastrointestinal symptoms and satisfaction with treatment. Secondary endpoints were change in symptoms severity, well-being, and quality of life. Microbiological effect was assessed by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction on fecal samples.
Results: Sixty patients (probiotic, n=31; placebo, n=29), 72% females, 84% whites, mean age 37 years. Abdominal bloating improved in the probiotics compared with the placebo group at 4 weeks (4.10 vs 6.17, P=0.009; change in bloating severity P=0.02) and 8 weeks (4.26 vs 5.84, P=0.06; change in bloating severity P<0.01). Analyses on the irritable bowel syndrome subgroup (n=33) showed similar results.
Conclusions: L-NCFM and B-LBi07 twice a day improve symptoms of bloating in patients with FBDs. These data supports the role of intestinal bacteria in the pathophysiology of FBD and the role for probiotic bacteria in the management of these disorders.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00618904.