Efficacy of a Synbiotic Containing Lactobacillus paracasei DKGF1 and Opuntia humifusa in Elderly Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Gut Liver. 2022 May 25. doi: 10.5009/gnl210478. Online ahead of print.


Background/aims: There is increasing evidence that supplementation with pre- and probiotics appears to have positive effects on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a new synbiotic formulation on gastrointestinal symptoms in elderly patients with IBS.

Methods: Sixty-seven IBS patients aged ≥60 years were randomly assigned to either a placebo group (n=34) or a synbiotic group (n=33). During a 4-week intervention, subjects used a placebo or a synbiotic containing Lactobacillus paracasei DKGF1 and extracts of Opuntia humifusa once a day. Patients were evaluated with the subject global assessment, visual analog scale, and Bristol stool chart. The primary outcome was the overall responder rate and the secondary outcome was the responder rates for abdominal symptom reduction at week 4.

Results: Overall, responder rates were significantly higher in the synbiotic group (51.5%) than in the placebo group (23.5%) (p=0.017). Abdominal pain (58.8% vs 81.8%) and psychological well-being (26.4% vs 60.6%) were noticeably improved in the synbiotic group (p=0.038 and p=0.004, respectively). However, there were no significant differences in gas and bloating symptoms (p=0.88 and p=0.88, respectively). In patients with constipation-dominant and diarrhea-dominant IBS (n=16), the synbiotic significantly improved abdominal pain and defecation symptoms (responder rates for the placebo vs the synbiotic: 22.2% vs 85.7%, p=0.04). There were no adverse events in either group.

Conclusions: The results indicate that this new synbiotic supplement can potentially relieve abdominal symptoms in elderly IBS patients.

Keywords: Aged; Irritable bowel syndrome; Lactobacillus paracasei; Opuntia humifusa; Synbiotics.