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Probiotics: Nature’s Way To Reduce Gas, Bloating, and Abdominal Pain

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES


One of the most common disorders in the world today happens to be irritable bowel syndrome.

In fact, it is estimated that one in six people suffer from symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS for short, is a condition characterized by gas, bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain.

It is very different from irritable bowel diseases, in that it is not an inflammatory condition and there is no abnormal structure(s) in your colon.

However, it has been shown that probiotics, which are live bacteria which may be beneficial to your health, could provide some benefit to people who suffer from IBS.

In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, could show the benefits of probiotics in people suffering from IBS. 

Let me explain…

Probiotics and IBS

IBS, unlike IBD, is not an inflammatory condition that affects your intestines.

The fact is no one really understands why people develop symptoms associated with IBS. 

Some research suggests that the communication between your brain and your intestines may be one reason for increased symptoms

Your brain and your intestines communicate with each other.  However, sometimes the signal is too strong, or active (in times of stress), which can then increase the contraction of your intestines.

This could lead to increased pain, gas, bloating, and the feeling of fullness.

The authors of this study wanted to see the benefits, safety, and tolerability of probiotics in people who suffer from IBS.

They looked through databases for randomized controlled trials related to adults with IBS, single or combination probiotic vs. placebo studies, and improvements in IBS symptoms or frequency of attacks with probiotic use.

Their search yielded 16 studies that met their inclusion criteria.  However, 11 of those studies had poor data and study design amongst other issues.

However, all that hard work was not wasted.

The studies that they did find (2) showed that Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 showed significant improvements in abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, distension, and bowel movement regularity compared to placebo.

They also noted that no other probiotic showed significant improvement in IBS related symptoms.

From their work, they concluded that B. infantis 35624 could improve IBS related symptoms.

Although this study showed benefits for a specific probiotic, more research is needed to determine which probiotics are most effective as reducing IBS related symptoms.

However, this study could show that probiotics could be used to reduce certain symptoms that are associated with IBS.

Probiotics

Probiotics, which are live, cultured bacteria, have been shown to improve your health.

In fact, they have been shown to increase the colony of good bacteria in your body, aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients, and may even aid your immune system.

Now, according to the results of this study, probiotics could be a key player in reducing gas, pain, and bloating associated with IBS.

Including foods (some yogurts and unfermented milk) that contain probiotics could enhance your health and reduce gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, and distension associated with irritable bowel syndrome.



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References:

Brenner, DM.  Moeller, MJ.  Chey, WD.  Schoenfeld, PS.  The utility of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review.  Am J Gastroenterol.  2009. Vol. 104(4): pp. 1033-49.