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Bill Downs
Bill Downs is an expert on diet and digestion.
Bill is the author of the Trafon (spell it backwards) blog

Bill has unsurpassed knowledge of how nutrients help the body heal. Involved with nutritional information for over 20 years, Bill has lectured worldwide, is a published author, and has penned a number of papers in cited peer-reviewed scientific journals. A recognized expert in his field , Bill has had over 75 TV , Radio and Newspaper interviews. Bill's five years of post-graduate education in Nutrition Science and Biological Chemistry along with his years of clinical experience as a nutrition consultant have given him great insight into the modern human condition, the needless suffering of people, and a profound appreciation for the body's miraculous capabilities to heal itself when properly supported by nutrition.

In The News

World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states; probiotics are "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".

"In conclusion, probiotics act as an adjuvant in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of chronic diseases" (from a paper presented by Broekaert and Walker of Harvard Medical School , Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children

Elderly people should take probiotic supplements, according to scientists.

One a Meal

Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS )

Irritable Bowel Syndrome , IBS , is a digestive tract ailment that occurs when the muscles in the intestines don't function properly and the colon experiences heightened pain perception. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is typically characterized by the symtoms of gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or constipation or both. Some studies have shown that an imbalance in the intestinal microflora ( ratio of "good” and "bad" bacteria ) in the intestine may be an important factor in the development of symptoms for some people with IBS. (Madden et al., 2002)
For example, the composition of the intestinal microflora may affect the ability of the colon to contract and relax. A recent study out of Canada described results related to probiotics and smooth muscle hypercontractability in an animal model of postinfective irritable bowel syndrome. (Verdu et al., 2004) Studies have also explored the relationship between pain associated with IBS following regular consumption of probiotics (Saggioro, 2004) (Si et al., 2004).

Probiotics and IBS Studies (Kim et al., 2006) (Krammer et al., 2006) (Camilleri, 2006) (Spiller et al., 2006) (Chang et al., 2006) (Kajander et al., 2005) (Bittner et al., 2005) (O'Mahony et al., 2005) (Sach et al., 2002) (Suarez et al., 1999)

Clinical Studies
Below are abstracts of referenced clinical studies from the PubMed site , a service of the Unite States National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health.

Probiotic Drug Therapy with E. coli Strain Nissle 1917 (EcN): Results of a Prospective Study of the Records of 3807 Patients

Krammer HJ, Kamper H, von Bunau R, Zieseniss E, Stange C, Schlieger F, Clever I, Schulze J.
Praxis fur Gastroenterologie am Enddarmzentrum Mannheim.

INTRODUCTION: Living microorganisms that enter the gut in an active state and exert a positive influence on the host are called probiotics. Numerous experimental and clinical studies were performed recently and confirm both the efficacy and modes of action of probiotic drugs. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In a post-marketing-surveillance study with the probiotic ESCHERICHIA COLI strain Nissle 1917 (EcN) data on the range of indications as well as on efficacy and tolerance were gathered prospectively in 446 centres. The intended treatment duration was limited to a maximum of 12 weeks. RESULTS: EcN was used in 3807 patients with more than 20 different indications, n = 3511 of whom had gastrointestinal complaints: Among others, 1067 patients presented with chronically recurring (n = 728) or protracted diarrhoea (n = 339), 415 with inflammatory bowel disease, 679 with irritable bowel syndrome, and 253 with chronic constipation. The overall efficacy was assessed as good to very good by an average of 81.4 % of the therapists. The stool frequency and consistency as well as the symptoms of meteorism and abdominal pain were improved in very many patients. Suspected cases of side effects were documented in only 2.8 % of the patients. CONCLUSION: EcN is frequently used in practice for the treatment of various, mostly gastrointestinal, complaints and is well tolerated.

Probiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Rationale, Putative Mechanisms, and Evidence of Clinical Efficacy

Camilleri M.
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. camilleri.michael@mayo.edu

The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) follows an acute, presumably infectious diarrheal illness in approximately 15% of patients. There may be a persistent, mild inflammatory state with changes in mucosal function or structure. Changes in the colonic bacterial flora reported in IBS seem related to predominant bowel. Colonic bacteria normally metabolize nutrients with the formation of gas and short chain fatty acids. The latter may induce propulsive contractions and accelerate colonic transit or they may enhance fluid and sodium absorption in the colon. This review addresses the mechanisms, rationale and current evidence for the efficacy of probiotics, including Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, and VSL#3, in the treatment of IBS. The mechanisms influenced by probiotics include immune function, motility, and the intraluminal milieu. Probiotics may suppress the low-grade inflammation associated with IBS or restore normal local immune function. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria subspecies are able to deconjugate and absorb bile acids, potentially reducing the colonic mucosal secretion of mucin and fluids that may contribute to functional diarrhea or IBS with diarrhea. Therapeutic trials show the potential benefit of Bifidobacteria or Lactobacilli species alone or in the specific probiotic combination, VSL#3, on symptoms in IBS. Colonic transit was retarded in IBS patients treated with VSL#3 without induction of significant changes in bowel function. In summary, probiotics are promising therapies in IBS.

The Effects of Probiotics on Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Kim YG, Moon JT, Lee KM, Chon NR, Park H.
Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) tract disorder that has heterogeneous clinical presentations such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal distension. It is known that several mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of IBS. Probiotics may target one or more pathophysiologic pathways in IBS and may improve the symptoms of IBS. However, the results of studies about probiotics on IBS are controversial. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of probiotics on GI symptoms and intestinal gas volume changes in patients with IBS. METHODS: Forty patients were randomly allocated to be treated with Medilac DS (Bacillus subtilis, Streptococcus faecium) (n=20) or placebo (n=20) in a double-blind, prospective manner. The change in intestinal gas volume and symptom scores after 4-week treatment were evaluated for the efficacy. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in bloating, frequency of gas expulsion, frequency of defecation, and hardness of stool before and after the treatment. However, the severity of abdominal pain and the frequency of abdominal pain decreased significantly in Medilac DS group (2.4+/-1.3 cm/day --> 1.6+/-1.6 cm/day, 1.7+/-1.3/day --> 1.0+/-1.0/day) (p=0.044, p=0.038), but not in placebo group (2.1+/-2.0 cm/day --> 1.8+/-2.1 cm/day, 1.3+/-1.2/day --> 1.4+/-1.9/day). In both groups, intestinal gas volume at baseline, after 2-week treatment, and after 4-week treatment did not show significant change. Medilac DS was well tolerated without adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Medilac DS is a safe and useful probiotic agent for the treatment of abdominal pain in patients with IBS.

Current Gut Directed Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Chang HY, Kelly EC, Lembo AJ.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard University Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Dana 501, Boston, MA 02215, USA. alembo@bidmc.harvard.edu.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that can present with a wide array of symptoms that make treatment difficult. Current therapies are directed at relieving symptoms of abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Pharmacologic agents used to treat IBS-associated pain include myorelaxants, peppermint oil, and peripherally acting opiates. Dicyclomine and hyoscyamine, the two myorelaxants available in the United States, have not been proven effective in reducing abdominal pain in patients with IBS. The efficacy of peppermint oil is debated, but methodological problems with existing studies preclude definitive judgment. Loperamide is ineffective for relief of abdominal pain. For IBS patients with excessive abdominal bloating, a small number of studies suggest that bacterial eradication with gut-directed antibiotics and bacterial reconstitution with nonpathogenic probiotics may reduce flatulence. For constipation-predominant (C-IBS) symptoms, current treatment options include fiber supplementation, polyethylene glycol, and tegaserod. Soluble fibers (ispaghula, calcium polycarbophil, psyllium) are more effective than insoluble fibers (wheat bran, corn fiber) in alleviating global symptoms and relieving constipation, although fiber in general has marginal benefit in treatment of overall IBS symptoms. Polyethylene glycol increases bowel frequency in chronic constipation, but its overall efficacy against IBS is unclear. Tegaserod, a 5-HT(4) agonist, demonstrates superiority over placebo in improving bowel frequency and stool consistency and alleviating abdominal pain and bloating in women with C-IBS. Overall global symptoms are modestly improved with tegaserod when compared with placebo. Additional agents under investigation for C-IBS include the ClC(2) chloride channel opener lubiprostone, mu-opioid receptor antagonist alvimopan, and 5-HT(4) agonist renzapride. For diarrhea-predominant (D-IBS) symptoms, available therapies include loperamide, alosetron, and clonidine. Alosetron, a 5-HT(3) antagonist, is superior to placebo for reducing bowel frequency, improving stool consistency, and relieving abdominal pain in women with D-IBS. However, alosetron is available under a restricted license because of concerns for ischemic colitis and severe constipation necessitating colectomy. Clonidine may be helpful in alleviating global symptoms for D-IBS patients.

Post-infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Spiller R, Campbell E.
Wolfson Digestive Diseases Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham, UK. Robin.Spiller@nottingham.ac.uk

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Irritable bowel syndrome patients form a heterogeneous group with a variable contribution of central and peripheral components. The peripheral component is prominent in irritable bowel syndrome developing after infection (post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome) and this has proved a profitable area of research. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies have overthrown the dogma that irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by no abnormality of structure by demonstrating low-grade lymphocytic infiltration in the gut mucosa, increased permeability and increases in other inflammatory components including enterochromaffin and mast cells. Furthermore, increased inflammatory cytokines in both mucosa and blood have been demonstrated in irritable bowel syndrome. While steroid treatment has proved ineffective, preliminary studies with probiotics exerting an anti-inflammatory effect have shown benefit. SUMMARY: The study of post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome has revealed the importance of low-grade inflammation in causing irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. It has suggested novel approaches to irritable bowel syndrome including studies of serotonin and histamine metabolism which may be relevant to other subtypes of the disease.

Intestinal Microecology and Quality of Life in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients

Si JM, Yu YC, Fan YJ, Chen SJ.
Department of Gastroenterology, Sir Run Run Shaw Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310016, Zhejiang Province, China. sijm@163.net

AIM: It has been noticed that gastroenteritis or dysentery plays a role in pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and antibiotics can increase functional abdominal symptoms, both of which may be partly due to intestinal flora disorders. This study was to determine the change of gut flora of IBS, a cluster of abdominal symptoms. Because of the chronic course and frequent occurrence of the disease, IBS patients suffered much from it. So the quality of life (Qol) of IBS patients was also evaluated in this study. METHODS: Twenty-five Rome II criteria-positive IBS patients were recruited, and 25 age and gender-matched healthy volunteers were accepted as control. The fecal flora, including Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, C. perfringens Enterobacteriacea and Enterococus, were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. We also calculated the ratio of Bifidobacterium to Enterobacteriaceae (B/E ratio) in both IBS patients and controls. In both groups, the data were further analyzed based on age difference, and comparisons were made between the younger and elder subgroups. We also evaluated the quality of life (QoL) of IBS patients and the control group using the Chinese version of SF-36 health questionnaire. RESULTS: In IBS patients, the number of fecal Bifidobacterium was significantly decreased and that of Enterobacteriaceae was significantly increased compared with that in healthy controls (both P<0.05).The mean microbial colonization resistance (CR) of the bowel in IBS patients was smaller than 1, making a significant difference compared with that in control which was more than 1 (P<0.01). There was no significant difference in gut flora between two subgroups. While in control, the elder subgroup presented more Enterobacteriacea than the younger one (P<0.05). Compared with the control group, IBS patients had significantly lower scores on all SF-36 scales, with the exception of physical functioning. However, there was no significant correlation between quality of life and enteric symptoms in IBS patients. CONCLUSION: There are intestinal flora disorders in IBS patients, which may be involved in triggering the IBS-like symptoms. IBS patients experience significant impairment in QoL, however, the impairment is not caused directly by enteric symptoms.

Lactobacillus Paracasei Normalizes Muscle Hypercontractility in a Murine Model of Postinfective Gut Dysfunction

Verdu EF, Bercik P, Bergonzelli GE, Huang XX, Blennerhasset P, Rochat F, Fiaux M, Mansourian R, Corthesy-Theulaz I, Collins SM.
McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, HSC 3N5C, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. bercikp@mcmaster.ca

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The effects of probiotics on gut dysfunction in postinfective irritable bowel syndrome are unknown. We tested whether probiotics influence persistent muscle hypercontractility in mice after recovery from infection with Trichinella spiralis and analyzed the underlying mechanisms. METHODS: Mice were gavaged with Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus johnsonii, Bifidobacterium longum, or Bifidobacterium lactis in spent culture medium from days 10 to 21 after infection. Additional mice received heat-inactivated Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus paracasei -free spent culture medium, or heat-inactivated Lactobacillus paracasei -free spent culture medium. Lactobacilli enumeration, immunohistochemistry, and cytokine detection (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were performed. Mice were also treated with Lactobacillus paracasei or Lactobacillus paracasei -free spent culture medium from days 18 to 28 after infection. Contractility was measured on days 21 and 28 after infection. RESULTS: Lactobacillus paracasei, but not Lactobacillus johnsonii, Bifidobacterium lactis, or Bifidobacterium longum, attenuated muscle hypercontractility. This was associated with a reduction in the Trichinella spiralis -associated T-helper 2 response and a reduction in transforming growth factor-beta1, cyclooxygenase-2, and prostaglandin E 2 levels in muscle. Attenuation of muscle hypercontractility by Lactobacillus paracasei -free spent culture medium was abolished after heat treatment. Improvement of muscle hypercontractility at day 28 after infection was also observed after the administration of Lactobacillus paracasei or Lactobacillus paracasei -free spent culture medium from day 18 after infection. CONCLUSIONS: Probiotics show strain-dependent attenuation of muscle hypercontractility in an animal model of postinfective irritable bowel syndrome. This likely occurs via both a modulation of the immunologic response to infection and a direct effect of Lactobacillus paracasei or a heat-labile metabolite on postinfective muscle hypercontractility. Lactobacillus paracasei may be useful in the treatment of postinfective irritable bowel syndrome.

A Probiotic Mixture Alleviates Symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients

Kajander K, Hatakka K, Poussa T, Farkkila M, Korpela R.
Valio Ltd, Research Centre, Helsinki, Finland.

BACKGROUND: Irritable bowel syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder of unknown aetiology. The effect of probiotics in this syndrome remains unclear. AIM: To investigate whether a probiotic mixture containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. rhamnosus LC705, Bifidobacterium breve Bb99 and Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS is effective in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. METHODS: A total of 103 patients fulfilling the Rome I or II criteria took part in this 6-month, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. The patients received a probiotic capsule or a placebo capsule daily. Gastrointestinal symptoms and bowel habits were recorded. RESULTS: At the end the total symptom score (abdominal pain + distension + flatulence + borborygmi) was 7.7 (95% CI: -13.9 to -1.6) points lower in the probiotic group (P = 0.015). This represents a median reduction of 42% in the symptom score of the probiotic group compared with 6% in the placebo group. In individual symptoms, borborygmi was milder in the probiotic group (P = 0.008), and for the rest of the symptoms there was a non-significant trend. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that this probiotic mixture is effective in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Considering the high prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome and the lack of effective therapies, even a slight reduction in symptoms could have positive public health consequences.

Prescript-Assist Probiotic - Prebiotic Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Bittner AC, Croffut RM, Stranahan MC.
Battelle Seattle Research Center, Washington, USA. drbittner@comcast.net

BACKGROUND: The symptomatic efficacy of Prescript-Assist (Safer Medical, Inc., Fort Benton, Montana), a treatment combining probiotic and prebiotic components, has previously been evaluated clinically only in an open-label study in patients with various gastrointestinal conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted primarily to compare the effects of Prescript-Assist with placebo in patients with a diagnosis of IBS. Toward this objective, a secondary methodologic goal was to determine the number and nature of symptom clusters ("subsyndromic factors") that characterize IBS. METHODS: This was a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in which patients were randomly assigned to receive either Prescript-Assist one 500-mg capsule BID or 1 placebo capsule BID for 2 weeks. Thirteen IBS symptoms identified from the clinical literature were embedded in a larger research instrument. Using a scale from 0 to 5, patients rated the intensity of these symptoms for the 7-day period immediately before the start of treatment, at the end of each study week, and after each of the 2 subsequent weeks (during which all patients received open-label Prescript-Assist as part of a larger study evaluating methodologic approaches to enhancing assessments of medication efficacy/safety). The symptom-intensity data were subjected to maximum likelihood factor analysis with varimax rotation to identify any IBS subsyndromic factors, and the effect of treatment on each of the identified factors was evaluated using analyses of covariance with appropriate baseline-week assessments as covariate controls. RESULTS: The study included 25 patients with IBS (23 women, 2 men; age range, 20-70 years). Three subsyndromic factors were identified that together accounted for 60.2% of total IBS symptom variance: factor 1, general ill feelings/nausea; factor 2, indigestion/flatulence; and factor 3, colitis. Treatment with Prescript-Assist was associated with significant reductions in each of the subsyndromic factors. Factor 1 was significantly reduced by 0.345 standard score units (F(1,46) = 4.26; P = 0.042), factor 2 by 0.544 standard score units (F(1,46) = 7.83; P = 0.008), and factor 3 by 0.826 standard score units (F(1,46) = 10.20; P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: This study identified 3 subsyndromic factors of IBS: general ill feelings/nausea, indigestion/flatulence, and colitis. In this methodologically oriented double-blind study in patients with IBS, combined probiotic-prebiotic treatment with Prescript-Assist was associated with significant reductions in these factors.

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

O'Mahony L, McCarthy J, Kelly P, Hurley G, Luo F, Chen K, O'Sullivan GC, Kiely B, Collins JK, Shanahan F, Quigley EM.
Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The aim of this study was to compare the response of symptoms and cytokine ratios in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with ingestion of probiotic preparations containing a lactobacillus or bifidobacterium strain. METHODS: Seventy-seven subjects with IBS were randomized to receive either Lactobacillus salivarius UCC4331 or Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, each in a dose of 1 x 10 10 live bacterial cells in a malted milk drink, or the malted milk drink alone as placebo for 8 weeks. The cardinal symptoms of IBS were recorded on a daily basis and assessed each week. Quality of life assessment, stool microbiologic studies, and blood sampling for estimation of peripheral blood mononuclear cell release of the cytokines interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-12 were performed at the beginning and at the end of the treatment phase. RESULTS: For all symptoms, with the exception of bowel movement frequency and consistency, those randomized to B infantis 35624 experienced a greater reduction in symptom scores; composite and individual scores for abdominal pain/discomfort, bloating/distention, and bowel movement difficulty were significantly lower than for placebo for those randomized to B infantis 35624 for most weeks of the treatment phase. At baseline, patients with IBS demonstrated an abnormal IL-10/IL-12 ratio, indicative of a proinflammatory, Th-1 state. This ratio was normalized by B infantis 35624 feeding alone. CONCLUSIONS: B infantis 35624 alleviates symptoms in IBS; this symptomatic response was associated with normalization of the ratio of an anti-inflammatory to a proinflammatory cytokine, suggesting an immune-modulating role for this organism, in this disorder.

Probiotics in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Saggioro A.
Digestive Diseases, Hepatology and Clinical Nutrition Department, Umberto I Hospital, Venice, Italy. asaggioro@hotmail.com

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may be diagnosed on the presence of symptoms, according to Rome II criteria, [corrected] and some studies have shown that abnormal colonic fermentation may be an important factor in the development of symptoms in some patients with IBS. Since the fermentation [corrected] of substrates by the intestinal flora may play a key role in the use of probiotics in the treatment of IBS, seventy [corrected] patients (31 [corrected] males, 39 [corrected] females), mean age 40 years (range = 26-64 years) with IBS, according to Rome II criteria, were enrolled into the study after informed consensus. Patients were randomly assigned to receive for 4 weeks [corrected] either the active preparation containing Lactobacillus plantarum LP 01 [corrected] and Bifidobacterium breve BR 03 [corrected] or Lactobacillus plantarum LP 01 and Lactobacillus acidophilus LA 02, all strains at concentrations of 5 x 10(9) CFU/g) [corrected] or placebo powder containing starch identical to the study product [corrected] To evaluate treatment efficacy two different scores were considered [corrected] Pain score in different abdominal locations after treatment decreased in probiotics groups A and B 42% and 49% versus 25% [corrected] (P < 0.05) in [corrected] placebo group after 14 days and 45% and 49% versus 29.5% [corrected] (P < 0.001) after 28 days. The severity score of characteristic IBD symptoms significantly decreased in probiotic groups A and B [corrected] versus placebo group after 14 days, 49.3% and 55.6% [corrected] versus 8% [corrected] (P < 0.001), and these data were confirmed after 28 days (56% and 55.6% versus 14.4% [corrected] P < 0.001). In conclusion, short-term therapy with Lactobacillus plantarum LP 01 and Bifidobacterium breve BR 03 or Lactobacillus plantarum LP 01 and Lactobacillus acidophilus LA 02 [corrected] may be considered a promising approach for IBS therapy [corrected]

A Review of the Role of the Gut Microflora in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Effects of Probiotics

Madden JA, Hunter JO.
Gastroenterology Research Unit, Unit E7, Box 201 A, Addenbrookes NHS Trust, Hill's Road, CB2 2QQ, Cambridge, UK.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a multi-factorial gastrointestinal condition affecting 8-22 % of the population with a higher prevalence in women and accounting for 20-50 % of referrals to gastroenterology clinics. It is characterised by abdominal pain, excessive flatus, variable bowel habit and abdominal bloating for which there is no evidence of detectable organic disease. Suggested aetiologies include gut motility and psychological disorders, psychophysiological phenomena and colonic malfermentation. The faecal microflora in IBS has been shown to be abnormal with higher numbers of facultative organisms and low numbers of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Although there is no evidence of food allergy in IBS, food intolerance has been identified and exclusion diets are beneficial to many IBS patients. Food intolerance may be due to abnormal fermentation of food residues in the colon, as a result of disruption of the normal flora. The role of probiotics in IBS has not been clearly defined. Some studies have shown improvements in pain and flatulence in response to probiotic administration, whilst others have shown no symptomatic improvement. It is possible that the future role of probiotics in IBS will lie in prevention, rather than cure.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Sach JA, Chang L.
UCLA/CURE Neuroenteric Disease Program, 11301 Wilshire Blvd Bldg 115, Room 213, Los Angeles, CA 90073, USA. E-mail: joelsach@yahoo.com

Because treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients can be frustrating to the clinician and patient as well, the physician should strive to gain the patient's confidence with a concise, appropriate work-up and by offering reassurance and education that IBS is a functional disorder without significant long-term health risks. First-line treatment should be aimed at treating the most bothersome symptom. Tricyclic antidepressants are superior to placebo in reducing abdominal pain scores, as well as improving global symptom severity. Loperamide is superior to placebo in managing IBS-associated diarrhea. Whereas fiber has a role in treating constipation, its value for IBS or, specifically, in the relief of abdominal pain or diarrhea associated with IBS is controversial. Although certain antispasmodics have demonstrated superiority over placebo in managing abdominal pain, none of these agents are available in the United States. Probiotic therapy using Lactobacillus plantarum has demonstrated superiority to placebo in improving pain, regulating bowel habits, and decreasing flatulence. As studied in a recent placebo-controlled prospective study, Chinese herbal medicines significantly improved bowel symptom scores and global symptom profile, and reduced IBS-related quality of life impairment. Some of the most promising emerging therapies in IBS revolve around targeted pharmacotherapeutic modulation of serotonin receptors (ie, 5-HT3 and 5-HT4 subtypes), which are involved in sensory and motor functions of the gut. Other investigational agents that are also being explored include cholecystokinin antagonists, alpha2-adrenergic agonists (eg, clonidine), serotonin reuptake inhibitors (eg, citalopram), and neurokinin antagonists. IBS is best understood through the biopsychosocial paradigm, and therefore, its effective management requires a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach based on patient education and reassurance, enhanced by diet recommendations and lifestyle modifications, and complemented by pharmacotherapy and psychosocial intervention in more severe cases.

Pancreatic Supplements Reduce Symptomatic Response of Healthy Subjects to a High Fat Meal

Suarez F, Levitt MD, Adshead J, Barkin JS.
Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minnesota 55417, USA.

In a double-blind, crossover study, we determined whether microencapusulated pancreatic enzymes reduce postprandial symptoms experienced by healthy volunteers after ingestion of a high calorie, high fat meal. At 7 AM, 18 subjects ingested 185 g of cookies (1196 calories and 72 g of fat) with three pancrelipase capsules or a placebo. The severity of gastrointestinal symptoms and flatus passages were recorded for 15-17 hr, and end-alveolar samples were obtained hourly for 10 hr. Ingestion of pancreatic supplements was associated with a significant (P = 0.049) reduction in bloating over the entire recording period, and with significant reductions in bloating, gas, and fullness during the dinner to bedtime period. Pancreatic supplements had no significant effect on breath H2 or CH4 concentration. The finding that pancreatic supplements reduce postprandial symptoms in healthy subjects suggests that these supplements also might be beneficial in irritable bowel syndrome.

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Did You Know?

You carry around three pounds of bacteria (both "good" and "bad" types) in your intestines every day of your life.?

There are about 400 different species of bacteria residing in your digestive tract?

That these bacterium number in the trillions?

That PROBIOTICS (good bacterium) are an INTREGAL part of your digestive system and are ESSENTIAL for good health?

That the ratio of good bacteria to bad in a HEALTHY gastrointestinal tract is 85 percent versus 15 percent, respectively?

People over 60 have about 1,000-fold LESS "friendly" bacteria in their guts compared with other adults

That your diet, prescription drugs (especially antibiotics), stress, and illnesses, can kill your essential good bacteria?

That enzymes are present in every cell of your body?

That enzymes are NECESSARY to your food digestion, energy production, tissue and organ repair, and toxic waste removal?

That due to a nutrient depleted diet , most Americans lack sufficient types and quanities of CRITICAL to health levels of both enzymes and probiotics?

That Trafon OneAmeal™ contains the hightest premium quality strains of HEALTH promoting probiotics and enzymes CRITICALLY required by your body?
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