Prebiotic may offer ray of light for IBS sufferers: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

A novel mixture of prebiotic galactooligosaccharides may selectively boost levels of friendly bacteria in the gut, and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, says a new study.

The mixture, patented and available commercially from Clasado under the brand name Bimuno, may improve clinical parameters of IBS, including flatulence, bloating, and stool consistency, according to results published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Researchers from University of Reading and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust report that IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, affecting up to about 20 per cent of the general adult population.

“Our new trial builds on this evidence, and shows that now, dietary intervention is a real, and very useful way for the management of IBS, ”​ said Co-author of the study, George Tzortzis formerly with the university of Reading and now the R&D manager at Clasado.

Study details

The researchers recruited 44 patients with IBS and randomly assigned them to receive either a daily 3.5 or 7 gram dose of the prebiotic, or 7 grams of placebo (maltodextrin) for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, the researchers report that both doses of the prebiotic were associated with increased faecal bifidobacteria. Furthermore, significant improvements in stool consistency, flatulence, and bloating were reported.

The study provides no information, however, as to how long treatment might have to be continued nor information as to how long the alterations in bacteriological milieu might last after discontinuation,”​ wrote the researchers

“Although the results of this study, point to the need for multi-centre randomized controlled clinical trials of large numbers of patients to more formally assess the efficacy of prebiotic interventions in IBS patients, our data do support the concept that dietary intervention directed towards gut microbiota modulation represents a significant step forward in therapy,”​ they concluded.

Second-generation prebiotic

The prebiotic has been hailed as 'second generation', since it not only boosts probiotic bacteria at a group level, but also offers additional functionality by inhibiting the adhesion of 'bad' bacteria to the gut wall.

Co-author of the study, George Tzortzis formerly with the university of Reading and now the R&D manager at Clasado, told in March 2008: "We have seen that Bimuno is having a better prebiotic effect than inulin and another GOS ingredient that is produced by commercially available beta galactosidase, and that this prebiotic effect is attributed to selective increase of the bifidobacterial proportion as monitored in faecal samples."

"Furthermore, we have seen that one fraction of the Bimuno mixture is acting as decoy oligosaccharide preventing the adhesion and invasion of enteropathogenic E. coli and ​Salmonella enterica Typhimurium to HT29 epithelial cell (​J. Nutr. 2005, Vol. 135, Pages 1726-1731)."

The study was funded by Clasado.

Source: Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics​Published online ahead of print, Early View, December 2008"Clinical trial: the effects of a trans-galactooligosaccharide prebiotic on faecal microbiota and symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome"​Authors: D.B.A. Silk, A. Davis, J. Vulevic, G. Tzortzis, G.R. Gibson

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