Multi-strain probiotic could aid gut health – even if you’re healthy

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock
©iStock
A daily dose of multispecies probiotic could help improve intestinal health even in healthy people, according to new observational data.

The study – backed by Dutch probiotic firm Winclove and Swiss pharma company Mepha Schweiz – investigated the effects of multispecies probiotic formulation Winclove 500 (on the market in Switzerland as Bactosan pro Fos) on gut health and quality of life in a group of 40 healthy people.

Led by Fritz Grossenbacher from Mediscope in Switzerland, the team also noted that this initial observational study was set up to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a larger randomised controlled trial to investigate the effect of the multi-strain probiotic in healthy people.

Writing in Advances in Microbiology, ​the team behind the research reveal that a six week supplementation with the Winclove 500 multi-strain probiotic influenced markers of gut health and quality of life (QoL), including the relief of gastrointestinal symptoms –including gastric pain, epigastric fullness (bloating) and flatulence – in a positive way.

“Our observational study shows that gastrointestinal symptoms are quite common in otherwise healthy adults,”​ wrote the Swiss-Dutch team – who noted that this is to be expected given that participants for the study were recruited after visiting a therapist with non-specific GI-complaints.

Grossenbacher and colleagues revealed that through the six week study total gastrointestinal (GI) symptom score was significantly reduced from an average of 10 at baseline to six (p < 0.05). Furthermore, after the probiotic intervention the percentage of participants whom were ‘fully resolved’ of particular symptoms – including GI pain, bloating, and flatulence – significantly increased from baseline.

“This observational study demonstrates it is feasible to measure influences of probiotics in an otherwise healthy target group, but this should be confirmed in a randomized, placebo-controlled study,”​ wrote the team, who added that the concept of probiotic interventions in a generally healthy population “deserves further evaluation.”

Gut health for the healthy

The team noted that while probiotics have been the focus of a vast body of research in the past two decades, and many people consume probiotics daily, the beneficial effect on healthy people has been less explored than the effect on symptoms of chronic gastrointestinal diseases.

However, healthy people who do not suffer from chronic GI disorders, can still regularly experience periods of intestinal discomfort, the team said – noting that common symptoms include flatulence, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.

“Although these symptoms usually do not require immediate medical attention, they can have a profound impact on quality of life,”​ wrote Winclove in a recent press release relating to the study.

Study details

Multi-strain probiotic

The tested multi-strain probiotic (Winclove 50) contains: ​Bifidobacterium lactis W51, Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Enterococcus faecium W54, Lactobacillus acidophilus W22, Lactobacillus paracasei W20, Lactobacillus plantarum W21, Lactobacillus salivarius W24 and Lactococcus lactis W19, with a total viable cell count of 1 × 109 cfu/gram, and therefore 3 × 109 cfu/daily dose.

The Swiss-Dutch team analysed data from a total of 40 participants from three different health centres to investigate the effect of a six-week intervention with a multispecies probiotic on gut health and quality of life in a population of otherwise healthy adults.

“After a 1- week inclusion phase, participants were supplemented for a 6-week period with Winclove 500/BactoSan pro FOS. During the run-in phase and each week during the observational period, gastrointestinal functional parameters were documented by an adapted version of the Eypasch questionnaire. Data on QoL was collected at baseline and at the end of the intervention period,” ​wrote Grossenbacher and colleagues.

In addition to significantly reducing overallGI symptom scores, and increasing the percentage of ‘fully resolved’ symptoms during the short trial, the team noted that there was an up-going trend in these scores, suggesting that further improvement could be expected with prolonged use of the probiotic.

Meanwhile, they said that the measured parameters on quality of life showed only a slight (non-significant) improvement in comparison to baseline after six weeks of probiotic intervention. The team suggested that this may be due to the fact that participants already reported a high quality of life at the start if the study.

“The promising results Winclove 500/BactoSan pro FOS showed on gut health and QoL in this target group should be further investigated in a randomised, placebo-controlled study,”​ the authors concluded.

 

Source: Advances in Microbiology
Volume 6, Number 14, Article ID:72606, doi: 10.4236/aim.2016.614092

“Use of the Multispecies Probiotic Winclove 500/BactoSan pro FOS Leads to Less Gastrointestinal Complaints in Adults―An Observational In Vivo Pilot Study”
Authors: Fritz Grossenbacher, et al

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