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Can just four types of live, probiotic bacteria help with my IBS? The science says yes.
IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is an increasingly common, life-changing condition, affecting up to 25% of the UK population. It’s frustrating too, because no-one really knows what causes it. In fact, it’s often used as a catch-all diagnosis when there’s nothing obviously wrong with the gut, what we call a ‘functional disorder’, characterised by symptoms of abdominal pain, often accompanied with constipation and/or diarrhoea.
Because we know our gut bacteria exert such a huge effect on our health, could the answer lie there? Certainly, our bacteria help to maintain balance, help us digest foods, support our immunity, reduce inflammation in the gut, and help the gut motility – the muscular action of the gut that dictates how quickly we move food and waste through the digestive system. And all of those factors have been implicated in IBS. But which bacteria help, in what quantities and how do you choose between all of those probiotic companies who claim they can help your IBS?
Actually, when you look at the science on probiotics supporting IBS, it’s of variable quality. So you need to be sure that the science is good.
In fact probably the best study on probiotics and IBS involves the LAB4 combination of bacteria. Just four specially selected bacteria so effective that they really can make a difference.
When people with IBS were given about 25 billion bacteria of the LAB4 probiotic combination, they experienced significantly reduced severity and duration of pain, bloating, and with improved bowel movements and general quality of life. [i] Compared to other studies, the results were obtained more quickly (with some improvement within a month and a big improvement after two months) and much more comprehensive, as other studies only saw changes in one or two of those factors. Research can, of course, be of variable quality, but this was a high-quality study, conducted by medical and microbiological researchers in the UK.
So, if you’re looking for a probiotic that has been properly researched and found to have a quick and comprehensive effect on IBS, LAB4 probiotics should be top of your list.
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[i] Williams et al. Clinical trial: a multistrain probiotic preparation significantlyreduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009; 29 (1): 97-103.