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Bifidobacterium lactis falls short for mild chronic constipation

01 Feb 2019

A 4-week treatment course of Bifidobacterium lactis NCC2818 in patients with chronic mild constipation does not appear to confer benefits for whole gut transit time (WGTT) and for other constipation-related outcomes, such as stool frequency and stool consistency, a study reports.

The study randomized 75 patients (92 percent female) to a 4‐week supplementation with B. lactis NCC2818 (1.5 x 1010 CFU/d; n=37; mean age 35 years) or placebo (n=38; mean age 31 years).

Researchers used a radio‐opaque marker to measure gut transit time, validated questionnaires to assess symptoms and quality of life, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction to evaluate gut microbiota composition.

No significant difference between the probiotic and placebo groups was observed in gut transit time from baseline to week 2 (−11.7 vs −12.9 hours, respectively; p=0.863) or to week 4 (−20.4 vs −8.7 hours; p=0.103). Likewise, there were no improvements seen in stool output, symptoms or quality of life.

Finally, Bifidobacterium concentrations did not significantly differ between the probiotic and placebo groups at week 4 (9.5 log10/g vs 9.4 log10/g dry faeces; p=0.509).

The present data are not consistent with findings from previous studies that have demonstrated a beneficial effect of other B. lactis strains in chronic constipation, researchers said. In addition, this strain does not induce changes in stool microbiota, including Bifidobacteria concentrations, stool SCFA, stool pH and stool water content.

More research is needed to establish which probiotic strains, if any, are most effective in the management of chronic constipation, they added.

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