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1.  A candidate probiotic with unfavourable effects in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome: a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Gastroenterology  2010;10:16.
Some probiotics have shown efficacy for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Lactobacillus (L.) plantarum MF1298 was found to have the best in vitro probiotic properties of 22 strains of lactobacilli. The aim of this study was to investigate the symptomatic effect of L. plantarum MF1298 in subjects with IBS. Primary outcome was treatment preference and secondary outcomes were number of weeks with satisfactory relief of symptoms and IBS sum score.
The design was a randomised double blind placebo-controlled crossover trial. 16 subjects with IBS underwent two three-week periods of daily intake of one capsule of 1010 CFU L. plantarum MF 1298 or placebo separated by a four-week washout period.
Thirteen participants (81%; 95% CI 57% to 93%; P = 0.012) preferred placebo to L. plantarum MF1298 treatment. The mean (SD) number of weeks with satisfactory relief of symptoms in the periods with L. plantarum MF1298 and placebo were 0.50 (0.89) and 1.44 (1.26), respectively (P = 0.006). IBS sum score was 6.44 (1.81) in the period with L. plantarum MF1298 treatment compared with 5.35 (1.77) in the period with placebo (P = 0.010). With a clinically significant difference in the IBS sum score of 2 in disfavour of active treatment, the number needed to harm was 3.7, 95% CI 2.3 to 10.9.
This trial shows for the first time an unfavourable effect on symptoms in subjects with IBS after intake of a potential probiotic.
The trial registration number
Clinical trials NCT00355810.
PMCID: PMC2831047  PMID: 20144246
2.  A double-blind placebo-controlled trial to study therapeutic effects of probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 in subgroups of patients with irritable bowel syndrome 
To study the therapeutic effects of probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and identify subgroups benefiting most.
Some trials investigating therapeutic effects in irritable bowel syndrome have shown benefits in IBS subgroups only. Probiotic treatment seems to be promising.
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (120; Rome II) were recruited to a prospective double-blind study and randomized to either EcN (n = 60) or placebo (n = 60) given for 12 weeks. Objectives were to describe efficacy and safety of EcN in different groups of irritable bowel syndrome. Outcome was assessed by ‘Integrative Medicine Patient Satisfaction Scale’.
Altogether, the responder rate was higher in the EcN than in the placebo group. However, only after 10 and 11 weeks, the differences were significant (Δ 20.0% points [95% CI 2.6; 37.4], p = 0.01 and Δ 18.3% points [95% CI 1.0; 35.7], p = 0.02, respectively). The best response was observed in the subgroup of patients with gastroenteritis or antibiotics prior to irritable bowel syndrome onset (Δ 45.7% points, p = 0.029). No significant differences were observed in any other subgroup. Both treatment groups showed similar adverse events and tolerance.
Probiotic EcN shows effects in irritable bowel syndrome, especially in patients with altered enteric microflora, e.g. after gastroenterocolitis or administration of antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3307993  PMID: 22130826
Irritable bowel syndrome; Treatment; Probiotics; E. coli Nissle 1917; Enteric infections
3.  Effect of Probiotics on Symptoms in Korean Adults with Irritable Bowel Syndrome 
Gut and Liver  2009;3(2):101-107.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a troublesome disease. Some strains of probiotics reportedly exert remarkable immunomodulatory effects, and so we designed a prospective double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical study to assess their effects in Korean adults with IBS.
IBS patients who met Rome III criteria were randomly assigned to receive composite probiotics or placebo. A total of 20 billion lyophilized bacteria were administered twice daily for 8 weeks. Primary outcome variables were symptom scores consisting of abdominal pain, flatulence, defecation discomfort, and sum of symptom scores. A visual analogue scale was used to quantify the severity. Secondary outcome variables consisted of the quality of life and bowel habits including defecation frequency and stool form.
Thirty-six and 34 patients were randomized to the probiotics and placebo groups, respectively. Intention-to-treat analysis showed significant reductions in pain after 8 weeks of treatment: -31.9 and -17.7 in the probiotics and placebo groups, respectively (p=0.045). The reductions in abdominal pain, defecation discomfort, and sum of scores were more significant in 58 patients with a score of at least 3 on the baseline stool-form scale.
Composite probiotics containing Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4, Lactobacillus acidophilus AD031, and other species are safe and effective, especially in patients who excrete normal or loose stools.
PMCID: PMC2852694  PMID: 20431731
Probiotics; Irritable bowel syndrome; Bifidobacterium bifidum
4.  A 12-Week, Randomized, Controlled Trial With a 4-Week Randomized Withdrawal Period to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Linaclotide in Irritable Bowel Syndrome With Constipation 
Linaclotide is a minimally absorbed guanylate cyclase-C agonist. The objective of this trial was to determine the efficacy and safety of linaclotide in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C).
This phase 3, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial randomized IBS-C patients to placebo or 290 μg oral linaclotide once daily in a 12-week treatment period, followed by a 4-week randomized withdrawal (RW) period. There were four primary end points, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) primary end point for IBS-C (responder: improvement of ≥30% in average daily worst abdominal pain score and increase by ≥1 complete spontaneous bowel movement (CSBM) from baseline (same week) for at least 50% of weeks assessed) and three other primary end points, based on improvements in abdominal pain and CSBMs for 9/12 weeks. Adverse events (AEs) were monitored.
The trial evaluated 800 patients (mean age=43.5 years, female=90.5%, white=76.9%). The FDA end point was met by 136/405 linaclotide-treated patients (33.6%), compared with 83/395 placebo-treated patients (21.0%) (P<0.0001) (number needed to treat: 8.0, 95% confidence interval: 5.4, 15.5). A greater percentage of linaclotide patients, compared with placebo patients, reported for at least 6/12 treatment period weeks, a reduction of ≥30% in abdominal pain (50.1 vs. 37.5%, P=0.0003) and an increase of ≥1 CSBM from baseline (48.6 vs. 29.6%, P<0.0001). A greater percentage of linaclotide patients vs. placebo patients were also responders for the other three primary end points (P<0.05). Significantly greater improvements were seen in linaclotide vs. placebo patients for all secondary end points (P<0.001). During the RW period, patients remaining on linaclotide showed sustained improvement; patients re-randomized from linaclotide to placebo showed return of symptoms, but without worsening of symptoms relative to baseline. Diarrhea, the most common AE, resulted in discontinuation of 5.7% of linaclotide and 0.3% of placebo patients.
Linaclotide significantly improved abdominal pain and bowel symptoms associated with IBS-C for at least 12 weeks; there was no worsening of symptoms compared with baseline following cessation of linaclotide during the RW period.
PMCID: PMC3504311  PMID: 22986440
5.  Probiotics, Symptoms, and Gut Microbiota: What Are the Relations? A Randomized Controlled Trial in Subjects with Irritable Bowel Syndrome 
Introduction. Knowledge of the mechanism of action of probiotics in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is imperfect. Objective. This trial aimed at discriminating between a direct effect on the gut wall and an indirect effect caused by modulation of the fecal microbiota. Design. Randomized, double-blind, crossover trial. Material and Methods. Patients with IBS were given one capsule of 1010 CFU L. plantarum MF 1298 or placebo once daily. Symptoms were registered (score 0–15) and feces collected at the end of each period. The gut microbiota was analyzed with 16S rRNA gene analyses and results reported as proportions of Bacteroides, Faecalibacterium, and Lachnospiraceae and Simpson's D diversity score. Results. Sixteen participants (11 women) with a mean age of 50 years (SD 11) were available for the analyses. Intake of L. plantarum MF 1298 was associated with a significant aggravation of symptoms, but neither intake of L. plantarum MF 1298 nor symptoms were associated with the composition of the fecal microbiota (P values >0.10). Conclusions. The trial indicates that the symptomatic aggravation related to intake of L. plantarum MF 1298 was a direct effect of the microbe on the gut wall and not caused by changes in the fecal microbiota.
PMCID: PMC3415104  PMID: 22899904
6.  Clinical trial: Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome 
AIM: To assess the symptomatic efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (L. plantarum 299v) (DSM 9843) for the relief of abdominal symptoms in a large subset of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients fulfilling the Rome III criteria.
METHODS: In this double blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-designed study, subjects were randomized to daily receive either one capsule of L. plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) or placebo for 4 wk. Frequency and intensity of abdominal pain, bloating and feeling of incomplete rectal emptying were assessed weekly on a visual analogue scale while stool frequency was calculated.
RESULTS: Two hundred and fourteen IBS patients were recruited. After 4 wk, both pain severity (0.68 + 0.53 vs 0.92 + 0.57, P < 0.05) and daily frequency (1.01 + 0.77 vs 1.71 + 0.93, P < 0.05) were lower with L. plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) than with placebo. Similar results were obtained for bloating. At week 4, 78.1 % of the patients scored the L. plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) symptomatic effect as excellent or good vs only 8.1 % for placebo (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: A 4-wk treatment with L. plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) provided effective symptom relief, particularly of abdominal pain and bloating, in IBS patients fulfilling the Rome III criteria.
PMCID: PMC3419998  PMID: 22912552
Irritable bowel syndrome; Probiotics; Lactobacillus plantarum 299v; Clinical trial; Abdominal pain
7.  Safety and Immunomodulatory Effects of Three Probiotic Strains Isolated from the Feces of Breast-Fed Infants in Healthy Adults: SETOPROB Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78111.
We previously described the isolation and characterization of three probiotic strains from the feces of exclusively breast-fed newborn infants: Lactobacillus paracasei CNCM I-4034, Bifidobacterium breve CNCM I-4035 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus CNCM I-4036. These strains were shown to adhere to intestinal mucus in vitro, to be sensitive to antibiotics and to resist biliary salts and low pH. In the present study, a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 100 healthy volunteers in three Spanish cities was carried out to evaluate the tolerance, safety, gut colonization and immunomodulatory effects of these three probiotics. Volunteers underwent a 15-day washout period, after which they were randomly divided into 5 groups that received daily a placebo, a capsule containing one of the 3 strains or a capsule containing a mixture of two strains for 30 days. The intervention was followed by another 15-day washout period. Patients did not consume fermented milk for the entire duration of the study. Gastrointestinal symptoms, defecation frequency and stool consistency were not altered by probiotic intake. No relevant changes in blood and serum, as well as no adverse events occurred during or after treatment. Probiotic administration slightly modified bacterial populations in the volunteers’ feces. Intestinal persistence occurred in volunteers who received L. rhamnosus CNCM I-4036. Administration of B. breve CNCM I-4035 resulted in a significant increase in fecal secretory IgA content. IL-4 and IL-10 increased, whereas IL-12 decreased in the serum of volunteers treated with any of the three strains. These results demonstrate that the consumption of these three bacterial strains was safe and exerted varying degrees of immunomodulatory effects.
Trial Registration NCT01479543
PMCID: PMC3810271  PMID: 24205115
8.  Oral domperidone: double blind comparison with placebo in irritable bowel syndrome. 
Gut  1983;24(12):1135-1140.
Symptom scores, stool data, and the transit of a standard, solid meal were measured in 25 patients with irritable bowel syndrome during baseline conditions and after four weeks treatment with placebo and domperidone in the form of a double-blind cross-over trial. All patients had previously undergone a comprehensive series of diagnostic investigations and had failed to respond to dietary supplementation with coarse wheat bran (10-30 g daily). Compared with placebo treatment, domperidone had no significant effect on gastric emptying, small bowel or whole gut transit times, stool weight, frequency, or consistency. Most symptoms improved significantly with both placebo and domperidone treatments, compared with the baseline period, but there was no significant difference between placebo and domperidone for any of the symptoms. Abdominal distension, however, was reported on more days per week during domperidone treatment (p = 0.02). The findings in this study do not support the use of domperidone in the management of irritable bowel syndrome.
PMCID: PMC1420257  PMID: 6357963
9.  Randomised controlled trial of gabapentin in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type 1 [ISRCTN84121379] 
BMC Neurology  2004;4:13.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome type one (CRPS I) or formerly Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a disabling syndrome, in which a painful limb is accompanied by varying symptoms. Neuropathic pain is a prominent feature of CRPS I, and is often refractory to treatment. Since gabapentin is an anticonvulsant with a proven analgesic effect in various neuropathic pain syndromes, we sought to study the efficacy of the anticonvulsant gabapentin as treatment for pain in patients with CRPS I.
We did a randomized double blind placebo controlled crossover study with two three-weeks treatment periods with gabapentin and placebo separated by a two-weeks washout period. Patients started at random with gabapentin or placebo, which was administered in identical capsules three times daily. We included 58 patients with CRPS type 1.
Patients reported significant pain relief in favor of gabapentin in the first period. Therapy effect in the second period was less; finally resulting in no significant effect combining results of both periods. The CRPS patients had sensory deficits at baseline. We found that this sensory deficit was significantly reversed in gabapentin users in comparison to placebo users.
Gabapentin had a mild effect on pain in CRPS I. It significantly reduced the sensory deficit in the affected limb. A subpopulation of CRPS patients may benefit from gabapentin.
PMCID: PMC523854  PMID: 15453912
10.  Effectiveness of artichoke extract in preventing alcohol-induced hangovers: a randomized controlled trial 
Extract of globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is promoted as a possible preventive or cure for alcohol-induced hangover symptoms. However, few rigorous clinical trials have assessed the effects of artichoke extract, and none has examined the effects in relation to hangovers. We undertook this study to test whether artichoke extract is effective in preventing the signs and symptoms of alcohol-induced hangover.
We recruited healthy adult volunteers between 18 and 65 years of age to participate in a randomized double-blind crossover trial. Participants received either 3 capsules of commercially available standardized artichoke extract or indistinguishable, inert placebo capsules immediately before and after alcohol exposure. After a 1-week washout period the volunteers received the opposite treatment. Participants predefined the type and amount of alcoholic beverage that would give them a hangover and ate the same meal before commencing alcohol consumption on the 2 study days. The primary outcome measure was the difference in hangover severity scores between the artichoke extract and placebo interventions. Secondary outcome measures were differences between the interventions in scores using a mood profile questionnaire and cognitive performance tests administered 1 hour before and 10 hours after alcohol exposure.
Fifteen volunteers participated in the study. The mean number (and standard deviation) of alcohol units (each unit being 7.9 g, or 10 mL, of ethanol) consumed during treatment with artichoke extract and placebo was 10.7 (3.1) and 10.5 (2.4) respectively, equivalent to 1.2 (0.3) and 1.2 (0.2) g of alcohol per kilogram body weight. The volume of nonalcoholic drink consumed and the duration of sleep were similar during the artichoke extract and placebo interventions. None of the outcome measures differed significantly between interventions. Adverse events were rare and were mild and transient.
Our results suggest that artichoke extract is not effective in preventing the signs and symptoms of alcohol-induced hangover. Larger studies are required to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC280580  PMID: 14662662
11.  Effect of herbal extract granules combined with probiotic mixture on irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2011;12:219.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain and change of bowel habits without organic disease. Many patients seek alternative IBS treatments because of the limitations of conventional treatments. Gwakhyangjeonggisan (GJS), a herbal formula, has long been used for alleviating diarrhea-predominant IBS (D-IBS) in traditional medicine. Duolac7S, which comprises 7 bacterial species as probiotics, has been frequently used for D-IBS. Although GJS and Duolac7S have been administered simultaneously in many D-IBS patients, no study has investigated the effects of GJS and Duolac7S combination therapy on D-IBS.
The current trial is a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, 4-arm study. After a 2-week run-in period, 60 patients with D-IBS will be randomly assigned to one of the 4 combination groups consisting of GJS (water extract granules, 3 g/pack, 3 times a day) with Duolac7S (powder form, 1 capsule, 2 times a day) or their placebos and followed up for 2 weeks. The assigned treatments will last for 8 weeks. The primary outcomes are adequate relief of IBS pain and discomfort and the proportion of responders (on a weekly basis). The secondary outcomes are visual analog scale for IBS symptoms (on a daily basis), quality of life (at 0, 8, and 10 weeks), intestinal permeability, and composition of intestinal microbiota (at 0 and 8 weeks).
The present study is designed to examine the safety and efficacy of GJS and Duolac7S combination therapy on D-IBS. Our study provides the clinical evidence of a new therapeutic strategy for D-IBS.
Trial registration NCT01342718 .
PMCID: PMC3198690  PMID: 21978382
12.  Probiotic Fermented Milk Containing Dietary Fiber Has Additive Effects in IBS with Constipation Compared to Plain Probiotic Fermented Milk 
Gut and Liver  2011;5(1):22-28.
Although controversial, probiotics and dietary fiber are commonly used for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We evaluated the effects of multistrain probiotics on the symptoms of IBS to determine whether the addition of dietary fi ber had an additive effect on constipation-predominant IBS.
A total of 142 participants who met the Rome III criteria were recruited and randomized into a control group or a test group. Participants in the control group received multistrain probiotic fermented milk with Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium infantis; the participants in the test group received the same probiotic fermented milk mixed with dietary fi ber such as sea tangle extracts, radish extracts and glasswort extracts. The patients were treated for four weeks.
Most of the symptoms of IBS, with the exception of fl atulence, stool consistency, and frequency of defecation, signifi cantly improved in both groups. In the analysis of IBS subtypes, especially constipation-predominant IBS, the frequency and duration of defecation and straining at stool were improved more in the test group than in the control group.
Dietary fiber had additive benefits for the symptoms of constipation, especially in constipation-predominant IBS.
PMCID: PMC3065089  PMID: 21461068
Constipation; Dietary fiber; Irritable bowel syndrome; Probiotic fermented milk
13.  Components of placebo effect: randomised controlled trial in patients with irritable bowel syndrome 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;336(7651):999-1003.
Objective To investigate whether placebo effects can experimentally be separated into the response to three components—assessment and observation, a therapeutic ritual (placebo treatment), and a supportive patient-practitioner relationship—and then progressively combined to produce incremental clinical improvement in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. To assess the relative magnitude of these components.
Design A six week single blind three arm randomised controlled trial.
Setting Academic medical centre.
Participants 262 adults (76% women), mean (SD) age 39 (14), diagnosed by Rome II criteria for and with a score of ≥150 on the symptom severity scale.
Interventions For three weeks either waiting list (observation), placebo acupuncture alone (“limited”), or placebo acupuncture with a patient-practitioner relationship augmented by warmth, attention, and confidence (“augmented”). At three weeks, half of the patients were randomly assigned to continue in their originally assigned group for an additional three weeks.
Main outcome measures Global improvement scale (range 1-7), adequate relief of symptoms, symptom severity score, and quality of life.
Results At three weeks, scores on the global improvement scale were 3.8 (SD 1.0) v 4.3 (SD 1.4) v 5.0 (SD 1.3) for waiting list versus “limited” versus “augmented,” respectively (P<0.001 for trend). The proportion of patients reporting adequate relief showed a similar pattern: 28% on waiting list, 44% in limited group, and 62% in augmented group (P<0.001 for trend). The same trend in response existed in symptom severity score (30 (63) v 42 (67) v 82 (89), P<0.001) and quality of life (3.6 (8.1) v 4.1 (9.4) v 9.3 (14.0), P<0.001). All pairwise comparisons between augmented and limited patient-practitioner relationship were significant: global improvement scale (P<0.001), adequate relief of symptoms (P<0.001), symptom severity score (P=0.007), quality of life (P=0.01).Results were similar at six week follow-up.
Conclusion Factors contributing to the placebo effect can be progressively combined in a manner resembling a graded dose escalation of component parts. Non-specific effects can produce statistically and clinically significant outcomes and the patient-practitioner relationship is the most robust component.
Trial registration Clinical Trials NCT00065403.
PMCID: PMC2364862  PMID: 18390493
14.  A randomised controlled trial of a probiotic ‘functional food’ in the management of irritable bowel syndrome 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:45.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition characterised by pain, distension and altered bowel habit. Evidence suggests functional foods containing probiotics improve gastrointestinal transit, however, data are limited by short follow-up periods and evaluation in selected populations.
A multi-centre, randomized, double blind, controlled trial to evaluate the effect of a probiotic vs non-probiotic dairy product on symptoms in IBS with a constipation element (IBS – Constipation or IBS – Mixed profile). Set in 13 general practices within central England. Individuals meeting the ROME III criteria for IBS, aged 18–65 completed a pre-study diary. Eligible individuals were randomized to consume dairy ‘yoghurt’ products which either did or did not contain active probiotics twice daily and to complete a daily diary. Primary outcome was subjective global assessment of symptom relief at week 4. Other outcomes comprised, IBS symptom scores, pain, bloating and flatulence levels, stool frequency, stool consistency, ease of bowel movement and quality of life.
179 were randomized (91 active, 88 placebo). 76 (43 active, 33 placebo) completed the study. No significant between group differences existed at 4 weeks (57% active vs 53% placebo, reported adequate relief (p = 0.71)). By week 8, 46% active vs 68% placebo reported adequate relief (p = 0.03). This was sustained at week 12.
Significant improvements were reported for most outcomes in all trial participants but improvement did not differ by group. This trial does not provide evidence for effectiveness of a probiotic in IBS, in variance with a body of published literature and review conclusions. Differential drop out may however cloud interpretation of data.
UK Trial registration:ISRCTN78863629
PMCID: PMC3605320  PMID: 23496803
Probiotic; Functional food; IBS; RCT
15.  Gut microbiota is not modified by Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial of VSL#3 in Diarrhea-predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome 
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that negatively impacts the quality of life for many individuals. The exact etiology of this disorder is largely unknown; however, emerging studies suggest that the gut microbiota is a contributing factor. Several clinical trials show that probiotics, such as VSL#3, can have a favorable effect on IBS. This double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study has been conducted in diarrhea-predominant IBS subjects in order to investigate the effect of VSL#3 on the fecal microbiota. The bacterial composition of the fecal microbiota was investigated using high-throughput microarray technology to detect 16S RNA. Twenty four subjects were randomized to receive VSL#3 or placebo for 8 weeks. IBS symptoms were monitored using GSRS and quality of life questionnaires. A favorable change in Satiety subscale was noted in the VSL #3 groups. However, the consumption of the probiotic did not change the gut microbiota. There were no adverse events or any safety concerns encountered during this study. To summarize, the use of VSL#3 in this pilot study was safe and showed improvement in specific GSRS-IBS scores in diarrhea-predominant IBS subjects. The gut microbiota was not affected by VSL#3 consumption suggesting that the mechanism of action is not directly linked to the microbiota.
PMCID: PMC3255476  PMID: 22247743
Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Diarrhea; Probiotics; Microbiota
16.  Efficacy and safety profile of LCR35 complete freeze-dried culture in irritable bowel syndrome: A randomized, double-blind study 
AIM: To assess the effects and safety of Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus LCR35 complete freeze-dried culture (LCR35) in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
METHODS: A randomized, double-blind pilot study was performed in 50 patients complaining of IBS symptoms complying with Rome III criteria. Patients were allocated to receive either LCR35 (n = 25) at a minimum daily dose of 6 × 108 colony forming units or placebo (n = 25) for 4 wk. At inclusion, after treatment and 2 wk later, patients completed the IBS severity scale. Change from baseline in the IBS severity score at the end of treatment was the primary efficacy criterion. Changes were compared between groups in the whole population and in IBS subtypes (IBS with predominance of constipation, IBS with predominance of diarrhoea, mixed IBS, unsubtyped IBS). The presence of lactobacillus casei rhamnosus in stools was investigated at inclusion and at the end of treatment. The gastrointestinal quality of life questionnaire and the hospital anxiety and depression (HAD) scale were also completed.
RESULTS: Both groups were balanced for baseline characteristics. In 85% of patients, stool analyses showed that lactobacillus casei rhamnosus able to survive in the digestive tract. In the whole population, improvements in the IBS severity score did not differ significantly between treatments with a 25% decrease after 4-wk treatment, and a 15% decrease from baseline 2 wk later in both groups. In IBS subgroups, statistical analysis could not be performed due to small sample size, but a clinical response in favour of LCR35 was observed in IBS patients with predominance of diarrhoea: no change in the symptom severity score was seen with the placebo after 4 wk treatment, whereas a clinically relevant decrease occurred with LCR35 (-37% vs -3%). Furthermore, in spite of an increase in symptom intensity, the IBS severity score was maintained below the baseline value 2 wk later with LCR35 (-19% from baseline), whilst a slight 5% increase from baseline was observed with placebo. In the IBS subgroup with predominance of diarrhoea only, a clinically relevant decrease in abdominal pain severity score (-36%) was observed with LCR35, whereas no change occurred with placebo. In mixed IBS patients, the 20% and 30% decreases in the IBS severity score observed after treatment with LCR35 and placebo, respectively, were maintained 2 wk later in both groups. A clinical response slightly in favour of placebo was observed at the end of the treatment period in IBS patients with predominance of constipation (-41% vs -20%) and unsubtyped IBS patients (-47% vs -17%), with the same value maintained 2 wk later. In both groups, no clinically relevant changes were observed either for the gastrointestinal quality of life index or HAD score. Thus, these results suggest that sub-grouping of IBS patients may be important for optimizing treatment responses by the physician.
CONCLUSION: This pilot study suggests that LCR35 could have some efficacy in IBS patients complaining of diarrhoea. These preliminary results need to be confirmed in larger studies.
PMCID: PMC3342605  PMID: 22563194
Irritable bowel syndrome; Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus; Probiotics; Symptom severity score
17.  A Randomised, Cross-Over, Placebo-Controlled Study of Aloe vera in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Effects on Patient Quality of Life 
ISRN Gastroenterology  2010;2011:206103.
Background. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic, difficult to treat condition. The efficacy of Aloe vera in treating IBS symptoms is not yet proven. The purpose of this study was to determine if Aloe vera is effective in improving quality of life. Methods. A multicentre, randomised, double-blind, cross-over placebo controlled study design. Patients were randomised to Aloe vera, wash-out, placebo or placebo, washout, Aloe vera. Each preparation (60 mL) was taken orally twice a day. Patient quality of life was measured using the Gastrointestinal Symptoms Rating Score, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Quality of Life, EuroQol and the Short-Form-12 at baseline and treatment periods 1 and 2. Results. A total of 110 patients were randomised, but only 47 completed all questionnaires and both study arms. Statistical analysis showed no difference between the placebo and Aloe vera treatment in quality of life. Discussion. This study was unable to show that Aloe vera was superior to placebo in improving quality of life. Drop outs and other confounding factors may have impacted on the power of the study to detect a clinically important difference. Conclusion. This study failed to find Aloe vera superior to placebo in improving quality of life proven Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients.
PMCID: PMC3168391  PMID: 21991499
18.  Effect of a daily dose of Lactobacillus brevis CD2 lozenges in high caries risk schoolchildren 
Clinical Oral Investigations  2013;18:555-561.
A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial was performed to validate the hypothesis that the use of lozenges containing Lactobacillus brevis CD2 (Inersan®, CD Investments srl) may reduce plaque pH, salivary mutans streptococci (ms) and bleeding on probing, during a 6-week period, in a sample of high caries risk schoolchildren.
A total of 191 children (aged 6–8 years), presenting two to three carious lesions and a salivary ms concentration of ≥105 CFU/ml, were enrolled and divided into two groups, an L. brevis CD2 lozenge group and a no L. brevis lozenge group, and examined at baseline (t0), after 3 weeks (t1), after 6 weeks of lozenge use (t2) and 2 weeks after the cessation of lozenge use (t3). Plaque pH was assessed using the microtouch technique following a sucrose challenge. The area under the curve (AUC5.7 and AUC6.2) was recorded. Salivary ms were counted, and bleeding on probing was assessed.
At t0, the plaque-pH and ms concentration values were similar in both groups. Mean areas (AUC5.7 and AUC6.2) were significantly greater in the control group at t1, t2 and t3. L. brevis CD2 lozenges significantly reduced salivary ms concentrations and bleeding. The subjects from the test group showed a statistically significant decrease (p = 0.01) in salivary ms concentration. At t2, a statistically significantly lower bleeding value was recorded in the test group compared with the control group (p = 0.02).
Six weeks’ use of lozenges containing L. brevis CD2 had a beneficial effect on some important variables related to oral health, including a reduction in plaque acidogenicity, salivary ms and bleeding on probing. (Trial Registration Number NCT01601145 08/21/2012)
PMCID: PMC3936134  PMID: 23644602
Probiotic; Lactobacillus brevis CD2; Caries; Plaque pH; Salivary mutans streptococci; Children
19.  Lactobacillus fermentum (PCC®) supplementation and gastrointestinal and respiratory-tract illness symptoms: a randomised control trial in athletes 
Nutrition Journal  2011;10:30.
Probiotics purportedly reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory-tract illness by modulating commensal microflora. Preventing and reducing symptoms of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness are the primary reason that dietary supplementation with probiotics are becoming increasingly popular with healthy active individuals. There is a paucity of data regarding the effectiveness of probiotics in this cohort. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a probiotic on faecal microbiology, self-reported illness symptoms and immunity in healthy well trained individuals.
Competitive cyclists (64 males and 35 females; age 35 ± 9 and 36 ± 9 y, VO2max 56 ± 6 and 52 ± 6, mean ± SD) were randomised to either probiotic (minimum 1 × 109 Lactobacillus fermentum (PCC®) per day) or placebo treatment for 11 weeks in a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. The outcome measures were faecal L. fermentum counts, self-reported symptoms of illness and serum cytokines.
Lactobacillus numbers increased 7.7-fold (90% confidence limits 2.1- to 28-fold) more in males on the probiotic, while there was an unclear 2.2-fold (0.2- to 18-fold) increase in females taking the probiotic. The number and duration of mild gastrointestinal symptoms were ~2-fold greater in the probiotic group. However, there was a substantial 0.7 (0.2 to 1.2) of a scale step reduction in the severity of gastrointestinal illness at the mean training load in males, which became more pronounced as training load increased. The load (duration×severity) of lower respiratory illness symptoms was less by a factor of 0.31 (99%CI; 0.07 to 0.96) in males taking the probiotic compared with placebo but increased by a factor of 2.2 (0.41 to 27) in females. Differences in use of cold and flu medication mirrored these symptoms. The observed effects on URTI had too much uncertainty for a decisive outcome. There were clear reductions in the magnitude of acute exercise-induced changes in some cytokines.
L. fermentum may be a useful nutritional adjunct for healthy exercising males. However, uncertainty in the effects of supplementation on URTI and on symptoms in females needs to be resolved.
Trial registration
The trial was registered in the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611000006943).
PMCID: PMC3083335  PMID: 21477383
20.  A randomised clinical trial (RCT) of a symbiotic mixture in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): effects on symptoms, colonic transit and quality of life 
The aim of this study is to test in a double-blinded, randomised placebo-controlled study the effects of a commercially available multi-strain symbiotic mixture on symptoms, colonic transit and quality of life in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients who meet Rome III criteria.
There is only one other double-blinded RCT on a single-strain symbiotic mixture in IBS.
This is a double-blinded, randomised placebo-controlled study of a symbiotic mixture (Probinul, 5 g bid) over 4 weeks after 2 weeks of run-in. The primary endpoints were global satisfactory relief of abdominal flatulence and bloating. Responders were patients who reported at least 50 % of the weeks of treatment with global satisfactory relief. The secondary endpoints were change in abdominal bloating, flatulence, pain and urgency by a 100-mm visual analog scale, stool frequency and bowel functions on validated adjectival scales (Bristol Scale and sense of incomplete evacuation). Pre- and post-treatment colonic transit time (Metcalf) and quality of life (SF-36) were assessed.
Sixty-four IBS patients (symbiotic n = 32, 64 % females, mean age 38.7 ± 12.6 years) were studied. This symbiotic mixture reduced flatulence over a 4-week period of treatment (repeated-measures analysis of covariance, p < 0.05). Proportions of responders were not significantly different between groups. At the end of the treatment, a longer rectosigmoid transit time and a significant improvement in most SF-36 scores were observed in the symbiotic group.
This symbiotic mixture has shown a beneficial effect in decreasing the severity of flatulence in IBS patients, a lack of adverse events and a good side-effect profile; however, it failed to achieve an improvement in global satisfactory relief of abdominal flatulence and bloating. Further studies are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3587687  PMID: 22885882
Irritable bowel syndrome; Symbiotic; Probiotic; Prebiotic; Bloating; Flatulence; Randomised clinical trial
21.  Evaluation of the functional efficacy of an antioxidative probiotic in healthy volunteers 
Nutrition Journal  2005;4:22.
In persons without clinical symptom it is difficult to assess an impact of probiotics regarding its effect on health. We evaluated the functional efficacy of the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 in healthy volunteers by measuring the influence of two different formulations on intestinal lactoflora, fecal recovery of the probiotic strain and oxidative stress markers of blood and urine after 3 weeks consumption.
Two 3-week healthy volunteer trials were performed. Open placebo controlled (OPC) study participants (n = 21) consumed either goat milk or by L. fermentum ME-3 fermented goat milk (daily dose 11.8 log CFU (Colony Forming Units). Double blind randomised placebo controlled (DBRP) study participants (n = 24) received either capsules with L. fermentum ME-3 (daily of dose 9.2 CFU) or placebo capsules.
The faecal lactoflora composition, faecal ME-3 recovery, effect of the consumption on intestinal lactoflora, and oxidative stress markers of blood (total antioxidative activity; total antioxidative status and glutathione red-ox ratio) was measured.
ME-3 was well tolerated and a significant increase in total faecal lactobacilli yet no predominance of ME-3 was detected in all study groups. Faecal recovery of ME-3 was documented by molecular methods only in fermented milk group, however the significant improvement of blood TAA (Total Antioxidative Activity) and TAS (Total Antioxidative Status) indices was seen both in case of fermented goat milk and capsules", yet glutathione re-ox ratio values decreased only in case of fermented by ME-3 goat milk.
The functional efficacy of both consumed formulations of an antioxidative probiotic L. fermentum ME-3 is proved by the increase of the intestinal lactobacilli counts providing putative defence against enteric infections and by reduction of the oxidative stress indices of blood and urine of healthy volunteers. In non-diseased host the probiotic health claims can be assessed by improvement of some measurable laboratory indices of well-established physiological functions of host, e.g. markers of antioxidative defence system.
PMCID: PMC1198254  PMID: 16080791
22.  Effect of the consumption of a fermented dairy product containing Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010 on constipation in childhood: a multicentre randomised controlled trial (NTRTC: 1571) 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:22.
Constipation is a frustrating symptom affecting 3% of children worldwide. Randomised controlled trials show that both polyethylene glycol and lactulose are effective in increasing defecation frequency in children with constipation. However, in 30–50%, these children reported abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, nausea and bad taste of the medication. Two recent studies have shown that the fermented dairy product containing Bifidobacterium lactis strain DN-173 010 is effective in increasing stool frequency in constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome patients with a defecation frequency < 3/week and in constipated women with a defecation frequency < 3/week. Goal of this study is to determine whether this fermented dairy product is effective in the treatment of constipated children with a defecation frequency < 3/week.
It is a two nation (The Netherlands and Poland) double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised multicentre trial in which 160 constipated children (age 3–16 years) with a defecation frequency <3/week will be randomly allocated to consume a fermented dairy product containing Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010 or a control product, twice a day, for 3 weeks. During the study all children are instructed to try to defecate on the toilet for 5–10 minutes after each meal (3 times a day) and daily complete a standardized bowel diary. Primary endpoint is stool frequency. Secondary endpoints are stool consistency, faecal incontinence frequency, pain during defecation, digestive symptoms (abdominal pain, flatulence), adverse effects (nausea, diarrhoea, bad taste) and intake of rescue medication (Bisacodyl). Rate of success and rate of responders are also evaluated, with success defined as ≥ 3 bowel movements per week and ≤1 faecal incontinence episode over the last 2 weeks of product consumption and responder defined as a subject reporting a stool frequency ≥ 3 on the last week of product consumption. To demonstrate that the success percentage in the intervention group will be 35% and the success percentage in the control group (acidified milk without ferments, toilet training, bowel diary) will be 15%, with alpha 0.05 and power 80%, a total sample size of 160 patients was calculated.
This study is aimed to show that the fermented dairy product containing Bifidobacterium lactis strain DN-173 010 is effective in increasing stool frequency after 3 weeks of product consumption in children with functional constipation and a defecation frequency < 3/week.
PMCID: PMC2662858  PMID: 19296845
23.  Effect of Korean Herbal Medicine Combined with a Probiotic Mixture on Diarrhea-Dominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial 
Introduction. Although combination therapy with herbal medicine and probiotics is gaining popularity for controlling diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome (D-IBS) symptoms, few studies have investigated its clinical effects. Materials and Methods. Fifty-three patients with D-IBS were randomly allocated into 1 of the following 4 groups: herbal medicine (Gwakhyangjeonggisan; GJS) plus probiotics (Duolac7S; DUO), GJS plus placebo DUO, placebo GJS plus DUO, and placebo GJS plus placebo DUO. The study period consisted of a 2-week run-in, 8 weeks of administration, and 2 weeks of follow-up. The primary outcomes were weekly adequate relief (AR) of overall IBS symptoms and the proportion of responders (PR) during the administration period. The secondary outcomes included individual IBS symptoms, stool assessment, and quality of life. Changes of intestinal microbiota and intestinal permeability were also analyzed. Results and Discussion. Weekly AR was not different among the 4 groups throughout the treatment period. However, the 3 treatment groups exhibited significant improvements in PR compared to the findings in the placebo group. In the intestinal microbiota assessment, herbal medicine and probiotics synergistically increased beneficial bacteria counts. Conclusion. Combination therapy with herbal medicine and probiotics appears to relieve overall IBS symptoms by synergistically increasing beneficial intestinal microbe counts.
PMCID: PMC3870130  PMID: 24381638
24.  A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled pilot study of probiotics in active rheumatoid arthritis 
To examine the effect of probiotics as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A sample size of 30 subjects was calculated to determine a moderate effect.
A three month double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed using probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 capsules administered orally. Inclusion criteria required at least 4 swollen and 4 tender joints and stable medications with no steroids for at least 1 month prior to and during the study. Twenty-nine patients with RA were randomized to treatment. ACR20 responses, serum cytokine levels and safety parameters were assessed.
Fifteen patients were randomized to the probiotic group, and 14 to placebo. Three subjects in the probiotic (20%) and one in the placebo group (7%) achieved an ACR20 response (p= 0.33). There was no statistically significant difference between individual components of the ACR20 criteria. Changes in cytokines favored placebo over probiotic. There was a significant improvement in the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score in the probiotic group from visit 1 to visit 3 (p=0.02) but no between-group differences.
Due to inclusion criteria, patients selected for the study had stable RA with chronic synovitis, and thus it may have been difficult for an adjunctive therapy to demonstrate improvement within 3 months. Although probiotics did not clinically improve RA as measured by the ACR20, it is interesting that there was functional improvement seen within the probiotic group compared to placebo.
PMCID: PMC3539551  PMID: 21629190
rheumatoid arthritis (RA); probiotics; randomized controlled trial; lactobacillus
25.  Effect of a multispecies probiotic supplement on quantity of irritable bowel syndrome-related intestinal microbial phylotypes 
BMC Gastroenterology  2010;10:110.
Probiotics can alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), possibly by stabilizing the intestinal microbiota. Our aim was to determine whether IBS-associated bacterial alterations were reduced during multispecies probiotic intervention consisting of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. rhamnosus Lc705, Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS and Bifidobacterium breve Bb99. The intervention has previously been shown to successfully alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms of IBS.
The faecal microbiotas of 42 IBS subjects participating in a placebo-controlled double-blind multispecies probiotic intervention were analysed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Eight bacterial targets within the gastrointestinal microbiota with a putative IBS association were measured.
A phylotype with 94% similarity to Ruminococcus torques remained abundant in the placebo group, but was decreased in the probiotic group during the intervention (P = 0.02 at 6 months). In addition, the clostridial phylotype, Clostridium thermosuccinogenes 85%, was stably elevated during the intervention (P = 0.00 and P = 0.02 at 3 and 6 months, respectively). The bacterial alterations detected were in accordance with previously discovered alleviation of symptoms.
The probiotic supplement was thus shown to exert specific alterations in the IBS-associated microbiota towards the bacterial 16S rDNA phylotype quantities described previously for subjects free of IBS. These changes may have value as non-invasive biomarkers in probiotic intervention studies.
PMCID: PMC2949774  PMID: 20849659

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