On-the-go probiotic shows stress-tummy promise

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Irritable bowel syndrome

Institut Rosell is gearing up for the launch of its new
Probio'Stick on-the-go probiotic product. Its latest trial
indicates that it may be helpful in dealing with some of the
symptoms of chronic stress.

Probio'Stick is a new, patented probiotic formulation, which is packed in small, thin tubes similar to individual sugar servings. It uses microencapsulation technology to ensure that the two strains of bacteria, Rosell-52 and Rosell-175, survive in the gastrointestinal tract no matter what time of day the product is taken.

According to the company, which is part of the Lallemand group, the problem with normal probiotic delivery is that between meals the gastric acid can be so strong that it kills off the bacteria before they have a chance to act.

The product is already available in Scandinavia and launches in other EU countries and the US are anticipated during 2006.

The portable format means that it is particularly suitable for people with a hectic lifestyle, who may be more susceptible to stress than others. It can be taken without water.

For the clinical trial, scientific consultant Dr Laurent Diop selected 75 healthy volunteers with a history of stress, based on the responses they gave to a 64-question questionnaire. His aim was to evaluate the possible benefits of a probiotic on different disorders induced by stress - that is, gastrointestinal, sleep-related, cardiovascular and social problems.

Thirty-four of the participants took one Probio'Stick a day over a three-week period, and 33 took a placebo. Eight volunteers dropped out before the end of the trial.

Dr Diop explained to NutraIngredients-USA.com that the volunteers reported their experience of each of the stress-related disorders on a visual analytical scale.

Those taking the Probio'Stick reported a 16.44 point (49 percent) decrease in gastrointestinal symptoms, nausea and abdominal pain.

The placebo group also reported a reduction in symptoms of 7.5 points, although this could have been due to the volunteers' expectations that a probiotic would help with gastrointestinal problems.

Dr Diop said that the placebo response is "classic for a gastrointestinal study"​ and noted that in a recent trial investigating the benefits of a probiotic for sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome, the placebo group reported a 30 percent improvement.

He also noted that there was also some improvement in cardiovascular symptoms, such as palpitations, amongst the Probio'Stick group, but that this was not significant.

There was no effect at all on sleep-related or social disorders associated with stress.

The reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms related to stress with probiotics was not a surprise, since the beneficial effect of probiotics on gastrointestinal and immune systems is well documented. But Dr Diop said he was surprised by the level of improvement.

"Altogether, this trial showed that Probio'Stick can provide beneficial effects on gastrointestinal functions for people suffering from chronic stress,"​ he said.

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