Probiotics fail to prevent colitis recurrence: Study

Related tags Ulcerative colitis Probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus

Daily supplements of a blend of the bacterial strains Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 (Probio-Tec AB-25) was no better than placebo for maintaining remission of ulcerative colitis.

One year of supplementation with the probiotic blend did not significantly improve remission measures in 32 people with ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, compared with placebo, according to findings published by researchers from the University Hospital of Copenhagen and Chr Hansen report their findings in the Journal of Crohn's and Colitis​.

Of the 32 people recruited, 20 were assigned to receive the Probio-Tec AB-25 supplements (Chr Hansen), and the others to receive placebo. Results showed that 5 people, or 25 percent of the group, maintained remission after 52 weeks of supplementation, compared with only 1 person in the placebo group, or 8 percent of the group. The average relapse time was found to be 125.5 days in the probiotic group, compared with 104 days in the placebo group. However there was no statistically significant difference between the results, said the researchers.

“With the doses and bacterial strains used, fewer relapses and longer remission periods were seen in the probiotic group, but the differences were not statistically significant,”​ wrote the researchers. “However, the study had a small placebo group, limited statistical power, and a relapse rate higher than expected, thus from this study it cannot be excluded that Probio-Tec AB-25 is better than placebo to maintain remission in UC but the 1 year remission rate must be much less than the anticipated 70 percent.”

Door still open

The researchers did not close the door on the potential benefits of probiotics for maintaining remission of ulcerative colitis, and noted that “a difference may be achieved in larger studies, but the clinical significance of this would be questionable”​.

According to the FAO/WHO, probiotics are defined as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host"​.

Source: Journal of Crohn's and Colitis
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2010.11.004
“A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial with Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 for maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis”
Authors: S. Wildt, I. Nordgaard, U. Hansen, E. Brockmann, J.J. Rumessen

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