Study backs multispecies probiotic for constipation

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Consumption of a multispecies probiotic mixture is effective in reducing constipation during pregnancy, suggests new research.

The new uncontrolled intervention study – published in Nutrition Journal​ – assessed whether a mixture of probiotics is effective in the treatment of constipation during pregnancy in a small group of women.

Led by Dr Marc Benninga from the University of Amsterdam, the research team found that a multispecies probiotic (Ecologic Relief from Winclove) significantly improved defecation frequency in addition to many other symptoms such as abdominal pain and straining.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the use of probiotics in constipated pregnant women,”​ said Benninga and his colleagues.

“This small pilot study showed that the multispecies probiotic mixture EcologicRelief seems to be safe and possibly effective in constipation during pregnancy,”​ they said. “A large placebo-controlled randomised trial is now required to confirm these data.”

Study details

The researchers conducted the pilot study in 20 pregnant participants with functional constipation, in which they received a daily dose of a multispecies probiotic (EcologicRelief) for four weeks.

The multispecies probiotic contained a total of 4*109 CFU bacteria, and consisted of: Bifidobacterium bifidum​ W23, Bifidobacterium lactis​ W52, Bifidobacterium longum​ W108, Lactobacillus casei​ W79, Lactobacillus plantarum​ W62 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus​ W71.

The product was developed by Dutch firm Winclove, in collaboration with Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC), Emma Children’s Hospital, Amsterdam.

At baseline and during the trial, all women completed a questionnaire and diary to measure their defecation frequency, consistency of stools, sensation of incomplete evacuation or anorectal obstruction, and possible adverse effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea and bad taste.

Clinical evaluations and surveys after four weeks revealed that average defecation frequency per week significantly increased form 3.0 at baseline to7.0 inweek two (p<0.001) and6.0 inweek four (p<0.01).

“All secondary outcome measures, except for hard stools and manual manoeuvres, improved significantly after two weeks as well and these results sustained until the end of the treatment period,”​ said the researchers.
Source: Nutrition Journal
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-80
“Is a multispecies probiotic mixture effective in constipation during pregnancy? 'A pilot study'”
Authors: Inge de Milliano, Merit M Tabbers, Joris A van der Post and Marc A Benninga

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