Probiotics have no benefit for IBS, finds new RCT data

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Probiotics have no benefit for IBS, finds new RCT data

Related tags Irritable bowel syndrome

Consumption of a probiotic containing functional food product has no clinical benefits for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) when compared to a placebo treatment, according to new clinical trial data.

The multi-centre, randomised, double blind, controlled trial evaluated the effect of a probiotic functional food dairy product against a non-probiotic dairy product on symptoms in IBS – finding that the probiotic product offered no significant benefit over a the placebo.

Led by Professor Richard Hobbs of Oxford University, UK, the clinical trial of the commercially available probiotic fermented yoghurt product (containing bifidobacterium animalis​ DN-173010) in community based IBS patients found that both the probiotic and placebo control product led to significant improvement across a range of symptom and quality of life outcomes.

“Significant improvements were reported for most outcomes in all trial participants but improvement did not differ by intervention or placebo group,”​ said Hobbs and his team.

“This trial therefore does not provide evidence for effectiveness of a probiotic in IBS, in variance with much published literature and review conclusions.”

Study details

Hobbs and his team stated that previous evidence has suggested that functional foods containing probiotics can improve gastrointestinal transit, but noted that “data are limited by short follow-up periods and evaluation in selected populations.”

The new 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.

A total of 179 participants were randomised to consume dairy ‘yoghurt’ products which either did or did not contain active probiotics twice daily and to complete a daily diary.

The primary outcome was subjective global assessment of symptom relief at week 4. Other outcomes were: IBS symptom scores, pain, bloating and flatulence levels, stool frequency, stool consistency, ease of bowel movement and quality of life.

The team found no significant difference between the probiotic and placebo groups at 4 weeks (57% active vs 53% placebo, reported adequate relief (p = 0.71)).

By weeks eight and 12 the team found that those receiving placebo had better pain relief than those receiving the probiotic (46% active vs 68% placebo).

“The sustained and large improvement observed in both groups suggests there may be benefit from regular consumption of a dairy product but does not suggest any additional benefit of the addition of a probiotic to such products,”​ the team commented.

Source: BMC Gastroenterology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-13-45
“A randomised controlled trial of a probiotic ‘functional food’ in the management of irritable bowel syndrome”
Authors: Lesley M Roberts, Deborah McCahon, Roger Holder, et al

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Whitepaper: Discover a new era in postbiotics

Whitepaper: Discover a new era in postbiotics

Content provided by DSM Nutritional Products | 28-Nov-2023 | White Paper

Postbiotic ingredients are set to open up a world of opportunities across the human health and nutrition industry, fueled by developing science demonstrating...

Related suppliers


Show more

Natural Remedies for IBS

Posted by daisayrose,

Irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease and it is a condition when our bowel moments are abnormal we have this type of condition. Most of the people are facing irregular bowel moments problem due to poor dietary habits and lack of physical activities. Many people suffer due to not consuming enough fiber in their diet and water. I always prefer natural remedies for IBS than supplements.

Natural remedies give long lasting results without side effects. Generally colon itself is sufficient for cleansing the feces. Colon health depends on the diet and exercises, if we follow proper diet can make colon stronger and healthy. If all these are ineffective we can go for supplements or therapies by the suggestion of doctor.

Report abuse

I recommend Forever Aloe Gel

Posted by Robert Gething,

I ended up being admitted to hospital about 5 weeks ago with a blocked bowel. The doctors told me there is little they can give me and that I’m on the strongest medication. The problem is that I’ve been on it for 23 years so now my system is used to it and it’s not effective. A friend suggested the aloe gel and I’ve had an active bowel everyday since taking it. I stopped taking it, hadn’t had any movement for about two weeks, started taking it again yesterday and had a substantial bowel movement within a few hours. If you have constipation problems of digestion issues, I really can’t recommend this product enough.

Report abuse

two thougths

Posted by Burt Shulman 845 298 429,

First, since the placebo group had shown great improvement, then the probiotic group would show no better improvemnt. To conclude that probiotics have no benefit to IBS suffers, has not been proven by this trial.
Also, in deference to poster Sergio , eating small quantities of probiotics contained in functional foods, such as yogurt,are not the way probiotics work to take over the the digestive tract. It is by shear quantitiy (450 Billion organisms per dose) that these "non harmful" bacteria crowd out the harmful ones by consuming the food supply and living space of the current resisdent bacteria. There is a product on the market that has these quantities of non-harmful bacteria and has been clinically shown to improve IBS, Chrohns and Pouchitis.

Report abuse

Follow us


View more