Study: Probiotic and multivit benefits heartburn sufferers

By Matt Chittock

- Last updated on GMT

© Tharakorn / Getty Images
© Tharakorn / Getty Images

Related tags Research heartburn

New research suggests a supplement containing the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, alongside bioactive peptides and vitamins, reduces the symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, aka acid reflux or heartburn.

Conducted by a team of Italian researchers and funded by manufacturer Bromatech, the study focused on the effectiveness of the food supplements Pilorex on improving the symptoms and quality of life (QoL) of people living with mild-to-moderate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

The researchers found it was effective in achieving a progressive and significant reduction of heartburn frequency and severity. Subjects taking Pilorex also reported a reduction in their over-the-counter medication intake.

Results from QoL and self-assessment questionnaires showed the subjects in the supplement group achieved a “progressive and statistically significant intragroup and intergroup improvement in QoL”.

A probiotic approach

Gastroesophageal reflux disease​ is defined as “chronic symptoms or mucosal damage incurred by the abnormal reflux of gastric contents into the oesophagus” and impacts millions of people globally.

GERD’s pathophysiology is connected to a imbalance between the aggressiveness of gastric refluxate into the esophagus and the failure of protective mechanisms, such as buffering capacity of oesophageal epithelial cells​. This causes symptoms like regurgitation, heartburn and chest pain.

Recent research has focused on identifying the role of human microbiota in functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs)​, particularly GERD. There is increasing evidence that GERD’s onset and progression are influenced by esophageal microbiota and that commensal bacteria from the oropharynx, stomach and colon help modulate GERD’s pathogenesis​.

This has driven interest in probiotic-based supplements to improve GERD symptoms by restoring the balance and composition of esophageal, gastric and intestinal microbiota​.

Studies show that administering probiotic bacteria effectively accelerates and improves gastric digestive processes through an increment in pepsinogen production—found to be directly related to GERD symptoms​. It has also been suggested that probiotics could improve symptoms by modulating barrier function and immune response​.

Study details

This four-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study featured 56 adults between the ages of 18 and 50 living with mild or moderate heartburn. They were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or Pilorex for 28 days, two tablets in the morning and two before bed.

The subjects recorded their daily heartburn frequency and intensity as well as any over-the-counter medication they took. They completed GERD-QoL and self-assessment questionnaires every two weeks and at the end of the treatment, respectively.

The treatment was well-tolerated by subjects with no adverse events. No one dropped out of the study.

Results suggested the supplement achieved a significant reduction in typical GERD symptoms such as heartburn severity and heartburn frequency. The authors noted this correlates with improvement in quality of life and reduction of weekly over-the-counter drug intake of these subjects.

"Administration of probiotics and fermented soy proteins could be useful in ameliorating the biodiversity and composition of the esophageal, intestinal and gastric microbiota and, consequently, GI tract homeostasis in subjects with GERD," the researchers wrote “Nevertheless, further clinical assays are required to investigate the actual effectiveness and mechanisms of action of strain-specific probiotics and fermented soy proteins in the treatment of GERD, especially in a larger number of subjects."

They acknowledged that the study size was small and called for larger studies in the future.

Source: Nutrients
doi: 10.3390/nu16111759
“Efficacy of a Food Supplement Containing Lactobacillus acidophilus​ LA14, Peptides, and a Multivitamin Complex in Improving Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease-Related Outcomes and Quality of Life of Subjects Showing Mild-to-Moderate Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.”
Authors: Francesco Tursi, Edoardo Benedetto




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