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      A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial of a multi-strain probiotic formulation (Bio-Kult®) in the management of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome

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          Accumulating evidence supports the view that an imbalance of gut bacteria contributes to IBS, and that increasing the mass of beneficial species may reduce the numbers of pathogenic bacteria and help alleviate symptoms.


          In this double-blind trial 400 adult patients with moderate-to-severe symptomatic diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D) were randomized to treatment with the multi-strain probiotic Bio-Kult® (14 different bacterial strains) or placebo for 16 weeks. The change in severity and frequency of abdominal pain was the primary outcome measure.


          Probiotic treatment significantly improved the severity of abdominal pain in patients with IBS-D. A 69% reduction for probiotic versus 47% for placebo ( p < 0.001) equates to a 145 point reduction on the IBS-severity scoring system (IBS-SSS). The proportion of patients who rated their symptoms as moderate-to-severe was reduced from 100% at baseline to 14% for the multi-strain probiotic at follow-up (month 5) versus 48% for placebo ( p < 0.001). Also, the number of bowel motions per day from month 2 onwards was significantly reduced in the probiotic group compared with the placebo group ( p < 0.05). In addition to relieving symptoms, the probiotic markedly improved all dimensions of quality of life in the 34-item IBS-Quality of Life (IBS-QoL) questionnaire. No serious adverse events were reported.


          The multi-strain probiotic was associated with significant improvement in symptoms in patients with IBS-D and was well-tolerated. These results suggest that probiotics confer a benefit in IBS-D patients which deserves further investigation.

          Trial registration

          [Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03251625; retrospectively registered on August 9, 2017].

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12876-018-0788-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Global prevalence of and risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis.

          Many cross-sectional surveys have reported the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but there have been no recent systematic review of data from all studies to determine its global prevalence and risk factors. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and EMBASE Classic were searched (until October 2011) to identify population-based studies that reported the prevalence of IBS in adults (≥15 years old); IBS was defined by using specific symptom-based criteria or questionnaires. The prevalence of IBS was extracted for all studies and based on the criteria used to define it. Pooled prevalence, according to study location and certain other characteristics, odds ratios (ORs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Of the 390 citations evaluated, 81 reported the prevalence of IBS in 80 separate study populations containing 260,960 subjects. Pooled prevalence in all studies was 11.2% (95% CI, 9.8%-12.8%). The prevalence varied according to country (from 1.1% to 45.0%) and criteria used to define IBS. The greatest prevalence values were calculated when ≥3 Manning criteria were used (14%; 95% CI, 10.0%-17.0%); by using the Rome I and Rome II criteria, prevalence values were 8.8% (95% CI, 6.8%-11.2%) and 9.4% (95% CI, 7.8%-11.1%), respectively. The prevalence was higher for women than men (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.53-1.82) and lower for individuals older than 50 years, compared with those younger than 50 (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.62-0.92). There was no effect of socioeconomic status, but only 4 studies reported these data. The prevalence of IBS varies among countries, as well as criteria used to define its presence. Women are at slightly higher risk for IBS than men. The effects of socioeconomic status have not been well described. Copyright © 2012 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            The microbiome and innate immunity.

            The intestinal microbiome is a signalling hub that integrates environmental inputs, such as diet, with genetic and immune signals to affect the host's metabolism, immunity and response to infection. The haematopoietic and non-haematopoietic cells of the innate immune system are located strategically at the host-microbiome interface. These cells have the ability to sense microorganisms or their metabolic products and to translate the signals into host physiological responses and the regulation of microbial ecology. Aberrations in the communication between the innate immune system and the gut microbiota might contribute to complex diseases.
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              The irritable bowel severity scoring system: a simple method of monitoring irritable bowel syndrome and its progress.

              The clinical assessment and investigation of irritable bowel syndrome would be greatly facilitated by the introduction of a simple, easy to use severity scoring system. Such a system, developed in our department over a number of years, has been submitted to validation in a total of 141 patients and 40 healthy controls. The system, incorporating pain, distension, bowel dysfunction and quality of life/global well-being, was assessed for its ability to reliably score patients previously classified as mild, moderate or severe. The reproducibility and sensitivity to change of the system was also assessed. The maximum achievable score was 500. Mild, moderate and severe cases were indicated by scores of 75 to 175, 175 to 300 and > 300 respectively. Controls scored below 75 and patients scoring in this range can be considered to be in remission. There was a highly significant difference between controls and patients as a whole (P = 0.0001) as well as significant differences (P < 0.01) between all severity categories. Scores repeated within 24 h were very reproducible and sensitivity to change was also extremely good (P < 0.001) with a change of 50 reliably indicating improvement. These results suggest that this scoring system should prove to be a valuable instrument in helping to meet the many challenges offered by irritable bowel syndrome.

                Author and article information

                BMC Gastroenterol
                BMC Gastroenterol
                BMC Gastroenterology
                BioMed Central (London )
                25 May 2018
                25 May 2018
                : 18
                ISNI 0000 0001 2034 9320, GRID grid.411509.8, Department of Gastroenterology, , Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, ; Dhaka, Bangladesh
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                © The Author(s) 2018


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