The Sheffield IBS Trial

Clinical trial: a multistrain probiotic preparation significantly reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a double-blind placebo-controlled study

Aim

This randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study investigated the effect of supplementation with Lab4 probiotics to significantly reduce the symptoms of IBS.

Method

  • The study was carried out at The University of Sheffield.
  • 52 people diagnosed with IBS by the Rome II criteria were divided into two groups.
  • The first group received 25 billion Lab4 probiotics daily for 8 weeks.
  • The second group took a placebo preparation.
  • The IBS symptoms were assessed every two weeks during the study period and again at 10 weeks – two weeks after stopping the probiotics.
  • The IBS symptoms measured included:
    • Number of days with pain
    • Level of abdominal pain
    • Bloating
    • Quality of life
    • Satisfaction with bowel habit

The results

The participants taking the Lab4 probiotics showed significant improvement in Total IBS symptoms compared to placebo (*P<0.05). By two weeks after the intervention, no significant difference could be detected between the probiotic and placebo groups.
Total IBS symptoms during follow up time (weeks)
Total IBS symptoms during follow up time (weeks)
  • A significant reduction in days with pain and bloating was achieved with the Lab4 probiotic group.
  • Satisfaction with bowel habit and quality of life were significantly improved in the Lab4 probiotic group (reduction in the symptom severity scores).
Days with pain - part of the Sheffield IBS trial
Days with pain - part of the Sheffield IBS trial
Days with bloating - part of the Sheffield IBS trial
Days with bloating - part of the Sheffield IBS trial
Satisfaction with bowel habit - part of the Sheffield IBS trial
Satisfaction with bowel habit - part of the Sheffield IBS trial
Quality of life - part of the Sheffield IBS trial
Quality of life - part of the Sheffield IBS trial

Conclusion

The Lab4 probiotics significantly reduced total symptoms and improved quality of life in diagnosed IBS sufferers.
Continued supplementation was considered necessary to sustain this improvement.

Reference

Williams EA et al 2008.
Clinical trial: a multistrain probiotic preparation significantly reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a double-blind placebo-controlled study.
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 29: 97-103

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