HealthDay News – Probiotic treatment with dead bacteria is better than placebo at alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published online April 8 in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Viola Andresen, MD, from the University of Hamburg Teaching Hospital in Germany, and colleagues randomly assigned patients with IBS seen at 20 sites in Germany to receive either 2 placebo capsules (222 patients) or 2 capsules with a combined total of 1 × 109 nonviable Bifidobacterium bifidum heat-inactivated (HI)-MIMBb75 cells (221 patients) to be taken orally once daily for 8 weeks.

The researchers found that the composite primary end point (combination of at least 30% improvement of abdominal pain and adequate relief of overall IBS symptoms being fulfilled in at least 4 of 8 weeks during treatment) was reached by 34% of patients in the B. bifidum HI-MIMBb75 group vs 19% of patients in the placebo group (risk ratio, 1.7). There were no serious adverse events reported in the B. bifidum HI-MIMBb75 group, but there were seven adverse events suspected to be related to the study product (vs 8 in the placebo group). The vast majority of participants rated tolerability as very good or good (91% in the B. bifidum HI-MIMBb75 group vs 86% in the placebo group).

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“Our results show for the first time that dead or alive, it’s possible to preserve the beneficial effects of some probiotic bacteria,” Andresen said in a statement. “They could be just as effective as live probiotics, as well as even safer, with the added commercial benefit of a longer shelf life.”

The study was funded by Synformulas.

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