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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 17 (2003), Issue 11, Pages 655-659
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2003/654907
Original Article

Probiotic Beverage Containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota Improves Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Patients with Chronic Constipation

Corinna Koebnick,1 Irmtrud Wagner,2 Peter Leitzmann,3 Udo Stern,4 and HJ Franz Zunft1

1German Institute of Human Nutrition, Department of Intervention Studies, Bergholz-Rehbrücke, Germany
2Yakult Deutschland GmbH, Neuss, Germany
3Institute of Nutritional Science, University of Giessen, Germany
4Büdingen, Germany

Received 10 March 2003; Revised 11 August 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This open-access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits reuse, distribution and reproduction of the article, provided that the original work is properly cited and the reuse is restricted to noncommercial purposes.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of a probiotic beverage on gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with chronic constipation.

METHODS: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study was conducted over a four-week period in patients with symptoms of chronic constipation (n=70). To all patients, 65 mL/day of a probiotic beverage containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) or a sensorially identical placebo was administered. Patients completed a questionnaire on gastrointestinal symptoms, well-being and stool habits and underwent a medical examination weekly. Severity of constipation, flatulence and bloating was summarized into four categories (severe, moderately severe, mild and no symptoms).

RESULTS: The consumption of LcS resulted in a significant improvement in self-reported severity of constipation and stool consistency, starting in the second week of the intervention phase (P<0.0001). Severe and moderately severe constipation was observed less in the LcS group. The occurrence and degree of flatulence or bloating sensation did not change. In the final examination, 89% of the LcS group and 56% of the placebo group showed a positive effect of their beverage on constipation (P=0.003). No adverse reactions were reported.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate a beneficial effect on gastrointestinal symptoms of patients with chronic constipation. The administration of probiotic foodstuffs may be recommended as an adjunctive therapy of chronic constipation.