Clinical trial: the effects of a trans-galactooligosaccharide prebiotic on faecal microbiota and symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Mar 1;29(5):508-18. Epub 2008 Dec 2. PMID: 19053980
BACKGROUND: Gut microflora-mucosal interactions may be involved in the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). AIM: To investigate the efficacy of a novel prebiotic trans-galactooligosaccharide in changing the colonic microflora and improve the symptoms in IBS sufferers. METHODS: In all, 44 patients with Rome II positive IBS completed a 12-week single centre parallel crossover controlled clinical trial. Patients were randomized to receive either 3.5 g/d prebiotic, 7 g/d prebiotic or 7 g/d placebo. IBS symptoms were monitored weekly and scored according to a 7-point Likert scale. Changes in faecal microflora, stool frequency and form (Bristol stool scale) subjective global assessment (SGA), anxiety and depression and QOL scores were also monitored. RESULTS: The prebiotic significantly enhanced faecal bifidobacteria (3.5 g/d P<0.005; 7 g/d P<0.001). Placebo was without effect on the clinical parameters monitored, while the prebiotic at 3.5 g/d significantly changed stool consistency (P<0.05), improved flatulence (P<0.05) bloating (P<0.05), composite score of symptoms (P<0.05) and SGA (P<0.05). The prebiotic at 7 g/d significantly improved SGA (P<0.05) and anxiety scores (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: The galactooligosaccharide acted as a prebiotic in specifically stimulating gut bifidobacteria in IBS patients and is effective in alleviating symptoms. These findings suggest that the prebiotic has potential as a therapeutic agent in IBS.