Do you sometimes look at all the probiotics available, feel utterly confused, and just wish there was one for your specific needs? Well if your need is to be more regular, this is your lucky day! The largest clinical trial on probiotics worldwide has just been published in the British Journal of Nutrition. This particular study was on the already well known, and well researched strain of gut bacteria Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12® which has now been clinically shown to be beneficial for those who are constipated making you more regular – naturally.
This fabulous little bug was tested on over 1,200 subjects in France, UK and Germany. All these volunteers were healthy yet had symptoms of ‘low-defecation’ and abdominal discomfort. The volunteers were split into three groups, a placebo group, a group given 1 billion doses of BB-12® cultures and the final group were given high doses of 10 billion cultures. The researchers took into account other factors which can influence constipation such as diet and exercise when assessing the test subjects.
It was found that by using the Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12® probiotic strain, the defecation frequency improved in a clinically significant manner. So to me and you, that means it works! The interesting fact also revealed here is that there was no real difference of effect between the two different treatments suggesting that it wasn’t the strength of the bacteria but the actual strain of bacteria that was making the difference.
About bacteria strains
Maybe this is a good place to talk a little about gut bacteria strains! Gut bacteria, live cultures, beneficial bacteria or probiotics are commonly known as Lactobacillus acidophilus or just plain old Bifidobacterium. But these little bugs are not quite as clunky and simple as that! Nope! They all have their own personalities and jobs to do in your intestine. The names as we commonly know them by are in fact its family name or its species, but bacteria are further differentiated by a strain name. So it’s like the smith (family) includes a mum, dad, and children (species) but of course a child has it's own name. And for example, two sisters in family have totally different personalities, bedrooms, talents and careers – just like two different strains in the Bifidobacterium family. Specific bacterial strains are found to migrate to different areas of the gut, release different products, break down different foods, have an effect on mood or in turn be more beneficial for gut motility. So it’s about finding the right probiotic strain for your symptoms.
It’s a fascinating area with growing research. And I’m guessing that if you are reading this blog you may have trouble with constipation in which case I am sure you are thrilled that the biggest study to date is on the strain you need.
So the question you are all bound to be asking is where can we get this little bacteria with magic powers?? Well you can purchase it all packaged up nicely in a green box with the name 'Bifidobacteria & fibre' from OptiBac Probiotics. Don’t forget however that a multipronged approach is needed with constipation so don’t forget to address diet, medications and very importantly exercise.
Read more about how to help alleviate your constipation naturally; the following blog posts may be of particular interest to you.
Dorte Eskesen, Lillian Jespersen, Birgit Michelsen, Peter J. Whorwell, Stefan Müller-Lissner and Cathrine M. Morberg. (2015) Effect of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, BB-12®, on defecation frequency in healthy subjects with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. British Journal of Nutrition, available on CJO2015. doi:10.1017/S0007114515003347.