Research shows that taking probiotics for constipation can be an effective treatment. We'll look at the reasons that show just why probiotics assists constipation.
But before we get to the scientific studies, here are some probiotics for constipation that are getting great reviews on Amazon.
Here is what one person said about Digestive Advantage - Irritable Bowel Syndrome Capsules: - "I have constipation type IBS and this works for me. The first thing I noticed was that I wasn't as bloated. Not alot of relief, but just enough to keep on giving it a try. It took about 2 months to get the full effect. Without it, I am really constipated, but with it things work alot better. I use the chewable tablets. "
Digestive Advantage contains Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 (GanedenBC30) and has over 150 mostly favourable reviews on Amazon. And forget about refrigeratation transportation problems with these probiotics - this is one hardy beast!
And this is what one person said about Phillips' Colon Health Probiotic Supplement 30 Capsules.: - "The first week taking this product made me very hopeful. Before I took this, nothing worked for me. I eat 35+ grams of fiber a day and it did not do the trick. Now, I have no worries. If you take it regularly, you will love this product. FYI: during the second and third week, you may think that the effectiveness is not there anymore-- just give it another week..."
Very vague about what is in it - 1.5 billion cfu of unspecified varieties of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium but has good reviews.
The Department of Justice has filed against Bayer, the makers of Phillips Colon Health, that the claims they make for their product have not been "proven". The claims were that their product could eliminate and prevent symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, and gas and bloating. Of course, if it has worked for you - as it clearly has for many of the people on Amazon who have reviewed it - then this hardly matters! So, it is not being suggested that the product is harmful in any way at all - simply that legally Bayer's have not provided sufficient evidence that it does what they claim it does.
UK residents - Ultimate Flora Critical Care contains 50 billion cfu of L acidophilus, L rhamnosus, L plantarum, B longum and B bifidum. One UK resident says "It is the best probiotic I have used, and I used to suffer chronic constipation and gas!".
So can probiotics alleviate gas and constipation? The answer has to be a resounding yes!
The three factors above go a long way in revealing just why some probiotics have shown to be successful at treating constipation and many people find that simply increasing their uptake of any lactic acid bacteria or probiotic helps.
According to the latest research, Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010, E. coli Nissle 1917, the supplement VSL#3 and Lactobacillus casei Shirota
Each of these proved their worth in at least one peer reviewed trial.
E. coli Nissle 1917 - This is NOT the E coli that most of us know about. This is a different strain and is a GOOD bacteria. 70 constipated patients with given either E. coli Nissle 1917 or a placebo. After four weeks of treatment, there was a significant difference in the number of stools passed each week in the E. coli group compared with the placebo group. E coli group 4.9 stools a week against the placebo group's 2.6 stools. There was also a significant difference between the probiotic and the control group in the incidence of hard stools. E. coli Nissle 1917 is successful in the treatment of chronic constipation.
It is fairly hard to find a source of E coli Nissle 1917 but it is in a product called Mutaflor. It is getting good reports in many of the forums for IBS with constipation. You can see where to buy it here. Great things being said about it on the specialist forums.
Also available in Canada.
VSL3 is a probiotic blend and was used in a 2011 trial of elderly hospitalized patients. 25% of the people who took VSL#3 reported a lower use of laxatives3 in comparison with the group that did not. It worked even better in preventing diarrhea where 60% of the people had a lower incidence of diarrhea, particularly the type caused by C difficile (CDAD or Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea.)
Lactobacillus casei Shirota - 70 patients with the symptoms of chronic constipation took either a probiotic beverage containing L casei Shirota or a placebo for four weeks. Each week patients completed a questionnaire about their gastrointestinal symptoms, well-being, and stool habits, and underwent a medical examination. The severity of constipation, flatulence, and bloating was divided into four categories (severe, moderately severe, mild, and no symptoms). The people in the L. casei Shirota group reported a big improvement in the severity of their constipation as measured by a decrease in the hardness of their stools and more frequent passing of stools. However, the occurrence and degree of flatulence or bloating sensation did not alter much.
You can get L casei Shirota in the fermented drink called Yakult from your supermarket.
I drink Yakult on an almost daily basis and believe that it definately keeps me regular. Tastes nice too!
Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010 also called Bifidus regularis - a group of constipated women took a fermented milk product containing B lactis DN-173 010 and the yoghurt starter strains, S thermophilus and L bulgaricus. After one week the group taking the probiotics were experiencing 3.5 stools a week compared to the group taking the placebo passing 2.5 stools a week. After 2 weeks this was 4.1 stools a week against 2.6. There was an improvement in the consistency of the faeces (softer) and less difficulty in passing them.
You can get your daily dose in Activia yogurt.
A small trial amongst the elderly residents of a nursing home got good results taking 300 billion cfu twice a day of lactic acid bacteria supplements containing Lactobacillus acidophilus (affects acute diarrhea and colitis), Pediococcus pentosaceus (has anti-viral effects), and Bifidobacterium longum SPM1205 (demonstrates in vivo inhibitory effects on harmful enzyme activities of intestinal microflora)2.
The British Journal of Community Nursing said: "A limited number of studies that are available on the effectiveness of probiotics on constipation have shown conflicting results, but promising results have been found for certain strains."
1. Anna Chmielewska and Hania Szajewska. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials: Probiotics for functional constipation. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 January 7; 16(1): 69—75.
2. Hyang Mi An, Eun Hye Baek, Seok Jang, Do Kyung Lee, Mi Jin Kim, Jung Rae Kim, Kang Oh Lee, Jong Gi Park, and Nam Joo Ha. Efficacy of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) supplement in management of constipation among nursing home residents. Nutr J. 2010; 9: 5. Published online 2010 February 5. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-5.
3. Zaharoni H, Rimon E, Vardi H, Friger M, Bolotin A, Shahar DR. Probiotics improve bowel movements in hospitalized elderly patients--the PROAGE study. J Nutr Health Aging. 2011 Mar;15(3):215—20.