Probiotic formulation VSL#3 appears promising in relieving abdominal bloating in patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minnesota, United States, found that the action was unrelated to alteration in gastrointestinal (GI) or colonic transit in a randomised, controlled trial with 25 diarrhea-predominant IBS patients.
Following a 2-week run-in period, participants were randomly assigned to either VSL#3 or placebo twice daily for eight weeks. Patients underwent pre- and post-treatment measurement of GI transit. They also recorded bowel function and symptoms daily during the 10-week study.
No significant differences were observed between treatment groups pre- or post-therapy on measurements of GI transit, bowel function or satisfactory global symptoms.
The investigators say that further analysis indicated abdominal bloating was reduced in patients receiving VSL#3. This effect was not seen in patients receiving placebo.
All patients were able to tolerate the probiotics.
By Elda Hauschildt
Alimentary Pharmacology 2003;17:7:895-904. "A randomized controlled trial of a probiotic, VSL#3, on gut transit and symptoms in diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome"