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Matsumoto et al (2006) The effect of a probiotic milk product containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on the defecation frequency and the intestinal microflora of sub-optimal health state volunteers: a randomized placebo-controlled cross-over study

Matsumoto et al (2006) The effect of a probiotic milk product containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on the defecation frequency and the intestinal microflora of sub-optimal health state volunteers: a randomized placebo-controlled cross-over study

Citation

Matsumoto K, Takada T, Shimizu K, Kado Y, Kawakami K, Makino I, Yamaoka Y, Hirano K, Nishimura A, Kajimoto O, Nomoto, K (2006) The effect of a probiotic milk product containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on the defecation frequency and the intestinal microflora of sub-optimal health state volunteers: a randomized placebo-controlled cross-over study. Bioscience & Microflora 25(2): 39-48

Objective

To assess the effect of a probiotic on bowel habit, intestinal microflora and other parameters of intestinal health in healthy subjects with low defecation frequency.

Methods

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover trial, one bottle a day of probiotic (minimum 4 x 1010 cfu L. casei Shirota) or placebo was given to 40 healthy people selected on the basis of low defecation frequency (3-5 times/week). Subjects were randomly allocated to different intervention sequences, with each intervention lasting two weeks and separated by a three-week washout period.  They kept a daily record of their defecation frequency and stool appearance. Microbiological and biochemical analysis of the faeces were conducted at six different time points.

Results

The main changes observed for the measured endpoints included an increase in defecation frequency for the probiotic intervention period (P <0.05). This was most noticeable in those who had initially had the lowest defecation frequency (≤ 4.0 per week; n=21). Significant improvement in the stool smell and the feeling of completeness in emptying the bowels was also reported during the probiotic consumption (both P <0.05). In addition, stool consistency changed to become softer for subjects with a stronger tendency to constipation (P <0.05).

An increase of bifidobacteria numbers and their percentage of total number of faecal bacteria was observed associated with probiotic intervention compared to before probiotic intake and also compared to placebo intake at week two (both P <0.05)  

Selective culture methods demonstrated counts of ≥ Log10 7.3 /per g of faeces for the probiotic strain (L. casei Shirota) during both weeks of probiotic intervention.

No differences in other parameters of faecal analysis were found (i.e. other bacterial groups, organic acids, putrefactive metabolites, pH and water content). 

Table 1. Changes in bowel movements (frequency per week) for constipated subjects

Subjects

Intervention

Before intake

Week 1 of intake

Week 2 of intake

All subjects (n=40)

Probiotic

4.0 ± 1.3

4.7 ± 1.5 *

4.8 ± 1.5*

Placebo

4.2 ± 1.5

4.4 ± 1.7

4.3 ± 1.5

Those with more severe constipation (n=21)

Probiotic

3.2 ± 1.0

4.2 ± 1.5 *

4.7 ± 1.7**

Placebo

3.3 ± 1.3

3.8 ± 1.4

3.7 ± 1.3

Comparison with values before intake: * P <0.05; ** P <0.01 (Wilcoxon signed-rank test)Comparison between probiotic and placebo: P <0.05 (Wilcoxon signed-rank test)

 

Conclusions

The authors concluded that the results indicated that the probiotic positively influenced the gut by improving bowel habit and stool quality, and increasing levels of bifidobacteria.

 
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