Constipation is becoming an increasingly common health problem in industrialized societies, mainly due to dependency on processed and packaged foods and low-fiber low-sugar diets. Constipation affects about 15 to 25% of the population, but most of the time, people do not even realize that they have constipation until an irregular bowel movement or difficulty passing stool becomes a regular problem.
Although there are various causes of constipation, the main question is how to treat constipation? Doctors usually prescribe laxatives to relieve constipation, but this is only a short-term treatment. The use of the laxative over a long period of time often results in laxative dependence, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration. But there are a number of studies that show that probiotics can be used to treat constipation without causing any side effects. So how do probiotics contribute to constipation? What is the best probiotic for constipation? In this article, we have addressed all these issues and have completed a list of some of the best probiotics for constipation.
How do probiotics relieve constipation?
Our intestines are composed of billions and billions of bacteria, and when an imbalance occurs (known as dysbiosis), this can often lead to digestive symptoms like constipation. The majority of the bacteria that make up our small intestine are the species of Bifidobacteri and Lactobacillus, so it is logical that probiotics with specific strains belonging to these species are generally considered the most useful to reduce constipation. Some probiotics produce lactic acid and short chain fatty acids (SCFA) which lower the pH in the colon which increases the muscle contractions of the colon (peristalsis) to improve the regularity.
Our intestinal microflora is made up of many different species and a variety of bacteria. Some species of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can improve intestinal regularity and mucosal secretion by converting bound bile salts into free bile salts. These free bile salts cause a greater amount of water in the colon that softens the stool and helps in elimination.
Although there are many possible triggers for constipation and as a result, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, fortunately, there is good evidence to show that probiotics can be effective. Not all of them are the same, and their effect may depend on the constraint used. Due to the different advantages of the variety of strains, it is often found that a combination of a supplement is particularly effective.
About 12% of the world’s population experiences constipation at some point in their lives (1). Constipation is characterized by a slow transit of stools through the colon, which can lead to infrequent and/or rigid stools. This is a common complaint in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but this can also be caused by other factors such as low-fiber diets, pregnancy or old age. The main treatment of constipation is the increase in dietary fiber. However, the fiber may not work for all.
Research shows that another viable treatment option is probiotics. Studies on predominant IBS in constipation (IBS-C) show that patients have changes in their intestinal flora (2). This suggests that handling the microbiota may provide relief. Probiotics are one way to do this.
To help those looking for a good probiotic for IBS, we have searched the literature for clinical trials that have studied beneficial bacteria in IBS. Twenty-eight randomized double-blind studies of 18 different probiotic preparations were examined. Only 10 probiotic preparations showed a positive result. Of these candidates, the top five probiotics were selected by carefully comparing the quality of the results and the quality of the study.
- Lactobacillus plantarum 299v
In Lund Sweden 1986, this bacterial subspecies was isolated from healthy human colon tissue. This probiotic had the most trials, a total of four, 3-6 with the best results; only one single study showed little effect (3). The most recent study (4) was supported by the Rosell-Lallemand Institute in France and Probi AB, a Swedish company, which has the rights to apply this subspecies. (5) In this study, approximately 200 patients were recruited to India. Half that received the probiotic supplement for four weeks showed significant improvements in abdominal pain, bloating and stool frequency. More importantly, the majority of patients who considered it felt they saw improvements as opposed to a fraction of those who took a placebo.
- Bifidum MIMBb75 was initially isolated from healthy human stools and is part of the Industrial Microbiological Culture Collection of the University of Milan, Italy. (5) There was only one clinical study with IBS that corresponded to criteria (6), but the results were so robust that it took second place. One hundred and twenty patients participated in the four-week treatment trial. The overall IBS scores (based on a number of IBS symptoms) were significantly lowered in the treatment group as opposed to the placebo group. The most improved symptoms were pain/discomfort, distension/swelling and sense of urgency. In general, 57% of the probiotic patients improved, while only 21% felt that they improved in the placebo group. This study was funded by Naturwohl Pharma, GmbH, a German company.
- Bifidobacterium infantis 35624
This bacterial strain was isolated from healthy human intestinal tracts in Ireland (7). In 2006, a large study was conducted with 362 patients who examined different doses of B. infantis 35624 on the symptoms of IBS in women. (8) With the right dose, the treatment of the group had significant reductions in abdominal pain/malaise, swelling, incomplete evacuation, stress, gas and overall satisfaction. It also appeared that patients with IBS suffered from more reactive diarrhea. Unfortunately, there is an unpublished study with negative results on this species on the manufacturer’s website, so that strain only receives position number three.
This multi-strain probiotic contains Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL60 (NCIMB 30157) and CUL21 (NCIMB 30156), Bifidobacterium lactis CUL34 (NCIMB 30172) and Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL20 (NCIMB 30153). The mixture was developed by Cultech Ltd in Wales, and is found in a probiotic supplement produced by Pharmex. Clinical results were observed in a study performed in 200913, which showed that over an eight-week treatment period, patients had an overall improved IBS score compared to placebo. Significant improvements in pain and satisfaction of intestinal movements have also been found. In addition, there was a significant improvement in the quality of life at eight weeks. The lack of other studies and poorly analyzed results put this study at number four.
- VSL # 3 and LGG MAX
Two probiotics attach the position of number five. Both are multi-sport supplements, with VSL # 3 containing eight strains and LGG MAX from Valio Ltd containing four different strains. VSL # 3 was also discussed in an earlier publication. Both supplements have been well tested, each having three individual clinical trials. (9) However, the reason these supplements are lower in my scale is that their effects appear to be too weak or limited. VSL # 3 has good results but only seems to help abdominal bloating and gas. LGG MAX could consistently reduce the overall scores of IBS but was not able to significantly improve individual settings such as bloating, gas or cramps. This suggests that it is effective but not robust. VSL # 3 is available as a medical food to be used under the direction of a physician.
Fortunately, the majority of probiotics are classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Still, it is wise to consult your practitioner before starting any kind of self-treatment, especially if your condition is not diagnosed.
Best Probiotic for IBS Gas?
- Contains 50 billion live cultures in each serving
- 11 sturdy strains, specifically selected to help with acid and bile resistance
- Approved by a physician specializing in digestive health
- Each strain lists its subtype that has been studied clinically.
- Each vegetarian capsule is specially designed to withstand gastric acid, which delivers probiotics to the intestinal tract
- NutraFlora Fiber is included to aid in the growth of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli
- Take one capsule daily for a full serving
- Does not have synthetic fillers or binders that make it completely natural
- Made in the USA
1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum has everything you need in a quality probiotic supplement. With an impressive 50 billion CFU and a diverse set of 11 probiotic strains, this balanced probiotic supplement contains NutraFlora and includes a list of sub-strains that validates the proven clinical studies of this extraordinary product.
This company did its homework and provided us with a vegetarian capsule that you only need to take once a day.
The 1MD quality reputation is confirmed by Dr. David Kahana, a gastroenterologist and pediatric certified by the council, who has been researching probiotics for 10 years.
Here is a list of the 11 different strains found in Complete Probiotics Platinum from 1MD:
- Bifidobacterium lactis B42LTM
- Lactobacillus acidophilus L61ATM
- Bifidobacterium longum B12LTM
- Bifidobacterium bifidum B66BTM
- Lactobacillus casei L30CTM
- Lactobacillus plantarum L23PTM
- Lactobacillus gasseri L22GTM
- Lactobacillus salivarius L1OSTM
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus L08RTM
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus L88BTM
- Lactospore® (bacillus coagulans) TM
After conducting user surveys and our own internal research, we believe that Complete Probiotic Platinum helps men and women resolve their digestive problems by improving their digestive system, immune system, and overall health. Men and women are willing to pay for an irreplaceable essential part of the human body.
Several users stated that they needed between 1 and 2 months constantly to take 1MD probiotics to feel and see all the benefits of taking this quality supplement. Many of the same evaluators have stated that they will continue to take and recommend this mark over others.
1MD offers “The 1MD Promise”, it is based on 4 different categories: a 100% 90-day satisfaction guarantee, superior quality, superior security and Stellar customer service.
The 100% 90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee, is one of the best we have ever seen, it guarantees your complete purchase for 90 days, shipping and handling included. You can tell that they are really behind their products by giving their users plenty of time to test their probiotics and their other supplements.
- Wikipedia – Constipation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constipation, Accessed November 14, 2013.
- Chassard C, Dapoigny M, Scott KP, Crouzet L, Del’homme C, Marquet PEt al. Functional dysbiosis within the gut microbiota of patients with constipated-irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2012; 35(7): 828-838.
- Sen S, Mullan MM, Parker TJ, Woolner JT, Tarry SA, Hunter JO. Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v on colonic fermentation and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Dig Dis Sci. 2002 Nov;47(11):2615-20.
- Ducrotté, P, Sawant P, Jayanthi V. Clinical trial: Lactobacillus plantarum299v (DSM 9843) improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. World Journal of Gastroenterology2012 18(30), 4012.
- Guglielmetti S, Tamagnini I, Mora D, Minuzzo M, Scarafoni A, Arioli S, Hellman J, Karp M, Parini C. Implication of an outer surface lipoprotein in adhesion of Bifidobacterium bifidum to Caco-2 cells. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Aug;74(15):4695-702.
- Guglielmetti, S., Mora, D., Gschwender, M., & Popp, K. Randomised clinical trial: Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMBb75 significantly alleviates irritable bowel syndrome and improves quality of life — a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2011 33(10), 1123–1132.
- Dunne C, Murphy L, Flynn S, O’Mahony L, O’Halloran S, Feeney M, Morrissey D, Thornton G, Fitzgerald G, Daly C, Kiely B, Quigley EM, O’Sullivan GC, Shanahan F, Collins JK. Probiotics: from myth to reality. Demonstration of functionality in animal models of disease and in human clinical trials. 1999 Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 76: 279-292.
- Whorwell PJ, Altringer L, Morel J, Bond Y, Charbonneau D, O’Mahony L, et al. Efficacy of an Encapsulated Probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 in Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The American journal of gastroenterology, 2006 101(7), 1581–1590.
- Kim HJ, Camilleri M, McKinzie S, Lempke MB, Burton DD, Thomforde GM, Zinsmeister AR. A randomized controlled trial of a probiotic, VSL#3, on gut transit and symptoms in diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther.2003 Apr 1;17(7):895-904. Kim HJ, Camilleri M, McKinzie S, Lempke MB, Burton DD, Thomforde GM, Zinsmeister AR. A randomized controlled trial of a probiotic, VSL#3, on gut transit and symptoms in diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003 Apr 1;17(7):895-904