Top 10 Probiotics for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If you suffer from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 3-25% of the general population has IBS. That’s between 10 to 80 million people in the U.S. alone! Most people don’t seek medical attention since only a small number of people have severe symptoms. The symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.  Some people control their symptoms by managing stress, diet and lifestyle while others seek treatment.

Scientists don’t know what causes IBS but it’s likely that a number of factors play a role. The cramping pain is caused by abnormal contractions in the muscles surrounding the intestine. The enteric nervous system also plays a role (if you’re interested in learning more about the enteric nervous system (ENS) and how the gut microbiotia interacts with the ENS, check out my previous blog called Moods, Microbes and Digestion).

There is currently no cure and conventional therapy is aimed at reducing symptoms. Dietary changes may be helpful for some people and include eliminating food that cause gas, eliminating gluten, and elimination of certain types of carbohydrates such as fructose, lactose and others (i.e., so-called FODMAPs). Medications include fiber supplements, anti-diarrheal medications, antidepressants (i.e., since some patients suffer from depression), medicines that reduce painful bowel spasms, and others. Your healthcare provider should be able to assess your needs and design a treatment plan.

For more information on the diagnosis and management of IBS, checkout the article by Agrawal, et. al.

Some experts believe that probiotics may provide an attractive and safe alternative to assist in the treatment of IBS.

The use of probiotics for the treatment of IBS has been extensively studied. One meta-analysis (a meta-analysis is a systematic review of many selected studies in order to develop a single conclusion that has greater statistical power) involving 43 randomized controlled trials showed that probiotics had beneficial but modest effects on IBS symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating and gas. The authors conclude that “probiotics are effective treatments for IBS, although which individual species and strains are the most beneficial remains unclear.”

Meta-analysis performed by Hoveyda, et. al., McFarland, et. al., and Kikfer, et. al., come to similar conclusions that probiotics may alleviate some IBS symptoms but that we should be cautious because of insufficient data.

Probiotics are known to be safe. Since we do not have a probiotic supplement that works in all cases of IBS to alleviate all symptoms, the question is, if probiotics are effective, which species and strains (and combination of species/strains) work best for you? Currently there is no test or diagnostic that can pinpoint the perfect probiotic formulation for your individual needs. Consequently, if you have IBS and you are interested in probiotics, talk to your healthcare provider. They should have an opinion on which product to try. You may have to test-drive several formulas until you settle on one that works best.

In the meantime, I recommend that you skim through the reviews that I provide above and check out the table below. The table provides a short list of some of the species and strains that have received the most attention in clinical studies. A word of caution; some of the clinical studies listed in the table did not show a clinical benefit and so I suggest that you refer to the individual studies in the reference section for more details. The links will bring you to a summary page; simply skim down to the conclusions to learn the outcomes of the study.

It’s important to be knowledgeable about the supplements and medications that you take. After all, it’s your health and what you put into your body can make all the difference in the world.

If you find this information to be helpful, drop me a note in the comments section below and give me a thumbs up.

 

Top 10 Studied Probiotics for Irritable Bowel Disease
Probiotic StrainReferencesDose Per DayDurationStrains
Lactobacillus acidophilus1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 84 - 10 billion1 - 6 monthsNA, La5, LA-102, SDC 2012, 2013
Lactobacillus paracasei1, 4, 5, 6, 820 - 90 billion1 - 6 monthsNA, F19
Bifidobacterium lactis1, 3, 6, 8, 910 million - 26 billion2 - 6 monthsNA, Bb12
Bifidobacterium infantis4, 5, 10100 million - 900 billion1 - 2 monthsNA, 35624
Bifidobacterium longum2, 4, 510 - 900 billion1 - 2 monthsNA, LA-101
Lactobacillus plantarum4, 5, 1110 - 900 billion1 - 2 monthsNA, 299v DSM 9843
Streptococcus thermophilus2, 5, 410 - 900 billion1 - 2 monthsNA, LA-104
Bifidobacterium bifidum3, 121 - 20 billion1 - 2 monthsNA, MIMBb75
Lactobacillus rhamnosus910 million / day5 monthsGG, Lc705
Bifidobacterium breve4, 5450 - 900 billion1 - 2 monthsNA

References

  1. Begtrup, L. M., et. al.
  2. Drouault-Holowacz, S., et. al.
  3. Hong, K. S., et. al.
  4. Kim, H. J., et. al.
  5. Michail, S., et. al.
  6. Simren, M., et. al.
  7. Sinn, D. H., et. al.
  8. Sondergaard, B., et. al.
  9. Kajander, K., et. al.
  10. Whorwell, P. J., et. al.
  11. Ducrotte, P., et. al.
  12. Guglielmetti, S., et. al.

 

About the author:

Douglas Toal, Ph.D. is a medical microbiologist with extensive knowledge and expertise in clinical and environmental microbiology with additional training in biochemistry, metabolism and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Toal is founder of Liberty Bion, Inc. You can connect with Dr. Toal on his blog or on Twitter @DrDougToal.

The Natural Benefit of Soil-Based Organisms

Long before the mass use of pesticides and well before pathogens from livestock runoffs contaminated our fruits and vegetables, our ancestors were frequently exposed to a healthy dose of soil with each vegetable serving. It’s likely that that our ancestors ate their fruits and vegetables when and where they could and it’s certain that the FDA wasn’t around to advise them to give each serving a good wash and scrub. The result of all this was that they consumed the bacteria that existed naturally within the soil. In case you’re wondering, a handful of garden soil holds more microbes than the number of stars in the known universe and a quick online search reveals that the observable universe contains 1 billion trillion stars! Even a pinch of soil contains enough bacteria to put many commercial probiotic supplements to shame.

Our ancestors, with their varied diet of fruits and vegetables, and their constant ingestion of soil-based bacterial species, cultivated a diverse and healthy population of gut microorganisms. Nowadays we live in sanitized environments and we consume foods that are sterilized and lacking in nutritious fiber. But the generations of humans before us lived closer to the earth, and indeed consumed portions of it. That’s why good, old-fashioned and healthy soil was the first probiotic known to mankind.

If you’re interested in supplementing your diet with the type of probiotics that our ancestors were exposed to on a daily basis, I recommend considering a soil-based probiotic. Hero ProbioticsTM, from Liberty Bion, contains the perfect mix of two soil-based probiotics called Bacillus subtilis DE111 and Bacillus coagulans combined with 8 other Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. In clinical studies, B. subtilis DE111 was shown to reduce blood glucose levels and is also demonstrated to promote the growth of other beneficial gut bacteria.

You can purchase Hero Probiotics at discounted prices on Amazon. Click here if your interested.

How do Probiotics Stack Up Against Allergies?

I’ll get right to the point… probiotics do not consistently perform well against allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema, rhinoconjunctivitis (itchy eyes) and allergic rhinitis (i.e., stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and post-nasal drip). Don’t get me wrong, there are clinical studies in the literature that make claims of efficacy and I list a few in the tables below. But when experts consider all of the data as a whole, there’s simply not enough evidence to support their use against allergies.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that my position on probiotics is that 1) they are safe and can be used as supplements to a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to support healthy digestion and immunity and 2) they are useful to address occasional bouts of infectious diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, constipation, some IBS symptoms and several other conditions. My positions are based on sound scientific and clinical evidence and as a consumer of probiotics, I want to be certain that I am taking probiotics for the right reasons.

A Closer Look at Probiotics and Allergies:

Allergic diseases such as eczema, asthma and rhinoconjuctivitis are non-infectious inflammatory conditions in which individuals become sensitized and produce antibodies in response to ordinary exposures to pollen and other allergens. The incidence of these diseases has increased significantly in the last 50 years and some scientists hypothesize that the increase is due to reduced exposure to microorganisms early in life, resulting in an imbalanced immune response.

Studies have demonstrated that individuals with allergies have low gut microbiota diversity compared to non-allergic individuals. Therefore, some scientists have hypothesized that it may be possible to alter the microbiota using probiotics to alleviate allergy symptoms. Since the efficacy of probiotics for the treatment of allergic disease is a controversial subject, it’s important to consider what clinical studies say about their use.

Children:

A meta-analysis of 17 clinical trials that included 4,755 children in which probiotic supplement was provided during pregnancy and early infancy showed that supplementation lowered the incidence of eczema but did not help in treating asthma, wheezing or rhinoconjunctivitis. However, a separate meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials that included 781 children showed that there was no significant benefit when using probiotics to treat eczema.

These studies show that current probiotic supplements do not prevent or reduce asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis and may or may not help prevent eczema. However, there is still debate regarding the use of probiotic supplementation during pregnancy and infancy for the prevention of eczema. Meanwhile, it is important that scientists continue to investigate this area to more fully understand the role of gut microbiota in allergic diseases and to identify probiotic therapies that may be useful.

The table below lists some of the probiotic strains that have been tested in clinical trials for the prevention of allergic disease in infants and children. In some cases, these strains did not show any benefit and so it’s important to click on the references below if you are interested in learning more about the results.

Probiotics for Allergic Diseases in Infants and Children
Probiotic SpeciesReferencesDose Per DayDurationStrainsEffect
Lactoacillus rhamnosus1, 2, 3, 4, 55-20 billion1-3 monthsLcr35, GG, LC705, 19070-2Mixed
Lactobacillus reuteri520 billion6 weeksDSM 122460Yes
Bifidobacterium lactis320 billion12 weeksNAMixed
Bifidobacterium breve4400 million4 weeksBbi 99Mixed
Lactobacillus fermentum64 billion8 weeksVR1-003PCCYes
Propionibacterium JS44 billion4 weeksJSMixed

Adults:

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 23 studies with 1,919 adult patients with allergic rhinitis (i.e., stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and post-nasal drip), treated with various probiotic preparations, demonstrated that probiotic supplementation was beneficial in 17 of the studies, whereas 6 trials showed no benefit. The authors of the review conclude that probiotics may benefit patients suffering from allergic rhinitis but that many more studies are required to offer a firm recommendation. The jury is still out on whether probiotics are beneficial for the alleviation of allergic rhinitis in adults. In the meantime, if you’d like to dig into the specific strains and clinical study outcomes, I have provided the table below. Go to the Reference section for links to the specific studies, results and conclusions.

Probiotics for Allergic Diseases in Adults
Probiotic StrainReferencesDose Per DayDurationStrainsEffect
Lactobacillus rhamnosus75 billion5.5 monthsATCC 53105No
Lactobacillus casei shirota840 billion2 monthsLcSNo
Bifidobacterium longum 950 billion3.5 monthsBB536Yes
Bifidobacterium longum 1050 billion3 monthsBB536Yes
Bifidobacterium longum 1150 billion1 monthBB537Yes
Lactobacillus acidophilus1230 billion2 monthsL-92Yes
Lactobacillus paracasei1340 - 90 billion2 monthsST11Yes
Lactobacillus plantarum14870 million1.5 monthsNo. 14Yes

Conclusion:

It’s clear that the human gut microbiota plays a role in allergies. Whether dysbiosis (i.e., the imbalance of gut microbes that results in a loss of diversity) plays a causative role in allergies or is a consequence, remains to be determined. While probiotics have been shown time and again to be effective in boosting our immune systems to fight certain infections, the existing clinical evidence for the use of probiotics to treat allergies is weak.

Ultimately however, our response to probiotics is unique and personal. One individual may report relief from allergic symptoms while another may report no relief using the same probiotic preparation. Identifying therapies that target dysbiosis on a personal level may, ultimately, lead to improved treatment or prevention of allergies.

References:

  1. Brouwer, M.L., et. al.
  2. Passeron, T., et. al.
  3. Sistek, D., et. al.
  4. Viljanen, M., et. al.
  5. Rosenfeldt, V., et. al.
  6. Weston, S. et. al.
  7. Helin, T., et. al.
  8. Tamura, M., et. al.
  9. Xiao, J. Z., et. al
  10. Xiao, J. Z., et. al.
  11. Xiao, J. Z., et. al.
  12. Ishida, Y., et. al.
  13. Wassenberg, J., et. al.
  14. Nagata, Y., et. al.

About the Author:

Douglas Toal, Ph.D is a medical microbiologist with extensive knowledge and expertise in clinical and environmental microbiology with additional training in biochemistry, metabolism and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Toal is founder of Liberty Bion, Inc. You can connect with Dr. Toal on his blog or on Twitter @DrDougToal.

Top 10 Best Probiotics for the Common Cold

Upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold can cause fever, cough and headaches. It’s one of the most common reasons for doctor visits and often results in the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics (Think twice before you take an antibiotic). They are most commonly caused by viruses and are self-limiting in healthy people.

While there is no “cure” for the common cold, there are some things that you can do to boost your immune system to fight off infection. A reasonable list of immune boosting strategies include:

  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Get plenty of sleep
  4. Try to maintain a healthy weight
  5. Take a daily probiotic with at least 10 billion CFU’s of good probiotic bacteria

Since probiotics have been shown to regulate and support immune function, clinical studies have been performed to determine whether or not they alleviate symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections. A meta-analysis that included 13 randomized controlled trials involving 3,720 people and with an average age of 40 years old showed that probiotics performed better than placebo in approximately half of the participants. In addition, the duration of acute symptoms resolved approximately 1.89 day’s sooner when a participant was taking probiotic supplement.

So, if you find yourself fighting off symptoms of the common cold, skip the antibiotic and reach for a probiotic. Some of the most commonly studied strains of probiotics are in the table below and are included in my top 10 list. If you are interested in viewing the published studies, links are provided in the reference section below.

Upper Respiratory Tract infections
Probiotic StrainRankReferencesDose Per DayDurationStrains
Lactobacillus rhamnosus11, 2, 31-10 billion3-12 monthsGG
Lactobacillus casei24, 5, 610-40 billion3-5 monthsNA, DN-114
Lactobacillus acidophilus34, 72-20 billion3 monthsNA
Bifidobacterium lactis 42, 31-10 billion3-12 monthsBB-12
Bifidobacterium bididum57, 850 million - 1 billion3 monthsNA, MF 20/5
Lactobacillus bulgaricus66, 920-320 billion3 monthsNA, OLL1073R-1
Streptococcus thermophilus76, 920-790 billion3 monthsNA, OLS3059
Bifidobacterium longum8850 million 3 monthsSP 07/3
Lactobacillus plantarum991 billion3 monthsHEAL9
Lactobacillus rhamnosus 101010 billion3 monthsHN001

Keep in mind that dose and duration of the probiotic supplementation is important. As you can see in the table above, the clinical studies showing efficacy of probiotics were performed with probiotic supplements that were taken for at least 3 months. In addition, I think a safe bet for most people is to take a probiotic that has at least 10 billion CFU’s per serving (see the table above).

A healthy and diverse population of gut microorganisms are necessary for wellness. Based on the clinical studies listed here we know that boosting the immune system with the intake of beneficial probiotics reduces the effects of upper respiratory tract infections.

It’s estimated that in the United States alone, we spend $40 Billion each year on doctors visits and lost work as a result of the common cold. Taking a daily probiotic has been shown, through clinical studies, to boost our immune system and fight back against infections of all sorts.

Recently I described how probiotics are effective against infectious diarrhea (Top 10 Probiotic Strains to Combat Infectious Diarrhea) and here I list the probiotics strains that have been tested to fight against the viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections. Next time I’ll address allergies. Do probiotics work to reduce the affects of allergies? If so, what types of probiotics works best?

In future blogs I’ll examine the clinical studies that tested probiotics against Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections, weight loss and much more. If you’re interested in learning whether or not probiotics are useful in these cases, sign up to this blog and follow me on Twitter and like our Facebook Page Liberty Bion.

About Liberty Bion and Hero Probiotics:

At Liberty Bion, Inc.(www.libertybion.com), our mission is to deliver quality natural supplements and healthy living strategies that promotes good health and adds value to the lives of our customers. Our Hero Probiotics™ brand is formulated to support your effort to create a diverse microbiota by delivering 30 billion CFUs of 10 diverse and beneficial probiotic strains per serving.

Order Hero Probiotics at a discount from Amazon.com here.

References:

  1. Hojsak, I., et. al.
  2. Rautava, S., et. al.
  3. Smith, T.J., et. al.
  4. Rio, M.E., et. al.
  5. Fujita, R., et. al.
  6. Merenstein, D., et. al.
  7. Rerksuppaphol, S., et. al.
  8. de Vrese, M., et. al.
  9. Makino, S., et. al.
  10. Berggren, A. et. al.
  11. Caceres, P., et. al.

About the Author:

Douglas Toal, Ph.D is a medical microbiologist with extensive knowledge and expertise in clinical and environmental microbiology with additional training in biochemistry, metabolism and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Toal is founder of Liberty Bion, Inc. You can connect with Dr. Toal on his blog or on Twitter @DrDougToal.

Top 10 Best Probiotic Strains to Combat Infectious Diarrhea

Let’s face it, no one looks forward to a bout of infectious diarrhea, yet we’ve all faced it. Diarrhea is defined by the World Health Organization as three or more loose or watery stools in a 24-hour period. The condition is caused by approximately 20 different infectious agents including bacteria, viruses and parasites. In the United States, episodes of infectious diarrhea occur in children an average of two times per year. In addition, foodborne diarrheal illness results in approximately 48 million cases per year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations (http://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0201/p180.html ).

Infectious diarrhea typically resolves in three to seven days and the main risk to your health is dehydration and so it’s important to remain hydrated. However, hydration alone will not shorten the duration of the illness, nor will it limit stool volume. There is strong consensus that probiotics are effective in limiting the duration of infectious diarrhea. In a meta-analysis of 63 trials and 8,014 people, many of whom were infants and children, researchers showed that probiotic therapy shortened duration of diarrhea by 25 hours and reduced stool frequency https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21069673.

Here’s my short list of probiotics that have been tested and clinically shown to reduce the duration of diarrhea. Click on the links under the reference section to access the scientific literature.

Top Ten Probiotics to Fight Off Infectious Diarrhea
Probiotic StrainRankReference
Lactobacillus acidophilus11, 2, 3, 4
Lactoacillus rhamnosus GG25, 6, 7
Bifidobacterium bifidum33, 4
Bifidobacteria infantis41, 4
Enterococcus strain SF6854, 8
Lactobacillus bulgaricus64, 9
Streptococcus thermophilus79, 10
Bifidobacterium breve811
Bifidobacterium longum912
Lactobacillus plantarum102

At Liberty Bion, Inc. (www.libertybion.com), our mission is to deliver quality natural supplements and healthy living strategies that promote good health and adds value to the lives of our customers. Our Hero Probiotics brand is formulated to support your effort to create diversity within your gut by delivering 3o billion CFUs of 10 diverse and beneficial probiotic strains per serving. In fact, Hero Probiotics contains several of the species listed in the top ten list and are known to protect against infectious diarrhea.

Click Here to Order Hero Probiotics on Amazon.com

Other benefits that you can count on from Hero Probiotics:

  • Clinically proven to control microbial populations in the gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria and crowding out the bad-acting bacteria such as E. coli.
  • Aids in the digestion of dietary fats and complex carbohydrates to produce increased levels of beneficial by-products such as short chain fatty acids which support immunity and proper GI function.
  • Tested and proven to help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides.
  • Communicates with intestinal cells to maintain healthy gut barrier function.
  • Beneficial bacteria that persist in the GI tract and increase in number.
  • Formulated with a more diverse set of probiotic strains including Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacterium species and Bacillus species.

References:

  1. Lee, M.C., et.al.
  2. Dubey, A.P., et.al.
  3. Kianifar, H.R., et.al.
  4. Kowalska-Duplaga, K. et.al.
  5. Gaurino, A., et.al.
  6. Jasinski, C., et.al.
  7. Canani, R.B., et.al.
  8. Buydens, P., et.al.
  9. Boudraa, G., et.al.
  10. Steinke, J.M., et.al
  11. Macfarlane, S.
  12. Capurso, G., et.al.
  13. Chen, C.C., et.al.
  14. Henker, J., et.al.
  15. Kotka, M. et.al.

 

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