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Probiotics for Constipation - Do they work?

By
Dr. Lorn Allison D.N., L.M.T.
Board Certified and Licensed Naprapath

capsule between fingersYes, probiotics for constipation do work even for chronic constipation and the evidence constinues to grow.

Probiotics for constipation are the newest thing to hit the marketing scene for constipation in a long time. 

But the fact is, that many in the natural health care community, have known for some time that probiotics can be of tremendous help for relief from constipation.

If you are new to this thought on probiotics then you may have had a friend, Doctor or even a television commercial for a yogurt company state that probiotics can be helpful for constipation.

In some cultures, consuming fermented raw yogurt, Kefir and other fermented food products that naturally contain probiotics is part of the regular diet. Here in the west this is not so.

These foods can be a great source of beneficial bacteria that have been removed from the normal western diet through processing.

Probiotics for constipation, new research proves effectiveness.

So far, the research points to certain strains of bacteria as probiotics for constipation---keep in mind that many other probiotics have been studied and show benefit for other conditions but not necessarily constipation.

It is inevitable that other probiotic strains will come out in the future as showing very helpful for constipation and other digestive problems.

The research on this is just getting started but for now, the following probiotics show the most promise for constipation...

  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus Casei shirota
  • B. bifidum, B. infantis, B. longum, Lactobacilli, L. casei, L. plantarum and L. rhamnosus in combination(7)

Here is what some of the research says so far about these probiotics strains being used for constipation...

There is a high level of evidence for positive effects of some probiotics in the alleviation of lactose intolerance, antibiotic-associated intestinal disorders and gastroenteritis.(1)

The probiotic strain 'Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus' was effective in treating children with chronic constipation. (2)

A probiotic nursing home residents study shows it is possible to normalize bowel movements in frail nursing home residents.(3)

Some recent randomized, controlled studies attest to the efficacy of some probiotics in alleviating individual IBS symptoms, there is evidence for efficacy of probiotics in treating individual symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.(4)

A beneficial effect of a fermented milk containing B. lactis for constipated women was shown after 1 and 2 wk of consumption.(5)

Study results indicate a beneficial effect of Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS)on gastrointestinal symptoms of patients with chronic constipation. The administration of probiotic foodstuffs may be recommended as an adjunctive therapy of chronic constipation.(6)

One pilot study shows that a mixture of probiotics, has positive effects on symptoms of constipation.(7)

There will be many more studies coming out over the next few years about probiotics for constipation because this is a very hot alternative health care topic.

Remember that there many different probiotic strains and not all of them may be beneficial as probiotics for constipation. 

Some of these strains have other benefits such as prevention of certain types of infections but not as beneficial for constipation.

Regardless, probiotics are here to stay and will become a standard supplemental product for constipation in the years to come.

Please check out our other pages on probiotics...

Probiotics for constipation and other tips that bring relief for constipation. 

Probiotics for children 

Probiotics for children - the best chewable supplement

Probiotics and IBS

References:

1. Nutritional advantages of probiotics and prebiotics.

Br J Nutr. 2002 May;87 Suppl 2:S153-7.

2. Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus Lcr35 in children with chronic constipation.

Pediatr Int. 2007 Aug;49(4):485-90.

3. Fermented cereal with specific bifidobacteria normalizes bowel movements in elderly nursing home residents. A randomized, controlled trial.

J Nutr Health Aging. 2007 Jul-Aug;11(4):305-11.

4. What is the evidence for the use of probiotics in functional disorders?

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2008 Aug;10(4):379-84. Review.

5. Effect of a fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173010 on Chinese constipated women.

World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Oct 28;14(40):6237-43.

6. Probiotic beverage containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota improves gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with chronic constipation.

Can J Gastroenterol. 2003 Nov;17(11):655-9.

7. The role of a probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study.Nutr J. 2007 Aug 4;6:17.

Individual health varies greatly, and although research and scientific data can be very promising, we believe you must always consult your physician before changing, adopting or adding anything with respect to lifestyle or diet that may affect your health.


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