Pre- and probiotics to relieve constipation-related complaints in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationAcademic


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disease that affects a large number of people. To date, no adequate treatment is available. This is partially due to the heterogeneity of the patients and the complicated pathology in which not all mechanisms are understood. Dietary interventions are one promising route to relieve IBS-related complaints, such as constipation. The objectives of the NUTRIC study were to determine the effects of a 4-week intervention with either a prebiotic supplement or a probiotic supplement on stool pattern (including stool frequency, consistency, and volume), gastrointestinal (GI) complaints, and quality of life in IBS patients suffering from constipation (IBS-C).
In total, 180 IBS-C patients were included in a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled human intervention study. The study consisted of two periods. First a 4-week observation period (week 1-4), which was similar for all three parallel arms (n=60 per arm), followed by a 4-week intervention period (week 5-8) in which study participants received one of three dietary supplements: prebiotic acacia fiber (Inavea™), probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis BLa80, or placebo supplement (maltodextrin). At the start and at the end of both study periods, study participants completed several online questionnaires on their IBS-related complaints (IBS-SSS, PAC-SYM), their Quality of Life (PAC-QOL, HADS), and their habitual dietary intake (FFQ). During both study periods, study participants also completed short daily questionnaires via an EMA app on their phone (LifeData LLC, Marion, IN, USA) asking for their stool pattern, gastrointestinal (GI) complaints, and supplement compliance.
Prebiotics supplementation significantly improved stool frequency as compared to the placebo treatment, both when assessed on a daily basis and when assessed as the difference (delta) between the observational period and the intervention period (P=0.04 and P=0.02, respectively). This increase in stool frequency was also clinically significant with an increase of >1 stools per week. Probiotics supplementation showed a trend towards improved stool frequency over time as compared to the placebo treatment (P=0.08). Probiotics supplementation furthermore showed a significant decrease in symptom severity, as assessed with the IBS-SSS questionnaire (P=0.02).
In conclusion, daily dietary supplementation with prebiotic and probiotic supplements may significantly relieve IBS-related complaints by increasing the stool frequency and decreasing symptom severity, respectively.
Period18 Oct 2022
Event title8th International Conference on Dietary Fibre 2022: Towards unlocking the full potential of fibre for food, function and global health
Event typeConference
LocationLeuven, BelgiumShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational