Yakult for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

September 10, 2008

Yakult probiotic milk drink
Yakult is a Japanese probiotic milk drink fermented by Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (L. casei Shirota), and is sold in 31 countries around the world including Australia, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A pilot study was undertaken to determine the effect of Yakult on intestinal fermentation patterns of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) patients. Patients treated for 6 weeks with Yakult had reversal of ERBHAL (early rise in breath hydrogen after lactulose). ERBHAL may indicate SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), a common feature in IBS.

The results indicated that Yakult is effective in altering fermentation patterns in the small bowel, consistent with reducing SIBO. The loss of ERBHAL was associated with reduced symptoms.
If these findings are confirmed by further research, Yakult may be a safe and effective alternative treatment for irritable bowel syndrome sufferers.

A previous placebo controlled trial suggested that consumption of Yakult is able to modulate the composition and metabolic activity of the intestinal flora.
Other studies have also suggested that daily intake of Yakult provides a positive effect on NK-cell (natural killer) activity.
1. Barrett JS, Canale KE, Gearry RB, Irving PM, Gibson PR. Probiotic effects on intestinal fermentation patterns in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Aug 28;14(32):5020-4. PMID: 18763284.
2. Spanhaak S, Havenaar R, Schaafsma G. The effect of consumption of milk fermented by Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on the intestinal microflora and immune parameters in humans. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998 Dec;52(12):899-907. PMID: 9881885.
3. Morimoto K, Takeshita T, Nanno M, Tokudome S, Nakayama K. Modulation of natural killer cell activity by supplementation of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei in habitual smokers. Prev Med. 2005 May;40(5):589-94. PMID: 15749143.
4. Takeda K, Okumura K. Effects of a fermented milk drink containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota on the human NK-cell activity. J Nutr. 2007 Mar;137(3 Suppl 2):791S-3S. PMID: 17311976.
5. Image by sirooziya

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