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Probiotics May Relieve Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A new study on probiotics furthers the research demonstrating their ability to reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The results of the study were presented at the yearly Digestive Disease Week Conference held in New Orleans the week of May 1st 2010.

IBS is a disorder in which the bowel does not work correctly, resulting in cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation. It is not known exactly how many people suffer from IBS in the United States because people with more mild symptoms often do not consult a doctor. However, estimates are in the range of 20-30 million.

Researchers from the Rouen University Hospital in France recruited 214 people with IBS for the study.

Half of the participants were given a daily supplement containing 10 billion colony forming units of probiotics for a period of 4 weeks. The rest of the participants were given a placebo.

At the end of the study, the researchers observed a significant reduction in the symptoms of IBS among the participants given the probiotic supplement. These reductions were especially prominent with regard to abdominal pain and bloating.

This study builds on the findings of previous studies that probiotics can aid digestion. Other studies have also found that probiotics may boost the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Maintaining healthy levels of these friendly bacteria is especially important for people over 60 because as you age the levels of probiotics in your gut tend to decrease.

You can get more probiotics by eating certain foods such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. For many people, taking a high quality supplement is an easier approach. If you choose this option, be sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.

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