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Synbiotics May Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

Synbiotics are a combination of prebiotics and probiotics. A recent study suggests that a synbiotic supplement may help alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms.


Participants in the study included 30 people with IBS who underwent one of three daily interventions: two capsules of synbiotics; one capsules of Synbiotics and one placebo capsule; or two placebo capsules. Each symbiotic capsule contained 10 billion colony-forming units of probiotic bacteria comprising six strains of Lactobacillus (rhamnosus, acidophilus, casei , bulgaricus, plantarum, and salivarius) and two strains of Bifidobacterium (bifidum and longum). Each capsule also contains 175 mg of fructooligosaccharides, 150 mg of Ulmus davidiana (Slippery elm bark powder), 10 mg of Geum urbanum (herb bennet) powder, and 100 mg of inulin powder as prebiotics. The treatment period lasted for eight weeks and all of the participants completed study questionnaires at the beginning and end of the treatment period.


At the conclusion of the study, both symbiotic groups had improvements in abdominal discomfort, abdominal bloating, and frequency of formed stool. However, after the Mann-Whitney test with Bonferroni correction, only the high dose synbiotic group showed statistically significant improvements in abdominal discomfort and bloating, frequency of formed stool, and improvements in fatigue on the Visual Analogue Scale.


Researchers from the Ajou University School of Medicine and CHA University School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 26, 2018, in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine.


Synbiotics are a combination of probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system.

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