Our “friendly bacteria” also known as probiotics are live microorganisms that are always here to help when we want our digestive system to work properly, and that includes bloating.
Bloating is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems in patients of all ages.
It is often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional gastrointestinal disorders.
The possible causes of bloating are various. Bloating can be caused by intestinal bacteria gas production ( gas builds up in the intestines which leads to bloating and discomfort), overeating, eating too much fatty fast foods, constipation, hypersensitivity of the patient’s gut, etc.
There are studies that suggest that the number and type of bacteria could have something to do with gas production, and there are many studies and clinical trials that show that probiotic supplements may help in the gas reduction and bloating. Let’s see what the research has shown so far.
One study was conducted to see if patients with IBS have intestinal flora imbalance and if their gut flora can be modified by supplements.
The patients were randomized into two groups, a test group that received Lactobacillus plantarum and the placebo group.
The results indicate that the administration of Lb. plantarum with known probiotic properties decreased IBS symptoms such as pain, bloating, and flatulence. (1)
Another study reported a significant beneficial effect of the specific probiotic treatment.
In this clinical study, patients consumed a test product containing Bifidobacterium lactis. Distension, bloating and other IBS symptoms were assessed. Results showed that the test product consumption significantly improved overall symptom severity and reduced distention. (2)
In one clinical trial, subjects in the group that consumed probiotic products had significant improvements. The Bacillus coagulans-based product was effective in improving the quality of life and reducing gastrointestinal symptoms. (3)
Results showed a significant decrease in bloating in the probiotic group in comparison to the placebo group, both at 4 weeks and 8 weeks.
This change represents a 15% reduction in clinical bloating symptoms in the intervention group. (4)
Probiotics are not called “good bacteria” for no reason, however, the effects of probiotics may vary.
Specific probiotics will have different effects on different patients. A probiotic that works for one person or a specific symptom may not work for somebody else or a different indication or different symptom. This is all individual.
The important thing is that the product is taken in adequate doses on a regular basis.
“Good bacteria fights the bad.” The main job of probiotics is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Probiotics have various mechanisms of action but the exact way in which they help is not fully understood.
Probiotics achieve their beneficial effects through a variety of mechanisms, which include :
– lowering of intestinal pH
– decreasing colonization and invasion by pathogenic organisms
– modifying the host immune response (5)
Probiotics produce bacteriocins, hydrogen peroxide, and biosurfactants to aid their survival in the gastrointestinal tract and can competitively prevent more pathogenic bacteria from attaching to the intestinal epithelium. (6)
There is a range of probiotic immune effects that have been described, but direct evidence for the immune mechanisms by which they achieve their beneficial effects is limited.
The mentioned immunologic effects of probiotics may occur through both: