The Food Hospital – using probiotics to treat IBS

Optibac - probiotics for healthy bellies

I’m sure you watched, or heard about, last week’s episode (8/11/11) of ‘The Food Hospital’ on Channel 4 which demonstrated a fascinating link between IBS, alopecia, and the benefits of probiotics.

The probiotic strain used to good effect was Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, which can be found in an American supplement called Align. This strain has been shown in a large clinical trial[1] to reduce the symptoms of IBS in women.

Whilst the benefits of probiotics are strain-specific and the infantis species can be a fantastic gut support, especially for children, if you can’t readily source Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, you could be better off trying a different species & strain altogether; as long as it has been tested for its benefits in IBS.

And this is where the OptiBac Probiotics range can help.

For daily wellbeing extra strength


For all IBS sufferers we highly recommend L. acidophilus NCFM® which can be found in our “For daily wellbeing EXTRA Strength” (pictured right).


L. acidophilus NCFM® has been especially demonstrated to relieve symptoms of IBS in a trial[2] published in the same journal as the aforementioned study on B. infantis 35624.  Optibac’s NCFM® strain was shown to considerably lessen abdominal bloating, pain, diarrhoea & constipation in the vast majority of participants.
In fact L. acidophilusNCFM® has more than 75 publications in peer reviewed journals; probably making it the most researched strain of acidophilus in the world!  You can read the IBS trial and others here.    
What if you have a lot of diarrhoea or constipation in particular?


For IBS sufferers with a lot of diarrhoea, Saccharomyces boulardii in “For bowel calm” is a probiotic yeast with over 50 years of research publications. It has been shown time & time again to effectively stop diarrhoea, naturally[3,4,5].  Read some of the clinical trials on S. boulardii here.

For bowel calm

Of course for those with a particularly high amount of constipation, we can recommend Optibac’s new probiotic & prebiotic, “For maintaining regularity” (pictured left), which has been shown in numerous trials[6,7,8] to help prevent and alleviate constipation.

Of course, all the Optibac Probiotics mentioned here are available in-store at Wincanton Wholefoods. Why not call in & see if they can have a beneficial effect on your IBS?


1. Whorwell, PJ., et al; (2006) Efficacy of an encapsulated probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 in women with irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. Jul; 101(7): 1581-90

2. Faber, SM, et al. (2000) Gut flora improves symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 95(9):2533

3. McFarland, L.V. Bernasconi, P. (1993) Saccharomyces boulardii: A review of an innovative biotherapeutic agent.  Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease; Vol 6 pp. 157-171.

4. Hochter, W. et al (1990) Saccharomyces boulardii in acute adult diarrhea. Efficacy and tolerance of treatment.  Munchener Medizinische Wochenschrift; (6) pp.397-400.

5. Maupas, JL. et al. (1983) Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Double Blind Trial of Saccharomyces boulardii. Medecine Chirurgi Digestives. Vol. 12 (1) pp.77-79.

6. Matsumoto, M. et al. (2001) Effect of yoghurt with Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 in improving Fecal microflora and defecation of healthy volunteers. Journal of Intestinal Microbiology; 14(2): pp.97-102.

7. Pitkala, K. H et al. (2007) Fermented cereal with specific Bifidobacteria normalises bowel movements in elderly nursing home residents. A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Nutritional Health and Ageing; 11(4): pp.305-311.

8. Nishida, S. et al. (2004) Effect of yoghurt containing Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 on improvement of defecation and fecal microflora of healthy female adults. Milk Science, 53(2): pp 71-80.

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