Epidemiological studies have found that approximately 25% of the Japanese population experience digestive symptoms, like acidic regurgitation and abdominal pain.
Usually, those who experience mild and temporary gastrointestinal symptoms would rather use functional food to alleviate the symptoms, instead of opting for medical treatment.
Researchers at the Yakult Central Institute, Nihonbashi Cardiology Clinic, and Toho University School of Medicine therefore conducted a study on B. bifidum YIT 10347's effects on gastrointestinal symptoms in otherwise healthy adults.
Probiotic versus placebo
They recruited 100 participants and randomly assigned them to a treatment group or placebo group. Over four weeks, each participant in the treatment group consumed 100ml of B. bifidum YIT 10347-fermented milk daily, while those in the placebo group each consumed 100ml of placebo-fermented milk daily.
Gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed with the modified Frequency Scale for Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (m-FSSG) and Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) as primary end-points.
Mental symptoms, salivary stress markers, gastric emptying and overall quality of life were assessed as secondary end-points.
The researchers observed that using the m-FSSG evaluation, the treatment group displayed a "significantly higher relief rate of postprandial discomfort and greater changes in postprandial epigastric pain" compared to the placebo group.
Using the GSRS evaluation, the treatment group exhibited significantly higher relief rates of overall gastrointestinal symptoms, upper gastrointestinal symptoms, diarrhoea and flatulence than the placebo group.
However, no notable difference was detected in the relief rates of mental symptoms, salivary stress markers, gastric emptying, or overall quality of life between the two groups.
There were also no severe adverse events related to test beverage intake observed in either of the groups.
The researchers then concluded: "These findings suggest that daily consumption of milk fermented with B. bifidum YIT 10347 helps to relieve gastrointestinal discomfort, and symptoms such as postprandial discomfort and epigastric pain in healthy adults, with no risk of side effects.
"The approach is less burdensome and less expensive than medical treatment."
Source: Journal of Dairy Science
"Bifidobacterium bifidum YIT 10347 fermented milk exerts beneficial effects on gastrointestinal discomfort and symptoms in healthy adults: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study"
Authors: A. Gomi, et al.