Human milk oligosaccharides may help relieve symptoms in IBS patients
Delhi: Altered gut microbiota is increasingly seen as a potential factor in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) pathophysiology. Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) have been shown in healthy adults to increase the abundance of bifidobacteria, which are reported to be depleted in IBS.
Supplementation with human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) may be beneficial for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), suggests a recent study presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s Annual Scientific Meeting (ACG 2019) in San Antonio, Texas. HMOs are sugar molecules, that are part of the oligosaccharides group. They are found in high concentrations exclusively in human breast milk.
According to the study, daily supplementation with HMOs -- 2’fucosyllactose (2’FL) and lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT) -- for 12 weeks significantly reduced abnormal stool consistency, bloating and abdominal pain and improved health-related quality of life in IBS patients.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional gastrointestinal disorder. It is characterized by a mixture of symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea caused due to abnormal muscular movement of the bowel. It is the most prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder observed in the general population worldwide.
Patients with IBS lack a healthy abundance of bifidobacteria. Studies have shown that HMOs may help boost bifidobacteria and may also have a beneficial impact on gut motility and visceral pain.
Magnus Simrén, professor of gastroenterology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues conducted a multi-center, open-label trial in patients with IBS (Rome IV criteria plus physician diagnosis) to assess the potential for HMOs to support normal bowel habits and improve other bowel symptoms of IBS.
For the purpose, the researchers recruited 317 subjects from 17 sites across the United States (70.7% females; mean age 44.0 years, range 18-93 years). e subjects took 5 grams of the HMOs 2’fucosyllactose (2’FL) and lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT) in a 4:1 mix daily by mouth for 12 weeks. Bowel habits, IBS symptoms, and quality of life were assessed at baseline and every 4 weeks during the intervention.
Of the 317 subjects who received the HMOs, 136 reported constipation-predominant at baseline, 85 with diarrhea-predominant, 95 with mixed, and 1 with unspecified IBS.
Key findings of the study included:
- The full 12-week intervention was completed by 245 subjects.
- In the ITT analyses, the subjects showed a significant reduction from baseline to 12 weeks in total percentage of abnormal bowel movements (Bristol Stool Form Scale types 1, 2, 6, or 7), overall IBS Symptom Severity Score, abdominal pain severity and bloating severity, as well as improvement in health-related quality of life.
- Most of the symptom improvement occurred in the first 4 weeks of intervention. Younger age was predictive of greater improvement in stool consistency and abdominal pain severity.
- The study product was well tolerated by most patients.
- The only common side effects were mild GI symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, distension, and flatulence.
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" Our findings suggest that oral supplementation with 2’FL and LNnT can provide nutritional support that significantly reduces abnormal stool consistency, abdominal pain and bloating and improves health-related quality of life in IBS sufferers of all subtypes. However, the results from this open-label trial need to be followed up by a randomized controlled trial," concluded the authors.
The study, Human Milk Oligosaccharides Improve All the Central Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Multi-Center, Open Label Trial, was presented Tuesday, October 29, 2019, at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting (ACG 2019) in San Antonio, Texas.