Main idea: L. paracasei and B. longum may reduce GI symptom severity and improve the psychological well-being of individuals with certain IBS subtypes.
Specific probiotic strains can alleviate the gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and psychiatric comorbidities of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study the efficacy of Lactobacillus paracasei HA-196 (L. paracasei) and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 (B. longum) in reducing the GI and psychological symptoms of IBS was evaluated in 251 adults with either constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D), or mixed-pattern (IBS-M). Following a 2-week run-in period participants were randomized to one of three interventions: L. paracasei (n = 84), B. longum (n = 83), or placebo (n = 81). IBS symptoms, stool frequency and consistency, and quality of life were assessed by questionnaires. The differences from baseline in the severity of IBS symptoms at 4 and 8 weeks were similar between groups. Participants in this study were classified after randomization into subtypes according to Rome III. Within the L. paracasei group complete spontaneous and spontaneous bowel movement frequency increased in participants with IBS-C (n = 10) after 8 weeks of supplementation and decreased in participants with IBS-D. Both L. paracasei and B. longum supplementation improved the quality of life in emotional well-being and social functioning compared with the baseline.