Probiotics May Ease Stress-Related Gut Problems

Study in rats suggests Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus helveticus may help

TUESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Probiotic powder containing live Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus helveticus can help prevent intestinal pathophysiology in rats subjected to chronic stress, according to a study published online April 25 in Gut.

Philip Sherman, M.D., of the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues subjected rats to water avoidance stress for an hour each day over a period of 10 consecutive days. Half the rats were given a solution containing probiotic powder before and during the 10-day period.

The stress resulted in excess ion secretion and barrier dysfunction in the ileum and colon, which was linked to an increase in the adhesion of harmful bacteria to the lining of the gut. Pretreatment with probiotics eliminated bacterial adhesion and also blocked translocation of bacteria to the mesenteric lymph nodes, although it had no impact on intestinal permeability.

"These findings indicate that probiotics may provide a novel approach for the management of stress-induced intestinal dysfunction. More in-depth studies into the mechanisms of action will allow a better understanding of how probiotics target specific organs in different disease states," the authors conclude.

The study was supported by a grant from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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Kate Fodor

Kate Fodor

Updated on April 25, 2006

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