Constipation strikes everyone occasionally but can be a chronic problem for many people. Medications may help but often there are more efficient and natural ways to tackle it. Diet, of course, can often bring relief. High fiber choices with lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables may alleviate the problem. And probiotics may be of benefit.
Differences in the intestinal microbiota exist etween healthy individuals and patients with chronic constipation. Also, probiotics lower the pH in the colon; this is due to the production of short-chain fatty acids (butyric acid, propionic acid, and lactic acid). A lower pH enhances peristalsis in the colon.
Researchers working at several universities in the United Kingdom recently looked at 657 randomized control trials and identified 14 studies which included 1,347 patients which could be analyzed in the meta-analysis.
Probiotics in this review resulted in the following:
- Reduction of gut transit time by nearly 12 hours
- Increased stool frequency by about 1 stool per week
- Softer stool consistency
- Bloating and flatulence were reduced
Probiotics appeared to be successful in treating constipation. In addition, there were few adverse effects and a high rate of compliance by subjects.
The researchers concluded:
“Probiotics should thus be considered as an alternative treatment for functional constipation.”
The full abstract appears here in the journal called Gut.