Irritable Bowel SyndromePre, Pro, Synbiotics

Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 and the irritable bowel syndrome

In women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 at a dose of 1×10(8) cfu (colony forming units) is significantly better than placebo and other doses of bifidobacterium for controlling abdominal pain, bloating, bowel dysfunction, incomplete evacuation, straining, and the passage of gas. These are the findings from a study published last month in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. A nice review of the results is here.

Here is some background on Bifidobacterium infantis.

  • It’s a supplement, not a drug
  • As a probiotic, it’s similar to the active cultures found in some yogurts and fermented milks
  • Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help strengthen the body’s natural defenses, and restore the balance of healthy bacteria
  • It is sold under the name, Bifantis

Bifidobacteria are normal inhabitants of the human and animal colon. Newborns, especially those who are breast-fed, become colonized with bifidobacteria within days after birth. The name comes from the observation that they often exist in a Y-shaped or bifid form, as in the photo. To date, 30 species of bifidobacteria have been isolated.

If you are considering purchasing this supplement, remember the species of bifidobacteria and dose are important for the best results. This study was published a month ago, so your physician should be aware of the results. You might want to discuss it.

Illustration: Flora

8/9/06 16:08 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.