Live liquid bacteria Symprove reduces intestinal inflammation in ulcerative colitis

People with ulcerative colitis may benefit from taking the live, multi-strain probiotic drink, Symprove, to reduce intestinal inflammation, according to the results of a new study presented today at Digestive Disease Week 2015.

Researchers from King’s College Hospital in London and Darent Valley Hospital in Kent in the UK conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Symprove on patients with clinically-stable inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and found that patients with ulcerative colitis had significant reductions in faecal levels of calprotectin – a protein released by white blood cells in the intestine when it is inflamed. These findings suggest that Symprove may help patients with ulcerative colitis to remain in clinical remission.

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is a life-long relapsing-remitting intestinal condition in which the colon and rectum become ulcerated and inflamed. The acute symptoms of ulcerative colitis include abdominal cramping, bloody diarrhoea, and urgency to pass stools. Effective treatments for acute flare-ups include steroids, immune suppressants and biologics, but there remains a need for effective maintenance treatments to prevent clinical relapse of the disease.

Probiotics have been thought to be symptomatically useful in patients with ulcerative colitis, with 51% of sufferers taking them in a bid to help manage their condition2. However, not all probiotics contain multiple strains of live, active bacteria. Symprove, the only liquid probiotic preparation that contains 4 strains of live bacteria, has previously been shown in scientific studies to survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach in order to flourish in the gut 3 and to improve symptom severity in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).4

Symprove in ulcerative colitis: latest data

In the latest study, 80 adults with ulcerative colitis (all in remission at the time of study entry) were randomized to receive either Symprove or a matching placebo drink for 1 month. Faecal calprotectin levels were measured before and after treatment. Reductions in calprotectin levels (intestinal inflammation) were observed in the majority (76%) of patients with ulcerative colitis who took Symprove for 4 weeks and the decrease in intestinal inflammation was significantly greater than in the placebo group.

Professor Ingvar Bjarnason, consultant gastroenterologist and Principal Investigator of the study, noted “This is an interesting result showing that Symprove reduces intestinal inflammation in this group of patients, without any observed side effects. There is now a need to see if these reductions in intestinal inflammation are maintained with long term ingestion and whether this reduces the incidence of symptom flare-ups.”

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