Probiotic Strain BB-12 May Help Improve Bowel Function: Large Study


A new study offers the “largest dataset ever published from a randomized, placebo-controlled study on the effect of probiotics on bowel function,” says Chr. Hansen.

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Results of a large study recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition has supplier Chr. Hansen (Hørsholm, Denmark) even more certain that its BB-12 probiotic strain is ”the best documented Bifidobacterium in the world.”

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 1248 participants and compared the gastrointestinal effects of BB-12 (Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis) with a placebo. Researchers found subjects who took the probiotic daily for 4 weeks experienced a “clinically relevant benefit on defecation frequency” that was significantly higher than the placebo group.

“Once again, it is confirmed that the BB-12 probiotic strain can bring significant gastrointestinal benefits to those who experience digestive issues,” says Mikkel Jungersen, scientific advisor, human health and nutrition, Chr. Hansen. “What is truly unique about this study is its size of more than 1200 subjects varying in age from 18 to 70, which has resulted in the largest dataset available on the effect of probiotics on bowel function.”


Study Details

The 1248 study participants were adults aged 18-70 who reported a low defecation frequency and complained of general abdominal discomfort. Participants were from France, the U.K., and Germany. Following a 2-week run-in period, participants were randomized to consume either 1 billion colony-forming units (CFU) of BB-12, 10 billion CFUs of BB-12, or a placebo to take in matching capsule form once daily for 4 weeks.

Although participants taking BB-12 did show an improvement in defecation frequency over the placebo, the two different doses of BB-12 that were tested produced similar results. Researchers suggested this might be because BB-12 reached a ceiling effect with the 1 billion CFU dose.

Additionally, researchers also evaluated the overall gastrointestinal well-being of the participants based on whether or not they felt relieved for at least 50% of the time, but there was no significant difference observed between the experimental and placebo groups.


Read more:

Are Probiotics Moving Beyond Gut Health?

Probiotics: 2015 Ingredients to Watch for Food, Beverage, Supplements


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Eskesen D et al., “Effect of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, BB-12, on defecation frequency in healthy subjects with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial,” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 114, no. 10 (November 2015): 1638-1646

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