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Capsules packed with bacteria that soak up stomach gases could ease the misery of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The treatment works by mopping up hydrogen sulphide, the ‘rotten egg gas’ that is thought to be one of the underlying causes of IBS.
Britons - Gut - Disorder - Stomach - Cramps
As many as one in five Britons has this chronic gut disorder that can cause stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
Current treatments address symptoms and include dietary changes, such as cutting down on fibre to reduce diarrhoea, and medicines to ease pain and constipation.
Cause - IBS - Nerves - Gut - Stress
The exact cause of IBS is unknown but oversensitive nerves in the gut, stress and the speed at which food passes through the digestive system may all be at play.
However, some experts believe that bacteria in the gut are key.
Numbers - Bugs - Part - Gut - Pump
It is thought high numbers of bugs in the wrong part of the gut pump out hydrogen sulphide and other gases that produce the bloating, pain and other symptoms of IBS.
Research has shown that people with IBS have different bugs in their guts compared to healthy people. The capsules, called Blautix, aim to redress the balance. Made by UK biotech 4D pharma, they contain Blautia hydrogenotrophica, a bacterium that takes up hydrogen from the intestines to use as energy to keep it alive.
Levels - Bloating - Hydrogen - Sulphide - Gas
This reduces levels of bloating and pain-inducing hydrogen sulphide gas.
It also leads to the production of acetate, which comes about due to the reduction of hydrogen; acetate leads to the changes in the gut bacteria, which become more diverse and stable.
Data - Digestive - Disease - Week - Conference
Data presented at the Digestive Disease Week conference in Washington D.C. recently revealed that 82 per cent of patients showed an overall improvement in symptoms compared to 50 per cent taking a placebo. The make-up of gut bacteria in IBS patients also became more similar to that of a healthy comparison group after taking the capsules.
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