Functional constipation (FC) affects a significant portion of the global population, with up to 20% of people worldwide experiencing this common gastrointestinal issue. In the quest for effective management and treatment, the Rome Foundation, a supporter of functional gut disorder research, has identified diagnostic criteria for FC. This article delves into the critical role of probiotics in addressing FC, focusing on the impact of gastrointestinal dysbiosis and the promising results of probiotic interventions, particularly with Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938.
Understanding Functional Constipation:
Functional constipation is a multifaceted condition influenced by various factors, including a low-fibre diet, a sedentary lifestyle, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), psychological stress, and disorders of the enteric nervous system (ENS). Colonic motility plays a pivotal role in the development of FC, and one often underestimated contributor to altered motility is gastrointestinal dysbiosis.
Gastrointestinal Dysbiosis and Colonic Motility:
Gastrointestinal dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in the microbial communities within the digestive system, and it can significantly impact colonic motility. Dysbiotic organisms release bacterial endotoxins, such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which may delay gastric emptying and induce sphincter dysfunction. Additionally, the production of metabolites like methane can hinder the ENS and slow gut transit, while direct inhibition of the migrating motor complex (MMC) further exacerbates constipation.
Beneficial Microbes as Motility Support:
On the flip side, beneficial microbes within the gastrointestinal microbiota play a crucial role in positively influencing colonic motility. These microbes contribute to motility support by producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) through bacterial fermentation. The uptake of SCFAs triggers the release of intestinal 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), which stimulates contractive and propulsive actions in the ENS. Beneficial microbes also reduce intervals between MMC and enhance ileal and colonic contractility by directly stimulating intestinal smooth muscle cells.
Probiotics and FC Management:
Recent research has spotlighted the potential of probiotics in managing FC effectively. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials revealed that the administration of probiotic strains, including Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938, significantly improved gut transit time and increased stool frequency in FC patients.
Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938: A Probiotic Powerhouse:
Among the probiotic strains examined, Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 demonstrated extensive evidence for FC management. This strain exhibited several mechanisms contributing to its efficacy:
Reducing Methane Production: Methane production is known to inhibit ENS function. Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 actively reduces methane production, alleviating a key factor contributing to constipation.
Fermenting Substrate into SCFAs: This probiotic strain ferments substrates into SCFAs, thereby supporting intestinal motility through the production of 5-HT. This mechanism provides a natural and effective way to enhance gut motility.
Producing Anti-microbial Molecules: Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 produces anti-microbial molecules such as reuterin, lactic acid, and acetic acid. These substances inhibit the growth of dysbiotic organisms that disrupt colonic motility, promoting a healthier gut environment.
Clinical Success of Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938:
Various studies have demonstrated the positive impact of Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 on FC. For instance:
100 million CFU/Day for Four Weeks: Increased the mean weekly bowel movement frequency from 4.1 to 6.4, showcasing a substantial improvement in bowel regularity.
200-400 Million CFU/Day for 90 Days: Reduced reliance on laxatives, improved patient quality of life, and alleviated accompanying symptoms such as gas, bloating, pain, and abdominal discomfort.
Considering Microbiota Health in FC Treatment Plans:
As the evidence supporting the role of gut microbiota in colonic motility strengthens, it becomes imperative to consider the health of the gastrointestinal microbiota when developing treatment plans for FC. Probiotics, particularly Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938, emerge as key players in promoting microbiome health and alleviating FC symptoms.
Functional constipation is a prevalent gastrointestinal concern affecting millions globally. Gastrointestinal dysbiosis, often overlooked, significantly contributes to altered colonic motility and FC. Probiotics, especially Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938, have shown remarkable promise in addressing FC by promoting a healthy gut environment. As we delve deeper into the intricate relationship between gut health and functional constipation, probiotics continue to emerge as a beacon of hope for those seeking effective and natural solutions to this common digestive issue.