A probiotic found in breast milk reduces or eliminates painful cramping in the gut caused by digestive disorders, Canadian researchers have discovered.
This discovery suggests that increasing the intake of this bacterium may help alleviate symptoms of a wide range of gut disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, functional bowel disorders, and constipation.
In an experiment using mice, scientists showed that a specific strain of Lactobacillus reuteri decreases the force of muscle contractions in the gut within minutes of exposure.
"Scientifically and evidence-based approaches to nutrition to correct potential bacterial imbalance in the intestine and thereby promote better health and possibly restore health in diseases associated with these imbalances," said Wolfgang Kunze, a researcher involved in the work from the McMaster Brain-Body Institute and Department of Psychiatry at St. Joseph's Healthcare in Ontario, Canada.
"It might not be possible for most of us to get breast milk from the tap," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, "but we can still benefit from some of the life-supporting substances it carries.This research shows that the relationship between humans and microbes can be beneficial for both. The Lactobacillus finds a new home, and we're no longer up tight."
The study was published online in the FASEB Journal.