I would strongly encourage using a probiotic with strains of Bifidobacterium, especially B. infantis. This seems to be a pretty magical probiotic. Here's some research supporting it. If you want more info, I could find some for you, but these were just some of the articles I found. You can try doing a PubMed search for Bifidobacteria and you'll come up with tons of stuff, most of it Greek to the layperson, but these are good, peer-reviewed articles.
I take VSL#3 which has B. infantis and several strains of other probiotics. I am finding quite a profound effect on my symptoms.
Synbiotic therapy (Bifidobacterium longum/Synergy 1) initiates resolution of inflammation in patients with active ulcerative colitis: a randomised controlled pilot trial.
Furrie E, Macfarlane S, Kennedy A, Cummings JH, Walsh SV, O'neil DA, Macfarlane GT.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an acute and chronic inflammatory disease of the large bowel with unknown aetiology. The immune response against normal commensal microorganisms is believed to drive inflammatory processes associated with UC. Therefore, modulation of bacterial communities on the gut mucosa, through the use of probiotics and prebiotics, may be used to modify the disease state. METHODS: A synbiotic was developed for use in UC patients combining a probiotic, Bifidobacterium longum, isolated from healthy rectal epithelium, and a prebiotic (Synergy 1), a preferential inulin-oligofructose growth substrate for the probiotic strain. Treatment was employed in a double blinded randomised controlled trial using 18 patients with active UC for a period of one month. Clinical status was scored and rectal biopsies were collected before and after treatment, and transcription levels of epithelium related immune markers were measured. RESULTS: Sigmoidoscopy scores (scale 0-6) were reduced in the test group (start 4.5 (1.4), end 3.1 (2.5)) compared with placebo (start 2.6 (2.1), end 3.2 (2.2)) (p=0.06). mRNA levels for human beta defensins 2, 3, and 4, which are strongly upregulated in active UC, were significantly reduced in the test group after treatment (p=0.016, 0.038, and 0.008, respectively). Tumour necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 1alpha, which are inflammatory cytokines that drive inflammation and induce defensin expression, were also significantly reduced after treatment (p=0.018 and 0.023, respectively). Biopsies in the test group had reduced inflammation and regeneration of epithelial tissue. CONCLUSIONS: Short term synbiotic treatment of active UC resulted in improvement of the full clinical appearance of chronic inflammation in patients receiving this therapy.
While they can make us feel better, modern antibiotics are notorious for stripping the body of helpful intestinal bacteria. Bifidobacteria supplementation can be especially important after taking a regime of antibiotics to restore a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria. Doctors say that up to 30 billion cfu per day may be necessary to "recolonize" the intestines.
Bifidobacteria are instrumental in preventing the growth of unfavorable organisms in the body like yeasts and sickness-causing bacteria. They are especially useful in the treatment and prevention of vaginal infections.(1) They may also help protect against gastrointestinal infections while enhancing overall immunity.(2)
Bifidobacteria may promote the healthy function of the digestive system and aid the body in absorbing many vitamins. They have potential for decreasing cancer risk by decomposing certain carcinogens. Bifidobacteria may also be able to remove excess cholesterol from the intestines before it is absorbed by the body.(3)
In addition to these overall health benefits of bifidobacteria, there are some targeted clinical applications. Studies suggest that bifidobacteria can, in some cases, relieve infant diarrhea.(4) Results of a study indicated that Bifidobacteria may alleviate symptoms of constipation.(5) Finally, bifidobacteria may ease gas and flatulence.(6)
Another study assessed the efficacy of bifidobacteria coadministered with a prebiotic and was also unable to demonstrate significant improvement in clinical outcomes. Uncontrolled studies involving VSL#3 and S boulardii have yielded promising results, with induction of remission rates of 63% and 68%, respectively, in patients with active ulcerative colitis.[18,19] An international multicenter randomized controlled trial of VSL#3 for the treatment of acute active ulcerative colitis is currently under way, and results are expected in early 2007.
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