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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep;44 Suppl 1:S49-53. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181d2dca4.

Effects of probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei-enriched artichokes on constipated patients: a pilot study.

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Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council, Bari, Italy.



To determine whether the consumption of artichokes enriched with a probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei strain affects fecal microbiota composition, fecal enzyme activity, and short-chain fatty acids production and symptom profile in patients suffering from constipation.


Constipation is a common gastrointestinal disorder often related to the food diet. The beneficial effects of probiotics and prebiotics on human health are under investigation. Moreover, recent studies assessed the suitability of some vegetables, particularly olives and artichokes, to vehicle probiotic strains into the gastrointestinal tract.


For 15 days, 8 volunteers (3M/5F age 40+/-14 y) integrated their normal diet with artichokes (180 gr) enriched with 20 billions of L. paracasei LMGP22043. Faecal samples were subjected to microbiologic and biochemical analyses. Besides, investigations on symptom profile of the volunteers and stool consistency were carried out by using a validated questionnaire (Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale) and the Bristol stool form chart.


The gut of all volunteers resulted to be colonized by the probiotic strain after 15 days feeding. No significant differences in the microbiological counts throughout the experimental period were registered, whereas a significant increase of butyric and valeric acids with a concomitant decrease of lactic acid was registered. At the same time, the fecal beta-glucuronidase activity was significantly reduced. Finally, the analysis of symptom profile indicated a marked reduction in abdominal distension and feeling of incomplete evacuation.


These preliminary data suggest that novel approaches for treating constipation can come through ingestion of probiotic vegetable products that, acting as symbiotics, can ameliorate this common disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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