Systematic review and meta-analysis: The effects of fermented milk with Bifidobacterium lactis CNCM I-2494 and lactic acid bacteria on gastrointestinal discomfort in the general adult population

Jacqui Eales, Peter Gibson, Peter Whorwell, John Kellow, Ann Yellowlees, Richard H.J. Perry, Mary Edwards, Sarah King, Hannah Wood, Julie M Glanville

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It has been suggested that probiotics may improve gastrointestinal discomfort. Not all probiotics exhibit the same effects and consequently meta-analyses on probiotics should be confined to well-defined strains or strain combinations. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a probiotic fermented milk (PFM) that includes Bifidobacterium lactis (B. lactis) CNCM I-2494 and lactic acid bacteria on gastrointestinal discomfort in the general adult population. Methods: Double-blind randomized controlled trials in the general adult population comparing PFM with a control dairy product for at least 4 weeks were searched from multiple literature databases (up to February 2015). Meta-analyses using random-effects models, with individual participant data were undertaken to calculate an odds ratio (OR) or standard mean difference (SMD), with a 95% confidence interval (CI). Results: The search strategy identified 12,439 documents. Overall, three trials with a total of 598 adults (female = 96.5%) met the inclusion criteria. Consumption of the PFM product was associated with a significant improvement in overall gastrointestinal discomfort compared with the control product (OR = 1.48; 95% CI 1.07-2.05), with a number needed to treat (NNT) of 10.24 (95% CI 5.64-55.93). PFM was also superior to the control in reducing digestive symptoms, as measured using a composite score (SMD = -0.21; 95% CI -0.37 to -0.05). Sensitivity analyses produced similar results, and the heterogeneity between studies was minimal. Conclusions: This meta-analysis shows that the consumption of PFM with B. lactis CNCM I-2494 and lactic acid bacteria is associated with a modest but consistent and significant improvement of outcomes related to gastrointestinal discomfort in healthy adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-88
Number of pages15
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • digestive symptoms
  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • meta-analysis
  • probiotic
  • systematic review

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