Lactobacillus reuteri in lactose-intolerant patients

Study evaluating the effects of lactase and Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 on reduction of H2 breath excretion and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in lactose intolerant subjects during a standard lactose breath test (LBT).

Sixty adult subjects with lactose intolerance were randomised to three equal groups: tilactase group (tilactase 15 minutes before control H2-LBT); placebo group (placebo 15 minutes before control H2-LBT); Lactobacillus reuteri (2×10^8 CFU twice daily) for 10 days before the test.

LBT normalisation rate was significantly higher in tilactase and Lactobacillus reuteri groups compared to placebo. Tilactase was significantly more effective than Lactobacillus reuteri in achieving LBT normalisation (p <0.01). Significant reduction of mean peak H2 excretion and improvement of the mean clinical score were observed in both the tilactase and the Lactobacillus reuteri group after treatment, compared to placebo (p <0.0001). Tilactase was significantly more effective than Lactobacillus reuteri in reducing both mean peak hydrogen excretion and mean clinical score.

Conclusion: In lactose intolerant subjects tilactase strongly improves both LBT results and gastrointestinal symptoms after lactose ingestion, compared to placebo. Lactobacillus reuteri is also effective but to a lesser extent than tilactase. This probiotic may represent an interesting treatment option for lactose intolerance since its use is simple and its effect may last in the time after stopping administration.