Propolis Supplementation Beneficial for Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Amanda Gerla

New research shows propolis could be a useful supplement to help reduce the severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

A team, led by Mahsa Miryan, Student Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, assessed the efficacy of propolis supplementation on the severity of IBS symptoms.

There is now evidence that propolis can modulate gastrointestinal function for patients with IBS.

“Emerging evidence has shown an important role of the modulating GI immune system and gut microbiota using prebiotic and/or probiotic supplements in ameliorating the symptoms of IBS, which has been beneficial for many patients,” the authors wrote. “Dietary polyphenols and their secondary metabolites also have a crucial role in maintaining the balance of the GI microbiome by altering bacterial metabolites that can raise mucin gene expression, resulting in an increase in the thickness of the GI mucosal layer and also reduction in GI inflammation.”

The Supplement

Propolis is a resinous give product collected by honeybees from varied petals and plant buds sources.

In the study, the investigators examined 56 patients with IBS who were randomly assigned to be treated with either 900 mg of propolis per day or matching placebo tablets for 6 weeks. The participants were between 18-65 years who have a constipation subtype of IBS or a mixed subtype of IBS based on the Bristol stool form scale. The patients also did not have any allergies to bee products.

The team evaluated IBS severity in 5 clinically applicable items using the IBS symptom severity scale (IBS-SSS).

The investigators sought main outcomes of the percentage of patients with an improvement of at least 1 grade of IBS disease from baseline to week 6. They also looked at secondary outcomes of the changes in body mass index and waist circumference from baseline to week 6.

There was no significant differences between the propolis and placebo groups in mean intakes of energy and nutrient at baseline (P >.05).

A Reduction in Symptom Severity

The investigators adjusted anxiety scores and found a significant reduction in the overall score of IBS symptoms (−98.27 ± 105.44), the severity of abdominal pain (−24.75 ± 28.66), and the frequency of abdominal pain (−2.24 ± 3.51) in the propolis group compared to placebo (P <.05).

The patients in the propolis cohort were also 6.22 times more likely to experience a clinically significant improvement in IBS symptoms compared to participants in the placebo group (95% CI, 1.14-33.9; P = .035).

However, there was no significant change in anthropometric measurements or dietary intakes in either group (P >.05).

“Our results showed that propolis supplementation might have a beneficial effect on constipation subtype of IBS (IBS-C) and mixed subtype of IBS (IBS-M) severity by reducing the severity and frequency of abdominal pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),” the authors wrote.

The study, “Effects of propolis supplementation on irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and mixed (IBS-M) stool pattern: A randomized, double-blind clinical trial,” was published online in Food Science & Nutrition.

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