Background/Aim: In previous studies, we described the beneficial effects of bifidobacteria-fermented milk in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Here, we examined the effects of a live Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult, a probiotic contained in bifidobacteria-fermented milk, and galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) as synbiotics in UC patients. Methods: Forty-one patients with mild to moderate UC were assigned to two groups; one group was treated with the synbiotics and the other was not (control). The treatment group ingested 1 g of the probiotic powder (109 CFU/g) three times a day, and 5.5 g of GOS once a day for one year. At the start and the end of this study, colonoscopic index and the amount of myeloperoxidase in a lavage solution were used as disease activity indices. Bacterial counts in the feces at the start and the end of this study were also examined. Results: After a one-year treatment with the synbiotics, the clinical status of the UC patients as assessed by colonoscopy, significantly improved. Furthermore, the amount of myeloperoxidase in the lavage also decreased in these patients after the synbiotic treatment. The synbiotics significantly reduced the fecal counts of Bacteroidaceae and fecal pH. Conclusion: Administration of live B. breve strain Yakult and GOS can improve the clinical condition of patients with UC. These results encouraged us to perform a large-scale randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

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