Product Review

Probiotic therapy helps reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Among probiotics, Lactobacillus strains have been the most frequently investigated for their potentially beneficial health impact. One such strain is Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (Lp299v), a highly specialized probiotic strain that has the specific ability to survive as it passes through the stomach into the intestinal tract. It then adheres to the wall of the intestine where it forms a physical barrier against ‘unfriendly’ or harmful bacteria.

Because Lp299v is found naturally in the human body and is uniquely adapted to reside in the digestive tract, medical researchers have used this strain in several studies to determine its effect as a supplement for managing IBS.

Results of the small studies showed that Lp299v helped 95% of IBS patients by reducing flatulence, bloating, and abdominal discomfort and by regulating the volume and frequency of stools (i.e. for patients suffering from either diarrhea or constipation) and improving general gastrointestinal function.

Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, manufactured in Canada under the brand name, TuZen, is available without a prescription (behind the counter) in pharmacies across the country. Recommended dosage for adults is one to two capsules per day, with food, or as directed by a physician. Most patients will notice some improvement within seven days although some may notice their symptoms getting slightly worse before they start getting better. After four weeks, symptoms should have improved significantly. TuZen may be added to any IBS therapy regime.


Where can I get TuZen?

Store managers do not automatically decide to stock all new products; instead, they often wait to see if there is interest from the public. Generally, if someone asks for a particular product, the manager is happy to bring it in as a special order. Keep in mind that some stores might have a minimum order that they need to fill, and may be reluctant to order merchandise they are unsure will sell. If enough people request an item and sales are steady, then it will likely be regularly stocked. When a product is too new to show up in the store’s ordering catalogue, you can speed things along by providing them with the Universal Product Code (UPC) – the number shown in the product barcode. You can locate the UPC by contacting the product manufacturer or distributor. The pharmacy business is competitive. If you find that one store cannot help you, try other stores and you will probably find someone willing to assist you in obtaining a product that is new to the market. Regarding the TuZen probiotic we featured in issue 160, the UPC is 779170143984.

First published in The Inside Tract® Newsletter Issue 160 March/April 2007
Note: The GI Society has received no remuneration from TuZen® or its affiliates for this review.