S. boulardii IBS Claim in Canada

Kathy Wheddon Nutritional Therapist DipION

Saccharomyces boulardii is one of the most clinically researched probiotics on the market, with over 80 clinical trials to its name. Trials have been conducted into the efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii in many different health conditions, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and infective diarrhoea. In some countries in the world this amazing probiotic yeast already has a pharmaceutical licence, meaning that it has crossed that sometimes seemingly ‘impassable’ boundary between main stream, allopathic medicine, and the complimentary health fields. In countries where it holds a pharmaceutical licence it can be prescribed by doctors for diarrhoea and other digestive conditions.

Saccharomyces boulardii
Saccharomyces boulardii gains Canadian health claim approval

Now it appears there is yet more good news for S. boulardii fans, in that it has just been granted an approved health claim in Canada. The allowed health claim is for one specific substrain of Saccharomyces boulardii, (Lesaffre Human Care’s Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3856) and the exact claim that has been approved is that this strain of Saccharomyces boulardii ‘helps to reduce abdominal pain and discomfort associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)’.

The nomenclature of Saccharomyces boulardii is actually a little bit complex, and up until recently, boulardii was believed to be a different species of yeast to cerevisiae. However, advances in genetic testing have shown that boulardii is actually a strain within the cerevisiae species. The full name for the microorganism is therefore now understood to be Saccharomyces cerevisiae var boulardii, however to avoid confusion most people drop the species name (Cerevisiae) and simply refer to the probiotic as Saccharomyces boulardii. For a more detailed explanation of the change in classification of Saccharomyces boulardii, healthcare practitioners may want to read the following blog post: Classification of Saccharomyces boulardii.

Health Claims Regulations differ slightly from country to country, but they came into being as a measure to protect consumers by preventing unproven health claims from being made on product packaging and advertising. In order to gain approval for a specific health claim to be used the Department of Health (in the UK) or equivalent regulatory body (in foreign countries) needs to be presented with sufficient and irrefutable clinical evidence to back the claim up. This is usually a lengthy and costly exercise, and as such, is prohibitive for most small nutrition based companies. This new Canadian ruling is another, small ‘victory’ for the field of natural health and yet more recognition for the efficacy of probiotics and specifically Saccharomyces boulardii.

Interested in this unusual and well researched probiotic microorganism? Healthcare practitioners can follow the link to read more about Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii.

For further reading on the subject of IBS, take a look at:
Natural remedies for IBS
Which probiotics are for IBS?