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Irritable bowel syndrome: the efficacy of a fermented soy germ extract

The oral administration of a fermented soy germ extract alleviates the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.  These findings are the result of a thesis project carried out under a CIFRE contract in the Joint Research Unit for Food Toxicology (TOXALIM) in partnership with the company GENIBIO

soybean seeds. © INRA, NICOLAS Chantal
Updated on 08/29/2013
Published on 08/29/2013

A highly prevalent digestive pathology

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common digestive pathology; it affects between 5% and 10% of the population.  IBS is characterised by hypersensitivity of the gut associated with distension of the intestinal wall and an increase in its permeability; these symptoms are exacerbated by stress.

Patients are seeking appropriate dietetic products

Although numerous medicinal products are available for the therapeutic management of IBS, patients are still interested in dietetic advice that could improve their quality of life.  Because oestrogens benefit from anti-inflammatory properties and are able to modulate intestinal permeability by activating their receptors, they can contribute to improving the symptoms associated with these digestive conditions, hence the idea of using a soy-based ingredient containing high levels of phytoestrogens (isoflavones).

A fermented soy germ extract is effective in alleviating the symptoms of IBS

The scientists evaluated the effects of oral treatment with an ingredient obtained by fermenting soy germs (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) on the intestinal disturbances induced by psychological stress.  Their results confirmed the pertinence of using this extract as adjuvant therapy for this digestive pathology.  The value of the test product resides in its high content in isoflavones, which are present in an aglycone form and thus highly bioavailable.
The most important finding of this study was that treatment with the fermented soy germ extract (FSG) prevented the harmful effects of stress on the intestinal epithelium.  Indeed, the histochemical study clearly demonstrated that FSG treatment reduced the intestinal mucosal density of mastocytes (cells whose degranulation under stressful conditions releases mediators that are algogenic and/or can increase intestinal permeability).

This study was carried out by Lara Moussa in the context of a CIFRE project (Industrial Contract for Training through Research), funded jointly by GENIBIO and ANRT (National Association for Research and Technology).The thesis is entitled “Effects of a fermented soy germ-based ingredient (Glycine max (L.) Merrill) on the integrity of the intestinal barrier and visceral sensitivity: the mechanisms of action in play”, and can be downloaded in full at: http://ethesis.inp-toulouse.fr/archive/00002111/01/moussa.pdf

Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour
Associated Centre(s):


GENIBIO is a company with considerable expertise in biocatalysis, plant biochemistry and microbiology, and which researches, develops and produces innovative ingredients: probiotics and prebiotics or plant extracts, for dietary supplements, dermo-cosmetics and healthcare products.  More information is available on the company website at: http://www.genibio.fr/