A study of 523 travellers to countries with an intermediate to high risk of diarrhoea found that taking the prebiotic Bimuno® (a galactooligosaccharide mixture also known as B-GOS®) resulted in an overall reduction of 33% (P=0.03) in the incidence of diarrhoea in the 334 individuals who adhered strictly to the protocol.1 Furthermore, travellers in this group who had been taking the product for more than 7 days, experienced an even higher reduction in the incidence of diarrhoea of 45% (P=0.02). For optimal protective effect, Bimuno® should be started 7 days before travel and travellers encouraged to stick to the protocol to get the full benefits. The exact mechanism of protection is not yet clear, but Bimuno® has been shown in other research to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, especially an important species called Bifidobacterium, known to be linked to human health.
The incidence of perceived adverse effects in the recent study was low, especially among those taking Bimuno®. Only 2.48% of the 523 participants who returned data reported problems, which they thought were due to the Bimuno®, compared to 5.38% of those taking placebo. These infrequently reported problems, which included loose stool, constipation and bloating, were mild in the treatment group.
It is recommended that travellers who would like to use the Bimuno® prebiotic should start taking it at least 7 days before departure and for the duration of travel.