How do probiotics alleviate constipation? A narrative review of mechanisms

Yu Ping Huang, Jie Yan Shi, Xin Tao Luo, Si Chen Luo, Peter C.K. Cheung, Harold Corke, Qiong Qiong Yang, Bo Bo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition, which may occur at any age and affects countless people. The search for new treatments for constipation is ongoing as current drug treatments fail to provide fully satisfactory results. In recent years, probiotics have attracted much attention because of their demonstrated therapeutic efficacy and fewer side effects than pharmaceutical products. Many studies attempted to answer the question of how probiotics can alleviate constipation. It has been shown that different probiotic strains can alleviate constipation by different mechanisms. The mechanisms on probiotics in relieving constipation were associated with various aspects, including regulation of the gut microbiota composition, the level of short-chain fatty acids, aquaporin expression levels, neurotransmitters and hormone levels, inflammation, the intestinal environmental metabolic status, neurotrophic factor levels and the body’s antioxidant levels. This paper summarizes the perception of the mechanisms on probiotics in relieving constipation and provides some suggestions on new research directions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Biotechnology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Probiotics
  • constipation
  • gastrointestinal diseases
  • intestinal microbiota
  • mechanism


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