Posted on Tue, 3 Oct 17
A special type of digestive enzyme supplement could help people with irritable bowel syndrome tolerate prebiotic fiber rich foods, suggests a new clinical study.
Previous studies have found that digestive enzyme supplements work well to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) including bloating, pain and diarrhea. Because digestive enzymes help with the breakdown of food they may also more specifically help people whose digestive symptoms are due to a food intolerance.
Some people with symptoms of IBS do poorly on gas-producing foods, like beans, legumes and onions. For several years, a digestive enzyme called alpha-galactosidase (α–galactosidase) has been used for the relief of gas from such foods, but never tested in people with IBS to see if it could help them tolerate these foods better.
In a new clinical study, giving people with IBS who were also sensitive to foods high in prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) a dose of α-galactosidase (300 GALU/ per dose) with each meal was an effective way to improve tolerance to high-GOS foods.
“This study is the first to show symptom improvement in IBS with the use of an oral α -galactosidase in a subgroup of patients with GOS-sensitivity,” commented the authors. “This new therapy will encourage the re-introduction of high GOS foods and may also assist to relax the level of dietary restriction necessary for patients to maintain symptom control.”
Importantly, people were asked to take one capsule (150 GALU) immediately prior to the meal, and one capsule (another 150 GALU) half-way through the meal, which the study investigators believe is important for success as it increases exposure of the food to the enzyme.
Tuck CJ, Taylor KM, Gibson PR, et al. Increasing Symptoms in Irritable Bowel Symptoms With Ingestion of Galacto-Oligosaccharides Are Mitigated by α-Galactosidase Treatment. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017 Aug 15. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2017.245. [Epub ahead of print]