A better treatment for irritable bowel syndromeUse psyllium, not bran, research says
Irritable bowel syndrome, the common gut disorder, is best treated using a soluble supplement called psyllium, new research has found.
Bran, widely recommended to treat the condition, which affects as many as one in ten people, was actually found to worsen the symptoms of IBS.
People with IBS suffer from an irregular bowel habit and abdominal pains. The exact causes of IBS are not known, and treatment generally involves avoiding certain foods, as well as drug treatments.
The study, conducted at University Medical Centre Utrecht, looked at a group of adult patients who suffered from IBS. The patients were given either bran, psyllium, or a placebo of rice flour over a period of several weeks.
Bran was no more effective than the placebo at improving the symptoms, and in some cases it made them worse. But psyllium was found to be very effective in about a quarter of the patients, mitigating the symptoms and pain associated with IBS.
“Bran showed no clinically relevant benefit, and many patients seemed not to tolerate bran,” the study said.
The study was published online in the British Medical Journal.
This article was published on Fri 28 August 2009
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