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Supplements for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Question:
Do any supplements help for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Answer:
Several different types of probiotics have been found to reduce symptoms of IBS, but the appropriate probiotic may depend on whether the IBS is causing predominantly diarrhea or constipation. (See the "What It Does" section of the Probiotic Supplements Review for details.)

Prebiotics have also been promoted for IBS, although the evidence is mixed.

Supplementation with the amino acid glutamine has been shown to reduce symptoms such as pain and bowel frequency in people with diarrhea-predominant IBS.

Interestingly, several small studies suggest melatonin may improve symptoms of IBS, possibly by affecting the nervous system in the digestive track. (See the "What It Does" section of the Melatonin Review for details).

Preliminary evidence suggests psyllium, a type of fiber, may be helpful for people with IBS with constipation.

Information about other potentially helpful supplements, including peppermint oil and flaxseed, is found in the Encyclopedia article about IBS.

Be aware that a number of supplements, including fish oil, magnesium, high doses of vitamin C, berberine and turmeric/curcumin can cause diarrhea, so you may want to avoid these or reduce your dosage if you find they are exacerbating IBS symptoms. See the "Concerns and Cautions" section in each review for details.

IBS Supplements - What Works Best?



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COMMENTS

Stephen16699   April 9, 2018
I had IBS-D for several years and taken many things to try to control it (different brands of probiotics, ground chia seeds, peppermint oil). One day I came across Plain Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) because I wanted to add protein to my morning shake and its 99% lactose free. After about a week, my bowel movements were more solid. Its been 7 months and no issues. I decided to do some research on Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) for IBS-D and couldn't find any solid information. Since WPI consist of many Branched Chain Amino Acids, I can only believe these have something to do with no flare ups. Before I started taking WPI, I was also taking 1 Multi-Vitamin, 2 Salmon Oil, 1 Florastor and 1 Align. Hope this may help someone else.

Daniel16697   April 8, 2018
I thought I suffered from LBS most of my life (66 years) finally I was diagnosed 6 months ago with celiac disease. No problems since going gluten free. Have yourself checked, it's a simple blood test.

Jon16690   April 8, 2018
I've suffered from IBS for a long time, but have found relief in a supplement I am taking for another issue. It is chlorella. I buy it in bulk and take one teaspoon daily in a breakfast smoothie and another smaller amount in the evening when I think about it. It's really made a difference.

Al13896   April 5, 2017
N-A-G (N-Acetyl Glucosamine)
I use the Jarrow brand-120 veggie caps of 700 mg, each. Take 1 cap twice per day or as recommended by your health advisor. It's about $15 or less for a bottle. Although I never had an actual diagnosis of IBS, etc, I have suffered my whole life with mild to moderate intestinal issues. I had two older brothers who both had Crohn's disease and one of them died from it after 7 surgeries to remove most of his colon.
I was turned on to it in the March 2016 issue of Dr Mark Stengler's HEALTH REVELATIONS newsletter that I subscribe to. He has a web site where you may be able to get an archived copy of the article. Or simply do some online research where it explains how this supplement provides a protective lining in your system. I can't say enough for how it has improved my life, but your mileage may vary.

Susan13894   April 5, 2017
My IBS is always triggered by food and the only help I have found has been peppermint oil. It works like a charm! My primary goal is to avoid the foods I know will trigger IBS.

Jennifer13895   April 5, 2017
I second that completely! I don't think I could function without peppermint oil. I put it in my water bottle on days that I have GI problems and it works very well for me.

Fred13893   April 5, 2017
I have found the Dr.'s Best PepZin G. I. works great on IBS. People that I have suggested it to all agree. PepZin G I is a complex of the mineral zinc and l-carnosine, bound together to provide unique benefits.

Janine13892   April 5, 2017
I have a rather irritable gut, and probiotics have been helpful, plus when I'm having one of my gut attacks I take several d-mannose capsules, two peppermint gels, and a ginger cap. If it's really bad I'll also take a cranberry extract pill. This regimen usually takes care of the problem.

MARCIA14028   May 12, 2017
I take the D-mannose for bladder infection and incontinence and find it very good. I also have irritable bowel, but haven't noticed any effect?

ConsumerLab.com   May 15, 2017
Thank you for sharing your experience with D-mannose, Marcia. You may be interested in this CL Answer: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/D-Mannose_UTI/

Melissa13891   April 5, 2017
That's funny that fish oil is said to cause diarrhea because that is the one thing that has helped my diarrhea-predominant IBS :)

Dan8615   April 6, 2016
I suffered from IBS for a couple of years. Now I take one pill of Garden of Life's Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic at bedtime. This has worked very well! If on occasion I have a loose bowel movement in the am, I'll take another pill but this rarely happens. Good luck!


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This CL Answer initially posted on 4/5/2016. Last updated 9/5/2018.
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