Irritable bowel syndrome and diet: where are we in 2018?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The aim is to review the most recent advances in the evidence supporting the use of various dietary interventions for the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Recent findings

There is insufficient evidence of the effect of fibres other than psyllium in IBS, whereas the recent studies on prebiotics suggest a limited effect in IBS. Recent probiotic trials continue to provide varying results, with some probiotic strains exhibiting beneficial effects, whereas others show no effect. Recent trials have also confirmed the clinical effectiveness of a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (i.e. low FODMAP diet) in IBS. Although gluten sensitivity has also been recently investigated, its presence cannot be confirmed yet because of the presence of other potential contributing compounds in wheat. Studies also suggest a potential beneficial effect of peppermint oil, which warrants further research.

Summary

It is clear that a low FODMAP diet has a beneficial effect in a majority of patients with IBS. Probiotics also have great potential in the management of IBS; however, it is still unclear which strains and doses are the most beneficial. Further research is needed on the effect of different fibres, or combinations of fibres, in IBS.

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