Soluble Fiber: A Natural Solution for IBS Sufferers
Researchers led by Dr C Bijkerk from the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands recently found that consuming more soluble fiber may help the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The study was published in the August 2009 issue of the British Medical Journal.
IBS is a disorder in which the bowel does not work correctly resulting in cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation.
For the study 275 IBS sufferers between the ages of 18 and 65 were randomly assigned to one of three groups for a period of three months.
The first group was given daily supplements of soluble fiber (10 g psyllium), the second group received insoluble fiber (10 g bran), and the third group received a placebo (10 g rice flour).
Soluble fiber is found in fruits and vegetables and as the name suggests, it is dissolvable in water.
Insoluble fiber, which is found most abundantly in foods like wheat and cereals, does not dissolve in water and therefore passes through your intestines largely intact.
The researchers used a point system to diagnose the severity of IBS symptoms among the participants before and after the study period.
They found that the severity of IBS symptoms decreased by 90 points in the psyllium group, 58 points in the bran group and just 49 points in the placebo group.
These findings show that IBS sufferers may be able to naturally reduce their symptoms by consuming more soluble fiber in their daily diet.
Other than fruits and vegetables, soluble fiber can also be found in nuts, barley and flax seed. Even if you are not suffering from IBS, soluble fiber can help with your digestive system.