Many of us will know about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) a disorder that can cause chronic abdominal pain, gas, diarrhoea and constipation, but did you know that one in five adults meet the criteria for irritable bowel syndrome?
Although many patients with IBS are trying diets based on blood tests that claim to identify foods that trigger their symptoms, the majority of these food intolerance tests have not been validated by rigorous study, say researchers.
Individual diets better than placebo for IBS
However, patients with irritable bowel syndrome who follow individualised diets based on food sensitivity testing, experience fewer symptoms, say Yale researchers. The study is among the first to provide scientific evidence for this medication free approach, to a debilitating condition.
The Yale team conducted a double-blind, randomized clinical trial of 58 patients with IBS. For each individual, the researchers collected blood samples and used a specific test that measures immune cell activation in response to individual foods. The study participants were then put on individualised diets that either restricted foods consistent with test results or restricted foods inconsistent with test results.
After several weeks on the individualised diets, participants were assessed for IBS symptoms and quality of life. The research team found that while both sets of participants experienced improvement, the individuals on diets consistent with test results fared much better overall and in terms of symptom severity.
‘The people who consumed the diet consistent with the test did significantly better than people on the placebo diet.’
The two groups of participants reported no notable difference in terms of quality of life. But at four and eight weeks after starting the diets, the restricted diet group achieved significant improvement in symptoms such as abdominal pain and swelling, amongst others.
These findings lay the groundwork for further study. If these test results can be replicated in larger and more diverse samples, they can provide insight into another way to treat a condition that can often be very frustrating and debilitating.
Source: Yale News Sept 20, 2017