Open Access

Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review)

  • Authors:
    • Magdy El-Salhy
    • Synne Otterasen Ystad
    • Tarek Mazzawi
    • Doris Gundersen
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: July 19, 2017     https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2017.3072
  • Pages: 607-613
  • Copyright: © El-Salhy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Abstract

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic gastrointestinal disorder. It is widely believed that IBS is caused by a deficient intake of dietary fiber, and most physicians recommend that patients with IBS increase their intake of dietary fiber in order to relieve their symptoms. However, different types of dietary fiber exhibit marked differences in physical and chemical properties, and the associated health benefits are specific for each fiber type. Short-chain soluble and highly fermentable dietary fiber, such as oligosaccharides results in rapid gas production that can cause abdominal pain/discomfort, abdominal bloating/distension and flatulence in patients with IBS. By contrast, long-chain, intermediate viscous, soluble and moderately fermentable dietary fiber, such as psyllium results in a low gas production and the absence of the symptoms related to excessive gas production. The effects of type of fiber have been documented in the management of IBS, and it is known to improve the overall symptoms in patients with IBS. Dietary fiber acts on the gastrointestinal tract through several mechanisms, including increased fecal mass with mechanical stimulation/irritation of the colonic mucosa with increasing secretion and peristalsis, and the actions of fermentation byproducts, particularly short-chain fatty acids, on the intestinal microbiota, immune system and the neuroendocrine system of the gastrointestinal tract. Fiber supplementation, particularly psyllium, is both safe and effective in improving IBS symptoms globally. Dietary fiber also has other health benefits, such as lowering blood cholesterol levels, improving glycemic control and body weight management.

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APA
El-Salhy, M., Ystad, S.O., Mazzawi, T., & Gundersen, D. (2017). Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review). International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 40, 607-613. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2017.3072
MLA
El-Salhy, M., Ystad, S. O., Mazzawi, T., Gundersen, D."Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review)". International Journal of Molecular Medicine 40.3 (2017): 607-613.
Chicago
El-Salhy, M., Ystad, S. O., Mazzawi, T., Gundersen, D."Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review)". International Journal of Molecular Medicine 40, no. 3 (2017): 607-613. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2017.3072