Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Also indexed as:IBS, Mucous Colitis, Spastic Colon, Premenstrual IBS
IBS—not your typical tummy ache. Symptoms may include abdominal bloating and soreness, gas, alternating diarrhea and constipation, backaches, and fatigue. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Supplement Amount Why
Caraway Oil and Peppermint Oil
90 mg of peppermint oil plus 50 mg of caraway oil in enteric-coated capsules taken three times per day 3 stars [3 stars]
Taking peppermint oil combined with caraway oil may reduce gas production, ease intestinal cramping, and soothe the intestinal tract.
Lactase

(Lactose Intolerance)
6,000 to 9,000 IU tablets chewed with a meal containing lactose, or add 1,000 IU in liquid form to 8 ounces of milk 3 stars [3 stars]
Lactase enzymes taken prior to consuming milk or dairy products may help ease IBS symptoms.
Probiotics
Refer to label instructions 3 stars [3 stars]
A daily drink containing probiotics significantly reduced IBS symptoms in one study.
Psyllium
3.25 grams taken three times per day 3 stars [3 stars]
Some people with IBS may benefit from bulk-forming laxatives. Psyllium has helped regulate normal bowel activity and improved symptoms in some people with IBS.
Melatonin
Take under medical supervision: 3 mg daily at bedtime 2 stars [2 stars]
Melatonin helps regulate gastrointestinal function and sensation. In one trial, people with irritable bowel syndrome who took melatonin experienced significantly less severe abdominal pain.
Peppermint
0.2 to 0.4 ml in enteric-coated capsules, three times per day 2 stars [2 stars]
Peppermint oil reduces gas production, eases intestinal cramping, and soothes irritation. It has been reported to help relieve IBS symptoms in two analyses of controlled trials.
Peppermint, Caraway Seeds, Fennel Seeds, and Wormwood
Refer to label instructions 2 stars [2 stars]
A combination of peppermint, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, and wormwood was reported to be an effective treatment for upper abdominal complaints in one trial.
Artichoke
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In a preliminary study of people with irritable bowel syndrome who took an artichoke leaf extract daily for two months, 26% reported an improvement in symptoms.
Chamomile
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Chamomile’s essential oils may ease intestinal cramping and irritation. The herb is sometimes used by herbalists to relieve alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.
Evening Primrose Oil

(Premenstrual Syndrome)
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In one trial, women with IBS who experienced worsening symptoms before and during their menstrual period were helped by taking evening primrose oil.
Fiber
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
Supplementing with fiber may help you find the right balance of regularity without episodes of diarrhea.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Refer to label instructions 1 star [1 star]
In one study, grapefruit seed extract improved IBS symptoms in 20% of people taking the liquid, while all of the patients taking capsules noted definite improvement of constipation, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, and night rest.
Wormwood, Ginger, Bupleurum, Schisandra, Dan Shen, and Other Extracts
Take a Chinese herbal formula containing wormwood under the guidance of a qualified practitioner 1 star [1 star]
A standardized Chinese herbal combination containing extracts from plants including wormwood, ginger, bupleurum, schisandra, and dan shen reduced IBS symptoms in one study.
Magnesium Citrate
Refer to label instructions
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.