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Designer Fiber Options May Eliminate Bloating

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Posted at 3:12 PM, Jun 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:25:05-04

CHICAGO (Ivanhoe Newswire) - You’ve been told forever that fiber is good for your gut, and it's a good way to treat irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. The downside is fiber causes bloating. New research could end that side effect and create a break-through treatment for other serious health problems.

Shannon McKinney has always been active, and tries to watch her diet. For years, her “tummy troubles” have gotten in the way.

“My friend used to call me Winnie the Pooh in college,” she said.

It wasn’t funny as Shannon got older, and realized she had irritable bowel syndrome.

“You can’t just cure symptoms. You have to get to the underlying issue, and of course, you grow older and wiser,” she said.

IBS can be treated with lots of fiber, as much as 20 to 30 grams a day.

“The problem is, available fibers that we have make people bloated and miserable and they don’t take them,” said Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, a gastroenterologist at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.

Traditional fiber metabolizes in the gut very quickly, which is what causes bloating. Dr. Keshavarzian has been helping develop a new, all-natural designer fiber that the body processes slowly.

“It can be used potentially for a wide range of diseases that have already been shown to be associated with abnormal bacteria,” he said.

It’s too early to tell if the new fiber is more effective at treating IBS, but so far, Dr. Keshavarzian has proven it doesn’t cause fiber’s other nasty side effects.

Shannon has taken part in the fiber study. She said if the findings were positive she’ll make it part of her daily routine.

“It’s going to be awesome and I can’t wait. I’ll be the first one in line,” she said.

Researchers said further studies were needed to determine if the designer fiber could also help patients struggling with obesity, Parkinson’s or Crohn’s disease. Researchers expect to see IBS study results in the next 18 months to two years.