A soluble fibre supplement should be the first line of attack in treating irritable bowel syndrome, experts say.
Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands compared adding bran, a soluble supplement called psyllium and a dummy supplement to sufferers' diets. They found psyllium was the most effective, warning that bran may even worsen the symptoms of the condition, the British Medical Journal reported.As many as one in 10 people is estimated to have the condition. It is characterised by abdominal pain and an irregular bowel habit.
Its exact cause is unknown and recommendations for treatment include dietary advice, antidepressants and drug treatments. Many relying on dietary adjustments still turn to bran in a bid to help improve the way the intestines work. But the Dutch study of 275 patients questions the wisdom of this approach. The team gave patients 10g of either psyllium, bran or rice flour twice a day for 12 weeks.