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Health Information New Fiber Could Reduce IBS Side Effects

Ali Keshavarzian, MD

For people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fiber can be both an effective way of managing the condition — and a nuisance.

While fiber does a great job of kick-starting the intestinal tract and easing constipation, sometimes it does too good of a job — causing gas, bloating and diarrhea.

But a new fiber, created in part by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, may reduce some of the side effects.

Ali Keshavarzian, MD, a gastroenterologist at Rush, collaborated with a professor at Purdue University to develop the fiber. It works by delaying the release of compounds that produce unwanted side effects in the stomach and upper intestine until the fiber reaches the colon.

The fiber is currently available only through clinical trials. Researchers are further testing the fiber’s effectiveness after an earlier study found it to be well-tolerated for the treatment of constipation.

"IBS is the most common reason people see a gastroenterologist," Keshavarzian says. "Our research may one day give physicians a better treatment option for their patients."

Summer 2014

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