Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the world's most common gastrointestinal functional disorder and is associated with several social and economic costs. Health-related quality of life is often impaired in patients with IBS. The pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying IBS remain poorly defined. The therapeutic approach to patients with IBS is based on symptoms, and fibers may play an important role in treatment. Among the various types of fiber, water-soluble, non-gelling fibers seem to be a promising option for treatment of IBS. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) is a water-soluble, non-gelling fiber that has provided therapeutic benefits. In clinical trials, PHGG decreased symptoms in constipation-predominant and diarrhea-predominant forms of IBS and decreased abdominal pain. Further, an improvement in quality of life was observed in patients with IBS during and after treatment with PHGG. Moreover, PHGG seems to have prebiotic properties because it increases the colonic contents of short-chain fatty acids, Lactobacilli, and Bifidobacteria.
Giannini EG, Mansi C, Dulbecco P, Savarino V. Role of partially hydrolyzed guar gum in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Nutrition. 2006 March Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.