First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 207 – 2018
IBgard® for IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common, functional gastrointestinal disorder. It affects approximately 13-20% of Canadians and has symptoms that include abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits such as constipation and/or diarrhea. Treatment for IBS is often multifaceted and can include a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, medications, and other options. In addition, what works for one person with IBS might not work for another individual. One treatment with a history of success in reducing IBS symptoms is peppermint, especially peppermint oil. Research shows that peppermint oil might have an antispasmodic effect on the smooth muscles in the digestive tract, which can help ease intestinal cramping and pain.1
One product, an over-the-counter herbal supplement called IBgard®, uses technology to ensure that IBS patients can experience a more effective treatment with peppermint oil. IBgard® uses site-specific targeting to ensure that the product makes it to the small intestine without being broken down in the stomach. It does this by using individually triple-coated, sustained-release microspheres of Ultramen®, an ultra-purified peppermint oil along with fibre and amino acids from gelatin protein. While the primary aim of this delivery method is to ensure ideal medication site delivery, it has the added benefit of reducing the likelihood of developing heartburn from using oral peppermint, which is normally a common side effect of this treatment.
Researchers conducted a 4-week, randomized, double-blind, clinical trial comparing IBgard®’s sustained-release peppermint oil with placebo in patients with IBS.2 They gave IBgard® or placebo to 70 individuals who had either diarrhea-predominant IBS or IBS with both diarrhea and constipation. At the end of the study, those assigned to IBgard® experienced a 40% reduction in their symptom severity compared to a 24% reduction in the placebo group. In addition, subjects experienced very few side effects. IBgard® is a safe and effective product that can reduce IBS symptoms in some individuals.