Let’s start with what IBS means?
IBS or the irritable bowel syndrome, is an inflammatory condition of the large intestine.When body’s defense systems, mess up they start attacking our own organs! IBS is one such disease.
So Irritable Bowel Syndrome is of two types:
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two forms of the disease.
These diseases are caused due to overactive immune system. The defence system of the body, attacks the mucosa (the inner most layer of the gut canal) and causes the formation of ulcers. In other places, the area becomes swollen and reddish and painful.
These diseases mainly cause morbidity. That is the painful condition that limits movement and capacity. These diseases rarely cause fatalities.
These are un-treatable diseases. There is no particular cure. So these have to be managed by various measures. Medicines are generally administered. But it becomes, a little difficult to stay put with medicines for a long time because of their irritating side effects.
PHGG or the partially hydrolysed guar gum is commonly used to manage IBS.These guar gum is safe to be mixed in the foods and beverages and is said to be GRAS – Generally Regarded As Safe guar gum. Recently the limit of PHGG as an ingredient in the food has increased, owing to it nutritional benefits and its positive effect on the irritable bowel syndrome.
The advantages of use of Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum in the management of IBS are as follows.
- The original guar gum, extracted from endosperm of guar plant, can not be easily incorporate into foods and beverages, due to its thick consistency and a high potential as a thickening agent.
- It is a natural product with a little processing that does not change its constitution significantly.
- Even if its a bulky product, it is tasteless. It is odourless and colourless. So it is palatable and when added to other food items, it does not alter the food considerably.All these properties increase the compliance of the patients to the diet.
- When ingested, it is a relatively inert product and is not affected by any enzymes. It does not alter the structure of proteins and fats. It can be taken along any other food item.
- When needed to be mixed with a particular food, it can easily mix and does not change the formation of the product. In some cases, also benefits as a thickening agent and as a bulk-forming agent in yogurt.
- It also has pro-biotic properties. Thus it stimulates the growth of normal gut flora. Increase in the same, prevents infection by other micro organisms. The normal gut bacteria also release various enzymes that increase the excretion of harmful waste products and help in better absorption of metabolic nutrients like vitamins.
- As the intestinal mucosa is inflamed, the passage of stool causes considerable morbidity. These may also lead to psychological constipation. When these kind of fibers are integrated in diet, they absorb water and swell up. They also increase the osmotic water retention inside the bowel. They increase the bulk of the stool and also make it softer. Thus the stool passes easily without causing much pain.
- Because of constipation accompanying IBS, many patients resort to laxative medication. With the use of fibers, the requirement of the medicines becomes almost nil.
Most of the studies conducted so far, have not regarded dietary fiber as a beneficial component in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. But the experience supports the theory. Some newer studies support the use of PHGG in diet for the management of IBS. Apart from the intestinal benefits, these fibers also provide other health benefits and thus looks at improving the general lifestyle.