Video from the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation.
One of the most interesting yet unknown topics in IBS is how the gastrointestinal microbiota play a part in the symptoms. The research team at King’s where I work discovered that the low FODMAP diet reduced levels of bifidobacteria in people with IBS. Bifidobacteria is a gut microbe that has many benefits for health. Whether the low FODMAP diet causes a continued decrease in bifidobacteria in the long term or if this decrease has any negative effects on the health of the gut long term will continue to be studied. Because of this unknown factor it is also not known if following the low FODMAP diet is safe in the long term. The low FODMAP diet is not currently recommended as a diet for life but rather as a short term diet to help control IBS symptoms and once this is achieved to start eating foods high in FODMAPs according to your own tolerance levels; as determined through the reintroduction phase.
I wanted to share this video as it gives a really nice overview of IBS and the Gastrointestinal Microbiota. FODMAPs are not mentioned until the last few minutes of the presentation, and then only briefly, but this presentation is really all about the potential for altering the gut microbiota to influence IBS symptoms. This topic is going to an interesting one to watch develop……
You can read Stephen Collins’ (the chap presenting the video) recent review paper; A role for the gut microbiota in IBS. In Nature Reviews (if you have access).
You can read the original research article by the King’s College London (KCL) FODMAPs Research Team from the link below (it is now an open access paper). Main conclusion from the study:
“Restriction of fermentable short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs) is an effective management strategy for IBS, resulting in reductions in overall symptoms and bloating. However, this dietary therapy results in signiﬁcant reductions in luminal biﬁdobacteria after 4 weeks. Whether this effect persists over time or has any detrimental effects on long-term colonic health is yet to be determined.“