High-fiber diet supplementation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): a multicenter, randomized, open trial comparison between wheat bran diet and partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG)

Dig Dis Sci. 2002 Aug;47(8):1697-704. doi: 10.1023/a:1016419906546.


High-fiber diet supplementation is commonly used in IBS, although it poses several management problems. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) has shown beneficial effects in animal and human studies, but its potential role in IBS symptom relief has not been evaluated yet. We investigated PHGG in IBS patients and compared it to a wheat bran diet. Abdominal pain, bowel habits, and subjective overall rating were longitudinally evaluated in 188 adult IBS patients (139 women and 49 men) for 12 weeks. Patients were classified as having diarrhea-predominant, constipation-predominant, or changeable bowel habits and were randomly assigned to groups receiving fiber (30 g/day of wheat bran) or PHGG (5 g/day). After four weeks, patients were allowed to switch group, depending on their subjective evaluation of their symptoms. Significantly more patients switched from fiber to PHGG (49.9%) than from PHGG to fiber (10.9%) at four weeks. Per protocol analysis showed that both fiber and PHGG were effective in improving pain and bowel habits, but no difference was found between the two groups. Conversely, intention-to-treat analysis showed a significantly greater success in the PHGG group (60%) than in the fiber group (40%). Moreover, significantly more patients in the PHGG group reported a greater subjective improvement than those in the Fiber group. In conclusion, improvements in core IBS symptoms (abdominal pain and bowel habits) were observed with both bran and PHGG, but the latter was better tolerated and preferred by patients, revealing a higher probability of success than bran and a lower probability of patients abandoning the prescribed regimen, suggesting that it can increase the benefits deriving from fiber intake in IBS, making it a valid option to consider for high-fiber diet supplementation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / diet therapy*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / physiopathology
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Galactans / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Male
  • Mannans / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Gums


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Galactans
  • Mannans
  • Plant Gums
  • guar gum