Background: Dietary fibre supplements have been advocated for the management of chronic constipation (CC) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Recently, a fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide and polyol (FODMAP) restricted diet has been recommended for IBS.
Aim: To systematically examine recent evidence for dietary interventions with fibre in CC and IBS and FODMAP-restricted diet in IBS, and provide recommendations.
Methods: We searched PUBMED, MEDLINE, OVID and COCHRANE databases from 2004 to 2014. Published studies in adults with CC and IBS and constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C) that compared fibre with placebo/alternative and FODMAP-restricted diet with alternative were included.
Results: Of 550 potentially eligible clinical trials on fibre, 11 studies were found and of 23 potentially eligible studies on FODMAPs, six were found. A meta-analysis was not performed due to heterogeneity and methodological quality. Fibre was beneficial in 5/7 studies in CC and 3/3 studies in IBS-C. FODMAP-restricted diet improved overall IBS symptoms in 4/4 and IBS-C symptoms in 1/3 studies and three studies did not meet inclusion criteria. There were significant disparities in subject selection, interventions and outcome assessments in both fibre and FODMAPs studies.
Conclusions: Fibre supplementation is beneficial in mild to moderate CC and IBS-C, although larger, more rigorous and long-term RCTs are needed (Fair evidence-Level II, Grade B). Although the FODMAP-restricted diet may be effective in short-term management of selected patients with IBS (Fair evidence-Level II, Grade C) and IBS-C (Poor evidence-Level III, Grade C), more rigorous trials are needed to establish long-term efficacy and safety, particularly on colonic health and microbiome.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.