Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a mixture of beta-glucan, inositol and digestive enzymes in improving gastrointestinal symptoms in patients affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Patients and methods: The study was conducted at the IBD Unit of the University of Catanzaro. Forty-three IBD patients with IBS symptoms were included in the study. IBD diagnosis was performed by clinical, endoscopic, histological and radiological criteria. Patients were in clinical remission and in treatment only with systemical and topical mesalamine. All study participants fulfilled the Rome III criteria for the diagnosis of IBS. The study participants were randomized into 2 groups: group A (n=23) received conventional treatment (systemical and topical mesalamine) plus a mixture of beta-glucan, inositol and digestive enzymes (one tablet after lunch and dinner) for four consecutive weeks; group B (n=20) received only conventional treatment. The prevalence and intensity of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms were evaluated both at the enrollment (T0) and after four weeks of treatment (T1).
Results: Patients who received mesalamine plus the mixture of beta-glucan, inositol and digestive enzymes (group A) reported a reduction in abdominal pain together with reduction in bloating and flatulence after four weeks of treatment. Importantly, an overall improvement in the general well-being has been recorded. Patients who underwent only mesalamine treatment (group B) reported a mild reduction in the evacuative urgency without any other improvements.
Conclusions: We have shown that supplementation with a mixture of beta-glucan, inositol and digestive enzymes reduces bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain, improving the overall clinical condition of IBD-IBS patients.