Aim: To investigate the long-term effect of dietary education on a low fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide and polyol (FODMAP) diet on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and quality of life (QoL).
Methods: Participants with IBS (Rome III) were randomized to two groups. Group I commenced a low FODMAP diet at baseline. At three months, group II, so far a comparator group, crossed over to a low FODMAP diet while group I started re-challenging foods. All patients completed the IBS SSS (IBS symptom severity scoring system, 0-500 points increasing with severity), IBS QoL questionnaire (0-100 increasing with QoL), a FODMAP specific food frequency questionnaire and provided a stool sample at baseline, three and six months for microbiome analysis.
Results: Fifty participants were enrolled into group I (n = 23) or group II (n = 27). Participants in both groups were similar in baseline values but with more men in group I. There was a significantly lower IBS SSS (275.6 ± 63.6 to 128.8 ± 82.5 vs 246.8 ± 71.1 to 203.6 ± 70.1) (P < 0.0002) and increased QoL (68.5 ± 18.0 to 83 ± 13.4 vs 72.9 ± 12.8 to 73.3 ± 14.4) (P < 0.0001) in group I vs group II at 3 mo. The reduced IBS SSS was sustained at 6 mo in group I (160 ± 102) and replicated in group II (124 ± 76). Fiber intake decreased on the low FODMAP diet (33 ± 17 g/d to 21 ± 8 g/d) (P < 0.01) and after re-introducing FODMAP containing foods increased again to 27 ± 9 g/d. There was no change seen in the intestinal microbiome when participants adopted a low FODMAP diet.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that a reduction in FODMAPs improves symptoms in IBS and this improvement can be maintained while reintroducing FODMAPs.
Keywords: Diet; FODMAP; Irritable bowel syndrome; Microbiome; Microbiota; Short chain fermentable carbohydrates.