Randomised clinical trial: yoga vs a low-FODMAP diet in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Jan;47(2):203-211. doi: 10.1111/apt.14400. Epub 2017 Oct 27.


Background: Irritable bowel syndrome is the most frequent gastrointestinal disorder. It is assumed that lifestyle interventions might be a rational treatment approach.

Aim: To examine the effect of a yoga-based intervention vs a low-FODMAP diet on patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Methods: Fifty-nine patients with irritable bowel syndrome undertook a single-blind, randomised controlled trial involving yoga or a low-FODMAP diet for 12 weeks. Patients in the yoga group received two sessions weekly, while patients in the low-FODMAP group received a total of three sessions of nutritional counselling. The primary outcome was a change in gastrointestinal symptoms (IBS-SSS). Secondary outcomes explored changes in quality of life (IBS-QOL), health (SF-36), perceived stress (CPSS, PSQ), body awareness (BAQ), body responsiveness (BRS) and safety of the interventions. Outcomes were examined in weeks 12 and 24 by assessors "blinded" to patients' group allocation.

Results: No statistically significant difference was found between the intervention groups, with regard to IBS-SSS score, at either 12 (Δ = 31.80; 95%CI = -11.90, 75.50; P = .151) or 24 weeks (Δ = 33.41; 95%CI = -4.21, 71.04; P = .081). Within-group comparisons showed statistically significant effects for yoga and low-FODMAP diet at both 12 and 24 weeks (all P < .001). Comparable within-group effects occurred for the other outcomes. One patient in each intervention group experienced serious adverse events (P = 1.00) and another, also in each group, experienced nonserious adverse events (P = 1.00).

Conclusions: Patients with irritable bowel syndrome might benefit from yoga and a low-FODMAP diet, as both groups showed a reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms. More research on the underlying mechanisms of both interventions is warranted, as well as exploration of potential benefits from their combined use.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted*
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Food, Formulated
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymers* / administration & dosage
  • Polymers* / adverse effects
  • Quality of Life
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult


  • Polymers
  • polyol