Bran supplementation in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1994 Oct;8(5):511-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.1994.tb00323.x.


Background: Irritable bowel syndrome remains the commonest reason for referral to a gastroenterology clinic. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome are frequently advised to increase their intake of bran fibre, despite inconclusive experimental evidence of benefit.

Methods: The effect of dietary supplementation with a bolus of bran fibre (12 g/day) was studied in a block-randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study of 80 patients with irritable bowel syndrome referred to a District General Hospital outpatient clinic. Comparison of the benefits of bran and placebo was based upon personal assessment of individual and overall symptom profiles, determined from a simple daily symptom score and post-treatment interview.

Results: Overall symptomatic improvement was reported with bran by 52% and with placebo by 54% of patients. Bran supplementation was no more effective than placebo in improving individual symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and for wind-related symptoms it was significantly less effective (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Dietary supplementation with bran is of no value in the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome referred to a hospital clinic.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / diet therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triticum