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Intestinal gas: has diet anything to do in the absence of a demonstrable malabsorption state?

Serra, Jordi

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: September 2012 - Volume 15 - Issue 5 - p 489–493
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328356662d
NUTRITION AND THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT: Edited by Maria Isabel Toulson Davisson Correia and Miquel A. Gassull

Purpose of review To summarize the relevant publications during the last 12 months supporting that diet can influence gas-related symptoms in the absence of a malabsorption state.

Recent findings Gas symptoms during carbohydrate fermentation: a diet incorporating beans is well tolerated by a majority of individuals involved in a program of heart disease biomarkers. By contrast, in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, a diet avoiding fermentable carbohydrates improved gas-related abdominal symptoms. The rate of fermentation determines the production of abdominal symptoms, and many slowly fermentable fibers have a rapid fermentation profile that can generate abdominal symptoms.

Modulation of visceral sensitivity: diet can influence gas symptoms by increasing the tolerability of the intestine to gas. Capsaicin decreases visceral hyperalgesia and improved bloating in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Changes in gas-producing bacteria: different strains of Lactobacillus have antimicrobial properties against gas-forming coliforms. New clinical studies show beneficial effects of prebiotics and probiotics on abdominal bloating.

Summary Actual data suggest that diet could improve gas-related abdominal symptoms acting on several mechanisms: gas production, visceral hypersensitivity and modulation of gas-producing enteric bacteria.

Motility and Functional Gut Disorders Unit, Gastroenterology Department, University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (Ciberehd), Badalona, Spain

Correspondence to Jordi Serra, MD, Gastroenterology Department, University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, 08916 Badalona, Spain. Tel: +34 93 465 1200; fax: +34 93 497 8843; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.