The relationship between symptoms, microbiota, and diet in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are a heterogenous group, and many report symptoms triggered by diet: most commonly wheat/grains, certain vegetables, milk products, fatty foods, spicy foods, coffee, and alcohol.

A review published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology discusses the relationship between symptoms, diet, and microbiota in IBS. Authors summarize evidence on how diet and intestinal microbiota impact IBS symptoms. They also review reported interactions between diet and microbiota composition. They conclude that the microbial alterations found in IBS patients might cause or perpetuate the GI symptoms. The benefits of FODMAP restriction seem promising, but more studies are needed on how food triggers IBS symptoms.


Rajilic-Stojanovic M, et al. (2015) Intestinal microbiota and diet in IBS: Causes, consequences, or epiphenomena? American Journal of Gastroenterology doi:10.1038/ajg.2014.427

See here for a recent review exploring the pathophysiology of IBS.

Paul Enck
Paul Enck
Prof. Dr. Paul Enck, Director of Research, Dept. of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany. His main interests are gut functions in health and disease, including functional and inflammatory bowel disorders, the role of the gut microbiota, regulation of eating and food intake and its disorders, of nausea, vomiting and motion sickness, and the psychophysiology and neurobiology of the placebo response, with specific emphasis on age and gender contributions. He has published more than 170 original data paper in scientific, peer-reviewed journals, and more than 250 book chapters and review articles. He is board member/treasurer of the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility and of the German Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, and has served as reviewer for many international journals and grant agencies.