Research News

Studying how the low-FODMAP diet reduces symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Tuesday, 11 October 2016 11:46

For one individual, the culprit might be peanut butter. For another, it might be fried chicken. Foods that trigger symptoms are well identified by those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—a functional disorder based on gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms that might include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea.

Scientifically, it has proven more difficult to identify dietary patterns that reliably affect the symptoms of those with IBS. Growing evidence shows, however, that one particular dietary pattern can reduce overall IBS symptoms in the majority of sufferers: the low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (low-FODMAP) diet.

Dr. James Versalovic of Baylor College of Medicine (USA), a leading centre for research on children with functional bowel disorders, says his research group wants to find out how the low-FODMAP diet can be used to reduce recurrent abdominal pain in both children and adults.

“A [low-FODMAP diet is] where you are deliberately changing whole classes of foods,” Versalovic tells GMFH editors in a phone interview. “It’s not simply just ‘eat more fruits and vegetables’ but there are a number of fruits and vegetables that actually elevate your FODMAP content and others that keep it low.” The diet was developed by researchers at Australia’s Monash University and is now being studied by groups around the world for its potential benefits. The premise of the diet is to limit short-chain carbohydrates, which the body does not readily absorb, as well as high-fibre foods that are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine. The group of acceptable fruits includes bananas, berries, and citrus fruits, for example, but excludes apples, pears, and stone fruits. The guidelines disallow honey, sweeteners, wheat, and legumes, while they allow juices, sugar, oats, and rice.

Further Information

Alcohol Research Grapevine

Monday, 10 October 2016 15:27

Recently the Institute of Alcohol Studies and Alcohol Research UK have been developing an online alcohol research directory: the Alcohol Research Grapevine. Its primary functions are:

  • To allow researchers to upload profiles listing publications and outlining areas of professional interest
  • To create a searchable database of published, but also (importantly) ongoing and prospective research
  • To support collaboration by helping researchers to find colleagues working in similar areas, or to publicise areas of work they are interested in pursuing
  • To allow researchers to notify colleagues of available data that may benefit from further analysis

More details can be found on the directory’s website

Anyone interested in alcohol research is encouraged to register and create a profile. If you have any questions, please contact Jon Foster at IAS.

An interview with Philippe Marteau: “Some probiotics can be used like drugs for medical indications”

Tuesday, 04 October 2016 12:32

According to scientific research, probiotics may restore the composition of the gut microbiota and introduce beneficial functions to gut microbial communities. In fact, some probiotics can be used like drugs to treat some conditions and there is good evidence of their efficacy for diarrhoea associated to antibiotic intake or gastroenteritis diarrhoea.

Philippe Marteau is head of the medico-surgical department of hepato-gastroenterology at Lariboisière Hospital in Paris. He attended the 5th Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit 2016, where we interviewed him about probiotics and also prebiotics.

Further Information

New insights into the role of gut microbiota in rheumatoid arthritis

Tuesday, 04 October 2016 12:13

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of unknown cause in the synovial joints, requiring both genetic and environmental factors to manifest. It has been previously reported that individuals with RA have specific alterations in their gut and oral microbiomes.

Two recent studies, led by Dr. Veena Taneja from the Department of Immunology and Division of Rheumatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester (USA), allow a better understanding of the role of gut microbiota in people with rheumatoid arthritis and how manipulation of the gut microbiota may provide an additional approach to therapy.

The first paper, published in Genome Medicine, has found that the gut microbiota of RA patients (n=40) exhibited decreased diversity with increased disease duration and autoantibody levels, compared with controls (15 first-degree relatives of the patients and 17 non-related healthy controls). The dysbiotic gut microbiota in patients with RA stemmed from an expansion of rare microbial lineages like Eggerthella and Collinsella and from a decrease in the abundant beneficial genera like Faecalibacterium. A gut microbial profile for RA patients was identified based on the abundance of the three genera: Collinsella, Eggerthella, and Faecalibacterium.

Further Information

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