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Review Article

Why Use Nutraceutical Strategies for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 12 ]


Flavia di Michele*   Pages 2075 - 2092 ( 18 )


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic functional bowel disorder, often stress-related, identified by many abdominal symptoms, the most important of which is chronic visceral abdominal pain. Therefore, IBS commonly impairs the quality of life of patients, moreover, it is frequently linked to depressive and anxiety symptoms. The treatment of IBS primarily focuses on symptoms relief. Unfortunately, up to now, no efficacious therapies have been found. Therefore, it would be important to develop new anti- IBS interventions.

The aim of this brief review is to summarize the current evidence of nutraceutical supplementation in IBS treatment, with probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, butyrate, palmitoylethanolamide and colostrum. Since nutraceutics are over-the-counter products, the review has the purpose to better inform the medicinal chemist and the practitioner about the possible beneficial mechanisms and the many advantages that these therapies offer. All of these compounds present multiple mechanisms of action, such as restoring the physiological microbiota, potentiating gastrointestinal barrier’s function, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities.

From the literature data, it results that these compounds are not only capable of improving IBS symptomatology, but mainly display an optimal safety and tolerability profile.

Although extensive studies must be carried out to reinforce the evidence from the so far limited clinical trials, the supplementation with these compounds may be useful considering the warnings of prescription medicines for special populations of patients, such as elders, youngsters, or patients who need combination therapy. Finally, the nutraceutical approach may improve adherence to treatment, given its better acceptance by the patients compared to pharmacological therapy.


IBS, nutraceutics, probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, butyrate, palmitoylethanolamide and colostrum.


Dept Systems Medicine, Policlinico Tor Vergata (PTV) Foundation, Rome

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