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Best supplements for IBS diarrhoea


While I always advocate simple changes to diet and lifestyle to minimise diarrhoea, sometimes supplements can also help.



The Daily Express on Sunday asked me about supplements that could help people with chronic IBS diarrhoea. I always put food first, but sometimes targeted supplementation can be a helpful addition.


I was pleased to see the Daily Express include my caveat about supplements. It's important to see your GP or nutritionist before taking supplements for IBS, and see them for a review every three months or so. Evidence from the World Cancer Research Fund shows that some high-dose supplements can increase your cancer risk, so don’t rely on them for IBS or any other health issue – always aim to boost your vitamins and minerals through food sources where you can (an area where I'm always happy to help).


From Vitamin D to probiotics, here's my top five. Read the full article in The Daily Express on Sunday.


Top 5 supplements for IBS diarrhoea

1. Vitamin D

Our body needs sunshine to make vitamin D, so as we edge toward Christmas supplementation is a good idea. If you have IBS with diarrhoea, take a supplement containing 10 ug/d (or 400 IU) through the winter months.


2. Zinc

Our gut plays an important role in immunity, and zinc may help boost immune function.


3. Probiotics

It's important to try probiotics for at least a month to see if they help. If you don't notice any effect, you can try another brand or strain.


4. Lactase

If you're lactose intolerant, try adding lactase drops to milk, or drink lactose-free milk - easily available at the supermarket.


5. Intestinal adsorbents

Intestinal adsorbents bind to molecules that may contribute to IBS, like histamine or excess serotonin. Enterosgel is an intestinal adsorbent shown to improve IBS with diarrhoea. It's drug-free, and worth trying if diet and supplements don't help.

And one to avoid: Vitamin C

Too much can make diarrhoea much worse.

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