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Best Supplements for IBS Support: The Research and Results

Updated on June 29, 2023

Article Summary

  • Although a growing number of consumers are seeking out natural supplements to provide nutritional support for IBS symptoms, the most common supplements might not be the best
  • Emerging clinical research suggests that curcumin and berberine can provide significant benefit for multiple IBS symptoms, ultimately enhancing quality of life*
  • While research is ongoing, consumers can easily integrate high-quality curcumin and berberine supplements in their health and wellness regimen today to support optimal wellness*

For individuals struggling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastrointestinal distress can become a way of life. When conventional treatments fail to provide effective symptom management, many find themselves becoming accustomed to arranging their schedules around their symptoms and living in a state of persistent discomfort. Often, these symptoms not only take a heavy physical toll, they also affect emotional well-being and body image. Thus, the resulting damage of IBS can be far-reaching and complex, significantly diminishing quality of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way, thanks to a number of innovative nutritional supplements.

Probiotic supplements are often the first option to come to mind when considering nutritional supplements for IBS and, indeed, many individuals do turn to probiotic supplements in their search for assistance with IBS. However, despite decades of research, there is no consensus within the scientific community on whether or not probiotics are beneficial for IBS. Therefore, researchers have increasingly begun to turn their attention toward more innovative nutritional support as they seek to discover the best supplements for IBS. Of the nutrients currently under investigation, curcumin and berberine stand out for their potential for providing safe and natural nutritional support for a range of IBS symptoms.*

The Multidimensional Benefits of Curcumin for IBS*

Although many consumers might not be familiar with curcumin, it could be a powerful tool in the ongoing response to IBS symptoms. Curcumin is a type of curcuminoid, which is a group of natural compounds that originate from the turmeric root. Significantly, there is now reason to believe that curcumin supplements could provide nutritional support for a number of common IBS symptoms, including bloating and discomfort while defecating.* These benefits are likely due to curcumin’s ability for helping to maintain a normal level of inflammatory response in the gastrointestinal tract and providing nutritional support to the gut microbiome.* 

In a 2016 clinical trial, researchers found that curcumin supplementation might help reduce gastrointestinal distress and diminish the negative impact of IBS on patients’ quality of life.* 

After taking a curcumin supplement every day for a month, the study participants with IBS reported a 68 percent reduction in their daily experience of abdominal distress.* In contrast, patients who took the placebo reported only a 27.1 percent decrease in daily abdominal distress. Additionally, 25.9 percent of patients who were given the curcumin reported having at least one symptom-free day each week at the end of the trial*—a significant improvement compared to the 6.8 percent of the participants taking a placebo who reported the same. 

Curcumin also helped improve body image, a critically important yet typically under-addressed aspect of IBS.* This might have resulted in part by curcumin’s beneficial effect on bloating; over the course of the study, the participants taking the curcumin supplement experienced progressively fewer incidences of abdominal bloating, eventually reporting bloating 50 percent less frequently than before they started the supplement.* The curcumin cohort also had less discomfort while defecating.* On a 100-point IBS symptom severity scale, the curcumin cohort exhibited an average of 13.6 points lower than the placebo cohort, indicating a significant improvement. These clinical results are encouraging, particularly because they suggest multidimensional physical and psychological benefits that might enhance overall wellness.* 

However, because curcumin is but one of several similar nutrients that vary in terms of their efficacy, consumers might find they experience better results with a tetrahydrocurcumin supplement owing to its superior chemical properties. When the liver processes curcumin, it converts the curcumin into tetrahydrocurcumin, which can then deliver its therapeutic benefits throughout the body; however, the liver is slow to process curcumin. 

As a result, there is often not enough tetrahydrocurcumin circulating in the bloodstream to achieve significant benefits when a standard curcumin supplement is being taken. Tetrahydrocurcumin, on the other hand, because it is processed quickly by the liver, means that tetrahydrocurcumin is likely to be more beneficial for IBS because it is more bioavailable and can reach a higher concentration in the body in a shorter amount of time, increasing the possibility of meaningfully effective results.* As such, individuals who are interested in exploring the possibilities of curcumin for IBS might wish to seek out a nutritional supplement that contains tetrahydrocurcumin.

Berberine Enhances Quality Of Life for Patients with IBS*

In addition to the potential of using curcumin for the nutritional support of IBS, berberine might also offer a new path toward symptom management. Berberine is a plant-derived dye with a number of beneficial medicinal properties. Although historically berberine has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for other reasons, modern medical science indicates that its ability to help maintain a normal inflammatory response in the body is a more relevant benefit for individuals with IBS.* 

By helping to maintain a normal inflammatory response in the gastrointestinal tract, berberine could have a beneficial effect on the bacterial populations in the microbiome.* While questions remain about how exactly berberine exerts these beneficial effects, research in animal models suggests that berberine is a powerful therapeutic in the making.

Importantly, berberine has been proven to be helpful for IBS in preliminary clinical trials.* In a 2015 clinical trial, participants who took berberine every day for 8 weeks experienced 64.6 percent less abdominal distress than the participants who took a placebo.* Furthermore, participants who were taking berberine reported they felt the need to urgently defecate less than half as frequently as the placebo group.* 

However, the benefits were not confined solely to specific symptoms; the berberine participants reported an 18.2 percent increase in quality of life.* In other words, those participants experienced a greater sense of wellness both physically and emotionally, going beyond individual physical phenomena to having a more holistic healing effect.*

Based on these promising results, more clinical trials investigating the potential benefits of berberine are likely on the horizon. If subsequent research can confirm efficacy and clarify optimal usage, berberine might play an increasingly significant role in providing nutritional support for IBS in the future. However, high-quality berberine supplements are already available, and consumers might find that using the study’s protocol of 400 mg once daily gives them the nutritional support they need.*

Choosing the Best Supplements for IBS Today

Although IBS is notorious for being difficult to treat, those who have this condition shouldn’t lose hope, particularly as advanced nutritional supplements are beginning to indicate their potential. With the clinically-demonstrated benefits of curcumin and berberine in providing nutritional support for IBS,* consumers have more options to choose from and new opportunities to achieve their health and wellness goals. 

Some individuals might need to implement more than one supplement-based regimen before they experience the benefits they are looking for; ultimately, the only way to know which supplement will be helpful is to try them. By selecting safe, natural supplements backed by credible evidence and produced by a trusted manufacturer, individuals with IBS can confidently take the next steps on their journey toward health and wellness.

The power of Tesseract supplements lies in the proprietary science of proven nutrients and unrivaled smart delivery, making them the most effective for supporting gastrointestinal health.*

Works Cited

  1. Portincasa P, Bonfrate L, Scribano ML, et al. 2016. Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Disorders. 25(2):151-157
  2. Chen C, Tao C, Liu Z, et al. 2015. Phytotherapy Research. 29(11):1822-1827.

Al Czap, Founder | Tesseract

Al Czap has more than four decades of professional experience in preventative medicine. He founded Thorne Research in 1984 (sold in 2010) and he published Alternative Medicine Review for 17 years beginning in 1996. AMR was a highly acclaimed, peer-reviewed, and indexed medical journal. Al was the first to recognize the need for hypoallergenic ingredients and to devise methods of manufacture for and delivery of hypoallergenic products to underserved patient populations. His work has greatly impacted those with impaired immune and digestive systems and compromised health due to environmental exposures.

The advanced formulations based on our revolutionary, patented, and patent-pending technology are only available through Tesseract. No other medical, pharmaceutical, or supplement company is licensed to utilize our proprietary technology.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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