Those with IBS often take a whole raft of medication and supplements in their efforts to feel better. However, this can sometimes be counter-productive and make matters worse. It’s very important to understand everything that goes into your gut and to do your own research into the ingredients of everything that you consume. Watch my video to learn more.
Transcription of Medication & Supplements on the Low Fodmap Diet
Those on the low Fodmap diet sometimes forget that everything that is swallowed affects your gut, and that includes medication and supplements.
Some medication like insulin for diabetics or high blood pressure pills are lifesaving and can’t be stopped. But that medication may contain high Fodmap inactive ingredients so do have a chat with your doctor and ask about all the ingredients in the medicine you are taking and not just the active ones. It could be possible to make a change if it is found that a certain medication is exacerbating your gastrointestinal problems.
Some of my clients come to me with a long list of medication that is being consumed, and that can be muddying the waters as we try to eliminate IBS symptoms with the low Fodmap diet. Many with IBS are on anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication because they haven’t been absorbing tryptophan, which plays a part in regulating a person’s moods. This situation will gradually change as you start to actually absorb the nutrients in your food for the first time in ages. And so those medicines can be reduced under the careful supervision of your doctor – because many of them are habit-forming and the withdrawal from them has to be done with care.
Many medicines have common side effects that affect the gut and so it’s almost impossible to know if it is food or pills that are causing symptoms. This is a very tricky situation and has to be handled with care. Having a doctor who fully understands your personal situation and understands the concepts of the low Fodmap diet will go a long way to helping you resolve these problems together. If your doctor is uncooperative and doesn’t listen to your concerns, change doctor.
Now to supplements. Many people with IBS are taking a whole raft of supplements in an attempt to get better. And that is very understandable. But most of them will be unnecessary once you are eating a diet which is healthy for you because you will finally be absorbing all the nutrients in your food.
Many supplements contain high Fodmaps, and it takes considerable research and/or a helpful chemist to find the very best supplements which won’t hurt your gut.
I was taking a vitamin B supplement and finally narrowed down my morning queasiness to that pill. I looked through the ingredients and saw “inositol” on the list. The Fodmap group, Polyols end in “ol” so my interest was piqued, and I went down to my local chemist and asked her about it. She didn’t know off the top of her head what it was but got on the phone to the manufacturer and sure enough, it is a fermentable carbohydrate. She then did more research and found me a vitamin B supplement in powder form which is made from quinoa and has no fillers. I have been taking that for a while, and it is perfect for me. So, that just gives you an idea of how you might think you are doing the right thing but are actually worsening the situation.
And lastly but definitely not least, I just want to mention digestive enzymes. Well-meaning nutritionists and alternative health practitioners hand these out in bucket loads, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because I am yet to hear of one that doesn’t contain high Fodmaps and substances that still haven’t been tested for their Fodmap content. That’s a dangerous situation for someone with IBS.
In summary, regard every single thing that goes down into your gut with suspicion and do your research into them all. Google the ingredients and side effects of these things, become informed about what you are consuming and talk to your doctor or chemist about any doubts you have.
I have a section on medication and supplements in my book, The Low FODMAP 6-Week Plan & Cookbook.