Two Peppermint “Medical Foods” Battle GI Problems Naturally

Can IBgard and FDgard tackle your stomach and intestinal pain?

For people with irritable bowel syndrome or functional dyspepsia, two non-prescription peppermint medical foods,* may help ease symptoms. IBgard for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and FDgard for functional dyspepsia (FD) can be used alone or as a complement to prescription medications,** according to Jean Fox, MD, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

Reduce Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS primarily affects the colon (large intestine), causing abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, excessive gas, constipation, and diarrhea. IBgard is designed as a coated capsule, allowing it to pass through the stomach and release in the small intestine, the primary site of disturbance among those with IBS. In one recent study, more than 80% of subjects with IBS symptoms reported relief while taking IBgard, with reported reductions in abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, pain or feeling of incompletion at evacuation, and gas at 24 hours, as well as after four weeks of use.1

“I recommend IBgard as a first-line of treatment for some patients, especially older patients troubled by abdominal bloating,” said Dr. Fox. She notes that because other prescription antispasmodic medications such as dicyclomine (Bentyl) and hyoscyamine (Levsin) may cause dry mouth or drowsiness, these natural prescriptions may be better options.

Find Relief from Functional Dyspepsia

Similar to IBS, functional dyspepsia, or FD, involves abdominal discomfort or pain with no obvious organic cause. This means ulcers and an inflamed esophagus or stomach have been ruled out by endoscopy.2 A person with FD can feel bloated, nauseous, or full immediately after eating. FDA has yet to approve any prescription medication to treat FD.

FDgard is a coated capsule that contains caraway oil and I-Menthol, the primary component of peppermint oil. A recent study of the product presented at the World Congress of Gastroenterology found that FDgard provided rapid relief from FD symptoms, and a high level of overall symptom satisfaction.3

“For patients with functional dyspepsia who do not find relief from antacids, FDgard may be helpful, especially for those who have bloating or discomfort in the upper abdomen after eating,” said Dr. Fox.

Patients typically prefer the idea of a more natural treatment over prescription medications, and peppermint-based products tend to have broad consumer appeal. “Peppermint has long been known to soothe the stomach,” said Dr. Fox. For example, patients often feel better after drinking peppermint tea, she noted.

Warnings for Both Foods

IBgard and FDgard should not be taken with antacids, as the combination can dissolve both capsules’ coating, added Dr. Fox. “The coating will break down in the stomach and you may be more likely to have heartburn,” she said. “Taking both capsules a half-hour before the antacid will allow both foods to exit the stomach and enter the small bowel by the time the antacid is taken.”

In addition, peppermint-based products such as these can interfere with iron absorption, said Dr. Fox. “Patients should not take IBgard or FDgard at the same time as an iron supplement,” she advised. “Taking iron supplements first before taking one of these two products will make sure that there is no interference in the stomach.”

*Foods intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition under the supervision of a physician.4

**IBgard and FDgard were both launched nationally to the public in 2015 and 2016, respectively. IM HealthScience (IMH), a privately held company based in Boca Raton, Florida, manufactures both products. They can be found in the digestive aisle at many national pharmacies, or can be ordered online.

Updated on: 02/15/18
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