Nopal reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

The effects of nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica) on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have been investigated in a randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled. 60 patients fulfilling Rome IV criteria for IBS have been divided into four groups, and received nopal fibers (10, 20 or 30 g/day) or a placebo (30 g/day dextrose) for one week.

Significantly more patients reported adequate relief of symptoms after 20 g/day (87%, p = 0.008) and 30 g/day (80%, p = 0.025) of nopal fiber compared to placebo (33%). More patients in the 20-g group had a significant improvement in IBS-symptom severity scale (> 50% reduction) compared with placebo (p = 0.027). The highest dose induced however more loose stools.

These results show therefore that 20 or 30 g/day of nopal fiber are effective for reducing symptoms of IBS within only one week.

Remes-Troche JM, Taboada-Liceaga H, Gill S, et al. Nopal fiber (Opuntia ficus-indica) improves symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome in the short term: a randomized controlled trial [published online ahead of print, 2020 Sep 16]. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2020;e13986.

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