Elemental Diet for Dietary Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Conventional medical treatment is focused on control of symptoms, including prescribing medications for pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Some individuals with IBS can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, probiotics, or other dietary supplements.1

A group of friends walking


Key features in elemental diet formulations provide complete nutrition in an easily assimilated form that allows the gut to rest and recuperate while patients regain comfort and control. Among the proposed mechanisms of action, elemental diets are thought to reduce the work of digestion, decrease abnormal intestinal permeability, lower dietary antigens, reduce inflammatory cytokines, and beneficially alter the intestinal microbiome.2


Research has shown that elemental diets can be effective for the dietary management of IBS. A clinical study measured the efficacy of an elemental diet formula as the sole source of nutrition in 93 patients with IBS who had hydrogen breath tests which were positive for SIBO. Breath testing returned to normal for 80% of participants after two weeks. Those with abnormal tests after two weeks continued the elemental diet for an additional week. A total of 85% of participants had normalized breath tests after three weeks and highly significant improvement in IBS symptoms compared to controls.3


Diagnosis of IBS is often made by excluding other possible conditions. Recently, a new blood test has also been developed that can help diagnose IBS. This test measures levels of two antibodies (anti-CdtB and anti-vinculin) shown to be elevated in patients with IBS-D and IBS-M.4,5

  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Issues, “Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” November 2017. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/treatment
  2. Ciampa, B., Ramos, E., Borum, M. (2017) The emerging therapeutic role of medical foods for gastrointestinal disorders. Gastroenterol Hepatol: 104-115.
  3. Pimentel M, Constantino T. Kong Y, et al.A 14-day elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing the lactulose breath test. Dig Dis Sci. 2004 Jan;49(1):73-7.
  4. Ibs-smart™. http://ibssmart.com.
  5. Pimentel, M., Morales, W., et al (2015) Development and validation of a biomarker for diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome in human subjects. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126438.
Several bags of Physicians' Elemental Diet

Start managing your ibs with physicians' elemental diet

With Physicians’ Elemental Diet, you get a versatile, customizable powder that helps with the dietary management of a wide range of GI issues including IBS, IBD, and SIBO.   

Buy the 14-day program