Peppermint Oil and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
When is it a good idea to take a peppermint supplement ?
Although taking a peppermint oil supplement may be effective for some people in relieving IBS symptoms, it does not identify the cause of the symptoms and fix the problem at the source. In addition, its long-term consumption can be expensive. It would be better to first try to practice a relaxation activity if you suspect that stress may be a trigger for your symptoms, as well as to try the FODMAP approach to find out if you are intolerant to certain foods. If these approaches do not work, then it may be worthwhile trying a peppermint supplement.
It is always best not to try a new supplement during the FODMAP elimination phase or during reintroduction trials, as this may prevent proper identification of FODMAPs that are causing symptoms. However, once the reintroduction of FODMAPs is complete, it may be useful to test a peppermint supplement in the following situations:
- In times of significant stress
- During a period when symptoms are more difficult to control
- Before a potentially problematic meal like a restaurant meal
- During traveling when you have less control over what you eat
It should be noted that the moment when a peppermint supplement is consumed is important. It is recommended to take two capsules with water, 30 to 90 minutes before a meal to maximize its effectiveness.
- Alammar et coll. (2019) The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine; 19:21.
- Chumpitazi, Kearns et Shulman (2018) Review article: The physiologic effects and safety of Peppermint Oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders. Aliment Pharmacol Ther; 47(6): 738–752.
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Kathryn completed degrees in kinesiology and nutrition, as well as a Masters in Sports Nutrition. She is a member of OPDQ and of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health. Kathryn is experienced with the low FODMAP diet and she completed the Monash University low FODMAP dietitian’s training.