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Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7677
Loc: Seattle, WA
More GI Symptoms, Less Anxiety With Tryptophan Supplementation in IBS
      04/28/07 10:18 AM

More GI Symptoms, Less Anxiety With Tryptophan Supplementation in IBS

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Dec 21 - Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have an increase in gastrointestinal symptoms after ingestion of a large dose of tryptophan, according to a new study. At the same time, they report having fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.

British researchers, led by Dr. Jonathan Shufflebotham of the University of Bristol, studied 18 patients with ROME II-defined IBS and 11 age-matched controls. The subjects were evaluated during a phase of acute tryptophan depletion and a phase of acute tryptophan increase.

Participants ate a low-protein diet on the day before each phase of the study and fasted from midnight to 9:00 am on the day of intervention. Baseline levels of tryptophan were measured on that day and patients completed a questionnaire, answering questions about IBS symptoms and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

During acute tryptophan increase, subjects drank a concoction containing 2.3 g tryptophan, 150 ml water, 100 ml flavoring of their choice and 2 spoons of sugar. During acute tryptophan depletion, subjects drank the same drink without the addition of tryptophan.

Total and free plasma concentrations of tryptophan decreased 73% in both patients and controls during tryptophan depletion and increased approximately 60% on the day of supplementation.

IBS patients reported more gastrointestinal symptoms but less anxiety with acute tryptophan increase compared with acute tryptophan depletion. Controls did not have a difference in symptomatology on either day. IBS patients had lower mood scores overall than controls during all phases of the study.

In the study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Dr. Shufflebotham and colleagues write that the findings "suggest a difference in serotonergic functioning between these two groups and provides evidence to support the hypothesis that 5-HT dysfunction is involved in IBS."

IBS symptoms respond to treatment with 5-HT4 agonists and 5-HT3 antagonists in some IBS patients, the researchers note. And, "the differing direction of GI and anxiety symptom responses to 5-HT manipulation is counterintuitive but intriguing."

"Further researcher is now needed to clarify which parts of the 5-HT system are dysfunctional in IBS and how this relates to the symptoms experienced by patients with this condition," the team concludes.

Am J Gastroenterol 2006;101:2582-2587.

Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She’s the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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