Irritable Bowel Syndrome/prebiotin & gi Revive


I am under care of a gastroenterologist for IBS, predominantly D.  I had giardia 14 years ago followed by a long post infectious IBS that finally did improve (thorough testing including upper/lower GI were negative).  For years, I was "ok" in that I only experienced mild intestinal symptoms here and there. I have had upper/lower GI scoping done throughout the years.

 About two months ago, (prior to my hysterectomy 6/13) symptoms seemed to flare up (loose stool, dypespsia, cramping, bloating, no appetite, weight loss).  Stool, labs were negative. Upper/lower GI will be done when I am healed from surgery.  As symptoms seemed to increase following the surgery I was seen by a gastro.  I was told that abdominal surgery (involved manipulation of intestines) can cause an IBS flare along with the antibiotics and all the other meds involved.

Currently I am doing VSL #3 twice a day and Citrucel.  While I see an overall improvement, it's very slow and as well all know they symptoms are always lingering.  I am also doing a bland diet, mostly white breads, rice, chicken/turkey, boiled carrots, bananas, applesauce.

My question is a natural pharmacist had recommended to add prebiotin and GI Revive to my daily routine. I discovered that GI Revive has xylitol.  Should both of these products be avoided to patients with IBS?

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.

Hi Vicky - I am so sorry for all that you have gone through! It does sound like you have a crackerjack doctor though, which is wonderful.

The VSL is a great idea, but instead of Citrucel try a soluble fiber supplement that has nothing in it BUT soluble fiber. The citric acid, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, fillers, binders, etc. in Citrucel can set off GI issues for some people. It's also a synthetic fiber, and you may want a certified organic natural fiber instead. There's a whole article about fiber supplements and IBS here

The most important thing with a soluble fiber supplement is to start low and increase gradually, and keep gradually increasing. You may need 12-30 grams per day, so you'll likely need a powder instead of pills to get your dose to that point. If you stabilize at a lower dose, stay there.

Some soluble fiber supplements are also prebiotics, which is a good thing. But some prebiotics, like inulin and FOS, ferment very rapidly in the gut, which is a bad thing for IBS - it can cause lots of gas and bloating. It looks like Prebiotin is a form of inulin. It's also $40 for 8oz, which is ridiculous. It's not even certified organic, so why the highway robbery price?

You can combine the fiber supplement and the prebiotic into one step if you use Tummy Fiber Acacia - it will ferment very slowly in the gut, so you get the prebiotic benefit without the gas and bloating risk of inulin/FOS. It's also a whole foods natural soluble fiber, whereas inulin and FOS are by-products of food manufacturing and tend to be highly processed.

GI Revive isn't something I've heard of. It looks like a combination of gut soothing elements like slippery elm and okra. It does contain aloe vera, which if not extracted properly can cause all kinds of GI problems - check here  And you're right, xylitol is terrible for IBS, so why is it in there? And I don't know what justifies the $60 price tag on this, when it's a formula easily found in other digestive health products at health food stores.

The probiotics and a soluble fiber supplement that's a prebiotic would be good things. The dietary restrictions you're on should help too. I'm not excited about the other items as they don't sound like a great fit for IBS.

Hope you're feeling better soon.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Heather Van Vorous


I can address questions regarding diet, cooking, recipes, and non-pharmaceutical supplements (soluble fiber, herbal, probiotics, etc.) for IBS. I can supply information sources about diagnostic guidelines, symptoms, and the medical pathology of IBS, but I cannot give a diagnosis or analyze test results a patient has obtained. I would prefer not to answer questions about prescription drugs and diagnostic tests. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME YOUR SYMPTOMS AND THEN ASK ME TO DIAGNOSE YOU!


I'm the founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. My goal is to offer education, support, and help that allows people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

I'm the author of Eating for IBS, the only explicit dietary guide and cookbook for people with bowel disorders. Eating for IBS then led to my second book, The First Year: IBS, a comprehensive view of the disorder and every way to successfully manage it. Together, these works have become the two best-selling, best-reviewed IBS books in America.

My writing has led to an ongoing Canadian clinical research study of the groundbreaking dietary guidelines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Eating for IBS; this work also led to my inclusion in the 4th edition of Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Today's Dietitian has featured my IBS dietary guidelines, and my work has reached gastroenterologists and internists. I'm the author of "Heather's IBS Newsletter", which is free to subscribers and is published twice monthly. As a result, I've become recognized as the foremost patient-expert on IBS in America. I've personally had IBS since age 9.

I now teach classes on managing IBS through lifestyle modifications, I developed the Heather's Tummy Care line of organic medical foods for the dietary management of IBS, and I'm planning to work with corporate HR departments to offer employee IBS education programs. I host Heather Cooks!, the Seattle television cooking show for good digestive health, which is now available on DVD and also on the HelpForIBS YouTube Channel.

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