Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Carbohydrate Specific Enzymes?


Hi Heather
Hope thing are just swell with you since last we communicated. My IBS is improved thanks to you recommendations, especially the acacia fibre and less fat. Probiotics never did a thing for me, and broad spectrum digestive enzymes only helped a bit. I recently found some carbohydrate specific enzymes. Within minutes of taking them, I started to pass gas, and my constantly air filled balloon belly softened up. I am very impressed. Is it possible that for whatever reason, I do not produce enough enzymes myself? Thanks for your thoughts!

Hi Bud - digestive enzymes can't hurt, might well help, so there is no harm in trying them.

If the carb-specific enzymes are helping you most, it may be that you are having difficulty with FODMAPS (rapidly fermenting short chain carbohydrates, like fructose). Raffinose, bean sugar, is another carb that can make beans, lentils, soy, hard for people to digest if their gut isn't used to it.

I'd go ahead and keep doing what is helping you!

You can also ask your doc for a test of your own enzymes, but even if you don't have any abnormalities you might still have trouble with FODMAPS, raffinose, etc. as they can be inherently more troublesome than other options if you have IBS.


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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