Mangosteen and Health: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Mangosteen users with gastro-intestinal problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) experience the health benefits provided by this amazing Asian fruit.

Scientific evidence, decades of experience in traditional medicine, and anecdotal and clinical experience appear to support this experience.

In some cases, patients with IBS were able to do away with their prescription medications by using the Mangosteen.

Likewise, because of its potent anti-microbial properties, Mangosteen can be used to help combat infection as well as reduce inflammation in the gut or gastrointestinal tract.

Scientific Evidence

In a study, researchers monitored the pharmacological activity of two Xanthones in Mangosteen, alpha-mangostin and gamma-mangostin, and demonstrated that they had "serotonergic receptor-blocking capacity".

Clinical experience indicate that conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome may be favorably affected when serotonin is blocked in the gastrointestinal tract where it is found extensively.

The benefits this fruit provides those afflicted with this disease is supported by decades of experience in traditional Asian folk medicine, where the fruit is widely used to treat a variety of conditions in the gastrointestinal system like diarrhea and dysentery.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritible bowel syndrome, also known as spastic colon or irritable colon, is a group of functional bowel disorders which are fairly common but whose cause or causes still are not known.

It can be classified into diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D), constipation-predominant (IBS-C) and IBS with alternating stool pattern (IBS-A).

It is prevalent in 10% to 20% of the general population of Western countries, India, Japan and China, but is less common in Thailand and rural South African areas. In Western countries, but not in India or Sri Lanka, females have a greater risk to develop this disorder.

Irritible Bowel Syndrome is widely regarded as a conglomeration of disorders with similar symptoms but different causes. As with many other medical conditions, there is a lot of speculation about causes.

People whose family members have IBS are found to be more likely to develop it. Symptoms of IBS include abnormal stool frequency (more than 3 bowel movements per day or less than 3 bowel movements per week), abnormal stool form (lumpy and hard, or loose and watery), abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete rectal emptying), constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or passage of non-bloody mucous.

Theories on the Causes of IBS

Research on the causes of this disorder has not brought forth unanimous or conclusive results.

Changes in the ability of the colon to work properly and spontaneously, and immunologic causes, have been discussed.

Hypersensitivity of the gut is a major finding in IBS patients. Its association with stress has been raised, but such association is less clear.


Depending on the symptoms, treatment can consist of dietary advice, stool softeners and laxatives in constipation-predominant IBS and anti-diarrheas in diarrhea-predominant IBS.

Some experts thought that a high-fiber diet might alleviate some of the symptoms, but a recent study proved otherwise. Another study found that although a high-fiber diet gave relief to patients with hard stools or constipation, it did not help those with diarrhea, bloating and gas.

Many with this disorder react poorly to excessive caffeine and alcohol. Others do better if they eliminate gas-forming legumes like soybeans or peanuts, or lactose-rich dairy foods.

Another possible dietary culprit is sorbitol, a sweetener found in many candies and jellies labeled as "dietetic." Sorbitol is known to cause diarrhea in sensitive persons and may trigger the problem in those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Using antispasmodic drugs is not encouraged because their therapeutic benefit over placebo has not been proved. Newer drugs like Alosetrontm and Tegaserod have been heavily advertised but have only a limited effect.

Psychotherapy is another treatment option. Though not specifically indicated for IBS, the use of anti-depressant drugs to treat its symptoms is common and has had positive effects in some patients.

This disease is not fatal and is not linked to the development of other serious bowel diseases. However, due to the chronic pain, discomfort and other symptoms, negative quality-of-life effects are experienced in more serious cases. Sufferrers who are able to find a successful treatment for their symptoms are able to lead normal lives.

Mangosteen Can Help

Based on anecdotal, clinical and scientific evidence, and decades of practical experience in traditional medicine in helping with gastro-intestinal conditions, Mangosteen's serotonin-blocking Xanthones may be able to provide relief to people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

See also:

Mangosteen and Health: Inflammation and Pain
Mangosteen has been known by pharmacological researchers and scientists for its beneficial effects on inflammation and pain. What has inflammation got to do with chronic diseases. Here's the link.

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