Intestinal microbiota and diet in IBS: Causes, consequences, or epiphenomena?

Mirjana Rajilić-Stojanović, Daisy M. Jonkers, Anne Salonen, Kurt Hanevik, Jeroen Raes, Jonna Jalanka, Willem M. De Vos, Chaysavanh Manichanh, Natasa Golic, Paul Enck, Elena Philippou, Fuad A. Iraqi, Gerard Clarke, Robin C. Spiller, John Penders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a heterogeneous functional disorder with a multifactorial etiology that involves the interplay of both host and environmental factors. Among environmental factors relevant for IBS etiology, the diet stands out given that the majority of IBS patients report their symptoms to be triggered by meals or specific foods. The diet provides substrates for microbial fermentation, and, as the composition of the intestinal microbiota is disturbed in IBS patients, the link between diet, microbiota composition, and microbial fermentation products might have an essential role in IBS etiology. In this review, we summarize current evidence regarding the impact of diet and the intestinal microbiota on IBS symptoms, as well as the reported interactions between diet and the microbiota composition. On the basis of the existing data, we suggest pathways (mechanisms) by which diet components, via the microbial fermentation, could trigger IBS symptoms. Finally, this review provides recommendations for future studies that would enable elucidation of the role of diet and microbiota and how these factors may be (inter)related in the pathophysiology of IBS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-287
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2015


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