Background and Objectives: We investigated the possibility that a variant of the normal colonic flora, a high concentration of methanogens, influences the host's response to ingestion of nonabsorbable, fermentable materials. Methods: To better evaluate symptomatic and breath H 2 and methane (CH 4 ) responses, subjects were placed on a basal diet (primarily rice and hamburger) that contained minimal amounts of nonabsorbable, fermentable substrate. A breath CH 4 /H 2 ratio of greater or less than 1 on the second day of the basal diet was used to categorize subjects as high (N = 9) or low (N = 25) CH 4 producers. After stabilization of the breath gas excretion (day 3 or 4 on the basal diet), the subjects ingested either sorbitol (8.8 g) or oat fiber (10.2 g). Results: The low CH 4 producers had a significantly higher (p < 0.05) breath H 2 concentration than the high producers on the basal diet and after ingestion of sorbitol (27.1 ± 2.7 ppm vs 15.8 ± 3.6 ppm) or oat fiber (13.1 ± 0.08 ppm vs 9.6 ± 1.2 ppm). Low producers of methane reported significantly increased bloating and cramping after sorbitol ingestion and increased bloating after fiber ingestion, whereas high CH 4 producers reported no significant increase in these symptoms. Conclusion: The presence of a methanogenic flora is associated with a reduced symptomatic response to ingestion of nonabsorbable, fermentable material in healthy subjects. Manipulation of the normal flora could be of therapeutic value in nonmethanogenic patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||American Journal of Gastroenterology|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1997|