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Navigating FODMAPs

Category: Dietary Supplements

It appears that every few years brings a new food term. Typically, this results from new scientific understanding (or validation) of how foods affect the human organism, and are relevant to a significant portion of the population.

“FODMAP” is an acronym that just sounds quirky. For many people, FODMAPs — Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols – cause distracting levels of gastric upset, often to the point of the need to hide out by a bathroom until the noisy storm passes over and out.

FODMAPs are a family of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars), and they are quite abundant in varying degrees in foods that are considered otherwise nutritious and that support good health. These foods include dairy (lactose), fruit (fructose and polyols), fibrous vegetables (fructans) and any sugar alcohol. Many of these food-based FODMAPs are also considered prebiotics. Unfortunately, the prebiotic effect cannot be realized for those with FODMAP intolerance.

For those people with an intolerance, FODMAPs are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily fermented by gut bacteria, thus causing various levels of intolerance. These sugars also exert an osmotic effect, increasing fluid movement into the large bowel. The fermentation and osmosis caused by these undigested sugars are a cause of symptoms such as gas, pain, and diarrhea.

Compounding the issue is the fact that the level of discomfort is not always the same – sometimes a piece of fruit will cause just a mild annoyance, while other times, it is more severe. This causes some people to become confused as to what not to eat, and thus, frequently shun foods that are packed with nutrients (macro and micro) that the body needs to maintain health.

Important to note: many individuals who believe their lower GI issues stem from gluten may actually be sensitive to the sugar alcohols in the wheat instead! This is an important distinction that may reveal itself by the supplements taken to resolve gluten sensitivity or resolve FODMAP sensitivity.

This does not have to be the case: FODMAPs that can maraud one’s GI tract can be tamed. There is a simple two-part strategy.

One: Consider that you may have gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of intestinal bacteria; this status frequently leads to poor digestive function as well as a host of symptoms. It also exacerbates intolerance to FODMAPs. Tiny protuberances lining the small intestine called villi help with nutrient absorption, and dysbiosis can affect the healthy functioning of villi. Deerland’s ThioZymeGI is a noteworthy solution as it can help restore proper balance of small intestine bacteria colonies by lowering levels of aggressive bacteria such as E. coli and Bacteroides and empowering the body’s natural defense mechanisms to control them. This unique combination of essential oils, chelators and enzymes has been shown in in vitro testing to decimate the E. coli population, reducing it from one million colonies down to only 10,000, while not impacting good bacteria colonies such as B. subtilis.

Two: An enzyme supplement can help on a day-to-day basis, enabling you to consume all those good foods that naturally have FODMAPs. A multi-carbohydrase enzyme supplement that contains amylase, glucoamylase, cellulase, lactase and invertase works to break down the FODMAPs, so that they’re able to be absorbed in the small intestine, and therefore not available as a food source for gas-producing bacteria in the colon.

Many people have just accepted the fact that they are unable to eat certain foods, and are missing out on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. However, this doesn’t have to be your “normal”. Enzyme and probiotic supplementation can help, depending on your level of FODMAP intolerance. You could be eating some, or more of, the healthy foods you’ve avoided because of your symptoms. With the right supplement, perhaps you can have your fruits and eat them too!


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Digestible is your go-to resource for learning about enzymes, probiotics and their impact on digestive health. Keep up with the latest trends in dietary supplements, learn why gut health is critical to overall wellness and immunity, and the science behind it all.

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About The Expert
John Davidson
Director of Education and Innovation, Deerland Enzymes & Probiotics

John Davidson has been formulating enzyme based dietary supplements for more than 30 years, with a particular focus in human digestion. Davidson’s wide range of experience encompasses nearly all aspects of supplement manufacturing; including QC/QA, blending, encapsulation, tableting, research & development, product development and technical services. In his current role as the Director of Education and Innovation for Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes, Davidson is responsible for both new product innovation, collaborating with R&D and Sales to bring new products to market.

John Davidson