Frequently Asked Questions
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below answer some of the most commonly asked questions patients have. Please check this section if you have questions, and click on the links below to learn more about IBgard®.
IBS is a frustrating, under diagnosed and undertreated condition that irritates the bowel and can disrupt the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. It affects an estimated 15-20 percent of the Canadian population. People who have IBS often experience distressful digestive symptoms, some of which can be severe or unbearable. Abdominal pain, bloating and altered abdominal bowel habits are examples of these symptoms.
There are three major forms of IBS: IBS-M (mixed diarrhea and constipation), IBS-D (diarrhea predominant) and IBS-C (constipation predominant). The incidence of the 3 major forms of IBS has been reported as mixed diarrhea and constipation IBS-M (61.0%), diarrhea predominant IBS-D (29.3%), and constipation predominant IBS-C (9.7%). It is estimated that 90 percent of the IBS patient population is comprised of the IBS-M and IBS-D sub types.1
There is currently no cure for IBS and management options are limited, especially for IBS-M and IBS-D.
1Drossman et al. J. Clin. Gastroenterol. 2009:43(6) 541-550
Besides IBS impacting the absorption and digestion of food nutrients, the hallmark symptoms of IBS are:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Abdominal bloating or distention
- Recurring diarrhea, or constipation, or a combination of both
- Urgency of bowel movement
- Passage of gas or whitish mucus in the stool
- The feeling that you have not finished a bowel movement
- Pain at bowel movement
Most doctors are not sure what causes IBS. The nerves and muscles in the bowel appear to be extra sensitive in people with IBS. Some people experience symptoms after eating. People, who suspect they have IBS, should talk to their healthcare practitioner.
People with IBS often suffer from diarrhea, constipation or both. These conditions reflect the movement of food through the GI tract that is either too fast or too slow. This irregular movement and other disruptions in the gut can cause poor digestion, malabsorption of nutrients and even loss of electrolytes. IBS is associated with the growth of bad bacteria and excess mucus in the gut, which can also disrupt the absorption of essential nutrients. Finally, IBS is also associated with sensitivity to certain sugars. Therefore, health care professionals often recommend restricting sugars, such as fructose, and gradually increasing fiber in the diet, starting with 2-3 grams per day. Peppermint oil has been shown to help normalize intestinal transit times and thus help normalize the digestion and absorption of nutrients. 2
2Goerg et al, Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2003; 17: (445-451)
IBgard® helps improve and relieve the syndrome of IBS symptoms and their intensity within 24 hours, including abdominal pain, bloating, and urgency of bowel movement.
IBgard® is not a drug, but a natural health product. It has been rigorously reviewed for efficacy and safety, and issued a product license to allow for its sale in Canada. While IBgard® does not require a prescription, consulting a healthcare practitioner prior to use is recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have anemia, gallstones, hiatus hernia, or gastroesophageal reflux.
IBgard® harnesses the powerful properties of l-Menthol, the principal component of peppermint oil, and delivers it quickly and reliably to the small intestine where it is needed most, via a patented breakthrough technology called SST® (Site Specific Targeting) technology. IBgard® is specially formulated for the relief of IBS symptoms. Also, it is the first- product using SST® (Site Specific Targeting) technology to deliver individually triple-coated, sustained release microspheres of an ultra-purified peppermint oil quickly and reliably to the small intestine, considered to be the primary site of disturbance in IBS.
It is designed to work fast. It is developed as tiny, triple-coated microspheres that move through the pylorus (the opening between the stomach and small intestine) quickly because the microspheres are less than 2mm in diameter. Therefore, these tiny microspheres do not rely on gastric emptying. Also, the microspheres have been formulated with a non-muco adhesive coating to limit their sticking to the wall of the stomach or to food particles.
L-Menthol can help to enhance nutrient absorption through the intestinal walls, making it well suited for the relief of IBS symptoms. Peppermint oil has also been shown to help slow intestinal transit times- thus helping normalize nutrient absorption.3
IBgard® is the first product to use SST® (Site Specific Targeting) technology, a new, patented technology developed by IM Health Science®, to deliver individually triple-coated, sustained-release microspheres of Ultramen®, an ultra-purified peppermint oil within the small intestine.
3Goerg et al, Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2003; 17: (445-451)
Like all natural health products, IBgard® must comply with Canadian Natural Health Product regulations and must be reviewed for both efficacy and safety prior to being issued a product license to allow for sale in the Canadian market. It should not be assumed that it is an alternative for drug products. However, even food products can be unsafe if used improperly. IBgard® is manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices with no added: fat, sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, lactose, egg, soy, peanuts, shellfish or preservatives. As with many food extracts, peppermint oil can cause allergic reactions in rare cases.
Doctors use guidelines and their own experience in deciding how to proceed. In the vast majority of patients, an organic cause is not found. Below is a list of organic causes the doctor may test for to exclude from his or her diagnosis:
- Bowel obstructions
- Intestinal parasites
- Bacterial infections and SIBO
- Food allergies & intolerances
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis)
- Celiac (a genetic, autoimmune disorder resulting in gluten intolerance)
- Gallstones & Idiopathic Bile Acid Malabsorption
- Colon, carcinoid, medullary
- Ovarian cancer
IBgard® should be taken as directed on the label. The recommended adult dosage is 2 capsules, as needed, three times a day. IBgard® should be taken at least 30 to 90 minutes before each meal, with approximately 240 mL of water. Dosage should not exceed eight capsules per day. IBgard® capsules should be swallowed whole – not chewed.
IBgard® has not been issued a duration of use; however, like many other natural health products, there is no chronic use data available.
IBgard® has been developed to be free of gluten and lactose.
Consumers might experience a mild tingling sensation in the gut within 30 minutes to an hour of taking IBgard®. This mild tingling sensation should subside in about an hour. IBgard® is designed to release the trapped gas in the gut and as a result, patients may taste a peppermint oil flavor when they burp out the trapped gas. These are not unusual experiences and indicate that the product is working. Hypersensitivity (e.g. allergy) has been known to occur, in which case discontinue use.
Consumers should consult with their healthcare practitioners before taking IBgard® with other products if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, have anemia, gallstones, hiatus hernia or gastroesophageal reflux.
IBgard® is available in the digestive aisle of drug and grocery stores in Canada.
Like all medical foods regulated under the Orphan Drug Act Amendments of 1988 in section 5 (360ee (b) (3)), IBgard® should be given to patients receiving active medical supervision for their IBS. Physicians can provide a management plan for a patient’s IBS and instructions for use of IBgard®.
IBgard® is available in the digestive aisle of drug and grocery stores in Canada.
Each IBgard®capsule contains 90mgs (100 microliters) of the medicinal ingredient ultra-purified peppermint oil, providing 45% l-Menthol. Other non-medicinal ingredients are microcrystalline cellulose, gelatin, methacrylic acid copolymer, hypromellose, methycellulose, glyceryl monostearate, triethyl citrate, polysorbate 80, FD&C Yellow No#5 and FD&C Green #3. IBgard® is manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices with no added: fat, sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, lactose, egg, soy, peanuts, shellfish or preservatives.
Peppermint oil has been shown to help manage symptoms of IBS including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, diarrhea interrupted by constipation, urgency gas, pain at evacuation and a sense of incomplete evacuation.4
4Goerg et al, Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2003; 17: (445-451)
IBgard® is the first and only IBS product developed as tiny beads in a solid form. IBgard is specially engineered via its SST® (Site Specific Targeting) technology to enable these beads to be delivered quickly and reliably where it is needed most — predominantly in the small intestine. It has low or no potential for heartburn or anal burning that’s associated with other older generation peppermint oil products. IBgard® is also the only peppermint oil product that has been designed to be taken 30 minutes before or after eating. Only IBgard® has been shown to relieve IBS symptoms and their severity within 24 hours.5
5IBSREST, data on file IM HealthScience
No. IBgard® is available without a prescription. However, patients should consult healthcare practitioners prior to use if they are pregnany or breastfeeding, have anemia, gallstones, hiatus hernia or gastroesophageal reflux.
IBgard® has not been studied in a pediatric population. However, there is some data available on the use of peppermint oil for IBS children below the age of 15, such as the Kline study. Click here to learn more.