Ask the Doctor – August 13, 2010

Q: I’ve heard that taking enzymes can help alleviate intestinal gas and flatulence. Is that true?

A: Intestinal gas and flatulence are normal. One cause is the inability of the small intestine to digest certain foods, and the most common therapy consists of avoiding offending foods. Taking digestive enzymes also can relieve intestinal gas and flatulence. For example, individuals with a lactase deficiency can take lactase tablets prior to ingesting a lactose-containing product, and Beano, an enzyme-containing supplement, has been used for increased gas associated with eating certain grains, beans and other vegetables.

Friedman_Richard_JRichard Friedman, M.D.
Section Chief, Gastroenterology
Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta

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