Why is this important?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition that has a big impact on quality of life. IBS and common mental health disorders (like anxiety and depression) are strongly linked. In fact, more than 30% of people with IBS also have anxiety and more than 20% have depression. Changing your diet can be very helpful for improving IBS symptoms. An alternative dietary approach, which will be investigated in this study, has been found to improve depressive symptoms. The diet may also have positive affects for the gut microbiome (the micro-organisms found in the gut), which is also important in IBS.
How are we doing this study?
The study aims to recruit 60 participants, aged between 18 and 65 years, with IBS and current anxiety or depressive symptoms. This study will be conducted via online Zoom videoconferencing and telephone. Participants will be randomly allocated to one of two groups for six weeks. In one group individuals will follow the study diet and in the other group individuals will continue their usual diet. We will collect information about medical history, psychological and gastrointestinal symptoms, and diet. Participants will also be required to provide stool samples on two occasions.
What are we hoping to find?
This study aims to test if this diet can be followed and is acceptable for people with IBS and current symptoms of anxiety or depression. We also want to understand whether it could improve gut as well as mental health symptoms, and how it might do this.