Iberogast Supplement Facts, Research and Side Effects You Need to Know
Iberogast is a dietary supplement used to treat functional dyspepsia in the forms of indigestion, stomach pain, bloating and gas. Its use as an anti-anxiety supplement to soothe a stomach made upset by emotional stress was recently promoted on a popular health TV show. While Iberogast has been used for a number of years without reports of any major warnings, there are a few facts, research findings and side effects you need to know about before trying this naturopathic supplement.
What is Iberogast?
Iberogast is a plant-derived extract supplement used to treat several gastric disorders and irritable bowel syndrome. It is made from a concoction of 9 ingredients: Iberis amara, Angelica, Chamomile, Caraway Fruit, St. Mary’s Thistle, Lemon Balm Leaves, Peppermint Leaves, Celandin, Liquorice Root and alcohol.
The majority of the herbal extracts used in the supplement focus on relieving painful stomach cramps and preventing flatulence. The proposed benefits of each component are as follows:
• Iberis amara—increases the tone of the smooth muscles of the GI tract resulting in increased peristaltic movement to move digested food along its way.
• Angelica Chamomile—an anti-inflammatory agent that promotes digestion, gastric juice production and provides relief from stomach muscle cramping.
• Caraway fruit—relieves cramps and acts as a microbiocide to counter flatulence from consumption of gas-producing foods such as beans and cabbage.
• St. Mary’s Thistle—promotes good liver health.
• Lemon Balm leaves—calming, sedative-like effect and anti-flatulent.
• Peppermint leaves—relieves cramps, stimulates bile production and is anti-flatulent.
• Celandin—relieves cramps in GI tract.
• Licorice root—relieves cramps and promotes healing of stomach ulcers.
• Alcohol—preserves the herbal components.
Recommended Dosages of Iberogast
Iberogast is typically diluted in water for consumption. Typical manufacturer dosage recommendations for Iberogast for adults is 20 drops of Iberogast, three times a day with their beverage. While there are children and infant recommended dosages, the manufacturer recommends that you consult your physician before giving Iberogast to non-adults.
In one study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers investigated the effect Iberogast has on aiding digestion in healthy male subjects.
Digestion is a complex process that relies on the contractile activity of the stomach to mix, grind and eventually evacuate small portions of chyme into the small bowel where it is further processed and eventually evacuated from the body.
Many types of gastric disorders are the result of how well food is initially processed in the stomach and therefore was the focus of the effect that Iberogast has on gastric volume, gastric emptying and the motor function of the antrum—the lower region of the stomach just before food passes through the pyloric valve to the duodenum.
What the researchers determined was that Iberogast does appear to beneficially aid gastric motility in specific regions of the human stomach via stimulation of gastric relaxation and antral motility. They concluded that their results indicate that Iberogast likely contributes to the reported therapeutic benefits of treating functional dyspepsia (upset stomach) conditions.
Iberogast Side Effect Warnings
While there are no obvious reported side effects of Iberogast as a whole, some people do have a susceptibility to some of the components of the supplement:
• Chamomile side effects—chamomile is a member of the ragweed family of plants and as such does elicit an allergic reaction in some people with symptoms ranging from minor itching of the skin and throat swelling, to full blown anaphylaxis. If you have ragweed or related allergies, Iberogast is contraindicated for use.
• Licorice Root side effects—licorice root in both large and small doses have been reported to cause fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure and even cardiac arrest in some individuals. In addition, Licorice root contains the chemical glycyrrhizin, which can cause a condition called pseudo-aldosteronism in which you become overly sensitive to hormones from your adrenal cortex.
• Alcohol side effects—some preparations of Iberogast contain up to 30 percent alcohol content and therefore should be avoided in giving to children or to adults who are recovering from alcohol abuse or at risk of alcoholism.
The take home message is that aside from meeting the conditions listed in the aforementioned “Iberogast side effect warnings,” years of Iberogast use by the public and some research studies have demonstrated that Iberogast is relatively safe and likely beneficial. However, as with any supplement, you should first consult with your physician before taking any non-prescribed herbal remedy.
Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia
“Effects of Iberogast® on Proximal Gastric Volume, Antropyloroduodenal Motility and Gastric Emptying in Healthy Men” The American Journal of Gastroenterology (2007) 102, 1276–1283; doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01142.x; Amelia N Pilichiewicz BSc (Hons), Michael Horowitz MBBS, PhD, FRACP, Antonietta Russo BSc, MMSc, Anne F Maddox Asst Dip Rad Tech, Karen L Jones Dip Appl Sci, PhD, Michael Schemann PhD, Gerald Holtmann MD, PhD, FRACP, FRCP and Christine Feinle-Bisset MMedSci, PhD.