Main idea: The metagenomics analysis reveals shifts in the microbiome post-intervention that have been cross-validated with the literature as being associated with improvement of IBS symptoms.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder worldwide, and the most common reason for referral to gastroenterology clinics. However, the pathophysiology is still not fully understood and consequently, current management guidelines are very symptom-specific, leading to mixed results. Here is a study of 88 individuals with IBS who had baseline sequencing of their gut microbiome (stool samples), received targeted interventions that included dietary, supplement, prebiotic/probiotic, and lifestyle recommendations for a 30-day period, and a follow-up sequencing of their gut microbiome. The study’s objectives were to demonstrate unique metagenomic signatures across the IBS phenotypes and to validate whether metagenomic-guided interventions could lead to improvement of symptom scores in individuals with IBS. Enrolled participants also completed a baseline and post-intervention questionnaire that assessed their symptom scores. The average symptom score of an individual with IBS at baseline was 160 and at the endpoint of the study, the average symptom score of the cohort was 100.9. The mixed IBS subtype showed the most significant reduction in symptom scores across the different subtypes (average decrease by 102 points, P = 0.005).