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Supplements for Diverticulitis

by
author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
Supplements for Diverticulitis
Woman sitting on the edge of the bed holding her stomach Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Overview

Numerous supplements may be beneficial for treating diverticulitis. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK, diverticulitis is inflammation of a diverticulum, or pouch, in your digestive tract, especially your colon. Diverticulitis is characterized by abdominal pain and cramping and constipation. Before taking dietary supplements to treat your diverticulitis, meet with your doctor to discuss possible side effects and proper dosage.

Fiber

Fiber supplementation may be helpful for treating symptoms associated with diverticulitis. According to MayoClinic.com, fiber supplements can make your stool soft, which can ease constipation. Constipation is a common symptom associated with diverticulitis. Other common signs and symptoms of diverticulitis include left lower abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. MayoClinic.com states that if you take fiber supplements, you must drink plenty of water every day, otherwise fiber supplements can actually make your constipation worse. Before taking fiber supplements for your diverticulitis, meet with your doctor to discuss possible side effects and proper dosage. Ask your doctor if fiber supplements will interact with any medications you are taking. Fiber supplements may decrease your absorption of certain medications, including aspirin, warfarin and carbamazepine.

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Psyllium

Psyllium may be an effective dietary supplement for diverticulitis. The University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, states that psyllium, also known as Plantago ovata, is a member of the plantain family and is used primarily as a gentle bulk-forming laxative. Plantago ovata, the shrub-like plant from which psyllium comes, grows worldwide, but it is most commonly found in India. According to the UMMC, each plant may produce up to 15,000 seeds, from which psyllium husk is derived. While psyllium has been used to lower cholesterol, it may also be effective for treating intestinal problems, such as diverticulitis. Dr. Sharol Tilgner, a naturopathic physician and author of the book “Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth,” states that psyllium is used for both constipation and diarrhea. Consuming a high-fiber diet and taking psyllium supplements can be helpful following a bout, or attack, of diverticulitis. According to Tilgner, it is important for you to drink adequate liquid when taking psyllium supplements. Before taking psyllium supplements to treat your diverticulitis, meet with your physician to discuss possible side effects, drug interactions and proper dosage.

Glucomannan

Glucomannan may be a helpful dietary supplement for treating diverticulitis. According to Dr. Ray Sahelian, a medical doctor, nutrition expert and author, glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber that is becoming popular in Western countries. Glucomannan has been used by people in East Asia for centuries to treat a number of health complaints. Glucomannan, states Sahelian, is the main polysaccharide--a complex carbohydrate comprising three or more simple carbohydrate molecules joined together--obtained from the tubers of the Amorphophallus konjac plant. According to a 2003 study by Giovanni Latella and colleagues published in the “International Journal of Colorectal Disease,” the incidence of diverticulitis episodes may be reduced by taking glucomannan, although taking glucomannon in conjunction with rifaximin--a broad-spectrum, poorly absorbable antibiotic--is even more effective for reducing the frequency of diverticulitis attacks. Before supplementing your diet with glucomannan, meet with your doctor to discuss possible side effects and proper dosage.

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