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Although alpha-galactosidase is widely marketed as an over-the-counter treatment to prevent intestinal gas , there is only limited evidence that it really works. In two preliminary double-blind, controlled trials enrolling a total of 39 people, use of alpha-galactosidase along with a meal of beans significantly reduced symptoms of excess gas. 1 Two other relevant trials were also small, and suffered from significant design flaws. 2 Larger and more strictly designed studies will be necessary to determine whether alpha-galactosidase is truly an effective treatment for reducing intestinal gas.
Since it is an over-the-counter product however, it can be tried with minimal risk (see the section on Beano side effects for more information.) People with Type 2 Diabetes, specifically those taking alpha-glucosidase inhibitor medications for their diabetes, should avoid Beano or other alpha-galactosidase products as they may increase blood sugars.
For many people, limiting or eliminating the consumption of major gas-producing foods such as beans (legumes), broccoli, cabbage, onions, and whole grains, will quite possibly eliminate the gas that comes along with them. For some people, limiting their consumption of these foods may cure their symptoms - for others, trying Beano is a great option.
- Solomons NW, Vettorazzi L, Grazioso C. Use of an oral alpha-galactosidase to control gastrointestinal symptoms from legume oligosaccharides in bean-intolerant subjects: a doubly masked, controlled therapeutic trial. Clin Res. 1991;39:428A.
- Ganiats TG, Norcross WA, Halverson AL, Burford PA, Palinkas LA. Does Beano prevent gas? A double-blind crossover study of oral alpha-galactosidase to treat dietary oligosaccharide intolerance. J Fam Pract. 39(5):441-5.