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Will Beano Counteract Gas from Eating Beans?

Beans and other vegetables rich in fiber have many health benefits. There are also numerous ways to counteract gas that eating them can cause.
Will Beano Counteract Gas from Eating Beans?
Stack of kidney beans on white background close up.

Flatulence can be a tricky subject. In addition to the embarrassing sounds it can make, escaping gas can create unfortunate odors. No wonder people are eager to find solutions to this problem. One reader wondered if taking Beano can counteract gas that results from eating beans.

Does Beano Work to Counteract Gas?

Q. What about taking Beano to counter the effect of gassing when you eat beans or other vegetables? Does it work?

A. Beano contains the food enzyme alpha-galactosidase. It helps break down the complex sugars called oligosaccharides before bacteria can digest them and produce gas. One placebo-controlled trial in children confirmed that this product can be helpful against flatulence (BMC Gastroenterology, Sept. 24, 2013). Previously, a small study indicated that it is also effective to counteract gas in adults (Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Jan. 2007).

The instructions on the bottle suggest taking it at the start of a meal containing beans, broccoli, onions or other vegetables that may result in smelly gas. We find this works quite well. 

Cooking Beans to Counteract Gas:

You may also want to learn how to minimize gas with your cooking technique. We discuss this in the following post.

There are other approaches to this problem as well. One reader shared a pharmaceutical solution:

Devrom for Postsurgical Flatulence:

Q. I had colon surgery last year and as a result I suffered from embarrassing smelly flatulence. Fortunately, I found a product called Devrom (www.devrom.com). It has changed my life!

A. Stinky gas can be extremely embarrassing. Devrom contains bismuth subgallate. A similar compound, bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), is effective against odorous flatulence (Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology, Aug. 2001).

It is possible to overdose on bismuth, so don’t get carried away. Too much bismuth could harm the nervous system or kidneys. Pepto-Bismol can interact with several medications.

Remedies and Sensible Solutions for Gas:

You may also wish to listen to Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, an expert on using herbs for common complaints, discuss how to counteract gas.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Citations
  • Di Nardo G et al, "Efficacy and tolerability of α-galactosidase in treating gas-related symptoms in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial." BMC Gastroenterology, Sept. 24, 2013. DOI: 10.1186/1471-230X-13-142
  • Di Stefano M et al, "The effect of oral alpha-galactosidase on intestinal gas production and gas-related symptoms." Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Jan. 2007. DOI: 10.1007/s10620-006-9296-9
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