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Will Beano Fight Children’s Flatulence?

Q. At a church potluck dinner a friend served chili and then passed around Beano to prevent flatulence. Is it safe for children and does it really work?

A. A study in BMC Gastroenterology (Sept. 24, 2013) reported a placebo-controlled trial of alpha-galactosidase, the ingredient in Beano, to reduce gas symptoms in children. The researchers found this digestive enzyme did indeed reduce flatulence without causing side effects.

We don’t always think of flatulence in connection with children, but they can suffer social consequences as severe as adults’. For troublesome recurrent or chronic flatulence, a diary approach is helpful for anyone old enough to write down what they eat and how often they pass gas. You can learn more about it and common dietary culprits in our Guide to Digestive Disorders. JFR commented on the website:

“My experience has been that lactose did, indeed, cause life-changing problems with gas. You may not only have to avoid milk, but also other dairy products. Read labels. If you give this a good try, you will know.

“Sure it’s a pain to do this. No ice cream and other goodies. But when you think of the trade offs, it isn’t hard to do. If you find you are not better by leaving off milk products, think of gluten. This is even harder, but doable and, again, well worth it. If this doesn’t help, try leaving off soy. Almost everything has soy in it, except food with nothing added. Your problem CAN be corrected. Search the Internet and you can trust People’s Pharmacy. Explore the possibilities as you would a science project.”

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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..
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