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J Fam Pract. 1994 Nov;39(5):441-5.

Does Beano prevent gas? A double-blind crossover study of oral alpha-galactosidase to treat dietary oligosaccharide intolerance.

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  • 1Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla 92093-0807.



Beano, an over-the-counter oral solution of alpha-galactosidase, is used to prevent flatus and other gastrointestinal symptoms resulting from a high-fiber diet. The efficacy of this product, however, has not yet been adequately evaluated.


Nineteen subjects were randomized into two groups and fed test meals of meatless chili. At the first test meal, group 1 received eight drops of alpha-galactosidase solution and group 2 received eight drops of placebo. After the meal, subjects were asked to keep a careful record of gastrointestinal symptoms, including occurrences of intestinal gas passage, for the next 6 hours. One week later, an identical test meal was served to each study subject and the solutions were reversed. Again subjects recorded their symptoms for the next 6 hours. Data were analyzed by means of paired t tests.


The number of flatulence events per hour was significantly less in the group treated with alpha-galactosidase than placebo over the 6-hour follow-up period (F = 2.87, P = .016). When the two groups were compared at each follow-up interval, this difference was statistically significant only for the 5th hour after ingesting the test meal (t = 2.19, P = .04). No differences between the two groups were found in the extent of bloating or pain following the meal.


Oral alpha-galactosidase solution is efficacious, at least in some patients, for the prophylaxis of gastrointestinal intolerance of oligosaccharides.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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