Heather's Tummy Tamers™ Peppermint Oil Capsules with Ginger & Fennel are considered a medical food, and they are specially formulated to address global Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms through the synergistic effects of peppermint, fennel, and ginger oils.
As part of the diet, peppermint helps relieve abdominal pain, diarrhea, and urgency from IBS. Menthol and methyl salicylate, the main active ingredients of peppermint, have calming effects on the stomach and intestinal tract. Although peppermint is such a powerful smooth muscle relaxant that it can trigger heartburn in people who are susceptible, Heather's Tummy Tamers™ Peppermint Oil Caps are enteric coated so they do not dissolve in the stomach. Instead, they pass through the digestive tract intact until they reach the intestines. For this reason, Heather's Tummy Tamers™ Peppermint Oil Caps are often very helpful for people with both reflux and IBS who cannot tolerate peppermint in other forms (such as teas or foods). However, individual tolerance levels for peppermint vary greatly among people who are prone to heartburn, so if you have severe reflux you may not be able to use peppermint in any form, even when enteric coated.
Please tell your physician if you have heartburn or reflux before you use peppermint, and follow the directions below for using the Tummy Tamers.
As part of the diet, fennel:
- helps regulate contractions of the small intestine and aids gas expulsion
- relaxes the gut, which can relieve spasms of the GI tract
- assists in the dietary management of IBS gas, bloating, and abdominal pain
Ginger contains powerful digestive enzymes, and is helpful for a wide variety of gastrointestinal ailments.
A 2005 study in Phytomedicine reviewed 16 clinical trials investigating enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules in IBS. Nine out of 16 studies were randomized double blind cross over trials, five had a randomized double blind parallel group design and two were open labeled studies. Placebos were used in 12 trials and anticholinergics (smooth muscle relaxant drugs) in three studies as comparator. Eight out of 12 placebo controlled studies showed statistically significant effects in favor of peppermint oil capsules.
Average response rates in terms of "overall success" were 58% (range 39-79%) for peppermint oil caps versus 29% (range 10-52%) for placebo. The three studies versus smooth muscle relaxants did not show differences between treatments; in other words, the peppermint oil capsules were as effective as the drugs. The study noted that both anticholinergic drugs and 5HT3/4-ant/agonists (such as Zelnorm and Lotronex) do not offer superior improvement rates over peppermint oil caps. Taking into account the currently available drug treatments for IBS, the study noted that peppermint oil capsules may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life.
Individual tolerance levels for peppermint vary greatly among people who are prone to heartburn, so if you have severe reflux you may not be able to use peppermint in any form, even when enteric coated.
Please tell your physician if you have heartburn or reflux before you use peppermint, and follow these instructions for using the Tummy Tamers. How you take peppermint oil caps can make a world of difference. The capsules MUST be taken on an empty stomach, as they need to pass through the stomach unimpeded so they can reach the intestines before they dissolve. This can take a bit of time, so for this reason it's best to use the capsules to head off IBS symptoms in the first place. However, some people with severe GERD, reflux, or chronic heartburn may still have problems with the peppermint capsules if they dissolve in the stomach before reaching the intestines.
The antispasmodic effect you want to happen in your intestines will then occur in the stomach, and this relaxes the esophageal sphincter at the top of the stomach. That can lead to heartburn. There are several measures that can prevent this from happening:
- Take the Tummy Tamers on an empty stomach at least one hour before a meal. This gives the capsules plenty of time to reach the intestines before they dissolve. (If you're not prone to heartburn, you must still take the caps on an empty stomach, but you can take them right before a meal.)
- Never take Tummy Tamers during or after a meal because the food will delay the capsules from reaching the intestines, and this could cause them to dissolve in the stomach.
- Drink just enough cool - not hot - liquid to swallow a capsule easily. While the enteric coating makes them resistant to stomach acid, the capsules are water soluble. Limiting the amount of liquid they'll be floating around in will help them reach their destination without dissolving.
- Don't take the Tummy Tamers at the same time as any medication (prescription or over-the-counter) meant to lower your stomach acid. Lowering the stomach acid makes the enteric coating less likely to work (remember, it's resistant to high acid). For folks who need to take these medications, try taking the Tummy Tamers about an hour before you take the acid lowering/blocking medication, and then have your meal.