Professor Kevin Whelan

30 January 2018

QIB Lecture Theatre

Fermentation in irritable bowel syndrome

Speaker: Professor Kevin Whelan, King’s College London, will present a seminar entitled: Fermentation in irritable bowel syndrome

Kevin Whelan


Host:     Fred Warren


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. The aim of this presentation will be to briefly review the aspects of IBS pathogenesis that involve the gastrointestinal microbiota and fermentation, and then to critically appraise the recent and emerging evidence for the use of dietary approaches to modify gastrointestinal gas production in the management of IBS symptoms. Numerous dietary approaches to reduce gastrointestinal fermentation have been investigated, about which there has been considerable recent research. There are some clinical trials of prebiotics in IBS, although the results show that benefit is likely to occur at lower doses, and be specific to those prebiotics that do not promote gas production.


The effects of diets that are high in fermentable carbohydrates have been shown to induce gut symptoms, indicating a potential role for restriction of these foods in the management of IBS. Therefore the combined exclusion of a wide range of short-chain fermentable carbohydrates has been trialled (popularly termed the ‘low FODMAP diet’). There is evidence from a limited number of controlled feeding studies and dietary advice studies that this approach can reduce global symptoms abdominal pain and bloating, but with measurable impacts on the microbiome. Studies investigating approaches to preventing the impact on gas production and the microbiome are underway.


Kevin Whelan is the Professor of Dietetics and Head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London. He is a Principal Investigator leading a research programme exploring the interaction between diet, the gastrointestinal microbiota and health and disease. In collaboration with both clinical researchers and basic scientists he has undertaken numerous multi-centre investigations of the microbiota in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and patients receiving artificial nutrition, and the use of diet to modify these.

Kevin has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers on the topics of fibre, probiotics, prebiotics and FODMAPs. He is the Series Editor of the Advanced Nutrition and Dietetics book series and on the editorial board of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. In 2012 he was awarded the Nutrition Society Cuthbertson Medal for clinical nutrition and in 2017 was appointed a Fellow of the British Dietetic Association.



All staff from organisations on the Research Park are welcome to attend.