Atrantíl Supplement for IBS Constipation

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Atrantil bottle
Image Courtesy of Atrantil

Atrantíl is a supplement designed to ease the symptoms of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C), particularly gas and bloating. Developed by gastroenterologist Kenneth Brown, MD, Atrantíl is a blend of three herbal extracts—Quebracho, conker tree (horse chestnut), and M. balsamea Willd (peppermint)—all chosen for their effects within the digestive tract.

Bacteria in the small intestine produce hydrogen and methane, which you experience as gas. Atrantíl was developed in an effort to come up with a natural supplement that eradicates small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), thus improving constipation, along with gas and bloating.

The Ingredients

Atrantíl is a branded, proprietary supplement that is made in the United States. Its main ingredients are:

  • Quebracho extract contains tannins, a type of health-promoting phytochemical known as a flavonoid. Flavonoids are best known for their presence in wine. When tannins are added to the diet of cows, there is a reduction in how much methane gas they give off.
  • Conker tree extract contains saponins, which you may have heard of in relation to quinoa (they cause the seeds' bitter taste, which is why rinsing is required before cooking). Saponins are theorized to have antibiotic qualities. They may also increase the speed of intestinal contractions and reduce the production of methane.
  • M. balsamea Willd extract contains peppermint oil, which has research support for easing abdominal pain.

Atrantíl does not contain milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, gluten, or shellfish-derived ingredients.

The Research

There is limited research on the effectiveness of Atrantíl; two small studies have been published.

In a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study, in which Dr. Brown was the principal investigator, 16 IBS-C patients were given either Atrantíl or a placebo for a two-week period. Results indicated that those patients who were given the supplement experienced "significant improvement" in constipation and bloating. No side effects were reported.

In a second case study, again conducted by Dr. Brown, 24 IBS-C patients took the supplement for two weeks. Results were similar, in that the test subjects reported improvements in gas, bloating, and constipation, as well as improved quality of life while taking Atrantíl for constipation.

The researchers theorize that diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) patients could benefit from the anti-gas properties of the tannins in Quebacho and the anti-pain benefit of M. balsamea Willd, but acknowledge that it is unknown what effect the saponins from conker tree would have on diarrhea symptoms.

While the results are impressive, there must be larger studies of longer duration in order to have solid evidence for the safety and effectiveness of this product. The studies must also be conducted by more objective and independent researchers.

Should You Try Atrantíl?

Again, not much is known about Atrantíl's effectiveness. Although there are no reports of any major health risks associated with any of its ingredients, there is not enough evidence to make any claims related to its safety in general, or in terms of any interactions with other medications. 

If you are interested in trying Atrantíl, you should discuss the issue with your physician (as you should before taking any over-the-counter supplement). If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it would be best to avoid taking this supplement due to a lack of safety information.

How to Take Atrantíl

According to the manufacturer's website, you can take two capsules at a time, up to three times a day. It is recommended to take the supplement one hour before eating unless you have a history of heartburn.

In these studies, no side effects were reported. However, the Atrantíl website discusses the possibility of some "die-off" effects, resulting from the eradication of intestinal bacteria (i.e., fatigue, achiness, and/or low-grade fever). Again, without some solid research studies, it's difficult to know if these symptoms are actually the result of the product.

A Word From Verywell

The only conclusion that can be drawn now about Atrantíl is that further research needs to be conducted to provide some hard evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of its formulation. Although the notion of an effective alternative to the use of antibiotics for SIBO and IBS is certainly appealing, we just don't yet know if this one fits the bill.

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