The Health Benefits of Beano

A Supplemental Enzyme Which Prevents Flatulence

Beano (alpha-galactosidase) is a supplement consisting of natural enzymes which assist in both preventing flatulence, abdominal bloating, stomach pain, and a distended stomach. The primary ingredient in Beano is the natural enzyme alpha-galactosidase. This supplement is taken prior to eating foods which frequently cause these symptoms.

Beano works to break down and digest complex carbohydrates such as those found in vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage), legumes (including lentils, beans, and nuts), whole grains, and more. This supplement provides natural enzymes which help individuals to comfortably eat a range of foods, some of which are difficult for them to digest. Note that it is not effective in preventing gas caused by difficulties in digesting lactose or fiber.

Health Benefits

Beano (alpha-galactosidase) commonly works to digest sugars which are present in many complex carbohydrates, including raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose. Beano also works on sugars categorized as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Beano turns these sugars into simple sugars that are easy to digest prior to the food reaching the colon.

The colon is where gas is created and persists, making Beano effective in preventing it before it occurs. Beano is intended to be taken prior to eating foods which cause bloating, stomach pain, swollen stomach, and flatulence.

Beano is not effective for treating any condition, nor is it effective at addressing symptoms other than digestive symptoms. Beano should not be used to treat digestive symptoms which are the result of any physical condition or medical diagnosis.

Research published in the Digestive Disorder Scientific Journal has shown Beano is effective at reducing the severity of flatulence. This study also analyzed the internal processes Beano works on, a mechanism called breath hydrogen excretion. Breath hydrogen excretion is internal gas created in response to the digestion of foods such as beans and vegetables. This study also demonstrated Beano is effective at significantly reducing breath hydrogen excretion.

Possible Side Effects

There are no known or documented common side effects associated with Beano. However, any drug is at risk for causing side effects to certain people. An allergic reaction is very rare, but may occur after taking Beano. The active ingredient is extracted from a food-grade mold, so it is possible that some people could have an allergic reaction to that mold. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rashes, hives, swollen and blistered skin, fever, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, and/or throat.

If you have an allergy to alpha-galactosidase, you should not take Beano, as this is the primary ingredient in the supplement. There are no other interactions or contraindications associated with the drug Beano.

There is no evidence indicating Beano is unsafe for pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding. However, it is recommended that you consult your doctor before taking Beano. Beano has not been tested with children so you should consult your child’s doctor before providing them with Beano. There have been no recalls or warnings issued relating to Beano.

If you have diabetes or a genetic condition called galactosemia, you should not take Beano without consulting your doctor first. Both galactosemia and diabetes affect how the body processes sugar. The main ingredient in beano breaks down indigestible sugars into digestible sugars, which has an impact on blood glucose levels.

Additionally, prescription medications for diabetes are intended to regulate blood glucose levels. By taking Beano while having one of these conditions and/or taking diabetes medication, there is the potential for these two products to negatively interact. An interaction such as this often has an unsafe impact on blood glucose levels, which will potentially cause additional complications.

Dosage and Preparation

Beano may be taken as an oral capsule, chewable tablet, meltaway tablet, or liquid drops. Beano should be taken immediately before eating problem foods, but this supplement is also effective if taken 30 minutes after eating. Don't use it in cooking as heat degrades it and it won't be effective.

Beano should be stored at room temperature away from excessive heat and moisture. Don't use it if its expiration date has passed. In this case, you should consult a pharmacist regarding how to dispose of the expired supplement.

Doses of this supplement have been devised to primarily address flatulence. Beano doses for mild to moderate cases of flatulence are 5 liquid drops per serving of problem foods. To account for the appropriate amount of food in your meal, it is estimated that each meal contains approximately three servings of problem foods.

If you are using the capsule or chewable tablet of Beano, it is recommended to take 1 tablet or capsule per serving of problem foods. This is also using the estimate of each meal containing approximately three servings of problem foods.

Only 1 meltaway tablet is needed per meal to be effective. Meltaway tablets are placed on the tongue and dissolve with no chewing or swallowing necessary. Beano tablets may be crumbled onto your food and eaten alongside your meal, if you prefer. This has no impact on the effectiveness of Beano.

What to Look For

It is typically recommended to take Beano, rather than the primary enzyme alpha-galactosidase. If you have questions or concerns regarding which supplement is best for you to use, consult your doctor or a pharmacist. Be mindful of taking products with labels which claim to treat or cure medical conditions and symptoms, as these claims (or claims on any supplemental product) have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

This product does not contain animal products and is considered vegan. Beano contains a minimal amount of sodium at 5 milligrams (mg) per tablet and is largely considered a sodium-free product.

There are no differences in the effectiveness of liquid drops, oral capsules, or chewable tablets, as long as each are taken as recommended. All forms of Beano are effective at addressing symptoms of flatulence and abdominal bloating.

There are foods which contain other naturally-occurring digestive enzymes, including proteases, lipases, and amylases. These foods may assist with general digestive health. However, alpha-galactosidase is not naturally-occurring in any food products.

Other Questions

Is Beano safe?

Yes, Beano has been evaluated as safe for use in a healthy adult and elderly population. Beano is not recommended for use in children or infants, nor has it been evaluated for use in pregnant women.

What are some Beano alternatives?

Most pharmacies and drug stores have generic versions of Beano. Check your local pharmacy and consult a pharmacist regarding if a generic version is suitable for you.

What foods does Beano work on?

Beano is helpful at relieving gas and bloating resulting from foods such as beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, and more.

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. Treatment of gas. Updated October 2, 2019.

  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for gas in the digestive tract. Updated July, 2016.

Additional Reading