So you’re going to be using the elemental diet to treat SIBO, heal your gut, or manage your digestive condition.
Awesome, the elemental diet is one of the best options out there for improving your gut health and allowing your bowels some rest.
Now it’s time to decide which product to choose.
In this article, we will review the Physicians Elemental Diet formula and compare it to the other quality options on the market.
Make sure to read through to the end to see our final recommendation!
Table of Contents
What is an Elemental Diet?
The elemental diet is a liquid formula, typically formed from elemental powder formulations, that can be recommended to someone for any number of health reasons; however, it is most commonly recommended for individuals with gastrointestinal (GI) disorders like SIBO, IBS and IBD.
As stated in its name, elemental diet formulations are made up of various nutrients that are in their native, or ‘pre-digested’ states in order to reduce the digestion burden on people with compromised gut function 1.
These nutrients include:
- Monosaccharides (carbohydrates)
- Amino acids (proteins)
- Fatty acids (fats)
- Essential vitamins and minerals
There are several different commercial elemental diet formulations available on the market today, all of which are associated with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. This article will discuss one of the most widely used elemental diet formulations known as Physicians’ Elemental formula.
To learn more about what an elemental diet is, the differences between a full- and semi-elemental diet and how this treatment option may benefit you, click here.
What is Physicians’ Elemental Diet?
The Physicians’ Elemental Diet is a highly effective elemental diet formulation that requires a Physicians’ approval prior to purchase. Specifically designed to manage and treat IBS, Crohn’s disease, SIBO and moderate to severely impaired GI function, the Physicians’ Elemental Diet is a product of over five years of integrative medical and naturopathic research 2.
By offering patients with a strictly hypoallergenic powdered formulation, Physicians’ Elemental Diet formulations do not contain any intact proteins, as well as any corn or soy-derived micro- or macronutrients that may cause symptoms of distress to patients on the elemental diet.
Patients taking this elemental diet formulation are typically advised to continue with this course of treatment for at least 2 weeks; however, some patients with more severe GI issues may benefit from a fully elemental treatment period of 3-4 weeks 2.
*Note: Some patients have discovered that semi-elemental diets can be just as beneficial, if not more beneficial in improving their symptoms compared to full-elemental diets. As a result, these patients may require meal substitutions of the Physicians’ Elemental Diet formulations for longer periods of time that can last as long as a year in some cases.
Physicians’ Elemental Diet and SIBO
The formulation of the Physicians’ Elemental Diet has been specifically targeted to improve abnormal lactulose breath tests, which is one of the major diagnostic tests that is used to determine if someone has SIBO.
In fact, several studies have shown that patients with abnormal lactulose breath tests who consume Physicians’ Elemental for at least 3 weeks show normalized lactulose breath tests by as much as 85%, as well as improved GI symptoms.
Physicians Elemental Formula Ingredients
The Physicians’ Elemental Diet comes in two types including the basic option, as well as a Dextrose Free version 4.
Both formulations are hypoallergenic and remain free of any intact protein, corn or soy-derived micro- and/or macronutrients.; however, the dextrose-free version simply eliminates dextrose as a carbohydrate source in this formulation option.
To determine the exact amount of calories you will need to consume each day while on the elemental diet, Physicians’ Elemental provides patients with a useful dosing calculator tool that incorporates important factors including your gender, age, weight, activity level and expected duration of product use.
Here is the link to the Physicians’ Elemental Diet Dosing Calculator.
Some of the main ingredients of the Physicians’ Elemental Diet formulation include:
- Tapioca maltodextrin
- Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil in powdered formulation
- Does not contain any preservatives
- All essential and non-essential amino acids
While it is important to realize the active ingredients present within the Physicians’ Elemental Diet, it is also extremely important to know what is not present in this elemental diet formulation.
Some of these potentially aggravating ingredients that are completely eliminated in this product include:
- Soybean oil
- Soy lecithin
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
- Artificial preservatives 2
Physicians Elemental Flavor & Taste
Although Physicians’ Elemental formula comes in two different options, both elemental formulations are recommended to be dissolved in water 3. Without any specified flavor, Physicians’ Elemental formulations are well-tolerated and provide a pleasant taste that ensures that patients on this formulation stick to their diet requirements.
Some patients say the formula tastes a little like coconut or sweet vanilla. The taste is actually quite good compared to previous elemental diet products available.
Absorb Plus vs. Physicians’ Elemental Diet
The Physicians’ Elemental Diet formulation is one of the best commercial options available for anyone looking to start their elemental diet treatment. One of the biggest drawbacks of Physicians’ Elemental Diet is that it requires any users interested in this specific product to first get a Physicians’approval, which significantly limits the use of this product for individuals who are interested in utilizing the elemental diet as a supplement rather than just a medical treatment option.
Additionally, since Physicians’ Elemental Diet only comes in one neutral flavor, it limits the palatability of this treatment option as compared to other elemental formulations, in particular as compared to the nine different flavors offered by the highly popular elemental diet formulation product known as Absorb Plus 5.
When further comparing Absorb Plus to Physicians’ Elemental Diet, Absorb Plus is a particularly unique product as a result of its ability to offer their customers the option of not only improving their digestive symptoms, but also gaining muscle mass and maintaining existing weight following the completion of treatment.
For example, once a person has completed their elemental diet treatment using Absorb Plus, they are able to continue to use this product along with their daily meals to compensate for any missing calories that may still be required to achieve their daily calorie intake.
In addition, when used to increase muscle development, the protein components of Absorb Plus are in the form of di-peptide or tri-peptide bond proteins, which plays an important role in allowing the free amino acids in these formulations to actually maintain/gain weight or build muscle 6.
The Physicians’ Elemental Diet is a great option for anyone suffering from serious GI issues that has now turned to the elemental diet for a drastic improvement in their symptoms.
While this product has continuously provided patients with improved outcomes, it may be worth considering how Absorb Plus, another excellent elemental diet formulation that comes in a wide variety of flavors with extended benefits, may also be a good option for you.
Between the two products, it’s hard to go wrong, but we would recommend the unsweetened versions of Absorb Plus due to the ease of access and ability to maintain weight and muscle mass with the structure of protein it contains.