From the category archives:

probiotics

Which is the best probiotic for IBS?

by Ed

Stomach Acting Up

Photo credit: thefuturistics

When you suffer from the bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation of irritable bowel syndrome, you know pepto-bismol is not good enough. Many health practitioners recommend taking probiotics as part of the therapy for bringing IBS under control. The trouble is, there are a lot of different probiotics out there now, and they do not all have the same effects.

Lately, a lot of attention has been paid to Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, or Bifantis. The main effect of bifantis on the digestive tract seems to be reducing inflammation. Like all probiotics, they also help to restore the balance of flora in the intestines and improve digestive function.

A new study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that Bifantis may help relieve many of the symptoms associated with IBS. It was a four week study involving 362 women with IBS. The group taking Bifantis had 20% greater relief of symptoms than the placebo group. There were no side effects reported from taking Bifantis.

A recent survey of all properly designed research studies using probiotics to treat IBS found that only bifantis showed significant improvement of symptoms. I believe there is a lot more research that needs to be done. One problem with the research so far, is that they only study one probiotic at a time. As I said they have different functions, and I believe they act synergistically. So taking a combination should be better than taking any one alone.

If you have IBS, Bifantis is certainly worth checking out. Adding it to your daily regime will probably prove beneficial.

Healing food allergies and leaky gut syndrome

by Ed

If you have food allergies, particularly if you developed them later in life and are allergic to more than one food, chances are you also have leaky gut syndrome. If you can heal your leaky gut then you will be able to overcome your allergies as well.

What is leaky gut syndrome? When the intestinal lining becomes damaged, it can let partially digested proteins into the blood stream. The body does not recognize these foreign proteins and assumes they are invaders. It therefore sends out an immune response, attacking the protein molecules. After that happens a few times, the body quickly recognizes that particular food as dangerous and starts attacking very quickly. That is the way leaky gut can lead to food allergies. Leaky gut syndrome can also be at the root of other health problems, such as arthritis, excema, irritable bowel syndrome, and many believe fibromyalgia.

How do you get leaky gut syndrome? Being our first line of defense against many things trying to enter our bodies, the intestinal lining is well designed. However, it is rather fragile, as it is supposed to let digested nutrients through. It usually takes a number of different factors over a period of time to compromise the intestinal lining to the extent that we develop a leaky gut. Bacteria, fungi, yeast, such as candida, and other parasites can all damage the lining. Many drugs can as well, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other pain medications. Antibiotics, indirectly can cause it, by killing the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which allows harmful bacteria, and fungi to flourish. Anything that causes inflammation of the intestines can also damage the lining.

How do you heal leaky gut syndrome? This can be a difficult an lengthy process. I highly recommend seeing a health practitioner that specializes in it. In some countries there are several lab tests that can be done. These help not only in making an accurate diagnosis, but also in forming an efficient treatment plan. If you do not have access to a qualified health practitioner and believe you have leaky gut syndrome, there are a few things you can do for yourself. First, find out more about it to have a better idea if you really have it. Leaky Gut Syndrome by Elizabeth Lipski, is a great little booklet that goes into a lot more detail than I have here, about the symptoms, the causes, and the treatment. I Was Poisoned By My Body by Gloria Gilbere is another good book with more information on things you can do to help yourself.

The most important thing to do is give your intestinal lining the chance to heal itself. You need to stop eating foods that you are sensitive to. The best thing to do is an elimination diet, to figure out which foods cause reactions, then go on a rotation diet to avoid developing new sensitivities. Avoid taking any medications that are harmful to the digestive system, including anti-inflammatories, steroids, and antibiotics. You also need to restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut by taking large doses of probiotics and other supplements that enhance the beneficial bacteria. When looking for a probiotic, get one that has several different bacteria, as the work synergistically. Primal Defense is one that I have found to work well. It also has soil microorganisms that have proven beneficial to the immune system. Start taking your probiotic at one capsule twice a day. Slowly work up to about ten a day. You may need to stay at that dose for several months. Another useful supplement for the good bacteria is fructo-oligosacharide. You can be sure that you have some bad bugs in your gut, if you do have leaky gut syndrome. The best thing to do is find out what they are and take the right medicine to get rid of them. Chinese herbs are very useful against most of the harmful bugs in the gut. If you are going it on your own, though, I would only suggest eating raw garlic or taking garlic capsules.

I have skimmed over many things on purpose because if you do have leaky gut syndrome, you really need to get professional help. As I mentioned earlier, there are many conditions besides food allergies that could be related to leaky gut syndrome. If you have a chronic complaint that is resistant to treatment, check out one or both of the books I mentioned or see a health practitioner who specializes in treating leaky gut syndrome.

Should you be taking Probiotics?

by Ed

Probiotics are bacterial cultures,such as are found in yogurt, that also live in our intestines. They contribute to the digestive process and keep unhealthy microorganisms, such as candida yeast, from invading our systems.

Many people have insufficient healthy bacteria, and should be supplementing with a good probiotic formula. Antibiotics and pain pain medications can inhibit the good bacteria. Eating too much sugar can encourage candida, which may overcome even a mildly weak intestine.

You should consider taking probiotics if you: regularly or recently took antibiotics; regularly use pain killers such as aspirin and ibuprofen; have recurring fungal or yeast infections; have chronic digestive disturbances, such as IBS, colitis, multiple food intolerances, or leaky gut syndrome.

How do you know which probiotic to take? Generally more expensive ones are of higher quality. You want to make sure that you are actually getting the probiotics into your body, and the better quality ones have more living bacteria. You want to take a formula with several different bacteria in it. I recommend at least acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum, and lactobacillus casei. The different bacteria have overlapping and synergistic effects.

How to take probiotics. Generally it is best to take them on an empty stomach, but not when you are hungry. Stomach acid can easily kill the bacteria. First thing in the morning and bedtime work well for most people. One capsule twice a day is a good maintenance program. If you have symptoms that would benefit from probiotics you may want to take larger doses. Start at two capsules a day and slowly work your way up to six to ten a day. Stay there for a month then work your way back down. If you are healthy and maintaining a good diet, you may not need to continue taking them, as they thrive in a healthy intestinal environment. If you have any of the conditions mentioned above, it is unlikely that probiotics alone will heal you. It is best to see a health practitioner who has experience with digestive imbalances and yeast infections.