Wednesday, April 15, 2009

IBS: spring has sprung!

Suddenly I have several patients coming to me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS

What I have found is that there is a HUGH need for pro and prebiotics, so I thought a little info might help people understand it a bit better.....

The probiotic is the good bacteria or flora for the intestines (we call the "gut") of which we have naturally, but which is destroyed by antibiotics and sometimes fever etc. so you need to reestablish the good bacteria/flora in that case. If you have IBS, generally, your bowel lining can be inflammed and not functioning properly, it does not have the flora it needs to fight off bad bacteria or handle what is going through it.

The probiotic/flora needs to be fed to proliferate or grow and maintain itself in the gut.
You feed your friendly bacteria/flora with prebiotic foods. Without the prebiotic foods, the probiotic flora/friendly/good bacteria loses it's battle to the bad bacteria and you need to start over. You need to feed/cultivate the flora/good bacteria

Optimally, it is better to feed the probiotic flora with prebiotic foods, rather than taking a probiotic forever, because you cannot take enough to have enough to fight. You need to grow good probiotic by eating prebiotic foods, so the probiotic/good bacteria/flora can grow up big and strong and have babies to fight the bad bacteria. :)

So actually you need to reestablish a good stock of probiotic flora (meaning that you need a lot of strains or types of probiotic, because it takes all kinds to fight the bad bacteria) which is why you want to take different types of probiotics available. Then you need to just eat the prebiotic foods fairly regularly, which are fermented foods. Some Asian people eat a tablespoon of Kim Chee every day. It is fermented cabbage (spicy). Some people drink buttermilk, kefir,  on occasion (dairy and not the best) or sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, these are all fermented foods (alternating would be good). Yogurt is easily available and popular, but has only one strain generally of bacteria and also it is a dairy or soy product with hormones etc. If you can, ask your mother if when she was a kid, they ate some type of thing like that or if she remembers what her mother might have eaten that would act like a prebiotic food.
A fairly new product lately I have found in the local grocery is called "Good Belly" and it is fruit based but may be too sweet for some people.

Looking back a few generations we can see that the most recent generations have lost the eating habit link to these foods but every culture I have ever heard about eats or used to eat prebiotic and they are all much healthier than us on the American diet for doing so. 

Also consider that we may not even really know all the strains, the body is complex, who knows, maybe the different strains combine (marry) and create other bonds or types of bacteria (mixed strain babies). Like a little micro world inside your intestines, keeping us healthy.

Chronic IBS is inflammation of the bowel, inflammation causes the cells to be irritated and can lead to many other things, eventually other diseases, like if you rubbed your elbow, over and over, the skin would get sore, then break and bleed, and eventually distorted if you kept rubbing even after it was starting to heal, it would form a scar...scars are a misarrangement of cells that interfere with the natural flow of energy and they are less flexible etc. It is best to address the issue for a healthy immune system down the road rather than just live with it. 

There may be other things involved as well and good nutrition is a must also but without good bacteria, it may be difficult to win the battle. Good intestinal health is the basis to good health and immune. The intestines are our elimination system, without a good elimination system, everything gets backed up, stuck and misplace which can cause havoc to the body, like clogged pipes in a house, you don't want that stuff to overflow or back up!

I am fortunate and personally have not had issues with IBS but a few times a year, I take a round of  Dr. Ohhira's probiotics professional formula (which I discovered some time ago) and have found it to be most effective for probiotic. Then I eat a little Kim Chee now and then when I have the urge. But also, I like to eat organic dark leafy green salads on a pretty regular basis, which is a good way to feed your body and your intestines!

Happy Eating...get healthy and STAY HEALTHY

No comments: