CFS Nutrition Logo Irritable Bowel Syndrome

 


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Important : Always consult your physician for recognized medical treatments. The information on this page is for educational purposes, and should not be viewed as a substitute for legally licensed medical/dental professional advice.


Irritable bowel syndrome is an epidemic in the United States. More than 5% of the population is afflicted by "idiopathic" (cause unknown) bowel discomfort, urgency, and diarrhea type symptoms. IBS can progress to colitis, but is different in that colonoscopy finds no obvious pathological changes in the bowel. Whereas with colitis there is observable erosions and often bleeding. IBS and idiopathic colitis very likely represent a spectrum of disease/condition progression.

Attempts at pharmaceutical drugs to treat the symptoms of IBS have produced results that are more dangerous than the condition itself. Presently there is no magic drug to treat this problem.

Yet a number of people have been able to achieve substantial relief by sleuthing out their own situation, performing trial and error experiments to determine what personally eliminates their symptoms.

The approach we believe most likely to gain success is the "irritant - reaction" view. Something in a person's diet and/or environment is providing an irritant that is causing allergic and immune type reactions in the gut. Under this view the most important investigation to conduct is isolating and eliminating one's source of irritants.

The first place to look is in the mouth. Recent science shows that a significant percentage of the population is reactive to the dental metals in their teeth. Nickel, mercury, and gold are the three most common dental metals that people have been objectively demonstrated via MELISA® test to produce immune reactions. As long as offensive metals in the mouth are releasing ions into the gut, IBS will be an ongoing problem.

Dentistry is not the only source of offensive metals. One should also look at what metals are cooking your food and water. Metal pans can also give off irritating metals. Coffee pots and espresso machines are notorious for adding metals to the brew.

Chlorinated water and corroding water pipes can also be a chronic irritant for IBS sufferers.

Clostridium difficules is a pathogenic microorganism that is well known to cause colitis when it grows out of control. This organism may not be the only biological agent that causes or contributes to IBS.

Healthy colonies of symbiotic lactobacillus and bifidobacterias coating the entire gastro-intestinal tract are the body's first line of defense against irritants and pathogenic organisms. Use of wide-spectrum antibiotics can damage and destroy this protective layer of bacterias making a person more susceptible to developing IBS, colitis and colon cancer.

Fungal overgrowth can contribute to IBS by the toxins released and by penetration of the gastro-intestinal lining that opens micro "holes" that allow undigested food particles to come into contact with the bloodstream and the immune system -- a condition technically known as "increased intestinal permeability" more commonly called "leaky gut". Allergic type reactions of irritable bowel, headache and fatigue in response to a wide range of foods is a strong clue that one has a "leaky gut" condition.

Gluten, found in wheat and other grains, and casein found in milk and other dairy products are receiving more attention as chronic food allergens in children with autism and adults with celiac disease, and may be a critical factor in some people's IBS.

Logic says that a person with IBS should take steps to identify and eliminate irritants, kill pathogenic organisms, work to build up symbiotic bacterias, and find nutrients and other factors that help the body to calm and heal the gut.

In regards to removing offensive dental metals please see "Dental Mercury Detox". Consider getting non-metallic pans for cooking, and a water filter to remove chlorine, particles and metals from your drinking and cooking water.

Protaglandin supporting supplements such as evening primrose oil can help to lessen inflammation. Cat's Claw herb can also help if the inflammation stems from tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production. The amino acid taurine can enhance bile formation, detoxifies chlorine and yeast toxins. Glutathione has been shown to be an important antioxidant in gastro-intestinal health. The liver works to maintain glutathione levels in the body by maintaining availability in the bloodstream for the body at large, and in bile for the lining of the intestines. A lack of bile glutathione has been shown to cause observable intestinal disease in laboratory animals. The amino acid precursors of glutathione are a compelling and economical way to directly increase body and organ stores of this very important antioxidant/enzyme molecule.

CFS Nutrition offers a compelling line of probiotic related products to help improve healthy flora in the gastro-intestinal tract.

We offer several other products that can also be used in one's efforts to restore better health to the bowels.

Bentonite clay has a long history as a bowel cleanser. Technically described as an "adsorbent", the clay is not digested nor absorbed by the human. Rather it pulls things large and small away from the gut lining. This can produce relief as irritants are removed from reactive contact and taken out of the bowel as part of the stool. Two cautions: if taken too close to food or food supplements, bentonite can steal the nutritive value by its adsorbent action. People who tend to constipate risk developing a serious plug if constipation pulls all the water out of the bentonite. Once a day away from food and supplements is generally the most one wants to take this clay.

Psyllium husks are the active ingredient in "regularity products" such as metamucil and citrucell. Psyllium husks are a non-digestible fiber that supports regularity, produces well formed but soft stools in both people who constipate and loose stool sufferers. Psyllium is also considered a bowel cleanser as the fiber tends to "sweep" the bowel lining as it moves through. A caution on psyllium is that some people are allergic to this fiber. Otherwise it can be used often for extended periods of time.

L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in skeletal muscles. Glutamine is utilized directly for energy by both the cells of the intestinal lining and by the cells of the brain. Use of this amino acid is reported in the science literature to enhance healing from "leaky gut", and to prevent deterioration of the gut when a person is on total IV nutrition. In wasting disease states and starvation it seems likely that the body is sacrificing skeletal muscles to prolong the health of the gut and brain. Some people cannot metabolize L-glutamine properly. It seems to be an all or nothing sensitivity. If you can tolerate 500mg of glutamine, you can tolerate 1 teaspoon or 5 grams at a time, 2 to 5 times a day.

Flourish FOS is a complex plant sugar that though undigestible by the human directly, selectively feeds and encourages growth of the friendly bacteria colonies in the gastro-intestinal tract. Too much FOS can temporarily cause excess gas and bowel discomfort.

Antimicrobial herbs provide citricide, berberine and usnic acid which all have the ability to kill unwanted microorganism in the gut. Citricide is broad spectrum and can kill off the friendly bacterias as well as pathogenic organisms. Berberine resistant organisms have been reported by some physicians and patients. Usnic acid seems to act narrowly on protozoans and gram positive bacterias such as the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

Magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, better known as Epsom Salts, provides magnesium essential to proper water and electrolyte balance and cellular metabolism in the gut, bound to detoxifying sulfate. Persons with renal insufficiency should consult their physician before supplementing magnesium as there is a risk of magnesium toxicity with this problem. Too much epsom salts over a short period of time is laxative and can cause diarrhea.

Here are a few suggested ways to use these products.

A cup of cleansing. Vigorously blend 2 tablespoons bentonite clay with 2 tablespoons psyllium husks in 4-6 ounces of chlorine-free water. Drink quickly before the mix turns to gel. This blend provides the best of both ingredients and greatly reduces the risk of constipating on the bentonite. Antimicrobials such as GSE (grapefruit seed extract) can be optionally blended in 10-20 drops.

A cup of regularity. Vigorously blend 1/4-1 teaspoon of Flourish FOS with 2 tablespoons psyllium husks in 4-6 ounces of chlorine-free water. Drink quickly before the mix turns to gel. This blend provides both fiber for regularity and FOS for enhanced intestinal bacteria. Adjust the amount of FOS over time as gas production goes down with regular use.

A cup of comfort. Vigorously blend 1/4 teaspoon of Epsom Salts, 1 teaspoon of L-glutamine powder with 1/4-1 teaspoon of Flourish FOS with 2 tablespoons psyllium husks in 4-6 ounces of chlorine-free water. Drink quickly before the mix turns to gel. This blend provides fiber for regularity, FOS for enhanced intestinal bacteria, magnesium for electrolyte balance and glutamine powder for bowel feeding/healing. Adjust the amount of FOS over time as gas production goes down with regular use.

Belly brew. In a 1 liter bottle add 1/4-1 teaspoon of epsom salts, 1 teaspoon of L-glutamine powder with 1/4-1 teaspoon of Flourish FOS, fill the bottle with chlorine-free water, cap and shake vigorously to mix. Drink throughout the day instead of coffee and soft drinks. This blend provides magnesium for electrolyte balance, glutamine for bowel nutrition, and FOS for enhanced intestinal bacteria. Adjust the amount of FOS over time as gas production goes down with regular use. Adjust the amount of epsom salts over time to prevent laxative effect.

 

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