Supplements for IBS
Treatment for IBS is confined mainly to dealing with the individual symptoms. Some people who have milder symptoms may find that a few modifications to their diet and some lifestyle changes are enough for them to cope with their IBS on daily basis. For others, the symptoms are more severe where possibly the only relief is in medication of some kind or other. For example, laxatives for constipation, anti spasmodic medication for stomach cramps and anti-diarrhoea medicine for diarrhoea.
As research is being done on a continual basis, we are starting to understand more and more about the complex nature of IBS and this has led to several studies highlighting the beneficial effect of certain supplements on IBS symptoms. Certainly, many people would prefer a natural alternative to harsh drugs and the inevitable side effects that often accompany them. The following represents some of the more popular supplements and how they can help to treat IBS. Probiotics We are seeing more products on the supermarket that contain probiotics but the reality is that most of them will do little if nothing at all to help IBS symptoms.
New research has revealed that it is the probiotic Bifidobacterium in particular that can help to ease IBS symptoms. A double blind placebo controlled study was carried out by researchers at University Cork College in London who found that patients who received the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis experienced a significant reduction in IBS symptoms such as pain, bloating and difficult surrounding bowel movements when compared to those who had received a placebo, regardless of whether the IBS was diarrhoea or constipation predominant. So what is it that is so special about probiotics? Well, probiotic literally means "for life". These are the friendly bacteria that help to keep the gut healthy and in good working order by keeping harmful bacteria in the gut at bay. Some people have found that they developed IBS after a course of antibiotics which isn't surprising when we consider that antibiotics also kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad. Others have found that their IBS symptoms began after a gastrointestinal infection which also shows how bacteria can be involved in the development of IBS.
Probiotic supplements containing the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis could potentially offer relief to some IBS sufferers and will boost general health at the same time. Ispaghula Husk Ispaghula husk or Psyllium is produced from the husks of the seeds of Plantago ovata and Ispaghula supplements can be a convenient and effective way of getting enough soluble fibre in the diet. People with IBS are likely to be advised to increase the amount of soluble fibre in their diet regardless of whether they have diarrhoea or constipation.
Fibre is needed by the body to produce healthy and regular bowel movements. Fibre draws water into the bowel which paradoxically can help both constipation and diarrhoea. First it can soften and loosen the hard stools associated with constipation making them easier to pass and secondly, as fibre also absorbs fluid, it can help ease diarrhoea too. In the past Bran, which is insoluble fibre, was often recommended for IBS however, research has indicated that Bran can make IBS symptoms worse. It's vitally important to get plenty of fluids when increasing the amount of fibre in the diet due to the amount of fluid that is absorbed by fibre.
IntestAid IB IntestAid IB is a supplement that has been clinically proven to have a beneficial effect on the digestive system in general as well as alleviate the painful and distressing symptoms of IBS. This supplement contains nucleotides, which are the building blocks of both DNA and RNA. Although they have many functions in the body, within the digestive tract, nucleotides help promote beneficial bacteria and keep the gut healthy by assisting with cell renewal and repair. Nucleotide supplementation is particularly beneficial whenever the body is under stress through illness or if the diet is poor.
However, research has shown it can also help people who have IBS. So how does it work? Studies have shown that it increases the length of the villi (the small hair-like protrusions on the surface of the intestines that help the body to absorb nutrients from the diet) and it also helps to promote healthy bacteria in the gut. A double blind randomised placebo controlled study involving 37 people with irritable bowel syndrome conducted by Dancey et al at the University of East London found that the nucleotide supplement IntestAid IB improved the symptoms of IBS and that the improvements seen were not due to psychological factors but were physiological in nature.
In other words, IntestAid IB really made a difference. Contraindications As with any medication or medicine, whether over the counter or prescribed, there can be certain contraindications which can render them unsuitable for some people such as some medical conditions or prescription drugs etc. and dietary supplements are no different. Although dietary supplements are generally considered safe and do not carry unpleasant side effects, before deciding to take any supplement it is important that you discuss your intention with your doctor first just to make sure that it is an appropriate one for you.
The author- Dave McEvoy is an award winning personal trainer with over 20 years experience; he has also suffered from IBS for 15 years. For more information please come a visit our site.
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