It is very likely that a wellness, weight-loss or detoxification program will help you to improve you digestive health and enhance your health and vitality. So call Christine at Restore Nutrition to discuss a program to suit you or book online.
Digestive Health – IBS / Irritable Bowel Syndrome and IBD / Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Improve your digestive health and repair your gut today with dietary changes and effective nutritional supplementation.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are common and debilitating conditions which significantly affect a person’s quality of life. IBS presents with a cluster of gut symptoms, with the cardinal symptom being abdominal pain with either constipation and/or diarrhea. IBD’s are chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointenstinal tract (GIT). The most common ones seen in clinical practice are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Inflammation may affect any part of the GIT from the mouth to the anus.
Signs and symptoms for IBS
- Abnormal stool frequency (“abnormal” may be defined as greater than 3 bowel movements per day or less than 3 bowel movements per week)
- Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool)
- Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation)
- Passage of mucous
- Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension.
- Straining during a bowel movement
- Urgency (having to rush to have a bowel movement)
- Feeling of incomplete bowel movement
- Abdominal pain and/or discomfort relieved by defecating
- Changes in bowel habits
- Diarrhea or constipation, or both alternately
- Need for bowel movement immediately on waking or after eating
Signs and symptoms for IBD
- Diarrhea with or without gross or occult blood (occurs in the majority of patients)
- Abdominal pain (often after eating and relieved with defecation)
- Abdominal distension
- Poor appetite, weight loss, malnutrition
- Steatorrhoea (fatty stool)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anal-rectal complications such as fistulas, fissures, or peri-rectal abscesses
- Pain in the right lower quadrant
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal tenderness or pain
- High fever
- Rectal tenesmus (sense of needing to evacuate, even when bowel is empty)
- Constipation (this may occur instead of diarrhea if rectal involvement is predominant)
- Arthralgia – generalized joint pain
Anti-inflammatory natural medicine
There are many nutrients and anti-inflammatory herbs that can be prescribed to reduce gut inflammation and provide symptomatic relief. An example of this is Glutamine & Boswellia, a nutrient herb combination that has been found to provide symptomatic relief for IBD, as well as addressing some of the primary driving factors of the condition. Boswellia is known to be a highly effective anti-inflammatory for the gut. Its use in a clinical trial for patients suffering from non-specific colitis achieved significant symptomatic relief. Additionally Glutamine has been used for many years to heal the gut, it is known to be a key fuel source for intestinal cells, and was more recently discovered to benefit cells under inflammatory stress.
The digestive system contains over 400 species of bacteria that help keep the digestive system healthy and are also important for the maintenance of the immune system. Reasons why the gut flora may be out of balance are: antibiotic use, intestinal inflammation, irritable bowel disease, parasitic infestation, candida overgrowth and poor diet. When the gut bacteria population is out of balance, a probiotic may be chosen to help replace the good bacteria and restore nutrition to the gastrointestinal tract. Choosing a probiotic may be tricky as there is wide variety to choose from. It is best to have a probiotic prescribed by your nutritionist to ensure it is the right supplement for you. Additionally a probiotic prescribed by your practitioner will be of the highest quality and stored in controlled conditions to protect against loss of potency.
To break down the foods in the stomach, enzymes and acids are released from the stomach, liver and pancreas. People that experience symptoms such as fullness after eating, burping, reflux, wind and constipation may not produce enough of these enzymes. Digestive function may deteriorate with age, particularly gastric acid and pancreatic output. Supplementation is important in this case, because if the food we eat is not broken down sufficiently, absorption of nutrients into the body is compromised and a deficiency may occur.
Diet and Lifestyle
Dietary and lifestyle changes that may assist in the management of IBS and IBD. Some of these strategies may include the following:
- Low FODMAP Diet; FODMAP is the acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccarides and Polyols, a group of carbohydrates that may be problematic in some individuals as they are poorly absorbed, draw water into the gut lumen and undergo rapid fermentation. This causes symptoms of bloating, pain and excessive gas production.
- Elimination diet/program may be applied to specific irritants such as gluten and dairy to identify a food sensitivity.
- A reduction of inflammatory foods high in omega 6 fatty acids and an increase in anti-inflammatory foods high in omega 3 fatty acids. (eg. a reduction in red meat and an increase in fish consumption).
- Decrease sugar and trans-fatty acid consumption from refined white foods.
- Moderation of alcohol intake has been shown to be beneficial.
- Smoking cessation is a priority in currently smoking patients.
- Regular aerobic exercise may assist.