IBS and Your Unbalanced Microbiome
How much does an unbalanced microbiome really affect your health?
Eating a nutrient-poor diet largely made up of highly processed foods — a tell-tale marker of an unbalanced microbiome — is so harmful that some experts believe it may exert a greater effect on your overall health than other factors like your genes.
So, it should come as no surprise that a lack of diversity in your gut may be one more indicator of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the most common condition gastroenterologists diagnose.
Comparing Data By The Numbers
A trio of Korean scientists came to this conclusion based on an analysis of data that compared the balance of gut bacteria among 567 IBS patients (360 adults and 207 children) to 487 healthy controls (244 children and 243 adults) for discrepancies between both groups.
Not only are the microbiomes of adult IBS patients less diverse, the abundance of 21 key strains of gut bacteria differed between healthy controls and IBS patients.
Although researchers believed the sample sizes of children weren’t large enough to make that same conclusion, the first step in this study (a comparison of 19 IBS patients to 24 healthy patients) also showed some significant differences in diversity between those with IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant) and healthy patients.
The Probiotic Way
Although Korean scientists say they will learn much more about the connection between unbalanced microbiomes and IBS in functional studies in the future, there are many steps you can take right now to treat both problems.
Lifestyle modifications like getting more sleep, eating more nutrient-dense, fiber-filled foods and avoiding gluten and reducing your stress can make a gut-healthy difference if your IBS symptoms are on the mild side.
Doctors can prescribe a drug, but that can be challenging depending on whether the main symptoms are diarrhea (IBD-D), constipation (IBS-C) or a mix of both (IBS-A).
But, if you want to avoid a drug, taking a probiotic is a safe and effective option that treats diarrhea safely, eases constipation and keeps your gut-brain axis in balance.
Just be sure you’re taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of bacteria like those from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that support the healthy diversity of bacteria in your gut.
American Society for Microbiology