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Middle aged man holding bag of groceries overstuffed with produce

How Men Can Avoid the Colon Cancer “Diet”

How Men Can Avoid the Colon Cancer “Diet”

There’s no doubt in the world that one of the easiest things you can do to protect your health and avoid serious disease — eating a nutrient-dense diet packed with lots of unprocessed whole foods, fiber and natural sugars — is one of the best things too.

Unfortunately, we see the old adage, You are what you eat!, play out every day in rising mortality rates on a global scale due to poor diets than smoking and car accidents.

A recent study appearing in The BMJ underscores the risk of poor diets, concluding that men raise their risk of developing colon cancer by 29 percent just by eating highly processed foods.

 

Rising Rates of Colon Cancer

You’ve probably read similar reports we have about the rising rates of colon cancer, leading scientists to predict it will become the leading cause of death for patients under age 50 by the end of this decade.

Researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy already had assumed diet was a major contributor in a colon cancer diagnosis, but who was more vulnerable and why.

Scientists reviewed data from more than 205,000 patients across three large studies that tracked dietary intake along with how often people consumed a list of some 130 foods for more than 25 years.

During that time, men were far more susceptible to colon cancer than women, largely due to eating diets full of highly processed meats, poultry, pork and fish, ready-to-eat meals and sugar-sweetened drinks.

These results led researchers to consider the possibility that other factors could be responsible for rising colon cancer risks among men, like the role food additives play in harming the balance of bacteria in the gut and promoting inflammation.

 

Reduce Your Colon Cancer Risks

Eating a healthier, fiber-rich diet made up of fewer highly processed meats along with incorporating some movement into your daily routine will go a long way toward reducing your colon cancer risks. However, we recommend adding a couple of things to your to-do list.

For one, get screened for colon cancer as soon as you’re able. Although the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended lowering the age for a first screening to age 45 last year, if you have a family history of colon cancer take the initiative and do it sooner.

Also, given what we already know about the health-harming use of antibiotics and their effect on raising your colon cancer risks, we recommend taking a daily probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and a proven prebiotic (that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut).

You can get the protection you need with the proprietary blend of 10 proven strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families and the prebiotic FOS contained in each serving of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

 

Resources

Tufts Now

The BMJ

People

packet of sugar alternatives

Are Sugar Substitutes Safe For Your Gut?

Are Sugar Substitutes Safe For Your Gut?

The challenge for many people trying to lose weight often comes down to the tradeoffs they make along the way.

For example, low-calorie sugar substitutes are some of the most popular tools people use to satisfy their sweet tooth and keep their weight-loss goals on track.

However, we’ve seen plenty of evidence that sugar substitutes like sucralose, saccharine, aspartame and stevia create lots of gut health problems.

Could you be swapping one set of serious health problems for others by using zero-calorie sweeteners?

 

Sugar Substitutes Alter the Microbiome

Israeli researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science recently showed how a variety of sugar substitutes alter the microbiome negatively, even when consumed briefly in small amounts, according to a study appearing in Cell.

Scientists screened some 1,400 healthy patients before selecting 120 people (ages 18-70) for this project who had one thing in common: Each patient avoided artificially sweetened foods and drinks in their daily life.

Then, patients were divided into groups who consumed prescribed amounts one of four sweeteners (saccharin, sucralose, aspartame or stevia) and two control groups (glucose or no sweetener at all) for two weeks.

Compared to those in the control groups, patients who consumed any sugar substitute experienced unique changes in the composition and functionality of their microbiomes.

Also, patients in the sucralose and saccharin groups had experienced even more significant alterations in how their bodies metabolized these chemicals, a warning sign of metabolic disease, by altering their glucose tolerance.

As one last check, researchers transplanted gut bacteria from 40 “sugar” patients into germ-free mice that had never consumed it to observe any changes. No surprise, the changes in glucose tolerance among mice consistently mirrored those of their human donors.

“These findings reinforce the view of the microbiome as a hub that integrates the signals coming from the human body’s own systems and from external factors such as the food we eat, the medications we take, our lifestyle and physical surroundings,” says lead researcher Dr. Eran Elinav.

 

Losing Weight Safely

Although consuming sugar substitutes in amounts big or small can harm your gut and the way your body breaks down glucose, you still have healthy options that are pretty easy to follow to keep losing weight and protect your gut.

For one, drinking plenty of clean water keeps you hydrated. (Add some flavor to your water with slices of lemon along with a dash of turmeric or cinnamon.)

If you can’t give up your favorite “diet” soft drink, be sure to protect the balance of bacteria in your gut by taking a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

And, if you want some extra help to lose those extra pounds, consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, a probiotic uniquely formulated with Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS that promotes a sense of fullness and protects your gut health.

 

References

Cell

Weizmann Institute of Science

Food Navigator-USA.com

Jar of peanut butter with peanuts next to it.

Can Probiotics Help Peanut Allergies

Probiotics: The Gut Solution to Peanut Allergies

Food allergies remain some of the most common and challenging health problems people face throughout their lifetimes.

More than 170 foods have been found to trigger allergic reactions, with peanuts topping the list among children (affecting 1 out of every 50 kids in America) and ranking third among adults (below shellfish and milk).

Avoiding foods containing peanuts can be really tricky, requiring you to pay close attention to food labels and menus. Even with close vigilance, you may still find peanuts as an ingredient in some unusual places, like chili, pizza, sauces, candies, ice creams and even lawn fertilizer.

For people who come in contact with peanuts, either through skin contact or eating them, the possible symptoms can range from the very uncomfortable (diarrhea, skin rash, cramps, swelling) to life-threatening (anaphylaxis).

Researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute have been testing the use of probiotics as a viable treatment for peanut allergies with much success, as we’ve shared with you previously.

A new study from the Australian-based institute has concluded a sizeable number of children treated with probiotics and oral immunotherapy achieved total remission and were able to eat peanuts safely.

Here’s how…

 

It’s All In The Genes!

Based on her previous work on peanut allergies, Dr. Mimi Tang and her Australian research team discovered the mechanism that facilitates the remission of these immunological problems via activity at the gene level.

For this latest randomized study, 62 children between ages 1-10 received a placebo or a probiotic containing a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (one of the 10 strains of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic) plus oral immunotherapy (the gradual introduction of peanuts) for 18 months.

After this first trial, 74 percent of the patients receiving a probiotic and oral immunotherapy achieved relief from their peanut allergies compared to just 4 percent of the placebo group.

Later on, a follow-up trial found about half of the children treated with oral immunotherapy and probiotics or oral immunotherapy alone achieved total remission and were able to eat peanuts safely.

“What we found was profound differences in network connectivity patterns between children who were allergic and those who were in remission,” says Dr. Tang, an immunologist/allergist and a well-known expert in food oral immunotherapy.

This molecular connectivity and communication triggered changes in allergen-specific Th2 cells (essential components in the development of food allergies) that “turned off” signaling in children whose peanut allergies were in remission.

 

Not So Fast…

While these latest results are great news for people who suffer from peanut allergies (while promoting good gut health), it could take a while before a final, rock-solid protocol to treat food allergies is put in place.

Until then, if you or your child suffer from an allergy to food like peanuts, we strongly recommend discussing any strategies with your doctor first.

 

Resources

Allergy

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Cleveland Clinic

Food Allergy Research and Education

Senior african american woman smiling and looking up and away from camera. Overlaid text on image reads "The Aging Gut 101: Healthy Aging, Healthy Gut

The Aging Gut 101

The Aging Gut 101: Healthy Aging, Healthy Gut

“Does my gut age just like the rest of me?”

We get this question a lot, especially from older folks who are starting to understand the connection between the gut and their health in ways that matter directly to them, like maintaining their bones and preserving their cognitive skills.

The simple answer: The composition of bacteria in your gut evolves with time just like your body. Your microbiome develops rapidly from infancy to age 3, stabilizes through middle age, then changes rapidly later in life, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Those changes can be a good thing. In fact, the more your gut bacteria evolves as you age, the better your overall health may be, based on recent research appearing in Nature Metabolism.

Your Evolving Gut

This study compared a wealth of data on human health along with gut microbiome genetic sequencing data on more than 9,000 patients ranging from ages 18-101.

However, the real focus of the research team (led by scientists at the Institute for Systems Biology) was a subset of more than 900 older patients (ages 78-98) to better understand the makeup of their microbiomes and how they matched up with their overall health.

To the good, older adults whose microbiomes kept evolving enjoyed better overall health, as evidenced by lower levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, higher vitamin D levels and more beneficial blood metabolites produced by the gut (including one that reduced inflammation and extended lives in previous animal studies).

Not only did those with more unique microbiomes feel better, they experienced greater overall mobility and could walk faster than their peers whose gut health didn’t change as much with age.

To the bad, patients with less diverse microbiomes took more medications and were nearly twice as likely to die during the course of the study.

Scientists also learned that microbiome uniqueness was more prevalent among women, which may go a long way toward explaining why women often outlive men…

Your Diet Matters

So, what drives microbial evolution and longevity among seniors? The healthiest patients with the most dramatic shifts in their microbiomes experienced steep drops in Bacteroides, a species commonly found in people who eat more processed foods and far less fiber.

When patients eat less fiber, the Bacteroides in their guts have little to eat which can trigger an immune response leading to chronic inflammation and an array of age-related conditions from arthritis to heart disease.

These results certainly mirror previous articles we’ve shared about the many health benefits of dietary fiber, especially if you want to maintain a resilient, healthy gut microbiome that evolves as you age.

How much fiber your body needs every day to maintain optimal health depends on your gender — men need a bit more (31-38 grams) than women (21-25 grams) — and the quality of your diet.

Are You Taking A Probiotic?

If you’re having challenges getting enough fiber, taking a daily probiotic formulated with proven strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic can do a lot of good.

Taking a probiotic with a prebiotic may also reduce low-grade inflammation. This was the key finding in a recent review of studies appearing in Nutrients.

One of the real benefits of taking a probiotic comes from the production of butyrate (short-chain fatty acids created when your gut digests soluble fiber) that reduces chronic low-grade inflammation in your gut.

If you’ve been looking for a good probiotic, find one with multiple strains of beneficial and proven bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families plus a prebiotic that feeds the good guys in your gut, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Resources

National Institute on Aging

Nature Metabolism

New York Times

Gut Microbiota For Health

Nutrients

Nutraingredients Asia

Illustration of a gut, a heart, and a brain all connected by a dotted line. Text: The Gut's connection to stroke

The Gut Connection to Stroke

The Gut Connection to Stroke

Many of you know about the connection between poor diets rich in fats, red meat and processed foods and the cluster of problems that trigger metabolic syndrome.

Conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and extra body weight around the waist are manageable on their own. That is, until they manifest as a group leading to metabolic syndrome.

When they do, your risks of even more serious cardiovascular problems, like stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, escalate dramatically.

Did you know the gut has a direct connection to metabolic syndrome and poor cardiovascular health? This may increase your chances of a severe stroke and other serious health problems afterward?

Here’s how…

 

The TMAO Problem

When we consume foods or drinks high in choline (red meat, eggs, high-fat dairy products) and L-carnitine (red meat and some energy drinks), our gut bacteria breaks them down into trimethylamine (TMA).

Then, TMA is converted by the liver to TMAO (trimethylene N-oxide), a metabolite that has been linked to the narrowing or obstruction of arteries and increases in blood clots, leading to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have spent more than a decade examining how the gut microbiome affects our cardiovascular health with findings that have yielded significant insights about TMAO.

A recent Cleveland Clinic study determined the dual presence of elevated TMAO and choline was enough to produce, not only strokes of greater size and severity, but more challenging post-stroke functional impairments.

Scientists came to these conclusions after transplanting fecal samples from human patients with high or low levels of TMAO into germ-free mice.

Over the course of the study, animals receiving fecal transplants with higher levels of TMAO had more of it in their bloodstreams and experienced more extensive brain damage in multiple stroke models as well as greater post-stroke motor and cognitive deficits.

What’s more, the presence of bacteria containing CutC, a key enzyme related to choline that drives TMAO production in the gut, was enough to more than double stroke severity and worsened functional outcomes by as much as 30 percent.

 

What You Can Do About It

Based on our previous article about the problems associated with the Paleo Diet, a diet focused on more meat or Western diet staples like highly processed foods, creates the ideal environment for bad gut bacteria that generate unhealthy amounts of TMAO and lessen the impact of beneficial bacteria.

Fortunately, there’s some easy steps you can take to protect your gut and cardiovascular health from harm. For starters, increasing your intake of dietary fiber by just 1 ounce (30 grams) in your diet can help you lose weight and reduce your cardio risks.

Besides adding more fiber to your diet, taking a probiotic fortified with multiple strains of beneficial and proven bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, can do a great deal of good to promote the natural fermentation process that protects your gut.

 

References

Cell Host & Microbe

Cleveland Clinic/Consult QD

Cleveland HeartLab

SelfDecode

Mayo Clinic

Illustration of the human digestive tract. Text: Origins of IBS 101

IBS 101: The Origins

IBS 101: The Origins

Some of the most popular articles on our website feature irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the most common condition gastroenterologists diagnose.

As many as 15 percent of all Americans may experience IBS symptoms during their lifetime, yet only a small portion of people are diagnosed and treated for it.

That’s really not surprising given the three IBS subtypes, depending on whether the main symptoms are constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D) or a mix of both (IBS-A), that can create a lot of confusion.

A recent European study conducted by the Dutch university, KU Leuven, has shed some new light on the real mystery: What triggers IBS.

 

Food Allergy Or No Food Allergy?

This team of Dutch researchers had already demonstrated how blocking histamine (a chemical released when the immune system is fighting a potential allergen) improved the health of IBS patients.

The real question: If the immune systems of healthy patients don’t react to foods, what would change to trigger IBS? This same European research team conducted tests on mice and IBS patients to find out.

Knowing that patients experience IBS symptoms after a GI problem like food poisoning, scientists infected mice with a stomach bug while feeding them a protein found in egg whites that’s commonly used as a food antigen (any molecule that provokes an immune response).

After the infections cleared up, mice that were fed the same food antigen a second time became sensitive to it, evidenced by the release of more histamine in their bodies and signs of abdominal pain.

What’s more, this immune response was localized in the part of the intestine infected by the gut bug but didn’t produce more generalized symptoms of a food allergy.

When researchers conducted a similar test on 12 IBS patients (injecting their intestines with a mix of cow’s milk, wheat, soy and gluten), the results mirrored the same ones seen in mice to at least one food antigen.

 

More Work To Be Done

Although scientists have identified one trigger for IBS, there’s still a lot of research ahead before a reliable solution ever comes. But you don’t have to wait to treat IBS dependably and safely.

We already know that following a more balanced diet with more fiber and fewer carbohydrates eases symptoms. A registered dietician may also recommend a FODMAP diet, a restrictive but temporary eating plan to help you target problem foods that could trigger IBS symptoms.

Your doctor may also recommend medications, but changes in a patient’s IBS subtype can make that a tricky proposition. Also, if stress is a factor in your IBS challenges, your physician may prescribe an antidepressant drug too.

However, if you’re wary about taking a drug, there are good non-drug options for easing symptoms, like probiotics that handle the key symptoms of each IBS subtype.

Probiotics do a great job of treating diarrhea and shortening its duration. Maintaining the motility in your intestines with help from probiotics eases constipation. And, when stress becomes a factor, probiotics work well to keep your gut-brain axis in balance.

The reputation of probiotics has become so rock-solid that professional organizations like the British Society of Gastroenterology recommend them as a frontline treatment for IBS.

When you’re looking for a good probiotic, be sure it’s formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria that support the healthy microbial diversity of your gut.

Any probiotic you consider should also include a prebiotic, the unsung heroes of gut health that feed the bacteria living in your gut.

You can enjoy the best of both worlds with EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, formulated with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families plus the proven prebiotic FOS.

 

Resources

Nature

KU Leuven

Cleveland Clinic

About IBS

Nutrients

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

Woman on walk outside with towel over shoulder. Text: A gut-healthy way to lose weight

How Gut Health Affects Weight Loss

A Gut-Healthy Way to Lose Weight

As the holiday season approaches, many people are already thinking about the start of a New Year and reminded about those “Let’s lose weight!” resolutions.

It’s not surprising given the results of a recent American Psychological Association report we shared about average weight gains during our COVID-19 hibernation that nearly doubled the quarantine 15 weight-gain assumptions.

Most people focus on the basics, but did you know your gut affects your ability to lose weight too?

 

The Gut-Weight Link

In a recent study appearing in mSystems that examined a subset of patients who were part of a behavioral modification study, scientists at the Institute for Systems Biology concluded that the mix of bacteria in the gut not only influences your ability to lose weight, but it can prevent it too.

Out of the 105 patients who participated over 6 to 12 months, 57 patients maintained the same BMI and lost no weight while the remaining 48 patients lost more than 1 percent of their body weight each month.

What’s more, these patients were given a specific diet or exercise plan to follow which led researchers to dig deeper with blood work and stool samples.

 

Two key findings stood out:

  1. People whose weight and BMIs remained the same during the study had a gut bacteria mix that broke down starchy foods into sugars more effectively.
  2. Among patients who lost weight consistently, researchers identified genes that helped gut bacteria grow, replicate and form cell walls faster, allowing starches to be consumed before they could add extra pounds.

These differences in genes shed light on the impact of nutrient-poor Western diets that create differences in the composition of gut bacteria among healthy people and those are obese, says lead study author Dr. Christian Diener.

So, what do you do to lose those extra pounds?

 

The Gut-Healthy Way To Lose Weight

You can take healthy steps — eat more nutrient-dense whole foods, incorporate more movement during your day and take a few minutes at day’s end to destress — but your body may still need help to build the momentum it needs to lose those extra pounds.

That’s where research has shown how targeted strains of beneficial bacteria in a probiotic supplement can maintain the healthy balance in our gut and help our bodies regulate our metabolism. (This is especially important if you’re older due to a natural decline of beneficial bacteria in your gut.)

EndoMune Metabolic Rescue contains a proven blend of Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS (Xylooligosaccharides) that stimulates the release of hormones in your gut that reduce your appetite by promoting a greater sense of fullness.

If you’ve been struggling to get started on your weight loss journey, EndoMune Metabolic Rescue is formulated to help you start your weight loss journey in a safe, all-natural, gut-healthy way.

 

Resources

mSystems

Technology Networks: Immunology & Microbiology

Science Focus/BBC

Nourish/WebMD

 

Four spoons holding different types of sugar and artificial sugars. Text: Should you use artificial sweeteners?

Artificial Sweeteners Disrupt Gut Health

Artificial Sweeteners Disrupt Your Gut Health

Artificial sweeteners are some of the first options people consider when they want to lose weight yet still satisfy their sweet tooth.

But, as we’ve learned from previous research, there are tradeoffs when you turn to popular products like artificial sweeteners. Some of them may do more harm than good to your health.

An international research team from Israel and Cyprus recently took a second look at how those six artificial sweeteners affect human health.

Based on a new report featured in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, scientists found three of those very popular artificial sweeteners used in so many “diet” foods, sports supplements and carbonated beverages may interfere with how the bacteria in your gut communicate and could increase your risk of disease.

 

The Unsweet Results

The test was a very simple one as researchers exposed light-emitting bacteria to a half-dozen FDA-approved artificial sweeteners contained in many sports supplements athletes use.

Three of those artificial sweeteners — aspartame, sucralose and saccharin — reduced the light from the light-emitting bacteria, signaling to researchers that communication between bacteria was disrupted.

Why this new knowledge is so important: Labeling on products like popular diet sodas and sports drinks don’t accurately tell us how much of the fake stuff they contain, says Dr. Ariel Kushmuro, who runs the Ben-Gurion University’s Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology.

In other words, how much artificial sweetener is contained in that sports drink and what amount of it creates health problems? Given that aspartame, sucralose and saccharine range in sweetness from 200 to 700 more than table sugar, it’s hard to be completely sure.

Healthier Options

If you’re ready to reduce your intake of diet drinks and sports supplements, you do have better, healthier options, like drinking water that promotes more natural fullness and keeps you hydrated.

However, if you’re not ready to give up on sweet drinks and other products containing artificial sweeteners, it’s a good idea to protect the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut by taking a probiotic with proven strains of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families, like those found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

References

International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Ben-Gurion University

Israel 21

Times of Israel

Yellow illustration of a gut with a magnifying glass being held up to it and showing probiotic bacteria while enlarged red illustrations of coronavirus are being smashed against the gut illustration and breaking

Does Diet Affect Covid Symptoms?

How Your Gut Health May Affect The Severity of the Coronavirus

Eating a poor diet like the typical Western diet — full of processed foods full of sugar, fats, and refined grains — creates all kinds of problems for your health related to your gut.

For starters, these nutrient-poor diets increase your risks of obesity and your vulnerability to a cluster of serious health conditions (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer) known as metabolic syndrome.

Now, some health experts believe unhealthy diets may also increase your risks of a more severe case of the coronavirus too, based on a recent review of research published in mBio, the journal of the American Society of Microbiology.

Another Culprit: Leaky Gut

The report stems from a question posed by Dr. Heenan Stanley Kim, a microbiologist at Korea University’s Laboratory for Human Microbial Interactions: Why are countries like the U.S with solid medical infrastructures being hit so hard by the coronavirus?

As we know very well, the common link, the Western diet already disrupts the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Another gut health problem Dr. Kim points to is leaky gut, a condition in which breakdowns in the intestinal wall allow toxic waste products, undigested food, bacteria and viruses to break through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.

Leaky gut may be a pathway in which the coronavirus spreads from the gut into the bloodstream and other organs in the body, leading to more severe cases. (A healthy gut supported by the presence of butyrate may block that kind of response.)

Rebalancing Your Gut

This report supports a study we shared with you recently that found a link between imbalances in the gut and the severity of coronavirus. Its chief finding: The guts of coronavirus patients contained fewer strains of beneficial bacteria that could muster an immune system response.

What’s more, studies appearing in other medical journals (Gastroenterology and Clinical Infectious Diseases) in 2020 have found similar links to gut health imbalances and the coronavirus, so there’s a likely connection.

Fortunately, you can improve the health of your gut very easily by taking some simple steps.

First and foremost, it’s critical to eat a healthy, balanced diet, especially when you’re prescribed an antibiotic, a well-known disruptor to your gut health.

Make sure that diet includes a daily “dose” of dietary fiber. Just 1 ounce (30 grams) is all it takes and that’s pretty easy to do, especially if you enjoy eating strawberries, lentils, beans, apples, and whole grains.

Another way to ensure the bacteria in your gut stay in balance: Take a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotics,‑with 10 buildings blocks from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus a prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.

Resources

mBio

Gut Microbiota For Health

Mayo Clinic

Clinical Infectious Diseases

Gastroenterology

Thumbs up graphic with healthy foods inside. Thumbs down with unhealthy food inside. Text: Do you have IBS? How's Your Diet?

How Diet Affects IBS

Poor Diets Increase IBS Problems

For those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), not a day goes by without the imminent reminders of symptoms of diarrhea, constipation or both. But, did you know up to 45 million Americans suffer from IBS, the most common reason patients consult with a gastroenterologist?

Although the experts aren’t exactly sure what causes IBS, a lot of factors play a role, from emotional issues and bacterial infections in your digestive tract to food sensitivities.

What’s more, these factors vary among patients, and there are different subtypes of IBS, depending on whether diarrhea (IBS-D) or constipation (IBS-C) dominate or both symptoms alternate (IBS-A).

However, we may be learning some important clues about the causes of severe IBS related to a very familiar culprit of all sorts of gut health problems: The typical Western diet filled with low-fiber processed foods and bad fats.

Bad Diets, Severe Symptoms

Suspecting poor diets could be a major factor in IBS, a group of European researchers compared the health of 149 adults with IBS (almost half suffering from severe symptoms) to 52 healthy patients by monitoring their eating habits (four days) and stool samples (two weeks) closely via detailed diaries.

Once patients turned in their diaries, three facts stood out right away.

  1. Eating meats and plant-based foods were major drivers in determining dietary patterns. (This makes sense given what we know about paleo diets creating serious gut health imbalances and heart health problems.)

 

  1. IBS patients with more severe symptoms ate diets filled with more sugary, carbohydrate-rich, low-fiber processed foods that are found in the Western diet.

 

  1. The guts of IBS patients produced a lot of specialized microbial enzymes related to breaking down complex carbohydrates known as food glycans. That overproduction of glycans is important, given how they shape bacteria in the human gut, according to a study appearing in Nature Reviews Microbiology.

The Take-Home Message

If you’re suffering from IBS, many physicians will recommend eating a more balanced diet focused on avoiding gluten and foods that generate more gas and consuming more fiber. Your doctor may also recommend following a low FODMAP diet, and other important lifestyle changes, like reducing your stress levels and getting more sleep and exercise.

If you’re having problems with IBS, you may want to avoid a drug like alosetron (Lotronex) that has its own share of unpleasant side effects, and consider taking a probiotic.

In addition to protecting the overall health of your gut, probiotics work well to maintain the motility in your intestines which lessens constipation, plus they are a safe, effective means to treat diarrhea too.

In fact, the latest guidelines issued by the British Society of Gastroenterology in the medical journal Gut now recommend probiotics as a frontline treatment for IBS.

But, not any probiotic will do the trick.

Taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotics —‑with 10 buildings blocks from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families — will help to treat the symptoms of IBS more effectively plus give your body’s immune system a much-needed boost.

Resources

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