healthy gut

Support Our Stressed-out Soldiers and Their Gut Health

This month’s 14th celebration of National Military Appreciation Month couldn’t have come at a better time to spotlight the problems some of our stressed soldiers experience with their gut health.

A recent study concluded that higher stress, anxiety and depression felt by 37 male army soldiers during their fourth week of intense combat training (after a resting period) were connected to a greater incidence and severity of gastrointestinal problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The good news: The Department of Veterans Affairs is recognizing these IBS-related health problems suffered by soldiers.

Last year, the VA began implementing an assessment rule for disability benefits, taking into account the high numbers of deployed soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq suffering from IBS and other gastrointestinal setbacks.

“The effects of IBS and other digestive disorders can be debilitating and disruptive to a person’s everyday life,” says International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders President and Founder Nancy Norton. “It’s important that veterans are aware of symptoms of IBS and the advancements in this arena so that they can be best cared for after returning home from service.

“IBS is a long-term condition with symptoms that can change over time in a person. There isn’t an easy remedy for people with IBS, but working in partnership with a knowledgeable care provider can often go a long way toward helping to manage the symptoms.”

The Institute of Medicine released Gulf War and Health Volume 9, a recent report that found there was no “one-size-fits-all” answer for veterans experiencing chronic, multi-symptom illnesses like IBS.

Ailmentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Medical News Today

Probiotics May Battle IBS-Induced Stress

You may recall a recent study I posted about the possibilities of an anxiety-free future by taking probiotics. Those possibilities are looking a little more like probabilities, based on the results of a University of Michigan study on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Although stressful emotions aren’t the primary cause of IBS, they can alter brain-gut interactions that trigger the intestinal inflammation that spurs diarrhea, belly pains (severe or chronic) or a loss of appetite.

In tests on mice, University of Michigan scientists discovered that stress may suppress an important element called an inflammasome, which is needed to maintain healthy gut microbes. The good news: Probiotics reversed the suppressive effect in these animals.

“This study reveals an important mechanism for explaining why IBS patients with probiotics makes sense,” said senior study author, gastroenterologist and associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan John Y. Kao, M.D.

During the course of the study, researchers found inhibiting inflammosomes changed gut composition, resulting in intestinal inflammation. However, pretreating some rats with probiotics reduced inflammation in animals with stress-induced, small bowel inflammation.

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