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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Multi-species probiotics conquer constipation

All by itself, constipation is a serious health problem accounting for some 2.5 million visits to American doctors, not to mention a growing number of trips to the ER. Constipation is also one of the telltale symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic condition that affects the colon.

In the past, people have attempted to treat their IBS symptoms with drugs like mesalazine and mexiletine with only mixed results and a lot of unwanted side effects.

The real problem with taking these kinds of drugs is that they don’t get to the root cause of the problem: Rebuilding the healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Taking a multi-species probiotic can do a great deal of good, not only in restoring that gut healthy balance, but treating IBS symptoms associated with constipation too, according to a recent Italian study appearing in BioMed Research International.

For their randomized, double-blind study, scientists divided 150 IBS patients (all adults between age 18-65) with constipation issues into three groups, including one who received a placebo, for 60 days.

Interestingly, three of the five strains of beneficial bacteria in the multi-species probiotic given to patients — blends of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus acidophilus — are contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Compared to the placebo group, the major symptoms of IBS patients taking a multi-species probiotic improved from 74-82 percent compared to just 40 percent for the placebo group.

Even better, patients in both probiotic groups enjoyed relief from symptoms 30 days after the end of supplementation. In fact, signs of some beneficial bacteria were present in stool samples taken from patients too.

This study provides more evidence that taking a probiotic can be a much safer, healthier solution for treating constipation, especially the variety connected with IBS and a lot of other gut-related problems.

Again, the real trick is taking a probiotic made with multiple strains of bacteria from three key “families” (plus a prebiotic) like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that supports the diversity of bacteria that inhabit your gut.

The gut-brain axis even works between mice and men

The importance of a healthy gut-brain axis — the connection that links your brain, intestines and emotions — is critical to protect your cognitive and physical well-being.

That connection seems pretty clear, considering as much as 90 percent of your body’s serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter that sends message from one part of your brain to another, may be produced in your gut.

A recent study appearing in Science Translational Medicine takes the gut-brain axis connection to the next level, literally between mice and men, with the help of fecal transplants.

IBS and the gut-brain axis

Curious about the effect irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has on behavior and intestinal health, researchers from McMaster University and the University of Waterloo took an unconventional approach: Transplanting fecal samples from eight patients suffering from IBS with diarrhea for at least two years and five healthy people into germ-free mice.

Three weeks later, compared to mice that received healthy samples, animals that were given IBS-laced transplants experienced increased gut permeability, low-grade inflammation and faster gastrointestinal transit (how long it takes food to travel from the stomach and through the intestine).

Then, scientists tested anxiety-associated behaviors by measuring the time mice spent in the dark and how long it took them to step down from a platform to explore their environments, according to The Scientist.

Mice that were given fecal samples from human IBS patients who reported anxieties experienced similar emotional difficulties, compared to animals given fecal samples from healthy patients and those with IBS who reported no problems with anxieties.

Probiotics to the rescue

Researcher Dr. Giada De Palma called these findings a landmark “because it moves the field beyond a simple association and toward evidence that changes in the microbiota impact both intestinal and behavioral responses in IBS.”

These results also offer more evidence that human gut health may play a larger role in the range of brain disorders ranging from the emotional (mood or anxieties) to more serious problems, like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and autism, according to a press release.

The good news: Scientists believe treatments such as probiotics and prebiotics could be beneficial in treating, not only the physical aspects of IBS but the behavioral issues associated with it too.

Protecting the health of your gut by taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is certainly much safer and more effective than taking a drug like mesalazine that merely treats symptoms but not the root cause of IBS: Restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Treat IBS with probiotics and not drugs

IBS treatment. As you know, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the more common and chronic gastrointestinal problems, affecting the health of up to 20 percent of the Western world.

The symptoms of IBS — bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, gas and abdominal pain — are certainly uncomfortable and embarrassing, but there are treatment options available.
You can read more about how to get rid of constipation here.

Previously, we’ve discussed research that has shown how conventional medicine has treated IBS with drugs like mexiletine, part of an antiarrhythmic class of medications that are a mixed blessing due to side effects, some of which can be adverse.

A recent study featured in Gut and Family Practice News has ruled out another IBS drug: Masalazine (Pentasa), an anti-inflammatory prescription drug that belongs to the aminosalicylate class and is used to treat ulcerative colitis.

Interestingly, some of the known side effects of mesalazine include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, which can worsen ulcerative colitis too. And, because this medication is similar to aspirin, young children and teens shouldn’t take it if they have the flu and chickenpox or have received a recent vaccine.

None of these are “good” side effects for a drug meant to treat IBS.

In a double-blind study, 115 patients who finished a trial took a daily dose of mesalazine or a placebo for 12 weeks. Patients maintained a “stool” diary, had appointments with researchers during the study and gave stool and sigmoid biopsy samples before and at the end of the trial.

Although a small group of patients experienced significant improvements in some areas, scientists determined there was no advantage between taking mesalazine and a placebo.

For most patients, taking mesalazine didn’t improve stool consistency or abdominal pain compared to the placebo during the final two weeks of the study. In fact, a worsening of IBS symptoms (diarrhea and abdominal pain) was the most common problem experienced by patients taking mesalazine.

Drugs like mesalazine and mexiletine merely treat symptoms of IBS but don’t get to the root cause of the problem: restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria that builds the foundation of good gut health.

The good news: Protecting and improving the diversity of your gut health can be as safe and convenient (no side effects) as taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Advanced Junior, made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria plus the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide.

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IBS may ease struggle to diagnose celiac disease

Diagnosing celiac disease can be a long and frustrating process as doctors and patients struggle to identify the various triggers to this condition that plague the immune system.

A recent Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics (JAMA) study linking celiac disease to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children could ease that process. At the same time, probiotics containing bifidobacterium are promising for treating patients with these dual conditions.

This is good news for celiac sufferers as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that 83 percent of Americans with celiac disease are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Many struggle for years with celiac-related health problems before understanding the root causes of their symptoms.

An immune reaction that damages the small intestine when certain people eat gluten — hence the growing interest in gluten-free foods — celiac disease can be difficult to treat because it affects everyone differently. Symptoms range from digestive problems to diarrhea, abdominal pain and even depression.

The study results

Based on blood tests taken by Italian researchers during the six-year study, 12 of 15 children who tested positive for celiac disease also suffered from IBS.

The benefits of this link between IBS and celiac disease are two-fold: Scientists suggest only IBS patients be tested for celiac disease rather than those suffering from functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDS), a cost-saving measure considering “screening tests are common, costs are substantial, and the yield is minimal.”

Another important benefit: Just like IBS sufferers, celiac patients may benefit from taking probiotics containing strains of bifidobacterium, according to a report in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.

The benefits of bifidobacterium

In addition to following a strict gluten-free diet, a 2013 study concluded celiac patients experienced fewer problems with indigestion, constipation and reflux after being treated with bifidobacterium, demonstrating potential for improvement among untreated celiac patients.

Other findings have shown the presence of bifidobacteria in babies may affect the development of celiac disease later in life. For example, breast milk can stimulate the growth of bifidobacterial species in the guts of healthy infants.

Another study was conducted on infants who were related to at least one family member with celiac disease. It concluded that reduced amounts of bifidobacterium were found in patients who experienced an increased risk of developing celiac disease later in their lives.

Bifidobacteria has been used to treat numerous conditions:

  • Atopic eczema in babies
  • Flu-like symptoms in children
  • Hepatitis
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Lyme disease
  • Cancer

More good news: Bifidobacterium is one of the active strains of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Advanced Junior.

In addition to the multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, both EndoMune probiotics contain no dairy products, preservatives and artificial colorings and are gluten-free.

What is IBS?

What is IBS? Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be an uncomfortable condition, but it is nowhere near as serious a health problem as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

However, IBS is still far more common, affecting up to 20 percent of the Western world. Symptoms include gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain.

Understanding the combination of conditions that trigger this unpredictable health problem can be a mystery due to multiple contributing factors. Among the causes, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House (NDDIC):

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Food sensitivities
  • Hypersensitivity to pain
  • Motor problems that cause irregular movement in the bowels
  • Altered levels of gastrointestinal hormones and body chemicals that transmit nerve signals

The genetic effect

Near the bottom of the list of causes, the NDDIC cites genetics as a common source among family members with a shared history of IBS problems, but is noncommittal about its overall effect. A recent Mayo Clinic study may shed some new light on the genetics of IBS.

Researchers have identified a genetic defect, a mutation of the SCN5A gene that affects the absorption of water and electrolytes. Disruption of this sodium ion channel can lead to constipation or diarrhea.

After comparing the tissues of 584 IBS patients to nearly 1,400 healthy patients, scientists discovered the genetic defect in 2.2 percent of IBS patients.

Is a drug always the best, safest treatment?

Mayo Clinic researchers treated patients with genetic-based IBS successfully by using mexiletine, a drug that improved the sodium ion transport and eased the symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation for this small group of patients.

Mexiletine is part of the antiarrhythmic class of drugs that works by blocking some electrical signals in the heart to stabilize heart rhythms. (It has also been prescribed to treat nerve damage caused by diabetes.)

Unfortunately, medications may come with adverse effects. Antiarrhythmic drugs like mexiletine have been linked to reports of increased risk of heart attack and death, according to MedlinePlus. Those risks are especially elevated among patients who have suffered a heart attack over the past two years.

Taking mexiletine may also increase the chance of experiencing an irregular heartbeat and hasn’t helped people who don’t experience life-threatening arrhythmias to live longer. MedlinePlus warns against using mexiletine unless a patient has suffered life-harming arrhythmias.

Probiotics: The safer, better treatment option

The real problem with taking prescription medications like mexiletine: Too many of them only treat superficial symptoms but neglect to correct the real health problem. However, there is a safer IBS Treatment option that treats the “whole” patient holistically.

Taking a probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic every day not only alleviates symptoms for many IBS sufferers, but corrects the underlying disorder and does it without the risk of any adverse side effects.

Protecting your gut-brain axis with probiotics

Do you realize how strong the connection between your brain and intestines, which is better known as the gut-brain axis, really is?

For example, you may feel that connection painfully or positively when you’re feeling anxious about an event out of your control, experiencing a fender-bender, taking a pop test, going on a first date or making an important presentation at your job.

The physical feelings you’re experiencing in your gut are the direct result of your brain releasing chemicals traveling through the bloodstream or the major nerve pathways. Those messages could be painful (no second date) or positive (you aced the presentation) depending on how your individual gut-brain axis reacts to the outcome.

Some health experts believe the dysfunction of the gut-brain axis may explain several health problems, ranging from fatigue and brain fog to something as simple as toenail fungus.

One of the best and simplest ways to maintain a healthy, balanced gut-brain axis—taking a multi-species probiotic—is at the heart of a recent University of Michigan study about the connection between stress and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on mice.

Researchers discovered mice produced chemicals called inflammasomes to maintain good gut health. However, when stressed, a corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) produced by mice blocked the benefits of those inflammasomes, while changing the composition of their guts, leading to intestinal inflammation. The good news: Mice pretreated with probiotics experienced reduced intestinal inflammation, by reversing the inhibition of inflammasomes.

So, how do these positive results affect folks dealing with IBS? Although researchers say that stress doesn’t cause IBS, it alters gut-brain interactions that lead to diarrhea, problems with appetite and chronic or severe gut pain.

“The effect of stress could be protected with probiotics which reverse the inflammation of the inflammasomes,” says John Kao, senior study author and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan. “This study reveals an important mechanism for explaining why treating IBS patients with probiotics makes sense.”

The important takeaway from this study regarding probiotics: Your body is under constant attack externally (bad bacteria is lurking everywhere) and internally (too many things to do and not enough time to do them). Taking a probiotic is the safest, most effective way to maintain the balance that protects and preserves a healthy gut-brain axis.

Taking a multi-species probiotic is healthier than a placebo

Despite the 10 reasons we cited in a recent blog post, you may still be questioning why you should take a probiotic for your good health.

Unfortunately, a recent study published in the medical journal BMC Gastroenterology that compared the benefits of a probiotic to a placebo (a substance that may look like a drug but contains no medication and is taken merely to reinforce a patient’s belief he or she will get well) may have you doubting the effectiveness.

For the record, British researchers conducted a double-blind trial that compared the benefits 179 irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) patients felt after taking a functional probiotic yogurt or a placebo (non-probiotic yogurt) twice daily.

After four weeks, there was very little difference in the amount of relief felt by patients taking a probiotic (57 percent) versus a placebo (53 percent). By weeks eight and 12, however, patients taking the placebo experienced greater benefits compared to those taking a probiotic.

However, probiotic users shouldn’t be alarmed. The product tested in the study, like many food supplements of its kind, contained just a single strain of beneficial bacteria. It’s difficult to determine just how much beneficial bacteria are contained in yogurt, especially since most contain dead microbiota.

Shortly after BMC Gastroenterology published its study, the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology released one of its own that found probiotics containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria reduced IBS symptoms in 68 percent of participants compared to just 37.5 percent of those given a placebo.

In fact, studies have shown beyond a doubt that probiotics containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria are more effective in treating a host of health problems in addition to IBS, including diarrhea, immune functioning and respiratory tract infections.

Taking a health-boosting probiotic like EndoMune Advanced, which contains at least 10 different varieties of bacteria, some 16 billion beneficial bacteria and prebiotics every day, can do wonders for your continued good health.

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.

Feel Relief From IBS With Probiotics

Constipation as a result of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, can be uncomfortable and disconcerting. Although prescription drugs can provide some relief, it can cause unwelcomed side effects. In fact, in nearly 29 percent of clinical studies, medicines prescribed to treat IBS caused considerable side effects, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and headache.

An EndoMune Advanced customer, who had previously been diagnosed with IBS, was prescribed a medication for chronic constipation. The medication caused her to experience side effects resulting in her feeling discomfort rather than relief. Because of this, she began taking EndoMune Advanced daily and noticed that she no longer relied on her prescription medication to treat her IBS.

Medications prescribed to treat IBS improve constipation by stimulating the intestines to secrete chloride, which, as a result, leads to more fluid in the intestines. These medications treat the symptoms of IBS rather than the underlying problem and disrupt the healthy balance of intestinal bacteria. Probiotics, on the other hand, re-establish the health balance that had been disrupted and corrects the underlying problem that causes the constipation.

Before turning to prescription medication to treat your IBS, try a probiotic supplement, like EndoMune Advanced, and you just might find the relief you seek.

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