April is IBS Awareness Month

ibsIn the UK 13% of women and 5% of men are effected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a collection of symptoms which effect the digestive system. This makes IBS the most common gastrointestinal disorder. It is, however, poorly understood with no evidence of what causes it and no known cure. Symptoms can vary from person to person but can include abdominal pain/spasms, gas, bloating, diarrhea alternating with constipation.

There are often several contributing factors that lead to the development of IBS. An overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, parasite or candida infection, food sensitivities, coeliac disease, lactose intolerance, hormonal imbalances, stress and environmental sensitivities can all play a role in the development of the disease.

Nutritional therapy can be a very effective tool for anyone suffering with these type of symptoms. As each person is unique and the causes are varied the therapist will take a comprehensive case history and identify the triggers for each individual person. Functional testing can help to uncover food sensitivities as well as look more deeply into an individuals digestive function.

It is estimated that around one half to two thirds of people with IBS have food sensitivities. Elimination diets can be helpful and common triggers include wheat, corn, dairy, lactose, coffee, tea, citrus fruit and chocolate.

Once triggers are identified and removed digestive enzymes, probiotics and gut healing supplements can help to restore a healthy and functioning digestive system.

Stress can also effect the digestive system. Breathing techniques, meditation, exercise, yoga relaxation can all help.



Dark Chocolate is good for your heart

Scientists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands have found that dark chocolate (containing 70% cocoa solids) helps to reduce cardiovascular disease.

The study found that the chocolate restored flexibility to the arteries and prevented white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels, which leads to inflammation. Both these factors play a key role in Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which is a major risk for heart disease. choc

Ancient wheat may improve digestive symptoms

A new study by the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that those suffering fromImage digestive problems and IBS may see an improvement in symptoms by switching from modern wheat to an ancient grain such as Kamut or Spelt.

Modern wheat has been bred for hardiness and pest resistance. Some believe that this results in the plant becoming toxic, resulting in digestive complaints in many people.

The study took a number of people with IBS and showed that those given modern wheat had elevated inflammation. Their digestive symptoms remained the same.

Those given the ancient grain had a significant reduction in inflammation markers along with reduced symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating and improved stool consistency.

So if you suffer with digestive symptoms it may be worth giving the ancient grains a go!