Tag Archives: IBS

Regulate the bowel and the body will follow

When considering digestive health its interesting to note that for as long as medical writings have been in existence the concept of ‘health starting in the colon’ has always been around. We know that a healthy bowel (colon) is essential for a healthy body but we do expose our gut to a daily barrage of potentially damaging toxins and harmful organisms. In a way, its testament to the effectiveness of gut and its immune system that we are all not ill on a daily basis but we all could do a lot to help this system along and reduce some of the detoxification burden. Its worth considering that an over-burdened intestinal tract is often the trigger for a flare of IBS which in turn can have wider implications on the healthy functioning of the immune system and any background inflammatory conditions that may co-exist. Bowel ‘toxicity’ can be related to poorly digested foods that decay in the colon. This process inevitably aggravates the delicate balance of bowel microbes and can shift the digestive process to one of breakdown too fermentation. Over time, the absorption of nutrients can be impaired and the overgrowth of opportunistic gut organisms such as Candida albicans can occur.

In order to help this process reverse and stimulate healthy digestion over the more unhealthy fermentation process digestive enzymes can be used with great effect. For example, when polysaccharides (the starchy or fibrous part of vegetables) enter the digestive system and are not correctly processed they arrive in the lower bowel (colon) where bacteria and other fermentation orientated organisms set about generating gas as an end product of their actions. Abdominal bloating, colicky cramps and upset bowel actions can be a direct result of this process. Using a specific enzyme that splits up the indigestible type of polysaccharide that is found in dietary fibre, for example, will help reduce the amount reaching the lower bowel and ease the IBS symptoms. These enzymes are known as hemicellulase and cellulase. What makes the story interesting is the fact that the human gut does not make any cellulase which is the reason why cellulose (plant fiber) based foods, although being ‘healthy’ do not digest well in some people. However, certain bacteria within the human bowel actually produce the enzyme known as hemicellulase. Bowel toxicity is a common environmental change that can damage these bacteria to a point where the enzyme is almost absent within the bowel. This, along with other digestive issues can be viewed as another contributing factor causing an aggravation of IBS symptoms.

In addition to the fiber splitting enzymes another specialist ingredient, also an enzyme, can help prevent the inevitable Candida overgrowth that accompanies a toxic colon. Known as chitosanase, the enzyme specifically breaks down chitin, a key structural component that forms the cell wall of fungi and years including Candida. By punching holes in the cell wall chitosanase and other enzymes may effectively digest and eliminate these organisms. Enzyme actions can also go further than the digestive process by beneficially influencing the inflammatory reaction that can occur within the body. A protein splitting enzyme called Peptizyme SP (serratia peptidase) can exert a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that not only eases digestive inflammation but can ease the inflammation related to arthritis and even some skin inflammations such as acne and rosacea.

Supporting enzymes also play an important part in overall digestive efficiency. Adequate levels of fat splitting enzymes (lipase) are required to help process even the small amount of fat found in the leanest of meats. If you are a vegetarian the oils found in nuts and dressings (eg olive) may be healthier options but still require lipase to digest them effectively. Proteins commonly accompany fats in a meal so the need for proteases (protein splitting enzymes) along with sugar splitting enzymes (amylase) is important in a balanced enzyme supplement.

Most enzyme preparations are considered safe to use but following the manufacturers instructions is important since potency and blends will change from brand to brand. Colon ClenZyme (from the Canadian manufacture Natural Factors) contains all the key enzyme ingredients mentioned above; hemicellulase, cellulase, chitosanase, Peptizyme SP along with amaylase, lipase and protease. The vegetarian capsules can be taken with meals or opened so that those who find swallowing capsules difficult can sprinkle the enzyme powder on their food. Adjusting the level of enzyme needed can be quite a personal thing. Starting off with 1 capsule with small-medium sized meals would be a start. This can be increased to 2 capsules if needed or if the meal is larger. Enzymes only have an action for that meal. Once they have passed through the digestive tract they are naturally broken down and eliminated, they do not accumulate over repeated use. Unless otherwise stated, enzyme supplements are suitable for daily and long term use.

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TAV issue 7 now available to download

Hi all,

Just a quick post to announce that the latest issue of our Newsletter, The Alternative View (aka TAV) is available for download from the clinics web site, simply click here.

In this issue we take a look a special non-invasive test to differentiate inflammatory (colitis in its va

rious forms) from functional (irritable) bowel problems. Using the calprotectin test we can now predict when a flare may occur and diagnose with confidence IBS.

Other stories look at the benefit of a low carbohydrate diet in cholesterol levels and the latest supplement technology that allows us to deliver all the beneficial fatty acids associated with fish oil in a 100% vegan and vegetarian friendly form.

Take a moment and down load TAV issue 7, we welcome your comments and views.

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Inflamed of not Inflamed – that is the question!

It’s my stomach, it’s bloated and painful I must have irritable bowel syndrome!
It’s becoming “in” to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Everybody is talking about it, there are special diets, pills and all sorts of treatments to cure it but one has to ask in the first instance; is it actually IBS?
Our clinic sees a lot of IBS and would be IBS cases. People find their way to us because many conventional measures just offer symptomatic ease at best. Most GP’s don’t follow the idea that diet or food allergy can be a cause opting, to prescribe medications simply aimed at relaxing the bowel. I feel their time should be spent trying to relax their patient since so many cases of true IBS are stress related or anxiety induced. However, the fact remains that IBS is affecting more and more of us. Estimates have IBS affecting 10-20% of the population and it is twice as common in women than in men. This estimate, however, does not take into account those cases who do not present themselves to their GP.
The worrying factor with IBS is that many of it’s symptoms are common to other more serious gut and abdominal disorders. In women early stage ovarian cancer may give symptoms of bloating or even just a feeling of “fullness”. Even though ovarian cancer tends to hit the over 65’s it can strike at any age. The other worry is that IBS may also mimic early stage inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These bowel problems may not cause the classic set of inflammatory signs early on and can be mistaken for IBS, which is not a pathological problem at all. Cases of true IBS are free of pathological bowel changes, it general is a functional disorder of muscular tone triggered off by emotional distress or aggravated by foods that irritate the lining of the bowel.
Getting a diagnosis of IBS should be fairly straight forward now. Worries over ovarian cancer can be settled by a good medical history may be a pelvic ultrasound scan and in some cases a simple blood test for the marker known as CA125. When it comes to the inflammatory bowel problems things may get a bit more invasive in those cases that are not so clear cut. A colonoscopy involves inserting a fiber optic camera into the bowel for a good look about. This tends to be very diagnostic but in those with inflammatory changes beyond the reach of the camera the inflammation may be missed. However, help is at hand. A relatively new stool (pooh) analysis, pioneered at Kings College Hospital, taken along side a clinical assessment looks to be the way forward. Known as faecal calprotectin, (click here 1, 2, 3, for more background) this test will detect those cases missed by colonoscopy and help firm up the diagnosis once and for all. It is available through the NHS or for a private fee of around £70-£80. We can get the test done through Hadley Wood Healthcare for £75.00 – all we need it a pooh sample, but call us first.
Once irritable bowel has been confirmed there is a lot we can do. A course of enteric coated Acidophilus and Bifidus bacteria replacement therapy (known as Acidophilus Pearls) is important along side some simple dietary changes. Anxiety and stress need to be addressed, for this we use Elthea-100 containing the green tea amino acid known as L-theanine. A lot can be done but much of our work is on an individual basis. If you are troubled by your bowels we may be able to help in more ways than one.

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