To an impressive degree, irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, vividly illustrates what consuming wheat and grains do to the human body, as well as the myriad effects of factors such as GMOs containing glyphosate and Bt toxin, veggies and fruits with herbicides and pesticides, water “purified” with awful chemicals such as chloramine (MUCH longer lasting than chlorine in the body and environment), and commonly prescribed drugs like Protonix, Prilosec, and other stomach acid-suppressing drugs.
You may already know that many people obtain relief from IBS symptoms just by banishing wheat and grains from their diet. But some people are left with residual symptoms and persistence of some of the phenomena associated with IBS, so there is reason to understand and explore these issues further. You may also already know that there are a number of other health conditions that may be associated with IBS that I have recently discussed such as seizures, osteoporosis, and Parkinson’s disease. But there’s more.
Among the things I’ll bet you didn’t know about IBS, even if you are/were among those who have dealt with the bouts of unexpected diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and bloating, are:
- Antibiotics such as rifaxamin and neomycin have been shown to reduce IBS symptoms (consistent with its overlap or equivalence to SIBO) in studies such as this. Note that clinical trials make virtually no effort to cultivate a healthy microbiome after a course of antibiotics, virtually guaranteeing recurrence. If you never address the initial causes and fail to take efforts to cultivate healthy bowel flora, of course it comes back.
- Glutamine, 5 grams three times per day, an amino acid known to promote intestinal healing, reduces IBS symptoms and measures of intestinal permeability vs. placebo in IBS developing after an intestinal infection.
- Osteoporotic fractures appear to be more common (at least in observational studies) in people with IBS. Could this be yet another manifestation of the dysbiosis/SIBO that characterizes most, if not all, people with SIBO, that impairs calcium and perhaps vitamin D absorption?
- Blastocystis hominis is an intestinal parasite that can be identified in about 5% of people with IBS. Blastocystis is more common in people who work closely with livestock, children in daycare, and if coupled with a hives-like rash. Genova testing is one of the methods that can help uncover Blastocystis infection, worth pursuing only if every other effort fails to yield relief.
- Aloe Vera has been shown to reduce symptoms of IBS.
- Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 may be a strain of bacteria that can reduce symptoms of severe depression in people with IBS, and may also reduce sleep disturbances.
- Vitamin D supplementation appears to be among the most effective strategies that reduces symptoms of IBS.
Most mainstream gastroenterologists have NO idea how to deal with IBS, or SIBO for that matter, meaning they prescribe pharmaceutical agents that make no sense and do not address causative factors. They scope their patients (i.e., prefer to engage in revenue-producing activities), declare the good news that you don’t have a stomach ulcer or colon cancer, then prescribe nonsensical pharmaceuticals that don’t even begin to change the underlying situation.
For decades, people with IBS were thought to be hopeless neurotics, overly-concerned with bodily functions, a form of neurosis that was meant to be suppressed with anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. While this attitude is wildly out-of-date, it persists in the minds of many older physicians. But it is becoming clearer and clearer that the emotional/psychological aspects of IBS are yet another facet of dysbiosis, disordered bowel flora that modify emotions and brain function. As with so many other health conditions such as fibromyalgia and psoriasis, IBS is likewise looking more and more like a condition driven by dysbiosis. Bear in mind that dysbiosis can take on many different faces: diarrhea, constipation, emotional effects like depression, osteoporosis, seizures, etc. which may reflect the many, many different ways that bacterial species that populate dysbiosis can assume, i.e., the microbial “signature” of IBS can be complex and varied. In other words, dysbiosis in one person can be completely different than dysbiosis in another—the potential variations are staggering.
In contrast, the conventional approach to “treating” IBS symptoms typically includes anti-diarrheal drugs like loperamide (Imodium), antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, adding fiber, antispasmodic drugs, other drugs like eluxadoline (Viberzi) and linaclotide (Linzess), all reflecting the medical method of suppressing symptoms while not addressing the root cause, absurd strategies that are reflected in the general ineffectiveness of conventional treatments. After all, how can addressing, say, serotonin defects or an antidepressant have much benefit if you have unhealthy bacteria infecting the stomach, duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, as in SIBO? You and I are much more interested in understanding how and why such phenomena develop, then correcting those causes.