You’ve got to love the gut – it’s our very own barometer!
Where there’s stress, there’s often a gut glitch and vice versa..
In this article we look at how stress - along with other factors - are linked with a specific gut condition called IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
Many of you have heard of or are suffering from IBS - it includes all or some of the following:
- Abdominal discomfort and pain (cramping)
- Alternating constipation/diarrhea
- Running to the loo
For so many of my clients with IBS, going to the loo is associated with pain, distress and embarrassment.
“I just don’t know what’s going to happen!”
“I am so embarrassed going to toilet at work!”
“The pain makes me double over sometimes!”
Not fun at all!
IBS is interestingly NOT linked to inflammation – it’s a ‘functional’ disorder – one that simply happens with no known cause.
It’s been linked to a few things, though.
STRESS is a big one.
IBS has been deemed a psychological disorder for a few decades now.
This is because IBS symptoms are frequently made worse by stressful life events. And a physical exam shows no damage to the gut.
It’s labelled the mental illness of our second brain, the gut!
This is no surprise considering the gut has more nerve tissue than our brain and some IBS sufferers have gained short-term relief with serotonin supplementation – that 'feel good' hormone we produce in our gut!
So we have IBS linked with stress, linked with serotonin levels, and here are some more:
- Gut infections (such as food poisoning)
- A lack of enzymes and/or stomach acid
- Too much bad bacteria in the small intestine (commonly referred to as SIBO)
- Poor immunity
Looking at the links with IBS – it’s really a bit of a merry-go-round - like when antibiotics are given for gut infections or even SIBO, which then wipes out the good biome, which then can lead to IBS symptoms.
So how we can help get rid of, or at least minimise IBS?
The most obvious one, psychologically, is to address the stress.
What can we control here?
What tweaks can be made to our lifestyle?
Can we ask for help?
Anything positive to reduce our stress levels can only help!
And here is a great resource to get you started: Instant Calm by Paul Wilson. There’s so much info packed into this book – it’s well researched, creative and practical.
It’s an ideal reference to keep with you to have a flick through on the train or in the park – great for downtime moments!
Another common thread is restoring good biome in the gut and small intestine.
Good biome may help support:
- Serotonin production (our happy hormone)
- The clearing of bad, toxic bacteria from the gut and small intestine
The perfect all-rounder!
We can introduce good biome into our digestive system via a few different ways.
Probiotic drinks and fermented foods are a great start.
And secondly, the SIBO aspect – too much bad bacteria in our small intestine - is linked to a lack of a particular enzyme and/or a lack of stomach acid.
Pancreatic enzymes are the ones the small intestine needs to clear bad bacteria and these can be found in the Body Ecology Assist SI Enzymes.
This formula is designed specifically for the small intestine which has a different pH level to the gut. Often other enzyme formulas don’t work in the small intestine due to the pH differences.
And if your SIBO is derived from the lack of stomach acid (heartburn is a common sign) then Assist Dairy and Protein is the right supplement. Good stomach acid is also needed to activate enzymes and this is found in the Body Ecology Assist Dairy and Protein enzymes also.
Many of my clients take both for optimum results.
And to keep the workload easy while you are healing, I recommend the low FODMAP approach.
FODMAP = Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. For some people these molecules in our foods are really hard to absorb.
And of course the BED (Body Ecology Diet) approach is so helpful for my clients.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
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