HealthDay News: Irritable Bowel News

Can a healthy diet fix your irritable bowel syndrome? I mean, we already know that it works wonders for things like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, cholesterol, but what about those angry bowels? Take it away Dr. Fuhrman:
I also see a large number of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some feel better within three days of following this diet, although others take a few weeks or longer to adjust to the comparatively large amount of fiber. Both animal products and flour products are triggers for bowel symptoms in many individuals.1
Let me let you in on a little secret. Before I took my health back with a vengeance, I had some serious IBS, but now, I’m as regular as the mail. Not convinced it can work for you? Okay, fine! Dr. Fuhrman, if you will:
British researchers have documented that increased production of methane and other gaseous products representing increased fermentation in the colon from meats, dairy products, and refined grains correlate with bowel complaints. However, there are other mechanism by which a natural-food diet high in nutrients and fiber reestablishes normal gut motility and tone. It can take time to undo a lifetime of wrong eating; most of my patients need three months to see improvement.
Now, since we’re talking about IBS. HealthDay News has a couple interesting articles worth mentioning. The first, new research contends you can manage irritable bowel syndrome with your mind. Karen Pallarito reports:
Recent studies show that using one's own thoughts in a process called cognitive behavioral therapy may help ease symptoms. Likewise, using hypnosis to visualize the pain and imagine it seeping away can be a powerful treatment strategy, too.

"Research indicates that the probability of achieving benefits is excellent with either approach, even for patients who haven't improved from standard medical care," said Olafur S. Palsson, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders…

… Doctors generally advise patients to avoid certain foods that may exacerbate symptoms. Several different medications may be recommended for relieving abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation. But these approaches don't always provide adequate relief.

"For some people, medications and dietary changes are the perfect match, but most of our patients -- the great, great majority of patients -- have not responded to medications and dietary changes," said Jeffrey M. Lackner, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, and a behavioral medicine specialist whose research focuses on gastrointestinal disorders, particularly IBS.
Makes you wonder what kind of “dietary changes” they’re referring to. My money is on NOT a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet. Anyway, check out this report linking IBS to allergy disorders and depression. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News is on it:
In this study, researchers looked at 125 adults and found the likelihood of IBS was much higher in patients with allergic eczema (3.85 times) and seasonal allergic rhinitis (2.67) times. They also found that IBS was 2.56 times more likely in people with depression.

"The reported presence of allergic dermatitis was highly correlated to the presence of IBS in our population," the study authors wrote. "In atopic disease, allergic dermatitis is the first step of the 'atopic' march.' In early childhood, AE (allergic eczema) is frequently associated with gastrointestinal dysfunction and food allergy. A clinical history of AE may be a useful marker for patients with gut hypersensitivity and atopic IBS."
I take all of this as living proof that switching to a health-promoting diet—loaded with whole fruits and veggies—is the REAL way to go. What do you think?
1. King, T.S., M. Elia, and J.O. Hunter. 1998. Abnormal colonic fermentation in irritable bowel syndrome. Lancet 352 (9135): 1187-89.
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Sara - February 19, 2008 7:35 PM

I had horrible gas ALL THE TIME pre-ETL. And I was even vegan! The only reason I didn't go to a doctor is because all my experiences consist of getting medications that don't work, and have potentially negative side effects.

The most valuable thing I have learned from ETL is the concept of true hunger. At under 120 pounds, no one (least of all me!) would have guessed that I was chronically overeating or that I was over my natural weight (just ten pounds or so, plus a couple pounds for gas!). But it has made *such* a difference to fill up on nutrient-dense foods and get in touch with true hunger.

Brenda - July 2, 2010 5:53 AM

Help! I've always had irregular bowel movements. Since starting Eat for Health, I'm pooping every three days and of course I'm misrable. What's the answer????

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