Marked by a series of unpleasant symptoms including pain or discomfort, gas and bloating and constipation or diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome was once considered to be a product of the imagination, and doctors dismissed patients’ claims of digestive distress.
In fact, doctors often blamed IBS on stress and anxiety, a likely frustrating scenario for those suffering from the condition.
Statistics suggest that as much as 20 percent of the population may suffer from IBS, a disorder that comes as a result of dysfunction in the nerves and muscles that make up the bowel.
But now that the medical community is more accepting of IBS, awareness of the disorder has expanded, and experts are looking at ways to treat it.
As we mark Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month this month, let’s look a little deeper into the disorder, and what you can do if it is impacting your quality of life.
The stats on IBS
Once known as colitis or spastic colon, IBS is almost twice as likely to be diagnosed in women as it is in men.
- IBS is most commonly diagnosed in people under 50.
- Many people have IBS and don’t know it. Almost half of all cases remain undiagnosed, experts estimate.
- IBS will not lead to other gastrointestinal problems.
It is traditionally treated with changes in diet as well as probiotic supplements. Since experts aren’t sure how many probiotics we need for optimum digestive health, therein lies one of the biggest problems behind conventional treatment of IBS.
A digestive system tutorial
IBS is at its core a digestive system issue. And while digesting food is considered the most important role of the digestive system, there are four distinct acts that are part of the process.
The digestive system in not only responsible for digesting food, it also is responsible for eliminating waste, absorbing nutrients and normalizing gut bacteria that can do everything from controlling metabolism to boosting the immune system.
Our body produces a slew of enzymes to start the process by breaking down our food so that we are able to take in all the nutrients the foods we eat have to offer. Sometimes, though, there aren’t enough enzymes on hand to do the job properly, so we may miss out on essential nutrients.
Enzymes: Behind the scenes
For proper digestion and nutrient absorption, we require a mix of three different types of enzymes to break down the foods we eat.
Amylase enzymes break down carbohydrates, and include lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk, and cellulase, which breaks down vegetables.
We also need lipase enzymes, which break down fats, and protelytic enzymes, which break down proteins.
When we don’t have the right enzyme balance, our digestive system isn’t working at its best, and we run the risk of gastrointestinal problems such as IBS.
Because a healthy digestive system is less likely to experience problems, it’s important to keep yours running smoothly.
One way to support the health of your digestive systemis to add our supplement Kiwi-Klenz to your nutritional plan.
It is designed specifically to help prevent the build-up of toxins that leave us feeling sluggish and increase the risk of ailments, and it contains the necessary digestive enzymes so we can make the most of what we eat. It also offers prebiotics to stimulate the growth of friendly flora in the gut, phenolics (from the fuzzy skin of the kiwifruit) to keep unfriendly bacteria at bay and fiber to ensure healthy bowel function to flush away toxins.
Tips to prevent digestive problems
In addition to taking a supplement such as Kiwi-Klenz to keep your digestive tract functioning as it should, there are things you can do to help prevent or ease digestive problems, including:
- Avoid foods that produce gas, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage and onions.
- Eat more slowly, and avoid overeating at meals.
- Skip carbonated beverages, which can produce gas.
- Check your food labels for the sugar substitute sorbitol, which has been linked to gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea.
- Gum chewers can take in enough air to produce gas. If you chew gum, switch to mints.
- Some cases of IBS come from lactose intolerance. Avoid dairy products for a period to determine if your symptoms lessen or disappear.
It’s also important to keep hydrated and include a balance of good fats in the diet as well as an exercise routine (exercise helps promote peristalsis).
Avoid artificial sweeteners, excess sugar (especially fructose), chemical additives, MSG, excessive amounts of caffeine, and processed foods as they are all detrimental to your gastrointestinal (and immune) function.
For more information about our Kiwi-Klenz product and how to help support digestive health, please click here.