You may have heard reference to the gut as our “second brain.” This is based on the growing number of studies over the past few decades that prove your gut is more responsible for your overall health than standard health care has paid attention to. Hippocrates is continually being proven right…”All disease begins in the gut,” that wisdom seems to have been lost along the way with conventional medicine that teaches how to treat a symptom with a pill, and call it healthcare.
When you look at the way we eat, the toxins that are consumed, and the good bacteria that is being constantly killed off by what is consumed as food and drink, it’s no wonder many bodies are a mess. The lifestyle of the average person leads to a common complaint…IBS. If you are one of the estimated 50 million people who deal with constant diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, and pain, there are solutions!
The solutions I talk about here will mostly likely go beyond what the average doctor has known to do, and you may need to find another medical professional to perform the tests, such as a functional medicine doctor, naturopathic doctor, etc. Too many people have been “diagnosed” with IBS, and given pharmaceuticals that “may help.” IBS is a symptom of something wrong with your gut, not a disease in and of itself. Fixing the gut is a little more involved than taking a pill to cover up the symptom, but the advantages are immense.
Food sensitivities can turn into IBS. A gut that can’t take a certain food will act out with inflammation, develop tears in the intestinal lining, and eventually spiral into disease. Getting this tested early on in your symptoms can save you grief down the road.
Bacterial overgrowth, parasites, worms. These can all be tested with a stool sample, as can yeast overgrowth and mineral deficiencies. A breath test can be done to check for small bacterial overgrowth (SIBO.) Make sure your doctor has experience in this area, and orders comprehensive tests. There are cursory tests out there that may be a waste of time and money.
Thyroid tests. I don’t mean the run of the mill TSH that most people have done. I do mean the full panel which also includes Free T3, Free T4, and thyroid antibodies. Studies are showing that too much thyroid hormone can be related to diarrhea. You only know this for sure with a full panel and a doctor who is thyroid savvy.
Meanwhile, there are some changes you can make to experiment for yourself. This is good if you cannot afford the tests, or if you don’t have knowledgeable health professionals where you live. I actually encourage everyone to do this a couple times a year, since I believe that Hippocrates should be taken more seriously in this day and age. Taking care of your gut has long term health benefits.
1. Cut the most common allergens out of your diet. They are: Corn, dairy products, peanuts, soy, gluten, eggs and yeast.
2. Cut out rice and sugar. These foods, along with gluten based products like bread, pasta, cereal, etc can ferment in your stomach and feed the bad bacteria.
3. Get plenty of fiber from vegetables, acacia, psyllium husk (not Metamucil which has toxins added), etc.
4. Support and repair your gut lining with glutamine powder a couple times a day.
5. Build up your good bacteria with fermented foods like kombucha, bone broth and probiotics.
6. Digestive enzymes are helpful if taken before each major meal of the day.
7. Get exercise daily and use stress reduction techniques like practicing silence and breathing exercises.
Sound impossible? It’s easy once you develop a routine, and you may see improvements in your IBS in only a couple of weeks. After 12 weeks, start adding the common allergens back in one at a time, each week, and give your body time to give you feedback. If you are doing this for maintenance, three weeks is sufficient.
Try it and let me know how it goes! Questions? Reach out to me and, God willing, I can help you further!