Digestive health

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Pro or pre biotics?

Postby castlebergh on Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:27 pm

I suffer with chronic OCD/anxiety and related ibs with dreadful bloating and constipation. Can you recommend a product eg do Pro or pre biotics help or are they just a gimmick? My GP says no evidence they work but the mebeberi e he prescribed does nothing. I look about 8 months pregnant! It is so uncomfortable please help.
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Re: Pro or pre biotics?

Postby Ali Mortimer on Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:48 pm

Hi
thank you so much for your question and I am so sorry to hear that you are in discomfort. I can relate to your issues as I have suffered from anxiety and stress related IBS.

I personally take a probiotic which has prebiotics and enzymes in as these feed our gut bacteria (called microbiome) and keep them healthy and functioning. You can get these from any good health food shop or pharmacy. In addition to probiotics, you can also look at what you are eating: a good plant based diet, with lots of fresh fruit, veg, legumes (beans and lentils) and whole food proteins (fish, meat, eggs) will also help regulate your digestive system. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kefir and a good probiotic yoghurt can also help with this.

There is also evidence to show that our guts and brains are connected. So if our tummy is happy, so is our mind, but also vice verse. So while above, I explain how to keep your tummy happy, you can also help to relieve some of the anxiety you may have which can also cause IBS symptoms. You could look in to trying meditation, mindfulness, yoga or even talk therapy.

I hope this helps, please do reply if you have further questions.
Best wishes
Ali
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Re: Pro or pre biotics?

Postby Fran McElwaine on Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:56 pm

There is a very strong link between anxiety and IBS symptoms owing to the feedback loop that exists between our digestive tract and our brains. IBS is a multi-factorial condition that can have many different root causes including food intolerances, gut dysbiosis (an imbalance in your gut bacteria) or damage to the gut lining caused by certain medications, smoking or alcohol. For many people simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga can have a profound effect in both helping to prevent and manage symptoms, but food also plays a very important part . One of the first things is to identify which foods are most likely to trigger your symptoms and sometimes keeping a food journal can help you work out the culprits. Likely suspects can be wheat/gluten, dairy or even a certain type of sugar that is found in particular fruits and vegetables. A qualified health coach or nutritionist can help you to work this out. Depending on your situation and the cause of your particular IBS, pre-and-pro-biotics can be useful, but the best and simplest way to ensure you are keeping your gut healthy is to minimise all sugary and starchy foods and eat a good range of vegetables to keep your fibre levels up.
Very best wishes,
Fran
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Re: Pro or pre biotics?

Postby Simone Gilbert on Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:59 pm

Hello and thankyou for posting your question today.
I'm sorry to hear that your battle is with IBS and anxiety.
We are learning so much more about the gut and its role in our health - almost daily! IBS tends to be a catch all diagnosis of a cluster of symptoms each of which is connected.
Our gut is made up of trillions of cells (more than we actually are infact) and they each have a role to play. When these are out of balance, our whole body is out of balance. Digestion is the key to our health - what we eat matter as well as what we are able to actually absorb. So if our gut is not functioning optimally, and we cant absorb the goodness from our food, other symptoms generally appear. Anxiety and sleeplessness, for instance, are included.
Anything that helps restore gut balance is likely to support better overall health. Depending upon what else is going on for you there may be other things you can do to effectively support your health as well. Tweaks in your diet (avoiding processed and sugary foods is powerful in supporting the body's well-being. It is noted that the avoidance of dairy, soy and gluten can help to rebalance the gut - and potentially alleviate fluctuating moods. As well, how rested you are and your level of hydration can have a surprising impact on gut-related issues and levels of anxiety.
You mention that you have better days where energy and mood is better. You may gain value in understanding what you are consuming on/before those days - you may find there is a pattern where "mood and food" is linked.
Health Coaches tend to take a slightly different approach working with people with chronic conditions to gain a thorough understanding of diet and lifestyle and then help rebalance those areas of your life that need tweaking and make those changes sustainable - for long term health.
I hope you find my response useful

To Your Health!
Simone xx
health & Vitality Coach
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Re: Pro or pre biotics?

Postby castlebergh on Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:59 am

Thanks so much for your replies which have been very useful. Does anyone recommend a specific pre or Pro biotic brand to take if to buy one at all? There are so many to choose from or should I just concentrate on my diet and forget supplementing? This is so helpful and I am very appreciative of all your help.
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Re: Pro or pre biotics?

Postby Fran McElwaine on Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:06 pm

Hi again,

A pre-biotic is a food that contains some fibres that we can't digest which then become food for the sort of bacteria that help to support our health. The best possible way to ensure we have enough pre-biotics is to eat a variety of fresh fruit and veg - which each provide a different type of fibre that help keep all our gut bacteria happy.

The bacteria and other micro-organisms such as yeast that are not so good for us, don't like to eat these fibres, they prefer starches and sugars - especially processed ones found in packaged food. So cutting down on these foods while upping the amount of veg you eat is a very good way to naturally balance your gut bacteria.

Probiotics are actual bacteria that have been proven to help us digest our food and protect our gut from the less friendly kind. When it comes to probiotics, it really depends on each person's unique situation and their specific needs. For some people eg if they have a bacterial overgrowth in their small intestine (often experienced as the classic IBS symptoms - bloating, gas, crampy pains, switching back and forth between diarrhoea and constipation), taking any probiotic at all would be a bad idea until the overgrowth was back in control. And there are also specific probiotics that help with specific conditions. So it is important to really understand each individual's unique situation before making any suggestions.

But in any event, taking probiotic supplements is not essential - our ancestors managed for centuries without them. Given the right foods, our tummies will naturally balance themselves out over time. What is a good idea though is eating fermented foods. Just about every culture has its own type of fermented food and that's because they are very good for us as a way of getting good bacteria into our tummies. Foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, tempeh and miso are all worth including in your diet. And kombucha is a delicious drink that is also full of good things (although kombucha is not recomended if you are prone to thrush).

Hope this helps and thanks for asking such a great question!

Fran
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