Tummy Troubles? Probiotics To The Rescue!Nov
11/3/2009 11:41 AM
You’ve no doubt heard of Irritable Bowel Syndrome - as many as one in five American adults suffers from the condition, including Tyra Banks and actress Cybill Shepherd. But what exactly is IBS? Surprisingly, IBS is not a disease, per se, but a grouping of symptoms including abdominal pain or discomfort, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation. It affects the colon or large bowel, the part of the digestive tract that stores stool. Despite its prevalence, many sufferers remain silent because the symptoms can be embarrassing.
If you’re one of the million Americans suffering from with this issue, you know the symptoms all too well:
-abdominal pain or discomfort
-chronic diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both
-a swollen or bloated abdomen
-the feeling that you have not finished a bowel movement
-flare-ups during your menstrual periods (for women)
The good news is, relief may be as near as your local grocery store…or maybe even your own fridge. A new study out of UCLA shows that probiotic therapy may help ease the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease while promoting the body's own natural healing process While the probiotic strain Bacillus polyfermenticus was specifically explored in the American Journal of Physiology -- Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology study, there’s reason to believe many other healthy bacteria strains could help
alleviate the symptoms of IBS. Adding “good” bugs like lactobacilli
to your diet can help with gas, pain and bloating, while reducing the time it takes for food to move through the intestine, says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Michael Picco, MD
. This, in turn, may be helpful in people with constipation. Probiotics may also decrease the frequency of loose stools, improving IBS-related diarrhea. In fact, in one recent UK study
, IBS sufferers who received a probiotic preparation made up of multiple strains of Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis
and Bifidobacterium Bifidum
reported significantly greater improvement in the severity of their symptoms, fewer days of pain and improved quality of life compared with those who received a placebo.
Fiber-rich foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, beans, fruits and vegetables may also help, by reducing IBS-associated constipation. For the uninitiated, experts suggest adding these foods to your diet a little bit at a time, though, to help your body get used to them and avoid the gas and bloating which additional fiber can cause. Lifeway kefir contains 3g fiber per one cup serving – 12% of your daily needs!