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October, 11 2017

The best natural products to combat IBS


Gill @JdeV Auchterarder store

IBS can be a frustrating, embarrassing and debilitating condition, so it seems natural that one of the most common questions we get asked in-store is ‘Which products can I use for IBS?!’. It seems a shame that our online customers should miss out on this information, so I decided to compile a list of the products we most commonly recommend for IBS.

1. BetterYou Turmeric Oral Spray

Turmeric is becoming increasingly popular across the globe, not only for its great taste but for its medicinal uses too.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and research has shown it to be useful in combatting IBS symptoms. In one study, over 200 IBS sufferers were given one or two tablets of turmeric daily for 8 weeks, and the results showed a drop of up to 60% in symptoms.[1]BetterYou Turmeric Oral Spray

In some cases, IBS can be caused by low-grade inflammation, which is often difficult to detect by normal inflammation measurements. It makes sense, then, that turmeric could help with IBS.

I love BetterYou’s Turmeric Oral Spray because it provides the best absorption of any turmeric supplement I’ve seen. The spray function means that the turmeric absorbs directly through the cheek membranes rather than the digestive tract while the innovative ‘molecule encapsulation’ increases water-solubility and therefore absorption.

2. Optibac Probiotics

One of our best-selling probiotic brands here at Jan de Vries is Optibac. They provide scientifically-backed, high-quality probiotics for a range of different problems, including IBS. Probiotics can help by introducing friendly bacteria to the gut, which play a vital role in the correct digestion of food.

So which ones do I recommend for IBS?

For diarrhoea-dominant IBS (IBS-D) I’d recommend their Saccharomyces boulardii strain. This is actually a type of friendly yeast rather than bacteria, but it can be just as useful! Clinical trials have shown this to be useful for supporting gut health and preventing diarrhoea.

For constipation-dominant IBS (IBS-C), I’d recommend Bifidobacteria & Fibre. This strain has been shown to be effective in easing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements. This is aided by the additional fibre in the probiotic.

For those with alternating digestive symptoms (IBS-A/IBS-M), I’d recommend For every day EXTRA Strength, which contains two strains that have been shown to be particularly useful for this type of IBS – Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07. This is suitable for those who may experience constipation for a few days, and then a sudden onset of diarrhoea.

For some more information about the strains used by Optibac and the research behind them, read their article on which probiotics are for IBS.

3. Silicolgel

Silicolgel is a fantastic product that contains colloidal silicic acid to support the health of your digestive system and help reduce IBS symptoms such as nausea, flatulence, stomach ache, discomfort and diarrhoea.

As it moves through the gastro-intestinal tract, it absorbs toxins, pathogens and irritants and safely removes them from your system. It also leaves a protective, soothing layer behind which helps to calm unpleasant symptoms.

This is a great one to use for flare-ups rather than long-term or preventatitve use – though if you suffer from severe IBS you can take it for as long as you need. The company themselves suggest taking it for 4 weeks and then taking a 4-7 day break to see if your symptoms have settled. If your symptoms are still severe, then you can take it for another 4 weeks and so on.

4. Jan de Vries Bowel Essence

That’s right, our very own Bowel Essence is a great product to combat your IBS!

Flower essences were originally developed by Edward Bach, who found that illnesses are often the result of a lack of harmony between the mind and body, in particular feelings of fear, anxiety and stress. Without sounding like a bit of a hippy, flower essences essentially capture the energy or vibrations of different flowers to help restore harmony in the body.

Since IBS is often the result of stress and anxiety – or can certainly be exacerbated by these things – a flower essence can be a useful way to bring harmony back to your body and calm your symptoms.

Bowel essence contains Aspen, Mimulus, Orange Hawkweed, Chamomile, Agrimony, Chestnut Bud, Beech, Crab Apple, Self Heal, Walnut and Willow. Each of these flowers has a different function – for example, Aspen calms unspecified fears and anxieties, while Orange Hawkweed helps to energise a sluggish system. Agrimony is particularly useful as it is used when the body begins to express what the mind cannot – for example the churning stomach or diarrhoea associated with anxiety or stress.

It also contains our emergency combination of Star of Bethlehem, Impatiens, Cherry Plum, Clematis and Rock Rose to ease stress, anxiety and trauma.

Other factors to consider

One of the most important aspects of IBS and IBD is diet. The information on this could fill a whole other article (or series of articles) so for now I’ll just stick to a few of the basics.

Try to cut back on inflammatory foods like red meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar. Instead, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates and healthy sources of protein. While beans and legumes are common healthy protein sources, these would be best avoided as much as possible. Instead, try tofu, natto, fish or a small amount of white meat.

Whatever you eat, make sure it is cooked and warm. Raw food is difficult for any digestive system to tackle, let alone one with IBS or IBD. This includes fruit, so try stewing pears and apples in a little cinnamon before eating.

Remember to eat slowly and chew well – this makes sure food is broken down as much as possible before entering the stomach, making the job much easier for the rest of the digestive system.

Keep a food diary of everything you’re eating and monitor your symptoms each day – this will make it easier to recognize patterns and see which foods may be triggering your symptoms.

[1]http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2004.10.1015 Turmeric Extract May Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptomology in Otherwise Healthy Adults: A Pilot Study