IBS: A Modern Day Epidemic (part 2)

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Antibiotics…in your food? In the second installment of IBS: A Modern Day Epidemic, Just For Tummies Founder Linda Booth discusses the unlikely sources of antibiotics and the consequential effect on our health. Read on to find out about beating the office bug and how to successfully rejuvenate your gut!



So just what is to blame for the dramatic spike in cases of IBS and other functional bowel disorders that we have witnessed over the past 30 years? While we cannot point the finger at one single culprit, we'd be hard pushed not to pay heed to the correlation between the surge in IBS and the widespread consumption of processed convenience foods filled with artificial additives, as well as the increased use of antibiotics. I'm not just talking about antibiotic medication from your GP. Around 80% of antibiotic production is used in the food industry – fish, poultry and meat may be full of antibiotics, and don’t assume that your organic fish, chicken and meat is free of antibiotics. You need to check with whomever is supplying you with your fresh produce. Don't let's forget foreign travel too, and travelling to far-flung places exposing our gut to different microbes. Stress may also play a part in triggering IBS symptoms because of the connection between the brain and the gut. In a world where we rush around trying to do too much, putting more pressure on ourselves and barely coping to keep up, it's little wonder the gut becomes a mine of emotional tension.

Modern day lifestyle has a huge detrimental impact on the health of our gut microbiome. This largely unknown area of our body, literally teeming with trillions of microbes including bacteria and yeasts is keeping us alive. Without the bugs we will die. Bacteria in our intestines help to digest our food and convert the food into energy so that we can do the things we need to do on a daily basis. The bacteria help manufacture vitamins and hormones, help the absorption and assimilation of nutrients, crowd out pathogenic strains of bacteria and yeasts, as well as help the transit of wastes through our intestines. If this delicate natural ecosystem becomes out of balance, we can develop both organic and functional digestive and bowel disorders, not to mention life-threatening gut infections, including sepsis (blood poisoning).

There is a huge and growing body of research and evidence from many well established and well respected universities connecting diseases as diverse as Alzheimer's, obesity, Type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers to the balance of the microbes in our gut.)

Why has no-one yet joined up the dots (with the exception of myself, and perhaps a few others)? The decimation of our gut flora, particularly the 'ancestral' strains that have been passed down from our mothers, our grandmothers, back through the generations, and the reason that millions of people have lost these crucial bacteria is mainly due to diet and lifestyle. Babies are getting sicker; they don't thrive, they get one infection after another and have to have more and more antibiotics. Research shows that babies who are born by Cesarian section (and not being colonised with the important lactobacilli bacteria in the birth canal) and bottle-fed are weaker and suffer more with asthma and eczema than babies born vaginally and breastfed.

The solution is simple – first take a look at diet. Include more wholefoods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, good fats and oils, and fermented foods. For many, this is easier said than done and not always practical. Many of us lead busy, stressful lives and are time-starved, getting home late in the evening, so popping a ready meal in the microwave and washing it down with a glass of wine is the norm.

It is, therefore, of vital importance that we re-populate and re-colonise our intestines with probiotics in powdered capsule form. Every time we’ve had a course of antibiotics, we should be taking a course of probiotics to put back what the antibiotics have destroyed. I'm not 'antibiotic bashing'. They have saved, and still do save, billions of lives, but there’s a trade-off. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are very effective at killing off the bacteria causing an infection, but they’re also pretty effective at killing off your 'friendly' gut bacteria.

If your diet is going through a rough patch, if you're under stress or you're feeling run-down and are prone to infections, or you've recently had a course of antibiotics, antacids or steroids, then you should be taking a course of a multi-strain probiotic that contains lactobacilli and bifidi strains of 'friendly' bacteria. In such cases I would always recommend my 'starter' Perfect Balance Kit, as this kit contains plant-based enzyme tablets, garlic tablets and omega 3 fish oil capsules. MyShowcase Stylists – I would suggest that you initially advise your clients to take the Kit for a month, then encourage them to keep in touch with you regarding symptoms. One Kit may be sufficient to make a huge improvement to their IBS symptoms, but in more severe, chronic cases, they may need to carry on with a second Kit, or they may just need to move over and take the Live Bacteria probiotic capsules for a few extra weeks. Remember that I am always here to support you with any queries or questions you have regarding your clients ongoing health journey. Inbox me on Just For Tummies Facebook page or email me at: linda@justfortummies.co.uk

My health is very good. I rarely get ill. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was ill. I certainly don't suffer with any digestive or bowel problems. I have taken a probiotic capsule every single day for the past 30 years.

Linda x

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