Mailbag! IBS Wearing You Down? Try This!

I recently got diagnosed with IBS-D, and I’m having trouble with symptoms. What are some natural ways to deal with it?

–Robert from Turnersville, NJ

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Robert,

As you probably know now, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be broken down into three different conditions.

Folks with IBS-C suffer from chronic constipation, those with IBS-D battle chronic diarrhea, and IBS-M sufferers deal with both issues.

The underlying cause of IBS is a low-level inflammation in the digestive tract called gastritis.

This inflammation causes the lining of your gut to breakdown and become porous, allowing things into your blood stream that shouldn’t be there. This “leaky gut” is a problem for many reasons. Those intruders sneaking into your blood stream cause a lot of issues for your health, but they mainly put the immune system on alert.

As you can imagine, an inflamed digestive tract wants to move the food you eat as quickly as possible, which is what causes chronic diarrhea.

The big question is this: what is causing the lining of your gut to become irritated?

Since we all have different bodies, your gut triggers are going to be unique to you. Thankfully, however, there are a few ways to figure it out yourself.

Dr. Scott’s IBS Protocol

First, the hard part: ruling foods out.

  • Food allergies. The most common reason for IBS is that you’re eating something your body thinks is a foreign invader. You can get a blood test, but these often only get you part of the way. The most common food allergies are eggs, wheat, dairy, corn, nuts, shellfish, and soy. You can try avoiding each of these for a while and see if your symptoms improve.
  • Food additives. There are many food additives like artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives that can irritate your gut. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible.
  • Vegetable oils. These oils (mainly safflower, corn, canola, and sunflower) are all horrible for you because they dramatically increase inflammation throughout your body. Try using just olive or avocado oil when you cook and avoid foods with added vegetable oils.
  • FODMAP. There’s a diet called the FODMAP diet which removes foods that are difficult to digest and absorb, and it’s been approved by the American College of Gastroenterology. You can read more about what to eat and not eat here.

Avoiding foods can be difficult, so here are some easier things that can give you relief in the meantime.

  • Fiber. Increasing fiber alone can help with IBS. But I’m not talking about the fiber most doctors talk about. I advise my patients to increase only vegetable fibers by eating more carrots, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, as well as greens, broccoli, potatoes, squash, and okra.
  • Eat fermented foods. This includes yogurts, sauerkraut, miso, natto, and others. Use probiotics to make sure you are getting enough good bacteria.
  • L-glutamine. This is an amino acid that can help repair the lining of the gut.
  • Peppermint oil. Peppermint is great at calming an over-active digestive tract. I prefer the delayed-release capsules that open later in your digestive tract. Look for “enteric-coated” on the label when you’re choosing a supplement.
  • Multivitamin. Consider taking a multivitamin, because you’re probably not absorbing all the nutrients your body needs if your food passes too quickly through your digestive tract.

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

P.S. Have a health concern that’s worrying you? Click here to submit your questions and get featured in the weekly mailbag!

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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