Probiotics and Irritable Bowel


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) seems to be an all too common complaint of so many people. The three typical ways IBS presents itself is: constipation dominant (IBS-C), diarrhea dominant (IBS-D) or alternating diarrhea and constipation (IBS). I’m going to generalize here, but…… I find IBS-D the easiest to treat because there is often an underlying food hypersensitivity involved – so it is a matter of finding the offending food and removing it. Plus it responds very well to acupuncture.  IBS-C is more challenging, but can often respond well with acupuncture and herbal medicine.  Sometimes IBS-C can be a structural, emotional or fluid issue.  Alternating type of IBS can often be an emotional related issue as stress often plays a big part. But alternating type can also be brought on by the abuse of laxatives and food hypersensitivities.
In my nutrition and acupuncture practice I always recommend some sort of probiotic with IBS. In almost all cases of IBS the gastrointestinal mileau is out of balance. Probiotic literally means pro-living – as opposed to anti-biotics which will destroy all organisms in your intestines – good and bad. Giving probiotics as a capsule help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Here is another study showing that probiotics have a beneficial effect on intestinal health. In this particular case IBS sufferers were given particular strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis,and Bifidobacterium bifidum. These are all common probiotics we can find in capsules. This particular study was funded by a particular maker of a certain probiotic, but I use a product from Pharmax called HLC Intensive that has similar strains and I’ve had good results using.
So bottom line is that if you have IBS you should definitely use probiotics. But if you don’t have complete remission I highly recommend getting seeing a nutritionist that understand gastrointestinal health and food hypersensitivities. Acupuncture is also very effective for many gastrointestinal complaints.

In Health,
George Mandler

Licensed Acupuncturist
Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist
Certified Chinese Herbalist
Cambridge, MA & Maynard, MA

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