April is IBS Awareness month apparently – and I’ve just managed to get in before the end of the month to update the IBS resources for you, phew! Been meaning to do it for ages.
So, for your delectation, I have extended the IBS factsheet for you, adding a ton more info and updating all the links. I’ve waxed lyrical on serotonin and the gut, magnesium levels, food intolerance, thyroid, the gut-brain connection and the like.
A much bigger job: I have also completely revised and updated the Gut Plan – and brought it down in price to make it accessible for as many of you as possible. I’ve checked all products, reviewed the protocols, changed innumerable links (sorry; it’s a full-time job keeping links updated!), added two more issues to consider in the ‘What else could be wrong?’ section and amalgamated all the bonus guides into the actual plan so it hangs together even better, I hope 🙂
It’s now a lovely 66 pages of help and support for you, whether you need a gut and liver programme or a body MOT – we used it all the time as a first-step protocol for 3 months often no matter what anyone came into clinic with – and it rarely let us down. I still advise it now for all manner of things. Get the body environment right and healing will follow…
You can read all about the Gut Plan here. And I’ve even made an A5 paperback version for you so you don’t need to read it on screen.
In fact, the bowel & digestion section of the A-Z is quite extensive now so do check it out. We have factsheets now on: constipation, gallbladder pain, SIgA (the gut immunity marker), SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and ulcerative colitis. There’s also quite an extensive one on leaky gut here. Some factsheets are quite small for now, but I am extending them and building more as I go along. I hope they help.
Meantime, for IBS Awareness week, here’s a bit of the new factsheet to start you off:
What causes IBS?
There are loads of possible causes here and it depends very much on what type and pattern of symptoms a person has. Here are some thoughts to start you off…
Food Intolerance and Poor Digestion
The biggest cause I have seen over the years is food sensitivity and poor digestion, which is why the Gut Plan below targets that (and more) below. Removing the most common foods involved usually helps, so follow the Gut Plan first. If not, then these might be some other things to think about:
If you are the constipated type and especially if you have some of the symptoms in the more severe list, maybe look at levels of serotonin. Why? Well, people don’t realise that up to 90% of our serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter) is made in the gut and it is therefore termed not just a brain neurotransmitter, but an enteric – or gut – one. If you cut the nerves from the brain to the gut, the gut would still work!
Serotonin affects the peristalsis of the muscles in the gut mainly. So, if you have too little of it, you’ll slow up (constipation) and if you have too much of it, you’ll speed up (diarrhoea). That’s why serotonin meds like receptors and agonists are used in IBS cases. However, serotonin is also important in controlling chronic pain, and in what I call hypersensitivity illnesses like CFS, FM, multiple intolerance. So, you can see how it might be worth looking into.
Certainly, I have seen people use 5-HTP, a precursor of serotonin, quite successfully to increase gut movement. Useful herbs to decrease serotonin in diarrhoea cases include ginger and peppermint.
You can test serotonin levels using one of the neurotransmitter tests here.
Interestingly, you can boost serotonin levels effectively using meditation and relaxation techniques too, so do look at the Mind-Body medicine section and especially the Healing Plan if you have some of those illnesses. I wrote it for you! I’ve written some more about this in the Gut Plan below too.
I should imagine a lot of the key issues also come down to poor absorption of nutrients. Magnesium is particularly key, not least because it is anti-spasmodic and the anti-anxiety mineral. Most of those conditions above are somehow connected to magnesium so check red blood cell levels (a standard test can be quite misleading). Interestingly, you also need magnesium as well as B6, B1 (thiamine) and folate for effective serotonin conversion and peristalsis in the gut.
Follow step 1 in the Gut Plan (below) to improve digestion and absorption and check your nutrient levels here.
Adrenals & thyroid
A sub-set of patients with IBS have symptoms such as palpitations, hyperventilation, fatigue, excessive sweating and headaches and I would be looking there first at food allergy/intolerance reactions, adrenals, thyroid and the magnesium level again to start with.