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Have the Guts to Healthy?

Probiotics and IBS

The unfortunate reality is that 5 million Canadians currently suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) making these backyard bashes quite uncomfortable. Often, BBQ’s are an IBS sufferer’s worst nightmare.  They attend, but they bear and grin. It isn’t because you’ve necessarily undercooked their meat, but rather the combination of all sorts of foods (to which they may be sensitive – even unwittingly) and which have also experienced different temperatures, sitting times, and various other scenarios such as multiple surface touch points all before being consumed.  Most of our digestive systems can deal with these incidental gustatory hazards that come with these veranda level escapades, but if one’s digestive tract isn’t in tip top shape – and by that I specifically mean populated with probiotics (those bugs we like to refer to as the friendly bacteria) - then your guests may leave your backyard culinary event thinking you’ve just poisoned them!  Supplementing with probiotics – especially prior to a backyard barbeque - can ensure that you are equipped with a healthy flora which decrease your chances of an upset stomach or an acute episode of irritable bowels.

Gastrointestinal conditions, like IBS, are often disruptive, debilitating and often embarrassing as a result of abdominal pain and irregular bowel patterns like constipation and diarrhea. Regardless of the number of BBQ’s you attend this summer, if you suffer from IBS, you know who you are. More severe cases of IBS can lead to frequent work and school absenteeism with an average of 13 days missed annually. These are no small numbers. The economic and health-care related costs of IBS exceed $6.5 billion annually in Canada alone. Luckily, supplementing with probiotics can help.

Selecting the right ones that work, however, can be a daunting task as there are so many marketed solutions - most of which don't work. Some of those that do work include probiotics like BioGaia, TuZen, and VSL#3.  BioGaia and VSL#3 are clinically proven to improve symptoms of IBS, colic and other GI conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, by promoting and restoring intestinal and microflora balance.
 
With the right treatment using the right probiotics, as many as one third of IBS patients may eventually become symptom-free.  But, keep in mind strain and dose because not all probiotics are created equally.  It’s very important to choose a probiotic that is reliable, proven to be safe and offers benefits for your symptoms.
 
By example, analyzing the fingerprint and strain specificity of TuZen, reveals that it is comprised of 10 billion live Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, a specific strain which is resistant to gastric acids to ensure optimal activity in the intestines and clinically proven to improve symptoms of IBS.
 
And probiotics aren’t only for adults by the way! While the cause of colic remains unknown, scientists believe that it may be the infant form of IBS. Luckily BioGaia, a probiotic for infants and children, has been shown to reduce crying from colic after just one week.
 
When researching probiotics, make sure the product in question is supported by strong clinical data, proven to be safe, and offers benefits for your specific condition. In order that probiotics survive and multiply in your gut, a healthy amount of soluble fibre is also required. Soluble fibre is literally food and fuel for probiotics and used in the gut to maintain digestive health and microflora balance. Soluble fibre is tasteless, colourless, and odorless, and 100% water-soluble.
 
“Sunfiber” made from the guar bean which is partially hydrolyzed is just that type of fibre. A true regulating fibre that also improves both the conditions of constipation and diarrhea.  It is indicated for IBS (whether it is the constipation or diarrhea type). The result is regularity with healthy consistency. Usually fibres can help alleviate constipation but sunfiber alleviates constipation without overly degrading stool firmness, and provides regularity with healthy consistency.
 
Keep in mind that it is always important to speak with your healthcare professional before starting any new supplement routine. If you want to ensure you have the guts to be healthy and load up on a high quality pre- and probiotic!