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You may have heard that regular use of probiotics can help you with IBS and digestive problems. Is this an urban legend or can these alternative therapies actually cure when conventional medicine fails? Moreover, can they save you substantial pain, time and money?
Recent studies show that probiotics may make a significant difference if you suffer from IBS–Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a chronic condition causing abdominal pain, cramping, constipation and/or diarrhea. These painful symptoms have been reported by 10 to 20 percent of adults in the U.S. They are responsible for over 3 million doctor visits.
IBS is one of the most common digestive disorders, and afflicts women much more than men, with 70 percent of the sufferers, female.
The American College of Gastroenterology presented a recent study contrasting a probiotic with a placebo. Those who received the probiotic experienced significantly normalized bowel habits.
IBS relief in three weeks
Health Sentinel reports Jillian H. suffered with IBS and found dramatic relief from probiotics and aloe: “I’ve probably tried nearly everything for IBS—it can be such a frustrating illness. I’ve had IBS for about 10 years. It got really bad a year ago, to the point I had to change jobs and quit traveling altogether.”
Jillian tried many orthodox treatments over the years, but none helped: “I went to the hospital for all the tests, but as most of us know, there is nothing physicians can really offer for IBS.”
Her dissatisfaction with traditional medicine led her to seek alternatives: “After being frustrated with the hospital experience, I decided to look into herbal remedies, and found some that worked great for me: an herbal aloe drink and probiotic.
“I honestly don’t have IBS symptoms anymore. I haven’t had a stomach ache or sharp pains in about six months now. It took me three weeks—taking the aloe and probiotic twice daily to feel better. I actually feel “normal” now, which is nothing short of a miracle after how sick I was. For the first time in 10 years, I’ve been able to eat cheese and ice cream—things that normally would send me in a tailspin.”
Jillian reports her aunt, cousin and good friend in Chicago all suffered from IBS and they’ve found dramatic relief in probiotics, too: “No stomach aches and greatly reduced pain, bloating and reflux issues. I strongly suggest these for people who have IBS.”
Good Bacteria And IBS
Probiotics mean “for life.” They are living microorganisms, which provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Research continues to uncover many potential benefits of probiotics. Studies show probiotics play a major role in the intestinal ecosystem by producing organic acids and reducing the PH. Probiotics may also affect allergies, infections, cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Health advantages range from calming upset stomachs to preventing liver damage and yeast infections. Many live bacteria found in probiotics naturally live in our digestive systems.
Probiotics help our bodies fight “bad” bacteria. Good intestinal flora protect us against infection. Probiotics alleviate intestinal disorders caused by a disruption of the normal flora in the GI tract due to antibiotics, poor diet or surgery, which all can make us more susceptible to disease.
Probiotics help healthy people by strengthening the immune system, maintaining normal GI function and preventing infection. According to Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., president of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, “Foods containing probiotic bacteria are almost exclusively dairy products, capitalizing on the traditional association of lactic acid bacteria with fermented milk. While most major brands of yogurt contain bacteria added along with starter cultures for their probiotic effects, less than one percent of fluid milk products in the U.S. contain probiotic bacteria.”
According to the University of Michigan Health System, another source of live bacteria is kefir. Similar in taste and texture to yogurt, kefir contains much more bacteria. Yogurt usually has two or three strains; kefir has 10.
Probiotics Go Mainstream
Probiotics play such an important role in stimulating digestive health, creating a healthy immune system, and possibly preventing obesity, that they are going mainstream.
Gary Huffnagle, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Health System, is one of the country’s leading researchers into the world of probiotics.
Until five years ago, probiotics were considered only an alternative therapy. As we’ve learned more about the immune system, we’ve increased our understanding of the key importance of probiotics in affecting our health: “Today, the world of probiotics is emerging on the cutting-edge of mainstream medicine,” Huffnagle asserts.
Huffnagle reports an emerging topic of research is a possible link between probiotics and obesity. Sick livestock gain weight when dosed with antibiotics. Huffnagle cautions antibiotics change metabolism, creating “enhanced feed efficiency”—an improved ability to retain fat in animals or people prescribed antibiotics to fight infection. The solution is easy: Eat dairy products rich in probiotic microbes and foods that provide nutrition for the probiotics. This will help good microbes prevent immune system and metabolic problems.
Taking Action Against IBS
What else can you do if you suffer from IBS and other digestive disorders, like more than 70 million Americans? Try probiotics without delay. Increase cultured dairy products, such as kefir, yogurt and cheese, and foods that encourage probiotics to multiply: spices, tea, red wine, berries, apples and beans.
Also, try Dannon’s Activia®, the first of a new generation of yogurts with probiotic cultures. This delicious, blended low-fat yogurt is clinically proven to help naturally regulate your digestive system, when eaten daily for two weeks.
Activia reduces long intestinal transit time up to 40 percent. Each cup contains billions of natural live probiotic cultures. Many survive and arrive into the large intestine as a live culture where they work their magic. *
Activia is sold in 24 countries worldwide by Dannon’s parent company, Groupe Danone. In February 2006, Activia became available nationwide in the United States in the yogurt section of major supermarkets in six flavors: Strawberry, Vanilla, Blueberry, Peach, Prune and Mixed Berry. Activia is packaged in 4oz. 4- and 8-packs at a suggested retail price of $2.49 and $4.49, respectively.
Digestinol® is a brand of highly concentrated aloe mucilaginous polysaccharide molecules which are the healing agents found within the aloe vera treatments. We encourage trying the Puristat Colon Cleansing Product Line before resorting to expensive aloe vera treatments.
Be proactive. It’s the only way to resolve your health issues and progress on the path to a healthier, happier lifestyle and life. Your health is in your hands; treat it as carefully as you would precious gems and gold—it’s your most important, irreplaceable resource.
“I actually feel “normal” now, which is nothing short of a miracle after how sick I was. For the first time in about 10 years, I’ve been able to eat cheese, ice cream – things that normally would send me in a tailspin.”
—Jillian H, IBS sufferer for 10 years