Last week I talked generally about gastrointestinal disorders. Today I’d like to talk more specifically about irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. IBS is more than just gas and bloating after meals. And it’s more than simply mild abdominal pains, poor digestion, etc.
IBS is actually an inflammatory disorder of your GI tract that can affect many other systems in the body. About 30% of people who go to a GI specialist, go there for IBS-related symptoms. GI complaints are also one of the major reasons people go to their primary care doctor.
Some of the newer data and literature is showing that your gut health has a major impact on autoimmune issues, diabetes, metabolic diseases, and even brain function. Autism or PANDAS in kids and Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s in adults all have a significant gut component. So your gut health is critically important for your individual health and well-being.
We’re also seeing IBS associated with cognitive issues such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, ADHD, and other issues that revolve around neurotransmitters. 75% of all neurotransmitters are made in the GI tract! 90% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine are actually made in the gut. So now we know that gut health affects our physical and emotional health.
What are some things you can do to improve your gut health and your IBS?
1. Focus on eating real food. Real food improves the bacterial balance in your gut, which then has a massive impact on how you digest your food. Eating processed foods with chemicals, refined grains, and sugars slows your digestion down and causes more gut inflammation.
2. Fasting or time-restricted eating. Allowing a gap of 12-16 hours between dinner and breakfast has a restorative effect on the bacteria in your gut (your gut microbiome). This improves digestion and aids in liver detoxification. Simply resting your GI tract for that time during the fast helps you store up more digestive enzymes for the next day, so you actually digest your food better.
Because it is so foundational to all aspects of wellbeing. I wrote this blog post series on gut health. Check it out for more information!
Take care and be well.
Since 2010, Richmond Integrative and Functional Medicine has been helping people to restore their health and hope with an integrative approach to conventional and alternative medicine that’s entirely science-backed. We at RIFM believe everyone is made for health. We offer a comprehensive, in-person patient membership program to ensure you get access to the care you need to thrive.
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