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Things you should know if you have digestive issues

  1. IBS is an umbrella term:

Don't settle for IBS as your final diagnosis or self-diagnose yourself. IBS is an umbrella term, and very uncommonly the sole cause of your gut issues. IBS refers to a collection of symptoms including; recurrent abdominal pain associated with a change in frequency of stools and a change in form of stool, at least one day a week for 3 months or more.

If you have been given an IBS diagnosis with minimal investigations done to rule out other causes, then seek another opinion.

Possible issues that need to be ruled out include:

-SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)

-Food allergies or intolerances

-Colonic dysbiosis

-Gluten sensitivity (coeliac disease and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity)

-GIT inflammation (IBD

-Issues with bowel motility

2. A low fodmap diet is not a long term solution

A low FODMAP diet is only meant to be a short term, elimination diet to identify your food triggers or to provide temporarily symptomatic relief. Cutting out these Fermentable Oligoscarrhides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols removes important fuel for your gut bacteria which can have long-term ramifications.

If you drastically feel better on a low FODMAP diet, then be sure to work with a practitioner to identify WHY your gut reacts to them in the first place so the underlying cause can be address and you can get back to including them in your diet, symptom-free.

3. Some “parasites” are controversial

Common “parasites” Blastocystis hominis and Dientamoeba fragilis are thought in the research to not be pathogenic at all and may, in fact, be commensal.

Facts about Blastocystis:

-15% of the world’s population carry it

-there is no consensus in the research on if blasto is pathogenic or inflammatory

-some newer research suggests it may be associated with a healthier microbiome that is more diverse

- microbiome’s with blasto have lower levels of certain known pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria

Conclusion: if “parasites” such as Blastocystis hominis and Dientamoeba fragilis are found when investigating your gut issues, then other gut issues need to be ruled out first before blaming the issues on these “parasites

4. Probiotics are not a one size fits all

Strain specificity in probiotic selection is the most important factor in selecting which probiotic is used for a health issue or health benefit.

Examples of high-quality evidence-based strains include:

- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: one of the most researched strains, with notable benefits in dozens of indications. Eg. Immune enhancement, improving symptoms of IBS, prevention of side effects during antibiotic use & more!

- Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. boulardii (Biocodex strain): also a highly-researched strain. Eg prevention and treatment of travellers’ diarrhoea, various parasitic infections & protection of microbiota changes during antibiotic use.

Most often people pick the probiotic product with the greatest number of bacterial species listed. However, you are far better off selecting a probiotic with one well-researched strain, over one with 10 strains that have little or no research on them.

5. Prebiotics are the real GOATs of gut health

Instead of relying only on probiotics, or especially probiotic strains with limited evidence, often the best tools to support the microbiome are prebiotics.

‘A prebiotic is a substrate that is selectively utilised by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit’


» Lactulose is a prebiotic liquid that can help increase beneficial species such as Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, Faecalibacterium, and Akkermansia but can also help to decrease negative bacteria such as e.coli & Bacteroides.

» Partially hydrolysed guar gum (PHGG) helps to increase bacterial species that produce the beneficial short-chain fatty acid butyrate.

Prebiotics aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach thoughand microbiome testing can help determine which

ones your gut will benefit most from.

»A sensitive gut can also react to prebiotics so you should start SLOWLY.

6. Food intolerances often aren’t the issue... it’s probably a gut issue

Many people with gut issues have the mindset of trying to find out which foods they are reacting to. More often than not, it is an imbalanced gut that is reacting to the foods, not the foods themselves that is the root cause. Once the underlying cause is identified and addressed, your gut will be able to tolerate a wider range of foods without symptoms.

Exceptions include coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, true lactose intolerance, IgE food allergies

7. When in doubt, look to your gut for answers

If you don’t experience any overt gut issues but are struggling with a health issue you can’t resolve, it almost always pays to look at the gut.

Health issues connected to the gut:

The gut-skin axis: rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, acne

The gut-liver axis: non-alcoholic fatty liver

The gut-brain axis: depression, anxiety, Parkinson's, ASD

The gut-immune/inflammatory axis: endometriosis, poor immune function, autoimmunity

Chelsey x

Disclaimer: For information purposes only. Not indended as medical advice or to diagnose any medical issue. Speak to your health care professional before starting pre or probiotics.


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