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IBS Resolves Following a Gluten Free Diet

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?  This term has been thrown around by GI doctors for many years as a catch all diagnosis for those with bowel dysfunction of unknown origin.  Typically, IBS patients don’t respond to increased fiber and respond poorly to medication.  In my experience most patients I see have been stamped with psychological problems and are told to see a psychiatrist and to manage their stress.

If you fall into this category of doctor negligence, keep reading.  There is hope yet…

A new study published in the journal Gastroenterology confirms a direct benefit of patients suffering with IBS after following a gluten free diet.

In layman’s terms the study can be summarized as follows:

  1. A gluten free diet reduced diarrhea in patients with IBS
  2. There was a noticeable and measurable increase in leaky gut (intestinal permeability) in those eating gluten.
  3. Gluten caused an increased production of inflammatory markers
  4. Everything was worse in patients who had positive gene markers for gluten sensitivity.

Here is the technical summary of the study conclusion:

IBS and gluten studyBACKGROUND & AIMS:: Patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) could benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD). METHODS:: We performed a randomized controlled 4-week trial of a gluten-containing diet (GCD) or GFD in 45 patients with IBS-D; genotype analysis was performed for HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. CONCLUSION:: Gluten alters bowel barrier functions in patients with IBS-D, particularly in HLA-DQ2/8-positive patients. These findings reveal a reversible mechanism for the disorder.

Source: Gastroenterology. 2013 Jan 25. pii: S0016-5085(13)00135-2.
A Controlled Trial of Gluten-Free Diet in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea: Effects on Bowel Frequency and Intestinal Function.
Vazquez-Roque MI, Camilleri M, Smyrk T, Murray JA, Marietta E, O’Neill J, Carlson P, Lamsam J, Janzow D, Eckert D, Burton D, Zinsmeister AR.

What To Do When IBS Is Diagnosed

Many get a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.  As a matter of fact, this condition will affect 1 in 6 Americans.  Most doctors will tell you that there is no known cause or blame stress, but there are some known causes and here is a breakdown for you:

  1. Gluten – one of the most common causes of IBS today is overexposure to glutens.  This family of proteins has been shown to cause nerve damage to the synapses in the gut leading to motility issues that can cause both diarrhea and constipation.
  2. Lack of dietary fiber – lack of vegetable fibers slows down gastric transit time, but also inhibits the growth of certain types of healthy bacteria.  This can translate into a variety of different gastrointestinal symptoms.  **Note – psyllium fiber and other cellulose based fibers are not recommended here as they can exacerbate IBS.
  3. Stress – yes stress can play a role, but it is typically not the main issue for most being diagnosed with this condition.
  4. Infection – bowel infection of viruses, bacteria, and parasites can cause IBS
  5. Food Intolerance – different than allergy, an intolerance = inability to digest foods.  When foods don’t digest in your gut, they ferment.  This can produce gas, bloating, and bowel motility issues.  The most common example would be lactose intolerance, however; many other foods can also contribute to this issue including processed sugars, and grains.
  6. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies – Nutritional deficiency impacts the function of many tissues, the gut included.  A common example of a nutrient deficiency that can cause IBS symptoms in magnesium.  This simple mineral plays a role in how the muscles of the intestine properly contract to push foods and fluids through the bowels.  Much like magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramping in the legs, it can cause the same symptoms in the muscles that line the intestines.
  7. Lack of Exposure to Healthy Bacteria – good germs help to regulate the water balance, inflammation, and digestive processes of the gut.  Most of us are overly hygienic and do not get enough exposure to dirt. Remember that aside from eating fermented foods, playing outside in the dirt is one of the best ways to maintain great exposure to good bacteria.
  8. Poor Hydration – Lack of fluid intake is extremely common.  Whether by not drinking enough water or avoidance of foods that have naturally high levels of water (fruit and vegetables), most Americans stay in a state of chronic dehydration.  Add to this the fact that many maintain energy levels by consuming caffeinated beverages.  Remember that caffeine is a diuretic and causes excessive water loss on a consistent basis.
  9. Lack of Exercise – Movement of the body stimulates bowel flow.  Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle often suffer with abnormal bowel function.  If you have a problem with constipation, try light calisthenic exercise every morning after waking.  You can also check out a great functional exercise program for home use here.
  10. Medications That Disrupt Any of the Above – Antibiotics, antacids, pain medications, and anti-depressants, can also disrupt the above through a variety of mechanisms.  Additionally, these four groups of drugs represent the top prescribed drugs in the US.  Even if you don’t take them directly, you can get exposure to low doses in the water supply.  That means that drinking unfiltered tap water or showering and breathing steam (indirect exposure) can leave you exposed.   See the diagram below:

constipation

Now Take Action

After reading the above information, only you can appropriately take action and improve your gut function.  Unfortunately, most doctors are not going to do it for you.  You just have to rule out any of the above as potential problems your are facing (a functional medicine doctor can guide you) and TAKE ACTION.  Taking action in the appropriate manner can help you restore bowel function and subsequently your health.  Remember that medicating the symptoms away without finding the origin of the problem is a big mistake.

Here are my top supplements for helping restore bowel function once you have addressed the above issues:

  1. Ultra Nutrients – a potent gluten free multivitamin to help protect against nutritional deficiencies.
  2. UltraImmune IgG – a potent antibody formula to help prevent infection and leaky gut.
  3. GI Restore – for intense cases of constipation, this supplement helps to get the bowels moving again
  4. Biotic Defense – a potent probiotic to help maintain healthy levels of good bacteria.
  5. Ultra Omega – a potent formula designed to aid in the normal inflammation response.   This is a common problem for those with post infection IBS.
  6. Max Digest – an enzyme blend that helps break down difficult to digest grains, sugars, proteins, fats, and lectins.

Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

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17 responses on “IBS Reversable on a Gluten Free Diet

  1. Dr.,please tell me if I’m sensitive to corn gluten do I need to stay away from gluten all together, my Dr.says yes.

  2. This is me!!!! I can NOT believe how many years I have suffered with all of this…It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with CLL that the doctors realized that there was also a gluten issue….I tried telling ALL of them that I thought foods were making me sick…they fed me thousands of dollars worth of all kinds of medications. All of which made me even sicker…I’ve been gluten free, preservative free and almost dairy free for 11 months now and I’ve NEVER felt SO GOOD…You are spot on with all of this….I’ve been to lots of Dr.s over the course of 20 years and all told me that there was NOTHING wrong..what really amazed me was that once the Dr. found the gluten issue my gastro Dr. suddenly called to tell me that I had Intestinal Dysbiosis………funny, huh? Lymph nodes have gone down…and white blood cell count has maintained itself. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU…for helping me!!!!

  3. Oh, forgot…NO GRAINS EITHER!!!!!

  4. Vivian says:

    This is my story…diagnosed with IBS at age 25. I’ve been dealing with terrible pains in my upper right quadrant for over a decade. I’m being treated for anxiety and depression. Coincidentally, one of my sons was dealing with abdominal issues. I began to do some research and since he has ADHD, I decided on a gluten free diet. Not only has his abdominals issues are gone so are mine. His behavior has improved as well. This has been a life savior for our family. We all feel much better. I’m not even looking for anymore answers. This is it. My advice would be you know your body best. Listen to it and it will get better. Six years later at age 31 and I feel way better then ever before.

  5. JILL says:

    Hello, I am suffering for years now with ibs/”non specific colitis with diarrhea and constant bathroom urge during flare ups. Dr’s can’t seem to pinpoint any one thing. Celiac doesn’t show up in my bloodwork either. Just wondering if anyone has similar issues or if there is any way to help myself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Missy says:

      Jill, I have been struggling with IBS-D for years and have a friend with ulcerative colitis. Neither one of us tested positive for celiac disease but I have learned that it doesn’t mean you aren’t gluten sensitive. I’ve been trying to go gluten free and have noticed improvements. My friend with UC is gluten free and hasn’t had a flare up since!! I also avoid preservatives like the plague! I still have days where my IBS-D is here but if I look back over my food log, I can usually spot something I ate that I shouldn’t have or I just don’t know what’s going on. But I have more good days than bad days. Hope that’s helpful!

    • Lisa Andrews says:

      Jill, try taking a good probiotic. Try one with at least 20 billions active cultures at first. I suffered from IBS Wirh diarrhea and constipation for years. This has helped control the diarrhea and I am much more regular. The probiotic puts the good cells back in. Of course, watch the foods you eat and see which ones effect you then remove those from your diet. Hope this helps…God bless!

    • Bkgg says:

      I take one Culturelle every other day and started gluten free products . Gluten free soy sauce, cereal, and eating more vegetables and fruits. Good Luck

  6. sally says:

    Hello, For the past six months or so, I have started noticing changes in my body such as big belly with very uncomfortable cramps. My clothes, jeans, trousers have started to look like I am wearing 2 sizes below than my own size when other parts of my body looks just normal. I starts buying trousers and jeans that just fit my belly right but not my legs as other than my belly every parts looks very loose on me. Especially at nights, my belly swell so much that I look 7 months pregnant. My bowel habits have so changed that I go toilet about 8-9 times a day and still feel I am not rid of my toilet. I feel vomit most of the time, dizzy often. I went to a private GP and paid for ultrasound. Doctor told me, I have lot of gas and full with poo and my bowels look swollen. He diagnosed me with IBS and now I am very stressed. As a lady, being skinny every where but with a very swollen belly, you just loose confidence and no longer want to socialize because of the way I look. Gluten free diet apparently helps from the research I made, but I still feel very down because I know there is no cure, you can only control it a bit with what you eat.

  7. Joanne dunbar says:

    I can’t believe after years of suffering with weight gain, ins bowel spasms, depression, fatigue to mention but a few, I was curious as to why I was always bloated although I never really addressed what I was putting in my body. I am 4 days into a new way of eating which is gluten/ wheat, sugar and dairy free, I am not buying gluten free bread/ pasta etc, I have gone for quinoa, potatoes non processed foods and switched to almond milk oh and also coconut oil( raw organic) I feel healthier already, bloating has massively reduced and weight dropped too. I drink green tea, tea with freshly squeezed lemon and reduced coffee intake to 2 cups per day. Also lots of greens steamed veg and raw foods. Thankyou Dr Osbourne.x

  8. starr says:

    Doctors told my grand daughter got the test for gluten allergies was not specific. She was tested twice, and was negative both times. However, she has followed a gluten free diet for 2 months and has had a dramatic improvement.

  9. Charlotte tyler says:

    I have ibs and have tried glutern free and been better if I eat bread.pasta pies I am set off.I had non test done it my self.

  10. Charlotte tyler says:

    I had test for glutern free and it come back negative so I thought I give it a go and I am a lot better.

  11. elizabeth jorge says:

    well i have celiac disease and ibs and i have try all kinds of diet and i still get sick all the time i ran out of diet iam so depress dont know what to do anymore please someone help me get better iam always in pain and stomach bloating

    • Gabbar says:

      Hi Elizabeth, are you taking any medicines to get rid of your pain or bloating? I have IBS for almost a year and right now I am trying to figure out what works best for me and what not. Try to cut diary and grains (wheat specifically) and eggs from your diet. Visit this website http://www.ibsdiets.org/fodmap-diet/fodmap-food-list/ for food with low FODMAP and take those more in your diet. Also based on if you have IBS -C or IBS-D you have to chose your diet. If your symptoms gets better, you can add diary and see if your symptoms returns.

      To heal your gut, there are few things you can try, start with Kombucha tea (you can buy from grocery store- ) , start with half glass in the beginning. If you see it adds to your problem, stop taking it. you have to just try and find what works best. I started probiotics but that causes diarrhea. You can also buy Apple Cider Vinegar, and take 2 spoons mixed with glass of water. I am not a doctor and most of this stuff I am writing I found through Internet Research. Kombucha or ACV have NO side effects like most of medicines prescribed by doctor. You can google kombucha and ACV and it’s benefits for IBS. It will depends on individual’s body type, one thing may work for one person but not for another. I hope you feel better, wish you luck!

  12. Told to take miralax….that has cellulose in it….isn’t that bad for stomach issues

  13. Tomy thomas says:

    I am suffering from ibs right from my childhood and i am 63 now.tried many antidepresents without much relief. Now I am used to this and adjusted my life. If glutten free diet is good I will try. But please tell me what are gluten free eatables.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Peter Osborne, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Osborne and his community. Dr. Osborne encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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