Restore balance to your irritable bowels
Imagine testing how to treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) with a single medication -- and when it doesn't work, declaring that drugs don't work.
Not just the drug you tested, but ALL drugs.
Of course it is... yet that's exactly what's happening right now in the world of probiotics.
There are dozens and dozens of helpful probiotic strains out there, and each one comes with its own list of benefits -- including some that have proven how to treat IBS.
That's why any good probiotic supplement will contain a mix of several strains, not just one.
Yet in a new study, researchers tested just a single probiotic strain -- bifidobacterium animalis -- against a placebo in 179 patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
And while both groups improved a bit, there were no real differences overall. In fact, by week 12, the placebo group actually did a little better.
Now, I'd say this is an important discovery because it shows that bifidobacterium animalis by itself is not necessarily the answer for how to treat IBS in most patients.
But the study is being touted as proof that probiotics in general don't work for this disease -- when the reality is that just the opposite is true. In fact, many cases of irritable bowels are caused or worsened by a condition known as dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of stomach bacteria.
The best way to restore that balance is with probiotics.
For both IBS as well as general digestive support, pass on the probiotic yogurts sold in supermarkets and look for a quality supplement that contains multiple probiotic strains.
In particular, look for strains that have been tested in human studies.
Just as importantly, look for the right amount. While hundreds of millions of CFUs (colony-forming units) might sound like a lot, it's not nearly enough -- and that's especially true in irritable bowel cases.
Make sure your probiotic contains billions of CFUs. In fact, really good supplements will contain 10-15 billion CFUs or more.
But if you're fighting the constant battle of irritable bowels, don't stop there -- because in some cases, even the perfect probiotic formula with billions of CFUs of the best strains might not be enough.
That's because IBS can be caused by more than just a gut imbalance.
In some cases, IBS is a product of food sensitivities, especially sensitivities to dairy and gluten. In others, it could be caused by a gut infection, parasites or even a fungal growth in your digestive tract, especially after being treated with antibiotics.
And each of those causes has a different solution for how to treat IBS.
That's why it's essential to work closely with a holistic doctor who has experience in testing for and treating all the possible causes of IBS. In many cases, it could be as simple as identifying food sensitivities and making a few changes to your diet.
In other cases, you may need to supplement with herbal remedies or digestive enzymes, or go on a special diet for a few months to clear your gut of any microbial invaders.
PS -- Subscribers to my Health Revelations newsletter should check the online archives for my May 2012 issue. In it I explained why most probiotics are a waste of money and I even included a checklist to help you determine whether or not you should be on a probiotic. If you're not already a Health Revelations subscriber, that's easy to fix. Click here to learn how you can get access to this, and all of my back issues, free with your subscription.