irritable bowels

  1. How to treat IBS with probiotics

    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.

    Crazy, right?

    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.

  2. Chamomile tea benefits turn off cancer cells

    Chamomile compound fights cancer

    There's nothing quite like a piping hot cup of tea at the end of a long and hectic day -- and if that tea happens to be chamomile, you're not just getting a warm mug of liquid relaxation.

    You're getting a ton of chamomile tea benefits and a powerful ally in the fight against cancer.

    Cancer cells have what's considered a superpower, at least on a cellular level: They just don't die the way other cells do. They live much longer, allowing tumors to grow, and cancers to spread.

    Well, it's time for that superpower to meet its kryptonite -- a natural substance called apigenin that's found in abundance in chamomile. In a series of experiments on breast cancer cells, apigenin was able to correct the defect that gives cancer cells their super longevity.

    Once corrected, the cells died like normal cells, according to the study of apigenin and chamomile tea benefits in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Out in the real world, cancer cells that live and die like normal cells are easy to defeat. And in some cases, they might not have the chance to form a tumor at all -- which is why this discovery could pave the way for a natural treatment that could work alongside current therapies or even fight the disease on its own.

    And since up to 80 percent of all cancers survive and grow thanks to this same "superpower," the benefits almost certainly won't be limited to the breast cancer cells used in the new study.

    I'll keep you posted on this as the research continues to unfold. But in the meantime, you may be able to get the bulk of the chamomile tea benefits right now just by drinking a cup or two each day.

    As I wrote in my book The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies, there are two forms of chamomile used medicinally, German and Roman. I prefer German because it's less likely to be contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals.

    I find it works best when you brew it fresh, but it's also available in other forms -- including capsules, tinctures, skin creams, and more. And along with protecting you from cancer, chamomile tea benefits can also fight infection, stress, ulcers, and stomach problems such as irritable bowels, cramps, and flatulence.

    But if you're just looking for a source of cancer-fighting apigenin and chamomile isn't your cup of tea, you can also find it in celery and parsley.

    I've got more on tea -- this time, the green variety. Keep reading!

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