Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2015-01-11
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
PCM forum Index
of WB Blog articles.
How NOT to have
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects
10-20% of the population. People struggle with unexplained bloating,
abdominal discomfort, and inconvenient and embarrassing bowel urgency,
having to empty their bowels unexpectedly. Some also struggle with
intermittent constipation, as well. It turns something that should
be subconscious, predictable, and serene into a nightmare.
The typical medical evaluation involves
endoscopy and colonoscopy, since procedures, whether necessary or not,
pay gastroenterologists well, performed under the guise of ruling out
cancer. When they find nothing or only minor findings, such as mild
gastritis or erosions, then the prescriptions begin: acid blocking
agents, antidepressants, narcotics for pain, anti spasm agents,
etc–none address the cause, none are terribly effective,
all have undesirable side effects, many of which people are not told
about (e.g., unhealthy changes in bowel flora and increased osteoporosis
from acid blockers, weight gain from antidepressants).
We see IBS symptoms disappear daily in
the majority of people following the Wheat Belly lifestyle of no wheat
or grains, even after years of struggle. It is uncommon to not
experience improvement or complete relief. Obtaining relief from IBS
symptoms therefore starts with wheat and grain elimination. While
modern semidwarf wheat is the worst, other grains overlap in many
aspects. For example, wheat germ agglutinin that, by itself, exerts
a potent bowel toxic effect, can be found in wheat, rye, barley, and
rice. Eliminating all grains thereby eliminates the entire collection
of grain bowel toxins.
Whatever you do, please don’t label this
going “gluten-free,” as you will recall that gluten is just
one bowel toxin among several in wheat and related grains.
Other grain toxins include phytates, D-amino acids, wheat germ
agglutinin, as well as gliadin-derived peptides and other
partially-digested peptide fragments. In other words, wheat and grains
represent an entire collection of bowel disruptive toxins.
Gluten-free replacement foods made with cornstarch, rice flour,
tapioca starch, and potato flour also mess up bowel flora and cause
IBS and other bowel symptoms to persist. NOBODY here should be eating
such gluten-free junk replacements.
People with IBS as a rule start out with
substantially disrupted bowel flora: limited species diversity
with predominance of unhealthy species. This needs to be corrected to
reverse symptoms. An occasional person has bowel flora that is so
irretrievably disrupted that a course of antibiotics is required to
start with a clean slate. However, the majority can do well by
cultivating healthy bowel flora with a combination of a high-potency
probiotic preparation for several weeks to months coupled with a
program of prebiotic fibers/resistant starches that nourish bowel
flora. (This is discussed here in the Wheat Belly Blog and in detail in Wheat Belly Total
Health.) This is a process that typically requires
2-3 months to become established.
It may also help to minimize exposure to ubiquitous
environmental chemicals that can modify bowel flora. This is a long and
daunting list and includes: bisphenol A from cans and plastics, as
well as other plasticizers; chlorine, chloramine, and fluoride in
municipal drinking water; antibiotic residues in factory-farmed meats
and non-organic dairy; herbicides and pesticides in produce;
genetically-modified food with glyphosate and Bt toxin; arsenic from rice.
Some people need to consider dairy elimination,
also, to avoid both lactose and the casein protein, especially if the
above efforts fail to yield full benefit. Occasionally, there is value
is identifying other food intolerances as a source of symptoms either
through formal testing or a simple process of trial and error. One
potential tripping point for some people: fructose sources, including
fruit, at least until bowel flora are restored to a healthy profile.
The basic formula is very simple, but
astoundingly effective in the majority of people with this condition. It
is certainly better than taking a handful of ineffective drugs with
undesirable side-effects, while receiving glazed looks from
gastroenterologists mostly interested in knowing when they can get
away with yet another unnecessary endoscopy.
More like this discussion, i.e., how to NOT have
many common health conditions, can be found in Wheat Belly Total Health.