In this article:
- Defining Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- What causes this digestive condition?
- Managing IBS through nutrition
- Why is the FODMAP diet the best approach?
- The role of collagen in digestive health
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July 08, 2019 14 min read
The digestive tract pretty much represents the communication center for our entire body. Having a “gut feeling” isn’t just a phrase, and it doesn’t only relate to our intuition - it represents the signals that the gut sends out to the brain. Therefore, not only is the health of our gut of utmost importance when it comes to the digestive process, but it is also prevalent in the optimal health of the human organism.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) triggers a number of unpleasant symptoms, and the digestive discomfort caused by this condition can complicate even the simplest of everyday tasks. Also, given the importance of gut health, IBS is not only an incredibly frustrating condition, but a potentially alarming issue you should not turn your head away from.
Thankfully, it is safe to say that nutrition has developed into a science, taking a pivotal role in the management of numerous conditions, including IBS. Today we’re able to distinguish between adequate and inadequate foods and help to keep the symptoms under control by utilizing a well-thought-out nutritional system such as the FODMAP diet, with the addition of gut-healing collagen protein supplement such as all-natural Beef Gelatin.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder, not to be confused with inflammatory bowel disease or similar conditions. You may have also heard IBS referred to as irritable colon or spastic colitis, but no matter the term - the symptoms are pretty much always identical in affected individuals. There isn’t a particular symptom that could be defined as the main manifestation of IBS, since this condition triggers what appears to be a series of unpleasant symptoms.
It is, in fact, one of the most common functional gastrointestinal disorders, as one-third of all gastroenterology visits have been linked to IBS. Furthermore, a clinical review of IBS found that this condition affects 7-21% of the general population. In addition, in order to further demonstrate its high occurrence, yet another study on IBS found that there are about 3.1 million ambulatory visits due to the symptoms related to this condition in a single year. When it comes to the relationship between IBS and gender, it seems that women are more affected, especially the age group between 20 and 40 years of age.
The complexity of IBS actually lies in the way it manifests itself in each individual affected, as it entails a series of non-specific symptoms - both gastrointestinal and extraintestinal. According to a study conducted by R. Ikechi et al., IBS is manifested gastrointestinally through chronic abdominal pain, gas, bloating, altered bowel habits or normal bowel habits followed by constipation and diarrhea, loose stools, as well as prolonged constipation alternating with normal bowel function. When it comes to extra-intestinal manifestation, affected individuals may experience compromised sexual function, as well as urinary dysfunction. What’s more, IBS has also been linked to certain biopsychological issues, including anxiety and depression, which is no surprise considering the aforementioned gut-brain relation.
Even though the duration and severity of these symptoms vary from individual to individual, they can certainly be defined as life-altering. In fact, a study conducted by El-Salhy M. found the consequences of IBS to be similar to those of chronic conditions including congestive heart failure, hepatic cirrhosis, renal insufficiency, and diabetes - significantly lowering quality of life. Speaking of frequently encountered chronic conditions, judging by statistics of physicians’ referrals to gastroenterologists, IBS is more common than hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.
While the triggers of this condition seem to be just as complex as its manifestation, it is believed that genetic susceptibility, environment, immunoregulatory dysfunction, intestinal microbiota, nutrition, and lifestyle represent the key factors in IBS development, a study by M. Al Mijan et al. finds. Today, we will be focusing strictly on nutrition as a predominant aspect of IBS pathogenesis, exploring the FODMAP diet system, as well as supplementation with non-GMO Collagen Peptides as a natural alternative.
When it comes to potential underlying causes of IBS, most of them are nutrition-related, hence the heavy involvement of nutrition in IBS management. Possible nutrition-related triggers of this condition include nutritional deficiencies, inflammation and oxidative stress (that can also result from poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking), poor diet choices in terms of consuming highly-processed foods, as well as hypersensitivity to certain foods (such as fructose), and allergies. In addition, hormonal changes, certain medications, dehydration, as well as other digestive issues may also contribute to the development of IBS.
Depending on the type of the IBS condition, different approaches may be taken, while also taking the patient’s individual case, food intolerance, and allergies into consideration. There are mainly 3 different types of this condition: IBS with diarrhea being the dominant symptom, IBS with predominantly constipation, and a case with mixed symptoms. What’s interesting is that dietary changes are considered the primary method of managing IBS in all three cases. This is different from other conditions which look to pharmaceuticals first to manage symptoms.
A modification in diet represents the most popular, as well as the most effective approach for managing IBS, whether it be consistent periods of symptoms, or short instances of gastrointestinal discomfort which keep coming back. A study by M. Al Mijan et al. found nutrition to have a critical role in the etiopathogenesis of IBS, emphasizing the importance and efficiency of dietary therapy.
When it comes to dietary alterations, a wise strategy would be to keep a diet journal and note reactions to different types of food and ingredients in order to determine your individual sensitivity to different meals and beverages. Nonetheless, FODMAP is a scientifically-backed food-organizing dietary system which has already categorized foods based on sensitivity, as well as many other relevant factors, which you can personalize using your food journal.
Now, before we dig into the world of FODMAP dieting, it is important to state that therapy can often include certain medications, which may vary depending on the type of IBS. Also, with regard to each individual case, the treatment may include laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication, anticholinergic medications, antibiotics in cases of infection, and even antidepressants if stress and anxiety are some of the prevalent triggers.
However, even though medication is necessary in certain cases, this kind of therapy has not yielded significant results in comparison to the nutritional approach, a study by Halmos E. and colleagues suggests. In fact, the majority of patients recognized food as a trigger of digestive discomfort, emphasizing the relationship between food choice and unpleasant symptoms. Furthermore, a study on the role of the diet in IBS found that most patients prioritize diet in understanding the cause of their condition, while more than 60% of them reported worsening of symptoms following food ingestion.
Managing IBS, as well as many other chronic or temporary conditions, with proper nutritive choices should not come as a surprise. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of over-the-counter medication and conventional solutions, the importance of nutrition has been neglected for decades - and not only when dealing with IBS. While the importance of conventional treatment of health issues, especially those of great magnitude, cannot be denied, the role of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle should not be called into question.
According to a study focused on the relationship between chronic conditions and nutritional modification, nutrition appears to be far more important than we are led to believe. As the study firmly establishes, an individual’s immune system, toxic burden, as well as nutritional status play crucial roles in the development of numerous conditions.
When it comes to IBS, a study by T. Oliver suggests that dairy products, caffeine, carbonated beverages, fatty foods, alcohol, as well as foods high in gluten and FODMAPs, have been found to produce adverse symptoms. Furthermore, the same study confirmed the influence of diet on the gut microbiota composition and activity, as well as on the permeability of intestines.
Now that we’ve established the immense importance of nutrition in not only digestive health but health in general, it would be a good time to introduce the FODMAP diet- which is a diet low in FODMAPs (we'll explain below exactly what this means!). The FODMAP diet system allows us to release the full potential of nutrition in managing IBS while grabbing all the additional health benefits. However, in order to understand the concept of FODMAP dieting, it is necessary to delve a little deeper into the classification of foods.
Health Line defines FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols) as short chains of carbohydrates, which cannot be properly digested, meaning that they’re not absorbed into the bloodstream - but rather left lingering in the far end of the intestine. What’s more, a study focusing on a diet low in FODMAPs found FODMAPs to be poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates including fructose, lactose, polyols, fructans, as well as galacto-oligosaccharides.
Once FODMAPs have been ingested, a large portion of them ends up in the distal small bowel and colon, which results in gas production, as well as distension of the large intestine with abdominal discomfort or pain, contributing to the gastrointestinal symptoms accompanying IBS.
Since it is clear that FODMAPs can cause serious havoc on our digestive system, it is only natural to explore low-FODMAP diet options - especially if you’re dealing with IBS. In fact, a study on the role of the diet in the management of IBS found the FODMAP diet to be extremely efficient in managing symptoms of IBS. In addition, this particular diet regime has been defined as superior to the national guidelines of the United Kingdom when it comes to IBS management. What’s more, yet another study on the importance of nutritional modification found the FODMAP diet to be an ideal solution for keeping the symptoms of IBS under control, while also reducing their intensity.
While each individual case of IBS usually requires a food tolerance test to determine a person’s level of irritability, there are common groups of FODMAPs that have often been recognized as triggers in IBS. These commonly recognized food triggers include fructose (in many vegetables, fruits, as well as foods with added sugar), fructans (in grain such as wheat and spelt), lactose (dairy), galactans (legumes), and polyols (sugar alcohols and certain sweeteners).
Infographic credit: University of Michigan
Besides modifying your diet and following a low-FODMAP regime, the addition of gut-loving supplementation could be just the puzzle piece you were missing all this time. Not only can gluten-free collagen supplementation aid in minimizing IBS symptoms, but it may also help regain gastrointestinal balance and optimize gut health.
While browsing through the recommended list of foods on a FODMAP diet, you’re bound to come across bone broth. Many of you will be disgusted at the notion of eating bone broth on a daily basis, since the fact that it is extremely beneficial when dealing with IBS may catch you off guard. Is bone broth really something you’ll have to incorporate into your daily nutrition?
Luckily for those of you who are absolutely repulsed by this idea, bone broth is not the only source of collagen. In fact, it isn’t the most bioavailable source either, as the amount of collagen found in dietary sources does not suffice for your daily needs. In order to achieve both convenience and high bioavailability, you can opt for all-natural Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin.
Beef Gelatin Powder is rich in Collagen protein. Collagen is known as the most abundant protein in humans, and has multiple roles in human health & healthy aging. It is also the main insoluble protein, largely present in the extracellular matrix, joints, and connective tissue, including tendons and ligaments. When defining collagen and its role in the human organism, it is important to state that it accounts for approximately 30% of all the protein in the body. As far as its structure is concerned, collagen represents chains of highly beneficial amino acids glycine, arginine, proline, and hydroxyproline. While collagen is a naturally manufactured protein present in our body, the aging process significantly decreases its levels, which makes non-GMO collagen supplementation that much more necessary.
According to Health Line, collagen has a vital role in skin plumpness and youthfulness, joint health, bone structure, muscle mass, and even heart health. Nevertheless, one of its principal roles seems to be in gut health - which is also our primary concern today.
When it comes to gut health, one of collagen’s predominant amino acids, glycine, is a strong anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, collagen is considered a promising natural product in the management of various inflammatory conditions, including digestive issues that are often manifested through inflammation. According to a study conducted by Dr. Ning Quan, “inflammation may play a pathogenic role in IBS”, which is precisely why an all-natural Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin supplement is recommended in IBS management.
In addition, a decrease in collagen levels has been linked to the development of numerous digestive issues. For instance, a study by Koutroubakis I. and colleagues established a clear connection between low collagen levels and the development of inflammatory bowel disease.
Certain digestive issues may not only alter the gut lining, but new ones can develop from a gut lining injury. Collagen, a structural protein, has been found to support the intestinal lining, preserving its structure and preventing breakdown, a study on collagen peptides finds. Furthermore, a study on collagen synthesis showcased the vital role of collagen in repairing the fibrosis of the gastrointestinal tract - which is one of the crucial factors in IBS management.
Furthermore, a study focused on IBS diagnosis and management suggests that the gastrointestinal flora may undergo both qualitative and quantitative changes in cases of IBS. The most common issue that IBS may trigger when it comes to gastrointestinal flora is a decrease in the level of the good bacteria, which are essential for our well-being. According to Medical Express, the good bacteria in our gut are responsible for a balanced immune system.
However, not all bacteria are welcome in our gut, as many of them can compromise the health of the digestive system and attack the gut lining. Escherichia coli is a pathogenic bacteria belonging to the group of unwanted bacteria in the gut, which may cause inflammation of the gut lining. Collagen was shown to have anti-adhesion activity against this enteric bacteria, once again having a prevalent role in gut lining protection, which is crucial when dealing with different types of digestive issues, including IBS.
As far as the FODMAP diet is concerned, it is considered to be a rather restrictive regime, representing a great change in the life of the affected individual. Just as any other restrictive diet, the FODMAP diet may cause some adverse reactions, as it requires time for the body to adapt. Your digestive tract will love the changes - but you may not be prepared to limit or give up your beloved food packed with FODMAPs. If you’re having trouble adjusting to all these nutritional changes, fat-free Hydrolyzed Collagen supplement is here to save the day, as collagen is a rather effective appetite suppressant, proven to prolong the feeling of fullness.
While on a FODMAP diet, studying the list of ingredients will certainly become a habit you should welcome with open hands. Sometimes it may seem that certain supplements offer similar formulas and effects, when, in reality, their structure differs greatly.
According to a study on integrating nutrition into practice, artificial sweeteners containing sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, which can often be found in supplementation, tend to cause diarrhea or worsen it in cases of a digestive condition. Therefore, artificial sweeteners represent a red light in nutrition - and not only for FODMAP diet followers.
Amandean’s sugar-free Collagen Peptides supplements are FODMAP compliant since they contain no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. What’s more, our supplements are also lactose-free, eliminating the possibility of diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain in lactose intolerant individuals.
However, as we’ve mentioned before, food sensitivity cannot be generalized in all IBS patients. Namely, some affected individuals can be intolerant to a certain food, while others will not find it to trigger unwanted symptoms at all. Therefore, testing a food or a product and introducing it into your nutrition gradually, as well as keeping a food diary, is of utmost importance.
According to FODMAP Everyday, you should test a product by consuming half the recommended dose (approximately 5g) and observing the reaction of your body. If after 24h you have experienced no adverse symptoms, you may consume the proposed serving amount, while still being on the lookout for any unpleasant symptoms.
In order to track and note your individual food sensitivities, you should try writing down your reactions and any symptoms in a food diary. Following a FODMAP diet is a rather detailed approach, but your food diary is what makes it tailored specifically for you. Make sure to head over to our online store to discover more non-GMO, gluten-free, fat-free supplements!
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