My relationship with IBS:
As you may already know from reading my blog or following my social media I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) a few years ago. After following advice from medical professionals I embarked on the low FODMAP diet/elimination phases to help control my IBS. This diet has been amazing for my food-based IBS but I also find that there are other triggers that are a little harder to control. For example, stress and anxiety. Imagine preparing for a job interview when all you can think about is how painful your stomach is! I’ve found that introducing probiotics to my diet has helped stress-related IBS symptoms.
A bit about VSL#3:
VSL#3 is regarded as the world’s most concentrated freeze-dried poly-biotic (a combination of various probiotics) as it contains 450 billion bacteria in every sachet, which are sourced from eight different bacterial strains! Taking VSL#3 can help relieve IBS symptoms including abdominal pain, flatulence and bloating in just 4-8 weeks. VSL#3 works by delivering a high volume of good bacteria to the gut that are proven to survive the harsh conditions of the stomach allowing them to reach and colonise the gut where they restore a healthy balance.
The poly-biotic takes time to take full effect so it is recommended that 1 or 2 sachets is taken daily for a minimum of a month to reap the benefits and rebalance your gut flora. The sachets are so simple to use, you can mix them into cold water, blend into a smoothie or sprinkle the powder over your breakfast. They can be taken at any time of day, but personally I like to take mine in the morning so I don’t forget!
VSL#3 is available to buy as a box of 10 sachets (£14.95) from www.vsl3.co.uk
How live bacteria can help break the IBS stress cycle:
As scientists are discovering more about the effects of microbiota on the digestive system and gut-brain axis, nutrition expert Miguel Toribio-Mateas highlights how high doses of live bacteria can help to break what is referred to as the ‘IBS stress cycle’.
“We now know that a balanced healthy gut flora can have a positive effect not just on our physical health but also our mental wellbeing transforming the way we treat gastrointestinal conditions, such as IBS” explains nutrition practitioner and doctoral researcher in clinical neuroscience Miguel Toribio-Mateas. Miguel chairs the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT).
The negative impact of IBS on wellbeing was highlighted in a recent survey which revealed that the symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and changes in toilet habits, have a profound effect on quality of life impacting on work, sex life and sleep. Personally, I am not surprised by these results as when my IBS symptoms are really bad I don’t want to leave the house and feel so consicious of my bloated abdomen. Before I embarked on the low FODMAP process and started taking probiotics I even had certain clothes I would wear to disguise my uncomfortable bloating. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done this!
IBS is believed to be caused by an imbalance of the 100 trillion bacteria that live in the gut and it is now known that a decreased gut-microbiota richness and diversity can also directly impact on mental wellbeing. “Supercharging the gut with high doses of specific types of healthy live bacteria can help restore a balanced gut flora providing long-term relief from the symptoms of IBS and breaking the IBS stress cycle” adds Miguel.
DISCLAIMER: This blogpost is an ad in collaboration with VSL#3. I am yet to try VSL#3 but do regularly take probiotics