How to Heal IBS Naturally for Good

How to Heal IBS Naturally for Good

How to Heal IBS Naturally for Good

Can you heal IBS naturally? Well, Natural IBS healing IS possible…here’s what you need to know

IBS 101

 IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a collection of unspecific signs and symptoms also known as a “disease of exclusion” when other gut problems that have a structural component (like IBD, GERD or diverticulitis) have been ruled out. I will discuss how you can heal IBS properly.

IBS Symptoms

woman needs to heal IBS

Ideally, IBS symptoms must have been present at least 3 months before a diagnosis is given. The most common symptoms include reoccurring abdominal pain with two or more of the following:

  • Chronic diarrhea or loose, watery stools
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Interchanging constipation and loose stools (never consistent) 
  • Improvement with defecation
  • Onset associated with a change in frequency or consistency of the form of stool. 

Causes of IBS

There is no one single cause of IBS. Some potential triggers of the onset of IBS include:

  • Food poisoning
  • Gut infections (like parasites) 
  • Antibiotic use
  • Low stomach acid
  • Heavy metal and toxin exposure
  • Suppressed immune system
  • SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • Leaky gut
  • Gut dysbiosis (unhealthy balance of gut bacteria)
  • Gluten and food intolerances

Regardless of what started your IBS symptoms, there is no doubt that it is UNCOMFORTABLE, and can keep many enchained to always needing to know where the nearest bathroom is (diarrhea), or praying every time they are on the toilet “please help me go #2!” (constipation). 

What to do about it?!

green salad with apples help heal IBS

There’s a wide variety of both pharmacological (drugs, like laxatives, stool softeners and steroids) and non-pharmacological (non drug, natural) treatments for IBS. 

However, in BOTH clinical practice and the scientific literature, the non-drug treatments are not only safer and have LESS side effects, but they are also MORE effective in many cases.

Here is a 4-step natural healing protocol for IBS—both IBS-C (constipation) and IBS-D (diarrhea).

Heal IBS Naturally

Step 1: Identify Underlying Food Intolerances

Testing for sensitivity to gluten and dairy can be game changing if you are sensitive to these foods. In addition, other foods (particularly FODMAPS, like apples and high fructose fruits, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies) can trigger symptoms.

People with IBS are often but not always FODMAP intolerant. The Low-FODMAP diet is one of the most, if not the most, effective treatments according to research studies (1). This is an important step to heal IBS.

The top recommended ways to “test,” include either:

  • An elimination & customized diet (see Step 3) to test and experience how certain foods make you feel or don’t feel (first hand)
  • Cyrex Food Intolerance Testing 
      • Array 3 (gluten and gluten derivatives, if you are currently eating gluten)
      • Array 4 (gluten cross contaminating foods) 
      • Also, Array 10 (list of 100+ foods, like FODMAPs)

Step 2: Identify Additional Gut Dysfunction (if any)

In addition to assessing for food intolerances, testing and assessing for other gut conditions that may be behind your IBS is crucial. Work with a functional medicine practitioner or nutritionist to determine if any further testing is necessary to find out what may be driving your IBS condition, such as:

  • SIBO Breath Testing (SIBO)
  • Comprehensive Stool Testing (Parasites, Bacterial or Gut Infections)
  • Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis (Thyroid Testing, Iron Deficiency/Overload, Nutrient Deficiencies) 
  • DUTCH Hormone Testing (HPA-Axis Dysregulation and cortisol imbalances)
  • Organic Acids Testing (gut imbalances)
  • Toxic Burden Testing (urine, hair, serum)

By assessing and addressing the “root” causes of health imbalances, you may find the real reason IBS is prevalent in the first place. This is a great start to heal IBS for good.

Step 3: Integrate a Real, Foods Diet

It sounds simple, but simplifying your nutrition can get you far. 

After all, if you have a “dirty windshield” and keep getting more dirt on it, you won’t notice if it’s still dirty. BUT if you have a clean windshield, and then put more dirt on it, you certainly will notice. The same thing goes for our diet and when you try to heal IBS.

Real whole foods should comprise the base of a diet to heal IBS in order to give yourself the best possible chance to allow your IBS healing supplement protocol can also work for you (below). 

In addition, I find that an anti-inflammatory Gut Reset dietary approach or AIP style (autoimmune protocol) diet can be tremendously impact early to heal IBS—especially during times of a “flare.”

Foods to Include

  • Sustainable Proteins (wild caught fish, pastured poultry, grass-fed beef, etc.)
  • Leafy Greens
  • Colorful Starchy Tubers (sweet potatoes, winter squashes, carrots, beets)
  • Fibrous Veggies
  • Healthy Fats (avocado, coconut, olives/olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, animal fats)
  • Clean Filtered Water & Herbal Teas

Foods to Avoid

spices to avoid to heal IBS

  • Eggs (pastured egg yolks ok in moderation)
  • Nuts
  • Nightshade Veggies & Spices (peppers, tomatoes, chilis, chili powder, paprika, eggplant, white potatoes)
  • Grains
  • Dairy (except for fermented full fat kefir or yogurt)
  • Alcohol (no more than 2-4 glasses/week)
  • Instant Coffee (even Starbucks; opt for 1 cup organic black roast if you drink)
  • Sweeteners & Sugars
  • Additives 

Next Level

Already “eat clean” or eat real food, but don’t feel any differently?

Some people find a short-term (30-90 days) “therapeutic” Low FODMAP diet. This helps them take their diet to the next level to heal IBS. Also, this allows inflammation to cool down. FODMAPS are ___ . They include dozens of foods with these sugars that trigger IBS symptoms in some. 

No, NOT ALL FODMAPS have to be avoided. 

A low-FODMAP diet can provide short-term relief and it can be used partially. For example, you can remove YOUR biggest triggers from the low-FODMAP diet. This includes broccoli, apples and onions but continue eating other FODMAPs that don’t necessarily trigger you.

Check out this complete list of FODMAPS

Low FODMAP Diet 

Eat Freely: Low FODMAP Foods

Veggies

  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beet
  • Bok choy
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber (including pickles made without sugar)
  • Dandelion greens Eggplant Endive
  • Fermented vegetables (raw sauerkraut, or lacto- fermented vegetables)
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce

  • Olives
  • Parsnip
  • Sea vegetables 
  • Spinach
  • Spring onion (green partonly)
  • Sprouts and microgreens (including alfalfa and sunflower)
  • Summer squash (zucchini, pattypan and yellow squash)
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes (including cherry tomatoes)
  • Winter squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin and spaghetti squash)

 

Fruits

  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Melons (including cantaloupe and honeydew)

  • Orange
  • Papaya 
  • Mandarin
  • Passionfruit 
  • Pineapple 
  • Raspberries 
  • Rhubarb 
  • Strawberries

 

Proteins

  • Muscle meats 
  • Organ meats 
  • Homemade bone broth 
  • Fish and Seafood 
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Bacon (made without sugar)

 

Fats

  • Avocado oil 
  • Coconut oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Ghee
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Lard from pastured animals 
  • Olives and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • Macadamia oil 
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Sprouted nuts and seeds minimal quantities 

Starches

  • Cassava / Yuca 
  • Plantain 
  • Rutabaga 
  • Taro
  • Turnip 
  • White potato 
  • Sweet potato
  • White rice

Best Avoided: High FODMAP Foods

Veggies

  • Asparagus (fructose)
  • Broccoli (fructans)
  • Cabbage (fructans)
  • Cauliflower (polyol)
  • Garlic (fructans)
  • Jerusalem artichoke (fructans)
  • Leeks (fructans)
  • Okra (fructans)
  • Artichoke (fructose)
  • Onion (fructans) Shallots (fructans)

  • Snow peas (fructans, polyols)
  • Sugar snap peas (fructose) 
  • Raddichio (fructans)
  • Tomato sauces and tomato paste (fructose, fructans)
  • Avocado (polyol) 
  • Brussels sprouts (fructans) 
  • Celery (polyol) 
  • Fennel bulb (fructans) 
  • Green peas (fructans) 
  • Mushrooms (polyol)

 

Fruits

  • Apple (fructose and polyol)
  • Apricot (polyol)
  • Cherries (fructose and polyol)
  • Mango (fructose)
  • Nectarine (polyol)

  • Peach (polyol)
  • Pear (fructose and polyol) 
  • Persimmon (polyol) Plum (polyol)
  • Watermelon (fructose and polyol)

 

Proteins

  • Legumes (lentils, beans, and peanuts)
  • Soy (including edamame, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk)

Fats

  • Vegetable oils and high pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats (canola, sunflower, safflower, grape seed, soybean, cottonseed and peanut oils)
  • Processed mayonnaise and salad dressings
  • Pistachios (fructans) 
  • Almonds 
  • Hazelnuts
  • Most nut and seed butters (unless raw, sprouted nuts)

Starches

  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Gluten-cross contaminating grains (oats, quinoa, barley)

Dairy

  • Cheese
  • All commercial dairy products made from non- pastured, grain-fed cows, such as commercial yogurt, whey and pasteurized milk.

Additives & Seasonings

  • Sugar-, grain-, soy- or gluten-containing seasonings or condiments (ketchup, soy sauce, some tamari sauces, balsamic glaze, commercial mayonnaise and salad dressings)
  • Chicory (fructans)
  • Sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, etc.)
  • Gums, carrageenan, soy lecithin
  • MSG and colorings
    Agave syrup (fructose)
  • Artificial sweeteners (Splenda, aspartame, etc.)
  • High-fructose corn syrup (fructose)
  • Honey (fructose) 
  • Refined sugars

Beverages

  • Beer (most contain gluten and/or mannitol)
  • Fruit juice Soda
  • Wine (ports, late harvest, ice wine)

Bonus: Low FODMAP Optimization

  • Consume organ meat. For example, liver from pastured animals one to two times weekly will help to replenish your vitamin B12, iron, and other nutrients IBS commonly depletes you of. This will help heal IBS.
  • Sip homemade bone broth between meals or with meals
  • Slow cook, stew, braise and poach meats for best digestion at low cooking temperatures. You can take this step to heal IBS effectively. 
  • Vegetables should be well-cooked with any seeds removed to improve digestibility; minimize

intake of raw, fibrous fruits and vegetables.

WHAT IF LOW FODMAP DOESN’T WORK?!: THE GAPS DIET

Beyond an anti-inflammatory (real foods) diet, and the Low FODMAP approach, one more short term dietary approach the works for some is the GAPS Diet—specifically a diet developed to heal gut dysfunction and bacterial imbalance.

 It’s a subset of the real foods, anti-inflammatory diet with the main distinction of forbidding starchy plants. This means avoiding or significantly restricting potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains, yuca, taro, and all grains, such as white rice, oats and quinoa.

GAPS DIET BASICS

drinking ginger tea helps heal IBS

The GAPS diet is similar to the customized anti-inflammatory diet, with the following distinctions:

• It eliminates all starch sources (e.g., sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, etc.).

• It emphasizes the use of fermented foods and bone broths to restore healthy gut

microbiota and gut barrier integrity

• It allows dairy that contains little or no lactose, like grass-fed butter, ghee, homemade

kefir and yogurt, hard cheeses, and fermented cream. Milk, soft cheeses, and unfermented

cream are NOT allowed.

• GAPS begins with an “introductory phase” that allows only meat, fish, bone broth, ginger tea, and small amounts of fermented foods and progresses through several stages, concluding with the “full GAPS diet,” which is much less restrictive.

You can find out all the details at the website.

Step 4: Lifestyle Gamechangers

Once a baseline of “real foods” is established, a few lifestyle game changers can make a difference in how you feel.

  • Sleep Enough. Get 7-9 hours of sleep (shortened sleep shortens the elimination process)
  • Drink Half Your Bodyweight in Ounces of Water. Essential for healthy bowels
  • Stress Management. Stress is the #1 driver of all disease—IBS included. In addition, stress is NOT just mental either, it involves physiological and sociological stress too, such as circadian rhythm dysfunction. For example, staring at screens all day, shift work, eating late or working out late at night, nature and fresh air deprivation, lack of social connection, working long hours without breaks. Eliminate one habit stressing your body out and integrate a balance of work and play to heal IBS.
  • Increase Soluble Fiber (prebiotics). These foods help you go #2 and form healthy bulk in stools (i.e. partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) supplements, and prebiotic foods, like cooked and cooled sweet potatoes/potatoes, carrots, and squashes, green tipped bananas and plantains, and cooked and cooled white rice). 

Step 5: Supplement Smart

Last but not least, some supplemental supports can help your body rewire healthy bowel function. Keep in mind though, you CANNOT supplement your way out of a stressful lifestyle or unhealthy diet. 

IBS-C (Constipation) Natural Supplement Protocol

Antimicrobial Herbal Supplements. Kill off bad gut bacteria. (Recommendation: Dysbiocide + FC Cidal)

Bitter Herbs: Take under tongue to stimulate bile (waste) production. (Recommendation: Iberogast)

GI Revive (Designs for Health). A blend or herbals to support elimination.

Magnesium 

Magnesium Glycinate (200-600 mg/day) *don’t use high doses over long term

Also, Magnesium Citrate (like Natural Calm, 1-2 tsp. before bed)

Ox Bile. Liver Support to encourage detoxification and proper waste production (Recommendation: Beta Plus).

Peppermint. Natural stimulant and soother for constipation. (Recommendation: IB Gard)

Soil Based Probiotics, Promote healthy gut bacteria in the microbiome. (Recommendation: Primal Probiotics)

Prebiotics. Help form healthy stools and support healthy gut bacteria.  (Recommendation: Sunfiber) 

Prokinetic: Helps move bowels through. (Recommendation: MotilPro) 

Vitamin-Electrolyte Blends Vitamin C stimulates digestion and elimination. (Recommendation: Ageless Hydro-C) 

IBS-D (Diarrhea) Natural Supplement Protocol

Antimicrobial Herbal Supplements. Kill off bad gut bacteria. (Recommendation: Dysbiocide + FC Cidal)

Bitter Herbs. Calm stomach aggravation or abdominal upset.  (Recommendation: Iberogast)

Butyrate Supplement* (sodium/potassium form + pre-biotic powder in water, like this one)

Peppermint. Natural stimulant and soother for constipation. (Recommendation: IB Gard)

Soil Based Probiotics, Promote healthy gut bacteria in the microbiome. (Recommendation: Primal Probiotics)

Prebiotics. Help form healthy stools and support healthy gut bacteria.  (Recommendation: Sunfiber) 

Saccharomyces boulardii (Recommendation: Floramyces) 

BONUS

For bloating symptoms: Atrantil (2 capsules with meals, diminishes bloating as well)

Resources

1. Hill, P., Muir, J. G., & Gibson, P. R. (2017). Controversies and Recent Developments of the Low-FODMAP Diet. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 13(1), 36–45.

By | 2018-11-27T04:19:52+00:00 November 27th, 2018|Gut Health|0 Comments

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