In a previous article, I discussed the importance of the vagus nerve and its connection to digestive health and its potential role in the pathophysiology of IBS. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) counterbalances the stress response of the sympathetic nervous system, normalizes heart rate, and promotes healthy digestion and relaxation. It also has an antidepressant effect and helps keep inflammation in check. Increased vagal health (known as vagal tone) is linked with greater intimacy and social bonding, whereas diminished vagal health is associated with negative moods, loneliness, and social isolation.
The makeup of the microbiome -- the unique combination of microorganisms (mainly bacteria) known as the microbiota that inhabit the human body and are concentrated primarily in the gut -- has been implicated in a wide range of health concerns. This has motivated researchers around the world to develop analytical techniques to better understand the microbiome and its constituents and explore how they affect health and disease. The microbiome has been of particular interest to gastroenterologists in terms of how it relates to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other intestinal disorders.
There are many myths surrounding IBS, and most of these do more harm than good. Sadly, even the medical establishment and physicians who should know better continue to embrace and promote these outdated fallacies, placing a terrible burden on patients trying to obtain a proper diagnosis and seek treatment.
Everyone loves easy, simple salad dressings because dressings are incredibly versatile. They can be used to top salads, of course, but they also add a satisfying jolt of flavor when they're drizzled over vegetables, grains, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by altered bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or both, accompanied by abdominal pain or discomfort. Visceral (gut) hypersensitivity is believed to be a key factor in the cause of IBS pain and may also contribute to symptoms such as stool urgency and bloating. The cause of visceral hypersensitivity, however, is currently unknown.
Nothing beats the spectacular combo of chocolate and peanut butter. With these surprisingly wholesome bars, you get this amazing flavor atop a rich and delicious oat base. No baking involved!
Triclosan is a chemical that was developed in the 1960s that was designed to kill bacteria. Because it is so effective at this, it became ubiquitous in hand and body washes, antimicrobial soaps, foot and body sprays, personal care products (including face and body lotions), shaving products, makeup, and toothpaste.
When you have an IBS flare-up, are in pain, or are experiencing a variety of difficult symptoms, exercise might the last thing you're inclined to do. Nevertheless, certain types of exercise can be extremely beneficial for IBS sufferers, even (or especially) during a flare-up.
Bananas are just one of many kinds of fruits, so why do we give them so much attention? For starters, bananas are different from the majority of fruits in that they are both starchy and sweet, and these qualities put bananas in a class of their own in terms of their versatility.
Protein is often a looming but unwarranted concern when it comes to vegan diets, and low-FODMAP vegan diets in particular. That's because many vegan diets rely heavily on legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), which are excellent sources of concentrated plant protein. Unfortunately, most legumes are high in FODMAPs and can cause digestive distress for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Making breakfast can be tough at times for people with IBS. Hunger may lag when your tummy has been in a twist all night or when you still feel bloated and stuffed from yesterday's meals. There certainly may be occasions when eating is the last thing on your mind in the morning.
Sleep and IBS make for strange bedfellows. If you suffer from IBS, you no doubt know that a good night's sleep can make a world of difference in how well your digestive system functions the following day. A poor night's sleep, however, can have the complete opposite effect. And, of course, an overactive, underactive, or painful gut can disrupt sleep and make matters even worse.
The human digestive tract contains both friendly (aka "good") and not-so-friendly (aka "bad") bacteria. Good bacteria improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and help increase the absorption of nutrients. Bad bacteria are commonly defined as pathogens, which means they may cause infection, make us sick, or even be deadly.
The beauty of homemade vegan cookie dough for snacking is that it doesn't contain any eggs, so it should be safe to eat raw, right? Not necessarily.
When people talk about a vegan low-FODMAP diet, or really any low-FODMAP diet, the dialogue tends to revolve around which foods are off-limits. This can lead to the erroneous and flawed belief that avoiding high-FODMAP foods means permanently excluding many nutrient-dense and delicious ones and enduring a lifetime of misery, deprivation, and nutritional deficiencies. But how closely does that assumption align with reality?