Irritable Bowel Syndrome Linked to Abnormal Colonic Fermentation

Abnormalities in colonic fermentation may be a cause of irritable bowel syndrome. According to the researchers, measurements of participant colonic gas production taken during trial diets suggested that irritable bowel syndrome may be caused by abnormal fermentation. Baseline rates of gas excretion were much higher among IBS patients than controls. In four of the six IBS patients, symptoms occurred when gas excretion was rapid. In addition, the researchers observed that on an exclusion diet, which significantly improved symptoms, gas excretion (hydrogen and methane) fell dramatically, but no such change occurred in controls. The researchers point out that fecal analysis revealed no evidence of malabsorption of substrate, suggesting that reductions in gas excretion were due to fermentation changes, not reductions in the amount of substrate entering the cecum.

Lancet October 10, 1998;352:1187-1189.

COMMENT: There are about 60 trillion bacteria in the intestinal tract and there are about 6 trillion cells in our body, so the bacteria outnumber us ten to one. Keeping the gut healthy is the key to good health. This study highlights an important concept in health. The food one eats will influence the type of bacteria that is growing in the colon. If one consumes large amounts of grain carbohydrates and sugar, this will encourage growth of bacteria whose digestion end products will not promote good health in our systems. Good bacteria concentrates, like Flora Source, will facilitate the production of healthier bacteria, but limiting the grains and sugars seems to be the foundational key to good colon health for most of us.

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