Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic medical condition affecting your intestines, predominantly large bowel. There are more and more people living with it in New Zealand and all over the world.
Most common problems include bloating, abdominal pain/cramps and diarrhoea or constipation. There is no cure for IBS. The treatments include dietary modifications and probiotics.
A recent study by Dr Chandran that was presented at the World Congress of Gastroenterology late in 2017 has shown that almost 90% of patients had resolution of their IBS symptoms.
189 patients who had IBS were instructed to eat 2-3 cups of home-made yoghurt per day. The yoghurt was made using heirloom lactobacillus yoghurt culture. Patients were saving a cup of yoghurt from each batch and used as a starter for the next batch of yoghurt. They also recorded their daily IBS symptoms, and these responses were assessed every two months.
169 patients (89%) had complete resolution of their IBS symptoms within six months. This is a pilot study, and more work is needed.
The results of this study are showing great promise. Anecdotally, I have recommended this regimen to my IBS patients, and in all their symptoms have improved, if not resolved.
It works by altering the gut flora (microbiome, ratios between different micro-organisms in your gut) and introducing more probiotics. I believe that fermented food works this way too.
100mls of regular blue milk (full cream milk) has around 50 kcal, but 100mls of store-bought full-fat yoghurt has around 100kcal. I often ask myself why that is and what else did the manufacturers add to yoghurt to make it so calorific.
Often the answer is sugar. In my opinion, the majority of IBS symptoms are due to altered gut flora from use of processed carbohydrates.
And homemade yoghurt is easy to make. I have bought Finnish heirloom yoghurt starter culture called short viili. It is a very easy yoghurt to make as you do not need to near boil the milk and then let it cool.
I use 1 cup of my last yoghurt batch and mix with 800mls of full-fat milk that I have just taken out of the fridge. I wrap it into the tea towel and place in a warm part of the house (around 20 degrees Celsius). Yoghurt will be ready within 1-2 days, and then I place it into the fridge and use for breakfasts and smoothies.
Many abdominal symptoms are related to altered gut flora (microbiome). Some believe that even bowel cancer is in this category (we need more data on this.
All fermented food, including yoghurt, is going to restore some of this balance and will improve our health.
So, eat homemade food as it has less refined sugar.
The World Congress of Gastroenterology at the ACG 2017: Abstract P1152.
I am Breast, Endocrine and General Surgeon.
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