Stress can be a big problem for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in Los Angeles, but research shows that its effects may not be entirely mental. In a new study at the University of Michigan Health System, researchers found probiotics may help to ease the gastrointestinal effects of stress in those who suffer from IBS.
Stress, IBS and Beneficial Bacteria
Though stress isn’t a direct cause of IBS, it can contribute to symptoms by changing the way the digestive system and mind interact. In addition to causing pain-inducing intestinal inflammation, stress can prevent components called inflammasomes from sustaining healthy levels of bacteria in the gut. In a study of mice, University of Michigan researchers found that probiotic therapy was capable of protecting against this issue and helping inflammasomes perform their important function.
Probiotics are living bacteria found in supplements and some of the foods we eat. They are used to promote a healthy microbiome, or bacterial ecosystem, in the gut. Though we’re still learning more about the effects that these beneficial bacteria have on our bodies, we do know that they can aid in digestion, immune function and the absorption of nutrients, and this may make them valuable in providing relief to sufferers of stress-related IBS.
You should never make major changes to your diet or begin taking a new supplement before consulting your colorectal specialist, especially if you have IBS. However, given the research, it may be worth speaking with your doctor about introducing probiotics to your diet.
Probiotics can come from sources like:
- Supplements. Some studies suggest that probiotic supplements containing the bacterium Bifidobacterium infantis can be especially helpful in alleviating bloating, abdominal pain, digestive irregularity and other IBS symptoms.
- Yogurt. Not all kinds of yogurt contain probiotic bacteria. Check labels for “probiotic,” “live culture” or “live bacteria.”
- Fermented soy. Products like miso and tempeh are made from soybeans that, when fermented, can develop probiotic attributes.
- Fermented cabbage. Like the soybean products above, sauerkraut and kim chi can contain probiotic bacteria. However, not all prepackaged versions of these foods include probiotics—be sure to check the label.
As we continue to learn how beneficial bacteria contribute to the health of our bodies, the influences of probiotics may become more apparent. Until then, be sure to speak with your colorectal specialist before attempting to use any form of probiotics to address your IBS symptoms in Los Angeles.