Including me! Yep, I was one of them! Plagued by digestive issues for the greater part of my teenage years, as well as my 20’s and 30’s, I sought to find the answer to something that Western medicine did not believe to be curable. After twenty plus rounds of antibiotics as a teenager, my gut was a mess, and it took me the greater part of two decades to finally heal it. Unfortunately, there are still too many people suffering from IBS.
I mean, one out of seven people is about 1.7 billion people worldwide…that’s a lot!!! And it’s really grown in the last two decades. What explains this worldwide rise in digestive disease?
What We’re Getting Wrong About IBS
And here’s where the problem gets even deeper: The medical community uses “IBS” as an umbrella diagnosis, which means a person is diagnosed with it when they experience chronic gastrointestinal symptoms without a clear structural or functional reason. Conventional medicine diagnoses IBS using the Rome Criteria, which provide a limited definition of what IBS truly is:
- related to bowel movements
- associated with a change in the frequency of stools
- associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool
And these criteria must be fulfilled for the last 3 months with symptom onset at least 6 months before diagnosis.”
The Problem: They say nothing about the true root cause of IBS!
If you’re like me, you’ll read the section above and ask yourself: There must be a better way, right? Actually, there is. Keep reading to learn about the HAPPY GUT ® ‘blueprint’ — my approach to healing irritable bowel syndrome, slimming the waistline, and reversing chronic disease.
The HAPPY GUT ® Approach to IBS
The Western model for IBS is simply wrong. For one, it clumps the millions of people walking around with completely different gut health symptoms — some with chronic diarrhea, constipation, others with cramping, and some with GERD or reflux — into the same diagnosis. The standard medical approach to IBS also neglects to uncover what the underlying cause of IBS really is; instead, your doctor will focus on relieving symptoms with drugs like laxatives, antidiarrheal medications, antacids, or even antidepressants. And while relief from painful and uncomfortable symptoms is always welcome, it doesn’t help get to the root of the problem, which means you’ll inevitably have more problems down the line and need more meds or be offered experimental new drugs. Oftentimes, the very meds used to treat IBS have other, unwelcome side-effects or consequences.
Instead, why not take the time to look at IBS from a systems biology approach? This means that instead of focusing on the smaller pieces of IBS — like the symptoms and medications — we try to put all the pieces together to understand the big picture of digestive health.
This is exactly what I did in my book Happy Gut and it’s what I’m going to teach you to do today. If you want to tame IBS, you need to zoom out and look at the gut as a whole, then zoom back in and look at that secret world inside you — your gut microbiome.
The 3 Components of a Healthy Gut
For a healthy, happy gut, we look at these three key components:
1. The Gut Microbiome
The gut microbiome is the community of at least 100 trillion bacteria living mainly in your large intestine. The vast majority of these bacteria are good; in fact, humans have evolved alongside these microbes to the point where we’ve developed a very symbiotic relationship with them. For example, the good bacteria in our gut feed off the foods we eat and in turn, they help us by making vitamins, short-chain fatty acids, and neurotransmitters like serotonin — a chemical that makes us feel happy. They also help us absorb and break down nutrients and regulate our immune system. And they do this while crowding out bad bugs from overgrowing in the gut.
Pretty great, right?
Unfortunately, a combination of a low-fiber, high-sugar diet, stress, medications, antibiotics, lack of exercise, and environmental factors can sabotage the delicate balance of bacteria in our guts and by doing so, it creates damaging ripple effects throughout the entire body, affecting our health.
If you have IBS, you almost definitely have an imbalance in gut bacteria. In fact, studies have shown that 73% of IBS patients have dysbiosis (an imbalance between good and bad bugs, tipped in the favor of the bad) . A large chunk of people also develop IBS after an infection of pathogenic bacteria like E. Coli, Salmonella, or Campylobacter jejuni, which disrupt the balance. According to new research, these pathogenic bacteria can produce toxins called cytolethal distending toxins (CDTs for short), which seem to play a major role in IBS that we haven’t been aware of until now. In fact, CDT’s can trigger an immune response in the gut, including antibodies to the very proteins that hold gut cells together, possibly triggering an autoimmune attack. This new information suggests that for some people, chronic IBS may actually be an autoimmune condition.
The bottom line: Addressing microbiome imbalances is an absolutely critical part of tackling the underlying causes of your gut distress.
2. The Gut Lining
New research on CDTs (I mentioned above) has shown that these toxins can also cause increased permeability of the gut lining. But here’s the interesting part: CDTs can cause leaky gut without actually harming the tight junction proteins, which means they cause a new, sneaky type of leaky gut. There’s even a new line of research exploring whether these CDTs can bind to the body’s proteins and cause the immune system to attack itself. This means that in the near future, IBS might be described as an autoimmune issue. This is a totally new way to look at what actually causes the disease. The new things we’re learning about CDTs mean that we’re also one big step closer to developing a simple test for this subset of IBS.
The bottom line: We’re learning more every day about how digestion and the immune system is impacted by leaky gut, including new mechanisms by which leaky gut can exist. Healing leaky gut is a key component of healing the root causes of IBS.
3. The Gut as a System
The other thing that’s consistently underestimated are the wide-ranging effects of IBS, which can impact so many other areas of your life — like your concentration, mood, and energy levels. The gut is the cornerstone of your health; it impacts your immune system, the production of your brain’s “happy chemicals” and can either help or hurt your metabolism, causing weight gain and low energy levels.
The bottom line: When looking at IBS, you have to consider how it affects the body as a whole. Start by supporting the functioning of the digestive system as a whole, from enzyme production to the rhythmic contractions of the intestines.
So how do I do it? I follow…
4 Steps to Healing IBS with the HAPPY GUT® ‘Blueprint’
Here are the 4 Steps to a Happy Gut (+more)
Now, I know all this might seem like a lot to accomplish. In fact, you may be wondering… How do you implement the HAPPY GUT® ‘blueprint’? After all, as simple as 4 steps are, it still may feel like a lot. I hear you. It can get overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to keep your IBS in check.
Luckily, I took all of this into account when I created a program that was designed to help people successfully complete the 4 steps so they can have easy digestion, free of IBS symptoms. This simplified, singular program has helped thousands of people conquer their gut and gut-related health issues for good — and it’s called the HAPPY GUT® REBOOT: 28-Day Cleanse . This program is based on the blueprint I detailed above, that took me over 20 years to discover. Instead, in just 28 days, you can complete the 4 steps to heal your IBS by working on the root causes that will free you from depending on chronic medications that only treat symptoms.
Here’s what people have to say about it:
However, I am pleased to say that after following your diet in the book for a couple of months i am feeling much much better. My digestive system is better than it has been in years. The pain seems to have gone as well. My energy is improving as well.”
– Jean Louise
Instead of putting a BAND-AID over the issue, the HAPPY GUT ® REBOOT: 28-Day Cleanse focuses on restoring all three components of a healthy gut so that you can stop thinking and worrying about your digestion once and for all. Not to mention, when you heal your gut, so many other things get better, like inflammation, brain fog, and fatigue.