Bowel leakage may be due to damage from an overgrowth of Candida albicans, and the imbalance of intestinal flora may result in damage to the intestinal mucosa.
This alone may account for some of the symptoms of IBS, but it is postulated that leaky gut may allow macromolecules derived from common foods to cross into the blood stream, causing formation of IgG antibodies, which are activated when the “pathogenic” food is once more encountered in the body. What this means for you is that you must maintain integrity of your bowels, keeping a healthy balance of microbial flora with the use of probiotics, while at the same time identifying foods to which you have already developed IgG sensitivity.
The intestines are one of the largest organs in the body. Their complexity can be overwhelming when you consider the influences on digestion – hormone, neurotransmitters, the balance of microorganisms, and food sensitivities. Fifty-eight million Americans suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, a chronic disease of bowel inflammation that manifest as anything from diarrhea to constipation, crampy, pain, and food intolerance.
IBS is often a diagnosis of exclusion, made after various diagnostic tests fail to reveal any gross pathology. The etiology is still unclear, although numerous theories exist. It is well accepted that stress is a mitigating factor in IBS, with the body’s release of stress hormones, and neurotransmitters, which affect the bowel as much as they do the brain.
However, it has been long recognized that there are certain foods that trigger symptoms of bloating and gas, constipation, or diarrhea. We have previously discussed the role of Candida albicans and “Leaky Gut Syndrome” in the pathogenesis of food sensitivity. It is hypothesized and has been shown in randomized controlled studies that IgG antibodies to certain foods sets up inflammation. You can determine the foods to which your body has developed IgG antibodies by taking a simple blood test, the Immuno Laboratories’ Bloodprint®, available internationally through your physician or through various laboratories.
The question we must answer today is how to best maintain a healthy gut? As we have noted, in addition to microscopic inflammation and alterations in motility of the gut, there may be bacterial overgrowth of the small bowel. Probiotics appear to reduce the symptoms of IBS, and it appears that the effects of probiotics on the balance of intestinal bacteria play a key role.
With respect to other factors that influence gut health, probiotics may have a beneficial effect on the barrier function of the intestinal epithelium, which includes suppression of growth and binding of pathogenic bacteria, and alteration in the immune activity of the host. Because probiotics secrete short chain fatty acids, the luminal pH is decreased. Butyric acid, which is a byproduct of the bacterial fermentation of fiber, nourishes colonic enterocytes, which results in improved integrity in the bowel mucosa.
A limited number of studies have been conducted on the use of probiotics in IBS. The results, however, have been promising, with improvement in indicators including bloating, abdominal pain, and bowel habits. Among the many small studies performed to date, B. infantis appears to be the most effective probiotic treatment for IBS. It may play a role in modulation of the immune system in IBS.
This information leads us back full circle to the role of the immune system in IBS, which is not fully understood. Typical food allergies, such as nut or shellfish allergies, result in formation of IgE antibodies, which cause an immediate hypersensitivity reaction to the allergen. These reactions are not associated with chronicity. However, recent randomized controlled studies have identified foods to which individuals have developed IgG antibodies, which cause a delayed and prolonged immune cycle of inflammation. This appears to result in many chronic disease processes, including chronic migraine headaches, IBS, and even obesity.
Prolonged immune responses damage the organs and tissues of the body. This includes the bowel mucosa, affecting absorption and motility. The damage to the bowel wall’s integrity as a result of overgrowth of Candida albicans and pathogenic microflora allow passage of macromolecules into the bloodstream, which may result in an immune reaction as the body potentially recognizes these common food products as pathogenic. The antibodies formed are then released when the body once again encounters the substance.
Inflammation and chronic immune reactivity cause many of the troubling subacute symptoms, which play a part in the malaise and fatigue that accompany chronic autoimmune syndromes. Food elimination diets based upon tests of IgG sensitivity include the Bloodprint® which has been shown in randomized clinical trials to effectively identify foods, which, when eliminated, provide relief of symptoms from IBS, chronic migraines, and obesity.
In addition to utilization of probiotics to balance the gut flora, trigger foods should be avoided. Some generally identified problems are found with dairy products, insoluble fibers, cruciferous vegetables, gluten, artificial sweeteners, legumes, carbonated, caffeine-containing, or alcoholic beverages and fatty foods seem to have a broad effect. However, it appears to be true that many people have specific foods to which they are sensitive, and, which, when consumed, can begin a cycle of inflammation that causes unpleasant symptoms.
The Bloodprint® test is available internationally. If you knew you had antibodies to certain commonly consumed food items, wouldn’t you avoid the possibility of an immune reaction? Ask your physician for the Immuno Laboratories’ Bloodprint® IgG food sensitivity testing if you suffer from IBS.
Atkinson, W., Sheldon, T. A., Shaath, N., & Whorwell, P. J. (2004). Food elimination based on IgG antibodies in irritable bowel syndrome: a randomised controlled trial. Gut. doi:10.1136/gut.2003.037697
Isolauri, E., Rautava, S., & Kalliomaki, M. (2004). Food allergy in irritable bowel syndrome: new facts and old fallacies. Gut. doi:10.1136/gut.2004.044990
Zuo, X. L., Li, Y. Q., Li, W. J., Guo, Y. T., Lu, X. F., Li, J. M., & Desmondw, P. V. (2007). Alterations of food antigen-specific serum immunoglobulins G and E antibodies in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2007.02727.x
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886445/obiotics are live microorganisms which confer a health benefit on the host.