by Lynn Hinderliter, CN, LDN

Like most of my colleagues, I feel that the state of a person’s colon is an indication of their overall health. It stands to reason, therefore, that many people, before they actually become seriously sick,  initially experience problems in their bowels. The problem may manifest itself at first in subtle ways – a little gas, occasional constipation, the odd feeling that one’s food is just sitting there – but these are warning signals, and should be taken seriously as an indication that some changes need to be made. Irritable Bowel

In 1972 or so, the most commonly prescribed medication was valium. Now, prescriptions for digestive problems far outnumber it, and the commonest complaint of all is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Once relatively rare, IBS now affects 20 to 30% of Americans. Irritable Bowel

The strangest thing about IBS is that there are no actual pathological, or tissue, changes that confirm its presence, therefore it is more a case of first eliminating other diseases that resemble it. When a person suffers from IBS, the normally regular and rhythmic movements of the colon become spasmodic and uncoordinated, slowing down the passage of waste matter, sometimes causing actual blockages, and always resulting in bloating and distention of the abdomen. The slower transit time of wastes leads to toxins being reabsorbed and recirculated, which can often cause accompanying inflammatory problems, such as lower back pain and other joint flare-ups. The sufferer actually fears to eat, because the consequences can be so immediate and so unpleasant. Irritable Bowel

  • A small percentage of people with this disorder would be advised to check and see whether they are infected with a protozoan called Blastocystis Hominis. This nasty critter can be ingested with contaminated food and water, and causes symptoms identical to IBS, i.e. cramps, vomiting, gas, weight loss and nausea. It appears to be an opportunistic beastie, perhaps able only to wreak maximum havoc in the absence of friendly bowel bacteria. Irritable Bowel

Otherwise, the causes of this disorder appear to be, either all together, separately, or in any combination: Irritable Bowel

  • poor diet, lack of fiber
  • Candida overgrowth/ bacterial imbalance
  • deficiency of certain nutrients, (e.g. folic acid, essential fatty acids, digestive enzymes)
  • overuse of antibiotics or laxatives
  • an extremely nervous disposition
  • food allergies  (check the Coca Pulse test)
  • Possibly an intolerance to Fructose may be involved
  • poor combinations of foods (e.g. protein, starch and sugar together, as in cheesecake)
  • stress, probably an underestimated cause – see my article at right, and the book The Second Brain
  • and possibly bacteria and/or viruses
  • One three year study showed (surprise!) that over-consumption of sugar (more than 55 grams per day) and
  • frequent eating at fast food restaurants play a part in this disease.


These causes make it the most common bowel complaint of the modern age.  An interesting study recently found that people who had been abused as children were at high risk for this problem. Irritable Bowel

This provides further proof of the presence of neurotransmitters in the colon!  I recommend a very interesting book called “The Second Brain” which details the overwhelming scientific evidence for a second independent nervous system in the gut. (See RESOURCES)  Those of you who read our newsletters and articles regularly may remember that I have made passing reference to this theory on a few occasions, but now: it is no longer a theory but a proven and generally accepted fact not only that there are neurotransmitters in the digestive tract, but that the system is ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT of the brain!  Why am I interpolating this here?  Because the main neurotransmitter of this independent system turns out to be Serotonin.  I am now recommending 5HTP to many of my clients with IBS, and other bowel problems, and they are experiencing truly phenomenal results.  Try it! Irritable Bowel

Obviously there is an intimate connection between stress, its effect on the enteric nervous system of the bowel, and consequent serotonin deficiency. Irritable Bowel

If further proof of the connection between IBS and the nervous system were needed, the recent success (up to a 70% improvement rate) of treating IBS with hypnosis would provide it.  In this therapy, patients are counseled to view their digestive system as a river, and given instruction on how to envisage it as flowing smoothly.  For more on the study, check RESOURCES. Irritable Bowel

Might it be Celiac Disease?

It is apparent that the first two of the reasons listed above are closely related: if one is not eating properly, one will not get the nutrients one needs. I normally recommend for the sufferer a two to three day cleansing fast, usually accompanied by an antihelmitic combination, just in case parasites are a factor.  Renewlife’s CleanseSmart  and Paragone are  excellent for this. I follow with a careful elimination/rotation diet to identify any possible allergens.  (See RESOURCES) Irritable Bowel

I strongly advocate the use of fresh juices, particularly a carrot/ apple combination, with a little celery and fresh ginger. Plenty of steamed, rather than raw, vegetables are helpful, and fish should be added to the diet regularly. During a flare-up, even steamed vegetables may be a problem: consider sieving them, and approach with caution. Irritable Bowel

I suggest plain yogurt or kefir (see RESOURCES) on a daily basis (as well as acidophilus capsules) flavored with a little vanilla and/or maple syrup, and the eating of nourishing homemade vegetable and potato soups. I ask sufferers to avoid refined carbohydrates and prepackaged convenience foods. Drinking of pops and caffeine is not recommended, but 6 to 8 glasses of pure water daily is essential. A strategy some of my clients have found useful is to put a little herbal bitters or a little lemon juice in their premeasured amount of daily water . Irritable Bowel

 I usually recommend a digestive enzyme, too, since problems in the bowel may start in the stomach. There is quite a bit of evidence that pancreatic insufficiency is a factor in this disease, and many of my clients benefit from adding pancreatic enzymes to their regimen. Often, Candidiasis plays a role and I frequently send off for testing to check that possibility. (See Below and RESOURCES  for test kit) . We recommend cautiously adding fiber to the diet not only by improving it, but by using a source of pure fiber as a supplement, checking to make sure it contains no sugars.  Ground flax seed is an excellent choice.  Irritable Bowel

The combination of allergy avoidance, pancreatin, acidophilus and fiber, together with a Renewlife’s Intestinew to encourage healing in the intestines has a very high success rate. You will find an interesting bit of reporting on Fructose intolerance in the RESOURCES at right –   a suggestion that many sufferers from IBS may be sensitive to fructose. Irritable Bowel

Lactose intolerance is well researched, and widely recognized. What is less well-known is that it often forms part of a triumvirate:  wheat, corn and dairy.   Fructose generally comes from – what else?  CORN! Irritable Bowel

Fish Liver Oil is also an important supplement for this problem: a  source of Omega 3s,  it is known to help repair the bowel. About the only positive fact about IBS is that the cells in the bowel are among the fastest reproducing in the body, and once healing has started it is possible to stimulate their reproduction and achieve a much healthier bowel. Consider also a predigested Fish Protein supplement, such as SeaCure:  a study performed by Dr. Carol Englender, M.D., found considerable benefit in an outcome-based study, where 12 of 13 participants found the supplement effective at mediating IBS symptoms after 60 days. Irritable Bowel

The other supplements we emphasize for this problem are:  Enzymes (both between meals to fight the inflammation, and with meals to help digestion), high potency B vitamins to help the nerves, with chamomile and Kava Kava, N-Acetyl-Glucosamine, Zinc,  Essential Fatty Acids, Buffered Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Liquid Chlorophyll, and a good Green Food with Chlorella. A study in Europe found that enteric coated (so they do not release in the stomach) capsules of peppermint oil were a safe and effective method of inhibiting internal spasms and controlling gas.  Acidophilus capsules are essential. There are also a number of herbal teas that relieve the discomfort – look for teas containing peppermint, chamomile, and fennel. Irritable Bowel

 Saccharomyces Boulardii is a little known but helpful adjunct for  bowel problems, and gastro-intestinal problems generally, since it not only appears to have effect against bad bacteria, but also helps defend against bacterial infections.  I have seen good results against colon irritation resulting from clostridium difficile, a nasty organism very hard to defeat, and also recommend its use if antibiotics have caused diarrhea. Irritable Bowel

Another study, from Penn State, finds both that animals suffering from Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis were deficient in Vitamin D, and that adding Vitamin D to their diet improved their conditions. (Reported at the Experimental Biology 2000 conference) See RESOURCES  at right for another approach to Crohn’s disease. Irritable Bowel

I would also suggest reading about HSOs, Homeostatic Soil Organisms. (Primal Defense) Irritable Bowel

A 2001 study published in Phytother. Res., (15:58-61) reviewed results for Artichoke Extract with dyspeptic individuals, and found that in a sub-group of patients who also suffered from IBS, 96%  reported better results using the Artichoke extract than any previous therapy they had used for IBS.   Irritable Bowel

A November 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a Traditional Chinese Medical remedy to be very effective in treating this problem. This was a double-blind, placebo controlled trial that found TCM effective. The name of the product in question is Intestinal Bowel Soother, by Renewlife, and you can find it in RESOURCES. Irritable Bowel

 An Ayurvedic remedy called Boswellia Serrata has also been shown to be effective for ulcerative colitis: in one study, sufferers were given 550mg of the herb or a drug three times daily for 6 weeks, and approximately 82% of the patients on the herb and 75% of those on the drug went in to remission. Interestingly, a recent study of patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, a related inflammatory disorder of the digestive tract, found that after twelve weeks of low intensity exercise there was definite improvement of both their physical and psychological symptoms. Certainly there are gentle Yoga exercises which are designed to improve digestion and elimination, so exercise would also be a beneficial lifestyle change. (Am. J of Gastroenterology, quoted in Better Nutrition June 1999) Irritable Bowel

This is a deep-seated and painful condition, and one that it is not easy to correct because of the many contributing factors. However, if a sufferer is prepared to go to some effort to correct their diet and lifestyle, success is possible and with success comes not only victory over the IBS but also an overall improvement in health, as nutritional status always improves with better digestion and elimination.

Common Virus Linked With Severe Bowel Disease Irritable Bowel

A common virus may be the cause of many hard-to-treat cases of inflammatory bowel disease, researchers in Italy report.  More than one third of patients in a new study who had colitis that did not respond to steroids were infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV), the investigators found. Irritable Bowel

  •  A form of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis causes the large intestine to become inflamed and ulcerated, leading to bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Colitis can also occur in patients with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the intestinal wall.More than half of the population is infected with CMV, a type of herpes virus. The virus rarely causes problems in adults with healthy immune systems, although it can cause symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, such as those infected with HIV–the virus that causes AIDS. Irritable Bowel
  • Just to give an idea of how seriously an allergy can affect the bowel, there is a link an article from Dr. Mercola’s web site, , in my RESOURCES which lays it out for you!

Eating Wheat Can Double Risk of DeathCeliac disease, a form of wheat allergy, doubles your risk of death. The risks are particularly severe if you are diagnosed late in the disease or do not adhere to a strict diet free of gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains.Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or ‘gluten intolerance’ is a genetic disorder that causes bowel disorders, diarrhea or weight loss because of an insensitivity to gluten. It affects approximately one in 30 people. Patients often develop cancers of the intestines, which is thought to lead to a higher death rate.Among 1,072 patients diagnosed with celiac disease in Italy from 1962 to 1994, researchers found 53 deaths, compared with an expected 26 deaths in the general population. The leading cause of death was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Relatives of patients with celiac disease did not have a higher than average risk of death, nor did patients who lived three years following diagnosis.

According to the authors, “Prompt and strict dietary treatment decreases mortality in celiac patients.”

The Lancet, August 4, 2001; 358: 356-361

“Leave it to the Italians to find yet another complication of wheat ingestion – an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Wheat has already been associated with:
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Heart Disease
Developmental Delay in Children

Most all of us do not benefit from eating wheat – yes even whole wheat. I know this is hard to hear for many of you.

But just remember, I was once fooled enough so that when I was in medical school nearly 25 years ago my nickname was “Dr. Fiber”, as I was always preaching the benefits of whole grains.

Little did I know that wheat, and nearly all other grains, rapidly convert to sugar and rapidly accelerate aging and chronic illness in most, although certainly not all of us.

Unless you are seriously underweight, most of us would best be served by limiting or avoiding wheat altogether. I was well over 40 years old before I realized this kernel of truth and I probably chopped a good 20 years off the end of the limit of my life span by not applying it earlier.

Hopefully, many of you will realize this truth and apply this challenging discipline so you will reap the fruits of a good and long healthy life for you and your family.”


Lastly, a note of caution:  nuts and seeds can be really dangerous in any case of advanced colon irritation.  You would be wise to avoid them completely until you feel you are  no longer at risk. Irritable Bowel

There is a simple test that can be done to determine whether you have a Parasite or Candida problem:  we have the kits here.  The cost of the kit is $15.96 plus shipping, and you then send a stool sample off to the lab.  You are personally responsible for the lab fee of  $80.00.   The results are sent directly to the Health Care Provider you select. 

Order the
UroKeep Test Kit for Candidiasis and parasites: Irritable Bowel

Find the recommended supplements here

More information about the role of gluten in inflammatory disorders –

The connection between gut  imbalance, asthma and allergies –

How hypnotherapy can help with IBS –

Study suggests IBS may be linked to fructose intolerance.

More Information about Blastocystis Hominis  –

Interpreting the appearance of your stool –

For  The Vitamin Lady®’s Yoghurt Recipe, click here

For more information about KEFIR,        Bring your sense of humor – this gentleman is an original!

Crohn’s Disease and Low Dose Naltrexone –

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