Probiotics can CURE irritable bowel syndrome

From an article in Reuters we get a report about studies ranging from 4 to 6 weeks improving irritable bowel. Well I’ll tell you I cured my IBS but it took 6 months of intensive high doses of probiotics…these guys are WAY behind the curve.

Why do I talk about irritable bowel syndrome a lot on a psych oriented blog?? Because MANY of us have IBS or some sort of gut problem that can underlie mental health issues. If you’re not appropriately absorbing food, you may be making yourself sick in numerous ways, including mental health. You need nutrients in order to be healthy in body/mind and spirit and you need a healthy gut to do that. Here is an article I wrote on my blog about how I cured my IBS.

I figured out how to do it by reading alternative medicine websites. The study below just goes to show how high up their a*&es western docs have their heads, because if they’d read what I read they would know 4 to 6 weeks is not long enough to cure anything.

What you eat is very important too. Much more on the gut, diet and mental health here: Nutrition and gut health 

Clearing up your IBS might just be the beginning. It was for me.

From Reuters:

Probiotic products, which contain living microbes that aid digestion, may help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, according to Dr. Nourieh Hoveyda and colleagues from University of Oxford, UK.

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common disorder affecting up to 30 percent of the population by some estimates. Symptoms may include chronic abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

The causes of IBS are unclear and there has been debate whether it is mostly due to psychological factors or biological triggers, or perhaps a combination.

The evidence supporting the effectiveness of most treatments for IBS is weak, the authors of the current study explain in the journal BMC Gastroenterology. Hoveyda’s team conducted an analysis of published studies to assess whether probiotics alleviate symptoms in patients with IBS.

Treatment duration ranged from 4 weeks in six studies to 6 weeks in two studies, 8 weeks in three studies, and 6 months in two studies, plus one study of 20 weeks.

Combined data from the studies suggested a modest improvement in overall symptoms after a few weeks of treatment, the authors report.

As many as half of the trials reported significant improvements in abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, and quality of life.

Only a few trials reported side effects connected to treatment, but there were few differences between probiotics and placebo groups in this area.

“In patients with IBS, probiotics showed a modest improvement in overall symptoms,” the researchers conclude. Interestingly, however, the two studies that contributed the most data to the analysis failed to show a beneficial effect with probiotics, they point out. This may relate to the type of microorganisms found in the probiotic products.

“Longer term trials are recommended as IBS is a condition that is chronic and usually intermittent,” the investigators add. “However, further research should focus on the type, optimal dose of probiotics, and the subgroups of patients who are likely to benefit the most.”

Much more on the gut, diet and mental health here: Nutrition and gut health

23 thoughts on “Probiotics can CURE irritable bowel syndrome

  1. Dear Gianna,

    I checked out your link about the healthy skeptic. I was not aware that low cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of suicide. This does not particularly suprise me, as they say, cholesterol is part of a functional human body including your brainz.

    That being said, I don’t think most of us are going to get to 150 cholesterol, as that was my childhood cholesterol level!

    Also, for me to make a decision, I would have to look at scientific studies, consensus studies, and the like. I could go ahead and do this, but really find it prudent to reduce cholesterol, by a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. If Americans think they can live on Big Macs and take a statin pill, I think they are sorely mistaken.

    My last cholesterol was a bit high, due to my fondness for whole yogurt. At 310, I thought it was prudent to reduce it. Prior to my infatuation with whole yogurt and whole milk, my cholesterol was at 250. However, due to all the fish oil I take, my profile was very high in HDL and low in LDL so nobody had a cow about it, excuse the pun.

    I have yet to see my new cholesterol, which will be a full panel. I no longer consume high fat dairy prodcuts and try to eat beef less than once per week, then lean cuts.

    I worked at a company once, was actually my first “real” job, and it was a contract from Merck about cholesterol reduction via HMG-CoA reductase. Strangely enough, the drug, called Lovastatin, came from a fairly common fungus, very related to Aspergillus niger which is the black mold you will find on your bread.

    The product never did well, and lost out early in the race with Simvastatin, which I believe was it’s Japanese counterpart. This is mid 80’s to late 80’s.

    But you know what was all gross about this, is that at one point, to get Lovastatin, you had to get it, directly from a fungal culture of Aspergillus terreus. YUK! It was gross, dirty, smelled bad as mold does, and I’m telling you, unless they used some kind of column, that back in the day would have been 100 feet tall, that YUCKY crap might very well make it into the pill! Even, back in the day, pure Phenol would not remove the crap and it was practically impossible to get any kind of realistic DNA prep.

    The goal, of course, was to isolate the gene from A. terreus and have it produced in bacteria, instead, a much cleaner product. Anyway, didn’t do well, the small company went belly up, but I had moved on to another company, the company that came up with Cialis, the weekend viagra.

    That company did better. That company is pretty much owned by Bill Gates. His hobby is to start up biotech companies, or at least at one time it was his hobby. That’s how I came to meet him several times.



  2. Dear Gianna,

    I have heard rumors that cholesterol is overplayed. However, as far as I recall, I had researched it at the NIH, and am not willing to totally throw in the towel on the notion that cholesterol might be related to heart disease.

    I once worked at the most advanced cholesterol lab in the nation, and when you really SEE trigylcerides and SEE cholesterol, it’s pretty startling.

    A healthy person’s blood serum is entirely clear, off yellow color. A person with high cholesterol or high triglycerides their blood serum looks like milk. That can’t possibly be good!

    Some people’s triglycerides were so high, that it would max out the gradient we were using, and float up to the top, with a white greasy mass. I can’t hardly imagine something like that going through a capillary!

    I almost never have sugar. I have one level teaspoon in my coffee and that’s pretty much it. I otherwise rarely even eat carbs. I am looking at healthier sucrose for my coffee, but no sucrose substitute- no nutrasweet, stevia, saccharine – nothing like that. No cane sugar, either. My coffee is also my only caffeine. I take no other caffeine, not even a glass of pepsi, or diet pepsi.

    Back to cholesterol, there are a very few areas I can cut back on saturated fats, not many. Then, I can cut back on eggs. I believe my cholesterol, which has never been super high, can be managed without drugs.

    I am also exercising like a fiend!

    I’ll check out your link.



  3. a lot of stuff on cholesterol is crap. I eat two raw local free range eggs everyday!!

    I used to have high-cholesterol…cutting out sugar and refined grains and food was the trick…not the fat and eggs so much…

    it’s more of the bullshit they feed us…I don’t have a good source to document what I’m saying unfortunately, but I proved it in my body!!

    and their are good books on the topic if you look for them…

    I wrote something about how my cholesterol came down naturally without following the crap they put out there as truth…I’ll see if I can find the post…

    and it is ANECDOTAL of course…just my experience, but I based it on stuff I studied and read.

    I couldn’t find the piece I wrote about my own cholesterol but here is a good link to a piece on cholesterol I found while I was looking for my link…

    also exercise is key!


  4. Hey Gianna,

    Yes, diet is key, of course! What I was referring to, was the fact that when your stomach is as upset as mine was, it was impossible to eat fruit or salad.

    So, the probiotics, lay the groundwork for a proper diet which in turn, helps with probiotics.

    I feel fantastic, and no problems with my guts anymore at all and eating at a fantastic level. But, yes, I know there is much more about nutrtion that I need to learn!

    Like you, I do almost everything organic, especially chicken and eggs, I don’t eat pork as my family is Jewish, sounds like maybe not such a bad thing! 🙂

    We live in such a rural area that numerous neighbors have free range, organic eggs available. My only further issue with eggs, being cholesterol. I’m about to get my cholesterol tested, and so will find out!



  5. when I first started researching natural alternatives for mental health the gut is the first place I started. What Ric says is right on the money and I have multiple posts on the importance of gut health…which also requires a healthy diet overall…not just supplementing with probiotics.

    I have a number of pieces on how I did this for myself. Some of them are on my about page.


  6. Dear Rik,

    You are a freaking genius! 🙂

    I have a BS in Biology. One thing they teach, is “dynamic equilibrium”, so that one thing feeds into another (or might be more complex) but that’s the general idea. That it’s usually not all A —->B but also is B—->A, more or less.

    What I have found with my “guts” is that when my large intestine is painful to even touch, that this can cause anxiety. So, until I took the probiotic, I would take an immodium, to get my guts to quiet down, but I wasn’t really taking it for my guts at home, but was taking immodium for anxiety!

    It’s like anxiety —> guts but also guts —>anxiety. A vicious cycle.

    Then, yes, there’s the issue of, my God, how can I assume my body is getting what it needs, when obviously I’m not digesting things properly. How can I give energy to my body and mind when my guts are not working!

    Also, SSRI’s go after serotonin receptors, if i recall correctly. I believe 90% of the receptors are in the brain but 10% are in the guts!

    I seem to have found a CURE! It’s been over a week now, and my guts are fine! I also did get some amino acids. Of course proteins are broken down into AAs but how do you know your body is doing that, and so, maybe supply the AAs once per day. It’s certainly not going to hurt you!

    And since the main reason I failed on my Seroquel reduction was extreme nausea and anorexia, my guts not being messed up all the time, will allow for a reduction, later on and perhaps this time, the nausea won’t be so bad.

    If I lived in a state where pot was legal, I might be able to come down off the Seroquel, due to pot being an anti-nausea substance. When I have smoked pot, legally, like in Washington, it never made me psychotic or anything like that.

    I’ve actually never been psychotic, and have bipolar 2, with severe SAD if we want to give any credence to diagnosis!

    I’m not sure I have an inflammatory bowel issue.

    There was one month, where I foolishly took tons of Alleve liquid packs, and on an empty stomach. I later had severe gastric problems and went to the doctor, and sure enough, I had gastritis. I was on Nexium for about 3 months, worked OK. Then I was fine after that.

    Then the tornado occurred, and found myself with tornado stomach, but was willing to deal with it, as my husband, with no mental illness was having the same issue. But now, it’s almost been a year, since the tornado, and enough is enough! So, I tried the probiotic and it worked great. I had been eating yogurt, but that was not working at all.

    This probiotic thing is the most amazing cure, of any allopathic or holistic modality, EVER! I have NEVER had anything work so well.



  7. Where on earth do you get enteric coated peppermint?

    You know the other thing I’ve tried, is ginger root. That may or may not work.

    I take a ton of fish oil, but for bipolar and not for my stomach. My cholesterol looks great, so I know some of it is coming through.



    1. Arianna, your stomach and your bi-polar are very closely related. Many, seemingly, disparate disorders have remarkably similar underlying etiologies.

      I have often likened inflammatory bowel issues to a faulty car exhaust that is leaking carbon monoxide back into the vehicle.

      Your “tornado stomach”, as you referred to it, is leaking toxins back into your body, which are affecting your brain.

      My contact info is on my blog. You can reach me off board if you wish.

      Good luck.



  8. I devoted my blog to probiotics last week.

    If you’re in the throes of an attack, I’ve often found enteric coated peppermint has helped clients stop the diahrea.

    Enteric coated fish oils also reduce the inflamatory response. As has been discussed in earlier posts, the enteric coating allows it to get to the intestines, where they can be of help for this.

    Glutamine helps to heal the intestinal lesions that usually accompany most inflammatory bowel issues.

    And lay low on the wheat. Gluten sensitivity is often part of the package that people present with this problem.

    Hope this is of some help.



  9. Wow! I have a very high tolerance for tranquilzers so minimize their use.

    For example, when I first started taking Klonopin, I did do it for insomnia, and extreme muscle soreness from riding, and trying to keep up with the young girls. It would knock me out!

    About the 20th time I did this, which was over many months, and not daily, it entirely stopped working. I’m not addicted to it, but when I take it, nothing happens!

    So, now I use a rare amount of xanax, which still works. But, I have certainly never had anxiety from a tranquilizer! Nothing but relief but with the side effect of then either becoming tolerant or addicted!

    Meditation works just as well, and with no addiction other than an addiction to meditation! Now that it is spring, I am doing INTENSE exercise. This helps mostly with insomnia, though sometimes I work out so hard, that I can’t sleep!



  10. Yes, G,

    I have had akasthesia before, when my doctor tried to switch me from Seroquel to Geodon. That is actually around the same time I had problems with anxiety, which is similar to akasthesia but not identical.

    My personal experience with Seroquel is that it is most likely not causing akasthesia. For example, if I am feeling extra stressed, or anxious, or having insomnia, sometimes I will take an extra seroquel that day, and it will work for that. However, I don’t do this often enough to actually be at an increased dose.

    I believe that if I were having akasthesia from the seroquel, that more seroquel would make it worse, rather than make it better.

    That’s just my personal experience.

    I’ve had some luck with tranquilizers, but for me, they don’t work for long.

    It has been suggested by my doctors that I metabolize drugs, rather than them being put into the blood. I believe I can take a test to see if this is the case. It would explain why I have to take such huge dosages. I believe the test is the P450.



  11. yes bplife,
    all benzos can trigger drug induced anxiety…and many people who take benzos for something completely unpsychiatric related, like muscle-spasms for example, who’ve never had a psychiatric history end up on the psychiatric gravy train…

    I see it again and again…


  12. Thanks for the information Arianna and Gianna! Besides Xanax, klonopin can also cause anxiety which is what happened to me. My psychiatrist was the one who caught it and pull me off the drug. Like Gianna says, the cycle goes on and on.

    Besides seeking out the products that you ladies told me about I have also put away the TV as I find it too stimulating. Anyway – didn’t mean to highjack the thread. But I suppose that IBS and anxiety are related for some of us.


  13. Who can have anxiety while taking 1000mgs of Seroquel, and another 2mg of Xanax XR! I can, I can!

    these drugs can cause anxiety. Seroquel can cause akathisia which some people experience and use the word anxiety to express the inner restlessness…

    Also, I didn’t have anxiety until I got hooked on Xanax which was given to me to help me sleep…the tolerance to benzos (xanax is a benzo) can trigger anxiety in some.

    So very many people on these meds actually develop anxiety as a result of taking them!!

    this is one of the ways I ended up on a multitude of drugs…treating side effects with drugs…the cycle goes on and on.


  14. Hey bipolar life,

    It’s hyland’s nerve tonic. I think I’ll take one now!

    You know, maybe there is some good science on homeopathy now but what I’ve seen is so scientifically ridiculous. But, everyone is doing it, so I’m going to throw in the towel on science this one, and just go with it. Ultimately, I do what works for me.

    I think the Bach flower remedy works a bit. Also, I bought some super herbal sleeping pills, and they made me high, like a mini LSD trip, so now I take less! It has a lot of valerian in it.

    The reason I’m concerned with science, is my vocation was as a scientist and I have a BS in Biology. I’m not much of a skeptic, though, and am pretty broadminded.

    I am the anxiety expert! Who can have anxiety while taking 1000mgs of Seroquel, and another 2mg of Xanax XR! I can, I can! My anxiety level was so bad, for so long in 2006, (still on ser and xan) that I got suicidal. I”ve only had two actual anxiety attacks, though.

    The thing that I think is my #1 help, is meditation and biofeedback. There is mindfulness meditation, which I’ve only done a bit. But then there’s what they call, I think Samatha (Pali) meditation, which translates into “tranquility meditation”. That’s my style. Isn’t tranquility what every person with anxiety wants! Who cares about Enlightenment!

    My particular tranquilty meditation is to repeat a mantra, using beads. I use the mantra I was given by my spiritual teacher, Swami Veda Bharati. While I’m meditating, I have the biofeedback set up, as it attaches to the ear. I have now mastered level one of biofeedback and want to go to level 2. I do 20 minute segments. In the second 20 minutes I become very absorbed in the mantra, and my whirling anxiety and other thoughts are deeply calmed and I most often feel a sense of joy.

    One can use any word to repeat and not just some weird mantra from a strange Hindu man. You can say “peace”, or “God is love” or whatever you wish to repeat.

    Anyway, I could go on all day! But I really am the expert on anxiety! Most of the methods I pursue, like biofeedback have some scientific element to them.

    Exercise is also a big one, and for me, it helped to have a hobby and a social network, which I found at my stables. I am 47 and disabled due to bipolar, don’t work, so I have to hang out with retired persons, for my hobbies as they are the only people that, like myself, are not working during the day!

    Good luck, Biopolar life. Love the squirrel LOL!



  15. Hey, Val,

    LOL! That’s exactly what I did. Like, I want the highest amount of bacteria! So, Ultimate Flora! Then I realized I have picked the one for vaginal health, but is still working fine for digestive health!

    My big thing, also is the enteric coating. Probably we all have different levels of acid in our stomach. The enteric coating, makes sure that the probiotic bacteria are not killed in the stomach, and make it to the intestines. I think my stomach is a bit acidic, why having problems with gastritis, so the yogurt was just being digested.



  16. Arianna – was it the Bach flower or the nerve tonic that made you feel more calm? What was the nerve tonic if you don’t mind my asking? I have a similar attitude towards homeopathy as you but I try to keep an open mind. I use to drink valerian root tea for anxiety. It worked but it didn’t seem safe to me to use on a continual basis and so I stopped using it. I would like to find something safe to aid with anxiety however. Exercise, good diet and meditation only do so much.


  17. What a timely post G! I’m the first to admit not only am I a slacker about taking my probiotics on a regular basis, but derelict in my diet as well…
    But Friday afternoon, my gut cramped up – I got home & took a double dose of PB’s (I think mine are “Ultimate Flora” as well – I just picked the strongest concentration for the price, ha ha!) – & I got relief w/in a few hrs (as opposed to the “normal course” which would have been 48 – 72 hrs of suffering thru the typical attack)…


  18. Hey Gianna and bipolarlife,

    For me, before the tornado, my guts were OK. I could eat fruit. I had one incident where my horse riding was getting so intense that it was leaving me with extremely sore muscles, being 47 and trying to keep up with the young girls at the stables. So, I took a whole bunch of Alleve, wound up getting gastritis, and, yes, Nexium did make it go away, with few side effects. Now I can’t take a single Alleve.

    Being a scientist, and aware of how microbes work to assist in digestion both in horses and humans (horses are more complicated!), I have used probiotics in the past, but was not having any serious issues, so never noticed a difference.

    But this time, I noticed a huge difference. And I realize, now, that I have been taking more seroquel since the tornado, to deal with my gut pain, and maybe gastritis.

    Sorry to hear you had YEARS with immodium. Good lord! For me it has only been just since the tornado, or since May 25, 2008.

    Want to hear something really freaky. OK, now I’m going way off here, but at the same food store, I also bought Bach flower remedy and even a homeopathic nerve tonic. I’ve always hated homeopathy, because it just doesn’t make any sense, but thought, what the hell.

    So, I take one of these, sublingual and then noticed I was more relaxed. I then thought “did that pill just work?”. So I took another one, and that one worked, too. I’m not sure why it seemed to work, but you can get an MD in homeopathy and my insurance pays for this. Maybe just my own personal placebo effect, but I’m doing whatever works! And with homeopathy, the dosing is so low, that you’re unlikely to get any side effect.

    It’s kind of interesting how each person finds different ways to help. However, the probiotic thing is totally scientific. It’s a scientific “fact” that probiotic microbes assist in human digestion. So, it is not far fetched to think that it would CURE irritable bowel syndrome.



  19. Like Arianna, for years I never left the house without having Immodium on my person. I was never officially diagnosed with IBS nor did I try probiotics but after years of embarrassment an acupuncturist cured me with six treatments.

    Thanks for posting this kind of information. Hopefully it will help someone before they spend years stuffing themselves with unnecessary OTC medications.


  20. fantastic stories ladies…

    Ari, it took me 6 months to heal from 20 years of IBS…I took Garden of Life Primal Defense…NOT ENTERIC coated…wasn’t necessary…though I don’t imagine it can hurt…

    there are all sorts of different products out there and they are not all created equal, though, that is true…

    I now only eat plain yogurt on a daily basis…

    I’m cured.

    If I have a funky gut day…like once in a blue moon I’ll take probiotics for a few days…


  21. Yes!! I have recently cured myself from “tornado stomach”. For those who do not know, my house was entirely destroyed by a tornado, on May 25, 2008. We lived in bizarre circumstances, and really bad about food, like having to eat other people’s version of food, or not able to cook in a house we rented, etc.

    I have had horrible gastric problems since the tornado, oftentimes so bad that I can’t even leave the house without keeping a constant supply of immodium in my purse! I won’t go into greater detail, but it’s been horrible.

    I know about probiotics, and have even eaten yogurt, but obviously that is not enough. I’ve bought Activa, and even that is not enough.

    I find myself in a new city, and recently at a holistic health store where I saw “Ultimate Flora” products, though looked like many good other brands. I think the most important thing is that it’s enterically coated, of course, yogurt, is not.

    Within two days, my constant pain and nausea was gone. Now it’s been over one week, and the pain, nausea and other symptoms that are TMI, is gone!

    What is weird is how I’ve been sick for going on a year, and now to feel healthy and whole again, feels strange!
    It feels bizarre to feel good!

    Prior to this, I was going to cave, and go see my MD about Nexium, yet another pill to take! This alternative thing worked out way better than Nexium ever has!

    It is a little pricey, but for me, the difference in vitality, energy that comes from being able to digest food properly, and not be in constant pain, is worth it!



  22. You’ll be proud of me. 🙂 I had my husband on probiotics for a while to balance out his system. He stopped taking them (they’re expensive!) because he thought he was OK but now he’s beginning to notice that he really could use them again.

    Score 1 for me!


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