Designs For Health

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Specializing in Health, Wellness and Weight Loss

Designs For Health

Success of Low-FodMap Diet

New Study Demonstrates Success of Low-FODMAP Diet in IBS for Long-term Treatment

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be debilitating and may cause cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. IBS can affect one’s work, sleep, and relationships.

Most treatments for IBS consist of medications that are often ineffective and can have numerous side effects. A low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (low-FODMAP) diet is not a new treatment. Most functional medicine practitioners often incorporate a low-FODMAP diet for patients with IBS. However, many of the dietary recommendations have not been backed by clinical trials. 

According to a new study published last week in Nutrients, researchers investigated the short- and long-term efficacy, nutritional adequacy, and long-term acceptance of a low-FODMAP in patients with IBS. Patient compliance and the ability to identify food triggers were also evaluated.

This study included 41 patients with IBS who were given a low-FODMAP diet and after 2 months were reintroduced foods, and then retreated with an adapted low-FODMAP diet with a 6-month to 24-month follow-up. At each follow-up visit, questionnaires and Biolectrical Impedance Vector Analysis (BIVA) were performed. As a result, the low-FODMAP diet was effective in controlling gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, both in the short-term and the long-term, as well as improving quality of life, anxiety, and depression. In addition, the low-FODMAP diet improved the quality of life without effecting nutritional adequacy. It was also noted that the perception of trigger foods was significantly different between the baseline and after 2 months. As a result, the research team demonstrated that even if there were some problems of acceptability and adherence reported, a low-FODMAP is nutritionally adequate and efficacious in improving IBS symptoms in the long-term.

Diet is the most effective means to return balance to and within the GI system. Some patients may need a combination of botanicals, enzymes, and probiotics to optimize the GI environment. Certain diagnostic tests may also be beneficial, including stool testing and food antibody testing.

The GI tract is considered to be the body’s “second brain,” and it is made up of a self-contained, complex network of neurons, neurotransmitters, and proteins embedded in the lining of the GI system. The GI tract is responsible for all aspects of the digestive process, from the esophagus to the stomach and to the small and large intestines, and it may be responsible for IBS symptoms.

There are other nutrients that can support patients with IBS. For example. Perilla frutescens is an herb native to Eastern Asia that demonstrates antispasmodic, prokinetic, and anti-inflammatory effects, which help normalize and promote healthy bowel function and provide relief from GI symptoms. In addition, there are some specific researched strains, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3856, that have been shown to reduce digestive discomfort and abdominal pain in individuals with IBS. 

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Bellini M, Tonarell S, Barracca F, et al. A low-FODMAP diet for irritable bowel syndrome: some answers to the doubts from a long-term follow-up. Nutrients. 2020;12(8):2360. doi.org/10.3390/nu12082360.

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Science Update: Value of Supplements and Illness Severity in Older Adults

Science Update: Value of Supplements and the Impact on Your Immune System

Most nutritionists and healthcare providers would agree that eating a balanced diet containing nutrient-dense foods is the best way for individuals to obtain required nutrients. However, many individuals consume a less-than-perfect diet high in calories and short on nutrients. Therefore, most adults do not obtain adequate vitamin and mineral intakes for optimal health. Also, many older patients with chronic conditions require higher nutrient intake to meet their metabolic demands, and the medications for these conditions contribute to nutritional deficiencies.

According to a study published 2 weeks ago in Nutrients, researchers investigated the effects of a multivitamin and mineral supplement on immune function in healthy older adults. Many nutrients play an essential role in the immune system such as zinc and vitamins A, C, and D.

 A two-arm, parallel, double-blind randomized control trial at a single center consisted of 42 healthy adults between the ages of 55 and 75 years. All participants were provided with either a placebo or a multivitamin and mineral supplement to be taken daily for a 12-week period. Assessments consisted of height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and heart rate. Laboratory assessment included blood tests for vitamin and mineral status, as well as markers for immune function and status. A self-reported health status was also collected. As a result, supplementation with a multivitamin and mineral formulation improved vitamin C and zinc status, as well as the self-reported health statuses. Vitamin C levels increased 126% and zinc increased 43% in the supplement group, with no change in the placebo group. No statistically significant change was found in immune outcomes. However, there was a significant decrease in the reported length and severity of illnesses with those who took the multivitamin and mineral supplement compared to the placebo.

Research demonstrates that multivitamin and mineral supplements can improve overall health and help lower chronic disease risks. Micronutrients maintain normal cell function and metabolism. Most individuals take a multivitamin to cover all their bases and to reduce their health risks of chronic diseases. Unfortunately, many patients are taking products that may have good manufacturing practices, but oftentimes, as indicated by the label, many of these products contain ingredients in their formulations that are difficult for the body to absorb. These products are also recommended in a single pill per day formula, which does not efficaciously support optimal metabolic function.

Everyone needs to optimize their nutrient status based on testing. A multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good foundation for this goal, but many products do not meet all guidelines for dietary intake, and the ingredients are often much lower than what is required for optimal health. Patients should consult with their nutritionists or health-care practitioners to determine their best options.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Fantacone M, Lowry M, et al. The effect of a multivitamin and mineral supplementon immune function in healthy older adults: a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Nutrients. 2020;12(8):2447.doi:10.3390/nu12082447.

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