According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, between 10 and 20 percent of the US population suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Also known as spastic colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be a debilitating condition that manifests itself in symptoms such as, bloating, pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea and other absominal discomfort. It occurs when muscles in the colon begin contracting irregularly, resulting in bouts of constipation, diarrhea and gas. Fortunately, various nutritional supplements can provide relief by regulating the action of the bowel.
Iron is an important mineral that the body requires to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the system. Those with iron-deficiency anemia can develop IBS following a sharp drop in the body’s iron levels according to Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine. Iron-deficiency anemia can occur after prolonged internal bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract caused by IBS. Iron supplements are used to treat those suffering from iron deficiency anemia but should never be taken without first consulting your regular health practitioner.
Your colon requires the presence of so-called ‘friendly bacteria’ in order to function correctly. The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide confirms this and also advises the use of probiotics for an all-round healthy digestive system. Two of the most well-known probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. They can be found in many different food sources including fermented soy, sauerkraut, yoghurt and kifir. The family health guide advises that regular consumption of healthy probiotics can help to regulate bowel activity and relieve stomach cramps, gas and diarrhea according to research. Probiotics can be easily purchased from health food stores or even from certain supermarkets.
Flaxseeds are similar to psyllium husks in that they expand during digestion to bulk-up the stool. This helps to relieve painful bowel contractions and bloating. Flaxseed offers relief from the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome as it is packed with healthy fats and is naturally high in fiber. Flaxseeds should be eaten raw and will become rancid if heated. Flaxseeds are available from health food stores and can be ground up using a coffee grinder and added to salads and smoothies.
Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Health Benefits of taking Probiotics
University of Maryland Medical Center: Irritable Bowel
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine: Iron-deficiency Anemia
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