The secret of a healthy stomach in a seashell

Sunday 7th April 2013 

So a question for you – what’s the difference between IBS and IBD?

OK, maybe the first question should have been do you know what they are, but that would give too much of a clue to the big question above.

The answers are IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome and IBD is Inflammatory Bowel Disease – and they are crucially different.

After a fantastic Easter weekend I hope that I don’t offend anyone, but I do need to talk of bowels once again.

“Good God man we are British!” I hear you cry.

I understand the reserved nature of our nation, but it seems that new research shows we could be hiding away a real problem.

Discover the power of mussel extract when dealing with inflamed bowel problems

On Tuesday Cancer Research published data showing that bowel cancer incidence had increased by over 25% in men since the 1970’s.

Back in those heady days when men wore flowery shirts, stack heeled boots and flared trousers big enough to hide a bike under – incidence of bowel cancer was at 45 per 100,000 men.

Now its running at 58 per 100,000, a rise of 29%.

For women the rate is much lower at 37 per 100,000.

But what has this horrific set of statistics to do with the first two questions in today’s letter then?

Well read on and I’ll try to explain what the really big difference between IBS and IBD is...

Irritable and inflammatory

The sub head above might be an apt description of yours truly, however, it lies at the root of the issue I want to tell you about.

You see IBS is a debilitating, painful and increasingly common problem where the gut is sent into spasms on eating certain foods and in response to environmental stimuli – resulting in severely upset stomachs.

It is poorly understood, badly managed by modern medication and subject to misinformation and misguided advice.

IBD on the other hand tends to refer to two inflammatory gut problems known as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

These have fairly well defined symptoms, but arise from unknown causes and also challenge modern medicine in terms of accurate diagnosis and treatment.

There is much research into these two conditions as drug companies race to deliver effective and highly profitable cures for them.

For sufferers there is a sympathetic ear at their GP’s and specialist advice in abundance – even if this too is often confusing and conflicting.

So the big difference between IBS and IBD is that the medics tend to take IBD much more seriously, and often wrongly write off IBS sufferers as psychological cases.

What both IBS and IBD have in common is similar symptoms, convoluted diagnostic procedures and an increasingly common presentation.

The scary thing is that the symptoms for both are very much the same as for bowel cancer – and even more disturbing is the fact that IBD sufferers are much are likely to develop these types of tumours.

At the current time there is no such association between IBS and cancer though, which is the only crumb of comfort open to those who suffer.

I know from my postbag that there are many of you out there who are constantly plagued by IBS and a few with IBD and it is not my intention to worry any of you, or attempt to make your plight worse in any way.

I am just conscious that all of us need to take the health of our guts a little more seriously than perhaps we do.

Discover the natural way to enhance gut health and function – click here

Love your alimentary canal

For those of us who enjoy the delights of spicy food, and occasionally venture into the local emporium of chilli we know that the morning after may involve the second burning experience from our meal the night before.

And even more common is the odd ‘gippy tummy’ from an ill advised late night cheese feast, poor choice of seafood dish or a long past its sell by date gamble.

But the sort of symptoms we should all be aware of are;

- Chronic abdominal pain or discomfort that has lasted for more than two weeks

- Abdominal bloating and painful areas of the tummy which do not relieve

- Unexplained changes in bowel habit both in terms of frequency and stool type

- Dark blood and/or mucus in stools

These are the danger signs and need to be acted upon quickly – don’t delay get to the GP and take the tests needed to exclude severe problems.

Right having pointed the way for the serious stuff how can we avoid developing the problems associated with IBD or IBS in the first place? The answer lies in the ocean it seems.

I have long been a fan of New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel extract, and regularly use it for helping control joint pain, but recently discovered that even more research has shown how effective it is for keeping my internal environment in check as well.

For instance, a 2005(1) trial was clear in its findings that using the extract of Kiwi mussels had real beneficial effects, which was further endorsed in a seminal 2009 review(2) of IBD in Australia.

These powerful research papers, as well as several others indicate that the anti-inflammatory properties which make this compound so effective against arthritic changes in our joints also helps calm the same processes within the gut as well.

If you want to find out more about how this naturally extracted product can help you visit the information site here – there is also a fantastic 3 for 2 offer available.

Once again my apologies if the talk of bowels has upset your preparations for Sunday lunch but sometimes things are just too important to ignore.


Yours, as always

(1) Tenikoff D, Murphy KJ, Le M, Home PR, Howarth GS. Lyprinol (stabilised lipid extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel): a potential preventative treatment modality for inflammatory bowel disease. J. Gastroenterol. 2005; 40: 361–5.
(2) Gibson, Peter R. "Overview of inflammatory bowel disease in Australia in the last 50 years." Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology 24.s3 (2009): S63-S68.





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