IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, where the nerves and muscles of the large and small intestines become overly sensitive to stimulus. Also called spastic colon, this syndrome is characterized by chronic abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation. There is no known cause of IBS, though it is often diagnosed following gastrointestinal tract infections, stressful life events, or after puberty with no other medical cause.
There is no specific test to diagnose IBS, and the syndrome is usually decided upon after other conditions have been ruled out. Since there is no exact cause of IBS, there is also no known cure, though there are numerous treatments to help alleviate the symptoms.
Treatments for IBS
Diet — modifying the diet can be helpful for many patients with IBS, though it is not an exact science. Testing for food allergies and eliminating these foods can decrease the body’s inappropriate immune reaction and inflammatory responses. IBS patients have been found to be hypersensitive to fats and fruit sugars, so decreasing these can help alleviate symptoms. For patients who have predominantly constipated IBS, fiber supplements can encourage more normal bowel movement. Medication — these include stool softeners, laxatives, antidiarrheals, and serotonin agonists or antagonists. Seratonin increases gut motility, so agonists will increase movement while antagonists will decrease bowel movement. Psychotherapy — research has shown that there is a strong cerebral component to IBS. Cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation therapy have both been found to alleviate symptoms and improve the patient’s outlook. Alternative treatments—several natural treatments have been found to be beneficial, including probiotics, iberogast (an herbal extract), peppermint oil, acupuncture, and bovine colostrum. Bovine colostrum is efficacious on many different levels for sufferers of IBS.
Colostrum is a substance produced by the mammary glands of mammals the first few days after birth. Thicker than regular milk, it has an abundance of extra nutrients, immune factors, growth factors, and other substances needed by the newborn to encourage healthy growth and protect it against infections, allergens, and toxins. Bovine colostrum is harvested from dairy cows, and its immune and growth factors are almost identical to those found in human colostrum, making it ideal for use in humans as a supplement for healthy immune function and rejuvenation of tissues.
Use of Colostrum in IBS
The following are different components in bovine colostrum that make it an ideal supplement for natural treatment and prevention of IBS.
Polyproline-rich peptides — these regulate the thymus gland, which is the immune master gland of the body. The peptides create balance in the thymus gland, which in turn promotes a healthy immune reaction. For IBS sufferers, this means that there are fewer auto-immune responses, less inflammatory reactions, and a decrease of symptoms. Immunoglobulins — these are protein molecules made to fight bacterial, viral, yeast, parasitic, and fungal infections. With these and other immune factors, bovine colostrum can decrease harmful flora in the intestinal tract and bolster helpful flora. Growth factors—substances such as Epithelial Growth Factor, Insulin-like Growth Factor, and Transforming Growth Factors Alpha and Beta can stimulate new growth of intestinal tissue and accelerate repair of tissues damaged by inflammation, infection, and medication.
With these and other more generalized components, bovine colostrum can aid patients of IBS to achieve a healthier, optimally functional gastrointestinal tract. When the alternatives are medications that only treat the symptoms and chronic suffering with IBS, the multi-faceted remedy offered by bovine colostrum is the best natural choice.