Irritable bowel syndrome, what it is and how to fight it: “It mainly affects women between 20 and 50 years of age”. Expert advice – Il Fatto Quotidiano

It creates stomach aches and abdominal pains. But also bloating, diarrhea or constipation. Let’s talk about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS extension, the English acronym), more complete definition of the previous “irritable bowel syndrome”. We are facing a problem that can have a significant impact on the quality of life and that it affects about 10% of the population, especially women, mainly in the age group between 20 and 50 years. on causes some hypotheses have been formulated. It goes from alterations of intestinal motility (passage of food in the intestine too fast or too slow), to a excessive sensitivity of the nerves in the intestines. They might stress also affects and alterations of the intestinal bacterial flora.

The only cures are to be sought in changes especially in diet to help control symptoms. And precisely on this side, a pilot clinical study has identified in a diet with foods based on a new grain of Spanish origin and grown in Puglia, the Tritordeum, an effective tool in treating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The study was carried out by the Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Research Unit of theIrccs S. De Bellis of Castellana Grotte (Bari), coordinated by Dr Francis Russo. As underlined by the Irccs, “A diet low in wheat is considered essential since some components, such as gluten and fructans, are responsible for the symptoms. Tritordeum, which is not a genetically modified organism, has the unique characteristic of having a protein composition of gluten different from that of wheat, with fewer fructans and fewer carbohydrates and a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and antioxidants”.

The researchers then selected a group of patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome using specific questionnaires and investigated the effects of a 12-week diet with Tritordeum-based bread, pasta and baked goods instead of other cereals on the gastrointestinal symptoms. “The results of this feedingwithout the use of any drug or supplement”, explains Russo, “were a significant reduction in symptomsan overall improvement of the gastrointestinal barrier as demonstrated by the decrease in inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and by the correction of the imbalance of the bacterial flora in the fermentative sense”.

Is it then necessary to turn to this type of cereal, Tritordeum, to deal with irritable bowel syndrome? “The intestine is a unitary and systemic organ”, the professor replies Pier Luigi Rossi, medical specialist in food science and professor at the University of Siena. “It is as if it were an ancient hardware on which you want to insert a modern software, the food consumed today mainly, which does not respect the functioning of this organ. Therefore, to deal with irritable bowel syndrome it is necessary to act on the whole diet as a whole, and not necessarily to resort to a specific food or cereal”.

Professor Rossi, what does our intestine need?
“A plant-based diet, based on whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables, but also oilseeds, or seaweed for vegans; those who do not follow a vegetarian diet must focus on lean proteins, such as fish and white meat; while the fatty proteins that we assimilate from red meat or dairy products from intensive farms alter, for example, the ratio of fatty acids. Remember that the food we eat travels through the entire intestinal tract, leaving traces of itself.

What exactly happens?
The epithelial monolayer of which the intestine is composed changes every 3-5 days, this means that if we eat badly we damage the intestinal villi present in the small intestine, responsible for digestion and absorption. The food that is not absorbed continues on its way by depositing itself in the colon where the microbiota is found, and from this various pathologies are produced, such as this syndrome. The microbiota is an organ that nature has given to the person to use the fiber, on which he feeds and from which he obtains fatty acids and amino acids, as happens with herbivorous animals that produce meat and milk. Their microbiota eats the grass fiber thus transformed.

So if we eat incorrectly…
“The bacteria that form the microbiota eat what we eat, and in that case they work against us, producing aggressive molecules. To deal with syndromes such as irritable bowel disease, it is therefore necessary to change not just one food, as research shows, but our entire diet”.

In any case, if we have to consider cereals, which ones are a real cure-all?
“The experimentation from which we started, considers that we should have a diet low in grain, given that some of its components – such as gluten and fructans – are responsible for the symptoms. At this point, we can lean towards a few gluten-free cereals, such as buckwheat, corn, brown rice. And instead of just eating pasta, we eat a handful of cereal grains, rather than flour. For example, if we put barley seeds (which in any case contain gluten) in water they germinate, demonstrating that we are dealing with a living food, which does not happen with flour which is a ‘dead’ food. Grain cereals are much more nutritious than flour and contain fewer carbohydrates, giving us a greater sense of satiety for the same portions. And if we combine these cereals with legumes, we take on the whole chain of amino acids we need. However, we must still remember some fundamental things about the intestine that have emerged in recent years”.

Show us.
“The intestine is an organ that cannot be treated separately from the stomach or in its specific sections – colon, small intestine, etc. – but as a whole. More than 40 hormones and a dozen neurotransmitters are produced in the intestine. Then there are all the nerve endings that start from the vagus nerve. The intestine, with respect to the brain, is in a bi-directional reciprocity, which means that not only does the brain influence the belly, but also the opposite. Do you think that about 90 percent of serotonin is produced by the epithelial monolayer. This means that poor nutrition can make us feel down and depressed. But I prefer to emphasize that from a healthy diet we can derive a sense of well-being and good humour”.

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Irritable bowel syndrome, what it is and how to fight it: “It mainly affects women between 20 and 50 years of age”. Expert advice – Il Fatto Quotidiano

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