IBS and Gut Health Specialists

Dietary Support

Dietary support for IBS, SIBO, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and other conditions.

Dietary Support for Digestive Issues

While there is no such thing as the perfect diet for IBS or other digestive imbalances, there are, however, a range of templates that can be used and personalised to help reduce symptoms, identify triggers and help to address underlying imbalances.

The aims of these diets are to:

Identify Triggers

Identifying trigger foods can take a lot of the guesswork out of how you react to each meal.

Manage Symptoms

In the short term, managing symptoms can help you feel more comfortable as the underlying issue is addressed.

Support Balance

Focusing on the right foods can support the balance of the friendly bacteria and the health of the gut lining.

The aim is not to live on a restricted diet. But to address the underlying imbalance so a restricted diet doesn't need to be followed.

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Does diet matter?

Diet can help to support many areas of an imbalanced digestive system.

While there are foods that can lead to the worsening of digestive symptoms, it’s rarely the case that the food itself is the issue.

Inflammation, bacterial imbalances and immune dysregulation along the gut lining can all alter how we respond to food.

By focusing on addressing these underlying imbalances, we aim for the diet to be as varied and as stress-free as possible.

IBS Diet

A common dietary approach to IBS is the low FODMAP diet. This diet removes certain groups of carbohydrates that can worsen digestive symptoms in those with IBS.

While the full version of the low FODMAP diet can feel restrictive and overwhelming, it’s not always necessary to follow it in its entirety. Modified, less restricted versions of this diet may be the best place to start for some.

The low FODMAP diet isn’t a diet to follow long term. However, it can be used to help manage symptoms in the short term while the underlying imbalance is identified and addressed.

IBS Symptoms
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
Dietary Aims
  • To remove problematic food to help manage symptoms
  • To keep the diet as varied as possible
  • To support anti-inflammatory processes along the gut lining

SIBO Diet

As SIBO is often the underlying cause of IBS a low FODMAP diet can also be helpful here.  It’s also possible that food reactions may extend beyond FODMAP-containing foods.

With reactions to histamine-containing foods as well as carbohydrates such as resistant starches not uncommon.

Removing groups of food can often feel tempting to manage symptoms, however, keeping the diet as varied as possible, even while on a more restricted phase of a diet, will continue to support the bacterial balance in the digestive system.

SIBO Symptoms
  • Bloating quickly after eating
  • Cramping/abdominal pain
  • Increasing food reactions
  • Diarrhoea/ Constipation
  • Brain fog
Dietary Aims
  • To remove problematic food to help manage symptoms
  • To keep the diet as varied as possible
  • To support anti-inflammatory processes along the gut lining

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Diets

Diet has been researched and shown to help to reduce disease activity in inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis) as well as helping patients maintain remission.

The aims of this approach are to work to reduce inflammation along the gut wall, to support the growth of key friendly bacteria to balance the gut microbiome and to remove any foods that trigger or exacerbate symptoms.

The dietary approach to IBD is based on the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and offers a 3-phase protocol.  Each phase can be used depending on disease activity.

The 3 phases:
  • Phase 1: During a flare where symptoms are prominent
  • Phase 2: Used where symptoms are intermittent
  • Phase 3: For when the condition is in remission for maintenance
Dietary Aims
  • Support the beneficial bacteria
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Support the gut lining
  • Correct nutrient defieciencies

Other Dietary Approaches

As research develops we understand how much of a role the digestive system and the beneficial bacteria play.  Not only in the way we digest food, but in our overall health. The gut is the root of health.

Focusing on supporting the gut bacteria and the gut lining can improve other conditions, even when no digestive symptoms are present.

Specific dietary options are used to focus on nourishing and optimising the gut microbiome.  This can have systemic effects, influencing our overall wellbeing

Conditions Include:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Autoimmunity
  • Skin issues
  • Other
Dietary Aims
  • Support the beneficial bacteria
  • Increase SCFA production
  • Reduce problematic foods
  • Support the gut lining
  • Reduce inflammation
Tomato, Apple, Vegetable

The Role of Diet

Healing Foods

Specific groups of foods may be more healing than others. Paying attention to these can support the treatment process.

Restricted Foods

Restricted diets can be used in the short term to help improve symptoms. By the end of the treatment process, the aim is for the diet to be as varied and stress-free as possible.

Maintenance Foods

Following the improvement of symptoms, a maintenance program is created to support the gut long-term.

Food is more than just calories

Food serves many roles in our lives and when it comes to digestive health it is key. Vitamins, minerals, plant fibres and polyphenols all help to support and balance the digestive system.

However, if you’re living with digestive symptoms, it can be tempting to try and find the perfect restricted diet to keep symptoms at bay. This often means that this restricted diet has to be followed forever.

Instead of this, there is another way. To address the underlying imbalance in the gut so a restricted diet doesn’t need to be followed.

Areas of Expertise

IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
SIBO
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
IBD
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Other Conditions
Eg. Heartburn, constipation and anxiety

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IBS and SIBO

IBS is an overarching umbrella term that describes someone’s symptoms.  Within this, there are 3 subtypes of IBS.  IBS with diarrhoea, IBS with constipation and IBS with a mix between the 2.

Even though these subtypes give a clearer indication of someone’s symptoms, they go no further to inform us what the underlying issue is.

The SIBO tests measure 2 types of gas, hydrogen, and methane.  If there are elevations in 1 of these gases, we can name that Hydrogen or Methane SIBO.  It’s also possible to have elevations in both gases.

The type of gas that is elevated helps to guide supplement protocols to target the specific organisms that produce that type of gas.

A third type of gas, hydrogen sulfide, can also be produced by the gut bacteria. However, it is not currently possible to test for this gas.

Generally speaking, there are 3 components to a supplement protocol to address the elevated bacteria in SIBO.  These can include a combination of probiotics, prebiotics, and antimicrobial herbs.

Depending on the underlying issue (eg. the reasons why the bacteria are there in the first place) additional supplements may be suggested.

SIBO is a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine with several underlying causes.  The majority of those with SIBO can have the small intestine rebalance, however, there are also some who either have treatment-resistant or chronic SIBO.

This largely depends on the underlying cause.  Particularly, if parts of the small intestine have been damaged, this may lead to reoccurring SIBO.

This SIBO test may be offered through the NHS, however, it’s not uncommon for the waiting time for this test to be several months.

By ordering directly from the laboratory, we are able to have the test sent to your home within 3-5 days. The results will be back 7-10 days after the laboratory has received the samples.

Supplements

From your first consultation, you will receive a supplement protocol.  I like to describe supplements as a form of scaffolding.  If a building is in need of support, we erect scaffolding.  The digestive system is no different.

The aim is not to be taking lots of supplements forever but to use them in the short term to support, repair and rebalance.

The duration of a supplement protocol will vary on your symptoms, the underlying imbalance and any additional factors that may be contributing to your digestive issues.

Generally speaking, 8 weeks is an average time to be on a specific supplement protocol.  Following this, a maintenance protocol may be recommended.

The supplements I recommend vary depending on your specific situation and set of symptoms.  Common recommendations include probiotics, specific herbal extracts to help rebalance and modify the gut bacteria as well as beneficial, gut-friendly prebiotics.

Following your consultations, you will receive a link to an online ‘shopping basket’ with the products I recommend.  These are generally delivered within 24-48 hours.

Qualifications

I am not a doctor and can therefore not officially diagnose your condition.

However, as with the diagnosis of IBS, labels may not always be helpful.  By digging deeper and identify underlying imbalances we can often bring symptoms under control.

It is also important that your GP is kept up to date with any findings.  If appropriate, and with your approval, I may write to your GP to request further investigations or assessments.

I am a fully insured registered Nutritional Therapist with membership through BANT and CNHC, the main governing bodies within the UK.

I am also continuously engaged in current research as well as additional educational courses as a form of continuing professional development (CPD).

Consultations

The initial consultation is 90 minutes long.  Here we talk about your symptoms in depth, how and when they started, other contributing factors as well as your current diet.

From this consultation, you will receive your protocol.  This will include detailed dietary suggestions, a supplement protocol, recommendations for further testing as well as appropriate lifestyle recommendations.

From this point, it’s beneficial to speak every 3-4 weeks to assess progress and make any adjustments to your protocol.

To make sure this is the right approach for you, please book a free 15-minute consultation with me here.

Without knowing more about your specific symptoms this is a hard question to answer.

However, generally speaking, the majority of those that I work with typically feel 3 consultations, over a 2-month period is all that is required.

I appreciate that it can be frustrating when you’re looking for a quick resolution of symptoms.  As with many other health conditions, healing is not always a straightforward path.

There are several dietary templates that often offer symptom relief over a matter of days.  While these are not long-term approaches, they can be a way to help ease symptoms and help you feel more comfortable as the underlying issues are identified and addressed.