The probiotic way to a healthy intestine - The New Indian Express

The probiotic way to a healthy intestine

Published: 13th January 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 11th January 2013 01:07 PM

Twenty-seven-year-old Natrajan Venkat was having bouts of abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea. “I didn’t know what to do. I first thought I must have eaten something bad and so I went for the usual medicines. But it didn’t work,” says Natrajan. Finally, he had to consult the specialist who said that it seemed Natrajan was suffering from Ulcerative Colitis or from Crohn’s Disease. So what are these two?  

According to experts, there are two major types of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD: the Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. They can afflict anyone between ages 15 and 40, although some is diagnosed as late as age 80. In case of the Ulcerative Colitis, there is inflammation of a part of the colon and rectum. Patients can have episodes of abdominal pain, gas-like pains, bloody diarrhoea, even fever during a flare that can continue for weeks or months.

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammation which can occur anywhere in the gastro intestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. If it occurs in colon, symptoms can be similar to ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s Disease can cause fibrosis or scarring of the tract, leading to bowel obstruction or blockage, pain and fistulae—hole in the bowel through which bowel fluid and gas can leak. A fistula can affect other organs. Some patients with severe Crohn’s can have a fistula track from the rectum to the bladder or rectum to vagina. Crohn’s Disease can skip parts of bowel and a patient can have episodes of inflammation in several areas at one time. Most patients do have some small bowel involvement and about a third have disease only in the small bowel. This is often referred to as Crohn’s ileitis.

No one knows the cause of the inflammatory bowel diseases. Older literature suggested there was a psychiatric component to these diseases. Today, it is known that stress or getting upset can cause an exacerbation of the disease, but a psychiatric illness is not believed associated with an underlying of the disease.


Researches in the past have examined the effect of butyric acid on the digestive tract. Those suffering from IBD are known to have reduced strains of gut bacteria that produce butyric acid. Butyric acid is known to have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects in the intestines.

So what can Venkat do, if he is suffering from IBD? He can source Butyric acid enemas and use for for two weeks. This should be adequate to restore a balance in the colon. He has to cut the refined sugar in diet.  He must avoid corn, wheat and milk products since they are likely to be the most common culprits. He should gradually institute a high-complex carbohydrate, high-fibre diet. And include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, excluding wheat and corn initially because they are potential allergens. 

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