Live Chat 8am - 8pm
FREE Next Day Delivery on orders over £25
FREE lifetime support

IBD: symptoms, causes & what to do about it!

Did you know that half a million people in the UK are currently living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?1

As a chronic condition, IBD impacts all areas of a person’s life; physically, emotionally and socially. As well as the physical symptoms, frequent trips to the bathroom, multiple medical appointments and dietary restrictions can make it very challenging. People experience periods of feeling well and episodes where symptoms ‘flare up’.2

Research into IBD and the gut microbiome suggests that pro- and prebiotics could be a potential treatment in the future!3 So let’s look at IBD more closely and how you can help manage symptoms using our Gut Health Protocol –

What is IBD, and what are the symptoms?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic condition characterised by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract. It involves areas of inflammation, leading to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss, and fatigue.4

Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon and rectum, causing inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine. Symptoms include abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and frequent bowel movements.5

Causes of IBD

There is no single cause of IBD, however, several factors contribute, including genetics, environmental factors, the immune system, and gut dysbiosis.

Although IBD has mostly been considered a Western disease, it’s becoming more common in other industrialised countries. This is thought to be related to antibiotic use, the spread of the Western diet (ultra-processed and high in sugar), environmental toxins, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and hygiene practices. All these factors damage the gut microbiome, causing dysbiosis, which can lead to disturbances in the immune system and raised inflammation levels.

Researchers have concluded that although gut dysbiosis does not necessarily cause IBD, it is often part of the picture when looking at the various biomarkers of IBD.6 7 Also, no specific pathogen has been singled out as being problematic: it is dysbiosis, in general, along with genetic predisposition and environmental factors that leads to the development of IBD.8

A healthy microbiome vs gut dysbiosis

First, let’s consider what a healthy and balanced gut microbiome looks like. A diverse and abundant community of gut microbes provides a wealth of health-giving substances (postbiotics) to its host; it nourishes the gut lining and maintains a protective mucus layer along the gut wall whilst preventing the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and keeping inflammation at bay. It’s a tall order but gut bacteria have the genetic capabilities to do it. However, environmental factors, including diet, stress, and antibiotics, can disturb this ecosystem, resulting in dysbiosis.

The definition of gut dysbiosis is an imbalance in the gut microbiome which can lead to negative health outcomes. Gut dysbiosis is characterised by all or a combination of the following:

  • Reduced microbial diversity
  • A loss of beneficial bacteria
  • An overgrowth of pathogenic (harmful) bacteria

How does gut dysbiosis affect the progression of IBD?

Studies show that enterotoxins, produced by pathogenic bacteria, can damage the gut lining – leading to intestinal permeability, which can worsen IBD.9

People with IBD tend to have low levels of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium longum, Eubacterium rectale, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Roseburia intestinalis. These bacteria are useful for inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria due to their production of substances such as bacteriocin, which acts as an antimicrobial.10

Lower levels of beneficial bacteria also result in a decrease in the production of short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids have a potent anti-inflammatory effect in the gut and around the body, so without a good supply of them, inflammation can increase.11

In summary, the combination of decreased beneficial bacteria and/or the presence of pathogenic bacteria means that inflammation worsens, causing damage to the gut wall.

How do you rebalance your gut microbiome and manage symptoms of IBD?

Chuckling Goat recommends a Gut Health Protocol consisting of three elements, taken as a daily Gut Health Smoothie:

  1. Kefir – To restore the beneficial live bacteria into your gut, we recommend Kefir, which provides 27 different naturally occurring strains of probiotics. Kefir is the base of our gut health protocol.
  2. Prebiotic – To feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut so that they can thrive, we recommend Complete Prebiotic. 
  3. Collagen – To protect the delicate lining of your gut, which can develop rips and tears after age 25 as your natural collagen levels decrease, we recommend Pure Fish Collagen.
  4. We also recommend adding Boswellia serrata tincture. Boswellia serrata contains naturally-active compounds called boswellic acids, the chemical structures of which mirror steroids, hence the nickname ‘nature’s steroids’. As a natural anti-inflammatory, Boswellia serrata may help you work with conditions such as Crohn’s and Colitis. Read more about Boswellia serrata in our article, Fighting pain? Think Boswellia!
  5. For additional gastrointestinal support, you can add our Gut Cleanse Tea, for three weeks only. This contains natural herbs that have been demonstrated to have antimicrobial and infection-fighting properties.
  6. Consider a Microbiome Test.

The Chuckling Goat Microbiome Test is a 16s RNA sequencing process that examines how well your gut microbiome functions by examining seven key areas: bacterial diversity, prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics, pathogens, mental wellness, and systemic wellness.

The data provided by the test enables your Nutritional Therapist to give you specific, evidence-based suggestions about improving your gut health, along with all-natural product recommendations.

Importantly, the test will show whether you have a low-grade pathogen infection, which can result from food poisoning or skin or water infections that may have occurred decades ago. These pathogens can form “biofilms” inside your gut, which makes them very difficult to eliminate. It is important to get on top of these pathogens, as they may slow down your gut health results.

Before starting any new supplement or making significant changes to your diet, please seek advice from your GP or pharmacist.

If you have been diagnosed with IBD and you are taking medication, please be aware that we don’t recommend our kefir alongside immunosuppressants unless your consultant is happy for you to do so.

Any questions? Contact one of our nutritional therapists via live chat on weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.


Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

More from The Gut Health Express