Symbiotics for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
December 1-7th marks Crohn’s and Colitis awareness week, designed to raise awareness of these chronic diseases that are often poorly understood. Crohn’s disease and Colitis come under the banner of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), they are chronic diseases of the gut which affect the whole body, and are currently defined as incurable. Crohn’s and Colitis impact at a minimum 300,000 people in the UK alone and the number could be far higher as digestive health continues to deteriorate in our modern day world.
Digestive health is rapidly becoming the most common area of “incurable” diseases, and many chronic gut diseases are becoming more prevalent. Modern day lifestyle, including changes to our environment, toxins, diet and stress takes a toll on the body, leading to chronic inflammation, and an imbalance of gut flora and the gut environment. These issues lead to communication and signalling breaking down in the body which causes more inflammation, dysbiosis, severe digestive symptoms and eventually tissue damage leading to severe pain and these chronic digestive conditions.
Inflammatory bowel disease (which includes Crohn’s and Colitis) is now the second most common chronic inflammatory disease worldwide after rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal distension, anorexia and frequent bloody diarrhea. No treatment has been shown to be successful at treating IBD to date, and both colitis and crohn’s disease increase the risk of developing colon cancer. In IBD there is inflammation of the intestinal lining, gut dysbiosis and imbalance of the flora, deterioration of the gut lining, and immune dysfunction.
Crohn’s Disease (CD) can affect the entire digestive system and sufferers can experience inflammation throughout the whole of the digestive tract though most commonly in the ileum, whereas Ulcerative Colitis (UC) predominantly occurs in the colon and rectum with ulcer development on the colon lining. Though these conditions are associated with the gut and digestive symptoms they are actually whole body conditions, and this means they require whole body solutions. Rather than isolating and treating the symptoms, we need to look at the root causes and manage the disease cycle by supporting digestive function, reducing the chronic inflammation, repairing the digestive environment and supporting the gut flora.
We often treat the symptoms rather than looking deeper for root causes, and many of the answers we seek are in the food we consume. Fermented foods engage the senses, and offer symbiosis, which is something that isolated probiotics can never offer. Symbiosis is the intimate relationship of different organisms living and evolving in harmony within an ecosystem for the benefit of each other. This delicate symbiotic relationship between the gut microbiota and the host appears to be lost in those with inflammatory bowel disease.
Fermented foods provide both the environment and the microbes to create a healthy digestive ecosystem. Kefi-soy is a unique kefir-kombucha fermented soy, which features a month long small batch fermentation of organic non-GMO soy, 35 strains of therapeutic micro-organisms as well as key nutrients to support the gut environment. Fermented soy provides the structural proteins to build healthy tissue like L-glutamine, L-proline and L-glycine, energy sources for tissues like the short chain fattty acids L-butyrate, and L-propionate as well as L-glutamine. Fermented soy is also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Fermented foods also provide neurotransmitters, a rich and diverse array of microbes, enzymes and communicating compounds which are key for digestive health, and vital in inflammatory bowel disease.
Nutrients like L-glutamine and short chain fatty acids help to support the gut lining and gut environment, reducing inflammation, and IBD has been linked to disruption of the mucosal lining, and lack of short chain fatty acids.
Research has shown that fermented soy milk is the best source of nutrition for supporting the gut flora, and in its fermented form Soy (miso, tempeh, natto) is highly nutritious and beneficial for the gut ecosystem. A recent study has highlighted the benefits of fermented soy versus unfermented for those with chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including crohn’s and colitis. Those in the study consuming kefi-soy fermented supplements showed distinct signs of improvement and the majority showed complete remission after 6 months. Colonoscopy’s showed healthy intestinal mucosa in those consuming the kefi-soy fermented supplements where previously they had been ulcerated and damaged.
Kefi-Soy is a promising area of health in supporting those long term chronic diseases. Fermented soy helps to support healthy tissues, modulate the immune system, offers a rich source of nutrients to protect and defend the body, and supports a healthy microbiome with good balance of flora to optimise digestive health. Fermentation is the optimal way to support gut health, and fermented food supplements create and support a gut ecosystem that is rich in life that lives and evolves in harmony with us.