IBS Basics

Chronic bowel disorders can make life miserable for people who have them, affecting the absorption and digestion of food by the body and causing symptoms that include constipation and diarrhea. Conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are forms of inflammatory bowel disease.

And then there is irritable bowel syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS. This disorder affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States and 5 million in Canada, which has one of the highest rates of IBS in the world.

Affecting the colon (large intestine), IBS is deemed a chronic condition that can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms; e.g., abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, cramping, diarrhea and flatulence.

What Causes IBS?

Like so many ailments, the exact cause of IBS is not certain. However, a number of factors can play a role, including bacterial overgrowth, food triggers and stress as well as hormones. Women have double the incidences of IBS compared to men, and research indicates that estrogen and progesterone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle may increase flare-ups.

Whichever factor is involved, IBS negatively affects the normal muscular contractions of the intestinal walls, which move food through the digestive tract until it is eliminated.

With IBS, the contractions can be more intense and for a longer duration, leading to bloating, diarrhea and gas. This type is known as IBS-D (for diarrhea). Or the contractions can be weak, which slows down the passage of food waste and creates dry, hard stools: IBS-C (for constipation). Some sufferers have both symptoms: IBS-M (for mixed).

Reducing IBS Symptoms

For the most part, reducing IBS symptoms can be accomplished through stress management and changes in lifestyle and diet. For example, some common food triggers are broccoli, cabbage, chocolate, fats, milk and alcohol, so any symptom activators should be avoided.

Increased physical activity seems to help most people with IBS, so even walking more can be a positive lifestyle change.

Since stress worsens IBS symptoms, managing stress levels by breathing calmly, getting sufficient sleep, or through meditation, hypnosis, etc., helps to reduce their intensity.

Supplemental Help for IBS

Fiber supplements that contain in­gredients such as psyllium can alleviate constipation when taken with lots of water. And they may create less bloating than fiber-rich foods. The best method to supplementing with Herbal Fiberblend (or fit ’n fiber) for IBS is to start out with small amounts and gradually increase intake over time. Too much too soon can overwhelm the digestive tract of an IBS sufferer.

Additionally, Herbal Fiberblend’s soluble and insoluble fiber and cleansing herbs act as a soothing balm on intestinal walls, and these botani­cals may contri­bute to a return of normal muscular contractions that lead to healthy digestion and elimi­nation.

Repopulating healthy bacteria in the colon with FloraFood can contribute to balanced intestinal flora, which may alleviate symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements.

The easily assimilated nutrients in BarleyLife may help to counteract the food absorption issues associated with many bowel disorders, providing a natural source of vitamins and minerals along with a wealth of plant nutrients that support whole-body health.

Note: Herbal Fiberblend, fit ‘n fiber, FloraFood and BarleyLife are products from The AIM Companies, a wholefood juice concentrate and nutritional supplement company with a network marketing opportunity . Established in 1982.

The Missing Link to Good Health

Over the centuries, there has been much debate over the value of dietary fiber. In fact, before the 1970s, it was called crude fiber because it was thought to be unimportant for good health. Since then, fiber has been proven to be an essential part of a healthy diet, but most people don’t get enough.

Not getting enough fiber means you are not cleaning your insides. Without it, waste becomes impacted along the intestinal walls, which can result in any number of health issues.

Along with cleansing and helping to keep your hunger and blood sugar under control, fiber also helps to regulate how your body uses sugar.

As an everyday fiber supplement, fit ’n fiber makes it easy to top up on this essential carbohydrate that your body won’t gain calories from and doesn’t digest. So stay unclogged, sugar-balanced and satiated with help from fit ’n fiber.

The Latest Scoop on Fiber

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Our favorite carbohydrate is making headlines again. Best known for its ability to promote good digestive health and combat cholesterol, fiber has been one of the main staples of a healthy diet since diets were invented. And yet, still, new discoveries are being made all the time. Here are some of the latest:

Fiber May Help Prevent Lung Diseases

A study published in the January issue of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society examined data gathered in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that of the people who consumed the most fiber, — more than 17.5 grams of fiber daily—68.3% had normal lung function and that only 14.8% had airway restriction. In comparison, of those who consumed the least fiber—less than 10.75 grams—50.1% had normal lung function and 29.8% had airway restriction. The researchers cite fiber’s ability to combat inflammation and regulate the gut microbiome as the source of the possible health benefits.

A Low-Fiber Diet May Damage Gut Flora for Generations

This study comes to us from the July 2015 issue of Nature. Scientists fed mice low-fiber diets and found that certain strains of gut bacteria died off. These bacteria did not reappear when the mice were re-administered a high-fiber diet. After four mouse generations, most of the beneficial strains of gut bacteria had gone extinct due to the low-fiber diets. (This is another good reason for people to take FloraFood, too!)

Avoiding Fiber May Cause Crohn’s Disease to Flare Up

Researchers surveyed over 1,100 Crohn’s Disease sufferers about the behavior of their disease and their diets. From the data that they collated, they were able to determine that patients were approximately 40% less likely to have a disease flare up when they did not avoid high-fiber foods compared to those that did. In general, Crohn’s Disease sufferers who consumed the most fiber were the least likely to have flare ups period, according to the research published in the December 2015 issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

More Indication that Fiber Contributes to Weight Loss

According to a story published in the Washington Post, Under Armour—the athletic apparel company—looked at data from 427,000 of its MyFitnessPal app users who lost weight. Those who came closest to their weight-loss goals showed nearly identical data when compared to those who did not achieve optimum weight-loss results: similar calories consumed, protein, fat, carbs and exercise. The only difference, those who slimmed down most ate about 29% more fiber.

The AIM Companies provides fiber through two amazing supplements: Herbal Fiberblend and fit ‘n fiber. Both are effective ways of adding fiber to the diet to aid with weight management and digestive health. They can be combined into one potent super-fiber formula that tastes fantastic!

A High-Fiber Diet May Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

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There’s been a real bulk of fiber news these past few weeks. It’s been linked to a healthier gut, a lower risk of lung disease, fewer Crohn’s disease flare ups, and it has also been found to help with weight loss for the umpteenth time.

The latest study discovered that women who ate more high-fiber foods during adolescence and young adulthood had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.  If a large percentage of  fiber came from fruits and veggies, then the better their statistical likelihood.

Harvard researchers used data gathered from the 90,000+ women surveyed for the Nurses’ Health Study II. The healthcare professionals who participated in that large-scale, long-term study were asked to report their diet over a number of years. Other factors like genetics and environment were also figured in.

After sifting through the data, the researchers were able to determine that women who ate more dietary fiber in their young adulthood had a 12%-19% lower rate of breast cancer during that time. Women who consumed more fiber during their adolescence had their overall risk lessened by 16% and a 24% decreased risk of contracting the illness prior to menopause. Each additional 10 g of fiber eaten during adolescence seemed to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 13%.  The study stresses that those who ate the most fruits and veggies saw the greatest benefits.

Researchers attribute these findings to fiber’s ability to diminish high estrogen levels which have been linked with breast cancer. The study was published in the February 2016 issue of Pediatrics.

Although everyone should increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat, it doesn’t hurt to reach for a bit of all-natural supplemental fiber like Herbal Fiberblend or fit ‘n fiber.  It’s a low-calorie way to feel fuller longer, ease digestion, and it’s been linked to heart health as well as overall wellness.

fit n’ fiber Orchard Peach: Back by Popular Demand

Orchard Peach

Since peach fit ‘n fiber™ was discontinued, many Members have requested its return. We here at The AIM Companies like to give the membership what it wants. That’s why peach fit ‘n fiber is coming back in a big way and in a big canister

The new formulation will use the same general base as the original peach formula with a few small modifications. These changes have been made to ensure our new product is healthier and more consistent with AIM’s philosophy. First, we’ll be using brown rice syrup solids, a glucose-based sweetener from rice starch that contains absolutely no fructose. This replaces the evaporated cane juice in the original formula. We also removed Fibersol-2 and replaced it with acacia fiber.

Secondly, we’ve removed all the inulin from the new product. Although inulin provides prebiotic benefits and increases mineral absorption, it is also widely associated with bloating, cramps, stomach pain and gas. In-house trials have determined that the inulin-free peach fit ‘n fiber does not cause these side effects. Instead, we have added konjac fiber known for its ability to help regulate blood sugar, suppress appetite, aid in cholesterol management, reduce diabetes risk and decreases constipation.

For those of you who like the apple-cinnamon, we will keep the gluten-free oat fiber in the new peach formulation. The oat fiber was a favorite among Members who liked the last iteration of fit ‘n fiber, and we’re hoping that by retaining the oat fiber, we’ll also retain applecinnamon fans.

But one of the biggest reasons that the Members requested the return of peach fit ‘n fiber is because it mixed so well with Herbal Fiberblend. As you probably know, Herbal Fiberblend is one of our top sellers due to its consistency, history and potency. It is, however, an acquired taste. Many of our Members mixed the original peach fit ‘n fiber with Herbal Fiberblend to create a drink that provided a heaping serving of dietary fiber, the unique blend of herbs only HFB can provide and the great taste of peach.  We believe that these two products combined can change lives for the healthier and grow AIM businesses all around the world.

5 Nutritional Strategies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable bowel syndrome affects a significant segment of the population (around 15%).  The underlying cause or causes of IBS is unknown, but it often manifests in a variety of symptoms like cramps, diarrhea, gas, bloating and constipation.  To complicate matters further, each sufferer’s symptoms can be triggered by any number of factors specific to the individual.  That means a nutritional strategy has to be self-tailored, possibly under the watch of a healthcare professional.  We will examine what experts are saying about nutrition for IBS as well as some of the latest research.

Fiber Supplements

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders calls fiber a double-edged sword because some IBS sufferers may experience gas or bloating after use. However, they also add that almost every IBS sufferer would likely benefit from a moderate fiber increase. The IFFGD recommends gradually increasing fiber intake until reaching 20-35 grams per day (based on the individual’s recommended dietary allowance).

Probiotics

There is evidence that probiotics which contain Bifodacteria may alleviate or reduce some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. There is a caveat to this, however.  In terms of IBS, it is less about just taking a probiotic and more about gut-flora manipulation. Some people found relief from IBS by taking antibiotics which kills gut flora, and others have benefited by gradually changing the landscape of their gut biome over time.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes like amylase, lactase, protease and lipase help break down food, making digestion easier. There have only been two small studies on digestive enzymes and IBS. Both have been positive. One study found that enzymes improved post-meal IBS symptoms. The other showed that enzymes helped relieve gas and bloating.

Magnesium 

Dr. Carolyn Dean wrote The Magnesium Miracle. She also, conveniently, wrote IBS for Dummies. In her works,  she explains that magnesium taken orally can have a laxative effect, helpful for people whose IBS has made them constipated.  However, if a person suffers from IBS-related diarrhea, he or she can use a topical magnesium on the skin to reap magnesium’s benefits without upsetting the stomach.

A Low-FODMAP Diet

There is evidence that short-chain carbohydrates (aka fermentable oligo-saccharides, si-saccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols) can aggravate IBS because they tend to ferment in the gut and cause gas. That is why many IBS sufferers choose to follow a low-FODMAP diet. You can find a complete list of low- and high-FODMAP foods here. Spicy foods, sugary foods and caffeine can be problematic as well.

AIM offers nutritional supplements that can fit into a low-FODMAP diet as well as digestive enzymes, probiotics, fiber and topical magnesium. But in the case of IBS, you should consult a medical practitioner before making any drastic dietary changes. This post is for education purposes only.

Diet Low in Soluble Fiber Linked to Weight Gain

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Calories from high-fiber foods have been called “smart calories” because high-fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains tend to be healthier and because fiber fills you up and keeps you feeling full.  Likely due to those reasons, a recent study has shown that a high-fiber diet is almost as effective as a calorie-restrictive one in terms of weight loss.

However, a new study on mice published in the American Journal of PhysiologyGastrointestinal and Liver Physiology shows that fiber may affect body weight in an entirely new and different way.  Mice fed a diet low in soluble fiber gained weight and had more body fat when compared to mice fed a diet that included soluble fiber.

Researchers believe that the mice gained that weight because soluble fiber is essential for a healthy gut microbiota. The lack of soluble fiber contributed to inflammation in the intestines and poor gut health, and these factors were thought to be the underlying factors that contributed to the weight gain.

After just two days without soluble fiber, the soluble-fiber-deficient mice’s intestines became shorter and their intestinal walls became thinner! Without soluble fiber, it seems that the gut flora were unable to produce a sufficient quantity of short-chain fatty acids that the intestinal cells need to make energy. These short-chain fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties. When the mice were once again given soluble fiber, their guts returned to normal and the inflammation disappeared.

From Medical Xpress:

“If our observations were to prove applicable to humans, it would suggest that encouraging consumption of foods with high soluble fiber content may be a means to combat the epidemic of metabolic disease.”

AIM offers fit ‘n fiber and Herbal Fiberblend for all your soluble and insoluble fiber needs.