3

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does anyone else feel that Paleo underplays the role of the mind in gut function?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 13, 2013 at 12:31 AM

Ok, this is a bit of a rant, but I'm mad at myself/the world right now. I feel like I got duped by Paleo into the belief that my IBS could be resolved by changing my diet. For years, I'd been told/read that IBS was largely tied to emotions, the nervous system, stress etc. Then Paleo came along, with all these stories of IBS recovery by eliminating/adding certain foods, and I actually felt hopeful. Well, it's been a couple years now and I honestly can say I feel no improvement (and I was eating pretty close to Paleo before learning about Paleo anyway, it's been 17 years since I ate SAD). And i'm just feeling very scared because NOTHING helps. I know I have anxiety, and I feel that in my gut. I might be starting on trazodone this week, after a year on cipralex which just gave me a bunch of side effecs and didn't really help. And I hate that this comes down to me pinning my hopes on the next drug.

I'm also so confused by the advice in the Paleosphere telling me to eliminate starchy carbs/eliminate insoluble fibre and increase starchy carbs/eliminate both etc. I'm just beyond confused. I'm pretty sure I don't have SIBO (tested negative in the past) but everythng makes me bloat. But I am starting to suspect it's more about the state of my gut when I sit down to a meal. I.e. not relaxed.

Is there anyone else out there who found that diet didn't help their IBS, that it took meditation or yoga or some other big mind-altering life-changing practice to get their guts to function (both of which I've tried, but don't keep up a regular practice.) Also, any thoughts on trazodone?

Sorry this is all over the place, just feeling so freaking FED UP and desperate and sad.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 21, 2013
at 01:10 PM

The NYT even wrote a piece about fecal transplants. It might take time to find a doctor willing to work with you on one, but I've sometimes found message boards to be good sources of doctors who are willing to think outside of the box. (like I'm sure there's one board for IBS on Yahoo but then you have to really search to find the intelligent posters). I don't think you could do fecal transplant with someone like Chris Kresser, for example, but perhaps if you were willing to travel to see a functional doctor who has an MD? Good luck Renee!! I'm cheering for you, thinking of you.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 19, 2013
at 01:10 PM

Thanks, Lazza. I actually did read Sarno a few years ago. Interesting stuff.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 16, 2013
at 08:19 PM

thanks, Elf. Yes I'd love to try a fecal transplant.

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on May 14, 2013
at 09:15 PM

:) ok excellent-Hope he can help you find some relief asap!

176df582f340f8274534b18f905f4843

(75)

on May 13, 2013
at 10:08 PM

I was in a very similar situation as you with bad anxiety problems and ibs and I believe diet had very little to do with it (if I'm wrong try the low fodmap diet) but I was very quick to blame diet and I ended up obsessing about diet....I got the help I needed from a psychologist ...but we didn't just work on anxiety it was all about developing a good relationship with myself which is usually what causes the anxiety (complicated but correct so talk to your psychologist about it ) in my opinion alot of people whd go on diets like paleo tend to obsess about food because they have mental problems

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 13, 2013
at 06:03 PM

I see a psychiatrist three times a week, have done so for the past 3 years.... I do agree that I need something more, though. Which is why I asked about meditation etc.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 13, 2013
at 10:02 AM

Thanks MaryDee. I've seen so many naturopaths in the past, but this guy's approach looks different and it's encouraging to hear your sister had success. I will contact him!

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 13, 2013
at 09:58 AM

Yes, I eat low-FODMAP. Definitely no onions or garlic. No high-fructose fruit (I only eat berries). No nuts or eggs. And I eat all veggies well-coooked.

8bdea4ddaa30122330daf899d27431a0

on May 13, 2013
at 04:45 AM

also, wes makes some very good points.. i'd upvote you if i could ;)

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on May 13, 2013
at 02:17 AM

Good luck Renee. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT0q7tCSUZM

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9 Answers

2
72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on May 13, 2013
at 05:58 AM

It's likely that most disease states have a lot of different contributing factors, and the key to the disease might be different for different people. There are probably people out there for whom neolithic foods are the biggest thing causing their IBS, and all they have to do is cut them out. They'll end up preaching the paleo doctrine, even if there are other people who tolerate neolithic foods and have IBS mostly due to stress. There are probably other people who have both food intolerances and stress, and won't get better until they clear both of them up at the same time. And there are probably others who have IBS due to other factors we haven't even identified yet.

There's no one answer. If you've given the paleo diet an honest try, including testing different variants and asking for suggestions, and your symptoms haven't improved at all, then maybe it is time to look somewhere else.

1
8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 14, 2013
at 09:46 PM

love the tag losing-my-shit. feel you. IBS is so general, but I absolutely feel your emotions can affect your health.

So do yoga, do meditation.

Second - have you seen perfect health diet post on IBS: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/07/bowel-disease-part-iv-restoring-healthful-gut-flora/

Probiotic Supplements Are Inadequate Most supermarket probiotics contain Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium species. These species are specialized for digesting milk; they populate the guts of infants as they start breastfeeding, and are used by the dairy industry to ferment cheeses and yogurt.

These supplements are very effective at fighting acute diarrhea from most food-borne infections. A fistful of probiotic capsules taken every hour will usually quickly supplant the pathogens and end diarrhea.

However, against more severe bowel diseases caused by chronic infections and featuring damaged intestinal mucosa, these species are usually not helpful. One issue is that they provide only a tiny part of a healthful adult microbiome. A recent study surveyed the bacterial species in the human gut, and found these species to be most abundant [2]:

Figure: Abundant gut bacterial species As this figure shows, Bacteroides spp. are the most common commensal bacteria, with Bacteroides uniformis alone providing almost 10% of all bacterial genes in the gut. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium do not appear among the 57 most abundant species.

This study showed, by the way, that patients with irritable bowel syndrome have 25% fewer types of bacterial gene in their gut than healthy people, and that the composition of bacterial genes in feces clearly distinguishes ulcerative colitis, Crohn???s disease, and healthy patients. In other words, in the bowel diseases a few pathogenic species have colonized the gut and entirely denuded it of about 25% of the commensal species that normally populate the gut. This finding supports the idea that restoring those missing species might be therapeutic for IBS.

Bacterial Replacement Therapies Work So if IBS patients are missing 25% of the thousand or so species that should populate the gut, or 250 species, and if common probiotics provide only 8 or so species and not the ones that are missing, how are the missing species to be restored?

The answer is simple but icky. Recall that half the dry weight of stool consists of bacteria. A healthy person daily provides a sample of billions of bacteria from every one of the thousand species in his gut. They are in his stool.

So a ???fecal transplant??? of a healthy person???s stool into the gut of another person will replenish the missing species.

I'm getting a metametrix stool test done to see if my bacteria are in a good shape.

It's expensive but I saved for a long time via my health savings account and I think it's worth it not to suffer anymore. I'm sorry about your 17 years of suffering.

It's probably difficult to find a doctor willing to do a fecal transplant, but don't give up hope. And there be alternatives.

I view my healing journey as this: two steps forward, three steps back, two and half steps forward,a half step forward, a long time, and then finally two steps forward. a lot of work to move forward but don't give up hope.

the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again-what i was doing - and hoping for a different result and that was why i knew i had to see a functional doctor.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 16, 2013
at 08:19 PM

thanks, Elf. Yes I'd love to try a fecal transplant.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on May 21, 2013
at 01:10 PM

The NYT even wrote a piece about fecal transplants. It might take time to find a doctor willing to work with you on one, but I've sometimes found message boards to be good sources of doctors who are willing to think outside of the box. (like I'm sure there's one board for IBS on Yahoo but then you have to really search to find the intelligent posters). I don't think you could do fecal transplant with someone like Chris Kresser, for example, but perhaps if you were willing to travel to see a functional doctor who has an MD? Good luck Renee!! I'm cheering for you, thinking of you.

1
89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

on May 13, 2013
at 02:48 AM

Hi Renee,

Sorry to hear youre having such a hard time. Youre in Toronto though right..? My sister has IBS-D/panic attacks/anxiety and has been through the gamut of trying different treatments(accupuncture, cognitive therapy, hypnosis,etc.) She finally came across this doctor here. His treatment is actually helping and she has found some relief particularly for the anxiety (she's not 100% paleo and sometimes skips her supplements though). Maybe with your paleo diet and this orthomolecular therapy youll have even better success.

http://www.canadiannaturopaths.com/index_files/Prousky.htm

Good luck and Happy Mothers day too :)

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 13, 2013
at 10:02 AM

Thanks MaryDee. I've seen so many naturopaths in the past, but this guy's approach looks different and it's encouraging to hear your sister had success. I will contact him!

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on May 14, 2013
at 09:15 PM

:) ok excellent-Hope he can help you find some relief asap!

0
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on May 13, 2013
at 07:37 PM

Nice rant. :) Sorry, unlike you I am an IBS sufferer who's been helped enormously by going Paleo. But everyone's IBS is different and finding relief can be elusive for many, unfortunately.

You might want to read books by John Sarno. He maintains that many ailments have a psychological root cause. Although in his books he usually talks about muscular-skeletal ailments I cannot see why the same can't be true for IBS, or at least your mind can be exacerbating a problem. Essentially Dr. Sarno claims that one's mind can cause some sort of physical distress as a way of protecting you from facing some painful personal issue (failed marriage, coming to terms with childhood abuse, etc); that is, the created physical ailment keeps you too preoccupied from facing something worse. Although I am NOT suggesting this is the cause of IBS in most cases but I can see how it can keep one from getting better.

At any rate, I think you are doing the right thing by trying to tackle IBS from both a dietary (physical) perspective and psychological/emotional perspective.

Best of luck!

_Lazza

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 19, 2013
at 01:10 PM

Thanks, Lazza. I actually did read Sarno a few years ago. Interesting stuff.

0
176df582f340f8274534b18f905f4843

on May 13, 2013
at 05:29 PM

Get professional help for your anxiety :)

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 13, 2013
at 06:03 PM

I see a psychiatrist three times a week, have done so for the past 3 years.... I do agree that I need something more, though. Which is why I asked about meditation etc.

176df582f340f8274534b18f905f4843

(75)

on May 13, 2013
at 10:08 PM

I was in a very similar situation as you with bad anxiety problems and ibs and I believe diet had very little to do with it (if I'm wrong try the low fodmap diet) but I was very quick to blame diet and I ended up obsessing about diet....I got the help I needed from a psychologist ...but we didn't just work on anxiety it was all about developing a good relationship with myself which is usually what causes the anxiety (complicated but correct so talk to your psychologist about it ) in my opinion alot of people whd go on diets like paleo tend to obsess about food because they have mental problems

0
4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

on May 13, 2013
at 05:17 PM

Hi Renee,

Two points that may help you, because, no, for me food is an issue, as well as stress. I estimate a fifty fifty contribution of both for my ibs.

First have you tried the SCD diet? If you do, you can do it paleo style, no problem. As another poster said, gaps is also good for some. If you try these approaches I suggest you do it much stricter than most would do paleo, or they won't work.

Second, reducing chronic stress is pretty central to most paleo approaches dealing with health issues, so you can use the paleo approach to help with identifying and dealing with your stressors. Light, sleep, exercise are all key to stress management.Good luck, and don't give up.

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 13, 2013
at 07:27 AM

One thing is that there are several versions of a Paleo diet.

You could be fruitarian and call it Paleo, but look at Steve Jobs (or when Ashton tried the diet.) There's the 80-10-10 version. Another version where you eat a ton of raw bloody meat and call it paleo. Fodmap restrictive / autoimmune protocol, etc. You could eat a ton of seeds/nuts and call it paleo.. live on eggs.. etc.

Whatever you tried didn't work, but, I bet you could still try out some different variations that might offer different results.

Pre-paleo, I was a once a day gluten pooper. These days, it's 2-3x with an occasional ghost poop. I drink exclusively water (with organic lemon / ginger in the morning or at night). Strictly organic/grass fed beef/chicken/fish. Then maybe twice as many organic vegetables (excluding legumes) as I eat fruit, and only a rare handful of seeds/nuts as a snack. That's it. (I suppose the magic is in fine-tuning the variation of vegetables/protein your body can digest.) Some can't do eggs/fish or whatnot.

For the last month, I've been using a toilet stool. I highly recommend it. Ghost-poop mode.

Meditation is cool, I like it. Also just like, laughter. I tend to focus more on putting positivity into my life (ethical hedonism) than the numbing buddhism drone.

0
8bdea4ddaa30122330daf899d27431a0

on May 13, 2013
at 04:39 AM

just wondering if you are fodmap free? ie. have you also eliminated high-fructose fruits, onions, garlic etc while being paleo ? i'm in the same boat as you and this is the only thing that has made any real difference to my symptoms - i find i'm able to manage my bm's a lot more, though stress is still a major factor. paleo alone doesn't help me.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on May 13, 2013
at 09:58 AM

Yes, I eat low-FODMAP. Definitely no onions or garlic. No high-fructose fruit (I only eat berries). No nuts or eggs. And I eat all veggies well-coooked.

8bdea4ddaa30122330daf899d27431a0

on May 13, 2013
at 04:45 AM

also, wes makes some very good points.. i'd upvote you if i could ;)

-2
2b53550a397c86add263ca53707763d4

on May 13, 2013
at 02:17 AM

Relax my friend. You're right.

There's so many things that go into creating health and being whole as a person - physiology, psychology, emotions, and so on. They're all interconnected, and so to isolate just one area such as diet and believe it will be your saving grace is a mistake. They all need to be considered, investigated, and explored. One person may switch to a Paleo diet, reverse their autoimmune or gut issues, and everything's dandy. That's great and that's THEIR journey, but that doesn't mean it will work for YOU.

Paul Chek, one of the leading health and fitness experts in the world(and someone I highly recommend looking into), said in one of his videos that the physical body is the least creative of all the bodies, so to try and fix issues on that level rarely has any long term effect. There's generally deeper things that need to be resolved.

Forgive any intrusion, but I'll ask a few questions just to get the ball rolling.

Are you walking around with a tremendous amount of hatred for someone? Do you have any deep-seated psychological issues that haven't been dealt with? Are you doing what you love in life and following your excitement?

I know these may seem like irrelevant or vague questions, but I just want to express the idea that there may be something else in your life, some root cause that you need to find, to figure out what's causing your gut issues.

You're clearly receiving stress from somewhere. It may not be the foods you're eating. So look deeper. Meditate, follow your intuition, and be open to what comes up.

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