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In this Issue...

Food & Recipes

Special Events

Special Letters

Rx News & Research

Ask Heather

Coming Soon...

* How to stop taking laxatives

* Cumin for IBD

* Part II of our special IBS "what's new" review

Did you miss our recent and most popular newsletter ever, the Special Mind-Body Issue?

Past issues
are posted here!


Heather's IBS Newsletter ~ For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

August 8, 2006

Special Letter From a Mother - Getting Her Daughter Off Laxatives

Hello to everyone -

This week we have a wonderful reader letter from a woman who was determined to get her daughter off prescription laxatives - see how she succeeded! We also address marijuana for IBS - can it help?

Finally, we debut part one of a special four part issue in our IBS news and research section, exploring a review of what's new in IBS. Don't miss the coming issues for the full story!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous

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Summer Baked Chicken with Peaches & Ginger Soy Sauce

This recipe was inspired by Sinead, who posted a fantastic plum version on the IBS Recipe Exchange Board (thanks Sinead!) It makes a generous number of servings, but the leftovers are wonderful for lunch the next day. This is a perfect recipe demonstration of how much flavor you can get without adding fat, dairy, or other triggers - and much of the flavor comes from ginger, which is actually a digestive aid.

As always with IBS, foods don't have to bland to be safe. Do make sure you serve with rice for your soluble fiber foundation. And with summer's bounty of fresh fruit, feel free to substitute the peaches with plums, apricots, nectarines, etc.

Makes 8 servings (can easily be halved to serve 4)

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (organic if possible)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup apricot all-fruit spread or apricot jam (or other flavor to taste)
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
dash of Worcerstershire sauce
1 garlic clove
6 fresh peaches, stoned and quartered (or other fresh or canned stone fruit)

Cooked basmati or other rice, for serving

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then brown them lightly in a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking oil. Set them aside in a bowl. Respray the skillet with cooking oil, and gently saute the onion for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add all the remaining ingredients except the fresh peaches and simmer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in a baking dish. Cover with the sauce and scatter over the peaches. Bake for 45 mins until bubbling. Serve over cooked rice.

For a truly special treat, serve our delicious summer cherry almond cake for dessert!

Are you just learning how to eat for IBS? A little intimidated at the thought of special IBS recipes? Not quite sure just what makes these recipes special in the first place? Don't worry! Find the answers to all your questions in the IBS Diet Kit.

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New Retail Stores Carrying Heather's Tummy Care Products
We're continuing our special rebate offer for people who buy Tummy Care products at their local stores, and we have new store announcements this week as well!

Mother's Market - Irvine
2963 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Great Life Health & Nutrition
9713 N. Milwaukee Ave
Glenview, IL 60025

If you don't have a store in your area carrying Tummy Care products yet, please give them this flyer to ask them.

New Stores That May Add Tummy Care Products
We have quite a long list of stores (and we update the list each week) that have expressed interest in carrying our products, have asked for samples and information, but have not yet ordered. To see if one of these stores is in your area, please check our list of potential stores and practitioners. If someone on the list is near your location please let them know you'd like them to add the Tummy Care line for you.

Now with 50% More Enteric Coating!
~ Heather's Tummy Tamers ~
For the Dietary Management of Abdominal Pain &, Bloating

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divider A Mother Successfully Gets Her Daughter Off Prescription Laxatives


When my daughter C. started kindergarten at age 5, she started having bathroom problems, including constipation and stomach pain. Her pediatrician said it was common for children and prescribed a powder laxative. She was on the prescription daily from August 2004 until now, May 2006. I never was fond of her being on a prescription laxative, but felt I had no other alternative until I started using the Acacia Tummy Fiber myself a few months ago.

I was diagnosed with IBS in August of 2005. The Tummy Fiber was working so well and was so wonderful for me, I just wanted to put C. on it. It's a much more natural alternative to prescription laxatives. C. really didn't even notice the Tummy Fiber was in her juice. I also put it in rice drinks - she loves those and she never even knew or could taste it. I love the way it dissolves. I put it in my drinks daily for myself and also put it in the Peppermint Tummy Tea. It's just been so helpful with the IBS problems.

I just wanted to follow up and tell you how great the Acacia Tummy Fiber has been for C. I am so pleased to finally get her off of the prescription laxative and use more natural products. She was excited that she can't even taste it.


Wendy D.

Thank you, Wendy! I am so thrilled to hear that your daughter is doing better. For other parents with children who have digestive complaints, please note that though Acacia Tummy Fiber is safe for children you do need to check with your pediatrician for approval and for the exact dose. It's critical that people do not self-diagnose their children with IBS when they may have another problem requiring medical attention.

Thanks also to Wendy for inspiring next week's "Ask Heather" column, which will address laxatives for IBS and how how to successfully stop taking them. ~ Heather

Did you miss the recent reader letter from Stephanie about her heartfelt success with IBS hypnotherapy, which helped her when nothing else did? Find it here...

~ Heather's Tummy Fiber ~
For the Dietary Management of Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea, &, Constipation

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divider Part 1 of a Special 4-Part Issue - A Review of What's New with IBS
A recent MedGenMed Gastroenterology article by Amy Foxx-Orenstein, DO, FACG, FACP reviewed what's new with IBS, including an introduction to the disorder, making a positive diagnosis, and a fascinating look at the science behind the underlying pathophysiology of IBS.

Introduction to IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a highly prevalent gastrointestinal motility disorder broadly characterized by abdominal pain/discomfort associated with altered bowel habits. The chronic and bothersome nature of IBS symptoms often negatively affects patient quality of life and activity level and places a substantial economic burden on patients and the healthcare system. Advances in research have led to a greater understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of IBS, particularly regarding the role serotonin plays in the gastrointestinal tract; the development of stepwise, symptom-based diagnostic strategies that allow for a diagnosis of IBS to be made without the need for extensive laboratory testing; and the development of treatment options targeting underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms that provide relief of the multiple symptoms associated with IBS. This MedGenMed Gastroenterology review highlights recent advances in research and discusses how these findings can be applied to daily clinical practice.

IBS - a complex, multifaceted condition broadly characterized by abdominal pain/discomfort associated with altered bowel habits - is among the most prevalent gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders. Prevalence estimates for IBS range from 3% to 20%, with most estimates in North America ranging from 10% to 15%. Women are affected by IBS more often than men. IBS-related symptoms are often chronic and bothersome, negatively affecting patient activities of daily living (eg, sleep, leisure time), social relationships, and productivity at work or school. Patients with IBS typically score lower than population norms or those with other chronic GI and non-GI disorders on measures of quality of life. IBS also puts a heavy economic burden on patients, employers, and the healthcare system, resulting in more than $10 billion in direct costs (eg, from office visits, medications) and $20 billion in indirect costs (eg, through work absenteeism and reduced productivity) each year.

Advances in research during the past several decades have provided insight into the underlying pathophysiology of IBS, particularly the role of serotonin in the GI tract; the development of stepwise, symptom-based diagnostic strategies; and the development of targeted treatment options.

IBS is not associated with any definitive biochemical, structural, or serologic abnormalities that define its presence. The hallmark feature of IBS is abdominal pain or discomfort associated with altered bowel habits, and, often, the abdominal pain prompts patients to seek medical care. Because the symptoms of IBS are common to a number of other GI conditions, IBS was long considered a "diagnosis of exclusion," leading to excessive testing of patients with characteristic symptoms. Fortunately, advances in research have led to the development of symptom-based approaches, aimed at standardizing IBS patient subgroups, and the development of consensus guidelines advocating a positive diagnosis of IBS based primarily on the pattern and nature of symptoms, without the need for excessive laboratory testing. Go here for more information about this review...

Coming in part two of this special four-part IBS "What's New" Review:
Making a Positive IBS Diagnosis

Would you like to participate in research that contributes to this type of advancement in the medical understanding of IBS? If you live in the Puget Sound area, there are two studies you can join. One will compare genetic differences between men and women with and without IBS, and the other will test a new non-drug approach to managing IBS symptoms. For information on both studies, call the School of Nursing at the University of Washington and ask for Anne or Pam, at (206)-616-5168 or (206)-616-9955.

Looking for more IBS research and news? Check the IBS Research Library!

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divider Marijuana and IBS
"Is there any evidence that marijuana could help IBS?"

Well, there's no evidence that marijuana would help the underlying brain-gut dysfunction that causes IBS (only gut-directed hypnotherapy addresses - and may possibly cure - that). But, there is both clinical and anecdotal evidence that marijuana can help relieve IBS symptoms, particularly abdominal pain.

Bearing in mind that marijuana is illegal in America, with some limited state (but no federal) exceptions for medical use, it's an interesting topic to address. Medical marijuana use is more widely acceptable and legal in Canada and some European countries, and demand for its acceptance in medical situations is increasing in the US. There are a growing number of studies worldwide documenting the benefits of specific chemical components in marijuana for a variety of diseases and disorders, including IBS.

One recent study, by Dr. William Notcutt of the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth, England was presented at a recent meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. His research found that cannabis extract from marijuana gives powerful relief for chronic pain, and recommended that it should be studied for future clinical use. The cannabis extract used in his study - applied as a spray under the tongue - was remarkably effective in easing chronic pain.

Dr. Notcutt noted, "The cannabis extracts can produce high-quality pain relief, symptom control, and improvement in the quality of life, without significant side effects." He tested cannabis extracts collected from cloned plants, in 23 sufferers of chronic pain. Dr. Notcutt said subjects reported improvements ranging from 'life-changing' to allowing them to get a good night's sleep. One subject had returned to work; others had started driving, gardening and caring for children again. Dr. Notcutt decried the fact that, because of its status as a prohibited substance, very little is known about marijuana's pain-relieving properties.

In other studies, cannabinoids have demonstrated the ability to block spinal, peripheral and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in headaches, fibromyalgia, and IBS. IBS has been noted to display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.

In past centuries, different preparations of marijuana have been used for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders such as GI pain, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea. At least one recent study has noted that under pathophysiological conditions, the endocannabinoid system conveys protection to the GI tract. For such protective activities, the endocannabinoid system may represent a new promising target against different GI disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn's disease) and functional bowel disorders (such as IBS).

Any casual internet search, or simple discussion at an IBS support group meeting, will find numerous stories of IBS patients self-medicating with marijuana. I have personally heard from quite a few people who find this to be the most effective treatment for them. Alternately, I've heard from numerous people who have tried marijuana for their IBS symptoms and have found no relief at all, or have found the side-effects greatly outweigh any benefits. I've also heard plenty of jokes about marijuana giving people the munchies for IBS trigger foods.

Whatever it's potential benefits for IBS, and regardless of whether or not it becomes a more widely legal option, marijuana is still a drug. True, it is a drug with a long history of safe use in some circumstances, but like all drugs it carries risks, both short-term and potentially long-term.

On a rather off-the-cuff aside, I've always noticed that very strongly brewed peppermint tea smells quite similar to marijuana - to such an extent that I've actually had people tell me after I drink a cup that my breath smells like I've been smoking it. Peppermint is known to have both pain-killing and muscle-relaxant properties, and I've wondered if it might also have some chemical similarities to marijuana. I haven't been able to find any scientific literature to support or contradict this idea, but I do find it interesting to consider.

~ Heather

Did you miss the last "Ask Heather" and fast, easy ways to sneak in extra soluble fiber? Find it here...

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