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In this Issue...

Food & Recipes

Special Events

Special Letters

Rx News & Research

Ask Heather

Coming Soon...

* Greatest Hits Issue!

* Cumin and herbs for IBD

* Part III 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 22, 2006

Special Reader Letter - What Helped IBS When $50,000 in Medical Bills Didn't?

Hello to everyone -

This week we have a terrific reader letter, plus comprehensive advice on how to
stop using laxatives, and part two 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.

Plus, a most refreshing fresh mint lemonade for the dog days of summer!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous

Did a friend send you this newsletter? Sign up here for your own free subscription. divider

Fresh Mint Leaf Lemonade

Served with high soluble fiber meals, homemade lemonade is a safe drink for most folks with IBS, and a deliciously refreshing one at that! This recipe adds fresh mint leaves, which are abundant in summer, for an extra-special (and digestion-friendly) touch.

If you have children, a fun summer project is to have them place a well-rinsed, homegrown, unsprayed edible flower blossom (miniature roses, rose petals, jasmine, violets, pansies, lavender) in each segment of an ice cube tray, fill halfway with water, and freeze. When frozen, fill the tray to the top with water and refreeze. Doing this in two steps will keep the blossoms completely encased in ice. Then serve this lemonade chilled in clear glasses with the ice cubes that have fresh flowers frozen within.

Makes 4 Servings

1 1/2 cups packed fresh mint leaves, washed, dried, and chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Juice of 3 large lemons
Purified or bottled water

Make a mint syrup by combining mint leaves, sugar, and water in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Heat and stir until sugar dissolves, bring to a boil and simmer until syrup reduces to about 1 cup. Chill. Strain syrup, pressing hard on solids and discarding mint leaves. Divide juice from lemons among four glasses, add 1/3 cup syrup (or to taste) to each glass to sweeten. Fill glasses with water, stir well, and add ice. Serve with meals.

For a truly special treat, serve this lemonade with our delicious Barbecue Catfish Sandwiches with Slaw for a summer backyard dinner delight!

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.

Fennel Tummy Tea Peppermint Tummy Tea
Organic Fennel & Peppermint Tummy Tea Bags

Extraordinary Quality ~ Very Economical

Fennel is terrific for bloating & gas, Peppermint is great for IBS pain & spasms.

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!

356 S. Western Ave #205
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Natural Living Center
209 Longview Drive
Bangor, ME 04401

Universal Health Company
815 S. Kenny Way
Las Vegas, NV 89107

GNC #9492
2050 Greengate Center Circle
Greensburg, PA 15601

Family Health Food
1925 North Grand Ave
Sherman, TX 75090

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.

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divider $50,000 in Medical Bills Trumped by Peppermint Oil Capsules

Dear Heather,

I have undergone so much this year, including removal of my gallbladder, with no relief of my symptoms. After about $50,000 worth of medical bills I found out my pain is being caused by IBS. I researched the internet and thank God I found you. Your Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules are miraculous!

I have been taking the peppermint caps for about three days now and my symptoms are much improved. I am going to continue with this as it is the only thing that has relieved my symptoms. I am leaving to see my medical doctor for a follow up in a few minutes and I am going to inform him of your product and how much it has helped me. I will be ordering more stuff in the very near future. Thank you so much for this help.

I most certainly do not mind if you put this in the IBS newsletter. I hope this will encourage others to try your products. Thank you so much!

Julie Mounts

Thank you, Julie! I'm so happy to hear you're feeling better! ~ Heather

Did you miss the last reader letter from Wendy, who successfully weaned her little girl off of laxatives? Find it here...

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

IBS Peppermint Caps
Peppermint Oil Caps with Fennel and Ginger Are Amazing!

Because our Peppermint Oil Caps have the added benefits of fennel and ginger oils, they are truly unbeatable for preventing abdominal pain, gas, and bloating!

divider Part 2 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.

Making a Positive Diagnosis of IBS

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.

The Rome I criteria for diagnosing IBS were shown to be sensitive and specific. The Rome II criteria, published in 1999, were intended to simplify the more complex Rome I criteria by better defining the nonconsecutive, multisymptom nature of this disorder. Overall, the Rome I and II criteria are considered useful for standardizing enrollment of patients into clinical trials. However, many clinicians believe that these criteria are too restrictive for use in clinical practice.

The American College of Gastroenterology Functional GI Disorders Task Force suggests using a broader definition of IBS: abdominal discomfort associated with altered bowel habits.

The Rome III working team met in the fall of 2004; updated criteria were published in April 2006. The principle difference between Rome III guidelines as compared with the Rome II criteria lies in the less restrictive timeframe for symptoms. The categorization of IBS patients into the constipation, diarrhea, or mixed subtypes has also been revised. It is hoped that the less restrictive symptom timeframe requirements of the Rome III guidelines will make them more clinically practical than the previous iterations.

The Rome III criteria, in conjunction with careful history-taking (medical, family, and medication) and thorough physical examination, can be applied as part of the stepwise, symptom-based approach to diagnosing IBS. The presence of alarm features (eg, rectal bleeding, history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease) potentially indicative of organic disease necessitates further evaluation.Go here for more information about this review...

Go here for comprehensive information about managing IBS.

Coming next - the continuation of part two in this special four-part IBS "What's New" Review: The role of diagnostic testing in making an IBS diagnosis

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

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

IBS Acacia Tummy Fiber

Organic Acacia ~ Pure Soluble Fiber

The prebiotic fiber that relieves both diarrhea and constipation!

** Very Economical ** Only 3 cents per gram of fiber!

divider How to Stop Using Laxatives
"I've been relying on laxatives for constipation for many months now. Is there any way to transition off the laxatives and onto a soluble fiber supplement instead?"

Yes, there is (last week's special letter from a mother gives a perfect example). For just about everyone, particularly people with IBS, this is a terrific goal, as long-term laxative use has not been shown to be safe or healthy.

To quote from a recent US Pharmacist article (2006;31(6):20-28): "The FDA considers seven days to be the safe time limit for use of laxatives without physician consultation. However, stimulant laxatives cause many patients to become habituated to them because of their nonphysiologic and drastic action; some patients might use laxatives for years once they become reliant on them.

This practice can lead to changes in the colon that are carcinogenic and may result in death of colonic tissues located in the myenteric plexus. Patients should be urged to replace habitual use of stimulant laxatives with bulking [soluble fiber] agents.

However, abrupt discontinuation in habitual laxative overusers may result in an inability to evacuate the bowels. The colon may not respond normally as a result of years of artificial stimulation.

The patient may benefit from a gradual withdrawal. In this method, the pharmacist may recommend short-term stimulant use until the fiber begins to exert its own effect. A combination of a stimulant and fiber might be useful for a 30-day period to boost colonic function and bridge the transition from stimulant addiction to natural facilitation of bowel movements with fiber. After that period, the goal should be permanent discontinuation of stimulants in favor of fiber intake."

So, there you have it. Getting off laxatives in favor of fiber supplements is definitely a good idea. The question now is, how exactly do you go about doing this? Well, if you're transitioning to Acacia Tummy Fiber, an organic soluble fiber meant specifically for people with IBS, try this...

First, remember that Acacia is not a laxative, so it won't act like the laxatives you've been taking. It can work wonders for constipation, but it not an overnight solution. It makes a great deal of difference how you take Acacia, and it's well worth the time and effort to do it right.

Just FYI, these are the best ways to NOT get the results you want:

* Try Acacia at a low dose for just a few days, then give up because there's no change.

* Go from zero to the maximum dose in one week flat, then give up because it's not working and now you're all bloated and gassy as well.

* Start taking Acacia at the same time you abruptly stop taking your laxatives (and this applies to enemas or colon cleanses as well, as they all artifically and abnormally affect gut motility), then give up because your constipation is suddenly worse, not better.

The cardinal rule with Acacia is to start at a low dose (for Acacia, just 1/2 a level measuring teaspoon, twice daily), and increase gradually. Constipation seems to require a much higher daily dose than diarrhea, and it can take several weeks, or even a few months, to slowly work your way up to the maximum daily dose. Remember that you're transitioning to something that is not a laxative, so taking a low dose of Acacia for a few days will not alleviate your symptoms. What it will do is begin to acclimate your gut to a higher daily dose of fiber, and this is the goal. Don't give up as soon as you start - just realize that using Acacia is a slow, steady process. You will see improvements along the way.

It's tempting to think that if you need to reach the maximum dose to see the best results, you can just force your body to adjust to a high dose as fast as possible. After all, if your constipation will resolve on an Acacia dose of, say, 25 grams a day, and it might typically take someone, say, 8 weeks to reach that dose, you'll be way ahead of the game if you race your way up to that dose in your very first week - right? Nope - wrong.

By definition, if you have IBS, you do not have a normally functioning gut. No matter how your IBS symptoms manifest (constipation or diarrhea, bloating or pain) your GI tract - and specifically, your gastrocolic reflex - is hyper-reactive to normal stimuli. Your goal should always be to keep your gastrocolic reflex stable so you can soothe and regulate your gut function (this is why enemas and colon cleanses can be as harmful for IBS as laxatives).

Suddenly overloading your bowel with a fiber dose that is possibly ten times what you were taking before you started Acacia will do nothing but give you bloating and gas, as your GI tract struggles to deal with all of this unexpected fiber. Fiber is, after all, an undigestible carbohydrate, and your body needs to work to process it through your digestive tract.

Asking your gut to go from no soluble fiber supplement to a maximum daily dose too quickly is like trying to become a marathon runner by sprinting as hard and as fast as you can without rest. It won't work, you'll be frustrated, and you'll give up. Instead, go slowly, increase your dose gradually, and give your body the time and gentle approach it needs to adjust to the Acacia increase. You can't beat your colon into submission with IBS, you need to kindly, patiently, and consistently coax it into normal motility. Acacia can help do this for you if you give it a fair chance.

If you've been regularly using laxatives, or artificially increasing colon motility through other means (enemas, colon cleanses, harsh stimulant herbs such as senna, cascara, aloe) the odds are pretty good that your bowel is dependent on them. If you suddenly stop using them, bowel motility might shut down and your constipation will seriously worsen. This would be the case even if you didn't add Acacia at the same time.

It is definitely possible to transition from a laxative or other unnatural methods of alleviating constipation to Acacia. But, you can't simply switch from one to the other in a single day and expect equivalent results. What you can do is keep taking your usual dose of laxatives while you begin your Acacia and start to gradually increase your Acacia dose. When you've been able to reach a fairly high daily dose (say, 2-3 tablespoons) you can start to gradually decrease your laxative.

Keep increasing the Acacia and continue decreasing your laxative, taking each step slowly and carefully. This is not likely to be a fast process, but the slower and steadier you go the more likely it is to have a highly successful result. I've heard from numerous people who transitioned off of laxatives, senna, enemas, and even prescription constipation drugs and onto a soluble fiber supplement, with terrific results. But it took anywhere from one to six months, depending on how long their bowels had been dependent on the laxatives.

Good things can be well worth the wait, and this is one of those situations where patience is truly a virtue. IBS is a lifelong problem for most people, so giving yourself a few months with the Acacia Tummy Fiber to make a tremendous improvement is not really taking too much time in the grand scheme of things.

~ Heather

Did you miss the last "Ask Heather" and how marijuana can affect IBS? Find it here...

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