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Dietary Management of Impaired GI Function

Dietary Management of Impaired GI Function

From a one-time upset stomach to chronic abdominal pain, we all know that our gastrointestinal health can impact how we feel every day. Feeling stressed about food or feeling constant discomfort can be incredibly frustrating.

Gastrointestinal, or GI, function is a necessary component of all major digestive processes. These processes can greatly impact your overall health and how you feel. Every time you eat or drink liquids, you absorb nutrients and fuel for your body.

Unfortunately, many face problems with their GI tract. According to the National Institute of Health, up to 70 million Americans suffer from impaired gastrointestinal (GI) function. For some, this can result in bloating, indigestion, painful bowel movements, and more. If you face any of these symptoms, you’re far from alone. 

For some, GI issues are shorter-term and can quickly be resolved with time or smaller changes. Unfortunately, for others, the symptoms and problems from impaired GI function can last a lifetime. 

While there are different types of disorders that lead to impaired GI functioning, the Physicians’ Elemental Diet has quickly become a leading way to help improve GI functioning and quality of life. With the help of this proven diet, you can get back to the life you love. 

What Are The Signs Of A Healthy Digestive System?

Here, we’ll discuss the most common impairments to the gastrointestinal system and how dietary management can be a tool for long-term success. We’ll also unpack the Physicians’ Elemental Diet so that you can understand if it may be a good option for you!

Understanding Impaired GI Function 

When functioning normally, your GI will largely go unnoticed: you’ll eat the foods you enjoy, nutrients will be absorbed, and every food will break down and then be passed through your intestinal tract with regular bowel movements. 

A normal gastrointestinal system may still have its ups and downs, but you generally won’t focus on it too much. Conversely, if you are dealing with Impaired GI function, you are likely facing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

While there are other, less common GI disorders, we’ll go over the ones listed so you can understand what you’re facing, and how Blue Sky Vitamins might be able to help.  

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, is an umbrella term for those facing Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. 

According to UCLA health, the key difference between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s is that Ulcerative Colitis is limited to the colon and results in inflammation of the entire area. The colon, also known as the large intestine, is responsible for dehydrating food, breaking it down further, and forming it into stool. 

Conversely, in Crohn’s, patients experience inflammation between healthy parts of their GI tract. For those facing Crohn’s, the disease isn’t just limited to the large intestine but can occur anywhere along the digestive tract between the mouth and anus. 

In some cases, patients experience both inflammation throughout their colon, as seen in Ulcerative Colitis, and inflammation in other parts of their digestive tract. These cases are known as indeterminate colitis. 

According to the CDC, both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s are long-term diseases that can result in abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, and persistent diarrhea. 

There are a variety of treatment options for those facing a type of IBD. Some take anti-inflammatory medication or immune system suppressors. Other medications include biologics, which are usually administered intravenously and can help reduce inflammation. 

While some rely on long-term treatment options, many still face flare-ups or related pain. In these circumstances, it might be time to try a new approach: dietary management. While some diets that we’ll discuss require continual upkeep, the Physicians’ Elemental Diet is an excellent option for those looking for a short-term diet with long-term effects. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) manifests itself in similar ways to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.. Unlike IBD, the gastrointestinal tract looks visually fine and visually, everything should be working as normal. 

Nevertheless, according to the NIH, those with IBS face a group of symptoms including, diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain. 

The cause, and thus the treatment, of IBS can be more difficult to pinpoint, making it a frustrating and painful ailment to experience. Even though it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact problems, doctors generally analyze the pattern of symptoms and rule out other potential health issues to make a diagnosis. 

Fortunately, once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor may prescribe a variety of medicines and probiotics. Similar to IBD, with IBS there is also significant evidence pointing to the value of diet and lifestyle. For those experiencing more painful or severe forms of IBS, taking a hard look at your diet could lead to relief.

Evidence shows that cooking homemade meals with fresh ingredients can make a huge difference in easing the bowel’s irritability. Sometimes, patients may find that they need to adjust what they can or can’t eat. For those who need a cleanse to ease their irritability, the Physicians’ Elemental Diet may be the solution you’ve been looking for. 

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is described as “excessive bacteria in the small intestine” by the National Library of Medicine. This disorder, unfortunately, has not been studied as extensively as other GI disorders. However, more and more individuals are discovering that their symptoms may be the result of bacterial overgrowth. 

For those suffering from SIBO, they may face weight loss, malabsorption of nutrients, bloating especially after meals, and diarrhea. In some cases, the symptoms may be mild, but for others, they can be chronic, painful, and frustrating. 

SIBO has been associated previously with IBS, but in the last 20 years, there have been many advancements allowing for the specific diagnosis of SIBO. 

Unlike IBS and IBD, which tend to develop in teenage and young adult years, SIBO has a higher prevalence in older adults. Some individuals, due to structural abnormalities in their GI tract, may find that they are predisposed to bacterial overgrowth and at a higher risk of developing SIBO. 

When it comes to treating SIBO, doctors usually hope to prevent the bacteria from overproducing, provide nutritional support, and treat the overgrowth. Some treatments involve surgery or medications, but studies continue to show that changes in diet can pave the way for a healthier life. For those with SIBO, malabsorption of nutrients can be particularly problematic for patients, thus ensuring nutrient absorption in any treatment plan is especially important.  

What Dietary Management Can Do For GI Health

There is significant evidence that dietary management can play a role in the health of the gastrointestinal tract, according to a study released in 2019. The work of doctor El-Salhy discussed the importance that proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and nutrients play in regulating the release of GI hormones. 

The hormones released by the GI can impact secretion and absorption, cell growth, appetite, and local immune defenses. According to doctor El-Salhy, food intake can also affect the intestinal microbiota. From our understanding of IBD, IBS, and SIBO, it seems that a diet can greatly improve gastrointestinal health alongside other necessary protocols. 

As with any medical decision, you should work closely with your doctor to make sure that you are making the best choice for your health. 

Here at Blue Sky Vitamin, we understand how frustrating it can be to deal with the symptoms of a non-functioning gastrointestinal tract and we work hard to provide you with some of the best possible solutions. 

While dietary management can be a great tool for treating the symptoms, many different types of dietary measures can be taken.  

It’s important to note, for instance, that IBS is not as prevalent in Asia as it is in western countries, like the United States. This difference has been linked to the diets found in many Asian countries, which often rely on rich, fermented ingredients that are known to promote gut health. Yet, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause for the generally good GI health found in Southeast Asians. For mild and some moderate cases of impaired GI functioning, making small diet changes to include more fermented ingredients could be helpful to ease symptoms. 

For others, studies show that a low-FODMAP diet can ease many of the symptoms and problems associated with impaired GI functioning. The low-FODMAP diet is restrictive, with a focus on limiting certain sugars that are linked to intestinal distress. Certain foods, like meats, grains, and vegetables, are acceptable in a low-FODMAP diet, while many other foods, like dairy, wheat-based products, and certain fruits and vegetables, are not. 

The low-FODMAP diet has significant evidence that suggests it can be effective. Other diets, such as the NICE diet, are less restrictive but still limit intake on certain triggers, like carbonated drinks and certain starches. 

While these diets can be a great option for some, if you are suffering from an impaired GI tract, you may find that these diets haven’t done enough for you or are too extreme to live by.

Next, we’ll talk about another option, the Physicians’ Elemental Diet, which is a short-term diet regimen that has been suggested to ease the symptoms that other diets have failed to. 

Even though you’ll find that we highly recommend the Physicians’ Elemental Diet, it’s also necessary to understand that a diet change may not be enough to resolve all of the problems from an impaired gastrointestinal tract. You may find a continued need for other treatments, or that a life-long dietary change is necessary. 

Even though dietary management may not work for everyone, it’s a great option before considering more invasive procedures. It can help fuel a necessary refresh on your GI tract, calm down inflammation or bacteria overgrowth, and can help you feel like yourself again. 

The Physicians’ Elemental Diet

This diet is for those with severe digestive issues who may not have found relief with other diets. It’s a short-term plan, usually lasting less than 3 weeks under a doctor’s direction, that’s designed to help reduce symptoms and allow for internal healing while still providing the necessary nutrients and calories a person needs. 

If you, or someone you know, decide to go on an elemental diet, you will be eating formulas that are considered “pre-digested.” The pre-digested formula consists of vitamins and minerals alongside amino acids (for protein), fat, and carbs that are already broken down. 

Since every ingredient has already been broken down into its building blocks, the digestive tract can rest and won’t be prone to more discomfort, giving it time to heal. 

If you’re considering an elemental diet, take the time to understand how it may work for you!

How it works

In some serious cases, the Physicians’ Elemental Diet may be provided through IV in a hospital setting. However, many can complete the diet at home. 

While our version does not require a prescription, you should still check with your doctor before starting a 2 or 3-week plan. In an at-home setting, you can buy the Physician’s Elemental Diet as a formula that is mixed with water and consumed throughout the day. 

Outside of the formula, it is recommended that individuals only drink water or tea and do not consume any other food or drink items. Outside items could disrupt the carefully crafted nutritional elements in the diet. 

Each serving of formula has about 150 calories, so servings are consumed throughout the day until the person has consumed the necessary nutrients. The formula is not intended for weight loss. 

Ultimately, after about 2-3 weeks of subsisting on the formula, your GI tract will be significantly healthier and able to handle regular foods. From there, you may decide to switch to a low-FODMAP diet, a NICE diet, or ease back into your normal routines. Others may decide to continue the Physician’s Elemental Diet, under their doctor’s care, as they slowly introduce outside foods.

Thankfully, the Physicians’ Elemental Diet is remarkably simple, allowing you, or your loved one, to carry on with daily activities while continuing to heal internally. 

What the studies show

Doctors continue to work hard to find the best solutions to GI dysfunction, and many studies show that the Physicians’ Elemental Diet could be the key to success. 

For those with SIBO and IBS, a 2004 study was completed monitoring patients’ symptoms and health. It found that, after 15 days, many experienced fewer symptoms and had a healthier level of enteric flora. Others in the study found results after day 21. The study concluded that “an elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing an abnormal LBT in IBS subjects, with a concomitant improvement in clinical symptoms.” 

A 1980 study also pointed to the positive effects of the Physician's Elemental Diet on Crohn’s disease. This study was later supported by a 2015 study. 

The 2015 study found that those who completed the diet “with 80%-100% compliance went into remission within 2-3 weeks.” The scholar explained that the Physician’s Elemental Diet has frequently been overlooked by doctors, who have recently placed more emphasis on other medications. However, the research shows that the Physician’s Elemental Diet is a sound way to treat Crohn’s disease with a high success rate.  

Research continues to point towards the benefits of the Physicians’ Elemental Diet, but all stress the importance of strictly following the diet alongside their doctor’s recommendations. Unfortunately, many doctors overlook the positive impacts of dietary management, but patients can make a positive difference by bringing their concerns–and these studies–to their doctor.

Ingredients

If you suffer from gastrointestinal dysfunction, then you, like us, understand that ingredients can make a huge difference in how your GI may handle a treatment. 

The Physicians’ Elemental Diet includes ingredients that are essential to your well-being while still being easy on your GI tract. It can meet all of your dietary needs by being:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gluten and preservative free
  • Glucose, sucrose, lactose, and dextrose free
  • Soy, corn, yeast, and dairy free
  • Zero artificial colors or flavors.  

It contains all essential vitamins including vitamins A, C, D3, E, and K, alongside Iron, Calcium, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, and more. 

Each serving is 150 calories with 4 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and 11 grams of sugar. For protein, it includes fat and amino acids that are equivalent to 9% of the daily needed protein per serving. 

To learn more about the ingredients and to read all of the fine print, check out the full ingredients list here

What Should You Do Next? 

Now that you know all about the Physicians’ Elemental Diet and how it might work for you, we recommend consulting with your doctor immediately. With compliance and dedication, the diet can lead to long-lasting results and healing. According to the 1980 study, some have experienced 6 or more months of being symptom-free of their chronic condition. 

Alongside other GI tools, dietary management can be a critical part of your health success. While a prescription is not needed to purchase our products, we recommend discussing with your doctor to develop a successful treatment plan. Once you’ve made your decision, choose Blue Sky Vitamins to help put it into motion.

Blue Sky provides in-depth insight and research into a variety of health issues and treatments. We rely on medical studies and proven results to help you, or your loved one, be an informed patient. 

We believe that an educated patient can better advocate for the health solutions that will lead to long-lasting results. You know your body best.

If you think the Physicians’ Elemental Diet is for you, place your order on the Blue Sky Vitamin website. Check out our many positive reviews and testimonials on how our products have helped lead to healthy, fulfilling lives. We can’t wait to serve you next!

References: 

Center for Disease Control. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The CDC, April. 2022. 

Dukowicz, Andrew, Brian Lacy, and Gary Levine. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. The 

National Library of Medicine: Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Feb. 2007. 

Hunter, John. Elemental Diet and the Nutritional Treatment of Crohn’s Disease. The National 

Library of Medicine, Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench, 2015.  

Lee, Jimmy. The NICE guidelines diet and IBS. Monash University, Dec. 2021.

Magdy, El-Salhy. Nutritional Management of Gastrointestinal Diseases and Disorders. The 

National Library of Medicine: Nutrients, Dec. 2019. 

Makinde, Stephen. What are the Signs of a Healthy Digestive System? Perfect Balance Clinic, 

Jan, 2020. 

Mayo Clinic Staff. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The Mayo Clinic, No Date. 

National Institute of Health. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The National Institute of Diabetes 

and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) in partnership with the NIH. No Date. 

National Health Society. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Diet, Lifestyle and Medicines. National 

Health Society, No Date. 

National Institute of Health. Keeping Your Gut in Check. News in Health, National Institute of 

Health. May 2017. Edited by Harrison Wein, Ph.D.

O’Morain, C, A.W. Segal, and A.J. Levi. Elemental Diets in Treament of Acute Crohn’s Disease. 

National Library of Medicine, Nov. 1980.

Pimentel, Mark, Tess Constantino, Yuthana Kong, Meera Bajwa, Abolghasem Rezaei, and Sany 

Park. A 14-day Elemental Diet is Highly Effective in Normalizing the Lactulose Breath Test. The National Library of Medicine, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Jan. 2004. 

Streit, Lizzie. What Is an Elemental Diet, and Can You Use It for Weight Loss? Healthline, July 

UCLA Health. What is IBD. UCLA Health, No Date. 

Veloso, Hazel Galon. FODMAP Diet: What You Need to Know. Johns Hopkins Medicine, No 

Date. 

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