Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the United States, affecting 1 out of 5 people. Even with millions of people seeking help for this, the causes are still not well understood. Many seek natural remedies when traditional methods do not bring the relief they need. Researchers believe a combination of physical and mental health problems can lead to the bowels becoming damaged, or sensitive to certain stressors. This can lead to a problem with the information pathway between the brain and the gut, resulting in altered intestinal function.

Symptoms can be a result of an infection or irritation in the stomach and intestines from bacteria or other harmful organisms. One study showed that people who had a bout of gastroenteritis were ten times more likely to develop irritable bowel syndrome. Another condition, called small intestine bacterial overgrowth, is quite common in people with IBS. An overgrowth or change in the type of bacteria in the small intestine causes irritation and symptoms of diarrhea, excess gas, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies. Some gastrointestinal symptoms can be due to overgrowth of yeast (candida). Intestinal candidiasis can cause symptoms of bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and cramping, along with fatigue.

IBS can be embarrassing to downright devastating to those who suffer from it. Those who deal with this condition on a daily basis seek relief from whatever source they can find. Traditional medications consist of anti-spasmodics to calm the painful cramps, antidepressants to help with the mental anxiety, and antibiotics to get the bacteria under control. However, all of these come with a large list of side effects or warnings.

There are many natural remedies to help control symptoms. One supplement that has shown some positive results is lactoferrin. It is an immune boosting, bacteria killing protective protein found in all body fluids. It is found in colostrum, and gives a newborn immunity protection from the mother. Almost 70% of our immune function is located in your gut. If your intestines are inflamed or damaged then your immune system will not be able to perform as well as it should.

Lactoferrin helps the symptoms by:

1. Binding to free iron floating around. This is important because most bacteria and candida need iron to grow. Free iron interferes with our immune cell function, so this effectively starves the harmful organisms while keeping our immune systems strong.

2. Entering the bacteria or candida and damaging their cell membrane. This will either kill them directly, or it interfere with their energy and weaken them.

3. Preventing candida from sticking to the lining of the digestive tract and removing it once it is attached.

4. Inhibiting the action of cytokines in the gastrointestinal tract. Cytokines are proteins found in the body that cause inflammation.

5. Nourishing the digestive tract with prebiotic properties, which also help with GI health. Prebiotics nourish the friendly bacteria that live in your digestive tract. A balance of good to harmful bacteria is needed to prevent gastrointestinal symptoms

Lactoferrin has been shown to be a natural remedy for IBS. It protects the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, support your immune system, and aid in destroying organisms that can cause symptoms. It has been labeled by the FDA as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for the entire population, even those who are allergic to milk and dairy

Lactoferrin: A Natural Remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome? by Cindy Egersdorfer