Are probiotic supplements the answer to a growing number of IBS sufferers?

There’s nothing like a little excessive wind, abdominal cramps and bloating to change the trajectory of your whole day. For the lucky few who may not recognise these symptoms, I am talking of the one and only Irritable bowel syndrome – a condition affecting millions of people worldwide. In England and Wales, it’s reported that 10% of the population will experience IBS yearly. In the US, the number skyrockets to 45 million, affecting more women than men.

Despite the condition being so common, IBS has no specific causes. Experts speculate IBS can result from stress, mental health disorders and bacterial infections, whilst others think it could be a simple reaction to certain foods. But the resulting unhealthy gut has been a point of deep analysis for many doctors, scientists and sufferers trying to find a cure for an often life-long condition.

Gut health is vital for the healthy function of our body and organs. Increasing research has shown that a healthy gut promotes heart health, boosts immunity, and helps with weight loss. You can maintain a healthy gut through your food and ensure the bacteria in your stomach are balanced.

Supplements are one of the newest trends to hit the market as a solution to the ever-growing gut problems affecting us all. Some don’t require a prescription and can be bought directly from the company.

JUVIA is one of the newest supplements to hit the market. Developed by Professor John Hunt, a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge and Scientific advisor Dr. Rosemary Waring – the new supplement boasts a unique natural ingredient, ERME separating the supplement from a crowded market of competitors.

The patented ingredient, ERME (Enzyme-rich malt extract), is an anabiomic (a term we use to describe any product which safely restores a healthy microbiome) from 100% barley malt extract. It helps support the breakdown of carbs and rebalances the microbiome. With over ten years of studies to create this new product, the scientists at JUVIA claim to be the first to have established that the gut’s growth of unhealthy flora directly results from its inability to digest carbohydrates.

We contacted Sarah – one of the first patients to try the supplement in 2016. As she works closely with Professor Hunter, we asked about her experience. She said, “I have found that JUVIA helped my gut issues (diagnosed IBS). I did not get diarrhea or constipation and had no bloating when I ate gluten. Having done several studies over the years, including Hydrogen Breath Testing for foods that cause excessive fermentation (NHS gold standard for food intolerance testing), I know which foods cause me issues. When I came off JUVIA, they started to cause me problems. I take JUVIA every day and can eat what I like with no sugar cravings. It’s great!”

She went on to explain that what makes this product different to any others is that the product is not like any probiotic, prebiotic or other gut supplement out there. It’s uniquely formulated to activate the natural digestive enzymes in the gut, which help break down carbohydrates before they can cause problems.

“It’s uniquely formulated to activate the natural digestive enzymes in the gut, which help break down carbohydrates before they can cause problems.”

It’s specially prepared at carefully controlled temperatures to preserve the activity of the 15+ enzymes germinating barley contains. As far as we’re aware, it’s the only product in the world that does this.”

With options like JUVIA on the market offering rapid relief to your gut symptoms, it can be tempting to just sign up and buy. But with IBS being a life-long condition for so many, are a lifetime of supplements the answer? With lifestyle changes, diet and exercise alongside the supplement, can one wean off the product whilst maintaining the effective relief, or is one expected to remain on the supplement for the rest of their life?

There have been growing concerns about how live microorganisms and supplements can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to less microbial diversity. We contacted JUVIA again to ask them more questions regarding these concerns but received no response.

Our in-house writer Michelle Monaghan – a long time IBS sufferer has been taking JUVIA for the last few months and has recounted her personal experience. She said, “JUVIA has been a massive help in managing my IBS, and I noticed the difference when I first started taking it. I take it twice a day after a main meal, and I only sometimes feel unwell or bloated at different times during the day. My digestion is better, and I can tolerate more decadent foods. I’m no longer using the bathroom for long periods. I’m much more confident in going out for meals and not worrying if my IBS will react.”

“However, it works better when my life and what’s happening around me is stable. Recently, I went through a rough patch with my mental health, and because of how closely IBS and mental health are linked, it also took a toll on my physical health. While JUVIA was still working, it wasn’t having quite the same impact.”

“However, it works better when my life and what’s happening around me is stable. Recently, I went through a rough patch with my mental health, and because of how closely IBS and mental health are linked, it also took a toll on my physical health. While JUVIA was still working, it wasn’t having quite the same impact.”

“I’m taking the necessary time to focus on myself physically and mentally to return to the great place I was, taking JUVIA at the beginning of my journey. Of course, everyone’s experience of taking JUVIA and if it works will differ. However, it’s worth trying, but it’s also important to remember to consider all factors of your life.”

Authors

  • Lisa Hanley

    Lisa Hanley is both the Founder and Editor of Ankha Azzura Magazine, a media platform that blends her passion in wellness, science, and holistic living. Having spent over a decade working in media, beginning with local radio and print and later transitioning to producing and luxury travel writing, Lisa established Ankha Global in 2022. She attended three universities in the UK to study Journalism and Media studies and currently resides in London with her partner.

  • Michelle Monaghan

    Originally from Australia, Michelle moved to the UK to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. She will begin training for her NCTJ qualification with News Associates in November. Having studied Women's Studies as her Major at Flinders University, Michelle is passionate about bringing importance to these issues through her writing. Through her internship at Ankhä Magazine, she hopes to explore topics she hasn't explored in her writing before and learn and develop new skills to make her a better journalist.

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