Diverticulosis is incredibly common. By the time you reach your 50th birthday, there’s a 50% chance you will have it. And by the time you reach 80, the odds are 67%.
For the most part, diverticulosis is preventable. And it’s important that you take the one step necessary to prevent it. Why? It’s because diverticulosis can turn into diverticulitis. And diverticulitis can be severe, requiring antibiotics, hospitalization, and sometimes surgery.
Diverticulosis occurs when little pockets called diverticula grow out of the large intestine wall. Diverticulosis does not cause symptoms. It is only noticed on some CT scans or on a colonoscopy examination. The only problem with it is that it sets the stage for diverticulitis. But here’s some good news. Even though you have diverticulosis, having that turn into diverticulitis is preventable.
And, the best way to prevent this dreaded problem is to decrease your pressure – your bowel pressure that is.
Although diverticulitis is common, it is common only in industrialized countries. It is very uncommon in Third World countries. Studies have shown that the biggest difference between the two is the amount of fiber in the diet. People in industrialized societies on average eat only about 10-15% as much fiber as do those in poorer countries.
Fiber refers to a special form of carbohydrate which is not absorbed as food. It goes in one end, and out the other. Foods that are highest in fiber are whole cereals (not the breakfast cereals we eat), whole fruit (especially apples and prunes), leafy vegetables, and beans. When you eat these foods in abundance, the fiber in them stays in the intestines, forms bulk, and causes the bowels to move faster. When your bowels slow down, it increases the pressure in your intestines. This increased pressure causes the herniations that become diverticulosis.
Is That Pain In Your Abdomen Chronic Diverticulitis?
Statistically speaking, it’s quite possible the pain in your abdomen is diverticulitis. Many cases go on for years before doctors find the problem. Typical symptoms include crampy, intermittent pains in the left lower abdomen, and bloating and/or flatulence. If you do have diverticulitis, hang on. I’ll show you how to control it in a moment.
But first, as I said before, the best treatment for diverticulitis is to not get it. And to that end, diets high enough in fiber will probably prevent 80-90% of all diverticula from forming. But once they form, eating all the fiber in the world won’t get rid of them. So don’t wait until it’s too late.
Besides food, another way to get added fiber into your diet is with fiber supplements. The best fibers are oat bran, psyllium seed, and rice bran. And those are the fibers that I put into my Super Immune QuickStart powder. Two scoops of QuickStart give you 7 grams of pure fiber, which can often make the difference between a healthy transit time and a prolonged one.
But What Happens When the Diverticula Develop?
For the over 1.6 million Americans suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease like diverticulitis, simply managing the condition can feel like a full-time job. Anyone who has diverticulitis will tell you that the constant abdominal discomfort can wear you out.
Even more discouraging is the response they get from their doctor. They just don’t have much to offer that will actually help. They might give you some dietary advice or give you a prescription for medications to lessen the symptoms. But since specialists disagree on dietary advice, it is often completely contradictory. For some people, a high-fiber diet helps. But once you have diverticulitis, a high-fiber diet can actually intensify the symptoms. So, some doctors recommend a low-fiber diet that avoids small seeds like tomato seeds. For others, these recommendations are not effective. So what other remedies might be helpful? Two studies give us a good idea about a simple natural solution.
Researchers have known for some time that an abnormal immune response was a key driver of inflammation in the bowel. But they haven't been able to pinpoint specific triggers or ideal treatment options. This new research, from the UNC School of Medicine, may be changing that. These researchers found that a detrimental feedback loop between gut bacteria and inflammation may be causing the symptoms associated with these diseases. More importantly, it might be possible to interrupt this loop.
The UNC researchers believe that people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease may be missing an inflammation inhibitor protein called NLRP12. It seems that NLRP12 helps the immune system recognize inflammation so it can address it. Without this inhibitor, unchecked inflammation disrupts the balance of gut bacteria, and an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in turn fans the flames of inflammation.
The researchers found that twins with bowel disease tended to have lower levels of NLRP12 than twins without the disease. They also identified higher levels of colon inflammation as well as a different microbiome makeup in mice who lacked NLRP12. In particular, the mice had fewer strains of beneficial bacteria and more strains of inflammatory types. This microbiome population is similar to that of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
While the researchers don't know if there's a way to replace this inhibitor, they did find that adding beneficial bacteria back to the gut can help end the inflammatory cycle. The researchers are interested in seeing if they can determine whether people have low levels of NLRP12 before their symptoms become severe.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for these researchers to find the answer. Another group of scientists found a clear answer.
Decrease the Symptoms of Diverticulitis by 50% With a Simple Natural Solution
These researchers looked at 49 patients with chronic diverticulitis. All of them were suffering from abdominal pain and bloating. Their symptoms would often go on continuously for one to two days before easing back. They divided the patients into three groups. They gave the first group the standard high-fiber diet. They put the second group on the same diet and also gave them a probiotic strain by the name of Lactobacillus paracasei F19 every other day. They did the same thing with the third group, only they got a double dose of the probiotic. This went on for six months. Here's what happened.
There was no decrease in symptoms in the group that had only the diet. By itself a high-fiber diet was not helpful at all. But when they added the probiotic, things changed. There was a 50% decrease in symptoms in both of the probiotic groups.
Furthermore, none of the patients in these groups had their pain for more than 24 hours even though 20% of the diet-only group did. And the dose of the probiotic did not make a difference. More was not better. The authors of the study concluded that, “Lactobacillus paracasei F19, in association with a high-fiber diet, is effective in reducing abdominal bloating and prolonged abdominal pain.”
Patients with diverticulitis should always be put on probiotics. It definitely helps even though it rarely gets rid of all the symptoms. But I can't say whether or not this particular strain of probiotic works better or worse than other strains. If you have this problem and want to give this particular probiotic a chance, you can get it online. It is called Theralac. And you can get it at: www.theralac.com/Paracasei.aspx.
A Final Word on Ozone
Of course, I can’t end this without a brief mention of the powers of ozone. I use ozone for almost all bowel diseases, including colitis, diarrhea, diverticulitis, irritable bowel, food poisoning, intestinal flu, etc. Ozone is incredibly effective for bowel problems. So it’s definitely something you should look into. You can find a doctor at www.aaot.us and at www.oxygenhealingtherapies.com who can help you with doctor-administered ozone. You also can buy an in-home ozone generator, which I told you about a few weeks ago. Take a look at my book, The Ozone Miracle, for a good do-it-yourself explanation of how you can use ozone therapy at home to treat all kinds of medical conditions without a doctor.
If you haven’t purchased your ozone generator kit yet, you can do so by calling Longevity Resources toll free 1-877-543-3398 (or 001 250 654 0092 from outside Canada/USA). You can also visit their website (www.ozonegenerator.com) or email them ([email protected]) and their friendly Product Specialists will help you purchase a system that’s right for you. Tell them you’re a Second Opinion reader and they will give you a discount on your order.
Annibale B, Maconi G, Lahner E. et al. Efficacy of Lactobacillus paracasei sub. paracasei F19 on abdominal symptoms in patients with symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease: a pilot study. Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2011 Mar;57(1):13-22.
Janes, S.E., A. Meagher, F.A. Frizelle. “Management of diverticulitis.” BMJ, 2006 February 4;332(7536):271-5.