Gas and bloating are common symptoms of IBS. IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of digestive symptoms that do not point to a specific disease but are put under the umbrella of IBS. IBS is not to be confused with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) which is an inflammatory condition including Crohn’s disease and colitis and needs professional care. Gas and bloating that is not the result of IBD can be treated naturally once the root cause is determined. For simple gas and bloating I like activated charcoal as a remedy. Gas and bloating relief with activated charcoal can ease your symptoms so you can start working on the root cause and long-term success.
IBS can be resolved completely, so that is encouraging for many! IBS is mainly due to SIBO a condition where there is bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. Many people naturally turn to probiotics when dealing with gas, bloating and other digestive system ailments. But if your IBS issues including gas and bloating are due to SIBO, which most are, then adding more bacteria regardless if it’s beneficial bacteria can add to the problem at least in the short term.
To get fast relief for gas and bloating the goal is to:
1) Release trapped gas
2) Relax the muscle wall of the intestines to ease cramps and bloating.
3) Balance microbes
4) Fix the diet
5) Practice good eating hygiene
Steps 1 -5 are the order in which to start healing, so the first step is to release trapped gas.
Gas forms in your digestive tract when air is swallowed and when bacteria in the large intestines break down undigested foods. The types of food that are eaten and how long they hang out in the large intestine can determine the amount of gas produced. You can lessen the amount of gas you experience by eating properly eg. eating hygiene; not swallowing large chunks of food, eating on the run, and eating while stressed. Be aware of the types of food eaten that will not hang out in the intestines for long producing excess gas is important.
Trapped gas can be very painful and for some keep them up at night. Trapped gas can be a quality of life issue as well due to the pain and the bloating. Clothes not fitting properly is another problem for those suffering from trapped gas.
One of my favorite remedies for absorbing excess gas and providing relief is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a medicinal remedy not to be confused with regular charcoal which is a carcinogen. Activated charcoal is the byproduct of slowly burnt coconut shells or burnt wood and then treated with oxygen which makes it an adsorbable (binding to) product. So, activated charcoal binds to toxins and odors up to one thousand times its weight.
Activated charcoal has been used in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine for centuries and is now very popular in the U.S and around the world as a superfood. It has alkalizing properties which make it a darling for the health conscious. However many claims are not substantiated, so do your homework if you’re going to use it for other purposes.
With that said, activated charcoal and its ability to bind to digestive toxins are well documented. Using activated charcoal to ‘bind’ to trapped gas is a wonderful, fast acting remedy for breaking up painful, trapped gas.
Make sure activated charcoal is taken away from medication or other supplements as it’s binding properties act on them as well. You want the activated charcoal to bind to gas, not your vitamins or medications. Taking it between meals is a good idea.
Activated charcoal comes in pill or powder varieties. My favorite activated charcoal products also include other gas absorbing and anti-cramping agents. Gaia Herbs Gas and Bloating and Heather’s Tummy tamers are excellent choices.
In conclusion, gas and bloating due to IBS can be remedied by taking products with activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a nutrient that has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. Activated charcoal acts due to its ability to adsorb or bind to other substances like gas. Take activated charcoal between meals to ensure it does not bind to other nutrients or medicines.
If you try activated charcoal for gas and bloating, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below!
Linda is a Functional Medicine Health Coach