Short for irritable bowel syndrome. A widespread condition involving recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhoea or constipation, often associated with stress, depression, anxiety, or previous intestinal infection.
The human immune system is a complex system of cells, processes and biological structures that protects the body from pathogenic microorganisms. The mucosal lining of the gut, which is maintained by probiotics, plays an important part in this system and is considered the front line against disease.
The ability of an organism to resist a particular infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells.
Immunomodulatory is where something such as a supplement, medication or chemical is capable of changing or modifying the immune response.
Caused by pathogens, which include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms, viruses, and even infectious proteins called prions. Pathogens of all classes must have mechanisms for entering their host and for evading immediate destruction by the host immune system. Most bacteria are not pathogenic.
Commonly known as ‘test tube’ experiments, these types of studies usually isolate components of an organism in an artificial laboratory environment so that certain factors can be more easily controlled. An example of this is in vitro fertilisation, whereby the egg is fertilised by sperm in equipment outside the body.
In vivo experiments involve complete living organisms such as animal studies and clinical trials involving humans. In vitro experiments are another type of research.
Increased Intestinal Permeability
This occurs when the tissue lining the gut wall becomes damaged and allows certain substances such as toxins, microbes and undigested food to leak through the gut wall and into the blood stream. A healthy gastrointestinal system usually allows certain substances to pass through the gut wall such as water, vitamins and minerals but provides a barrier against other substances passing through. Increased intestinal permeability plays a key role in leaky gut syndrome.
Inflammation is part of a complex bodily response to infection or injury. This could be a mechanical, chemical, viral, bacterial, or biologic cause of damage. The body reacts with reddening, swelling, heat, pain and loss of function. The term inflammation is usually used with a specific area of the body in mind but is now often used to refer to the general increase in an ‘inflammatory state’ in the body. Inflammation is a natural and healthy response, however, persistent, systemic inflammation can lead to illness.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease; both of which cause intestinal inflammation and symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Interleukins are a family of cytokines which are a group of naturally occurring proteins that are responsible for signaling between cells. Interleukins may regulate cell growth but they are particularly important in stimulating immune responses, such as inflammation.
Inulin is a prebiotic, and a natural polysaccharide (several simple sugars linked together) occurring in the roots and tubers of certain plants such as chicory.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract characterised by varying symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort; accompanied by diarrhoea or constipation or alternation between the two.