Gut Microbiome Study (02:05)
Dr. Joanna McMillan is a nutrition scientist who is studying the gut microbiome to understand how it relates to different diseases. She is having Melissa and Garry undergo a six-week trail to see if diet changes help their symptoms.
Melissa's IBS (03:11)
Melissa, a 26-year-old mother of two, has irritable bowel syndrome and is struggling with the symptoms. IBS affects one in seven people in Australia and is often triggered by stress.
McMillan is interested in seeing how gut bacteria that lives in the large intestine affects Melissa's IBS. The bacterium breaks down food and creates substances within the body. Diet is the main way to change the microbiome in adult life, which McMillan is hoping to do for Melissa.
Digestive System (02:39)
Acid in the stomach breaks down food particles into a liquid that moves into the small intestine, where nutrients are extracted. Most gut bacteria lives in the colon, where more nutrients are extracted. The energy is released through fermentation.
Microbiotic Profiling (06:35)
A sample of Melissa's stool is sent for DNA testing to see if gut bacteria is causing her IBS. The balance of the bacteria is determined by diet. Melissa has a high level of bacteria that cause poor health and her bacterium has trouble breaking down fiber.
Dietary Changes (05:21)
McMillan cannot find a cause for Melissa's IBS. Changing her diet, like increasing fiber, will change her microbiome but McMillan is unsure about her symptoms.
Low FODMAPs Diet (03:27)
McMillan puts Melissa on a diet low in highly fermentable carbohydrates, which should decrease her chronic diarrhea. Melissa is going to stop having energy drinks and begin eating three meals a day again. She will be on the diet for four to six weeks to see if it decreases her IBS symptoms.
Start of Diet (01:42)
Melissa starts her diet but is not seeing any changes to her symptoms. The low FODMAP diet works for about 70% of people with IBS because of its balance of foods.
Anxiety and IBS (07:24)
Melissa begins to see improvements in week two as she comes to terms with her anxiety, which is a possible cause of IBS. McMillan is worried that her husband, Don, leaving for navy duty, will hurt her progress.
Support Community (03:41)
In the third week, Melissa finds it hard to keep up with the diet with her husband being away. Her soccer teammates come over to cook meals for her, but she still struggles to keep with the diet's restrictions.
Stress and IBS (02:42)
McMillan is worried she focused too much on nutritional science when she should have been looking at Melissa's emotional life. New studies show stress reduction therapy can help IBS symptoms.
Dietary Shift (06:16)
The low FODMAPs diet has worked to reduce the symptoms of Melissa's IBS and McMillan reintroduces prebiotics and high FODMAP foods. She is also increasing foods rich in live bacteria, which makes Melissa skeptical.
Microbiome Changes (06:15)
After six weeks, Melissa has another microbiotic profile done. Her microbiome is healthier and better at digesting fiber. She is sticking with the diet restrictions, which has greatly reduced her symptoms.
Credits: Melissa's Story (00:29)
Credits: Melissa's Story
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