Latest gut health research: IBS causes & symptoms revealed

Latest gut health research: IBS causes & symptoms revealed

Refined bread, fizzy drinks, alcohol, dairy, biscuits... these are some of the biggest causes of IBS and digestion issues, as found in our survey of over 800 men and women*. 75% of people with gut health issues suffer a lack of energy, two thirds struggle with their weight, and 50% feel more stressed and suffer poor sleep. Our survey also shows probiotics are the most common and effective treatment, but watch out, not all probiotics are effective.

Discover the most common symptoms of IBS and poor gut health, how they impact you, and the most effective solutions to fix and improve your gut health.

How many people experience symptoms?

46% of people regularly suffer from symptoms of poor gut health and digestion, 11% experience extreme symptoms, and 35% of people suffer occasional symptoms. Just 8% of people don't experience any symptoms at all.

Why is gut health important?

Poor gut health affects every part of our daily life and can be debilitating. 75% of us will have less energy, two thirds will have trouble with our weight, and half of us will be affected by low moods, anxiety and stress, and suffer from poor sleep. Our focus, concentration and skin health are also affected. 

The impact of poor gut health is even greater among those suffering IBS and conditions such as leaky gut syndrome, food intolerances and gastroenteritis.

Our gut and digestive system, and the nutrients they absorb from the foods we eat, are connected to our whole body, such as with our brain through the 'gut-brain-axis', and our skin through the 'gut-skin-axis'. 70% of our immune system is in our gut. 

To compound matters, there is a circular relationship between our gut health and stress. People with poor gut health will suffer higher stress and anxiety, and their IBS and gut health symptoms worsen when they're anxious.

The impact on daily life

If your gut health is affecting how you go about your daily life, you're not alone. 44% of people say their gut health restricts how they go about their daily life, a third of people avoid social contact and going out as a result of their gut health, while 30% of people experience mild depression.

These findings reinforce why at DR.VEGAN we provide free nutrition support and advice for people of all diets, with free access to our expert nutritionists. The results also highlight the effectiveness of our acclaimed pre & probiotic Gut Works® and Debloat & Detox, for relieving IBS, gut health symptoms, bloating and digestive discomfort. Read on to see the results. 

Causes of poor gut health

There can be many causes of worsening gut health, from an imbalanced gut microbiome to illness and hormones. However the most common cause of worsening gut health is diet. Our research shows the top 14 foods that trigger gut and digestion issues, with refined bread the most common cause.

Among people who have a diagnosed or known food intolerance, dairy is the most common food intolerance, affecting a quarter of people. 10-20% of people are intolerant to either wheat, gluten or lactose.

10 most common symptoms of poor gut health

There are 10 common symptoms of poor gut health and digestion issues. Three quarters of people will experience bloating, and more than half will experience fatigue, excessive wind and gas. Our gut health affects our sleep, moods, and our resistance to stress. More than 40% will suffer insomnia, low moods, anxiety and weight gain as a result of digestion issues. 

Solving digestive and gut health issues

The most common treatments for poor gut health are avoiding specific foods and drink, in order to identify what is causing symptoms (also known as an ‘elimination diet’), and taking probiotic supplements.

Avoiding specific foods that trigger symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, poor sleep and others is the first, best and most important step to better gut health. Discover the best tips and advice for your diet in these articles:

Probiotic supplements can also be very effective at addressing gut health and conditions including IBS. However, be careful, not all probiotics are the same and standard probiotics can be ineffective.

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in our body, fighting off unwanted bacteria, fungi and parasites that otherwise cause symptoms, illness and disease. Learn more in 'What are probiotics?'.

The effectiveness of probiotic supplements varies enormously.  This is down to the quality of the ingredients, the formula, the number of bacteria strains, the presence of prebiotics, and the actual number of probiotics being delivered to your gut. Standard probiotic supplements contain 20bn active bacteria or less, but just 16% of people find them very effective. By contrast, Gut Works®, the acclaimed prebiotic and probiotic with 50bn CFU, is effective for 82% of users.

Bloating, excessive wind and gas, constipation, diarrhoea, acid reflux, cramps and fatigue are the most common symptoms Gut Works® provides relief from.

Gut Works® is formulated with 6 clinically studied probiotic strains, providing 50bn CFU. It contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, Rhamnosus, Casei and Plantarum, as well as Inulin, a prebiotic that feeds the healthy active bacteria to relieve symptoms, combat IBS and ensure you maintain a healthy gut and stay on top of symptoms, every day.

How long does it take Gut Works® to work?

Research of 246 users of Gut Works® shows 53% of users begin to enjoy relief from symptoms within 2 weeks, while 88% of users enjoy relief from symptoms within 4 weeks.*

The time it takes for Gut Works® to relieve symptoms will vary by individual and depend on many factors including the nature of existing symptoms, diet, weight, age, lifestyle, exercise, existing medical conditions and others.

Diet and gut health

As we always say, your diet is the first and best place to start for meeting your health goals, and this includes relieving bloating, poor sleep, fatigue, weight gain, IBS and symptoms related to IBS.

Hear from our nutritionists with their expert tips, plus advice on the best foods and changes that you can make to your diet to improve your gut health:

Discover the acclaimed prebiotic and probiotic, Gut Works®.

Shop our range of vegan probiotics, vitamins and supplements

* UK survey based on responses from 811 men and women, nationally representative, during August & September 2022.

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