Gut issues? Try this first.

Gut issues? Try this first.

Gut Issues? Try This First.

No one likes to talk about their gut problems. It’s not exactly a cocktail party-friendly topic.

But hey, I’m a Functional Medicine practitioner and that’s just part of my job description. So I’m going to break some taboos and talk about fun things like bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea!

A little over a year ago, I had a very bad case of food poisoning. It was part of an outbreak of cyclosporiasis, an infection caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. This was traced to contaminated basil from Guatemala that ended up in many restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also tested positive for enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, Cryptosporidium, and Blastocystis hominis. Fun!

It took me months to finally eradicate all of these pathogens. But, as is often the case, that wasn’t the end of the story. I was still struggling with bloating, pain, and rebound constipation (after the initial diarrheal episodes I had with the infections).

At this point, I knew I needed more treatment, but I didn’t want to take antibiotics. And none of my other tools-probiotics, prebiotics, bone broth, fermented foods, low-carb/keto diet, low-FODMAP diet, etc.-were doing the job.

This is where Atrantil came in.

Atrantil is a botanical supplement created by Dr. Ken Brown, a renowned Functional gastroenterologist. Early in his career, Dr. Brown was involved in pharmaceutical research, but he decided to apply his deep understanding of biochemistry to Functional Medicine and developing a powerful-but natural-treatment for gut conditions.

Atrantil contains three safe and effective ingredients:
  1. Mentha balsamea wild extract. Better known as peppermint, this ingredient has long been recognized by natural healers and scientists as a soothing agent to calm down digestive distress. It relaxes the smooth muscle in the gut and is one of the most evidence-based treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  1. Quebracho colorado. This flavonoid tannin has two functions. The first is to act like a sponge and soak up gas that causes gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Second, it weakens the cell wall and kills the gut microorganisms responsible for constipation, gas, and diarrhea.
  1. Aesculus hippocastanum (aka conker tree or horse chestnut). This ingredient kills bacteria and continues the work of the Quebracho by binding to the enzyme in the weakened bacteria to shut off the production of gases and bring gut relief.

But what impressed me most about Atrantil when I first learned about it, and what leads me to continue to use it myself and with many of my patients, is that it is highly effective for supporting many GI conditions that Western medicine has almost nothing to offer for.

These include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

If you go to the doctor with these complaints, you’ll likely be prescribed anti-spasmodic drugs, antidepressants, laxatives, or anti-diarrheal agents like Imodium.

Not only do these drugs not solve the problem, in some cases they can make it worse. And they often have nasty side effects.

Supporting GI Conditions with Functional Medicine

Atrantil, on the other hand, can be very effective for these complaints-and it has no long-term complications and rarely has any side effects. (When it does, that is usually due to “die-off” of the bad bugs in the gut that are causing the problems, and those side effects pass after a few days.)

How do I know Atrantil is effective? We’ve used it with hundreds of patients in our clinic. And, unlike many natural supplements, Atrantil is backed by a clinical trial that found significant improvements in several measurements of gut health after just two weeks (Brown, Scott-Hoy, Jennings 2016).

In addition to using Atrantil with all of the conditions above, I also use it to support my patients who have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)-especially the type of SIBO that is accompanied by constipation (and usually caused by methane-producing organisms called Archaea).

As I’m sure you know by now, SIBO can be very difficult-and costly-to treat. And not everyone can see a Functional Medicine practitioner and get the proper testing.

Atrantil is safe enough for me to recommend to my friends and family when they have GI complaints like IBS or SIBO but are not working with a Functional Medicine practitioner.

But it’s also effective enough that I still use it myself and in my work with patients.


by Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac.

Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., is a renowned expert, leading clinician and top educator in the fields of Functional Medicine and ancestral health and the New York Times-Bestselling author of The Paleo Cure.

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