Gut Week 2011

ここしばらく、食後に胃もたれが起きることが多く、胃の調子があまりよくない。そこで今日、ドラッグストアのBoots(ブーツ)でProbiotic Multivitaminプロバイオティクス入り総合ビタミン剤)を買ってみた。その後カフェでガーディアン紙をめくっていたら目に入った「Gut Week」の文字と、チャンネル4の「Embarrasing Bodies」「Supersize vs Superskinny」など健康関連番組でお馴染みのイケメンホスト系ドクター、Dr. Christian Jessenの顔。今年で13年目を迎える消化器官・腸(Gut)の健康の啓蒙週間「Gut Week」が偶然にも、今日22日~28日まで開催中らしい。フリーペーパーのMetro(メトロ)紙にも同様の記事が載っていた。

イギリスでは、約900万人が胸焼け、便秘、腹部膨満感、腹痛など消化器官の不調に悩んでいる。これら消化器官の問題により、年間合計何百万日もの病気欠勤があり、NHSの薬品予算の14%がこれらの治療のために当てられているそうだ。飲み過ぎ食べ過ぎ、二日酔いなど一時的な問題も含まれているんだろうけれど、それにしても大きな数字だ。

食べる量の増加、テークアウトの多用、高カロリーな食生活、運動不足に加え、腸内菌のバランスが崩れ悪玉菌が増えることが、胃腸に不調をきたす原因の一つという認識が広まり、腸内の善玉菌を増やすプロバイオティクス入り食品・サプリがイギリスでも大人気だ。そんな中、あのヤクルトもGut Weekに協賛、テレビCMも時折見かけるし、多くのスーパーや小売店で売っていたりと、なかなか頑張っている(さすがにこちらではヤクルト・レディは見かけないが)。ただ、プロバイオティクス製品は効果がないという専門家の意見もあり(タイムズ記事)、効果のほどは不明。さてサプリの効果はいかほどに。

I have been having indigestion every now and then after meals for these months, so I bought Probiotic Multivitamin at Boots today. Later I was flipping a page of the Guardian at a café and found the several pages of advertising article about “Gut Week“, with a face of tacky looking TV presenter Dr. Christian Jessen, known for his role in Channel 4‘s health related programs such as Embarrasing Bodies and Supersize vs Superskinny. Coincidentally national “Gut Week“, now in its 13th year, just started today (until August 28th) to promote gut health. There is also a related article on today’s Metro as well.

In UK, it is estimated that nine million people are struggling with digestive problems, such as heartburn, constipation, bloating and abdominal pain, which cause millions of sick leaves every year, while prescriptions and treatments for conditions cost an estimated 14% of the NHS drug budget. It is a huge number, even though including temporary problems such as eating and drinking too much or hangovers.

In addition to suspected causes such as increasing portion size, consumption of higher calories, lack of exercise and inactive lifestyle, having more takeaways than cooking at home, now people are more aware that imbalance of bacteria in our gut and increase of pathogenic bacteria can harm gut health. Now all kinds of “probiotic” products can be seen in shops and supermarkets in UK. On contrary to its popularity, some specialists believe that “probiotic drinks are no use to the healthy and can harm the ill” (Times article). It could be good or just a hype – let’s see if my multivitamins work for me or not.

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