With gut health being such a hot topic right now, I’m sure you’ve heard of probiotics, the ‘good’ bacteria and how they are probably something you should take. But why? What makes them good? Are they really worth it? Do they actually make a difference? Today’s newsletter is going to tackle all of your questions and wonders concerning probiotics : )
WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?!
Simply enough, beneficial bacteria. We all have bacteria in our digestive tract and there are three different types. Probiotics, meaning the ‘good’ or friendly bacteria. There is also neutral bacteria that is not really helpful or harmful and then we have our harmful / pathogenic bacteria, which when given the opportunity to thrive, can and will lead to uncomfortable symptoms & illness.
WHAT DO PROBIOTICS DO?
Probiotics work by helping balance our gut bacteria to avoid having too much of the bad stuff that causes gas, bloating, cramps, reflux, allergies, nausea, illness, etc. Think of probiotics as a means to replenish and feed your internal supply of good guys that work to help you feel good & thrive. They specifically help with the digestion of food and absorption of vitamins and minerals. Some components of food are completely digested by bacteria!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS?
As mentioned above, when the good bacteria is present, it helps our bodies properly digest and absorb food. Proper digestion & absorption will in turn lead to:
-having more regular bowel movements
-boosting immune system function
-improving metabolic function
-clearing up acne & skin conditions (both a sign of your body not being able to detoxify properly)
-lowers blood pressure
-increases mental health/mood
To elaborate on the last one, your gut is connected to the brain by what is called the gut-brain axis. When your gut bacteria is unbalanced, it can affect your mood, mental health and brain function. A lot of your hormones are created/regulated in the gut as well, which is just another reason to make sure you have enough good bacteria in your system!
WHO NEEDS TO TAKE PROBIOTICS?
Everyone!!! Just like I always preach a multivitamin because nobody gets the proper nutrients through food alone… nobody has the perfect gut bacteria. If you want to improve your digestion, reduce bloating, prevent illness and increase overall wellbeing, then you should definitely start taking a probiotic.
DIFFERENT SOURCES OF PROBIOTICS:
Just like anything else, how do you know how to find a good one? Well, first I am going to list some probiotic FOODS then some supplement options as well. My recommendation is to get a combination of both. But of course, before starting any sort of supplement routine, it’s best to check with your doctor.
Cultured Dairy – my favorite brand is Nancy’s Yogurt.
Kombucha – if you’re in Maine, check out Urban Farm Fermentory!
I personally use and recommend clients use MicroFactor and Opti Greens 50 by 1st Phorm. MicroFactor is a packet that includes an antioxidant, multivitamin, fruits & veggies pill, essential fatty acid, coQ10 & a probiotic. Great bang for your overall health buck & comes in a convenient little pack. This pack is around the cost of a good probiotic alone but you’re getting SO much more yet still at a high quality.
Opti Greens 50 is a greens powder that contains, a blend of superfoods, a blend of phytonutrients, a blend of digestive enzymes (different from probiotics – helps break down food so it can be better used/absorbed) and a blend of probiotics.
These together are a total health POWERHOUSE. Even my naturopathic doctor was impressed and advised me to continue taking them. Together they have 9 billion CFU (more on this below).
*all 1st Phorm links above will give you free shipping & subscription options will also save you $
If you were to look into probiotic pills on their own, here’s what to look for:
Brand quality– companies that manufacture their supplements up to FDA standards (better yet in an FDA inspected facility) & have real customer reviews/testimonials.
High CFU count– you’ll want to start with anywhere from 5-15 billion and increase as necessary.
Certain Strains– here some of the important ones you’ll want to look for: bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus bulgaricus, lactobacillus plantarum, saccharomyces boulardii and bacillus coagulans.
Lastly, I do want to bring up some things that work AGAINST probiotics as well (and generally just take a toll on your gut). This is important as supplements are meant to aid in an already healthy routine. Just like a multivitamin isn’t going to undo or replace healthy eating, probiotics aren’t going to solve all your digestive problems if you aren’t keeping these things in check as well. That being said, here are some things that do no favors to your digestive tract:
1.antibiotics (destroys your good bacteria)
2.sugar (bad bacteria feeds off sugar)
3.birth control pills (long term use can lead to leaky gut)
4.NSAIDs (pain killers)
5.alcohol (except red wine *in moderation)
TLDR (Too long didn’t read)
-Probiotics are a good bacteria in your digestive tract that help tremendously with many bodily functions therefore helping you feel better, improving overall health / wellbeing and preventing disease.
-The first step to a healthier gut is to remove/reduce usage of the probiotic killers listed above.
-You can then start supplementing with high quality probiotic supplements & probiotic foods.
-Before starting any new supplement regimen and ESPECIALLY if you have any type of disorder, disease, condition or ailment, consult with your doctor.
I hope this was helpful and please don’t hesitate to click that reply button if you have any further questions : )