Gut health is a hot topic. Emerging research tells us that the gut is our second brain. It is the root cause of disease and where healing begins. But do you know if your gut is actually in danger?
First, lets talk about the gut. The intestinal tract hosts over 100 trillion microbes → this is known as the microbiome. Each microbiome is unique, with a mix of good and bad microbes that play an important role in health. The gut bacterium in healthy people are different from those with chronic disease. People who are sick may have too much bad bacteria, or may lack a wide variety of microbes. Obesity, diabetes, Chron’s disease, depression, Alzheimer’s….all these disorders (and many, many more) are all linked to an imbalance in the microbiome.
So, where do probiotics fit in? Probiotics are are good bacteria that keep your digestive system in balance. They help control overgrowth of bad bacteria and contribute towards immune health . Certain strains of probiotics even reduce allergies and food sensitivities. Read more about probiotics → here.
Here’s the bottom line: when your gut is healthy, you are healthy. And this concept leads to an important question…how healthy is your gut? Here are 7 signs that you may need to support a healthy gut with probiotics:
- Antibiotics → antibiotics are powerful drugs used to treat a variety of infections caused by bad bacteria. They are the foundation of modern medicine and the truth is, without antibiotics, people would die. Although antibiotics kill all the bad bacteria, they also kill the good stuff. Just one course of antibiotics can permanently alter your gut bacteria unless you take careful steps to replenish what was lost. Probiotics work to replenish the good bacteria, protecting your gut .
- Weight Gain → obesity is on the rise, and poor gut health is a likely culprit. The CDC estimates that 75% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight! Those who struggle with their weight are more likely to have poor gut diversity. A microbiome filled with an array of different microbes supports good digestion, insulin regulation and metabolism. When this diversity is lacking, the gut microbes contribute to insulin resistance, chronic inflammation and fat deposition .
- Fatigue → do you suffer from that 3 PM energy slump? An unbalanced gut causes your body to work harder when digesting food. Your body struggles to absorb essential vitamins and minerals, causing symptoms like headache, malaise, cognitive difficulties, and poor sleep .
- Skin Issues → gut microbes have a direct influence on your skin. Troublesome issues like acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema are often the first sign of an unhealthy gut. As our gut flora changes for the worse, the stomach lining becomes “leaky.” Bad bacteria leaks into the bloodstream, causing widespread inflammation and a disruption of the skin’s antimicrobial barrier (our first defense to invaders). What does this mean? Fix your gut if you want clear skin .
- Digestive Issues → if you experience frequent heartburn, gas, bloating and constipation after meals, you have an unhealthy gut. Irritable bowel syndrome is extremely common, affecting up to 45 million Americans. An unbalanced microbiome is the main culprit, as gut microbes play a huge role in maintaining the integrity of the intestines .
- Sugar Cravings → believe it or not, our microbiome has a major influence on eating habits. Powerful cravings for sweets tell us we have too much candida yeast living in our guts. Candida feeds on sugar, so the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you crave! Probiotic supplements provide your body with the good bacteria it needs to kick candida to the curb .
- Anxiety & Depression → the gut is often referred to as the “second brain” because it sends and receives impulses, records experiences and even responds to emotions. When bad bacteria is colonized in the gut, it disrupts this gut-brain communication. Just as your brain can mess up your gut…your gut can mess up your brain ! Read more about the link between gut health and anxiety → here.
Need some help with where to start? Questions about probiotics? Contact me!