Gut health has been linked to practically every bodily function we have — from hormone production to how we process and absorb nutrients, there are arguably fewer places more critical to have in balance than your stomach.
A shocking number of autoimmune diseases and seemingly unrelated symptoms can be traced back to poor gut health and a chronic state of inflammation. As more information is corroborated by science and physicians, people are turning to probiotics to rebalance their gut bacteria and get their bodies back on track.
What Destroys Good Bacteria?
So what puts gut bacteria out of balance anyway? Sugar is the most common culprit. A diet rich in processed sugar and complex carbohydrates provides an abundance of bad bacteria’s favorite food, overpowering the healthy balance needed to effectively metabolize nutrients in our gut.
Treated tap water is also an understated villain in the fight for good gut health. With added chlorine and fluoride designed to neutralize bacteria in the water supply comes the neutralization of bacteria in our guts. If you’re not using a filter or drinking untreated water, you could be exposing yourself to daily doses of bacteria-killing ingredients.
Antibiotics are also notoriously to blame for setting our bodies’ immune systems and gut health out of balance. When these medications are introduced to fight off infections, there’s no differentiating between the bacteria causing the problems and the bacteria doing good, and both can be affected.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the good bacteria in your body that support your immune system’s health. Believe it or not, anywhere from 60-80% of your immune system can be found in your gut, where this churning cocktail of bacteria works to balance nutrient absorption with the destruction of bad bacteria and free radical damage.
Your first inoculation with beneficial bacteria actually starts at birth. As babies pass through the birth canal, they’re literally coated with the beneficial bacteria naturally present in the birth canal, jump-starting their immune systems. This protection continues to build throughout the breastfeeding relationship, and as baby is exposed to foreign bacteria, that bacterial balance develops and matures to protect them and stabilize their immune systems.
Healthy gut bacteria are responsible for producing 95% of your serotonin, a natural mood-stabilizing hormone. It’s hard to imagine something like depression or anxiety being related to your gut health, but science suggests that imbalances of hormones like serotonin could, in fact, be strongly linked to gut health.
The Health Benefits of Probiotic Supplements
Probiotics take a bit of figuring out to get the right dosage for your biology, but once you have the kinks worked out, it’s incredible how far-reaching the benefits are.
Because probiotics help to reestablish beneficial bacteria colonies in your gut, your body becomes better at digesting and absorbing nutrients. You process and metabolize vitamins and minerals better, and as a result, your body’s engine revs up to peak efficiency.
Your hormones start to stabilize, your immune system strengthens, and strange, seemingly unrelated symptoms stemming from a chronic state of inflammation start to dissipate.
The effects of introducing a probiotic into your nutritional regimen are going to vary, depending on where you were to begin with and the kind of diet you consume, but people report everything from weight loss to better breath.
Why (And When) To Supplement
So how do you know when you even need a probiotic? It’s best to consult with your doctor, but be sure it’s a doctor familiar with the symptoms of a leaky gut, and the correspondence with autoimmune dysfunction.
As a general rule of thumb, during sickness and/or after a round of antibiotics is a given for when probiotics can be beneficial. However, if you’re a chronic junk food consumer or notice symptoms of a leaky gut on a consistent basis, you may benefit from introducing one as part of your daily regimen.
After a cleanse or detox is also a PERFECT time to start up a probiotic. Though these programs can be great for a digestive reset, they take a lot of your beneficial bacteria with them, and you’ll need something to help rebuild your healthy gut bacteria population.
To that effect, Natural Healthy Concepts has paired a powerful blend of detoxifying fruits with probiotics to cleanse the digestive tract, while simultaneously rebuilding the beneficial bacteria population in its new Active Cleanse and Probiotics.
The basic idea? Even if the reason for unbalanced gut bacteria is a health-related one, like a detox or cleanse, you still need to restore what you took out. If you’re not using a cleanse program, try testing out one of their other probiotic formulas.
Have you ever tried a probiotic? What kinds of changes did you notice with your health and wellbeing? Tell us on Facebook or Instagram, and tag us in the post! @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine