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Throughout our digestive tract, or “gut”, we have both “bad” and “good” bacteria. Poor diet choices, stress, not drinking enough water, parasites, yeast overgrowth, disease, age, and other environmental or internal stressors, cause a lack in the good bacteria in the gut. We need a good, balanced, healthy gut terrain environment abundant in these “good” bacteria, we call probiotics.
I want to break down in very simple terms how essential healthy gut flora is to optimum health and body function.
Eating yogurt each day does NOT supply near enough probiotic support, and it is my opinion that the adverse effect of sugars in most yogurt, outweigh the benefit of the probiotics they contain. Greek yogurt may supply more high quality protein with each serving, but the sugar effect in the body is still there, and a serving (or 2) of yogurt daily simply isn’t sufficient supplementation.
I recommend a comprehensive probiotic formula including more that 5 billion colony forming units (c.f.u.) per capsule, from a safe/pure/additive-free source, taken at bedtime for optimum absorption through the night when our gut is at its resting/healing state. Some clients need a higher dose depending on their condition.
“Why should I be on probiotics or how do I know if I really need them?” you ask? I recommend probiotics to everyone, even and especially pregnant or nursing mothers for many reasons including:
1. Digestive Health. Probiotics are essential in replenishing good bacteria that is killed off when we take any dose of antibiotics, which gladly destroy the infectious/bad bacteria, but kill the good ones too. Antibiotic use can create diarrhea and probiotics prove to help that unwanted symptom. Even outside of antibiotic use, probiotics provide a cleaner, healthier, more balanced gut environment, promoting regular more productive bowel movements, less gas/bloating, better nutrient absorption, and digestion of food.
2. Women’s Health. Healthy pH balance of the GI tract actually affects the amount of yeast in the body, which can have negative effects on the bladder and female reproductive system. Regular and therapeutic doses of probiotic combat vaginal yeast infections. Probiotics may also have a special role in maternal health, as pregnant women are particularly susceptible to vaginal infections. And bacterial vaginosis has been indicated as a contributing factor to pre-term labor, making probiotics a potential boon for fetal health.
3. Allergies/Skin Issues. Studies show a lower instance in infant and childhood eczema when the mother was taking regular probiotics during pregnancy. Because probiotics support the immune system, pH balance of the GI tract, and help to control yeast overgrowth, they also help keep seasonal allergies at bay, and can promote healthier skin, with less acne and dermatitis outbreaks.
4. Immune Support. Did you know close to 80% of your immune system is contained in the GI tract? With that in mind, giving your gut terrain the healthiest most balanced environment with copious amounts of probiotics/good flora, you increase lymphocyte activity, ward off infections, virus, yeast and parasites– boom– a stronger immune system! Because the majority of your body’s ability to fight allergies, colds, viruses, bacteria, even cancer (your immune system) is in the digestive tract, what we eat, drink, ingest, along with how we can assimilate what we ingest is essential to our body’s immunity and health.
5. Weight Maintenance. In 2006, Stanford University researchers found that obese people had different gut bacteria than normal-weighted people — a first indication that gut flora plays a role in overall weight. Some preliminary research shows that probiotics can help obese people who have received weight loss surgery to maintain weight loss. And in a study of post-partum women who were trying to lose abdomnial fat, the addition of lactobacillusand bifidobacterium capsules helped reduce waist circumference. (source: Dr. Shekhar K. Challa). Again, if we are assimilating nutrients better, we are able to maintain healthier blood sugar levels, eliminate toxins and waste–thereby maintaining our waistlines!