Probiotics for a Healthy Gut

What exactly are Probiotics and how do they work? Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that have the intention of health benefits. They are usually ingested. When we consider bacteria, we tend to think that all bacteria are harmful germs. However, we have many that actually assist our health and wellbeing. One of the first things that should be understood, is that your “Gut” isn’t just your stomach or intestines. It starts from your mouth and teeth, chewing the food into small pieces and then down the esophagus and into the stomach; small and large intestines, through the ascending, transverse and descending colon (the rectum) and out the anus. So, when we talk about our “gut” we are talking about the entire digestive system.

Our Third Brain

Scientists believe the gut is like your “Third Brain” due to the network of neurotransmitters, which affects your health, mood and even cognitive abilities. The Heart being the “First Brain: (the first organ developed) and the “Second Brain” is our Cerebral Brain which originates from the Pineal Gland.
Almost 100 Million Americans have some kind of digestive issue every day, and most of it is traced back to the bacteria in your gut.  Here in Mexico I am not sure of the numbers, however, all we need to do is look at what foods are being ingested daily wherever we are.
Our guts naturally have healthy bacteria that aids in the digestion of food, and others that destroy disease in cells, or produce nutrients and vitamins. So, we have good bacteria and bad bacteria. We know now that we can treat and even prevent some illnesses with healthy clean whole foods and supplements that contain specific kinds of live bacteria.

When we eat unhealthy foods, such as fried foods, an abundance of animal meat, sugars and processed food, fast food, chips and toxic pesticides… (tis a long list!)  our gut health deteriorates and becomes challenged. These are examples of some of the foods that affect your gut, which affect your skin, cause mental disorders and severe digestive problems over time. Bad Bacteria is a result of your diet, your environment, and the way you live your daily life.

Many of the microorganisms in probiotic producers are the same or very similar to the microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies. The most common are the bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. While probiotics may be a healthy choice, one cannot simply swallow pills and expect bad bacteria to clear out without changing the diet. The key to having a healthy gut is by bringing balance of good and bad bacterias.

Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

It’s important to pay attention to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. Here are a few warning signs that your gut may be in trouble. Without a healthy gut, inflammation occurs in the body, which is the precursor to serious disease.

Antibiotics, Opioids and other Drugs Antibiotics certainly have their place saving a countless number of lives, and do a great job of killing bad bacteria. However, they also attack the good bacteria. Use antibiotics wisely. The opioid epidemic affects millions of people, and over the counter drugs can be easily overused and misused. Remember, healthy bacteria cannot replace itself, and if you do need to use medicines from time to time remember to consider probiotics or another way to replace the healthy bacteria.
Fluctuating Weight If you’re losing weight and shouldn’t be it could be your gut or something else. Check with your doctor.

Awful Body Odor Fatty junk food takes longer to digest and the compounds come out of your skin (and smell) when you perspire.
Embarrassing Skin Problems When your digestion is not working properly your body does not get enough healthy skin vitamins such as A, K and E.
Low Energy
When your digestive system is not working correctly your body does not get the nutrients it needs, and you can end up feeling tired all of the time. You may also have a Leaky Gut, in which toxins leak through the walls of the intestines. (Another entire article for Leaky Gut!)
Mental Issues Your “Third Brain” has millions of neurotransmitters that create the good bacteria and lets the brain know the gut is working well or not. (Basically, Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are released from one neuron (nerve cell) that crosses over a teeny tiny gap called a synapse to another neuron, then binds to a receptor) Some mental disorders can be caused by the gut. Depression and anxiety are two disorders that affect our mood. 80 to 90% of serotonin is produced by the gut, and when our gut is imbalanced, our mental aspects can be affected.
There are many more signs of potential gut problems, such as Sugar Cravings, Acid Reflux, Super Bad Breath, Food Allergies and Intolerances, Yeast Infections (overabundant candida), Weak Nails and Lack of Vitamins and Minerals and more.
Our body relies on our gut to synthesize essential vitamins and minerals it requires. When our gut cannot convert food into nutrients this means we have an issue in our digestive system that also results in mineral and vitamin deficiency. This is important to understand, as iron, magnesium, vitamin B12, B7 and D cannot be produced by the body. We can only get it from healthy foods or supplements. Obviously, healthy whole foods would be a first choice as whole food contains everything your body needs, and not only one nutrient taken out of food. .

The Microbiome

We have a community of microorganisms that live on us and in us, and it’s called the Micorbiome. Each of us has our own unique microbiome which houses about 100 trillion bacteria. This outnumbers our cells by a factor of 10 to 1!
During a natural birthing process, a baby naturally swallows fluids, breaths them in, and is also touched by the mother to pass along these very important microorganisms via the microbiome. When a baby is a Cesarean Section birth, it is very important the doctor assists in this sharing of the microbiome from the mother. Supported by the NIH,  the Human Microbiome Project (from 2007 – 2016) played a key role in this research by mapping the normal bacteria that live in and on a healthy human body.

With this base knowledge of a normal microbiome, many researchers and the NIH continue to explore the links between the microbiome and disease, as well as therapeutic approaches to modify the microbiome to treat disease and illness, and also support health. Also, according to the NIH, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is one of the agencies funding research on the microbiome. These researchers are studying the interactions between components of food and microorganisms in the digestive tract with focus on the ways in which diet-microbiome interactions lead to beneficial health effects. Some of their studies are: 1-Probiotics reducing postmenopausal bone loss. 2-Engineering probiotics to synthesize natural substances for microbiome-brain research. 3-Probiotics relieving chronic pelvic pain. 4-The effects of a specific Bifidobacterium strain on changes in short-chain fatty acid production in the gut that may play a role in antibiotic-associated diarrhea. 5-Probiotics influence our immune response in a positive way.

If you are having problems with your digestive system, probiotics may be one way of assisting your gut to become more healthy. Do your research, and you may also want to talk to your nutritionist about probiotics and other natural solutions and diet changes.
It’s important to always read the labels on any supplement to ensure there are not a lot of extra additives. It always amazes me all of the extra unessential ingredients found in vitamins and in health supplements!
The best way to maintain gut health is to eat a clean (non-toxic)  whole food diet that creates all of the healthy bacteria your gut needs to thrive. When you Thrive.. You don’t just survive.. You LIVE in joy and harmony with your body!
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