Is Your Gut Trying to Tell You Something?Print
If you feel tired and run down, if you get frequent colds, or if you have digestive issues, you may want to check your gut. An imbalance of gut bacteria can lead to digestive issues and make you more prone to infections. In fact, 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract.
So, how do you balance gut bacteria? Taking a probiotic supplement is a great first step. “Probiotics increase your ‘good’ bacteria, which helps to both relieve and prevent digestive and immune system issues,” says Melissa Josselson, ND, a naturopathic doctor.
The word “probiotic” actually means “for life” and refers to the beneficial living organisms readily found in a healthy digestive tract. You may also hear it called “friendly flora” or “friendly bacteria.” The purpose of a probiotic is to battle against unhealthy or unfriendly organisms in your intestines, which, when out of balance, can lead to constipation, irritable bowel symptoms, yeast and fungal infections, as well as suppression of your immune system. A balanced environment, on the other hand, supports digestion, aids bowel regularity, reduces constipation and helps fight infection and disease.
Many things can contribute to an out-of-balance intestinal tract, including a diet high in fat, food additives, toxins, simple sugars, and chemicals, which can kill off good bacteria in your digestive tract, causing an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria. The same thing can happen when you are prescribed antibiotics for an infection.
While you may have decided at this point that taking a probiotic is a good idea, you need to understand that not all probiotics are created equal – and you don’t necessarily get all the good bacteria you need from yogurt, a popular misconception. Most yogurts have approximately one billion live probiotic cells in an 8 ounce serving, while just one capsule of Res-Q ProBiotic has 20 billion live cells.
When you shop for a probiotic, you should look for one that:
- Contains live cells
- Has multiple strains for maximum performance
- Can withstand stomach acid and bile
Probiotics aren’t the only supplement on the market to support digestive health and immune function. Digestive enzymes support your body’s ability to digest food and obtain nutrients from it. While we are born with digestive enzymes, our bodies tend to make less of them as we age. When foods are not fully digested, they can build up waste in the colon, leading to health problems. Digestive enzymes can help prevent that from happening.
Although probiotics and digestive enzymes work together, they should be taken at different times for the best results. Check out our next blog post to learn more about digestive enzymes and what they mean to your health.