Do you really need Probiotics?
In our last post we touched on what the microbiome actually is, why caring about what we actually put into our bodies is so much more crucial these days than it ever used to be and how the gut microbiome can even influence things such as weight loss or gain, brain function and the strength of your immune system.
Let’s get into how you should actually look after your gut, because there’s a LOT of information out there when it comes to gut health, and we need to weed out the fact from the fiction.
WHY NOT TO TAKE PROBIOTICS
So many of us struggle with digestive issues these days that when a new health ‘trend’ comes onto the scene promising to cure your IBS or your bloating, you’re keen to give it a try. The first thing to clear up is that probiotics aren’t a ‘trend’ in the same way that celery juice is a trend, for example. They’ve been around for years and years.
Probiotics are live, beneficial microbes like bacteria and yeasts and occur naturally in nature when foods get fermented. Humans had been making cheese and fermented vegetables (both sources of beneficial yeasts and fungi), for years before probiotics in their pill form came on the market. There are hundreds and hundreds of different strains of these probiotics and they can each be used to carry out different functions in the body, just like how a medication has a specific function, probiotics do too.
Our gut flora, or microbiome, can benefit from probiotic supplements in a number of circumstances: If you’ve had to go on antibiotics which have a broad spectrum killing effect and can leave your gut flora greatly depleted and out of balance, then supplementing afterwards with a strain like saccharomyces boulardii can be very helpful. Another circumstance in which they can be very useful is when you may be suffering from gut dysbiosis - a fancy way of saying an imbalance in your gut bacteria levels. Let me explain…
To put it simply, we have some “good” and some “bad” bacteria in us, which is completely normal, but these days with our diets being made up of highly processed and sugary foods coupled with high levels of stress (stress has been shown to negatively impact the levels of good bacteria), we can suffer a proliferation of bad bacteria and a decline in the good bacteria.
This may result in you feeling tired, having poor digestion, bloating, skin complaints, depression and so much more - and please seek qualified advice if you are experiencing any of this and you are keen to try and work through it.
Along with a controlled diet, supplementing with specific strains of probiotics can really help to boost the gut flora in favour of the good gut bugs and correct the imbalance or dysbiosis.
The Presscription Gut Cleanse 1 (as seen above) contains beneficial lactobacillus acidophilus.
SO WHY DO WE PUT PROBIOTICS IN OUR GUT CLEANSES?
The thing with probiotics is, and the reason you might not want to just take them willy nilly, is because if you have an overgrowth of “bad” bugs in your gut then probiotics will just act as a great food source to increase the growth of those bad bugs - not what we want. However, when you’re cleansing you’re not giving those bad bugs much of the food source they would usually feed on - i.e. fibre and fermentable sugars (FODMAPs), so it’s a great opportunity to boost the good bacteria in isolation.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most proven and studied probiotic strain in relation to maintaining good overall microbiome health and we put in the first drink of the day in our GUT CLEANSE 1, the Melon Biotic. First thing in the morning is an ideal time of day to take a probiotic as well, so that it can get into your gut undisturbed after an 8hr fast overnight.
In GUT CLEANSE 2 we use Bacillus Coagulans, a strain of bacteria that is typically used to support the immune system. Research and clinical practice has shown strong evidence for Bacillus Coagulans’s ability to fight off invading viruses & pathogens - hence its incredible immune system effects. It has also been shown to decrease IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) abdominal pain and bloating symptoms.
If you’re unsure whether to go for GUT CLEANSE 1 or 2 then have a read of our last post, where we go into the differences in more detail.
APART FROM PROBIOTICS, HOW ELSE CAN WE LOOK AFTER OUR GUTS?
Modern food practices and processing methods are wreaking havoc with our bodies. We are not adapted to cope with free sugars in our diet, additives, thickeners, stabilisers and all that jazz - and yet, so many of us eat them on a daily basis. There is also a severe lack of fibre in our modern diets - and I’m not just talking about eating some Ryvita. Your diet is the single most effective way to positively impact your gut health and it’s crucial to make sure you’re eating lots of different fibrous foods on a daily basis. The current recommendation is to try and aim for 30 different types of plant based foods a week including nuts, seeds, legumes, all different types of vegetables and fruit. It’s actually shocking how many of us eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, and only vary our food intake at dinner time. Think ahead to plan out your meals, cook more from scratch, increase your vegetable intake and you’re pretty much there. If you feel like you need a reset before you start your new healthy eating plan, then try the GUT CLEANSE 1 and 2 protocol for a reset plus some gut friendly ingredients.
This post was written in collaboration with @gracekingswell, Nutritional Therapist D. N . Med