Digestive health has an enormous impact on our overall health, in fact some doctors believe digestion is the main cause of all health problems. Think of your gut as a giant factory that has a lot to manage and control to work correctly. In our modern world of unhealthy food, chemicals, stressors, toxins and more, it can be a truly difficult task to keep our guts healthy and working properly. The health of your gut is directly linked to the health of your whole body.
Research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health, and that an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Hippocrates said this more than 2,000 years ago, but we’re only now coming to understand just how right he was. It may not be the most simple thing to diagnosis but one of the easiest ways to detect if you have a leaky gut is by connecting with how you feel. Some symptoms include fatigue, inflammation and depression.
Our gut contains ten times more bacteria than all the human cells in our entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. Many people aren't aware that there are more bacteria in our intestinal tract than there are cells in our entire body. The health of your gut determines a lot including what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins and allergens are kept out.
A healthy ratio of good to bad gut bacteria is essential for:
- Proper development and function of your immune system
- Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease
- Digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
- Digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates
- Producing vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins
- Keeping bad bacteria under control
- Preventing allergies
Probiotics are a great way to regulate the bacteria and promote the growth of “good bacteria” and kill off "bad bacteria". What exactly are probiotics? Probiotics are live micro-organisms that change intestinal flora that may lead to health benefits when given in sufficient amounts. Some of the most effective probiotic supplements tend to be in live cultures contained in capsule form. Because they are live cultures, they must be kept refrigerated. Probiotics have grown in popularity and can be purchased in health food stores, online and more. In addition, products like yogurt are now adding certain strains of probiotics to their food.
If probiotics are not something you are familiar with, it is important to know what to look for in a good one.
What makes an effective probiotic:
- Alleviation of symptoms of lactodse malabsorption
- Increase in natural resistance to infectious diseases of the intestinal tract
- Suprresion of cancer
- Reduction in serum cholesterol concentrations
- Improved digestion
Making sure to get a good amount of good bacteria in your digestive system is imperative as an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is located there. Supporting your digestive health means supporting your immune system which is your defense system against all disease.