Probiotics and Your Gut Garden
There is the Naturopathic Principle “Treat the Whole Person”, and Naturopaths love to say “treat the gut first”, but what they really mean is take care of your gut bugs and they will take care of the rest of you.
Treat the Gut First
There are more than 100 trillion bacteria living in your digestive tract. That’s 10 times the amount of cells in your entire body! Scientists like to refer to it as the microbiome, but I like to think of it as your “gut garden”. If your garden is thriving, so are you. So, how best to care for the garden?
Where to start? Seed Your Garden!
A probiotic is a good place to start by “seeding your garden.” A high quality product delivers several billion bacteria per dose. The most researched and common types of health beneficial bacteria in probiotic supplements are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Studies have shown that a quality probiotic can help relieve diarrhea, constipation, reflux, and numerous other digestive problems but it does not end there. Healthy gut bacteria can help with allergies, inflammation, weight gain, high cholesterol, depression, hormonal problems, skin issues, urinary tract and vaginal infections and more.
Taking a probiotic is also absolutely essential while on antibiotics to prevent seriously opportunistic infection of your GI tract.
Which Probiotic Should I Buy?
There are way too many probiotic products available and it can be confusing. It’s important to buy a high quality product or you may actually harm your health.
Good probiotics are dosed in the billions and should always be refrigerated. Quality brands follow CGMP (Certified Good Manufacturing Practices). This ensures they’ve been sourced, manufactured and 3rd party tested at the highest standard, guaranteeing purity, potency and benefit. Without CGMP certification, you are taking the manufacturer’s word and that is a BIG mistake.
Studies show disreputable brands even contain harmful bacteria, so this really matters! A good manufacturer backs up statements about quality with documentation. When it comes to probiotics, it is worth it to pay a little more for quality.
Fertilize Your Gut Garden with Prebiotics
Now that you’ve seeded your gut garden, you’ll also need to make sure they have an appropriate environment to grow in. This is where the concept of prebiotics comes in.
Like fertilizer in a garden, your gut bacteria require certain things to grow and thrive. They like an acidic environment, hence the name acidophilus (acid lovers). Certain types of beneficial yeast are found abundantly in fermented foods like kombucha and sauerkraut. These yeasts create a hospitable acidic environment for your bacteria so it’s important to feed them also by eating these healthy and delicious foods.
Feed Your Microbiome with Fiber
What is your microbiome’s favorite food? It’s soluble fiber. The beneficial bacteria digest fiber and produce short chain fatty acids, which are a preferred and acidifying energy for your colon cells.
Soluble fiber is found abundantly in whole grains, beans and legumes, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
This is a diet from the garden that’s also good for your gut garden too. Poor diets lead to starved out and depleted beneficial gut bugs and open the gates for toxic buildup, inflammation, leaky gut and growth of unfriendly “weedy” microbes like candida yeast, wreaking havoc on your gut and creating symptoms and sickness. Remember an unhealthy gut equals an unhealthy person.
A Healthy Garden Rarely Needs Weeding
Ideally a healthy diet produces a healthy garden, and a healthy garden rarely needs weeding. With a healthy diet a probiotic is needed only occasionally for relief of minor complaints or when taking an antibiotic.
Many struggle to eat a high fiber diet so high quality probiotic and soluble fiber supplements are valuable tools to help maintain whole health.
Vital HealthCare carries probiotics and fiber supplements. Stop by and start grooming your "gut garden" today!
If you have questions please contact our office for a visit. I’d be happy to help you start weeding, seeding and feeding your gut garden and you back to health.
Dr. Griffith is accepting new patients! Visit docgriffith.com to learn more.