How do you feel about your gut? Did you know that you have roughly 100 trillion bacteria (3-4 lbs worth!) sharing your personal space with you?…. more to the point…. inside you? Our “friends” within us are terribly important to our health. They keep the bad bacteria (aka: the bullies) in check. When our gut is healthy, approximately 80-85% of our bacteria is good, and 15-20% are bad. At this ratio, the good bacteria are able to keep the bad bacteria “in check”. The good bacteria are team players. When they are healthy, and there are enough of them, they are able to keep the bad bacteria from overpopulating and causing damage, dysfunction, and disease.
In addition, good bacteria in the gut play a major role in many body functions…. including digestion and pooping, preventing inflammation of the intestinal wall, AND helping prevent leaky gut syndrome. Surprisingly, our little bacteria friends also play a large role in our mental health. Poor gut health has been found to be directly correlated with OCD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, learning disabilities, memory, and mood…. not to mention general poor gut health. Our gut population is also responsible for approximately 80% of our immunity, AND not having enough good bacteria can lead to autoimmune disorders, allergies and infection. Good gut bacteria is also important to our weight!
Gut health plays a huge part in overall body inflammation. When your intestinal lining is compromised, total body inflammation or inflammation in certain parts of the body… including the brain is virtually guaranteed. Inflammation within the brain is painless, and yet it is a factor in Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, MS, and Autism.
Finally, as we age, our good bacteria tend to naturally die off… and this is not good…not good at all. (Everyone “of a certain age” should be on a probiotic for optimal health). Go back and re-read the paragraphs above…. is it any coincidence that the elderly have regular issues “being regular”, having brain fog/memory lapses, sleep disorders etc?
There are many ways we unintentionally damage and abuse our gut bacteria on a regular basis:
- Overuse of antibiotics. If you must use them…. Always, always always use a heavy round of probiotics both during and following antibiotic use (making sure to separate the antibiotic and probiotic dose by at least 2 hours).
- Alcohol, processed foods, refined sugar, and refined carbohydrates. All of these products feed bad bacteria and promote inflammation
- NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). They cause gut inflammation, damage the gut lining, and recent research indicates that their use induces gluten sensitivity.
- Antacids and Acid Reducers. (Did you know that most of these are not FDA approved for use longer than 8 weeks). Long term use promotes Candida (yeast) overgrowth.
- Minimize and control your stress levels. High levels of stress can cause major GI damage over the long term.
And finally…. when we reach ‘a certain age’, our good gut bacteria begins to naturally die off. When this happens, our overall body health is compromised unless we supplement!
Young Living offers one of the finest probiotics on the market: Life 9. And no, not all probiotics are created equally. Case Adams PhD, wrote a book: Probiotics-Protection Against Infection. In his book, he outlines what to look for in a good probiotic….. The type of capsule (HPMC), the diverse strains of bacteria (YL has 9 strains: 4bifido, 4lacto, and 1 strepto), the quantity of bacteria per capsule (10-15 BILLION Colony Forming Units is recommended for maintenance dosing), the container itself (glass with a metal lid…not plastic), and a moisture control (calcium carbonate). All of these requirements are so important… and they cumulatively make Life 9 the powerhouse for our health that it is. I know that there are tons of probiotics on the market, but MOST do not follow this advised criteria. Do your homework and then pick up a bottle of Life 9!
So, in a nutshell… we truly ARE what we ingest! But the zoo within us needs regular TLC and protection. Without that, you may end up with a gut gone rogue…. and that, my friends, is one of the worst things that could happen to your overall body health.
In health~ Liz