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Probiotics, microbiome, and gut health: a simple, quick review

Probiotics have become all the rage over the past decade. You’ve seen them in advertisements for yogurt, fermented foods, and pills. 

There’s a good reason for that. 

The bacteria in your gut, called your microbiome, live in harmony with you. A healthy microbiome acts like a well-oiled machine.  It helps digest your food, support your gut tissue, promote healthy bowel habit, enhance your immune system, prevent obesity, and create certain vitamins. With a healthy microbiome and gut, the tissue (think of skin for inside your gut) stays healthy and your bacteria are free to do their jobs. In addition, it plays such a large role in your mental health and sleep that it’s been called your “second brain”. The good bacteria you consume from food or supplements are called probiotics, which means “for life”. But not all bacteria that live in your gut is good for you.

Gut microbiota

When your microbiome is out of balance, the bad bacteria can overgrow and this creates the state of dysbiosis, which means “bad life”. This can wreak havoc on your health. This imbalance is linked to irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, mood disorders, autoimmune disease, insomnia, and inflammation

Certain foods and bacteria you consume can throw your microbiome off. For example, certain ingredients that are added to processed foods, such as preservatives and emulsifiers, can kill good bacteria (preservatives) and disrupt the ecology of the good bacteria (emulsifiers). This can cause you to hold on to bad bacteria. Even worse, it keeps that bad bacteria right next to your gut tissue. Overtime, the tissue can break down and things that are supposed to stay in your gut leak out.

Probiotics, your diet, and you

You can consume a diet to help support your gut. Making sure you eat enough fiber and eating as few processed foods as you can all help your gut. In particular, food additives like carrageenan, polysorbate 60 & 80, and cellulose gum should be avoided. To give your gut bactaeria a healthy boost, you can supplement probiotics.  Probiotics support rebalancing your microbiome and your gut health. Not all probiotics do the same thing or help in all situations, so it’s always best to take them under the guidance of our in-house health practitioner, Marty!


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