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Eating healthy as a lifestyle is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself!
And food choices you make every day add up. Your decisions help determine how long you live and how well you feel every day, month, and year.
Thanks to groundbreaking books like “Grain Brain”, “Eat This Not That” and “Wheat Belly”, people are becoming aware of how food impacts their digestion and other major bodily systems and organs. And more and more, people appreciate the importance of feeling good after eating a meal. They expect food to nurture good health, not just provide a full belly or satisfy a sudden craving. In turn, these ideas have supported the growing popularity of eating lifestyles such as gluten-free and Paleo.
There’s also growing recognition that probiotics are a critical ally in protecting and enhancing gut health. Use of probiotics has surged dramatically since about 2010―in step with scientific study. However, probiotics have been in use throughout the world for as long as people have eaten fermented foods, recognizing the boost to longevity and digestive health.
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What, exactly, are you protecting inside your gut?
Living inside your gut is an entire universe of bacteria―300 to 500 million!―exhibiting nearly 2 million genes. Along with viruses and fungi, these tiny beneficial organisms make up your gut microbiome. What’s more, your microbiome is unique, just like your fingerprint. Your initial microbiome was established at birth, from your mother―based on whether you came through the birth canal or she had a c-section, and whether she breastfed you or used formula.
Since then, it’s primarily been influenced by what you ingest―including food, liquids, antibiotics, prescriptions, contaminants, and toxins―and your lifestyle, including your level of stress.
The bacteria in your gut line your entire gastrointestinal tract, comprised of your mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. And these bacteria have direct impact on your metabolism, mood, and immune system.
What’s more, according to Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, “The gastrointestinal system is more than the body’s primary site of taking in and absorbing nutrients. This system of critical digestive organs also acts as a type of switchboard or communication center to and from the brain, and functions as one of the body’s frontlines in the fight against disease. Our gut plays a major role, not only in our gastrointestinal health, but in the health and well-being of the entire body.
Gut imbalance―common signs and what to do about it.
The most common signs of gut imbalance include bloating, gas, skipping bowel movements, constipation and diarrhea.
Keep in mind, when you have poor gut health, the inflammation that occurs inside your gut can also impact the rest of your body. That’s why gut imbalances also result in:
- Skin rashes
- Frequent colds, viruses, and other “common” illnesses
- Low energy levels and fatigue
- Achy joints and muscular pains
Now that you’ve got the overview, let’s dig into more details.
Most people think having one bowel movement per day or skipping a day here and there is “normal”. This is only “normal” in the sense that many people have an unhealthy gut!
- Signs include: NOT having at least 2 bowel movements per day, eating a poor diet, frequently skipping bowel movements for a day or so, “pushing” when having a bowel movement.
- What to do: Start on a probiotic supplement with a therapeutic dose of 40-75 parts per billion per day to build up “good” bacteria in the large intestine and bring the body back into balance.
Diarrhea or loose stool is also common, while chronic diarrhea can dangerously lessen the nutrients absorbed by the body. Over time this can lead to malnutrition.
- Signs include: The stool is watery or runny. Or it can be a form of constipation. Chronic diarrhea is a sign that the gut flora is imbalanced and the body is not absorbing nutrients properly. Acute diarrhea can be caused by eating fatty foods or food with “bad” bacteria that cause food poisoning.
- What to do: For occasional diarrhea, a collagen powder in coffee or protein drinks works well. For chronic diarrhea, start a therapeutic dose of a probiotic to help stools form again.
For travelers’ diarrhea, prevention is the best course of action. Only use bottled water. Only eat cooked food. Be hyper-vigilant with regard to fruits and vegetables. You may want to supplement your diet well in advance with a combo of Oregano Oil capsules and Probiotics to help ward off minor gut imbalances. Also consult www.cdc.gov regarding vaccinations and other suggestions to protect your gut health when traveling abroad.
Advanced Signs of Gut Imbalance
More severe forms of gut imbalance include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease and Colitis. It’s critical you consult your doctor if you recognize these symptoms.
- Signs include:
- IBS―include persistent diarrhea, persistent constipation, rectal bleeding, fever, nausea and weight loss.
- Crohn’s Disease―include diarrhea, fever, fatigue, abdominal pain and cramping, blood in your stool, mouth sores.
- Colitis―include diarrhea with bleeding or pus, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal pain and bleeding, urgency to defecate, inability to defecate despite urgency.
If you’re currently or have taken antibiotics in the last 1 to 16 months, know that the antibiotics depleted the large intestine of ALL bacteria―good and bad
- Signs include: You’ve been prescribed antibiotics to clear your skin or for any other illness.
- What to do: A therapeutic dose of probiotics is highly recommended. Probiotics can be taken along with antibiotics even though we do not condone the use of antibiotics to clear acne. If you are taking both, be sure to take the antibiotic several hours before taking the Probiotic.
Previous Accutane use is known for destroying the gut microbiome and depleting it of all beneficial bacteria. It’s also not uncommon for people who’ve used Accutane more than once to develop autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s Disease or Colitis.
- Signs include: You’ve used Accutane in the last 1 to 3 years.
- What to do: A therapeutic dose of probiotics is highly recommended. Also note that our clients have great success using our Clove Hill Bowel Rejuvenator and Bowel Revitalizer Series to help restore their gut microbiome.
Bottom line when it comes to your gut health
You’re now better equipped to recognize common signs of gut imbalance and ways to treat it naturally.
And know that everyone has occasional stomach upsets or a touch of constipation or diarrhea. To help prevent gut imbalance, add therapeutic probiotics to your daily regimen.
Here’s the other important thing to remember. If symptoms don’t get resolved within a day or two, it’s time to be watchful. Take note of what’s happening with your body. And if the symptoms go on for several days without improvement or you feel concerned, consult with your doctor.
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