The fact is, you can’t really have good overall health unless you have a healthy, well-functioning gastrointestinal tract. Our gut is a complex and abundant ecosystem, colonized by more than 100 trillion microorganisms. Each person has a distinct, highly variable and diverse composition of microbiota, influenced by genetics, age, diet, chronic stress, illness, medications, geographic location, environmental factors and even method of birth. By affecting physiology, metabolism, nutrition and immune function, the gastrointestinal system plays a crucial role in the regulation of our physical and mental health and, as such, the gut microbiome is the subject of extensive and ongoing research. Increasingly, studies show that an unhealthy microbiome and a compromised gut barrier can contribute to a wide range of disease processes, including autoimmune diseases, diabetes, obesity, mood disorders and chronic inflammation. In contrast, a healthy functioning gut allows for optimal digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients and an optimally functioning immune system.
As studies show that more than 100 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive issue, it’s no wonder that we are paying more attention to our digestive and intestinal health. Understanding the microbiome is extremely important, especially for those who have poor digestion, fatigue, or other more serious chronic conditions. It may be helpful to note that our individual microflora consists of three types of bacteria, which are categorized as essential, opportunistic and transitional microbes. In a healthy gut, the bacteria live in balanced harmony known as symbiosis, in which the essential or friendly bacteria keep the less desirable opportunistic bacteria in check, thereby promoting health and preventing illness or disease. Conversely, an overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria can result in an imbalance or dysbiosis, which can compromise our system as a whole and put us at increased risk of disease and chronic conditions.
Dysbiosis may be caused by a high sugar, low fiber, nutrient poor diet, illness or infections, chronic stress, and medications such as antibiotics and OTC heartburn relievers. Symptoms can include constant digestive upset, fatigue, sugar and carb cravings, frequent illness, mood imbalances or depression, chronic joint pain, and skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis.
For optimal immune health and overall wellness, focus on the microbiome to rebuild and support gastrointestinal health:
- Eat plenty of fermented pre- and probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, miso and pickled vegetables.
- Include whole, unprocessed foods that are rich in fibers, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.
- Eliminate refined carbs, added sugars and processed foods. Try eliminating foods such as gluten, dairy, soy and yeast for two weeks to see if digestive symptoms improve.
- Consider taking a high-quality, multi-species pre- and probiotic supplement to re-establish a healthy balance of microbiota.
- To address poor digestive symptoms and support proper digestive and overall health, take a good quality digestive enzyme supplement with meals.
- L-Glutamine, an amino acid, promotes cellular health in the intestinal mucosa by reducing oxidant damage and boosting cell wall regeneration.
- Deglycyrrhizinated licorice soothes and coats the stomach, helping to reduce stomach inflammation, heartburn and acid reflux.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and many high quality supplements to support and maintain gastrointestinal health:
Broad Spectrum Probiotic & Prebiotic by Prescript-Assist™ – This professional broad spectrum formula delivers a proprietary blend of 29 separate strains of beneficial bacteria to support optimal gut health and a normal balance of friendly microflora in the intestinal tract. Gluten and dairy free, vegan formulation. No refrigeration necessary.
Digest Gold™ Plus Probiotics by Enzymedica – This award winning digestive enzyme formula provides high potency digestive enzymes, along with 500 million guaranteed potency active probiotic cultures that are specially coated to ensure delivery into the intestinal tract for optimal benefit.
L-Glutamine 1,000 mg by Pure Encapsulations – This formula nutritionally supports the healthy functioning and maintenance of the gastrointestinal tract and enhances the integrity of the mucosal lining, aiding proper nutrient utilization and absorption and limiting the passage of toxins through the intestinal barrier. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
DGL – Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root Extract by Bioclinic Naturals – This clinically effective chewable tablet formula supports the stomach lining and offers fast relief of occasional stomach and digestive tract discomfort. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.
Structure and functions of the gut microbiome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25022563
The role of gut microorganisms in human health. http://www.eufic.org/article/en/artid/The_role_of_gut_microorganisms_in_human_health/
Why Your Digestive Health is More Important Than You Think. http://www.theactivetimes.com/why-your-digestive-health-more-important-you-think