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What are probiotics, exactly?

Probiotics are the good bacteria living in your gut. When you take a probiotic, whether it’s a supplement or your favorite fermented food, you’re ingesting billions of live microorganisms that help keep your gut balanced, your waste system running smoothly, and your body healthy and happy.

Over the past decade, study after study has demonstrated just how important it is to have a diverse bacterial microbiome in your gut to support a healthy body and immune system. It has been observed that health issues begin to arise when the bad bacteria start to take over, or when there aren’t enough good bacteria present in your gut to help fight off illness and infection.

Everything from digestive problems to allergies—and even mental health issues—can be traced back to your gut and the harmonic balance of good and bad bacteria. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your gut when you’re not feeling your best, as it’s likely there’s an imbalance in good bacteria causing you to feel out of sync.

When should I take probiotics?

Probiotics can be taken every day as part of your diet and supplement routine. They will help keep you regular, help balance your mood, promote good digestion, promote weight loss, enhance immune function and a long list of extra benefits.

If an antibiotic is necessary, we highly recommend taking probiotics during and after for at least twice as a long as you were on the medication. Since the antibiotics’ job is to kill off the bad bacteria that has caused infection, one unfortunate side effect is that they kill off all the good bacteria too. This can actually make you very prone to developing yeast overgrowth! That’s why taking a probiotic supplement is essential to restore your natural, healthy gut balance much faster.

What kind of probiotic should I be taking?

To make sure your gut bacteria is diverse and balanced, you should first and foremost take a look at your diet. There are many foods that are saturated with probiotics, including sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, pickles, miso soup, and even dark chocolate. Check out tutorials by Donna Gates for DIY fermented veg recipes. Yum!

If you’re not getting at least 1 tablespoon per day of fermented foods, start meeting your body’s needs with Ortho Biotic Capsules – 1 per day, by Ortho Molecular.

If you have any questions about your gut or want to try a probiotic supplement, feel free to give us a call at (612) 922-8100.

watercolour-1336856_1920“Within the human gut lies a “second brain”: a vast network of neurons located along the intestinal lining. It’s called the enteric nervous system—enteric as in “pertaining to the gut”—and for years researchers assumed its sole province lay in regulation of the digestive process. Researchers now know that the enteric nervous system also relays and sends neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, responds to emotions, and has a direct conduit to the brain via the vagus nerve.

The gut is not the site of higher-level cognition. The neurochemical processes responsible for writing emails, doing trigonometry, and reading this blog post occur solely in the brain. But though decision-making and conscious thought happen up top, the gut has a lot of input on how those thoughts and decisions develop. About 90% of traffic along the vagus flows from gut to brain, and it’s not all information about intestinal contractions. The second brain is likely the province of instinct, subconscious response, and emotion. In other words, gut feeling, gut instinct, butterflies in your stomach, and got the guts? aren’t just figures of speech. They hint at real physiological processes occurring along the gut-brain axis.

Emerging evidence is showing that our enteric nervous system, and the gut bacteria, probiotics, and prebiotics that comprise and affect it, have effects on how we think, feel, perform, and respond to the world around us.” writes Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. (Read more here.)

Mark continues to list a variety of mental and emotional health challenges that have become increasingly common in our society. Each of them is then linked to research and evidence showing that manipulating the microbiome of the gut can drastically change factors and symptoms common to mental and emotional health challenges. Depression, anxiety, autism, cognitive flexibility, and reactivity are all sited in relation to gut health in his comprehensive article on the topic. It would now seem that the answer to many common mental health problems may now begin in healing the gut. Ready to balance the mind? Get started balancing the body. Schedule a Functional Physical with your doctor at Lake Pointe for a personalized protocol to heal the gut.

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