Monday 13 March, 2017 0 Comments

With the focus on gut health as part of the 8th Pillar of Health we've been talking a lot about the importance of gut health. Research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to our total health.  An unhealthy gut can contribute to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune conditions and depression.

One key strategy to improving the health of your gut is to include probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, kefir, kombucha and kimchi. This is because the fermented foods help restore the correct balance of bacteria by feeding the good bacteria. The other benefit of consuming fermented foods is over time your sugar cravings decrease as you starve out the bad bacteria, which feed on sugar and refined grains and carbohydrates.

I always recommend consuming fermented foods as a starting point. But is enough? Do you also need a probiotic?

Yes, and here’s why.

  • The quality of vegetables in fermented foods has changed because of the soil they are grown in. This means the overall quality of the strains of probiotic foods have changed as well.
  • Modern populations don’t eat 12 serves of fermented foods per day.
  • Antibiotic use is more prevalent than previous generations.
  • Our lifestyles are more sanitary than that of our ancestors. We are exposed to fewer strains of helpful bacteria due to household cleaners and sanitisers.
  • Many people have digestive issues with certain FODMAPS, fungal growth such as candida or have a histamine intolerance. In which case, consuming fermented foods can be harmful to their gastrointestinal systems where taking a probiotic has only beneficial effects.

Antibiotics and probiotics

Antibiotics are undoubtedly necessary in some circumstances. I don’t have an issue with them when used correctly. They do however have huge implications on gut health. Doctor Natasha Campbell-McBride is a gut health specialist and founder/author of the GAPS diet.

"It can take up to four years to restore and rebuild the gut biome following a course of antibiotics." She says. 

We can take steps towards healing our guts with fermented foods and bone broth during this time, but true healing will be much more effective if you combine this approach with a quality probiotic.

Most adults have had at least one course of antibiotics in their lifetime.  It’s actually common for us to hear in the clinic that many people have one course every year!

For this reason I always advocate a multi-pronged approach when dealing with gut issues. Consuming fermented foods and glycine rich foods like bone broth along with probiotics and lifestyle strategies including hydration, stress reduction and proper sleep.

What to look for when choosing a probiotic

  • The following are good guides to look for when choosing a probiotic
  • Choose a multiple strain probiotic.
  • Choose a probiotic with good quantities of each strain.
  • Choose a product that has stable strains of probiotics. If they do need refrigeration, ensure they have been stored adequately. Also check for acid resistant strains of bacteria so they can withstand the natural hydrochloric acid within your stomach.
  • Choosing the right strain for your symptoms. Speaking to a natural health practitioner is crucial here.

    For this reason we recommend taking Bio-Kult probiotics because it is an effective multi-strain product, created by gut specialist Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride. These probiotics help to restore both the number, and diversity, of good bacteria in your gut.

    After looking at a large range of probiotics, I like Bio-Kult because it has 14 strains and these strains do not have to be refrigerated. This means it is easier to add to your daily routine because you can keep them in your bag, car or work desk as we often aren’t in close proximity to our fridges! Bio-Kult is also incredibly concentrated. Meaning that one capsule has a greater number of live organisms than most other probiotics on the market. It’s the best product I’ve found in this space and it’s often the only probiotic I will recommend to clients.

    If you suspect you have gut issues and are unsure what probiotic may be right for you, please contact us at info@bepure.co.nz

     

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