04 Mar Health Information Overload? Start With the Gut
By Vanessa Garner, BS, Natural Pharmacy Coordinator
Do you try your best to keep up to date with the latest health trends but find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of information available to you? Or you are simply trying to revamp your personal health routine for the New Year but don’t know where to start? Turn your attention to the Microbiome, the internal ecosystem that controls the balance of billions of bacteria in our bodies!
The word “microbiome” may seem like the latest buzz-word in the health and wellness field, but it’s a topic that is here to stay.
Often compared to the Earth’s ecosystem, Microbiome bacteria interact as a community and their interactions can effect on their surroundings, such as other organs. Any changes in the balance of the system such as diet, lifestyle, or the use of anti-biotics or medications can have a change in the gut and can promote stress or inflammation in the body.
How do you know if your Microbiome is well-equipped?
When our bodies contain more pathogenic or ‘bad’ bacteria than we should, and also lack the diversity of protective or ‘good’ bacteria we need, the Microbiome suffers.
Recent clinical research shows the benefits that the Microbiome offers on keeping our immune and digestive systems strong and ensuring our inflammation levels stay balanced. Preventing inflammation is key for total-body health, including hormone production, weight management and brain balance for mood and cognition.
You may have even heard the gut be compared to or referred to as our ‘second brain’—and for good reason. There are multiple neuro-chemical and neuro-metabolic pathways between the central nervous system/brain and microbiome/digestive tract that send signals to one another, affecting our memory, thought process and reasoning.
Researchers say that up to 90% of all diseases can be traced in some way back to the gut and health of the microbiome. This is worth our attention–and action–when it comes to our health and living optimally.
Supporting our Microbiome
The basics of a balanced ‘ecosystem’ comes down to how we nourish our bodies, digest our food and strengthen our gut.
Proper nutrition is crucial to overall health and keeping inflammation at bay. We are not only feeding our cells, but the good bacteria our bodies inhabit! To make sure the bacteria thrive, eat plenty of high-antioxidant foods that will reduce gut inflammation caused by oxidative stress and prevent our immune system from overacting.
Some of the best foods to include are beets; carrots; cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale); dark, leafy greens (collard greens, kale, spinach); onions; peas; salad greens; sea vegetables and squashes. Many of these foods, along with garlic, asparagus and sweet potatoes also contain natural prebiotics or the ‘food’ for the beneficial bacteria, which help them (and us) live longer. Kombucha (fermented tea) and fermented vegetables (such as sauerkraut or cabbage) are also excellent ways to increase the amount of healthy bacteria naturally. Try your best to avoid or reduce things that can damage the healthy bacteria in the gut, such as processed food, alcohol, damaged fats (fried foods) and sugar.
While eating whole foods is the preferred way nourish our bodies, there may be a need for additional supplementation to what we can’t achieve though food. In modern times, our soil is depleted and lacking in the nutrients it once offered a century ago. Pesticides, such as glyphosphate, used to keep produce clear of critters often kill all forms of bacteria, including the good. It can also be challenging to consistently eat a wide-variety of foods that offer unique vitamins and minerals from foods that are only grown in certain regions or are only seasonally available. With that said, supplements are a great way to help our bodies get the consistent nutrients to fill gaps in our diet and boost the numbers of beneficial bacteria.
Here are a few supplements you may consider adding to your daily routine:
- PhytoMulti by Metagenics: A whole-food multivitamin formula that includes a combination of phytonutrients, plant extracts and antioxidants to support cellular health and multiple systems of the body. It provides essential vitamins and minerals for healthy functioning, energy production and aging support.
- MegaSporeBiotic by MicroBiome Labs: A unique probiotic blend that aims to recondition the gut instead of reseeding with probiotic strains that cannot survive digestion or colonize the gut. This clinically-studied formula features 5 different strains of spore-based probiotics called Bacillus. Bacillus spores are naturally designed to survive digestion, light, heat and lack of oxygen, increasing the survivability rate and microbial diversity of the gut.
- FiberMend by Thorne Research: Is a prebiotic fiber formula that helps stimulate the growth and survival of beneficial bacteria in the gut. It also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, promotes regularity and optimal digestive function. This formula is well-tolerated as it produces very little bloating or cramping. It can be easily added to many foods, beverages or supplements due to its tasteless and readily dissolvable nature.
- Vital-Zymes Complete: These digestive enzymes help support each phase of digestion and are be taken with meals to maximize nutrient absorption, gastric acid balance and maintain healthy bacteria balance. When our bodies break down food properly, we are able to prevent nutrient deficiencies, enhance our energy production, prevent indigestion and maintain normal levels of beneficial bacteria.
- ION Gut Health (previously known as Restore): Is a gut-strengthening, brain-boosting mineral supplement sourced from 60 Million-year-old soil that naturally supports your microbiome. Terrahydrite is the active ingredient and has been shown to help strengthen the tight junctions (the seals between the cells in the gut lining) and acts as a barrier to defend against toxins such as the pesticide glyphosphate or gluten, while allowing beneficial nutrients to enter. Gut health is not only critical for immunity and digestion, but also for mental clarity and brain function, where majority of our neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, are created.
When we take care of the bacteria our bodies need to thrive, we will ultimately live healthier and higher-quality lives and possibly prevent chronic issues in the future. At The Logan Institute, we offer many resources such as testing, nutrition plans, therapies and the supplements mentioned to support the Mircrobiome and our overall health from a holistic perspective. Call our office to schedule an appointment or stop by Dr. Logan’s Natural Pharmacy, today!
Sources and Links for further reading:
Richards, L. (2017, October 24). What Is the Gut-Brain Axis, And Why Does It Matter?