You’ve probably heard the cliché a million times: you are what you eat. That’s true in more ways than most people realize. What you consume provides your body with fuel, but it also helps keep the forest of microorganisms in your gut balanced and healthy.
At Family Acupuncture and Wellness, Adam Learner, LAc, and our staff believe that you’re much more than a collection of systems, or worse, of symptoms. We seek to help you achieve optimal health through treating all of you. That means we want you to thoroughly understand your gut health and how it impacts your overall health.
When you come to us because you’re having digestive issues, one of the first areas we address is your gut health. We talk to you about your diet, and medications or supplements you take, and we take a look at your blood work. Based on all of that, we make recommendations for you, and very often we recommend taking probiotics.
Most people think of germs when they think of bacteria, but that’s not always, or even usually, accurate. Your body is populated by nearly as many bacteria as cells, and many of them live in your gut. Having the right balance of gut flora, which includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living organisms, is crucial for good health.
Probiotics are a type of good bacteria. You can consume probiotics in certain foods or take them as a supplement.
Yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are common probiotics. There are many, many different species and genus of probiotics. The different types help with different problems, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking the right probiotic for your specific issue.
Prebiotics are different; they are complex carbs that your body doesn’t digest but that feed the gut flora. Some supplements contain both, and you can consume prebiotics in certain foods, as well.
Scientists are only beginning to understand how your gut flora functions, but it’s sometimes compared to an organ both because of its importance to your overall health, and how it tends to work within your body. Various things can change your gut flora.
When it comes to your digestive health specifically, probiotics may help with a variety of conditions such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and ulcerative colitis among others. If you have gut issues, there’s a chance that probiotics may help. For many, probiotics are a preferable solution compared to pharmaceutical or other treatment approaches.
Although probiotics offer a natural way to approach some health issues and may even help your body heal itself, it can be confusing understanding which one is best for you. Additionally, probiotic supplements are regulated as food rather than as medications. That means their quality isn’t always dependable.
Working with experts who have experience in helping people with gut issues is one way to avoid mistakes. Another advantage of working with an expert is having someone recommend supplements that are safe and of excellent quality.
If you have gut health issues, and you’re interested in learning more about probiotics, schedule an appointment at Family Acupuncture and Wellness. We’re happy to answer your questions in the context of your situation.