Written by Dr. Susan Blum
Probiotics are living bacteria normally found in the human digestive tract that are usually ingested to improve the quality and quantity of the gut’s beneficial bacteria. One of the goals of taking a probiotic is to shift the population of gut bacteria toward one that is more healing and low inflammatory. But most people don’t know that probiotics do a lot more than just influence the population of the microbes that live in your gut.
If you have gas or bloating after you eat, or if you experience constipation and/or loose stools, or any type of intestinal discomfort, you have a problem with how your gut is functioning. While this is commonly labeled irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, the diagnosis doesn’t tell you why you’re having this problem.
Usually, the issue is something called dysbiosis, which means your gut flora isn’t healthy. You might have an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, yeast or parasites, or you might not have enough of the good stuff: those probiotics you find in yogurt and cultured foods.
But who cares about a little gas or bloating?
Your gut flora needs to be fixed, because the symptoms you’re having could just be the tip of the iceberg. A whopping 70% of your immune system is located in your gut and if the flora are out of balance, you have an increased risk of something called Leaky Gut Syndrome, and this can lead to autoimmune disease.
Here are my tips to heal your gut, which will treat your symptoms and keep your immune system happy, too.
- For your digestive symptoms, find out whether or not you’ve got food sensitivities, which could be causing the problem. Check yourself for gluten and dairy by removing them both from your diet at the same time for three weeks, and then reintroduce each one at a time, four days apart. Read more about an elimination diet here.
- For your flora, eat cultured food every day, like coconut or almond milk yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut or kimchee, and consider taking a probiotic supplement. Organic Pharmer's Happy Gut beverage has coconut water kefir (a natural probiotic), slippery elm & star anise botanicals for improving the gut lining and other great ingredients. Consider adding this to your daily or weekly regiment.
- If the above doesn’t do the trick, consider a gut-cleansing program using herbs like berberine or oregano to remove the harmful microbes. Sign up for our 10 Day Heal My Gut Program with the Blum Center for Health.
Listen below to Dr. Susan Blum explain what Leaky Gut is...