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Gut Check

probiotics2Did you know that 70% of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract?  As a result, a healthy gastrointestinal tract means a healthy immune system.  Unfortunately, more and more Americans are in a state of dysbiosis or too many negative or bad bacteria in comparison to healthy bacteria.  Dysbiosis is occurring in many due to a variety of reasons, such as, a poor diet, use of pesticides and herbicides that kill probiotics naturally found in foods, processed foods, sugar in the diet, and increased use of prescription and over the counter medications.

Probiotics can be obtained through food, specifically fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and kefir.   Commercials promote yogurt as a source of beneficial bacteria however I often caution clients on relying on yogurt for probiotics as often they are dead or dying due to shelf life of the product.  In addition most yogurts have large amounts of added or artificial sugars.  Sugar feeds bad bacteria and can change the pH of the gastrointestinal tract to a more acidic environment. For these reasons yogurt is usually not a good option for those looking to improve their gastrointestinal tract health.  For those who do not include fermented foods in their daily diet, probiotic supplementation is an easy and effective way to increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

When referring to probiotics, more is better!  I encourage clients to look for supplements that offer in the billions with respect to cultures, and to look for a variety of cultures.  This is one of the few times you want a list of ingredients you may have trouble pronouncing.  If you have any immune issues to include allergies, auto-immune disorders, adrenal dysfunction, cancer or you are the one who is always getting sick,  probiotic supplementation at least 2 times/day with meals is encouraged.

You are suppose to have probiotics in your gastrointestinal tract, therefore there really arent any side effects or contraindications/ reasons to not take them.  They are silent workers and it can take months to achieve a positive gut flora balance.  Benefits include an improved digestive system including regularity with stool as well as an improved immune system, but be patient as it wont happen overnight!


Here is the probiotic I recommend:








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The information provided in this post is for education only and is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor should it be used as a replacement for seeking medical treatment.

Copyright © Jaime Coffey Martinez, MS RD    Nutrition CPR, LLC