Our collective understanding of human physiology continues to grow, and the grasp we humans have regarding the connection between that physiology and our bio-functionality grows along with it. It’s a slow process to be sure, but in the last 2 decades there’s been much learned about the way the health and function of our intestines aren’t exclusively related to digestion.
Let’s start exploring this topic by reminding you of an expression you’ve very likely heard many, many times so far in your life.
“Go with your gut.”
It’s very likely you know the meaning of the expression – that you should do what you’re innately being told to do, following your assumption on what’s the best choice of action. But what about taking it quite literally – what does your ‘gut’ have to do with the source of your ‘instinct’?
Turns out, it’s not just a random and nonsensical association at all. In fact this understanding makes as much sense as it does to supplement with a quality probiotic. Read on.
The Sum of Cells…. And Bacteria!
Biological research has indicated that the body is in fact composed more of bacteria than it is of cells. Each of us has trillions of bacteria in our bodies, and the majority of them take up residence in our intestines. Collectively they’re called the microbiome, and the bulk of them that reside in the gut are the gut microbiota.
These beneficial bacteria take up a very specific role in our physical and psychological health. How, you ask? Well, the answer lies in the gut microbiota’s personal neural network, the enteric nervous system (ENS). A surprisingly large number of people believe that nerves are only found in our epidermal skin, but that’s not the case. They’re everywhere in our bodies, and the ENS is a complex system of about 100 million nerves that line your gut from one end to the other.
We could go on at great length here. However, in the interest of cutting to the chase about how to heal your gut or maintain a healthy gut, we’re going to be brief.
The ENS actually grows from the same tissues as the CNS (central nervous system) during development of the fetus in a mother’s womb. There are structural and chemical parallels between the enteric and central nervous systems, in as far as the ‘communication’ that occurs between them and the brain. With regards to the ENS, you have hormones, neurotransmitters, and electrical impulses that run between the gut and the brain. The functions of your endocrine and immune systems and the sequencing and firing of your neural network are all orchestrated by this communication.
To put it plainly – emotional and psychosocial factors can trigger symptoms in the gut. In a roundabout way (and nearly everything in the body ascribes to roundabout ways) imbalances in the gut can trigger emotional and psychosocial conditions, plus more serious neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Being Good to the Gut with Loving Lactobacili
Taking a quality probiotic like Metagenics UltraFlora Balance, among others, is the best way to allow your gut to heal itself and thus facilitate communication between it and the brain that is not impaired in any way. For many of us who eat a nutrient-depleted SAD (wonderful acronym – Standard American Diet) diet and are exposed to toxins or environmental factors it is all too common to have your ‘troops’ down there suffering from depleted ranks. Those ranks need to be full if the gut is to be healthy.
Quality probiotics not only maintain a healthy balance of gut flora (flora is another word for bacteria colonies), but they also support GI and immune health, and can be beneficial in helping to facilitate the digestion of lactose.
Benefits of regularly consuming probiotics include:
- Stronger immune system
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics naturally treat eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu
- Healing from leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
- Weight loss
There are also particular strains of probiotic cultures that offer these same flora replenishing and balancing benefits but can also address other specific health concerns. UltraFlora Acute Care is one of them. What makes it different from standard probiotic cultures is that it comes with a concentrated dose of S. boulardii bacteria and therefore it also provides targeted relief for acute bowel distress and many of the same symptoms that may lead people to believe they have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or a similar condition.
And of course, probiotics for children are hugely beneficial for the young ones too. Metagenics UltraFlora Children Chewable Tablets contain a proprietary blend of viable, pure strains of gut bacteria that are more suitable for a young and – more importantly – growing digestive tract. They’re also grape flavoured, and the benefit of that for anyone under the age of 10 needs no explanation. Like most quality probiotics, this producy is dairy and GMO free.
We’ll mention as well that the common belief among gastroenterologists is that only 1 person in every ten has a sufficient gut flora count, so in all likelihood you should take probiotics too.
With that understood, let’s wrap up by looking at what you can do to prevent reduction of healthy gut flora. Try to avoid all of the following whenever possible:
- Prescription antibiotics
- Unfiltered tap water
- GMO foods
- Emotional stress
- Chemicals and medication
You’re now sufficiently appraised as to how there’s a connection between gut health and brain health, so please do be proactive in taking care of both your brains for the mutual benefit of each of them.