Did you know that your gut plays such a major role in your system that it has been dubbed “the second brain”? In 1998, Michael Gershon, chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center wrote the book “The Second Brain,” which is what he calls the neurons that lines the walls of our gut, or intestines. According to Scientific American, Gershon says that even emotions are influenced by these nerves, citing “butterflies in the stomach” as an example. Our intestinal health can contribute not only to our physical health, but the state of our emotional well-being. It is closely connected to conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and Parkinson’s disease.
The intestines are not only lined with neurons, they are also affected by the billions and billions of bacteria that live there. That bacteria has to maintain a proper balance for everything to function properly. Otherwise, bad bacteria flourish causing problems ranging from inflammatory bowel disease to aggression.
In a Medscape article, “The Environment Within: Exploring the Role of the Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease,” Sarkis Mazmanian, a microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology, explained the balance of bacteria in the gut: “It’s like a garden—you’re less likely to have weeds growing if you have lush vegetation, but without this vegetation the weeds can potentially take over.” When bacteria is out of balance, inflammation and disease can occur. Diet and antibiotics can disrupt this balance. How can you keep restore it?
Reduce Carbs and Sugar
Science News reported that in a July 2014 study, scientists witnessed the link between a diet high in carbs and refined sugar and an increased chance of colorectal cancer, one of the deadliest cancers. When the bacteria consumed a higher amount of carbohydrates, they produced a fatty acid that increased the chance of tumors. We already know these foods are bad for your health and linked to obesity, which is also linked to bad gut bacteria.
Less Meat Is Better
Eat less meat and more organic produce. Prevention Magazine reported that on a study two groups, one on meat based diet and one a plant based diet. Researchers from Harvard University and the University of California discovered the meat eaters had an increased amount of a bacteria linked to colon inflammation after just one day compared to the plant eaters. Good gut bacteria flourishes with more produce and less meat consumption.
Probiotics Can Help
To improve gut bacteria, try taking probiotics, which contain live bacteria that help intestinal bacteria work better. Probiotics not only help influence the bacteria, they can also boost your immune system. According to Medical News Today, a 2013 study published in the journal Gut Microbes showed that commercially available probiotics not only fortify the digestive system, but may be able to help psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Where to Get Your Probiotics
You can take probiotics as a supplement, and you can also get probiotics in your food, for example, in raw milk.
Bio-K+ is a company that knows that probiotics are not one size fits all. Their probiotics range from dairy cultured and dairy-free soy, to organic rice based to strawberry dairy culture, as well as capsules in three levels of strength. In 1983, owners Mr. Claude Chevalier, president of the Dairy Bureau of Canada, met Dr. François-Marie Luquet, a renowned French microbiologist joined forces to formulate a probiotic based on cultures Dr. Luquet had isolated. They formed Bio-K+ in 1994, and their first line of probiotics launched in 1996. Their website is a treasure trove of information about probiotics and their health effects on diseases and conditions, for immune and digestive systems, for traveling and for everyday life.
Another great source of probiotics is raw milk. Back in 2007, European studies found that raw milk consumption correlated to a reduction in asthma and allergies, possibly due to the effect of good gut bacteria. Organic Pastures is a provider of organic, raw dairy products. A family-run operation, the McAfee family has run a dairy farm since the 1960s, going organic in1980. When they stepped into the raw milk market, they met a need in Southern California, and have thrived in the area using the best Food Safety Standards while meeting customer demands. They use #2, recyclable, BPA, BPS free plastic bottle providing consumers a safe simple container as well. Their raw products include whole milk, skim milk, cream, butter, kefir and cheese.
Bio-K+ Probiotics and Organic Pastures are sponsors of ShiftCon.