Your Gut – 10x more cells than your entire body?

Unfortunately, many people think of their gut solely as the mechanism by which your body digests food, which is at best an extreme oversimplification, and at worst an ideology massively contributing to the health problems, weight loss struggles, and auto-immune disorders of millions world-wide.
In reality, your GI tract is MUCH more than a digestion center; in fact, it is quite literally your second brain as well as being “home” to 80% of your immune system.
You see, within your gut reside roughly 100 TRILLION living bacteria…
That’s more than 10 times the number of cells you have in your entire body – and maintaining the ideal ratio of “good bacteria” (known as probiotics) to “bad bacteria” is now gaining recognition as perhaps the single most important step you can take to protect your health and further along your fat loss goals.
In fact, there are more than 200 studies linking inadequate probiotic levels to more than 170 different serious health issues; including obesity and weight gain:
To touch briefly on the weight gain and obesity consequences, virtually every study performed on the obese population analyzing gut bacteria found higher instances of “bad” bacteria and lower levels of probiotics (again, the “good” bacteria) within these individuals.
Perhaps you yourself are already experiencing some of the more advanced signs that your intestinal bacterial balance is beginning to spin out of control, such as:
• Gas and bloating

• Constipation and/or diarrhea

• Skin problems

• Overall sickness

• Headaches

• Urinary tract infections

• Trouble sleeping

• An inability to lose weight

• Sugar cravings, especially for heavily refined carbs
You see, the ideal healthy ratio of “good” to “bad” bacteria is 85% to 15%, or 9 to 1.
Unfortunately, due to lifestyle and environmental factors, the vast majority of the population is severely lacking when it comes to good probiotic bacteria, throwing their gut flora ratio completely out of whack.
These lifestyle and environmental factors include, but are not limited to, exposure to:
• Sugar

• Artificial sweeteners of any kind (found in “diet” beverages and food items, chewing gum, and even toothpaste)

• Processed foods

• Chlorinated water

• Pollution

• Antacids

• Laxatives

• Alcoholic beverages

• Agricultural chemicals and pesticides, and…

• Antibiotics (from medications and/or antibiotics found in meat and dairy products that we ingest).
As you can see, unless you maintain a 100% organic diet, completely avoid all sugar, and lock yourself in the house in an attempt to only consume the purest of air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is almost certain that your gut flora balance is suffering, and will continue to suffer, unless you do something to proactively correct it on a daily basis.
Can you really afford to neglect your gastrointestinal health much longer?
If you do, the likely result is dramatically increased risk for health problems and disease, failure to experience relief from any ailments you may be currently suffering from, and an inevitable, continual struggle with your weight.
With that said, it’s no wonder that research is now suggesting that supplementing with probiotics every single day is even MORE important to your health than taking a daily multi-vitamin…

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Gut Bacteria and Infections – Is there a Link?

Gut Bacteria and Infections – Is there a Link?

In class the other morning Claire asked why some people seem to catch every cold going – this reminded me of these interesting facts.

Cold and flu season has arrived. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be ill all the time, yet others, after being exposed to the same virus, remain well.
The reason lies in the strength of their immune system.
Your immune system is largely dependent upon the condition of your digestive system.
When you are exposed to bad bacteria or viruses, it is up to your immune system to protect you from being infected. If your immune system is strong, your body will fight off the threat. If your immune system is weak or compromised, you may end up sick.

Microbes: the good, the bad, and the ugly
Inside your digestive system are many microbes. Microbes are living organisms that affect your overall health.
Some of these organisms are beneficial and protect you from disease. These good bacteria recognize when illness-producing intruders enter your body; they promptly attack the intruders so you do not get sick. If you do not have enough good bacteria in your gut, you will be more susceptible not only to infections such as colds and stomach flu, but you will also be at risk for autoimmune diseases such as colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Chron’s disease.
Ideally you have a large supply of these good microbes living in your gut. But they can easily become depleted, some medications can effect their numbers.
The chlorine in your drinking water can destroy them, as can the pesticide residue on the food that you eat.
Once the supply of beneficial microbes in your intestines dwindles, bad microbes such as yeast, fungi and disease-causing bacteria begin to take up residence. When the scale tips in favour of the bad, your immune system becomes compromised.

Enter Probiotics
If you think you might be deficient in good microbes, it is not difficult to remedy the problem. The solution is to take probiotics. Probiotics are good microbes that you can consume in your diet. They then settle in your digestive system and get to work protecting you from illness and destroying the bad bacteria that may be living there.
Probiotics are available in capsule form, but you can also replenish some of these good microbes by eating those little yoghurt drinks.
Natural live Greek yoghurt will provide some, too. Check the label on the yoghurt that you buy to make sure it says that it contains active cultures—those are the good bacteria that you need to eat. Also, make sure the yoghurt you eat is not loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners! Choose Actimel Mandarin or stick with plain Greek yoghurt.

Take action now and get a head start on this year’s cold and flu season. You can get ahead of the game by improving your gut function and fighting illness.

Actimel Mandarin seems to have the least sugars, and is backed by research to show that the probiotics pass through the stomach and into the gut.

Eat Well – Stay Healthy