Guest post from the Grace Galliott
Healthy gut bacteria is essential for our wellbeing and it goes way beyond our digestive health. Getting the balance of bacteria right in your gut can result in improved physical and mental health, and if this balance is disrupted it can result in a variety of problems. So we reached out to Grace Galliott, Director of the Natural Health Clinic, to find out more.
Grace has honed her experience, skills and knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine for over more than a decade, establishing a loyal client base at the clinic with whom she shares health and wellness expertise. We asked her to tell us more about gut health and also let us in on the most popular gut health supplements amongst her clients.
Promoting gut health is now widely recognised as far more than a fad but essential for overall health and wellbeing. Home to trillions of bacteria, both good and bad, when the balance of these bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to a variety of health problems. This can include digestive problems, skin problems, and even mental health problems. I like to explain this as an ongoing battle between two opposing sides - good and bad bacteria
Let's start with good bacteria. We should have at least 42 different strains of good bacteria in our gut (although the exact number is still unknown). These individual strains like to live in their own little colonies, having a lovely time, doing the jobs they are supposed to do in the flexures of the large intestine.
The microbiome is the community of microorganisms that live in our bodies. It includes bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea. The microbiome is found all over our bodies, but it is most concentrated in our gut. Our mother passes her microbiome to us, mostly during the birth process, if babies are C-section, they miss out on a lot of this goodness and therefore research suggests giving these babies probiotics is very helpful in avoiding issues with digestion and immunity.
Some good bacteria break down foods and absorb nutrients, some are in charge of immune responses and others are responsible for muscle growth and even helping us to make serotonin (Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sleep, appetite, and other bodily functions. It is often called the "happy chemical" because it helps to regulate mood and promote feelings of well-being). Good bacteria in the gut feed on a variety of foods, including meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, honey, complex carbohydrates, prebiotics, fermented foods, fiber rich foods and good fats and play a role in protecting the gut lining from harmful bacteria and toxins.
Now, onto the opposing side, bad bacteria. The bad bacteria in our gut are able to communicate through our vagus nerve, engaging the brain to encourage us to eat/crave the foods that feed it, things like sugar, yeasts, simple carbohydrates and poor quality food. These types of foods kill the good bacteria, the bad bacteria in our gut is able to thrive producing toxins that can damage the gut lining and lead to inflammation.
Antibiotics are medications that are used to kill bacteria. They can be life-saving, but they can also kill the good bacteria in the gut and should only be taken when absolutely necessary and as prescribed by your doctor. Other medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can also kill good bacteria in the gut. Certain illnesses such as diarrhea and vomiting can also upset the balance giving bad bacteria the perfect conditions to thrive and also some perhaps more surprising factors like stress which can be very damaging to your gut health.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the large intestine is associated with the emotion of letting go. This can refer to letting go of physical things, such as waste products, but it can also refer to letting go of emotional baggage, such as anger, resentment, and sadness. Interestingly, the latest research suggests that our gut bacteria holds memories and trauma (especially the bad bacteria).
When we kill pathogenic (bad) bacteria it lays an egg, that egg laying dormant in your gut is harmless until it is fed with the food it eats (sugar/junk food). This is how easy it is to stay in these loops of feeding bad bacteria, craving poor foods and raising traumatic memories and suppressed emotions. As result, in my opinion, it is very important to kill off the pathogenic bacteria in the gut whilst also working with the suppressed emotions/trauma attached to it, to allow us to truly thrive and move forward and grow in our lives.
You can help fight this is the battle by choosing to feed the good bacteria by eating regular meals, avoiding overeating, chewing your food thoroughly, drinking plenty of water, avoiding eating late at night, eating a variety of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables and limiting your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
By eating fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut, managing your stress, getting regular exercise, addressing traumas and suppressing your emotions you can help keep balance in your gut and promote better overall health.
You can also support your gut by taking herbs and supplements. At the Natural Health Shop Guernsey our favorite Gut supplements are:
Gutright is a modbiotic powder that kills pathogenic bacteria and allows good bacteria to thrive. It can either been taken as 1 scoop daily or the 10 day protocol (3 scoops a day with the modbiotic diet)
Colex is a lovely blend of herbs, botanicals, pre and probiotics, psyllium husk and digestive enzymes
Mega Strength Probiotics are great to take post antibiotics when your microbiome has taken a hit. These are 50 billion colony forming units per capsule and 12 different strains of bacteria
Bravo Yogurt is the best of the best. It is yogurt you ferment yourself with the starter cultures and colostrum. Contains 42 strains of bacteria and 100 billion colony forming units per portion
Collagen is great for gut health and is fantastic for healing up the gut lining in leaky gut syndrome
We love KTea!
Grace Galliott is the Director of the Natural Health Clinic, a central hub in Guernsey for wellness and complementary therapies. She is a passionate practitioner who has more that twelve years experience in the health & wellness sector. Her speciality area is working with mums, babies and children. She is passionate about guiding families into a happier and healthier lifestyle through Health & Wellness Coaching and a range of healing modalities. Grace can help you to take logical steps to deal with issues you and your family may be facing, with techniques backed by science.
The team at the Natural Health Clinic offers a multitude of treatments through quality spaces for the healing and illness prevention of our clients. You can book a consultation with Grace to assist you with a gut healing protocol here.