School. Has. Started. (Cue all moms popping bottles of champagne and kicking their feet up in celebration!) As all our little love bugs head back into the classroom, so do all those little germies collected throughout those last-minute summer vacations. So what’s a mom to do? Get probiotics into your family immediately.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH PROBIOTICS AND YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM ANYWAY?
According to scientists, the human gut has up to 100 trillion bacteria. Yes, you read that right. Those 100 trillion bacteria are vital to your health as they work very hard to help you digest food and utilize the nutrients from the food you’ve eaten. The bacteria in your gut (called “microbiota”) are also the first line of defense against the bad guys (aka cold viruses etc). When you eat, you are either feeding those microbiotas with what they need to flourish OR you are causing damage that weakens the army. No Bueno.
You want to arm up your internal fighters so that when a pathogen does try to invade the fort, the army is ready. In other words, your immune system is functioning optimally and can ward off sickness much more easily and effectively. Same goes for your kids too. The goal is to have a healthy balance of bacteria. And when you do, the good overpowers the bad. Score!
WHAT’S ENVIRONMENT GOT TO DO WITH IT?
As you age, your gut and its bugs will have been affected by things like antibiotic use, stress, toxins, the environment, a poor diet, not getting enough exercise, jet lag and more. As a result, you may start to notice that things may be going, err, not so well in the lower region (ie: gas, bloating) as well as getting sick more often, your sleep is disturbed, your skin starts having issues, you start having issues with food intolerances, you can’t poop or you poop too much and the list goes on.
Listen, it’s almost like you’ve got to walk around in a bubble and live in quarantine. Naked, no hair dye and never enjoy some of life’s treats – because it’s like everyyyything can kill you these days. But that’s just not reality and no way to live.
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There are many things, but the main thing is populating your gut with an army of good bacteria. These can be found in foods like those that are fermented such as sauerkraut, pickles, and kefir, or in bone broth and kombucha. If these kinds of foods are not to your liking – or your kids’ – then the easiest way is to get them via a quality probiotic. Plus it doesn’t taste gross and is easy for kids to take. Regardless of whether you eat fermented foods, take a probiotic. More than likely, you won’t be getting enough just from food alone.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PROBIOTIC
Diversity. Diversity. Diversity. Think of making a big, beautiful salad… you don’t just put romaine lettuce in the bowl. You add spinach, some arugula, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, radish, maybe some avocado, chopped up apples and sweet peppers. So think of your probiotic like THAT. The various strains of bacteria in your probiotic are like the different veggies that you put into your salad.
There are some really great brands available like:
HOW TO TAKE THEM
You are introducing new bacteria into your body so you want to go slow and steady at first. Trust me on this.
Start by taking one capsule before bed every night for seven to ten days. You may experience more gas and farting at first. You’ll definitely notice you will poop a lot easier. Side effects shouldn’t be anything horrible so don’t worry.
Once your body has adjusted, add in a second dose. This would look like one capsule in the morning and one more before bed. If you are taking antibiotics, you will definitely need to take at least two per day, if not three. Why? Because antibiotics destroy the bacteria in the gut, which can lead to a deadly infection called C. difficile. Which I am a survivor of. Believe me, you don’t want to get it.
Most probiotics, if they come in capsule form, can be opened up and put in a cold drink, yogurt, applesauce or directly in the mouth and swallowed with cold water, milk, etc. One probiotic per day is all they need unless they are taking antibiotics – then two per day are in order.