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How does your body react if you’ve been sick or have been hurt? Does it bounce back quickly? Is it taking longer than it should to recover?
Whatever the problem or situation, following doctors’ orders, taking medication, undergoing physical therapy, and resting can help you on your way to recovery.
But unless you have the most important and most powerful health-driving force on your side, you may be taking the long road to feeling better.
Of course, we’re talking about your microbiome.
Your gut microbiome is the foundation of your immune system, and it’s responsible for every critical function in your body. This includes the way you process/digest food, how well you sleep at night, whether or not you have trouble with allergies or asthma, even how much weight you gain or lose easily.
That’s why, if you want to stay one step ahead of the toxins, viruses, and bacteria (and even accidents and injuries) working to take you down, you’ll need a well-balanced gut microbiome.
Tap Into Your Body’s Natural Healing Center
The trillions of bacteria – good and bad – that call your gut home is known as your gut microbiome.
When the good bacteria (aka: probiotics) outnumber the bad bacteria (aka: pathogens), your gut microbiome works like a well oiled machine – Keeping you healthy, and healing you as quickly as possible when something goes wrong.
That’s because your gut houses around 70-80% of your immune system. But equally impressive is how your gut bacteria influence different aspects of your total immune function and development.
Starting at birth, the good bacteria in your gut help “educate” your immune system, teaching it how to differentiate friend from foe. These beneficial microbes also teach your immune system how to respond to threats in a balanced manner. Effective immunity isn’t a full-blown response to every little threat – It’s responding the right way at the right time to the most pertinent attacks. In this way, your body doesn’t overreact (as in the case of allergies and autoimmune conditions) or under react (leaving you weak and vulnerable by every little thing going around).
Here’s how a healthy gut and immune system work together. When you’re sick or hurt, the probiotics in your gut microbiome spring into action. They signal your immune system to take decisive action to neutralizing the threats, and they alert your immune system to shut down once the threat has been handled.
However, if your probiotic bacteria have insufficient numbers to outmatch the pathogens (as is the case in an unhealthy gut), your critical immune responses can not only get impaired… They can be hijacked.
A Gut Imbalance Can Weaken Your Health
When your gut falls into a state of dysbiosis, where pathogens outnumber probiotics, your immune system gets burdened and confused, and can even work against you – making it take longer to feel your best.
It’s a problem that happens more often than you might think. Even if you’re doing everything “right,” your microbiome can easily get thrown out of whack.
In fact, there are a lot of things that can knock your gut microbiome out of balance and into dysbiosis. Some of the most common are poor diet, constant stress, and environmental toxins. Plus, many medications (yes, the ones your doctor prescribes when you’re not well) can cause dysbiosis.
Known meds that can encourage a gut imbalance include:
- A single course of antibiotics
- Proton pump inhibitors (antacids and drugs used to relieve symptoms of acid reflux and indigestion)
- Pain relievers, including opioids and NSAIDs (like ibuprofen)
- Statins (pharmaceuticals used to reduce cholesterol)
- Chemotherapies (drugs used to treat cancer)
When pathogens dominate your gut microbiome, your immune system can’t work properly. Bad bacteria trigger unhealthy immune system reactions (both overreactions and under-reactions), and promote body-wide inflammation and toxic streaming (where toxins from your gut escape into your bloodstream to cause widespread damage).
That’s why it’s so important to support the probiotic bacteria in your gut microbiome, especially while you’re healthy… and of course, make sure to give them extra love and care when you’re not feeling so well. Because according to a mountain of clinical research and studies, your gut microbiome can be your body’s own natural healing center… But only when it’s in healthy balance.
Your Gut Helps Heal Wounds and Fractures
Bacteria in your gut can help fix a broken bone? As far-fetched as this may sound, it’s absolutely true.
Your gut microbiome plays a critical role when it comes to repairing all the tissues in your body. This includes helping heal all kinds of wounds – internal and external. That means injuries like:
- Broken bones
- Surgical wounds (incisions, staples)
- Bruises and skin lacerations
- Even intestinal ulcers (open wounds inside the gut)
Are all healed thanks to the help of the microbes in your gut.
Your good gut bugs work their magic in several ways. Naturally, they crowd out pathogens allowing your body to function at its best, but their work also includes stimulating special cells (called fibroblasts) that repair damaged tissue, activating your super-healing immune system cells, and even maintaining the structural integrity of all connective tissue body-wide.
New research also shows that beneficial bacteria also help remodel the bones in your body, getting rid of damaged bone tissue and replacing it with healthy new bone tissue.
How A Balanced Gut Conquers Illness
When your gut is in healthy balance, your immune system works at its best. A healthy gut allows your beneficial bacteria to guard against inflammation, neutralize pathogens, and let your immune system know when a true threat arrives so it can go on the attack.
Studies show that a healthy and balanced microbiome may help prevent or reduce the duration of illnesses including:
One reason your gut microbiome is such a health-driving superstar: It actually creates new compounds custom designed to thwart viruses, toxins, bad bacteria and funguses. In fact, your gut does such a good job of this that researchers are beginning to look deeper into the gut microbiome as a means of developing smarter, more effective medicine.
But if you think a healthy gut only helps ward off average invaders (like viruses and toxins,) think again. Your beneficial bacteria can also play crucial roles in your pulmonary, cognitive, emotional, and even cardiovascular health… Turns out a healthy gut microbiome is one of the best ways to support a healthy heart, and can help those with cardiovascular disease better navigate a path to staying strong and healthy.
Taking Medicine? Your Microbiome Makes Them Work
Along with being responsible for a balanced and strong immune response, your gut microbiome helps your body cope with injury and illness in another very important way: It breaks down medications so your body can utilize them.
Large populations of beneficial bacteria are super important for optimal drug effectiveness. Moreover, they also work to minimize potential drug side effects. Coupled together, this can mean all the difference when it comes to healing your body and you feeling your best.
And there’s more: An incredible new study showed that specific probiotics in the microbiome could change the way medications work. Scientists looked at how well 76 different human gut bacteria broke down and transformed 271 oral medications (the kind you swallow). The results: At least one of the bacteria tested affected a whopping 176 of those drugs… Many more than the researchers had expected. Scientists now believe that reshaping a patient’s gut microbiome could lead to better outcomes than changing their medication. In fact, scientists are currently studying ways to reshape the gut microbiome in an effort to make drugs work more effectively.
Gut Bacteria Change Chemotherapy Outcomes
Cancer treatment with chemotherapy is extremely stressful on the body (and even dangerous in some cases). But when cancer patients properly support their probiotic bacteria populations during their treatments, they not only reduce weight loss, nausea, and diarrhea… Their responses to the chemo can change drastically.
The latest research shows that the gut microbiome affects how well chemotherapies work for cancer patients. A well-balanced microbiome can:
- Increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy
- Minimize the treatment’s toxicity
- Improve patient’s treatment tolerance
- Reduce the side effects of chemotherapy
Though this is a fairly new area of research, results are incredibly promising. So far, many clinical studies point to a balanced gut microbiome being a critical part of cancer patient survival.
Action Steps For A Strong Microbiome
For a powerfully supported immune system, you need a well-balanced microbiome packed with beneficial bacteria. And the best way to encourage healthy balance is with a two pronged approach:
A gut-friendly diet and targeted probiotic supplements.
Adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet is one easy way to increase the quantity of helpful gut bacteria.
Good sources include:
- Veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and bok choy
- Greek yogurt (just watch the sugar content!)
- Kimchi (made with non-pasteurized fermented vegetables)
- Kombucha tea (fermented black or green tea)
- Sauerkraut (delicious and easy to many meals)
But it’s important to note that food alone can only go so far. Many essential strains of bacteria die off as you age, and your levels can drastically decrease as a result. That’s why many researchers recommend the use of probiotic supplements to support digestive health and immune function beyond what diet alone can provide.
First, it’s important to note: Not all probiotic supplements are created equal.
Like any nutritional supplement, probiotics from different sources can vary greatly in effectiveness. Survivability studies with some of the leading probiotics indicate that 99% of the strains cannot survive digestion.
These surprising findings suggest that most people are paying for products with less than 1% survivability. When it comes to optimizing your levels of beneficial bacteria, it’s crucial to choose the highest quality option that can guarantee survivability.
Spore probiotics have superior survival skills thanks to the natural, endospore shell that protects that as they make their way through your stomach and digestive tract. This ensures that they’ll arrive at the gut microbiome alive and ready to work. Once they get to the microbiome, spore probiotics:
- Colonize in the gut and neutralize pathogens
- Boost the growth and survival of a wide range of beneficial bacteria
- Produce healing compounds, including potent antioxidants and a wide range of essential nutrients
Of the spore-based probiotics available, there are four particular strains that are the most widely studied, and have the most scientific-verification of their effectiveness:
- Bacillus coagulans helps get rid of harmful viruses and bacteria while driving a balanced immune response.
- Bacillus clausii helps manage proper immune function and direct immune cell where they’re most needed.
- Bacillus indicus HU36™ produces several key antioxidants, such as lycopene and astaxanthin, that improve immunity for a strong and healthy body
- Bacillus subtilis HU58™ produces several antiviral and antimicrobial compounds that can clear pathogens and keep you healthy
For our recommendation on the best probiotic supplement that contains all 4 targeted spore-based strains, go here.
Master Your Microbiome To Master Your Health
Regardless of the ailment or disease you’re trying to conquer, a balanced and probiotic-heavy microbiome can be one of your biggest allies.
While it can be easy to get on the wrong track with your gut bacteria, we encourage you to take steps now to support your best gut health by eating probiotic-rich foods or taking a proven probiotic supplement.
By supporting your gut health, you’ll ensure that your immune system, and your body’s natural healing center, has what it needs to keep you healthy and strong.
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