What The Gut?!

Cramps, bloating, constipation, fatigue, excessive gas, etc.  If you have experienced more than one of these symptoms it may have you asking, “what the gut is going on in there!?”  The answer to your troubles?  Healthy bacteria.  That’s right, billions of microorganisms that are capable of keeping you healthy.  Think about it, everything we eat, digest, and process is through our gastrointestinal tract.  Without it, your body becomes overrun with bad bacteria and is unable to absorb essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are most important to the homeostasis of our body.

pain

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Allow me to explain.

A long story short: The summer before my junior year of high school I started to experience pretty intense pains in my sides, and upper and lower stomach.  The only way to describe it is as stabbing waves of sharp pain.  One minute I was grabbing my stomach saying “ow, ow, ow!” and the next I was okay.  This would repeat over and over for an hour or so and would come back later on.  I never thought twice about it and just dealt with it.  To put a date on it, that was in 2005.  Now, 7 years later, I deal with the same issues, but worse.  I feel the same stabbing pains but I also deal with the symptoms stated above.  My lower stomach even becomes so swollen that it hurts to apply pressure.

I promise I am getting to the point.

My sophomore year of college I became deeply interested in nutrition and overall well being.  I made a complete 180 degree change from the person I was.  I began reading journals, articles, books, anything on nutrition, and applying it to my life.  This is when I became a vegan, a story I will save for another day.  One of the articles I read dealt with Chinese medicine and their belief that overall health is maintained and supported in the gut.  BOOM!  My mind was blown.  I read deeper into the material and found countless research on the importance of healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

Main ideas:

  • A balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is ideal for optimum health
  • Over-abundance of unhealthy bacteria in the gut results in poor absorption of essential nutrients, leading to many inconveniencing symptoms
  • Inhibition of unhealthy bacteria results in helping to maintain a powerful immune system
  • Healthy bacteria “cleans” the intestinal tract, allowing for easy absorption of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, as well as providing an easy exit for fecal matter

Still with me?

Two years ago I began taking a probiotic.  Not just any probiotic, but Dr.Ohhira’s.  You may purchase HERE.

dr.ohhira

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Dr. Ohhira recommends taking two pills per day, just one pill 45 minutes before you eat breakfast and another pill after two hours of your last meal.  I tested it for three days and, I am not exaggerating, it worked.  I felt relief after just three days of taking these pills.

When you should take probiotics:

  • After being sick
  • After taking antibiotics
  • While taking birth control
  • After excessive drinking
  • After experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort

As always, consult your doctor before you begin any new health routine.  These signs and symptoms may be the result of a more serious condition and it is best to be sure.

There are numerous types of probiotics out there, ranging from liquid, pills, yogurts, and powder.  So, which ones work and which are marketing schemes?  Liquid, yogurts, and powder are less than optimal decisions for probiotics.  This is due to your stomach’s acidity and its ability to destroy live bacteria on contact.  Your probiotics must have a protective coating that enables them to bypass the acidic stomach environment and find its way into the intestinal tract.  This leaves the pill as the optimal choice for probiotics.  The coating on Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics allows for a time release.  Once the pill reaches its destination in the intestine, it releases the billions of LIVE bacteria to clean up the bad bacteria.

nopain

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Wrapping it up.

Two years after beginning my probiotic experiment, I have felt enough relief to still continue to take Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics twice per day.  However, it has not cured my gastrointestinal issues.  When I decided to become vegan I experienced my symptoms less and less, but they still crept up about twice a week.  This is how I knew that my problem was more than just an imbalance of bacteria.  Earlier this week I caved and went in to see my primary care doctor.  After just beginning to tell my tale, he shook his head in agreement and said, “Christina, you have IBS.”  I can’t say that I was surprised, after all, I had been dealing with these issues since 2005.  He looked on my chart and saw that I had been taking a probiotic and said, “probiotics are a great option for people with IBS.  Continue taking them and I will also write you a prescription.”  I now have a prescription to deal with the muscle spasms and other symptoms that I feel but I only take it when the pain begins to impose on daily activities.

Moral of this LONG story: Incorporate CAPSULE probiotics into your daily routine.  If you do not have a routine, allow this to be the start.

You can purchase my favorite probiotic HERE.

Note: I am not paid or sponsored by Dr. Ohhira and all views and statements are original and mine.

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Comments

  1. Great article! I’ve had similar symptoms and lots of doctor visits with no diagnosis. I secretly think they think I’m crazy, annoying! I’ve started a greater focus on more “whole” foods and am going to give your probiotics a try. Love that you switched your career focus too!

    • I would never recommend anything unless it is worth it. It will at least ease the symptoms. You’re not crazy, doctor’s offices are always trying to rush you out!

  2. wow, can u email me? i could have written this post…can’t afford probiotics right now :( any othr brands you recommend? and love to ask if eating a certain way helps during this time :(

    • So happy you enjoyed this post and felt it was informative!

      Yogurt is always an easy, fast, and inexpensive alternative to pills. Pills are ideal because they have a time release coating on them that helps them make their way through your acidic stomach and into your intestine where they open. Look for yogurts with little sugar in them. Greek yogurt is great and has a great protein content.

      Eating a clean diet is best when you are taking probiotics. This allows the probiotics to work to their full extent and is also great overall for feeling, look, and functionality of your body.

      Please email me at christina@thebeautifulbalance.com with any further questions you may have. I will love to help!

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