Gut flora refers to both good and bad bacteria living in our gut. The number of bacteria living on and inside of each and every one of us is estimated to be 10 times greater than the number of our own cells. In the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that the specific makeup of one’s gut flora plays a huge role in their health and happiness. There are good bacteria, bad bacteria, and bacteria that can be either depending on how many of them colonize you.
What is Gut Flora?
The term gut flora refers to the bacteria that live in your gut. There are thousands of species of bacteria that have been found in the gut and everyone’s gut flora is different. We get some of our gut flora from our mother during birth but the rest of the flora comes from a combination of our environment, the foods we eat and the choices we make. Balance is important because, just like people, different kinds of bacteria behave differently and optimal health derives in part from having the right ratio of the right kinds of flora.
What Does Gut Flora Do?
In the past, it was thought that fermentation of fiber was the primary function of gut microbes. Indeed, our gut flora ferments the carbohydrates that make it through the small intestine and into the large intestine. This is how they eat. The fermentation process is how they extract nutrients from our food. The byproduct of fermentation is gas (yes, that kind of gas) and that is why we feel bloated after eating something that is poorly digested like gluten or dairy or fibrous vegetables.
Recently, we have discovered that gut flora is responsible for so much more than fermentation. Researchers are finding more and more evidence in favor of the idea that the specific makeup of a person’s gut flora has very real effects on their immune system, mood, food preferences and maybe even weight. These tiny organisms are able to control these aspects of our lives by chemically signaling our bodies to release hormones that can activate the immune system, affect our mood or trigger cravings for certain foods.
How Do I Balance My Gut Flora?
The key to balancing your gut flora is getting the right mix of bacteria into your system. The easiest way to get this variety is by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement. When selecting a supplement, choose one that has a good variety of strains rather than a huge number of one or two strains. The mix of strains is more important than the number of colony-forming units (CFUs).
DigestShield®, a co-probiotic, provides the ideal blend of 11 probiotics, 20 enzymes, and 5 potent prebiotics to create the best possible digestive support. Once you try it, you’ll believe it.