Is Gut Health Important? A Review

04/17/2017 11:51 pm ET Updated Apr 20, 2017

“All disease begins in the gut.”  -Hippocrates

As humans, most of the time, we just ingest food without thinking about it. We’ve been taught from a young age that without food we would eventually die, although this is true, we have not been trained to think very highly of food and/or where it goes and how that might have an affect on our mortality. This is why in America fast-food is the go-to favorite (due to the lack of education on healthy eating), but as we have learned from the famed documentary “SuperSize Me”, this destroys your gut health, reduces libido and increases risk exposure to several health factors. In America, fast food restaurants feed over 50 million customers a day; which still proves that we have a lot to learn about our health, and most importantly where our food goes and how that has long-term effects on our health among other things. Why is gut health so important?

There are 100 trillion bacteria in your body, and most of them are in your intestines. What you eat determines what kind of bacteria enters your gut, this is why its crucial to realize that what you put in there has long-term affects. According to Nava, a Health and Vitality Center, the stomach is like a second brain which can effect your mood, energy levels, libido, creative output and etc. “

The health of your gastrointestinal system is extremely important to your overall well-being. Largely responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems, beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention your overall mental health.” Your gut flora is incredibly important to your overall well-being. This is why probiotics are essential to restoring your intestine to a more normal state.

One set of probiotics that exist in nature are not normally known as probiotics, mostly because the more popular ones are just used in recipes for dinner. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years, and have been a popular health alternative to traditional medicine. But little do many know, that they also support long-term gut health. “ Their legendary effects on promoting good health and vitality and increasing your body's adaptive abilities have been supported by recent studies.

These studies suggest that Mushrooms are probiotic - they help our body strengthen itself and fight off illness by maintaining physiological homeostasis - restoring our bodies balance and natural resistance to disease. The compounds they contain have been classified as Host Defense Potentiators (HDP) which can have immune system enhancement properties.”

Oriveda is an Amsterdam based business dedicated to creating medical-grade mushrooms. They are committed to the long-term health benefits that mushrooms inherently produce. “ Our focus is on offering both people with and without health problems additional support to improve their quality of life. That includes debunking a lot of ‘internet myths’ that can be found all over the place. “ They have an extremely important blog post that goes through and helps the consumer know what mushrooms to get and what pitfalls to watch out for.

For gut health, Reishi Mushroom from Oriveda might be your best bet, as it has been researched as a probiotic, along with its properties that promote organ health, this is an incredible asset for those who are looking to restore gut flora with a nature based fruit. According to research, Chaga which is known for its immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory, it has been used to treat gut-related issues.

Lion’s Mane is a more popular mushroom, especially amongst the nootropic community for its brain-health qualities, but there is also research that the bioavailability of this mushroom also fights against gastritis (which is common; it’s when the lining of your stomach is inflamed) and colitis. It’s also been known to be a deterrent against colds and the flu. Oriveda’s medicinal mushroom is unlike most available mushrooms, in that there is a section on the website dedicated to showing the research that has gone into the medicinal side of mushrooms and their benefits. It’s worth exploring.

It’s not traditional to think of mushrooms as a natural probiotic, mainly because its used in pop-culture only as a food item, but as more research unearths itself, we are discovering that mushrooms have extremely long-lasting properties for gut health.

VSL #3 is dedicated to gut health and have created a medical-grade probiotic for patients. They are made specifically for those who suffer from intestinal tract issues such as IBS and Ulcerative Colitis. They encourage consumers to get doctor’s advice a prescription if possible. “VSL#3 is a probiotic medical food that is intended to be used under the supervision of a physician.”

When buying a probiotic, “It is important to note that most probiotics differ both in their bacterial composition and quantity. There are hundreds of commercially available probiotic supplements. Many of these are single species preparations while others contain multiple species or both. Furthermore, the concentration of bacteria in each preparation varied.” This is crucial to remember because there are many probiotics that claim to help, when in reality, don’t really have enough bacteria to alter the internal flora it promises.

VSL#3 arrives in a refrigerated box because it relies upon the cold to sustain the life of the good bacteria. Some have even claimed a full relief of IBS symptoms with the long-term usage of VSL#3, although this can’t be verified as a medical claim, its an important aspect to note, that it’s the only probiotic on the market dedicated to gut-related auto-immune disorders.

Your gut needs a lot of TLC, how you treat it, what you put in it will determine your overall health. Probiotics are key to introducing good bacteria into your system that will restore your flora. Knowing this will improve your quality of life and long-term exposure to gut related issues.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS