Are probiotics anything more than a waste of money on a health hype? 

Probiotics have become a multibillion-dollar industry. With such quick velocity, it makes you wonder if they’re truly worth the hype or if this is just another quick health trend – like when they said cigarettes were the way to a long, healthy, happy life. To determine whether probiotics are necessary, we need to define probiotics and what they’re supposed to do. Before we define probiotics, it might be helpful to back up a few steps and define the role of your gut – where probiotics are said to fulfill their work. 

What is your gut?

First, where is our gut? Our gastrointestinal system – or GI tract for short – includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, large intestine, small intestine, and lil bootayyy. 

Simply put, our guts put our bodies into working order. Think of it as the body’s second brain, a type of generator. As food, medicine, and other substances pass through, our guts extract energy, vitamins, minerals, and other crucial substances that will be transported to the rest of the body. 

Think of it this way; whatever your body consumes – in our mouths, on our skin, in our hair, etc – it goes to our guts. It’s the post office, employing hundreds of helpers to deliver the cargo to the areas of the body that need it most. Whatever our bodies can’t or won’t use gets tossed into the incinerator – the toilet. Ultimately, what our gut decides to send out for delivery contributes to its efforts to provide energy, balance hormones, maintain cognitive clarity and health, and attack toxins that made it past frontline fighters. 

What are probiotics?

For years, bacterium got a bad wrap. When we hear the word bacteria we think of all the horrific things our kids put their mouths on or every time that special coworker that brings you closer and closer to Jesus each day – to stay out of jail – breathes way too closely. 

However, you may or may not be aware that there are good bacteria as well!

We have over 9,000,000,000,000 – yes, that’s nine TRILLION – good bacteria all over our bodies. Of those 9,000,000,000,000, we carry about 7,000 to 9,000 strains of over 1,000 species. These little organisms aren’t necessarily living in us rent-free, however. They earn their keep. They work around the clock non-stop to keep you safe by: 

  • Strengthening the walls of our immune systems 
  • Joining the fight against invasive organisms
  • Neutralizing toxins
  • Breaking down food
  • Providing vital nutrients our own cells can’t make on their own

At the bottom of our large intestines lives a magical little land where our good and bad bacteria battle each other and farts are made. It’s called the microbiome. The healthier this place is, the better. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your microbiome. Poor health in this area has been linked to more serious issues like:

  • Diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Anxiety 
  • Heart Disease/Attacks

So it’s safe to say probiotics are pretty important, however, they can still be a scam. 

Health fads shifting into a breeding ground for unfathomably high financial gain is nothing new. Buying the latest supplements or “specialty food” marked probiotic-rich might not be the best move to make. It’s worth noting that we are all made uniquely and the condition of our microbiomes are like our fingerprints. They’re unique to us. However, our guts can change over the course of time. It really depends on what you’re eating. 

The reason detoxes and AIP resets take so long is because it takes time to clean out your gut and get it balanced again. So before investing in products “specifically made” to be rich in probiotics, we should always consult our medical professionals first, and try foods naturally high in probiotics. Those foods are more affordable. We already need to eat – higher quality foods tend to have more diverse strains than the common supplements.

What is the importance of diverse probiotic strains?

Do you know how allergies occur? Not always, but generally speaking, allergies are formed when the body is exposed to one particular thing way too much. It begins to react like our brains have reacted to Let It Go from frozen for the past 9 years. For real, girl! LET. IT. GOOO!!! Anyway, although probiotics are good bacteria, too much of one type becomes harmful. They start to overrun themselves and there aren’t enough other types of strains to fight diverse bad bacteria. 

Imagine if a war only had executors, fighters. If there was no one to calculate a plan and tell the field soldiers how to move, it would be chaotic and most likely over long before its time. Our bodies are no different. Bacteria in our microbiomes are our chief defense to all the evil bacteria showing up to take over. Without enough diverse strains, equipped with their own unique formulas and weapons, the bad bacteria will not only win but make your good bacteria turn on itself – also known as autoimmune disease!

What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics? Where are they found?

While probiotics are the good bacteria for your microbiome, prebiotics is what makes them stronger. The number one thing you’re looking for is fiber. Foods high in prebiotics include:

  • Bananas
  • Prunes
  • Dandelion greens
  • Oats
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus 
  • Chicory root
  • Onions

Foods high in probiotics include:

  • Colorful produce 
  • Fermented foods 
    • Yogurt
    • Kefir
    • Kimchi 
    • Sauerkraut
    • Pickled foods
    • Soft cheeses
    • Pickled foods
    • Soft cheeses
    • Fermented Soy – tempeh, miso, doenjang (be very careful with the sourcing. Normal soy in America tends to be GMO)
    • Apple cider vinegar (with the mother in the bottle)

Bringing the family back to the table,

Sakinah is an Army Veteran, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Wellness Advocate, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and Home Grown Chef.

After the untimely death of her husband and business partner and autoimmune complications suffered by her daughter, Sakinah realized life was no longer business as usual. She made the collective decision to redefine how she and her family approached health and healthcare.   She has a passion for helping families come back to the table by restoring healthy relationships with food, others, and self. Sakinah believes when women, the cornerstone of the family, learn to restore healthy relationships with food, others, and themselves, it creates a ripple effect for the entire family and generations to come.

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