Category: Gut Health

10 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps for a Happy Gut

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and food. Sometimes, a little too much of all them…especially the food! While getting your grub on comes with the territory during the holiday season, it makes meeting your 2021 wellness goals a bit more challenging. That doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite holiday traditions. You might just have to amend them a little. Here are ten healthy holiday food swaps that are gut-friendly and delicious!
 
Going hard on food this holiday season? You and us all. You have to take these little losses with little victories. Finding the balance between comfort food and that makes your digestive system comfortable is key. Here are 10 ways to transform your holidays into a healthy one this season.
 
5 healthy holiday food swaps

 

Mashed Potatoes ➡️ Cauliflower Mash

 
Besides the turkey itself, perhaps no other food is more synonymous with Thanksgiving than mashed potatoes. This side dish is the ultimate comfort food that turns super uncomfortable after its third serving. 
 
White potatoes are exceptionally high in simple starches. They are laden with empty calories that our body burns off quickly. In turn, we’re hungry again. That’s why you have no problems going back for seconds and thirds. 
 
Cauliflower is a resistant starch. Your body burns it slower, which helps you feel fuller longer. 
 
Plus, one cup of this gut-friendly food provides you with 10% of your daily recommended intake of dietary fiber. Not only does dietary fiber help us flush out toxins, but it also provides food for your probiotic bacteria!
 
Now, if cauliflower mash isn’t your jam, we can still improve the nutrients of your old fashioned mashed potatoes. For one, leave the skin on. 
 
Potato skin has more fiber and is an excellent source of potassium. You can also try substituting red or purple potatoes instead of using white to up your antioxidant intake! 

 

Turkey Gravy ➡️ Mushroom “Gravy”

 
Mashed potatoes and gravy go together like peanut butter and jelly. As much as we love a good PB&J, there are certainly healthier options out there. The same goes for our dear friend gravy.
 
Gravy is a guilty pleasure that many of us love to partake in during the holidays. It’s fine in moderation, but there are still tons of unhealthy fats in this savory condiment. 
 
Try making a vegan gravy to either replace or supplement your turkey gravy. Mushrooms are an excellent plant-based gravy swap because they provide the texture and color we’re used to with this Thanksgiving staple. 
 
Saute 16 ounces of mushrooms with 1/4 of a cup of grass-fed butter for about 20 minutes. Add in 1/4 of a cup of unbleached flour, stirring for five minutes. Last, add a cup of stock. Add herbs and spices to taste and simmer for a half-hour. 
 
To up the antiviral benefits, we suggest using shiitake mushrooms. They are rich in beta-glucans that prop up the immune system and fight off pathogenic growth. 

 

Green Beans ➡️ Green Beans Almondine

 
Green beans are an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and silicon. These are all essential for a healthy system. Unfortunately, all of these benefits get hidden in green bean casseroles because they get smothered with heavy cream and fried onions. 
 
A green bean dish is essential for almost any holiday table. Get the same crispy-yet-juicy texture you love from baked green beans from the stovetop with green bean almondine.
 
This dish sautees green beans with almonds. Almonds are teeming with proteins that are essential for repairing cells around our gut lining. These nuts are also an excellent source of healthy fats that naturally lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. 

 

Apple Pie ➡️ Baked Apples and Applesauce

 
Nothing screams fall tradition like freshly picked apples. Excessive amounts of apples mean one thing — apple pie. Apple pie is excellent to share with the whole family on Thanksgiving. However, 2020 might see a smaller set up around the table. This year might be the one to cut down on the sweets. However, that doesn’t mean you have to have an appleless holiday. Instead of baking apples in a pie, have these fruits fly solo!
 
Core the apples and fill them with grass-fed butter, maple syrup, or honey. Add some pecans or cinnamon sticks inside, and roast these treats up to an hour. 
 
Still sitting on some excess apples? Peel them up and make some applesauce. Simply melt some apples with a touch of water or apple cider vinegar on the stovetop. Stir often to avoid burning!
 
Before you toss out those apple peels, consider saving them. Apple pies are rich in fiber that feed healthy bacteria. Toss the peels in baked goods or pancakes. You can even dehydrate apple peels for a crispy snack or compost to make excellent soil for springtime!
 

Zoodles ➡️ Noodles

 
Mac and cheese is a must for many Thanksgiving tables. This creamy treat is full of fat, gluten, processed ingredients, and a lot of guilt. 
 
First, switch out your noodle source. White pasta is stripped of its nutrition. Instead, you’re left with a starch teeming with gluten. Gluten prompts our bodies to produce a protein known as zonulin. Zonulin regulates the movements our small intestine makes, which can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or leaky gut.
 
Instead, make pasta out of zucchini, carrot, or spaghetti squash. Not only are these healthier choices, but they have a ton more flavor than boxed pasta.
 
Also, reconsider the cheese. Try to use cheese made with dairy that is free of hormones and antibiotics. You can also try making your own cheese sauce with plant milk. 
 
Combine two cups of almond milk, two cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pot. Whisk vigorously for a couple of minutes on medium-high heat for a creamy topping for your healthy pasta.
 

healthy holiday swaps 5 through 10

 

Candied Yams ➡️ Roasted Sweet Potatoes

 
Right out the gate (or oven), the word “candied” should set off a red flag. Candied yams aren’t even a side dish. They’re a dessert dressed up as a part of the main course. 
 
You can still get the sweetness you love out of candied yams with regular sweet potatoes. They even have the word “sweet” in the name.
 
Sweet potatoes are a gut-healing powerhouse. They are chock full of antioxidants that help fight off inflammation. Plus, they are a significant source of resistant starch that helps feed probiotic bacteria and makes us feel satiated longer. 

 

Eggnog ➡️ Cinnamon Tea and Golden Milk Latte

 
Eggnog is an excellent way for kids and adults alike to partake in holiday traditions. As we keep saying, everything is fine in moderation. However, eggnog is rich in unhealthy fats that can linger into the next calendar year. 
 
Literally cut the fat with cinnamon tea. Cinnamon contains an aromatic chemical (terpene) known as cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde influences thermogenic processes. That means cinnamon heats things up. This reaction makes cinnamon an excellent fat-burner…and organic lip plumper!
 
If tea isn’t your thing, consider a golden milk latte. This beverage has a thicker consistency that is similar to eggnog. However, it comes with far more benefits.
 
A golden milk latte is made with turmeric powder. Turmeric contains unique compounds known as curcuminoids. Curcuminoids help fight inflammation while improving blood circulation.

 

Hot Chocolate ➡️ Homemade Hot Cocoa

 
Nothing beats sitting around a warm fire with a cup of hot cocoa. Unfortunately, store-bought mixes are teeming with refined sugars that will have the kids waiting up for reindeer all night long! Instead of using packaged hot chocolate, make it from scratch. 
 
Melt unsweetened chocolate on the stovetop. Once melted, add in the goodies. Use natural sweeteners, such as maple syrup, vanilla extract, or food-grade peppermint essential oils, to help give this holiday treat a little more flavor!

 

Alcohol ➡️ Kombucha

 
The holidays come with a lot of parties. That means a lot of cocktails, especially if you’re not keen on your in-laws! Unfortunately, the holiday hangover can continue long after you put down the bottle. Too much alcohol can destroy healthy stomach bacteria, leaving the body prone to pathogens.
 
A light alcoholic beverage that will boost your gut health is kombucha. This beverage ferments yeast in a tea. Yeast feasts on carbohydrates in the tea, enriching the brew with probiotic bacteria and digestive enzymes.
 
The fermentation process naturally produces alcohol. So, kombucha might not be suitable for all ages.

 

Holiday Cookies ➡️ Coconut Macaroons

 
The holidays bring a surplus of cookies that pack on unwanted pounds. You can still have a sweet tooth and snack responsibly this holiday season. Swap out your go-tos for savory coconut macaroons.
 
These creamy treats have far fewer calories than most baked goods. Plus, they contain a suitable amount of fiber to help detoxify the body post-holidays.
 
Coconuts are rich in healthy fats. We keep putting down fats, but our body does need them. It uses healthy fats to help repair our gut lining and improve nutrient absorption. 

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Have a New Year’s Resolution for Gut Health? 7 Ways to Keep It!

A new year is quickly approaching. Time to make a New Year’s Resolution for 2021! After the year we just had, many people pick achieving optimal wellness as a New Year’s Resolution. With interests in probiotics supplements growing, many of these New Year’s Resolutions are centering around the gut microbiome. Unfortunately, many people don’t see their New Year’s Resolutions through. So, here are 7 ways to keep your New Year’s Resolution for Gut Health!

 

Why Make a New Year’s Resolution for Gut Health?

 
As Baby New Year crawls in, it’s time to look at some advice from dad. The “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates stated, “All disease begins in the gut.”
 
While that notion has long since been debated, there is no denying that our gut bacteria play a significant impact on every aspect of our lives. Fixing your gut health is more than getting your digestive system on track.
 
Making a New Year’s Resolution for gut health is the ultimate way to crush your overall health goals. Improving your gut microbiome with good bacteria can have such a beneficial impact on your day-to-day life.
 
new year's resolution for gut health benefits
 
A New Year’s Resolution for gut health may support:
• Mood
• Digestive Tract
• Weight Loss
• Immune System
• Sleep Cycle
• Skin Health
 
Whether you want to run a marathon, bench 250, or lose 100 pounds, you need to put your best foot forward. You need your mind, body, and immunity to push through the rough patches. All of these factors are influenced by your gut health.
 
In turn, you won’t be bogged down as you focus on the things that really matter. We’re talking about diet and exercise! Instead of worrying about all of the aforementioned issues that plague your life, you can pay attention to the tasks at hand. Here are 7 ways to stick with your New Year’s Resolution for gut health.

 

How to Keep New Year’s Resolution for Gut Health

 
Unfortunately, just 8% of people meet their New Year’s Resolution goals [1]. Don’t let that bog you down! 8% is much better odds than 1%, yet we all try to become rich every day! While we can’t give you tips on making your financial portfolio grow, we have some ideas on how to keep your New Year’s Resolution for gut health. Here’s how!
 
how to improve your gut health in new year's

 

Write Them Down

 
If you’re going to make any goal, New Year’s Resolution or not, get in the habit of writing it down. Jotting down your New Year’s Resolution for better digestive health makes you 42% more likely to achieve this benchmark [2].
 
The average person has upwards of 60,000 thoughts per day [3]. A New Year’s Resolution for gut health might as well be the 60,001 thought. Putting this idea down on paper makes it a tangible item.
 
You now have a tangible item to attach to your thoughts. With this physical reminder, your New Year’s Resolution for gut health can actually become actionable.
 
When you write down a New Year’s Resolution for gut health and look at it, you create a muscle and visual memory. Your hippocampus takes in this info and stores it into your cortex for future recall.
 
Also, every day you see this goal and realize you are making gains, it will set off endorphins. A physical reminder in this written statement can invoke introspection that makes you feel better about yourself.
 
Seeing these lifestyle changes come to fruition can help your confidence, perhaps easing some symptoms associated with anxiety or depression.
 
With written reminders, sticking to your New Year’s Resolution will be more likely. That’s because your brain will remind you more often. It’ll poke you with a hypothetical stick, so you meet your goals.

 

Be Specific

 
Another benefit of writing down your New Year’s Resolutions is that this exercise opens up the floodgate to more writing.s
 
A New Year’s Resolution for gut health is excellent and all, but what does it even mean? What is gut health?
 
Gut health is a unique journey for everyone.
 
We all need to accomplish different things to achieve this destination, which has no end.
 
For some, a New Year’s Resolution for gut health may include cutting back on sweets and adding in more vegetables. While others need to cut down on stress and amp up physical activity.
 
Figure out the main obstacles you perceive having in your quest to accomplish your New Year’s Resolution for gut health. These are the demons you must battle the next 365 days.

 

Consult Your Doctor

 
Even the healthiest person can succumb to unforeseen illnesses. It is important to get a physical every few years to check in with your physical wellbeing. You need a health professional to give you a look-see to make sure everything is on the up and up.
 
If it’s been a long time since you had a physical, then consider this your reminder. When you talk to your doctor, discuss how often you should come back.
 
A wellness exam might not be necessary every year [4]. For some, especially elderly people, having an annual exam is an excellent form of preventative care.
 
It can also help you pinpoint any additional obstacles that might trigger a potential New Year’s Resolution for gut health failure. You need to learn to have an open conversation with your healthcare provider.

 

Food Journal

 
Take an inventory of the foods you eat and the digestive health issues you feel afterward. You and your doctor might make a fascinating deduction about your health.
 
For instance, healthy foods like legumes and beans might be causing your constipation or diarrhea. Perhaps you’re not getting all the nutrients from your foods? Maybe you’re allergic to dairy?
 
Figure out what foods are triggering discomfort. Notice how you feel mentally and physically when you eat them. These realizations can bring a lot of relief to your body!
 
new year's resolution for gut health tips

 

Find an Exercise You Enjoy

 
Yeah, you’re not going to get out of exercising. This activity is essential for all aspects of your health, especially the gut. Let’s face it. Is your gut really going to get healthy if it’s smothered in fat tissue? Most likely not.
 
Most new gym memberships take place between January and March. You have those who start off the year ready to go, while others mull the resolution over in their heads for the first couple of months.
 
No matter what their journey to the gym is, there is $1.8 billion worth of unused gym memberships in this world. That’s a lot of wasted money on an activity that you may not enjoy. Then, find an exercise routine that works for you.
 
Try:
• Yoga
• Pilates
• Boxing
• CrossFit
• Hiking in Nature
• Running
• Krav Maga or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
 
You also don’t need to spend money to get a workout on. There are high-quality workouts all over YouTube. Buy a yoga mat and do a 20-minute Vinyasa Flow. Get some resistance bands and try a Pilates class on. Buy nothing and follow along with a cardio video. The options are endless. It’s the excuses that run out.

 

Meditate

 
Thinking about your goals can actually help you manifest them. Turn your New Year’s Resolution for gut health into a mantra and meditate. You’ll be shocked at the results.

 

Lower Stress

 
For one, meditation lowers stress levels. Stress is one of the primary causes of long-term inflammation. Chronic inflammation is when things really go downhill.
 
One analysis explained,
 

“Stress is the common risk factor of 75%–90% diseases, including the diseases which cause the foremost morbidity and mortality. Accumulating literatures showed that excessive inflammation directly contribute to pathophysiology of stress-related diseases [5].”

 FRONT HUM NEUROSCI

When you suffer from chronic inflammation, then your gut barrier becomes compromised. As a result, you run the risk of developing GI conditions such as Leaky Gut Syndrome.

 

Improves Focus

 
To achieve a goal, such as a New Year’s Resolution for gut health, you need discipline. For discipline, you must focus on the task at hand. One study found that even brief meditation can boost the focus for meditation novices [6].
 
All you need to do is sit down as straight as possible. The goal is to align the head, heart, and pelvis. Take deep breaths and envision the gut health you desire. Try five minutes at first. Attempt to work your way up to 20; however, the sky is the limit!
 
If you can’t meditate on your own, there are many meditation videos online. Someone can guide you through meditations to help you clear your mind, improve your mind, or meet your goals. Just browse the thousands of videos and see what speaks to you.
 
For those who still can’t get into meditation, try yoga. Yoga is like meditation, but with movement. You merge your breath with movement. So, you stop thinking about daily stresses and get your body into shape. All of these little benefits will help you meet your New Year’s Resolution for gut health.

 

Look Up Gut Health Recipes

 
You’re going to have to eat. Unfortunately, many of the dietary decisions you made up until now most likely weren’t the best for gut health. So, you need to shift your choices to align with a healthy gut diet plan.

 

Acknowledge the Bad

 
First, acknowledge the foods that are ruining your goals. There are many usual suspects out there. You want to cut down on the sweets, preservatives, and artificial flavorings.
 
Also, cut down on excessive animal fats. There are health benefits to red meat and cheese, but there’s also such a thing as overdoing it.
 
If you are in the department that prefers beef over chicken, be sure you are eating the highest quality meat. You want to consume grass-fed animals that aren’t farmed with hormones or feed grown with pesticides.

 

Get Lean Proteins

 
Protein might be the most essential part of the healthy gut diet plan. They are rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. We need amino acids for thousands of functions, including repairing our gut lining.
 
Lean protein options include:
• Chicken
• Salmon
• Turkey
• Eggs
• Soy
• Seeds
• Nuts
 
These proteins have more omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6s. You can get a majority of omega-6 fatty acids from animal fats. So, try incorporating more of the foods above to help bring balance to your gut biome.

 

Try Fermented Foods

 
Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria. When you consume foods rich in probiotics, they come with a load of benefits. For one, probiotics secrete short-chain fatty acids. These are essential for the rejuvenation of cells in your stomach.
 
Also, probiotics help keep pathogenic bacteria at bay. That way, your immune system doesn’t work overtime. In turn, you will also have less inflammation destroying your gut lining.
 
Some of the best fermented foods include:
• Kombucha
• Kefir
• Yogurt
• Kimchi
• Kraut
• Tempeh
 
Don’t eat fermented foods with Candida overgrowth. Candida may feast on the sugars the probiotic bacteria are consuming, as well. Since Candida grows so fast, they may overtake the beneficial microbes in your fermented foods.

 

Eat Prebiotics

 
We talked a little about bacteria in fermented foods eating. The ones in your gut need to, as well. If you are going to have a New Year’s Resolution for gut health, you need to help the microbes grow. To do this, you must eat prebiotics.
 
Prebiotics are dietary fibers that are body doesn’t break down. Instead, the beneficial stomach bacteria in our microbiome do. In turn, they release short-chain fatty acids into our system.
 
Some of the best prebiotics for probiotics include:
• Artichokes
• Onions
• Garlic
• Greens
• Sweet Potatoes
 
Sounds like a lot of changes to implement? Well, there are some ways to make finding gut health recipes easier. It’s called the Thryve Inside Gut Health Program

 

Join The Thryve Inside Gut Health Program

 
A New Year’s Resolution for gut health doesn’t happen overnight. You need to work at it. Just like some people need a trainer in the gym, you may need a guide in the gut health realm. Let us be that guide by joining the Thryve Inside Gut Health Program. Here’s how.

 

Microbiome Testing

 
Thryve Microbiome Testing Kit
 
The first step to meet your New Year’s Resolution for gut health is to test your microbiome. You need to find out which stomach bacteria you have, and which intestinal flora you require. We’ll send you everything you to test your gut at-home.
 
Just send us a sample from your toilet paper, and we will analyze your DNA. From there, we create an in-depth analysis of your gut biome and actionable plan.

 

Custom Probiotics Supplements

 
We throw the one-size-fits-all approach to probiotics out the window. Based on your gut test results, we recommend a proprietary probiotic blend. Our supplements include bacteria that your gut might be lacking and beneficial microbes that help fight off pathogens.
 
Furthermore, our blend includes prebiotics. That way, the bacteria have a better chance of surviving. Plus, they’ll already start the process of creating short-chain fatty acids that may improve your gut barrier.

 

Healthy Gut Diet Plan

 
Remember those recipes you were supposed to look up? We have a complete database for you. Our recipe book is bursting with delicious entrees that will leave you (and your bacteria) full. Meet your wellness goals by making a New Year’s Resolution for gut health. Take the time to Thryve Inside.

 

Click Here To View Resources

 

Resources

 
[1] Diamond, Dan. “Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s How They Do It.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 2 Jan. 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/#51283d54596b.
 
[2] Economy, Peter. “This Is the Way You Need to Write Down Your Goals for Faster Success.” Inc.com, Inc., 28 Feb. 2018, www.inc.com/peter-economy/this-is-way-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-for-faster-success.html.
 
[3] Verma, Prakhar. “Destroy Negativity From Your Mind With This Simple Exercise.” Mission.org, Medium, 27 Nov. 2017, medium.com/the-mission/a-practical-hack-to-combat-negative-thoughts-in-2-minutes-or-less-cc3d1bddb3af.
 
[4] Heid, Markham. “Is an Annual Physical Exam Really Necessary?” Time, Time, 10 Jan. 2018, time.com/5095920/annual-physical-exam/.
 
[5] Liu, Y. Z., Wang, Y. X., & Jiang, C. L. (2017). Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases. Frontiers in human neuroscience11, 316. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00316
 
[6] Norris, C. J., Creem, D., Hendler, R., & Kober, H. (2018). Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Attention in Novices: Evidence From ERPs and Moderation by Neuroticism. Frontiers in human neuroscience12, 315. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00315
 

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5 Skincare Ingredients for a Vibrant and Healthy Glow!

A thriving gut means a healthy immune system. However, did you know that our gut also has control over our skin? Everything from your hair length to nail strength to skin conditions like psoriasis all might be because of your gut health. This complex relationship is known as the gut-skin axis. Here are the best natural skincare ingredients your diet and skin needs to remain vibrant
 
It is all the more critical, then, to be extra cautious about what to put on your skin. If you want both your skin and your gut to thrive, you should only be using ingredients that would benefit the skin microbiome.

 

What is the Skin Microbiome?

 
Without going too much into the technicalities, the skin microbiome is basically a whole community of organisms that live on the skin. However, it’s a tad more complicated than that. Certified dermatologist Carsten Flohr explains that the skin microbiome includes bacteria, viruses, and fungi and that this ecosystem controls a lot about our skin tone, moisture, and health. 
 
These beings are our protectors. They stop toxins and potential pathogens from penetrating the skin’s barrier and entering the system. In fact, they’re smarter than some of our human cells. 
 
One meta-analysis of the skin microbiome explains,
 

“Many of these microorganisms are harmless and in some cases provide vital functions that the human genome has not evolved…These microorganisms may also have a role in educating the billions of T cells that are found in the skin, priming them to respond to similarly marked pathogenic cousins [1].”

 NAT REV MICROBIOL.

 
That’s right! Your skin bacteria even influence immune responses. So, they can help fight off the growth of free radicals that develop into melanoma, modulate inflammation that causes eczema or improve skin texture by destroying pathogenic bacteria.
 
Considering how there are hundreds of species of bacteria and thousands of strains that coexist in harmony, having a diverse balance is crucial to having a happy microbiome. This means that you should see to it that it’s well taken care of, and that includes being careful about the clothes you wear and the things you put on the skin.
 
From how well the products are absorbed all the way to the overall health of the skin, the products we use play a big part in ensuring our wellbeing. The last thing you want is to throw off the skin’s microbiota, which can lead to acne, skin inflammation, and other issues.

 

Best Skincare Ingredients for a Healthy Skin Microbiome

 

DIY skincare ingredients for skin healthAll-natural skincare ingredients you can get anywhere!

 
We all want to look our best. Looking healthy begins with the skin. This exterior is the first thing people see. We all have specific skincare needs.
 
Some have sensitive skin. Others are looking for naturally hydrating creams. While many others need an anti-aging remedy.
 
The best skincare ingredients for a healthy skin microbiome check all those boxes. Here are some items to add to your shopping list!
 

Collagen

 
Collagen happens to be the most abundant protein in your body. It makes up 90% of the connective tissue and organic bone mass and 70% of the skin. If you think about it, it holds the body together. 
 
A review of Frozen Collagen on PrettyMe highlights, collagen offers tons of other benefits. Collagen promotes a more youthful complexion, firmer, tighter skin, and fewer acne breakouts. It can even stimulate your body to produce collagen on its own, hence why it’s useful in reducing wrinkles. 
 
There are many collagen-based skincare products that you can add to your beauty list. Just be aware of artificial ingredients in the formula. These additives can penetrate the skin’s barrier and cause an adverse immune reaction. 
 
One of the most effective ways to add collagen to your routine is by consuming bone broth. Bone broth is also enriched with collagen’s buddy, elastin. As the name implies, elastin helps maintain skin elasticity.
 
Your body needs Vitamin C in order to produce collagen. Be sure to enrich your bone broth with Vitamin C-rich foods, such as bell peppers and broccoli.
 
Plus, these particular bone broth ingredients are excellent sources of ascorbic acid. This plant-based molecule promotes skin health on a cellular level. Research indicates that ascorbic acid reweaves skin fibers and binds cells together to create a natural, radiant glow [2].

 

Oats

 
Many skincare products are laden with fillers that contain potential allergens like gluten that give certain creams or lotions their texture. Other companies might even include a chemical exfoliant to wipe away dead skin cells. Oats are a wonderful exfoliant and are naturally gluten-free!
 
Oats shouldn’t only be your go-to breakfast — they should be your go-to for skincare ingredients, too. They are an abundant source of avenanthramides. Research shows that avenanthramides in oats are potent antioxidants that exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties [3].
 
Studies also note that oats are useful for preventing itching. So, try throwing some oat into your bath if you break out from poison ivy, eczema, or psoriasis.
 
Lastly, oats are ideal for acne-prone skin because they have the ability to absorb oil from the skin’s surface. It’s no wonder why big brands have oats in their products!

 

Avocados

 
Avocados are more than just a brunch upgrade. They’re the perfect base for DIY face masks! This fruit contains an abundance of fatty acids.
 
Fatty acids help soothe inflamed skin. They also contain amino acids that help create new skin cells.
 
In addition, avocados contain a significant amount of niacinamide (Vitamin B3). Niacinamide is essential for retaining moisture. It works in unison with healthy fatty acids to create a lock along the skin’s barrier that prevents water from escaping into the atmosphere.
 
Also, niacinamide is vital for keratin production [4]. Keratin is a protein that binds to your hair follicles. When keratin is present, your hair will look thicker, fuller, and more voluminous.
 
If you do make an avocado face mask, consider adding some organic cane sugar as your natural exfoliant. Sugar cane is rich in alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), including glycolic acid. Glycolic acid improves skin elasticity and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles [5].

 

Aloe Vera

 
Aloe vera is a who’s who for skincare ingredients. It contains many essential vitamins and minerals that heal and repair the skin [6].
 
Important skin-healing compounds in aloe vera include:
20 Amino Acids
Calcium
Choline
Sodium
Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene and Retinol)
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vitamin B12
Zinc Oxide
 
In particular, aloe vera is an excellent source of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide has been shown to protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays naturally. That’s why aloe vera and zinc oxide are commonly listed skincare ingredients in mass-produced post-sun skincare products.
 
Before you go shopping for aloe vera gel, make sure you read the labels carefully. Many of the synthetic ingredients in these remedies can clog your pores or cause inflammatory responses.
 
Research shows that zinc oxide derivatives of aloe vera can also prevent skin infection by preventing the growth of Escherichia coli (E.coli) [7]. These antibacterial benefits are precisely why aloe vera is one of the top 12 supplements for Leaky Gut Syndrome. Aloe vera also contains digestive enzymes that help break down sugars that might cause digestive issues.

 

Probiotics

 
The probiotics you take for your gut can help boost the skin’s microbiome. New York-based dermatologist Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin M.D explains how probiotics can decrease inflammation that occurs with conditions like acne and rosacea. 
 
Probiotic bacteria communicate with immune system cells. They can prevent inflammation from destroying healthy skin cells. Simultaneously, probiotics also protect the entire gut microbiome from toxins within our small intestine. 
 
Without sufficient probiotic bacteria, pathogens get on the loose. They can incite inflammation that creates dead skin cells along the skin’s barrier. It also leaves the body susceptible to free radicals that can cause cancer or accelerate aging skin. 
 
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics. It also contains lactic acid, which is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). Lactic acid helps maintain pH balance on the skin so that pathogens don’t cause inflammation.
 
When you’re looking for probiotic-rich products, be sure to include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, as they’re known for locking in moisture and smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While there still needs to be further research on topical probiotics, early lab studies suggest that they may regulate the skin microbiome and restore barrier function [8].
 
The key to improving your skin via the gut-skin axis to make sure you have a diverse gut microbiome. However, the only way to know which bacteria you truly need is to get your gut tested. At Thryve, we send you everything you need to test your gut at home.
 
We take those results and offer you a probiotic recommendation that’s tailored to your gut. That way, you don’t run the risk of adding extra bacteria into your system you already have. 
 
If that were to happen, you would run the risk of creating an environment conducive to bacterial overgrowth. Therefore, generic probiotics might not be the answer you’re looking for. Take the guesswork out of your natural skincare routine by using your own DNA. Get a Thryve Gut Health Test Kit today!

 

What to Look Out For in Skincare Ingredients

 
There are many toxic skincare ingredients out there. Just make sure you read the labels carefully so that you don’t reverse all the benefits you were hoping to achieve.

 

toxic beauty ingredientsRead the labels. They’re warning signs!

Keep an eye out for some of these usual suspects in beauty products:
Parabens
Triclosan
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Formaldehyde
Phthalates
 
When in doubt, make your own skincare products. Create face masks with avocados or honey. Use clay and sugar to make a rejuvenating scrub. Mix and match citrus essential oils with thicker carrier oils like rosehip oil to introduce some beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), like salicylic acid, deep into your pores.
 
The fun part about DIY skincare is you can tailor the formula to meet your needs and preferences. You have all the say on your skin-care ingredients. Be sure to do your due diligence. Protect your gut and skin at the same time by using organic whenever possible.
 
Healing your body from the inside will shine through on the outside. Stop eating artificial foods and preservatives. Then, quit adding them to your skin! By caring for the gut-skin axis, you will look good AND feel good, too!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 
[1] Grice, E. A., & Segre, J. A. (2011). The skin microbiome. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 9(4), 244–253. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro2537.
 
[2] University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. “The Benefits of Topical Vitamin C.” UW Health, 4 Mar. 2013, www.uwhealth.org/madison-plastic-surgery/the-benefits-of-topical-vitamin-c/13462.
 
[3] I. Alkalay, A. Yaron, et al. “Avenanthramides, Polyphenols from Oats, Exhibit Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Itch Activity.” Archives of Dermatological Research, Springer-Verlag, 1 Jan. 1995, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-008-0858-x.
 
[4] Gehring W. (2004). Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 3(2), 88–93. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-2130.2004.00115.x.
 
[5] Bernstein, Eric Ferenec, et al. “Glycolic Acid Treatment Increases Type I Collagen MRNA and Hyaluronic Acid Content of Human Skin.” ResearchGate, Dermatologic Surgery 27(5):429 – 433, May 2001, www.researchgate.net/publication/227897984_Glycolic_Acid_Treatment_Increases_Type_ I_Collagen_mRNA_and_Hyaluronic_Acid_Content_of_Human_Skin.
 
[6] Hekmatpou, D., Mehrabi, F., Rahzani, K., & Aminiyan, A. (2019). The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review. Iranian journal of medical sciences, 44(1), 1–9.
 
[7] Athiban, P. P., Borthakur, B. J., Ganesan, S., & Swathika, B. (2012). Evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of Aloe vera and its effectiveness in decontaminating gutta percha cones. Journal of conservative dentistry : JCD, 15(3), 246–248. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-0707.97949.
 
[8] Kober, M. M., & Bowe, W. P. (2015). The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging. International journal of women’s dermatology, 1(2), 85–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2015.02.001.
 

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10 STARTLING Things That Promote An Unhealthy Gut Microbiome

The world is waking up to the fact that our gut health is essential for regulating mental well-being, weight control, skincare, and gastrointestinal issues. While following a healthy gut diet plan, getting a microbiome testing kit, and taking personalized probiotics can help fight off bad bacteria, these steps are just the beginning. There’s more to maintaining a healthy gut microbiome than feeding it beneficial bacteria. It’s also about saving your good bacteria from things that may damage them.
 
As humans, we live a life of convenience. Our fast-paced lives mean we are always short on time. Therefore, we live a world of to-go containers, zapped meals, and medications. While convenient for our day-to-day lives, these conveniences inconveniently cause an unhealthy gut. Let’s take a look at 10 things you’d never expect to cause poor gut health!

 

What Causes Poor Gut Health?

 

For the 60 to 70 million people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, most of these cases didn’t happen overnight [1]. Poor gut health is typically an amalgamation of a lifetime’s worth of decisions.
 
Unfortunately, our lifestyles are set up to make us into more productive human beings, not healthier human beings. With fast-food restaurants on every corner, artificial ingredients added to “healthy foods,” and pesticides tainting our crops, our system is destined for failure.
 
Thankfully, the world is catching onto many of these issues. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in organic foods and follow a healthy gut diet plan.
 
That is why the Thryve Gut Health Program is broken into three distinct phases:
 How Thryve Gut Health Program Helps Good Bacteria
The three steps to reclaiming your health

 
Microbiome Testing – Determine Which Gut Bacteria You Have
Personalized Probiotics – Formulate Supplement Based on Gut Health Test
Healthy Gut Diet Plan – Prebiotics for Probiotics Recommendations and Nutritional Content

 

10 Unexpected Things That Compromise Balance of Bacteria 

 
To achieve optimal gut health, there are little changes you need to make in your everyday life. Unfortunately, some of these changes will be inconvenient. These tips are more than tips to overcome a poor diet. Items on this list and the effects they have on your digestive system might cause you to start replacing items around your house. 
 
This list is by no means a reason to throw everything out! It’s to create food for thought. However, a tag sale might not be a bad thing….
 
When these items do run its course in your household, and it’s time to replace them, perhaps you might make a different decision. Every little step you take toward good gut health is one step closer to a quality life. Here are some everyday items that, in the long term, might cause bacterial overgrowth. An uneven balance of bacteria might trigger immune responses and, inevitably, compromise your overall health.
 

10 things that compromise Balance of Bacteria
Didn’t think these would do harm, huh?

 

Antibiotics

 
Don’t get us wrong! There is a place in this world for antibiotics. We need them…just not as much as they’re being prescribed. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 47 million unnecessary antibiotics are prescribed each year [2].
 
The problem with prescribing too many antibiotics is that antibiotics can’t kill viruses, viruses are tricky. Viruses sort of work like our immune system in that they plan ways to survive. Research shows that viruses can infiltrate and influence good bacteria to fight off immune responses [3]. When antibiotics wipe out the gut bacteria, all that’s left is a virus that can cause a number of health conditions.
 
The other tricky with antibiotics is actually why our CEO, Richard Lin, found Thryve in the first place. Richard needed a round of antibiotics, and these meds did their job. Antibiotics wipe out harmful bacteria…and beneficial bacteria too.
 
As a result of this empty nest, the evil birds flocked in first. They stuck their claim and wouldn’t let the good birds in. Opportunistic bacteria winning the war landed Richard in the hospital for months in a quest to heal his gastrointestinal distress. Finally, Richard discovered probiotics and reclaimed his gut health from the damage of antibiotics.
 
Recent research suggests taking probiotic supplements for gut health regularly may lower the need for antibiotic use [4]:
 

“Given the potential public health risks of widespread antibiotic misuse, innovative strategies for addressing this problem are urgently needed. “This publication is proof-of-concept that taking probiotics on a regular basis deserves consideration as a way to reduce the over-prescription of antibiotics.”

– Prof. Daniel Merenstein MD, Georgetown University School of Medicine

If you are prescribed antibiotics, please have an open discussion with your doctor. In the case where your doctor says antibiotics are a must, please supplement with probiotics.

 

Bottled Water

 
Humans have a plastic issue. We rely on this synthetic material for everything. From food storage to carrying our groceries to building our cars, plastic rules the world. It’s also starting to rule our bodies.
 
While all forms of plastic are a cause for concern, there’s one we should be worried about the most worried about is Bisphenol A (BPA). Research indicates that BPA mimics estrogen in our bodies [5].
 
While estrogen is essential for humans to function correctly, many people (namely men) don’t need any added exposure. Perhaps, this is part of the reason for the rise in infertility?
 
The problem with BPA is that these synthetic ingredients can leach into foods, water and permeate through our skin. One study found that 72% of 455 common household containers (including hypodermic syringes and food processor containers) released an alarming number of estrogen-like compounds into the drinks, medications, and foods they held [6].

 

Cell Phones

 
Cell phones are more than just a means of communication. They’re also a way to avoid talking to strangers while waiting for a bus. However, these convenient devices may pose a gut health threat.
 
The world is preparing to go 5G, but there is a growing concern for the effects that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have on our bodies.
 
In 2011, 77% of Americans owned smartphones. Today 95% do [7]. This increase only means there’s more EMFs floating around. And while we’re making this big step to 5G, we still don’t know the long-term effects of cell phones. However, preliminary reports are frightening.
 
One study found the EMFs found in our everyday electronic devices actually stimulate our intestinal flora. In particular, EMFs facilitate the growth of Escherichia coli (E.Coli) [8].
 
When there are too much of the gut bacteria, E.Coli, in the system, you may exhibit symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), or Leaky Gut Syndrome.

 

Dental Work

 
Open wide! Our dental health may be having an adverse effect on our gut health. Anything you introduce to your mouth is going to enter your system, including the materials used in your dental procedures.
 
The greatest cause of concern for your gut health lies in your fillings. Most silver fillings are a combo of:
 • Copper
 • Silver
 • Mercury
 
These heavy metals are three of 23 heavy metals that “in small amounts, they are required for maintaining good health, but in larger amounts, they can become toxic or dangerous [9].”
 
One study about the effects of heavy metals on the microbiome found that these toxins can alter gut flora [10]. This study focused on arsenic, arsenic, cadmium, and nickel. While these heavy metals aren’t used to craft dental fillings, those three are also named as the 23 heavy metals that “that are of concern for us because of residential or occupational exposure.” You are the company you keep.
 
Every time we chew, it wears away at our filling. Therefore, these heavy metals are continually entering our system. That’s why research suggests if you have more than eight fillings, you may have elevated levels of mercury in your blood [11].

 

“Gluten Free” Foods

 
We’ve already become well-acquainted with the horror stories of gluten. Not only is there a rise in Celiac Disease, but gluten has become one of the top food intolerances across the nation. Sadly, our food practices are starting to impede on organic foods and gluten-free foods incorporated in a healthy diet.
 
One study examined 22 genetically gluten-free grains for gluten. All contained some traces of gluten. In fact, 32% had so much gluten; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wouldn’t classify the product as gluten-free [12].
 
As the study concluded, “Gluten contamination of inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours not labeled gluten-free is a legitimate concern.” No, really! People who are making health-conscious decisions are only perpetuating their food allergies.
 
The reason for these alarming stats is cross-contamination. Therefore, gluten is in our environment and is being blown about with the wind and dispersed by birds and insects.
 
Furthermore, gluten-free manufacturers are operating in gluten-tainted facilities. The particles are still in the warehouse and are carried over to the new batch of products.
 
It’s the same concept as companies that manufacture goods in the same warehouse as “peanuts, soy, etc.” They put a warning label on their foods because their goods might still spark immune responses caused by food allergies.

 

Indoor Air Pollution

 
Sick of your co-workers? Well, they’re making you sick. In fact, the whole workplace is. Our office is a breeding ground for illness. For one, you’re in close-quarters eight hours per day for five days per week. With poor ventilation in many office buildings, we sit amongst stagnant air and germs.
 
On top of human bacteria, we are then exposed to chemicals. There’s heavy-duty cleaning supplies, chemicals from copy machines, and the overuse of hand sanitizer always in use in closed office spaces. Our lungs must filter germs, synthetic chemicals, and human-made fragrances all day long. That’s a lot of indoor pollution to filter through.
 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranked indoor pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health [13]. Seeing as we spend 90% of our day indoors, our gut health is under constant attack and may need the extra strength of probiotics.

 

Cosmetics

 
Our skin also has bacteria that help protect us from viruses and other pathogens. Unfortunately, we paint all over these healthy bacteria with lotions, makeup, and bronzers every day. We are snuffing out our natural bacteria with synthetic ingredients that actually do more harm to our skin (and overall health) than good.
 
The average woman has 515 synthetic cosmetic ingredients in her beauty routine. These ingredients permeate through our skin and enter the microbiome through the gut-skin-axis. Here, a litany of gut health issues can occur.
 
For instance, one of the most common artificial ingredients in cosmetics is a form of parabens. These gelatinous-like particles give our cosmetics viscosity. Unfortunately, these molecules also mimic estrogen. Therefore, our cosmetics are also throwing off our hormone levels.
 
Then there’s triclosan, which is used in everything from toothpastes to cookware to hand soap. This additive is useful in destroying harmful bacteria. However, it also accumulates in the gut microbiome and has shown to destroy gut bugs conducive to a healthy lifestyle in vertebrates [14].

 

Stress

 
Stress is killing us, literally. It is a primary culprit in so many of our health problems, including mental wellness and gastrointestinal disorders. Yet, we accept stress as part of being human. We need to change that mindset.
 
Research suggests stress triggers our immune cells to go wild [15]. They want to know what is causing us to feel so stressed. Our immune cells’ first response is to start inflammation.
 
Inflammation kills off the bad guys, anti-inflammatories take care of the inflammation, and all is well.
 
With stress, the flame keeps getting relit. Eventually, inflammation starts to burn the cells along our gut lining. In turn, this causes toxins from our intestines to enter our bloodstream.
 
Stress is literally eating us up inside, and it creates conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

 

Teflon Pans

 
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is not biodegradable and has a half-life in humans of three years [16]. PFOA is the main ingredient in most of our cooking ware, namely non-stick skillets and Teflon pans. With each stir-fry, we’re eating more teflon.
 
PFOA can also be found in:
 • Computer Parts
 • Coffee Cups
 • Clothing
 • Car Parts
 • Flooring
 
Unfortunately for us, research shows that PFOA disrupts immune cells. Seeing as a majority of our immune cells are made in the digestive tract, PFOA negatively impacts our gut health. In fact, research links this immune disruptor to ulcerative colitis [17].
 
Furthermore, Stockholm University’s Unit for Biochemical Toxicology released a report saying, they couldn’t pinpoint a low-enough dose of PFOA that didn’t have an impact on immune cells [18].

 

Canned Tuna

 
Tuna is a great way to get a lot of protein…and mercury. When you are buying tuna, please be careful about which type you are buying. White or albacore tuna has three times the mercury level (0.32 parts per million of mercury) as compared to light tuna (0.12 parts per million of mercury) [15].
 
If you are going to buy light tuna, look on the label for words such as “gourmet” or “torno.” That means the tuna was made with yellowfin, which has even higher mercury levels!
 
If you are using canned fish in your healthy gut diet plan, opt for canned salmon. It has much lower mercury levels. Plus, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Those who follow the typical SAD are low on these crucial fats.

 

Fix Your Life At First Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

 
Gut issues develop over time. Listen to your body. When you notice your physical health start to change, that means something is going on. Use those moments to assess what you’re doing that might be causing gut problems. 
 
At Thryve, we give you a starting point on your journey towards fixing your gut health. We send you a microbiome testing kit to help you determine the actual gut flora that’s causing digestive distress and health concerns. 
 
We can let you know which foods are the favorites of the bad bacteria in your gut microbiome. That way, you can ditch those foods to get a healthy balance of bacteria back in your system. Furthermore, we let you know which prebiotic-rich foods the probiotic bacteria you’re lacking enjoy. Our program also suggests hundreds of recipes with these prebiotic foods to ensure the growth of these good guys.
 
Lastly, you can opt into a probiotic recommendation tailored to your gut. The key to a healthy body is bacterial diversity. Getting this probiotic is the last step in experiencing all the Thryve Gut Health Program’s health benefits. 
 
After you get your food sensitivities and bacteria imbalance under control, you will have a solid foundation towards your wellness goals. That’s when you can start making little changes, like the ones we suggested here. 
 
You can even begin with just one change today. After all, it was a culmination of decisions that caused gut problems in the first. It’ll be a culmination of healthy choices to fix it!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 
[1] “Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 Nov. 2014, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/digestive-diseases.
 
[2] “CDC Newsroom.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0503-unnecessary-prescriptions.html.
 
[3] University of Exeter. “Viruses Cooperate to Overcome Immune Defenses of Bacteria.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 19 July 2018, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180719142007.htm.
 
[4] ISAPPscience. “Scientific Analysis Shows Probiotic Use Is Associated with Fewer Antibiotic Prescriptions.” EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/isaf-sas091418.php.
 
[5] Bittner, G. D., Yang, C. Z., & Stoner, M. A. (2014). Estrogenic chemicals often leach from BPA-free plastic products that are replacements for BPA-containing polycarbonate products. Environmental health : a global access science source, 13(1), 41. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-41.
 
[6] Gao, H., Yang, B. J., Li, N., Feng, L. M., Shi, X. Y., Zhao, W. H., & Liu, S. J. (2015). Bisphenol A and hormone-associated cancers: current progress and perspectives. Medicine, 94(1), e211. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000000211.
 
[7] “Demographics of Mobile Device Ownership and Adoption in the United States.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 5 Feb. 2018, www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/.
 
[8] “Evaluation of the Effect of Radiofrequency Radiation Emitted From Wi-Fi Router and Mobile Phone Simulator on the Antibacterial Susceptibility of Pathogenic Bacteria Listeria Monocytogenes and Escherichia Coli.” SAGE Journals, journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1559325816688527.
 
[9] Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B. B., & Beeregowda, K. N. (2014). Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary toxicology, 7(2), 60–72. doi:10.2478/intox-2014-0009
 
[10] Richardson, Joshua B., et al. “Exposure to Toxic Metals Triggers Unique Responses from the Rat Gut Microbiota.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 26 Apr. 2018, www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-24931-w.
 
[11] “Have More than Eight Dental Fillings? It Could Increase the Mercury Levels in Your Blood.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 27 Sept. 2016, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160927143042.htm.
 
[12] Thompson, Tricia, et al. “Gluten Contamination of Grains, Seeds, and Flours in the United States: a Pilot Study.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20497786.
 
[13] “Why Indoor Air Quality Is Important to Schools.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 25 Oct. 2018, www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/why-indoor-air-quality-important-schools.
 
[14] Gaulke, C. A., Barton, C. L., Proffitt, S., Tanguay, R. L., & Sharpton, T. J. (2016). Triclosan Exposure Is Associated with Rapid Restructuring of the Microbiome in Adult Zebrafish. PloS one, 11(5), e0154632. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154632.
 
[15] Maydych V. (2019). The Interplay Between Stress, Inflammation, and Emotional Attention: Relevance for Depression. Frontiers in neuroscience, 13, 384. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00384.
 
[16] Steenland, K., Fletcher, T., & Savitz, D. A. (2010). Epidemiologic evidence on the health effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Environmental health perspectives, 118(8), 1100–1108. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.0901827.
 
[17] Steenland, K., Kugathasan, S., & Barr, D. B. (2018). PFOA and ulcerative colitis. Environmental research, 165, 317–321. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.05.007.
 
[18] Qazi MR, Xia Z, Bogdanska J, et al. The atrophy and changes in the cellular compositions of the thymus and spleen observed in mice subjected to short-term exposure to perfluorooctanesulfonate are high-dose phenomena mediated in part by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARalpha). Toxicology. 2009;260(1-3):68-76. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2009.03.009.
 

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11 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut and How to Improve Gut Health Naturally

Have you been feeling pretty dumpy, and something’s telling you that you might have an unhealthy gut? Okay, that something talking to you IS your gut. After all, the gut is your second brain. This smarty-pants controls more than just your digestive system. Microbes that live in your gut microbiome influence your overall health! 
 
There are many signs of an unhealthy gut that we’d never expect to be warning signals. However, your gut has an overarching connection to your immune system, mental wellness, and skin health. So, other changes in your overall health might really be signs of an unhealthy gut. Let’s discuss 11 signals that bad bacteria are causing a load of issues throughout the gut microbiome. 
 
11 signs of an unhealth gut
Poor gut health typically develops over time. The majority of us are born with a diverse microbiome, teeming with commensal bacteria that work together to keep everything going smoothly.
 
Over time, we adopt poor diet habits, get lazy with our workouts, endure daily stress, and other environmental factors begin to comprise good bacteria throughout the intestinal tract. 
 
Inevitably, bad bacteria can start to take over the system, causing several unfavorable symptoms. If you experience any of these warning signals below, there’s a good chance you are developing an unhealthy gut. 
 
You might want to consider buying a microbiome test to determine which gut flora is taking over. Based on the results, you can order custom probiotic supplements to help reclaim a balance of bacteria. 

 

Gut issues

 
Suffice to say; if you perceive you have an unhealthy gut, you’re probably experiencing a fair share of gut issues. Our digestive system has to put up many high-fat foods, artificial flavorings, and preservatives. A lifetime of these eating habits can cause several common symptoms associated with poor digestive health. 
 
Those who have an unhealthy gut can commonly experience the following digestive issues:
Abdominal Pain
• Bloating
Gas
Diarrhea
Constipation
Indigestion
Hemorrhoids 
 
Over time, bowel frequencies may change. These are clear indicators that you are in danger of developing a condition, such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBD). 

 

Weight gain and obesity

 
Many of us forget that we eat food for calories that our body converts into energy. Sure, tacos taste amazing, too. That’s just icing on the cake. Mmm…cake…You see why weight loss is so hard?!
 
When you have poor eating habits, your digestive system will get backed up. It just keeps storing your food calories in your adipose tissue that lines your belly. This region is where you backup storage for energy. 
 
However, we’re constantly eating. So, our body never gets to that reserve. It’s just always working on the newest item we just shoved down our throats. Inevitably, our good bacteria get overworked and overwhelmed, and we increase proinflammatory bacteria that contribute to energy harvesting. 
 
Not to mention, probiotic bacteria also get underfed. The good guys like good choices, like fruits and veggies. Bad guys enjoy fast food and ice cream. 
 
One meta-analysis of bacterial infection and weight gain noted,
 

“The association between the gut microbiota and obesity has also been observed in humans. In overweight/obese humans, low fecal bacterial diversity is associated with more marked overall adiposity and dyslipidemia, impaired glucose homeostasis and higher low-grade inflammation [1].”

 NUTR TODAY

Even more fascinating, researchers noted that those who are obese tend to have 90% less Bacteroidetes active cultures in their gut than people with a healthy digestive system. Subsequently, those who were obese had an abundance of opportunistic bacterial species, Firmicutes

 

Heartburn

 
Heartburn is the uncomfortable burning sensation you get when you have deep-fried Oreos at the fair or go HAM at the movies with candy rich in high-fructose corn syrup. It’s your entire digestive tract begging you for a little reprieve from these poor eating habits. 
 
Acid reflux happens when stomach acid begins to make its way back up the gastrointestinal tract, creeping up your esophagus. Chronic acid reflux can develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 
 
If you experience acid reflux symptoms more than a couple of times per week, you might also have an underlying condition. So, please speak to your physician or a GI doctor to figure out what’s going on. 

 

Food allergies and sensitivities

 
If you notice yourself becoming susceptible to many allergen triggers, then you might have an unhealthy gut or “leaky gut.” Beneficial gut bacteria produce digestive enzymes that help us break down difficult carbohydrates, such as lactose and gluten..When we lack a balance of bacteria, we have fewer hands on deck to help break down these dietary fibers. 
 
Instead, they set off an immune response. Immune system cells spark inflammation to help control the threat of these indigestible food compounds. This inflammation continues until the perceived threat is gone.
 
Unfortunately, the Western Diet is laden with artificial sweeteners, high-sugar foods, and dairy products. These become too much for our gut ecosystem, perpetuating a vicious cycle of chronic inflammation. 

 

Yeast infections

 
Bacterial infections aren’t the only microbes that get out of control when we have an unhealthy gut. Yeast infections are also extremely common. 
 
One study looked at the yeast and gut connection. In the study, antibiotics were applied to human cells to wipe out any gut flora [2]. 
 
Experts found that cells that had no bacterial activity were far more susceptible to a yeast infection. Furthermore, it took up to 40 days for the gut to restore itself post-antibiotics. 
 
In particular, Candida albicans took over. With over 47 million unnecessary antibiotics being written each year, no wonder why candidiasis is the number one fungal infection in the world.

 

Sugar cravings

 
Are you suddenly craving sweets when you didn’t use to? Perhaps you always did? No matter where you fall on this spectrum, sugar cravings are surefire signs of an unhealthy gut. 
 
Healthy bacteria like prebiotic-rich foods. These are fruits and veggies that are rich in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber that are not digestible by our body and end up being food for our good bacteria. 
 
Bad bacteria crave artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, and other processed foods that cause inflammatory responses. That way, there’s less probiotic bacteria to fight them off, making it easier for a bacterial overgrowth to happen. 
 
Sugar cravings can also be a sign of a fungal or yeast infection. Candida albicans love sugar. So, if you have Candida overgrowth, stay away from sugar…including natural sugars found in fermented foods
 

Skin problems

 
As we peel back the onion layers that are an unhealthy gut, you’ll see a common theme in the form of inflammation. Inflammation is the biggest threat to human health because it’s the precursor to all diseases. It destroys healthy cells, including the ones that make our skin glowing and elastic!
 
The gut-skin-axis is deeply entrenched with one another because our gut bacteria rely on the skin to protect the microbiome from environmental factors that can disrupt the natural flow of things. In fact, our skin is teeming with bacteria that have potent antimicrobial properties [3]!
 
So, when bacteria on the outside are doing their jobs, they’re expecting the same from the good bacteria within the human gut. Unfortunately, it’s a war zone in there! 
 
One common condition associated with skin problems is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). The SIBO-acne connection is strong because bad guys destroy healthy skin cells. When we have gut problems, it reflects as itchy, flaky, and reddish skin on the outside. 
 
If you develop patches of eczema or psoriasis out of nowhere, think about what you recently ate. Imagine classic movies when a person unknowingly eats shellfish. They get red and break out in hives. Trigger foods for food intolerance can cause skin flare-ups! 

 

Bad breath

 
It’s very common for people with poor gut health also to exhibit bad breath. One of the most common gut bugs associated with bad breath is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Studies have linked this particular bacterial species to halitosis [4]. 
 
As we mentioned earlier, specific bad bacteria produce a lot of methane. This methane will get trapped through your esophageal tract. That’s another reason why you may develop bad breath. It’s also why the most effective way to test for SIBO is a breath test! 

 

Sleep problems and chronic fatigue syndrome

 
Bacterial overgrowth disrupts things on a cellular level. So, your cells must start some physiological processes over again. Therefore, a microbial balance in the GI tract can throw off our circadian rhythm.
 
Cells require a 24-hour period to perform most of the processes necessary for healthy people to function [5]. This process is regulated by light absorbed through the pineal gland. 
 
The pineal gland uses sunlight to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, cells follow the same schedule as we do. In fact, they’re working around us!
 
Sleep is pivotal for cellular functions to happen. That’s when hormone levels even out, the immune system regroups, and our body gets a dang rest. When the 24-hour cycle gets thrown off rhythm, so does your sleep cycle.
 
That’s why we offer in-depth insights into your sleep hormone levels in the premium section of the Thryve Gut Health Program. Getting adequate sleep is the first step to reclaiming control of the microbial war in your gut. 
 
Hormonal imbalances caused by a lack of diversity in gut bugs inevitably disrupt more than just your sleep. It will alter your mood and focus, ultimately promoting Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Your days will be laden with brain fog and heavy eyes. 
 

Mental health issues

 
Remember when we said that the gut is your second brain? There’s a reason for this correlation. The gut-brain-axis is regulated by the vagus nerve [6].
 
Our vagus nerve spans the entire digestive tract. So, it has a perfect sense if the normal gut flora balance has been disrupted. This discrepancy is relayed back to the central nervous system. In turn, we may experience various symptoms of mood disorders.
 
There is growing research that psychobiotics may help prevent mood disorders caused by a decline in healthy bacteria. A recent study looked at the connection between the gut microbiome and mood. They found that Bacteroides create large quantities of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) [7]. 
 
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This hormone helps calm the system, ultimately lowering stress levels. When we experience stress, our body produces a ton of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. With the use of probiotic supplements, you might be able to help with some symptoms of mood disorders and improve your sleep patterns. 
 

Autoimmune conditions

 
Our immune system and bacterial cells communicate. In fact, they go way back to our mom’s womb. They have each other’s backs (or guts…or cells…) so much that over 80% of our immune system cells reside within our gut microbiome.
 
This placement isn’t by mistake. Our gut is in close proximity to our small intestine. This organ is essential for nutrient absorption. 
 
However, it’s also the most abundant source of toxins. One of our immune system’s most important functions is to snuff out these pathogens before they can cause chronic illness. 
 
Sadly, our poor immune system is overworked. Inevitably, chronic inflammation can ignite the wrong chain of events on a cellular level. It can cause electrons to go rogue and cause a litany of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), or scleroderma.

 

How to Improve gut health naturally

 
how to fix gut health naturally
Now that you know the signs of an unhealthy gut, it’s time to do something about it. Here are a few life hacks to improve your gut, immune, skin, and emotional health!

 

Change to natural cosmetics

 
Lifestyle changes are essential for improving gut health. One of the first transformations to make is through your skincare routine. Most mass-produced cosmetic items are laden with estrogen mimickers, plastics, and other potentially harmful ingredients. Be sure to read our article about toxic beauty ingredients to make educated beauty decisions. 
 
Also, take your beauty into your own hands. Start making all-natural moisturizers with sweet almond oil. Mix some tea tree and lavender essential oils to coconut oil to make a DIY shampoo. Essential oils have strong antimicrobial effects that prop up your immune system and good bacteria!

 

Collagen-rich foods

 
Your gut lining is porous to absorb nutrients from the small intestine. Chronic inflammation causes these gaps to widen. To heal your gut, you must repair the barrier that protects us from bacterial overgrowth!
 
Collagen-rich foods are an integral part of the process. Consider making a bone broth with free-range bones. The soup gets fortified with these peptides, which then helps plug up the holes in your gut. 
 
Add some Vitamin C-rich foods like broccoli and bell peppers to the stock. This vitamin improves collagen production and supports a healthy immune system.

 

Exercise and healthy diet

 
Your physical health can’t improve if you don’t get physical yourself. Get out and exercise. Exercise not only burns fat, but it forces interactions in the gut microbiome. This shakeup will force microbes to become more diverse. 
 
All of this hard work is useless if you don’t follow a healthy diet. Remember, probiotics like prebiotic-rich foods. Stock up on onion, garlic, artichokes, dandelion root (inulin), and a small amounts of red wine (high in polyphenols) to feed your probiotic bacteria.
 

Vaginal microbiome test

 
If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections or yeast infections, consider getting a vaginal microbiome test. This at-home test kit has everything you need to safely and discreetly test the bacterial flora causing vaginal discomfort. 
 
You must remember, the vagina is in close quarters to other entrances to the body. It’s another area where potential bacterial overgrowth can happen. Knowing your bacteria can be helpful for those trying to conceive, as well as improving skin irritations and dryness. 

 

Microbiome testing

 
Women and men alike will benefit from microbiome testing. The Thyrve Gut Health Test Kit has everything you need to easily procure a fecal sample from your toilet paper and mail it to our laboratory for analysis. Based on the results, we can determine which gut bacteria have caused some of these unfavorable symptoms. 
 
Then, we can let you know which foods that these bacteria prefer. That way, you can omit any potential food intolerance from your diet. 
 
We also let you know which prebiotic-rich foods that the good bacteria you are lacking enjoy. With this information, you can stock up on the right dietary fiber foods on your next grocery trip. 
 
That planning gets even easier with our database of recipes. Our team has compiled hundreds of delicious recipes to help get your health back on track!

 

Custom probiotic supplements

 
Sometimes you need to inoculate the live cultures into your gut yourself. You can go to the grocery store and get a generic blend. However, you might be adding unnecessary bacteria to your gut. It’s the equivalent of adding gasoline to a fire.
 
After your microbiome test, the guesswork is done. We know which gut bacteria your system needs. So, we provide a custom probiotic recommendation. 
 
his subscription-based service ensures that you have the right blend of probiotics that matches your dietary recommendations and recipes. That way, your gut has a fighting chance to survive!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 
[1] Davis C. D. (2016). The Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Obesity. Nutrition today, 51(4), 167–174. https://doi.org/10.1097/NT.0000000000000167.
 
[2] Sam, Qi Hui et al. “The Fungal Mycobiome and Its Interaction with Gut Bacteria in the Host.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 18,2 330. 4 Feb. 2017, doi:10.3390/ijms18020330.
 
[3] Chen YE, Fischbach MA, Belkaid Y. Skin microbiota-host interactions [published correction appears in Nature. 2018 Mar 21;555(7697):543]. Nature. 2018;553(7689):427-436. doi:10.1038/nature25177.
 
[4] HajiFattahi F, Hesari M, Zojaji H, Sarlati F. Relationship of Halitosis with Gastric Helicobacter Pylori Infection. J Dent (Tehran). 2015;12(3):200-205.
 
[5] Reddy S, Reddy V, Sharma S. Physiology, Circadian Rhythm. [Updated 2020 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519507/.
 
[6] Breit, Sigrid, et al. “Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 1 Feb. 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044/full.
 
[7] Strandwitz, Philip, et al. “GABA-Modulating Bacteria of the Human Gut Microbiota.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 10 Dec. 2018, www.nature.com/articles/s41564-018-0307-3.
 

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Psychobiotics: How to Use Probiotic Supplements to Biohack the Gut-Brain Connection

Psychobiotics are probiotic supplements tailored to improve your mental health. learn which bacterial strains in your gut microbiome might help your emotional states and cognitive function naturally!
 
Nobody blinks twice when we say gut bacteria influence your digestive system. A lot of people can even get on board with your gut microbiota impacting your immune system. Now, research suggests that microorganisms throughout your intestinal tract can have a significant impact on your mental health. With this mounting evidence, many now use the beneficial effects of probiotic bacteria to biohack their mental health and improve their overall mood. The use of gut microbes to positively influence the human brain is known as psychobiotics. Let’s discuss this fringe topic in the study of gut microbiomes and why good bacteria might be the all-natural treatment your nervous system needs!

 

What Are Psychobiotics? 

 

what are psychobiotics?

 
The term psychobiotics is used to describe probiotic supplements that are formulated to improve your brain health. It’s a blanket term that can describe a variety of probiotic formulations. 
 
Research shows that many bacteria strains can influence physiological functions that will modulate psychological outcomes [1]. In essence, different bacteria can be a good neighbor who saves your cat from a house fire or be the aggressive driver who causes an accident that leads to a traffic jam. 
 
Yeah, we want less of that guy. However, even that guy serves a purpose in the grand scheme of life. We just have to make sure we help the growth of more kitty savers.
 
Probiotic supplement companies are now offering these bacteria strains in different blends to support everything from cognitive decline to mood swings to Major Depressive Disorder. 
 
These blends help bridge the gap in bacterial diversity within your gut. In turn, psychobiotics might help with mild-to-moderate symptoms associated with mental illness and stress.

 

Which Bacteria Are in Psychobiotics?

 
Two people can have two completely different psychobiotic probiotic supplements. However, it doesn’t mean they’re both taking the same psychobiotics. This kind of confusion doesn’t happen when you’re buying Vitamin C. You’re just like, “where’s the gummy version?”
 
Buying a psychobiotic supplement means you are purchasing a supplement fortified with probiotics that are scientifically linked to brain health. It’s up to the company to choose the strains, colony-forming units (CFUs), prebiotics, and other minerals. 
 
For the general public, a combination of the usual suspects of gut microbes associated with a healthy brain should suffice. However, more advanced mental health cases, such as schizophrenia, would require a more targeted probiotic approach. 
 
That’s what makes the research of psychobiotics so fascinating. All-natural mental health remedies might become a reality.

 

How Do Psychobiotics Work?

 
It’s been long said that the gut is our “second brain.” In fact, the digestive tract has what is known as the “enteric nervous system.”
 
The enteric nervous system possesses around 500 million neurons that modulate gastric and digestive functions from the esophagus to the colon [2]. 
 
This continuous line of communication is known as the gut-brain-axis. Evidence suggests that positive mental health benefits can occur via the gut-brain-axis and the use of psychobiotics.
 
These positive results are essentially regulated by a series of nerve fibers known as the vagus nerve, also termed the wandering nerve.

 

What is the Vagus Nerve?

 
The vagus nerve hangs down from the brain stem, ending in the gut. These highly sensitive nerve fibers interact with various gut microbes at all times [3]. The vagus nerve reports these interactions back to the central nervous system. 
 
Our vagus nerve follows our entire gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it interacts with every primary organ system along the way. Yet, over 90% of its communications are with gut bacteria [4]. 
 
From the moment we’re born, the vagus nerve is aware of how a healthy gut microbiome feels. That’s why many who aren’t born with a mental illness don’t show depression symptoms at a young age. 
 
Over time, mental disorders develop, coinciding with other factors, such as stress, poor diet, and trauma. These outlying factors cause immune responses on the body that eventually alter gut microbiota composition. 
 
The vagus nerve picks up on these changes, and it’s not a happy camper! So, it relays the message back to the central nervous system.
 
Depending on the bacterial species present in your gut, you may experience various symptoms of psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and gut issues.
 
Research suggests that probiotic treatment of psychobiotics can help stimulate the vagus nerve. In turn, you might feel less mental health-related symptoms originating from a gut bacteria imbalance.

 

How Stomach Bacteria Communicate Through Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis

 

microbiome-gut-brain-axis

 
Our gut microbiome is teeming with trillions of bacteria, fungi, yeast, and viruses. These microbes influence every physiological process that’s responsible for us being human. Of these trillions of microbes, there are hundreds of bacterial species. 
 
In the wild, every animal, plant, and insect plays a role in keeping the earth sustainable. Each species in our gut has a place in our internal ecosystem that helps our circadian rhythm and metabolic pathways running smoothly. 
 
As our gut microbiome becomes compromised by stress, immune responses, poor diet, and other factors, we start to develop different symptoms of any psychiatric illness. When our microbiome is running low on a specific bacterial species, it communicates it to us through the microbiome-gut-brain axis. 
 
You start to consciously feel the changes in your behavior. The reason why is that your body might not have the gut bacteria necessary to create the amino acids we need for neurotransmitters.
 
As more clinical studies on psychobiotics become available, we can hopefully start tailoring specific strains to meet the needs of more serious mental health issues, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder. 

 

Benefits of Psychobiotics

 

benefits of psychobiotics

 

Using psychobiotics can improve your mental health in a variety of ways. Introducing probiotics into your system is essentially a way for you to communicate with your gut bacteria. You are letting these gut microbes know that you’re aware of the bacterial discrepancy and are experiencing the symptoms they’ve called for you to feel. 
 
With the use of probiotics, you are actively inoculating beneficial bacteria the microbiome needs. This helps take the burden off the probiotic bacteria already holding down the fort. Here are some scientifically-backed benefits of psychobiotics.

 

Improves Depressive Symptoms

 
Did you know that approximately 80% to 90% of your serotonin levels are derived from your gut [5]? The reason why is that your gut bacteria acts as a bouncer to the club. They can lift the velvet rope and decide which amino acids cross the blood brain barrier and get VIP access to the central nervous system. 
 
Recent studies involving Dawley rats found that Bifidobacteria infantis (B. infantis) intervention helped improve symptoms of depression. 

 

Boosts Tryptophan Levels

 
Researchers noted that probiotic intervention caused a significant increase in tryptophan plasma throughout the duration of the intervention period compared to the controls [6]. 
 
Tryptophan interacts with the tryptophan hydroxylase enzyme. Research shows that Vitamin D helps the body create more of this essential enzyme [7]. 
 
Unfortunately, the majority of the world has a Vitamin D deficiency. That’s why we include Vitamin D in our custom probiotic recommendations, available through Thryve Gut Health Program.

 

Boosts Serotonin Levels

 
When tryptophan hydroxylase enzymes interact with tryptophan, it creates 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP then interacts with the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme to create serotonin [8].
 
Serotonin influences so many vital human functions, including:
Mood
Sexual Appetite
Digestion
Circadian Rhythm
Sleep Patterns
Blood Clotting
Bone Health
 
That’s a lot of responsibility for one neurotransmitter. Naturally, our body gobbles serotonin up, causing people to get prescription medications for serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 
 
More human trials are needed, but hopefully, the use of probiotics might help lessen the dependency on prescription medications over time [9]. You should definitely speak to a doctor before making any significant changes to your health regimen. 

 

Produces Butyrate

 

Probiotic bacteria are the gift that keeps on giving. Part of their job is to help us digest foods. In particular, they break down the dietary fibers we can’t. These foods are known as prebiotics and help probiotic bacteria grow stronger.
 
Like us, probiotics must expel waste. Their trash is our treasure. That’s because probiotics enrich our gut microbiome with short-chain fatty acids. In particular, they produce butyrate. 
 
Butyrate helps repair the epithelial cells that line our gut barrier [10]. That way, potential toxins and pathogens don’t infiltrate the human body and disrupt important biological processes in the brain. However, butyrate does even more to benefit the microbiota-gut-brain axis!
 
A meta-analysis of this short-chain fatty acid found,
 

“Butyrate’s ability to act as a neuroprotective agent together with its effects on memory and cognition is of particular interest given that loss of cognitive abilities is a long-recognized and undertreated feature of recurrent and severe depressive disorders [11].”

British Journal of Pharmacology

 
Butyrate is derived from fat. So, if you suffer from obesity, this short-chain fatty acid can be troublesome. Life is about balance.
 
Other short-chain fatty acids, such as acetate and propionate, have also exhibited anti-depressive properties. Getting a wide range of short-chain fatty acids is dependent on a broad spectrum of intestinal flora. This evidence further proves the importance of bacterial diversity. 

 

Helps with Anxiety Disorders

 
More animal studies confirm that psychobiotics can have a positive impact on emotional states. One study fed genetically-anxious mice strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus) [12]. 
 
Results found that the mice who consumed L. rhamnosus were less apprehensive about partaking in a swim test. 
 
This lack of fear led experts to believe that the mice were less anxious. Their deductions were proven correct, as psychobiotics helped in two fashions. 

 

Lowers Cortisol Levels

 

Researchers noted that the mice fed L. rhamnosus had lower cortisol levels when compared to the control. Cortisol is one of the most widely influential stress hormones. It causes a heightened sense of panic and the overwhelming dread associated with anxiety disorders. 
 
For those who endure chronic stress, cortisol levels can skyrocket. In turn, they experience other hormonal imbalances, including sexual dysfunction and infertility. These issues can only further impact behavioral disorders negatively.

 

Boosts GABA Levels

 
Scientists also noted that the mice who consumed this Lactobacillus species also saw a significant increase in gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). 
 
GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps calm excited neurons in the brain. It’s known as our “inhibitory neurotransmitter [13].”
 
Those who experience symptoms of anxiety have overactive communication in the brain. GABA binds to these chatty neurons so that the traffic in your mind slows down. In turn, you’re less susceptible to anxious thoughts and can perform with improved cognitive function. 

 

Neuroprotective Abilities

 
Psychobiotics don’t just help with the long-term damage caused by a life of stress, poor diet, and other trauma. It can also prevent issues, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, from developing down the road. 
 
These beneficial stomach bacteria have been shown to improve immune responses in the system. Therefore, you are less likely to experience chronic inflammation that can destroy healthy brain cells or grey matter.
 
The two most common bacterial strains found in psychobiotics are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. 
 
A meta-analysis of the efficacy of probiotic interventions for mental health found that Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus strains:
 

“Do not possess pro-inflammatory lipopolysaccharide chains, and so their propagation in the gut does not trigger full-fledged immunological reactions. With the presence of such bacteria, the immune system learns to distinguish to between pro- and anti-inflammatory entities and develops appropriate immunogenic responses by identifying pro-inflammatory elements as antigenic [14].”

Trends Nueroscience

 
Their presence helps the immune system make better decisions as to where to foster inflammation. Not only do these bacteria help brain function, but they save skin cells, blood cells, and other healthy bacteria, too!

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevention and Care

 
Human studies have found that children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to lack diversity in the gut microbiome. One meta-analysis looked at Autism Spectrum Disorder and the gut-brain-axis [15].  
 
They found that children with autism tended to have lower levels of the following bacterial species when compared to children who don’t have the condition:
• Veillonellaceae
• Coprococcus
• Prevotella
 
Animal studies involving mice with autism-like behavior also found another strong connection between this condition and the gut-brain-axis, noting:
 

“When mice with an autism-like condition had lower levels of Bifidobacterium and Blautia gut bacteria, their guts made less tryptophan and bile acid — compounds needed to produce serotonin.”

Nature

See, it all connects! Lastly, the meta-analysis looked at a study comparing the guts of germ-free mice (gf mice) with autism to those who had a regular gut microbiome. In comparison, the gf mice with autism had fewer metabolites, such as amino acids 5-aminovaleric acid (5AV) and taurine. 
 
These two amino acids play an essential role in GABA production. Therefore, probiotics help create metabolites that improve mental health.

 

Types of Psychobiotics 

 
Many bacterial strains are associated with positive psychiatric effects. Whether you have social anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or an eating disorder, the use of probiotics might have positive effects on your emotional states and cognitive function. 
 
Our team of scientists at Thryve worked hard to formulate a blend of probiotic bacteria that help support cognitive function, circadian rhythm, and mood. That way, you can wake up feeling refreshed, focused, and full of self-esteem! Let’s discuss the strains in the Thryve Mood Enhancer Specialized Probiotic Supplement.

 

Thryve Mood Enhancer Psychobiotic Supplement

 

Thryve Mood Enhancer psychobiotic supplement gut bacterial strains

 

Thryve Mood Enhancer is optimized with a proprietary probiotic blend of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128™ and Lactobacillus paracasei PS23™. They are combined with other bacteria that are beneficial to the human gut and mind. Let’s discuss these strains and the clinical studies that prove their efficacy in mental health care.

 

Lactobacillus Species 

 
Thryve Mood Enhancer contains six bacterial strains classified as Lactobacillus families. Each plays a role in physiological functions associated with mental and cognitive health. Let’s take a closer look at each strain. 

 

Lactobacillus plantarum PS128

 
A clinical study in 2019 concluded Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 improved hyperactivity, anxiousness, and impulsive behaviors of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder [16]. The study noted previous animal studies where this bacterial strain increased corticosterone (cortisol) levels in mice. 
 
Furthermore, mice had increased levels of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for memory and learning new concepts. 
 
These findings corroborated a 2016 clinical study where gf mice saw an increase in dopamine and serotonin after probiotic intervention with Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 [17]. 

 

Lactobacillus plantarum PS123
 

In a 2019 clinical study, L. paracasei PS23 improved depression-like and anxiety-like behaviors via reversing “corticosterone-reduced dopamine levels and serotonin levels” in the hippocampus, striatum, and prefrontal cortex [18].
 
The hippocampus plays a significant role in long-term memory storage. Our striatum is responsible for decision-making skills and analyzing risk-reward. That’s why dopamine is so essential for this part of the brain. Lastly, the prefrontal cortex is in charge of cognitive processes and working memory.

 

Lactobacillus plantarum 14D

 
A 2018 clinical study concluded Lactobacillus plantarum exerts beneficial effects on the gut-heart-brain axis, contributing to brain health and improving psychological disorders [19]. 
 
Another meta-analysis of the gut-brain-heart-axis explained that gut microbiota could influence the vagus nerve to cause the brain to produce neuropeptides. [20].
 
These are tiny polymers that act as neurotransmitters. They can influence “neuro-enteric plexus, POMC, circadian clock and amygdala.” 
 
Depending on the foods, such as too much red meat, these neuropeptides can trigger heart disease. That’s why it’s vital to maintain microbial balance with Thryve Mood Enhancer.

 

Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus LB2
 

Research indicates that Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus LB2 is effective in thwarting off the overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), inhibiting the growth of 53.3% H. pylori strains [21].
 
H. pylori infections can cause severe depression. One meta-analysis found women over 50 were susceptible to feeling depressive symptoms due to increased risk of H. pylori infection. [22].

 

Lactobacillus acidophilus
 

In a 2019 clinical study, Lactobacillus acidophilus provided neuroprotective effects of mice. The results noted that probiotic intervention curbed pro-inflammatory biomarkers TNF-α and IL1-β from destroying cells in the perilesional cortex [23].
 
Additionally, the mice’s intestinal barrier permeability improved. Intestinal permeability is another way to say Leaky Gut Syndrome. This realization lends even more credence to the gut-brain-axis. 

 

Lactobacillus paracasei 101/37
 
A clinical trial about anxiety and probiotic intervention with Lactobacillus paracasei 101/37 found that this strain might help manage stress and anxiety [24]. 
 
These gut microbes influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is responsible for our adrenal glands producing cortisol. 

 

Bifidobacterium Species 

 
Bifidobacterium has become increasingly linked to improved emotional states. Let’s take a look at the strains we chose to include the Thryve Mood Enhancer psychobiotic supplement. 

 

Bifidobacterium breve Bbr8

 
A 2019 clinical study found that a probiotic blend containing Bifidobacterium breve Bbr8 can significantly improve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) [25]. 
 
Another study looked at how IBS-C and IBS-D affect the mental health of those who have these diagnoses [26]. Results found that regardless of which type of IBS they have, those diagnosed with IBS are more likely to develop anxiety and depression. 

 

Bifidobacterium breve BL10

 
A 2018 study looked at mice who were fed a high-fat diet, much like those who follow a Western Diet [27]. These mice developed obesity. 
 
They were treated with a probiotic blend that contained Bifidobacterium breve BL10 and Bifidobacterium breve Bbr8, both found in Thryve Mood Enhancer.
 
Results found that these gut microbes regulated leptin levels. Leptin tells your brain that you have enough energy stored in the fat so that you stop eating [28]. That’s good for people with obesity who have mental health issues. 
 
After all, one study found a bidirectional link between obesity and Major Depressive Disorder. Those who are obese are 55% more likely to develop depression, and people who experience depression are 58% more likely to develop obesity [29].

 

Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bi1

 
This probiotic strain is a potent neuroprotectant. A meta-analysis of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bi1 found that this bacteria strain stops toxins from penetrating the blood brain barrier. These gut microbes stopped 99% of aflatoxins and genes that might cause damage to brain tissue [30]. 

 

Streptococcus thermophilus Z57 

 
Last is certainly not least here. Streptococcus thermophilus Z57 rounds out the Thryve Mood Enhancer psychobiotic supplement. 
 
A 2019 study on mice with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) found,
 

Streptococcus thermophilus induced a significant increase in the expression of anti-inflammatory IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 cytokines, and decreased the secretion of pro-inflammatory IL-1β and IFN-γ [31].”  

Brain Sciences

 
These benefits are not just great for autoimmunity; they’re excellent for preventative brain health. Less inflammation in the system will improve sleep patterns, circadian rhythm, focus, and mood. 

 

The Future of Psychobiotics

 
Psychobiotics are a relatively new supplement product market. More human trials are needed…and coming. The future of psychobiotics is very exciting. That’s why we are happy to use the science that’s already out there to create a targeted psychobiotic blend with Thryve Mood Enhancer.
 
With time, we hope that psychobiotics can offer a tailored approach to mental health care. Perhaps people can eventually use a live organism to manage their depressive systems rather than prescription medications with horrible side effects. 
 
However, that’s down the line. Please talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Leigh K. Smith, Emily F. Wissel. “Microbes and the Mind: How Bacteria Shape Affect, Neurological Processes, Cognition, Social Relationships, Development, and Pathology – Leigh K. Smith, Emily F. Wissel, 2019.” SAGE Journals, 28 Mar. 2019, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691618809379.
 
[2] Furness, J. B., & Poole, D. P. (2012). Nonruminant Nutrition Symposium: Involvement of gut neural and endocrine systems in pathological disorders of the digestive tract. Journal of animal science, 90(4), 1203–1212. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2011-4825.
 
[3] Breit, S., Kupferberg, A., Rogler, G., & Hasler, G. (2018). Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 44. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044.
 
[4] Breit, Sigrid, et al. “Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 1 Feb. 2018, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044/full.
 
[5] “Study Shows How Serotonin and a Popular Anti-Depressant Affect the Gut’s Microbiota.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 6 Sept. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190906092809.htm.
 
[6] Desbonnet, Lieve, et al. “The Probiotic Bifidobacteria Infantis: An Assessment of Potential Antidepressant Properties in the Rat.” Journal of Psychiatric Research, Pergamon, 5 May 2008, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395608000745?via=ihub.
 
[7] “Causal Link Found between Vitamin D, Serotonin Synthesis and Autism in New Study.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 26 Feb. 2014, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226110836.htm.
 
[8] Richard, D. M., Dawes, M. A., Mathias, C. W., Acheson, A., Hill-Kapturczak, N., & Dougherty, D. M. (2009). L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications. International journal of tryptophan research : IJTR, 2, 45–60. https://doi.org/10.4137/ijtr.s2129.
 
[9] Wallace, C., & Milev, R. (2017). The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review. Annals of general psychiatry, 16, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12991-017-0138-2.
 
[10] Liu, H., Wang, J., He, T., Becker, S., Zhang, G., Li, D., & Ma, X. (2018). Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health?. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 9(1), 21–29. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx009.
 
[11] Bambury, Aisling, et al. “BPS Publications.” British Pharmacological Society | Journals, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 18 Jan. 2018, bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bph.14127.
 
[12] Jones, Nicola. “Friendly Bacteria Cheer up Anxious Mice.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 30 Aug. 2011, www.nature.com/articles/news.2011.510.
 
[13] Bhat, Roopa, et al. “Inhibitory Role for GABA in Autoimmune Inflammation.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 9 Feb. 2010, www.pnas.org/content/107/6/2580.
 
[14] Sarkar, A., Lehto, S. M., Harty, S., Dinan, T. G., Cryan, J. F., & Burnet, P. (2016). Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria-Gut-Brain Signals. Trends in neurosciences, 39(11), 763–781. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002.
 
[15] Svoboda, Elizabeth. “Could the Gut Microbiome Be Linked to Autism?” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 29 Jan. 2020, www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00198-y.
 
[16] Liu, Y. W., Liong, M. T., Chung, Y. E., Huang, H. Y., Peng, W. S., Cheng, Y. F., Lin, Y. S., Wu, Y. Y., & Tsai, Y. C. (2019). Effects of Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Taiwan: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 11(4), 820. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040820.
 
[17] Liu, W. H., Chuang, H. L., Huang, Y. T., Wu, C. C., Chou, G. T., Wang, S., & Tsai, Y. C. (2016). Alteration of behavior and monoamine levels attributable to Lactobacillus plantarum PS128 in germ-free mice. Behavioural brain research, 298(Pt B), 202–209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2015.10.046.
 
[18] Wei, C. L., Wang, S., Yen, J. T., Cheng, Y. F., Liao, C. L., Hsu, C. C., Wu, C. C., & Tsai, Y. C. (2019). Antidepressant-like activities of live and heat-killed Lactobacillus paracasei PS23 in chronic corticosterone-treated mice and possible mechanisms. Brain research, 1711, 202–213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2019.01.025.
 
[19] Liu, Y. W., Liong, M. T., & Tsai, Y. C. (2018). New perspectives of Lactobacillus plantarum as a probiotic: The gut-heart-brain axis. Journal of microbiology (Seoul, Korea), 56(9), 601–613. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12275-018-8079-2.
 
[20] Singh, Ram B., et al. “The Gut-Brain-Axis and the Heart.” MOJ Public Health, MedCrave Publishing, 14 June 2018, medcraveonline.com/MOJPH/the-gut-brain-axis-and-the-heart.html.
 
[21] Boyanova, L., Stephanova-Kondratenko, M., & Mitov, I. (2009). Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus strains: preliminary report. Letters in applied microbiology, 48(5), 579–584. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1472-765X.2009.02571.x.
 
[22] Al Quraan, A. M., Beriwal, N., Sangay, P., & Namgyal, T. (2019). The Psychotic Impact of Helicobacter pylori Gastritis and Functional Dyspepsia on Depression: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 11(10), e5956. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.5956.
 
[23] Ma, Y., Liu, T., Fu, J., Fu, S., Hu, C., Sun, B., Fan, X., & Zhu, J. (2019). Lactobacillus acidophilus Exerts Neuroprotective Effects in Mice with Traumatic Brain Injury. The Journal of nutrition, 149(9), 1543–1552. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz105.
 
[24] Hellhammer, Juliane. “Stress & Anxiety Dampening Effects of a Probiotic Supplement Compared to Placebo in Healthy Subjects – Full Text View.” Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov, 7 Nov. 2018, clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03494725.
 
[25] Francavilla, R., Piccolo, M., Francavilla, A., Polimeno, L., Semeraro, F., Cristofori, F., Castellaneta, S., Barone, M., Indrio, F., Gobbetti, M., & De Angelis, M. (2019). Clinical and Microbiological Effect of a Multispecies Probiotic Supplementation in Celiac Patients With Persistent IBS-type Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled, Multicenter Trial. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 53(3), e117–e125. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0000000000001023.
 
[26] Lee, Changhyun, et al. “The Increased Level of Depression and Anxiety in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients Compared with Healthy Controls: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 1 July 2017, www.jnmjournal.org/journal/view.html?doi=10.5056%2Fjnm16220.
 
[27] Roselli, Marianna, et al. “Beneficial Effects of a Selected Probiotic Mixture Administered to High Fat-Fed Mice before and after the Development of Obesity.” Journal of Functional Foods, Elsevier, 21 Apr. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464618301257.
 
[28] Society for Endocrinology. “Leptin.” You and Your Hormones, Mar. 2018, www.yourhormones.info/hormones/leptin/.
 
[29] Floriana S. Luppino, MD. “Overweight, Obesity, and Depression.” Archives of General Psychiatry, American Medical Association, 1 Mar. 2010, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210608.
 
[30] Ghazvini, R. D., Kouhsari, E., Zibafar, E., Hashemi, S. J., Amini, A., & Niknejad, F. (2016). Antifungal Activity and Aflatoxin Degradation of Bifidobacterium Bifidum and Lactobacillus Fermentum Against Toxigenic Aspergillus Parasiticus. The open microbiology journal, 10, 197–201. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874285801610010197.
 
[31] Dargahi, Narges, et al. “Streptococcus Thermophilus ST285 Alters Pro-Inflammatory to Anti-Inflammatory Cytokine Secretion against Multiple Sclerosis Peptide in Mice.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 23 Feb. 2020, www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/10/2/126/htm.
 

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Gut Health 101: Microbiome, Probiotics & How to Fix an Unhealthy Gut

“All disease begins in the gut,” proclaimed the “Father of Medicine” Hippocrates centuries ago. Today’s science increasingly confirms Father’s hunch about health issues. Our gut bacteria play a significant role in our overall health. They influence critical human functions, including our mental health, immune system, digestive functions, skin health, and weight [1]. The key to a healthy gut is maintaining a delicate balance of good bacteria and bad. Gut Health 101 covers everything you need to know about gut health, probiotics, and getting rid of harmful bacteria that may be causing you symptoms. 

 

Why Gut Health Is Important

 
In Gut Health 101, we are going to break down all the complexities that make up up the microbiome. We’ll discuss probiotics, health-related conditions associated with poor gut health, and ways to fix your gut health naturally.
 
Most of us are born with a clean slate. We develop from a zygote into a fetus into a kicking and screaming little baby all within the safe environment of a mother’s womb.
 
This environment nurtures the development of the gut microbiome. Once we enter the world, we are greeted by a plethora of different germs that we’ve never encountered before. 
 
Some of these foreign bodies will cause us to get sick but, ultimately, boost our immune system. In other instances, these invaders can cause chronic inflammation that may result in a number of different conditions and diseases. 

 

What Leads to Poor Gut Health?

 
The biggest takeaway of Gut Health 101? Whatever the problem is, chronic inflammation started it!
 
Foreign bodies inside our system are known to trigger immune responses. When the responses become reoccurring and constant, inflammation can become chronic.

 

Pathogens enter our system in many ways, including:
• Eating Foods Contaminated with Pesticides or Bad Bacteria
• Continuously Poor Food Choices like Sugar and Trans Fat
• Eating Foods That Trigger Food Allergies, Celiac Disease, etc.
• Nutrient Deficiency Caused By Poor Diet or Illness
• Toxins Re-Entering Our Bloodstream From Our Waste
• Wearing Cosmetics Made with Synthetic Ingredients
• Long-Term Use of Medications
• Breathing in Toxic Chemicals and Heavy Metals
Underlying Stress like Bills, Work, Relationships
• Catching an Illness From Another Person
 
There are many ways to enter the body, but there is one way out. As pathogens enter the system, gravity takes over. These pathogens enter from pores, your mouth, or the respiratory tract. Inevitably, they drop down into the gut, where they can either get flushed out or eventually ignite inflammation.

 

Chronic Inflammation and an Unhealthy Gut

 
Just as all disease begins in the gut, inflammation is the root of all disease. All germs, viruses, or food that comes into the body ends up entering the digestive tract. Our body is either trying to get all the nutrients out of this potential energy source or attempting to get it out of the system. 
 
Our immune system has a “better safe than sorry” approach. Its innate immune function is to cause inflammation. The innate immune system rids the body of the potential issue, and then curtails the inflammation when the threat goes away [2]. 
 
Unfortunately, threats become more common as we age. The once-booming metabolism we used to enjoy starts to slow down. Eventually, poor dietary choices, inflammatory foods, and other toxins begin to have a cumulative effect on the system. 

 

Chronic Diseases Associated with Chronic Inflammation 

 
The over-arching lesson Gut Health 101 is that leaving your gut unhealthy is a precursor for many illnesses. Over time, our digestive issues may begin to worsen. They’ll start to coincide with other symptoms of an unhealthy gut. 
 
Inevitably, you may develop issues pertaining to:
• Immune System (Allergies, Food Intolerances, Colds, Flu)
• Leaky Gut Syndrome
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)/Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
• Other Digestive Issues (Inflammatory Bowel Disease [IBD], Heartburn, Bloating, Constipation)
• Weight Gain
• Skin Conditions (Acne, Rosacea, Psoriasis)
• Autoimmune Diseases
• Mental Health (Depression, Anxiety, Mood Swings)
• Poor Sleep
 
The reason for these issues is that your immune system becomes overworked by chronic inflammation. That leaves your body more susceptible to pathogenic overgrowth. Plus, chronic inflammation starts to destroy healthy gut bacteria. This battle for survival all takes place in an internal community known as the microbiome.

 

What Is The Gut Microbiome?

 
Your stomach is home to trillions of microscopic living beings known as microbes. There are thousands of different microbes identified by science and probably will be more discovered for centuries to come [3]. 
 

gut health 101 common types of gut microbiota
 
However, the most common types of gut microbiota are:
• Yeast
• Fungi
• Bacteria
• Archaea
• Protists
 
Of the bunch, gut bacteria are the most abundant and studied. Science has confirmed that there are hundreds of bacteria strains. Each plays a specific role in the internal ecosystem that is the gut microbiome. 

 

Common Gut Flora in the Microbiome

 

gut health 101 common gut flora
 
The dominant bacteria phylums typically found in the body fall within the following groups:
• Firmicutes
• Bacteroidetes
• Actinobacteria
• Proteobacteria
 
Around 90% generally fall specifically within the Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes phyla.
 
All of these commensal bacteria work together for optimal health of its host — you! They all work in unison, applying the crafts that are their specialties. 

 

The Importance of Gut Bacteria Diversity 

 
It seems like every bacteria has a role. Even Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria strain behind the potentially life-threatening staph infection, can help keep other opportunistic Staphylococcus strains from becoming unruly [4]. Unfortunately, if probiotic bacteria can’t check Staphylococcus aureus, it can become overgrown and result in deadly consequences. 
 
The most beneficial gut bacteria will create metabolites that help prevent other bacteria from overgrowing. For instance, many bacteria strains produce short-chain fatty acids [5]. These serve as electrical currency for our gut cells to rejuvenate, divide, and strengthen the intestinal barrier. In particular, probiotics create the short chain fatty acid, butyrate, which is vital in repairing the gut lining and promoting probiotic bacteria growth. 
 
When everything is going smoothly in the microbiome, then you shouldn’t notice any signs of an unhealthy gut. Things go smoothest when gut flora communities remain in balance. As we age and our cumulative life choices start catching up to us, it might begin to cause a deficit in beneficial bacteria opening up room for harmful bacteria to overtake the system. 
 
As harmful bacteria spread, your immune response ignites inflammation. Unfortunately, most harmful bacteria species thrive in these sorts of environments. It’s your probiotic bacteria that suffer.
 
In the end, this microbial imbalance kickstarts a chain of health-related events that can impede your quality of life. That’s why it’s important to boost your immune system with probiotics and a healthy gut diet plan. 

 

What Are The Symptoms of Poor Gut Health?

 

There is strong evidence that our gut bacteria pretty much run the ship. Different types of live bacteria play unique roles in countless physiological processes. When the diversity of bacterial cells becomes compromised, key aspects of our overall wellness can be jeopardized, too. Here are some of the most vital ways gut issues can impede our day-to-day life. 

 

Weak Immune System 

 
Our gut bacteria and immune cells are besties. They go back to the womb. Live bacteria live within the vaginal microbiome inside of our mother’s amniotic sac and placenta.
 
These beings helped shape our first immune cells [6]. As we formed, what would become our skin traps in our immune cells and gut bacteria to create our gut microbiome. 
 
Over 80% of immune system cells reside in the gut [7]. That’s because everything we ingest ends up there. Our innate immune system kicks in and creates inflammation to eliminate threats and then turns off the fire hose when the danger is a goner. 
 
Unfortunately, our innate immune system gets a bit overworked. We’re always feeding our gut with processed foods, breathing in polluted indoor air, and smearing on gut biome-disruptive cosmetics. 
 
In simple terms, our immune cells are always on duty, working on the messes we make! These actions undoubtedly compromise our immune health. Eventually, they’re going to miss a significant threat, like an opportunistic gut bacteria.
 
Additionally, an overworked innate immune system causes chronic inflammation. Inevitably, that will start to destroy epithelial cells that make up the gut lining.
 
Subsequently, chronic inflammation starts to destroy healthy bacteria. As we’re about to discuss, all of this is how disease starts. That’s why so many scientific journals point to gut health as a key promoter of autoimmune diseases.

 

Leaky Gut Syndrome

 

According to one Harvard paper, “we all have some degree of leaky gut [8].” That’s due to the design of our gut lining. There are porous holes along the barrier that allows for ventilation in the intestines. More importantly, it will enable nutrients from our food to permeate into our bloodstream. 
 
Our gastrointestinal tract starts the food breakdown process as soon as we smell our food [9]. We then chew the food so we can swallow it and allow our stomach acids, digestive enzymes, and organs to break these food sources down to the simplest particles. 
 
These compounds enter the small intestine, where they get sorted out as nutrients or waste. Waste enters the large intestine, where water is siphoned out, and toxins are expelled from our backside. Meanwhile, the small intestine allows nutrients from our foods to be distributed throughout the entire body.
 
The small intestine plays a vital role in nutrient absorption. It relies on a barricade of 40 different proteins known as tight junctions [10]. Tight junctions protect the epithelial cells that line our gut. 
 
However, tight junctions are always under attack from chronic inflammation happening on the other side of the gut barrier. Eventually, their tightly-wound structure starts to break down. They become loose, which allows for gut bacteria and other toxins in your intestines to enter the bloodstream. 
 
Also, certain foods can trigger tight junctions to move. For instance, gluten contains a protein known as zonulin. Zonulin can activate the tight junctions to open up [11]. Therefore, toxins, bacteria, and food particles in your intestines can leak into your bloodstream. This preemptive opening may disrupt the appropriate absorption of food nutrients and trigger inflammation. 
 
Leaky gut develops over time. It can become a precursor to many life-threatening illnesses. It’s vital to repair the gut barrier by removing inflammatory foods, eating probiotic foods, antiviral foods, and foods rich in collagen, like bone broth.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)/Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

 
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) are two common GI conditions that people may experience simultaneously. Many of the symptoms of IBS and SIBO overlap one another. However, fixing them are two completely different processes. 
 
IBS is a condition that impacts the large intestine. Chronic inflammation messes up metabolic functions that affect muscle contraction. So, bathroom frequency can be thrown off. 
 
Most common signs of IBS are abdominal pain, bloating, and frequent trips to the bathroom. Here, they may experience either diarrhea or constipation. 
 
People with SIBO experience many of these symptoms. However, the cause isn’t muscle contractions. It’s due to a bacterial overgrowth from the small intestine. 
 
When you have SIBO, your gut bacteria are severely impacted. You must take a particular test to diagnose SIBO. From there, you have to eliminate potential foods that trigger inflammation, kill the bacteria with either antibiotics or a high-quality supplement recommendation from a naturopath. You must then reinoculate your gut with a probiotic supplement and feed that bacteria a healthy dietary fiber diet. 

 

Other Digestive Issues

 
Many chronic illnesses can be caused by poor gut health. A few of the more common ones include Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBD is actually a blanket term to describe two digestive illnesses — Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease.
 
UC is caused by inflammation of the cells within the large intestine [11]. In addition to bloody stools and intense abdominal pain, those with UC are at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. 
 
Crohn’s Disease is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract [12]. That means it can spark anywhere from the esophagus to the anus. Treating these conditions will require a doctor’s care. 
 
Another common GI condition associated with poor gut health is acid reflux/GERD. When you experience GERD, food particles can backtrack up your esophagus. You can experience severe heartburn and may cause long-term damage to your throat and gut lining. 

 

Weight Gain

 
It’s not shocking that poor gut health can cause weight gain. After all, many of the reasons for an unhealthy gut are dietary choices. However, our gut bacteria play a role in this, too. 
 
We rely on our gut bacteria to help with food breakdown. So, if less probiotic bacteria are working, there’s less productivity going on in the GI tract. Many of these foods can sit around the belly. Eventually, this can cause long-term inflammation. Scientific evidence shows that there is a strong connection between obesity and a lack of gut diversity [13].
 
Also, gut bacteria can manipulate us. When pathogenic bacteria infest us, we’ll start to crave sugars and other food additives actively. These unhealthy foods make it easier for them to survive and for beneficial bacteria to die. 
 
The best way to lose weight is to change your diet habits. You might want to consider intermittent fasting for gut health a few times a week. Also, increase your physical activity. Cut down on foods rich in animal fats and opt for leaner proteins, like fish, legumes, and whole grains. 

 

Skin Issues

 
If you’re inflamed on the inside, it’s going to show on the outside. Your body becomes a pressure cooker, and it’s burning off healthy skin cells. In turn, these dead or dying cells clog up the skin barrier. This backup will manifest as itchy, red, or blotchy skin. 
 
An unhealthy gut, leaky gut, has been strongly tied to many skin conditions, including:
• Rosacea
• Psoriasis
• Eczema
• Acne
• Allergic Reactions
• Arthritis
 
Furthermore, our skin also protects our gut biome from infestations. There are many viruses, fungi, and opportunistic bacteria on other people and surfaces trying to find a new home in your stomach. So, your body relies on your own skin bacteria as the first line of defense.
 
In fact, our skin has its own microbiome. This microbiome communicates with cells on the inside via the gut-skin axis to ensure its host’s overall health. Unfortunately, we destroy these healthy bacteria with toxic beauty ingredients. The average woman puts 515 synthetic chemicals on her face every day [15]. So, our skin microbiome is always on high alert!

 

Mental Health Problems

 
Our gut is the second brain…or is it? The gut-brain connection is more than a metaphorical statement or declaration of being hangry. These two are joined at the hip…or at least by a series of nerves. 
 
At the bottom of the brainstem is our vagus nerve. This barometer-of-sorts relies on information from the gut up through the central nervous system [16]. It can influence and collect information from every essential organ along the way!
 
When harmful bacteria overtake our gut, your vagus nerve lets the brain know. In turn, we can develop many symptoms of neurological disorders, including depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity. 
 
Like most things, the key to regulating the gut-brain axis is balance. A diverse gut is essential for mental health. Actually, one meta-analysis on gut diversity and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) found that children diagnosed with ASD had lower levels of Veillonellaceae, Coprococcus, and Prevotella bacterial cells [17].
 
Even more notably, these children also lacked bacterial species, Bifidobacterium and Blautia. These two are essential for making tryptophan, the precursor to our joy molecule, serotonin. In fact, up to 90% of our serotonin neurotransmitters are derived from the gut [18]. 
 
Furthermore, a recent study found that a few microbial species, particularly Bacteroides, produce the neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) [19]. GABA is known as our inhibitory neurotransmitter. It helps calm our racing thoughts, which lowers our cortisol levels. 
 
Cortisol is one of our stress hormones. When we endure stress on a daily basis, it can cause chronic inflammation. As we’ve discussed, chronic inflammation is the root of all life-threatening conditions that compromise human health.

 

How to Improve Your Gut Health Naturally

 
how to fix your gut health 101
 
You didn’t ruin your gut overnight. In fact, many unexpected things ruined your gut health. So, fixing it isn’t going to happen in a day, either. Taking care of your gut is an ever-evolving process. Make little changes that ease common digestive symptoms and then slowly chip away at the bigger picture items. Here’s how!

 

Get Your Gut Tested

 
The first step to fixing your gut health is to know what you’re working with. A surgeon wouldn’t operate without an x-ray. You can’t reintroduce good gut bacteria into your body until you know the bad ones you’re dealing with.
 
We send you everything you need to take a gut test safely in your own bathroom. Just bring the kit in when you do #2. Wipe like normal with toilet paper. Then use one of the sterile swabs to collect a small sample from the toilet paper. 
 
Dip the swab into the vial with a preservative liquid that’s provided. After 20-30 seconds, the liquid will change colors, meaning your DNA is secure. Seal the bottle and dispose of the swab like you would a newborn’s diaper. 
 
Mail your vial to us in the pre-addressed envelope we provide. In just a few weeks, we will give you in-depth insights into your gut health. Most importantly, we tell you which gut bacteria are overstaying their welcome. Based on that info, we can give you a bunch of actionable plans to repair your gut. 
 
For one, we can tell you which foods are causing you digestive issues. Different microbes have a penchant for different foods. So, if you have a surplus of one type of bacteria, there’s a high likelihood that specific foods caused that overgrowth.
 
Furthermore, our gut health program offers you hundreds of recipes that can help you grow the bacteria you need. As we will discuss later, specific foods will give beneficial bacteria the energy necessary to reclaim your gut health.

 

Order A Custom Probiotic Supplement

 
The goal of gut health is to create a diverse microbiome. Probiotics are one of the best microbiome supplements.
 
However, you don’t want to take a generic probiotic supplement because it might be laden with gut bacteria that you already have plenty of. With our gut health test, we can determine which stomach bacteria your gut biome truly needs. 
 
Our custom probiotic supplement is a delivery service. You can easily manage your subscription in our database to change your delivery date or hold your service. You can also get retested in a few months and compare your recommendations and results!

 

Cut Out Inflammatory Foods

 
While you wait for your custom probiotic supplement to come in the mail, there are plenty of actionable things you can do in the meantime. For one, you should cut many of the “usual” suspects.”
 
From there, try alternating some your diet choices. Opt for a different meal plan, like going keto or paleo vegan. In the meantime, try eliminating these foods.

 

Gluten

 
Gluten is the top inflammatory food in the world. It’s in everything from baked goods to cosmetics. While many think that gluten is an issue for people solely with Celiac Disease, that is not the case. Celiac Disease only accounts for about 1% of the population. 
 
Many of us are sensitive to products that commonly contain gluten, such as bread. Many whole grains grown in Western agriculture are made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Research indicates that GMOs might have the ability to alter DNA [20]. They also change microbial communities in soil [21]. So, what’s to say GMOs won’t do the same to our microbes?
 
Also, we mentioned earlier, the protein zonulin increased by consumption of gluten products, relaxes our tight junctions. Therefore, gluten increases intestinal permeability for people who don’t even have severe gluten sensitivity. 

 

Lactose/Dairy

 
Approximately 65% of us lose the ability to digest lactose after infancy properly. [22] Therefore, many of us are lactose intolerant and are probably unaware of it. 
 
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
• Diarrhea
• Nausea
• Abdominal Pain
• Cramping
• Bloating
• Constipation
 
Many of these lactose intolerance symptoms also mirror the common signs of an unhealthy gut. We’re the only mammals to drink milk past infancy. Plus, we’re the only mammals to drink another mammal’s milk. These might be clear indicators that we should limit our dairy intake. 
 
Not to mention, many dairy cows are preemptively treated with antibiotics. That’s because female calves are milked mechanically. These machines can cause the udders to rupture and get infected by bacteria. So, they’re given antibiotics to stop this inevitable occurrence. Unfortunately, we drink that milk and those antibiotics [23]. 
 
The purpose of antibiotics is to wipe out bacteria — good and bad. So, consuming antibiotic-rich milk can play a major role in depleting your probiotic bacteria levels. 
 
In addition, calves are always kept pregnant so they continue to produce milk. For optimal fertility, dairy cows are treated with estrogen. This might also be why there’s a strong correlation between poor gut health and infertility.

 

Soy

 
Soy is a very protein-heavy plant-based protein. Unfortunately, it’s a common food allergen. For those with a soy allergy, their immune system sees its proteins as a potential threat. Therefore, it will cause inflammation. 
 
There are many soy products, including some you might not be aware of, like:
• Edamame
• Tofu
• Tempeh
• Soy Sauce
• Soy Milk
• Miso
 
It is not uncommon for people with a soy allergy to also have an allergy to legumes. So, you might want to stay away from chickpeas, peanuts, and peas.

 

Lectins

 
Speaking of legumes, some people are sensitive to plant-based compounds known as lectins. Lectins are deemed “anti-nutrients [24].” They latch on the vitamins and minerals our bodies rely on for energy. In turn, we are left bloated and with depleted energy levels.
 
Some of the foods that contain lectins include:
  • • Dairy (Casein in Cheese, Milk, Yogurt)
  • • Legumes (Black Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Peanuts, Soybeans)
  • • Nightshades (Eggplants, Goji Berries, Peppers, Potatoes, Squash, Tomatoes)
  • • Whole Grains (Baked Goods, Bread, Corn, Crackers)
 
Unfortunately, lectins are in some of the most nutritious whole foods. Therefore, it can make following a vegan diet difficult. However, it is possible to eat a lectin-free vegan diet.

 

Start Eating Prebiotic-Rich Foods

 
After you eliminate foods that are causing digestive issues, you need to replenish the good gut bacteria that you have. The best way to do this is to feed them dietary fiber. 
 
Our gastrointestinal tract can’t break down all dietary fibers. So, our probiotic bacteria eat these carbohydrates for energy. These food sources are known as prebiotics. Feeding stomach bacteria prebiotics allows these microbes to also create short-chain fatty acids that help repair the gut lining, such as butyrate.
 
Prebiotic-rich foods include:
Bananas
• Jerusalem Artichokes
• Onions
• Garlic
• Leeks
• Apples
• Chicory Root/Inulin
• Barley
• Kefir
 
When eating fiber, start off slow. Going overboard can cause serious cramping. Also, some people have allergies to members of the allium family (onions, garlic, scallions). If you notice issues when you consume these prebiotics, cut back on your intake.
 
The Thryve Gut Health Program has hundreds of prebiotic-rich recipes that are tailored to feed bacteria we’re attempting to grow in your gut. We don’t leave you alone in the kitchen to fend for yourself. Our database provides you with countless recipes to tailor weeks worth of healthy gut meal plans.

 

Eat Probiotic Foods

 
As your first probiotic supplement are on their way to you, you can get ahead of the game by eating probiotic foods. Many foods have live bacteria in them that can help get your digestive juices flowing. Even better, they’re derived from whole foods that are rich in antioxidants that help repair your gut.
 
Some of the best sources of probiotic foods include:
• Pickles
• Kraut
Kimchi
• Yogurt
• Kombucha
• Tempeh
• Natto
• Miso
 
Fermentation is an excellent way to preserve whole foods and to create gut-healthy snacks. Creating an airtight environment allows bacteria to feast on carbohydrates within the fibers of sealed fruits and vegetables. In turn, these bacteria enrich the brine and foods with digestive enzymes, amino acids, and other essential vitamins. 
 
Also, try incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. For instance, try adding star anise for its antiviral benefits. Then, include some spirulina, which can provide your body with an array of nutrients necessary to boost your healthy gut bacteria.

 

Exercise

 
All of the dieting in the world will mean nothing if you don’t exercise. Exercise will not only burn fat off your waistline; it helps shake up your probiotic bacteria.
 
Movement causes chemical reactions to take place in the body. That can cause clusters of harmful bacteria to become displaced…and hopefully shown the door.
 
Also, exercise can cause beneficial gut bacteria to interact. In turn, they might create more beneficial short-chain fatty acids or microbes. That’s why research suggests that exercise improves stomach bacteria diversity. 

 

Meditate 

 
Stress is a serious health risk. Unfortunately, many of us take it as a way of life. It doesn’t need to be that way. Chronic stress destroys us mentally and physiologically. 
 
One of the cheapest ways to combat stress is to meditate. All you need is yourself and a quiet room. Stay away from the urge to check your email. After all, too much screen time is compromising your mental and gut health!
 
Pay attention to your breath, repeating a mantra that you feel comfortable saying. Otherwise, mentally think of the words “inhale” and “exhale.” This kind of focus will help stop your wandering thoughts.
 
Just start with five minutes. Work your way up. If your mind wanders, just reel it back to your mantra. Try relaxing your racing mind by using essential oils. In time, five minutes will fly by. Also, the stress will melt away!

 

Talk to Doctor About Alternatives to Medications

 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are written each year [25]. We’re setting our bodies (and the immune systems of others) up for antibiotic resistance!
 
First and foremost, lower your risk of needing medications by improving your health. Try looking up all-natural ways for boosting your overall wellness.
 
For instance, you might find drinks to improve your prostate, recipes to support your immune system, or try incorporating more probiotic foods into your diet. All of these hacks can be preventive measures for worsening ailments.
 
Make changes to your diet and take all-natural supplements. In fact, research suggests that probiotics might reduce the need for antibiotics [26]. 
 
Also, many medications have long-term side effects that can impact your overall health. Try to get to the root cause of your problems. Try a Thryve Gut Health Test and share your results with your physician. Discuss custom probiotic treatments for your symptoms. 

 

How to Fix My Gut Health

 
Fixing your gut health will take time. However, it’s time well invested. Improving conditions in your gut biome play a crucial role in your overall health. Stop playing guessing games with your health and get solid answers. 
 
Order a Thryve Gut Health Test and get a custom probiotic recommendation. Based on these results, stay away from food that has a high probability of causing an immune response. Then, eat a bunch of prebiotic-rich foods that Thryve suggests will feed your probiotic bacteria.
 
Combine these actions with healthier lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor about alternatives to medicines. Increase your physical activity. Also, make sure to carve out some self-care time. All of these go great lengths in improving your quality of life.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 
[1] Huang, T. T., Lai, J. B., Du, Y. L., Xu, Y., Ruan, L. M., & Hu, S. H. (2019). Current Understanding of Gut Microbiota in Mood Disorders: An Update of Human Studies. Frontiers in genetics, 10, 98. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2019.00098.
 
[2] Xiao T. S. (2017). Innate immunity and inflammation. Cellular & molecular immunology, 14(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2016.45.
 
[3] King, Charles H., et al. “Baseline Human Gut Microbiota Profile in Healthy People and Standard Reporting Template.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, 11 Sept. 2019, journals.plos.org/plosone/article/metrics?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0206484.
 
[4] Cogen, A. L., Nizet, V., & Gallo, R. L. (2008). Skin microbiota: a source of disease or defence?. The British journal of dermatology, 158(3), 442–455. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08437.x.
 
[5] Parada Venegas, Daniela, et al. “Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs)-Mediated Gut Epithelial and Immune Regulation and Its Relevance for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 31 Jan. 2019, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00277/full.
 
[6] Collado, Maria Carmen, et al. “Human Gut Colonisation May Be Initiated in Utero by Distinct Microbial Communities in the Placenta and Amniotic Fluid.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 22 Mar. 2016, www.nature.com/articles/srep23129.
 
[7] Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and experimental immunology, 153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x.
 
[8] Marcelo Campos, MD. “Leaky Gut: What Is It, and What Does It Mean for You?” Harvard Health Blog, 24 Oct. 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/leaky-gut-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-you-2017092212451.
 
[9] “Body Basics.” Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, Oct. 2012, www.rchsd.org/health-articles/digestive-system-2/.
 
[10] Anderson, J. M., & Van Itallie, C. M. (2009). Physiology and function of the tight junction. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology, 1(2), a002584. https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a002584.
 
[11] Fasano A. (2012). Zonulin, regulation of tight junctions, and autoimmune diseases. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1258(1), 25–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06538.x.
 
[12] “Ulcerative Colitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Dec. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ulcerative-colitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353331.
 
[13] “Digestive Diseases.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 9 Feb. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/digestive-diseases/news/advances-in-the-treatment-of-crohns-disease-and-ulcerative-colitis/mac-20454634.
 
[14] Davis C. D. (2016). The Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Obesity. Nutrition today, 51(4), 167–174. https://doi.org/10.1097/NT.0000000000000167.
 
[15] Organics·Need to Know·March 29, 2017·5 min read. “Women Put On 515 Synthetic Chemicals On Their Bodies Every Day.” Organics, 7 May 2019, www.organics.org/women-put-515-synthetic-chemicals-bodies-every-day/.
 
[16] Breit, S., Kupferberg, A., Rogler, G., & Hasler, G. (2018). Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 44. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00044.
 
[17] Svoboda, Elizabeth. “Could the Gut Microbiome Be Linked to Autism?” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 29 Jan. 2020, www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00198-y.
 
[18] “Study Shows How Serotonin and a Popular Anti-Depressant Affect the Gut’s Microbiota.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 6 Sept. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190906092809.htm.
 
[19] Strandwitz, P., Kim, K.H., Terekhova, D. et al. GABA-modulating bacteria of the human gut microbiota. Nat Microbiol 4, 396–403 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-018-0307-3.
 
[20] Scott Simonsen, et al. “Demystifying GMOs: New Research Shows Unexpected Changes in Plant DNA.” Singularity Hub, 7 Apr. 2019, singularityhub.com/2019/02/11/demystifying-gmos-new-research-shows-unexpected-changes-in-plant-dna/.
 
[21] “Impact of GM Crops on Soil Health.” ISAAA, 20 Aug. 2020, www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/57/default.asp.
 
[22] “Lactose Intolerance – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance.
 
[23] Sachi, S., Ferdous, J., Sikder, M. H., & Azizul Karim Hussani, S. M. (2019). Antibiotic residues in milk: Past, present, and future. Journal of advanced veterinary and animal research, 6(3), 315–332. https://doi.org/10.5455/javar.2019.f350.
 
[24] Roos N, Sørensen JC, Sørensen H, et al. Screening for anti-nutritional compounds in complementary foods and food aid products for infants and young children. Matern Child Nutr. 2013;9 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):47-71. doi:10.1111/j.1740-8709.2012.00449.x.
 
[25] “Appropriate Antibiotic Use.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Nov. 2019, www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/index.html.
 
[26] “Probiotic Use May Reduce Antibiotic Prescriptions.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 14 Sept. 2018, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180914084840.htm.



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8 Ways To Boost Your Mental Health with Creative Writing

Creative writing is the ultimate free way to boost your mental health naturally. It provides a creative outlet and offers you insights into your emotions. Here are tips to start creative writing.
 
Everyone’s responsible for their own well-being. Everything we decide, do, eat, say, or think influences the quality of our life. These form our “diet, and that’s why it’s imperative to take equal care of your physical and mental health. We’re all quick to work out our abs but not our minds. One of the best ways to boost your mental health is to work out your brain through creative writing.

 

How Creative Writing Can Boost Your Mental Health 

 
There are many different strategies for improving your mental health. One of the most effective options is creative writing.
 

women creative writing to boost your mental health

Creative writing allows you to access subconscious realizations about yourself. You can come to conclusions you didn’t know existed. That way, you can work on bettering yourself as a person.
 
This outlet can also help you explore your creativity. Create your own escape from reality without being sucked into more screen time.
 
Creative writing can also be cathartic. It’s a way to get all of your emotions out in the open. That way, you can let it go.
 
When you boost your mental health, it creates less stress. Stress can trigger inflammation.
One analysis on stress and inflammation stated,
 

“Evidence suggests that acute and chronic stress is associated with increased inflammatory activity and enhanced attentional processing of negative information. Both are predictive of negative mood and depression symptoms that, in turn, increase inflammatory and cognitive stress reactivity [1].”

Front Neurosci.

Over the long term, chronic stress destroys healthy gut bacteria. That’s why tending to your mental health is essential for improving your gut health.

 

Tips to Boost Your Mental Health Through Creative Writing

 
Now that you know why creative writing can boost your mental health, let’s get down to the how. Here are eight ways you can achieve a better headspace while creating some captivating content!

 

Find Your Writing Spot

 
When it comes to exercising creative writing for improving your mental health, establishing a routine is a good thing. There’ll be times when you’ll feel like you don’t want to write and simply want to give up on the process. This scenario is precisely why you need to create or find your writing spot.
 
Having a ready-to-go writing spot will make it so much easier to sit down and start your writing. There’ll be no barriers or distractions.
 
You can choose to create a writing spot in your home:
• a simple set-up
• a desk
• a comfortable chair
• decorative details you like
 
You can add a plant, a lamp, or some inspiring quotes to the area. These will help set the mood for your writing session.
 

writing outside to boost your mental health

 

Naturally, you can choose some spot outside of your home, such as:
• a bench in the park
• a spot by the river
• a quiet coffee shop
 
Choose whatever works best for you. However, you’ll never know just when creativity will strike. So, make sure that your sanctuary is within a short distance!

 

Commit to Writing

 
When you’re struggling with mental health issues, you never know how the next day will look. You can’t be sure what to expect, or how you’re going to feel. Even in your worst days, you must commit to creative writing.
 
Commit to yourself by doing some of the following things:
• promise you’ll show up every day
• set minimum daily writing goals
• include one more person you trust in the process
 
Tell yourself you’ll do the writing even if you don’t feel like doing it. Consistency is key, even if you only write several lines.
 
Also, consider confiding in a close friend or someone from your family. Give them a chance to read what you’ve written each day and perhaps even discuss it with you. 
These interactions will boost the feeling of commitment. Plus, talking to loved ones naturally boosts your mental health. 

 

Write Freely

 
If you’re reading this and thinking something like “What would I even write?”, take a step back. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as it’s honest and unfiltered.
 

writing to boost your mental health

 
That means that while you’re doing your daily writing, you should:
avoid overthinking
• write freely
• avoid looking back at previous lines
 
Just sit down and go with your gut. Thryve user, Garrott, uses probiotics to help spark their creativity.
 
As Garrott explained,
 

“I believe in what Thryve is doing because, for the last year, I’ve been taking an essential oil vitamin pack as well as probiotics that have vastly increased my energy levels, concentration, and optimism as well as boosted my immune system. The results have directly improved my creativity and productivity [2].”

Garrott Designs

Don’t filter your thoughts, and don’t pause to think whether or not you should really write something down.
 
Instead, remind yourself that you have the liberty to write whatever comes to your mind and practice writing from your heart.

 

Focus on Your Emotions

 
Creative writing is a great way to improve your mental health because it will help you express all those emotions you may have suppressed deep within you. Instead of suppressing, you should focus on processing what you feel.

child writing

It’s never too late to start!

 
That’s why you should focus your creative writing on:
• your feelings
• what caused those feelings
• people who influence how you feel
• the positive and negative things that have happened

 
Be open about the way you feel and track down the reason why you feel that way. Use creative writing to process everything that’s happening to you.
 
It will be like opening up to your best friend who you absolutely trust. You’ll feel relieved and less stressed out.

 

Stop Being Judgmental

 
At any given moment in your life, you are your own biggest supporter. If you fail to love and support yourself, everything else won’t even matter.
 
Therefore, start working on losing those judgmental thoughts and apply them to your writing.
 
That includes the following:
• don’t edit your work
• perform positive self-talk while you’re writing
• don’t grade your writing sessions
• be kind to yourself
 
Focus on the process and not the result. If you showed up and written any lines, you’ve accomplished your goal for the day.
 
Being less judgmental and more self-appreciating is something that takes time and practice. Luckily, you can start practicing it in your creative writing sessions. 
 

Take Baby Steps

 
Boosting your mental health is worth every praise. Just the fact you decided to take things into your own hands says a lot about you. That’s why you need to start showing more self-love and appreciation.
 
That means:
• awarding yourself with a theatre ticket or your favorite chocolate bar
• acknowledging your effort
• praising your determination

 

Positive self-talk and self-encouragement are crucial for this entire process. Pat yourself on the back whenever you take a step towards improving your mental health.
 

Learn About Yourself

 
creative writing to boost your mental health
Creative writing is not only meant to reduce your daily stress or help you figure out why you’re feeling the way you are in a certain moment. It actually has a wider, deeper purpose.
 
By committing to your creative writing tasks every day, you’ll keep track of your daily struggles and be able to look back at it after a specific time.
 
This practice will help you:
• find your patterns of behavior
• learn what triggers certain emotions
• realize why you’re responding to things a certain way
 
You’ll be able to learn from your previous experiences and focus on finding the right way to overcome potential obstacles and issues. 
 
If you ever decide to share your experience with creative writing with others, check out the best paper writing site for helping writing a blog post or social media post. Learning about your mental health is crucial for your progress, and that’s exactly what creative writing will allow you to do.

 

Boost Your Mental Health Today

 

What are you waiting for you? Be proactive with your mental health and start working on the mental and physical. Don’t delay and get writing today.
 
In the meantime, opt for a gut test. Figure out which bacteria are negatively influencing your gut-brain-axis. These microbes might be behind some of your anxiety.
 
Hey, you can even write a review of our program as part of your creative writing. This practice will help you get even more of your insights. Plus, we’ll share your work with the world!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Maydych V. (2019). The Interplay Between Stress, Inflammation, and Emotional Attention: Relevance for Depression. Frontiers in neuroscience, 13, 384. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00384.
 
[2] Johnson, Garrott. “Thryve in the Creative Lifestyle- Go with Your Gut.” Garrott Designs, 14 Mar. 2018, www.garrottdesigns.com/2018/03/14/thryve-creative-lifestyle-gut-health-probiotics-gut-health-probiotic-microbiome/.

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10 Best Immune-Hacking Antiviral Foods to Fight the Flu

Antiviral foods help boost your immune system so you can fight off colds, flu, viruses, and other viral attacks!
 
Every dietary decision you make can either help or harm your immune system. Each food we consume is enriched with vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins that can either boost or hinder your overall health. The difference in these nutrients is what gives some foods different benefits, including antiviral properties. Here’s a list of ten antiviral foods that will help you fight off viral attacks.
 
Top Antiviral Foods

 

What Are Antiviral Foods?

 
Antiviral foods are enriched with a litany of organic compounds that help fight off pathogens within the body. Viruses like to infiltrate healthy cells and use their membranes as a host. Here is where viral replication takes place.
 
Viral replication is when virus DNA disrupts our natural DNA production. In turn, the virus can take over the system. 
 
One analysis about how viruses infect cells explained,
 

“Once a virus gets inside a cell, it hijacks the cellular processes to produce virally encoded protein that will replicate the virus’s genetic material. Viral mechanisms are capable of translocating proteins and genetic material from the cell and assembling them into new virus particles [1].”

Biophys J
So, you want to make sure you are eating foods that not only fight off viruses but also offer support to your healthy cells. The best antiviral foods should nourish and rejuvenate compromised cells and aid in cell proliferation. With these qualities, antiviral foods can help keep your immune system strong during flu season.

 

The Best Antiviral Foods to Boost Immune System

 
There are an array of foods that have antioxidant-boosting abilities that will keep your immune system strong. However, even some of these nutritious foods have even more benefits. They’re antiviral foods! That means these food sources can fight off a viral attack. Here are the ten antiviral foods that will give you the balanced diet necessary for optimal wellness.
 
antiviral foods for gut health Thryve
 

Garlic

 
There’s a reason why garlic keeps vampires away. Things that suck that life out of you aren’t a fan of the potent aromatic compounds found in garlic. Luckily for us, these molecules make garlic one of the most delicious antiviral foods out there [2].
 
There are three primary compounds found in garlic that exhibit antiviral capabilities:
• Allicin
• Diallyl Trisulfide
• Ajoene
 
Research shows that these compounds can impede the growth of influenza A and influenza B, as well as herpes and HIV. In the case of HIV, ajoene, in particular, has proven particularly helpful. Early HIV studies suggest ajoene prevents the irregular cellular processes triggered by HIV-infected cells [3].
 
There are many garlic supplements out there. However, nothing beats raw garlic. Garlic is easy to incorporate into a healthy diet. It adds flavor to anything and builds a strong immune system. So, stock up on this spice!

 

Star Anise

 
Star anise is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of antiviral foods. It’s been used since ancient times as an herbal medicine for improving the immune function. 
 
This licorice-flavored spice is rich in shikimic acid. Shikimic acid has potent antiviral properties. In fact, it’s an active ingredient in Theraflu!This spice has a very powerful flavor. It’s ideal for broths and teas. There are many ways to use star anise, but don’t go overboard. A little can go a long way with this Chinese herb.

 

Olive Leaf and Olive Oil

 
There’s a reason why those who follow a Mediterranean Diet have a longer lifespan. They consume an abundance of natural products, whole foods, and healthy fatty acids. One of their greatest sources of these desirable health habits is the olive.
 
While olives themselves (and olive oil) have many health benefits, don’t sleep on the olive leaf. Olive leaves are one of the most abundant sources of oleuropein. Studies involving this molecule found that it shows significant effects against respiratory syntactical virus and para-influenza type 3 virus [5].
 
While olive oil has less oleuropein than olive leaf, it has a considerable amount of healthy fatty acids that repair our gut and keep our immune system strong. Up the antioxidant effects and give free radicals a scare with a delicious garlic oil infusion!

 

Ginger

 
Ginger is a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s also  a tasty way to spice up your list of antiviral foods! This tangy root can bring life to any stir-fry or give your water a fizzy flavor. It also has excellent antiviral capabilities that makes this root essential for a healthy daily diet.
 
One study found that ginger helped improve the cells in both the upper respiratory tract (HEp-2 cells) and lower respiratory tract (A549 cells) [6]. The analysis noted improvements in both HEp-2 cells and A549 cells up to 27% and 12.9% respectively.
 
Furthermore, analysts noted that ginger caused cells to secrete Interferon-beta (IFN-β). IFN-β is a polypeptide that has antiviral capabilities because it regulates DNA encryption [7]. So, it can help block a viral attack.

 

Oregano Oil

 
An unsung hero in antiviral foods is oregano oil. Oregano plants are one of the most flavorful and effective antiviral herbs in the world. Extracts from this Italian herb are rich in antioxidants and other healing compounds that fight off free radicals.
 
In particular, oregano oil contains a high concentration of the following antiviral compounds:
• Carvacrol
• Thymol
• Terpinene
 
Namely, carvacrol can stop nonenveloped murine norovirus (MNV) in its tracks [8]. MNV is a precursor to noroviruses. Carvacarol achieves this by targeting the virus’ RNA. Researchers noted that antiviral effects can happen within an hour of ingesting oregano oil.
 
Oregano oil is highly abrasive on the skin. Make sure to mix it with a thicker carrier oil if you are using it as a chest rub. Excellent choices for carrier oils include coconut oil and olive oil. Be sure to add in some lemon balm for the scent of citrus fruits and an extra dose of antiviral properties!
 
Antiviral Foods for Thryve Gut Health 2 of 2

 

Spirulina

 
The sea-based superfood spirulina is one of the most versatile antiviral foods. You can add spirulina powder to a variety of superfood smoothies. If you never thought about doing so, it might be time to reconsider.
 
One study looked at the effects of spirulina on three predominant types of influenza [9]. Considerable evidence suggests that after one hour, the blue algae inhibited virus replication.
 
Researchers saw viral yields of the following types of influenza decrease by the following:
• A/WSN/33(H1N1) – 68%
• A/TW/3446/02(H3N2) – 90%
• B/TW/70555/05 – 94%
 
Many of the antiviral benefits of spirulina are attributed to its high levels of cyanovirin-N. This protein has shown promise in slowing down the progression of HIV to AIDS [10]. It’s also shown promise in blocking the progression of the herpes virus, Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1). 
 
This plant-based food is also a great source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E not only helps fight off free radicals but it helps convert our food to energy. So, by consuming Vitamin E, we can cut down the inflammatory-causing fat tissues that might cause an adverse immune response. This preventative measure makes our body less susceptible to viral replication.

 

Shiitake Mushrooms

 
If you give a shiitake about your health, you should give shiitake mushrooms a try. In fact, shittake mushrooms are so popular that many health food stores sell it in organic teas!
 
Don’t worry about getting a fungal infection or sick from eating these fungi. Shiitake mushrooms are teeming with beta-glucans. These are sugars that have antiviral capabilities. In fact, hospitals administer beta-glucans via an IV to prevent infection post-surgery [11].
 
One study on the antiviral benefits of shiitake mushrooms found that these foods had a positive impact on the immune system. Researchers stated that compounds in shiitake mushrooms increased secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in the body [12]. They noted that this action improved gut motility, which would help with many gastro problems.
 
sIgA is an antibody. It plays a significant role in protecting the cell membrane. As we mentioned, viruses like to use the cells as hosts so they can carry out their agenda. Eating antiviral foods rich in sIgA can help prevent that attack.

 

Green Tea

 
We are big proponents of drinking tea in a healthy gut diet plan. Green tea is one of the many reasons why tea time is always on our agenda. Our tasty brew is enriched with catechins. In particular, green tea has an abundance of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
 
An analysis about this antiviral brew noted,
 

“EGCG, the most abundant catechin in green tea, was shown to minimize the infectivity of the influenza A and B virus in Madin–Darby canine kidney cells. Furthermore, EGCG and ECG inhibited the activity of viral RNA (ribonucleic acid), which suppressed virus propagation [13].”

Molecules.
Furthermore, ECGC fights off the following viral families:
• Flaviviridae
• Retroviridae
• Hepadnaviridae
• Herpesviridae
• Adenoviridae
• Orthomyxoviridae
• Picornavirida
 
Suffice to say, if you are showing some symptoms of the flu, get the tea flowing. Add some star anise to your green tea. If not, try the next item on our list of top antiviral foods.

 

Elderberries

 
Elderberries are finally getting the credit they deserve in the world of flu prevention. These things got more Vitamin C than the ever-popular orange! Compounds in this superfruit bind onto the little spikes found on virus proteins. As a result, these viruses are unable to leech onto healthy cells and overtake the system.
 
One study administered treatment to 60 influenza patients [14]. Half received elderberry syrup, while the other group had a placebo. Those who consumed elderberry felt better on an average of four days sooner than their counterparts.
 
It should be noted that elderberries are one of the best foods for flu and preventative measures against viral attacks. In fact, many Vitamin C supplements contain elderberry. However, if you have COVID-19, Dr. Weil suggests to stop using this immune booster. He noted that cases of the coronavirus may experience an adverse immune response from elderberry.

 

Yogurt

 
One of the best antiviral foods is probiotics. Probiotics in yogurt help set up our gut to be the first line of defense against viral infection. Filling your gut biome with good bacteria has shown to help fight off the growth of enterovirus (EV) 71 up to 45% [15]. 
 
Many healthy adults start their day off right with a yummy yogurt bowl. For extra gut-healing power, make sure you get yogurt fortified with Vitamin D. May people have low levels of Vitamin D3, which is essential for many metabolic functions that support our immune system.
 
Speaking of, add in some berries for free radical protection. Lastly, top off with protein-rich sunflower seeds to build healthy cells throughout the GI tract. 
 
One analysis noted common probiotic species helped alleviate symptoms of the flu, such as:
• Lactobacillus plantarum
• Bifidobacterium bifidum
 
Both of these stomach bacteria are also common recommendations in the Thryve Gut Health Program. That’s why many of our custom probiotics supplements contain these strains. Find out if your gut needs this support against a viral attack. Get your gut tested today!

 

How to Incorporate Antiviral Foods Into A Diet

 
So many antiviral foods, so little time? The most challenging aspect of switching up your diet habits is knowing where to begin. That’s where Thryve Inside can help.
 
Our gut health program offers targeted insights into your dietary choices. By testing your gut biome, we get a snapshot on everything causing your system an immune response. Based on the results, we can determine your risk of developing autoimmunity and how well your metabolism functions.
 
Get insights on your health like never before!
 
To better your chances of a passing grade, the Thryve Inside Gut Health Program offers you recommendations on foods you should eat, and which ones to avoid.

 

thryve gut health food recommendations

Get personalized recommendations, including recipes featuring antiviral foods!

Combine these insights with our recipes full of antiviral foods, and your immune system will be strong enough to take-on flu season head-on!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Cohen F. S. (2016). How Viruses Invade Cells. Biophysical journal, 110(5), 1028–1032. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2016.02.006
 
[2] Bayan, L., Koulivand, P. H., & Gorji, A. (2014). Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 4(1), 1–14.
 
[3] Tatarintsev, A V, et al. “The Ajoene Blockade of Integrin-Dependent Processes in an HIV-Infected Cell System.” Vestnik Rossiiskoi Akademii Meditsinskikh Nauk, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1992, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1284227.
 
[4] Bochkov, D. V., Sysolyatin, S. V., Kalashnikov, A. I., & Surmacheva, I. A. (2012). Shikimic acid: review of its analytical, isolation, and purification techniques from plant and microbial sources. Journal of chemical biology, 5(1), 5–17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12154-011-0064-8.
 
[5] Omar S. H. (2010). Oleuropein in olive and its pharmacological effects. Scientia pharmaceutica, 78(2), 133–154. https://doi.org/10.3797/scipharm.0912-18.
 
[6] Chang, Jung San, et al. “Fresh Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Has Anti-Viral Activity against Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Human Respiratory Tract Cell Lines.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 Jan. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23123794.
 
[7] Markowitz, Clyde E. “Interferon-Beta: Mechanism of Action and Dosing Issues.” Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 June 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17562848.
 
[8] Gilling, D H, et al. “Antiviral Efficacy and Mechanisms of Action of Oregano Essential Oil and Its Primary Component Carvacrol against Murine Norovirus.” Journal of Applied Microbiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779581.
 
[9] Chen, Y. H., Chang, G. K., Kuo, S. M., Huang, S. Y., Hu, I. C., Lo, Y. L., & Shih, S. R. (2016). Well-tolerated Spirulina extract inhibits influenza virus replication and reduces virus-induced mortality. Scientific reports, 6, 24253. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep24253.
 
[10] Tsai, Che-Chung, et al. “Cyanovirin-N Inhibits AIDS Virus Infections in Vaginal Transmission Models.” AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15000694.
 
[11] Rahar, S., Swami, G., Nagpal, N., Nagpal, M. A., & Singh, G. S. (2011). Preparation, characterization, and biological properties of β-glucans. Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research, 2(2), 94–103. https://doi.org/10.4103/2231-4040.82953.
 
[12] Dai, Xiaoshuang, et al. “Consuming Lentinula Edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25866155.
 
[13] Furushima, D., Ide, K., & Yamada, H. (2018). Effect of Tea Catechins on Influenza Infection and the Common Cold with a Focus on Epidemiological/Clinical Studies. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(7), 1795. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071795.
 
[14] Zakay-Rones, Z, et al. “Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections.” The Journal of International Medical Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016.
 
[15] Choi, Hw-Jung, et al. “Antiviral Activity of Yogurt against Enterovirus 71 in Vero Cells.” Food Science and Biotechnology, The Korean Society of Food Science and Technology, 1 Jan. 1970, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10068-010-0042-x.
 

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How Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Your Gut Health

There are many reasons to try fasting. After all, our ancestors have been doing it for centuries. However, science is just starting to catch onto all the benefits of intermittent fasting for gut health. It’s been linked to improving insulin sensitivity, normalizing your circadian rhythm, and improving your overall health. Much of these reasons are due to the fact that our gut bacteria play a large role in our metabolism and intermittent fasting gives our metabolic processes a bit of a break. 
 
Unfortunately, many people do not realize how their own gut even functions. They are unaware that inside our gut lives millions of microorganisms. These microbes are in charge of a lot of things, including the digestion of food that we consume. Due to this negligence, many people do not take proper care of their gut. Poor gut health is why so many suffer from gastrointestinal issues.
 
With so many different treatments out there, you might want to know what you can do to naturally bring your body back into balance. Try doing as our ancestors did. Withhold food from your system for a specific amount of time. Intermittent Fasting for gut health might be what you needed to rebuild gut flora and replenish beneficial bacteria in your gut biome.

 

What is Intermittent Fasting?

 
Intermittent fasting, or IF for short, is considered a diet by some but in reality, it’s not. There is no scientific formula to follow intermittent fasting. It’s just fasting in between spurts of time.
 
While that may sound too simple to be true, IF isn’t very complicated. There are no dietary restrictions. The only restriction is when you eat. During the fasting periods, you can only drink water, coffee, or tea with little to no sweetener. During your feeding time, it’s fair game for food.
 
This may seem too good to be true, yet there are many benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Essentially, you normally eat for a particular amount of time and then fast for the rest. There are many ways in which people go about with this pattern. These are called protocols.

 

Types of Intermittent Fasting for Gut Health Protocols

 
What makes intermittent fasting for gut health such a viable lifestyle choice for many is that you can pick and choose from different protocols. From there, you can make these protocols work with your schedule.
 

The many ways to do I.F.

 
No matter the time window you decide for your intermittent fasting protocol, you can make it fit within your daily schedule. Figure out the times that you need the most energy, when you normally eat, and when you can go the longest without eating.
 
From there, you can try out these three popular intermittent fasting for gut health protocols:
 
• 16:8 or 18:6 method (can even be 20:4, etc): This is where you fast for 16 to 20+ hours, and eat for the remaining hours in the day. This is the most common method.

• The 5:2 method: In this method, you eat for 5 days, but for two days, you fast. This fasting can include not consuming any calories at all for these days, or have a very low-calorie limit. This limit is usually around 500 calories max.

• One Meal A Day (OMAD) method: Probably the least common of the bunch, but gaining popularity. This is where you eat one large meal a day, and then fast for the rest of the time.
 
These are just a few of the many different ways that people do IF. There are more intense protocols that include 24-hour fasts, Eat Stop Eat, and Alternate-Day Fasting.
 
However, these three are the most common intermittent fasting protocols. They are a lot less extreme and easier for you to ease into.

 

How Intermittent Fasting Improves Gut Health

 
Now, why should you do intermittent fasting for gut health? Here are some reasons why your gut biome needs a timeout from the digestion of food.
 

Intermittent Fasting for Gut Health BenefitsIntermittent fasting gives your body the break it needs to repair itself!

 

Gives Digestive System a Break

 
When it comes to our gut health, what we put into our body affects which microorganisms grow and flourish within your gut. What we eat draws a fine line in the sand between probiotic bacteria and harmful bacteria.
 
Unhealthy diets laden in saturated fatty acids, refined sugars, and artificial sweeteners can cause an inflammatory response from the immune system. Over time, this response only worsens and can contribute to development of disease states such as autoimmune diseases. 
 
Healthy gut microbe communities don’t know how to handle this situation. For one, they don’t like the sweets and junk food. So, they don’t help you digest these foods. That causes weight gain and more inflammatory responses. 
 
Eventually, the chronic inflammation will start to destroy beneficial gut flora. In turn, nutrient availability, immune system support, and metabolic states all suffer. 
 
A long-term diet of consuming junk foods causes helpful microorganisms throughout the digestive tract to die off. Beneficial bacteria relies on the nutrition of whole foods, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates to prosper. As a result, opportunistic microbes will take their place, ultimately throwing your body into disarray [1].
 
This is why consuming more fermented foods, such as yogurts and Kombucha teas are beneficial to the gut. Without these vital microorganisms, our bodies simply would not be able to function.
 
Or, as Harvard states:
 

“In a healthy body, pathogenic and symbiotic microbiota coexist without problems. But if there is a disturbance in that balance—brought on by infectious illnesses, certain diets, or the prolonged use of antibiotics or other bacteria-destroying medications—dysbiosis occurs, stopping these normal interactions. As a result, the body may become more susceptible to disease [2].”

Harvard
Focusing on what we eat and put into our bodies can help us in the long-term to be healthy. In the case of “You can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” if you can’t find anything healthy to eat, maybe you shouldn’t eat anything at all. That’s what is so beneficial about intermittent fasting for gut health.

 

Stops Bored Eating and Weight Gain

 
The thing we have to understand is that we as humans never had 24-hour access to food until very recently. Before this, we ate what was available, and often went long stretches of time without ever eating at all. Not to mention, what they ate was in whole food form and didn’t cause the gastrointestinal distress we all feel today. This is due to the fact that food was not as abundant nor stuffed with additives as it is today.
 
While food being readily available is convenient for our fast-paced lives, this abundance is a breeding ground for over-consumption.
 
Present day humans are now eating every couple of hours, if not sooner. This means that our body is in a constant state of digestion, with little rest in-between. It’s like working an 18-hour shift and only getting a five-minute break.

 

Recent Studies on Intermittent Fasting for Gut Health in Animal Models

 
Always stuffing our face can overwork our microbiome. Overeating may cause many of the organisms that we take for granted to die off or exponentially grow. Either way, it disrupts the dynamic of our intestinal flora which results in many gastrointestinal symptoms.
 
There are actually a fair amount of studies that prove this as well. One study on rats found that intermittent fasting was able to restore the microbiome of the rat after just 18 weeks [3].
 
A study that was done on fruit flies in 2015 even stated that IF can help to make you live longer [4]. It is important to know that these are animal studies. More research needs to be done before a final conclusion is made.

 

Recent Studies on Intermittent Fasting for Gut Health in the Human Body

 
While the studies on intermittent fasting for gut health are predominantly conducted on animals, there has been some human studies done, as well. 
 
There was a 2014 review about if intermittent fasting can help those who suffer from Metabolic Syndrome [5]. The Abstract in this study noted the many benefits of intermittent fasting for gut health, mental wellness, and cellular function.
The meta-analysis noted,
 

“Chronic fasting extends longevity in part by reprogramming metabolic and stress resistance pathways. In rodents intermittent or periodic fasting protects against diabetes, cancers, heart disease and neurodegeneration, while in humans it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, fasting has the potential to delay aging and help prevent and treat diseases while minimizing the side effects caused by chronic dietary interventions.

Cell Metab.
Doctors are now becoming more privy to the potential of intermittent fasting for gut health, which can benefit millions of people worldwide.

 

Prevents Insulin Resistance And Boosts Immune System 

 
A study involving diabetic mice found that type 1 db mice secrete insulin after intermittent fasting. Prior to the study, experts destroyed the β-cells of these animal models. 
 
β-cells are an integral part of the immune system, as they are responsible for secreting insulin. These immune system cells regulate blood glucose levels.
 
Over eight weeks, the scientists would alternate these mice between a normal diet of free feeding for a week and a week of calorie restriction. In the end, the mice saw a significant increase in β-cells.
 
Type 2 db mice were also given the same experiment. 
 
Results found:
 
• Reduced Level of Fasting Glucose
• Improved Glucose Tolerance
• Better Insulin Sensitivity
 
These health benefits are not only promising for maintaining the blood sugar levels of diabetics, they can be a game-changer in repairing metabolic health.

 

Improves Gut Bacteria and Weight Loss

 
 
Evidence has come to light in recent years which suggests that gut bacteria may play a crucial role in body weight. Studies have shown that people who are overweight and obese often have a smaller amount of a specific type of bacteria in the gut called Bacteroidetes [6].
 
Also, harmful bacteria can cause you to crave refined sugars and processed foods. Therefore, when you have a microbial imbalance in your gut, you will naturally increase food intake. 
 
Lastly, gut bacteria play an integral role in our carbohydrate energy metabolism. They feast on the fibers in carbohydrates, and produce microbial metabolites that help give us an extra boost of energy.  With elevated energy levels, you are more likely to exercise and burn off more calories. 
 
A more efficient energy metabolism will keep your circadian clock running smoothly. In time, your sleep levels and body weight should even out. You will notice better cognitive function, improved moods, and regulated metabolic health.
 
That is why improving gut bacteria and lower body weight go hand-in-hand. To rebuild gut flora that is beneficial to your overall wellness, you should take personalized probiotics supplements.

 

Combining Intermittent Fasting with Microbiome Testing

 
At Thryve, we use microbiome testing to determine which intestinal flora is lacking in your gut biome. We then recommend probiotic supplements to rebuild gut flora and eliminate different types of bacteria that might be harmful to your particular system. With our program, we can help retain the balance of beneficial gut flora in your body.
Microbiome Testing Companies



While your probiotics are still growing in your gut biome, you need to give them a better chance of survival. This is where calorie restriction may be beneficial.
 
Intermittent fasting has shown to be just as effective as any other form of diet when it comes to weight loss. Not to mention, the analysis Bacteroidetes showed that losing weight naturally increases the presence of this gut bacteria. Therefore, when you lose weight with IF, you are potentially increasing beneficial bacteria that live in your body. Over time, this may help keep the weight off.

 

IF and Reduction of Foodborne Illness

 
Caloric restriction gives the digestive system a break. Instead of your probiotic bacteria breaking down food particles, they can fight off pathogens. Forgoing meals can have a positive effect on the gut microbiome within three days.
 
A  small study following Salmonella-infected mice, found that IF was able to help them “reset” their gut microbiome [7].
 
According to the study:
 

“…the changes following metabolic stress induced by intermittent fasting during food deprivation days increased the resistance to S. Typhimurium infection by triggering intestinal IgA production and presumably, pathogen elimination by phagocytic inflammatory cells.”

Wiley Online Library
By not eating for periods of time, it gives your body a chance to go back to a state of balance. With gut biome balance, your intestinal flora can diversify, and multiply alongside other beneficial bacteria.

 

Intermittent Fasting Regulates Circadian Rhythm Metabolism

 
All cells follow a 24-hour cycle for optimal replication. This physiological process is known as our metabolism. That time period is known as our circadian rhythm
 
When you are trying to repair your gut lining from chronic inflammation, it is essential for our epithelial tissue, immune system, and blood cells all follow our circadian clock. 
 
Unfortunately, our body works overtime, throwing off our circadian rhythm. For one, our circadian clock is light-dependent. It relies on our pineal gland, taking in light from the sun to know when it’s daytime and nighttime.
 
During the day, the body is all-hands-on deck. It’s working on glucose metabolism for energy, keeping your skin looking vibrant, and helping you lose weight. However, electronics are throwing off our pineal gland. 
 
Blue light emitted from devices is throwing off our brain function, telling our pineal gland that the sun is rising at all hours. Too much screen time messes up your cells’ physiological processes. 
 
Your body also relies on these light cues to get sleep. That way, your immune system can take a break. Then, your body can produce the hormones it needs for tomorrow and begin repairs on the wear-and-tear of adulting.
 
Unfortunately, eating all the time throws even more wrenches into our circadian rhythm. When you eat close to bedtime, your body never stops working. 
 
So, your cells don’t go through their regular processes. Instead, they’re busy digesting your food. Then, you’re going to feel bloated and tired the next day!
 
Most people follow a fast diet during their sleeping hours. Being unconscious when you’re hungry means you won’t think about the fact you want food! Plus, your body is free to work on fixing your metabolic health, rather than breaking down your food.
 
Also, try to plan your meals at the same time. Your body should anticipate when to have the healthy gut microbial communities ready to get to work. Likewise, stay regular with your bedtime. The more of a routine you follow, the better gut health you will experience.

 

Trying Out Intermittent Fasting for Gut Health

 
I.F. can be beneficial to our health in a variety of ways. It can help with replenishing gut bacteria and weight loss. Intermittent fasting may also reduce inflammation and curb overeating.
 
While previous research on adults for intermittent fasting has been promising, there hasn’t been any science done for the elderly or for children. You should always consult a physician anytime you make dietary changes. However, it’s extremely important when dealing with the elderly and the young.
 
Also, if you have a history with eating disorders, chronic calorie restriction isn’t considered a healthy eating pattern. While intermittent fasting is a useful tool for improving bacterial diversity, you don’t want to jeopardize your mental or overall health. 
 
If you are having gastrointestinal issues or you feel as if your gut health is not in balance, try IF. The benefits of fasting might be able to help get your gut balance back on track.

 

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Resources

 

[1] Conlon, M. A., & Bird, A. R. (2014). The impact of diet and lifestyle on gut microbiota and human health. Nutrients, 7(1), 17–44. doi:10.3390/nu7010017.
 
[2] “The Microbiome.” The Nutrition Source, 24 Aug. 2017, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/.
 
[3] Rong, Zu-Hua, et al. “Effect of Intermittent Fasting on Physiology and Gut Microbiota in Presenium Rats.” Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao = Journal of Southern Medical University, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 Apr. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28446391.
 
[4] Catterson, J. H., Khericha, M., Dyson, M. C., Vincent, A. J., Callard, R., Haveron, S. M., … Partridge, L. (2018). Short-Term, Intermittent Fasting Induces Long-Lasting Gut Health and TOR-Independent Lifespan Extension. Current biology : CB, 28(11), 1714–1724.e4. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.015.
 
[5] Longo, V. D., & Mattson, M. P. (2014). Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell metabolism, 19(2), 181–192. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2013.12.008.
 
[6] Ley, Ruth E, et al. “Microbial Ecology: Human Gut Microbes Associated with Obesity.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 21 Dec. 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17183309?dopt=Abstract.
 
[7] Campos‐Rodriguez, R., et al. “Intermittent Fasting Promotes Bacterial Clearance and Intestinal IgA Production in Salmonella Typhimurium‐Infected Mice.” Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 20 Apr. 2014, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sji.12163.
 

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