Gut Health Probiotics Glossary of Terms

Gut health probiotics is a new and growing sector of the health and wellness industry. Even those who consider themselves woke to probiotics benefits and the importance of healthy stomach bacteria can find themselves scratching their heads with terms like “microbes” and “gut flora.” And don’t get us started on colony-forming units (because we’ll save that for later!).

If you are nervous about the whole gut health probiotics world, consider this article as a dipping of the toe into the waters. On your journey, you are going to come across a list of words that may throw you for a loop. So bookmark this page any time you need clarification. Without further adieu, your gut health probiotics glossary of terms awaits you.

Intro to Gut Biome

We are made of trillions of cells that make up our tissue, organs, and blood vessels that power us physically and mentally [1]. These cells were first formed in the womb, creating our vital organs first. From there, cells hardened around to create our skin. These cells serve as a house for the community living inside. That community is your microbiome.

Microbes

There are up to 400 trillion microbes in our body. Microbes are short of microorganisms. The only criteria to be a microbe is the organism must divide.

We cannot microbes with a blind eye. However, they are constantly bumping into each other, making chemical reactions happen. These chemical reactions influence everything from our mood to immune system (as you will see in the axis points).

For those most part, microbes work in unison to make sure everything is going smoothly. However, if opportunistic microbes start to grow in numbers, they can disrupt the balance in the system. There are five major types of microbes in your body.

ARCHEA

These are singular organisms resemble bacteria. They only thrive in environments with other archea.

BACTERIA

These are the first organisms known to man. The only way for them to survive is to be surrounded by a cell wall. This makes bacteria very beneficial. Probiotics are a form of bacteria. You may also hear

The following terms are also associated/used intermittently with stomach bacteria:

  • Intestinal Flora
  • Gut Flora
  • Probiotics

Probiotics is the only with a positive connotation. The others may be harmful or adverse stomach bacteria. It all depends on the superlative the author attaches.

FUNGI

Fungi is an umbrella term to describe yeast, mold, and mushrooms. Some yeast, like a SCOBY in kombucha, is healthy for the body. Whereas other fungi, like black mold, can be toxic.

VIRUS

Virus are controversially added to this list because not all divide. Unfortunately, harmful ones like (like HIV) does. When viral infections take over, it alters your cells and can lead to death.

PROTISTS

The Motley Crew of the group. Protists are the oddballs that have no exact classification. Most feed on dead cells, making them useful for maintaining blood flow.

Microbiome

This is a word used to describe the community that hosts your microbes. You may see gut biome used interchangeably. However, others may use gut biome to specifically reference microbes in the gut, small intestines, and colon.

4 Gut Health Probiotics Axis Points

We say it here a lot of Thryve Microbiome Testing and Probiotics, Hippocrates was onto something. The Greek physician famously touted, “All disease begins in the gut.” Technology has proven the Father of Medicine was onto something.

To understand the importance of gut health probiotics, you must realize that the gut remains in constant communication with other areas of the body. Our stomach bacteria influence areas of our body that are crucial for optimal day-to-day functioning. These are the gut health probiotics axis points.

Gut-Weight Axis

This should be a no-brainer. Whatever you eat winds up in your gut. If you eat poorly, then you are going to feel poorly. Diets rich in refined sugars, saturated fats, and irritants like gluten cause weight gain. It also creates a breeding ground for inflammation that puts your health at an increased risk.

Gut-Brain Axis

They say the gut is the second brain. However, the gut brain connection is stronger than that. At the tip of the brain stem is our vagus nerve. This nerve travels down to the gut biome, touching every major along the way. When harmful stomach bacteria take over the gut, it triggers the vagus nerve, sending negative impulses to the brain. That is why there is a strong correlation between gut health and depression.

Gut-Immune-Axis

Whichever stomach bacteria are in the gut influence how the immune system operates. When harmful gut flora lives in the gut biome, it causes the immune cells to spark inflammation. If you can’t figure how to get rid of harmful bacteria in the gut, inflammation becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation can be a precursor for autoimmune disease.

Gut-Skin Axis

Beauty truly is skin deep. How your skin looks on the outside is a reflection of the microbes living under the surface. In fact, the skin microbiota has their own microbes. Some have even shown promise in fighting the growth of cancer cells.

Gut Health Probiotics Terms

When someone is looking for gut health supplements, microbiome testing, or probiotics, they are looking to ease symptoms associated to one of the gut health axis points. Here are a list of terms you will encounter when choosing the right gut health supplements.

Probiotics

There are millions of probiotic strains out there. These are bacteria that can be found in anything from dairy to fermented foods to your own gut biome. Probiotics benefits are plentiful, but their primary goal is to keep the microbiome in balance. They stop opportunistic yeast like Candida from leaving the small intestines, help fight off inflammation, and assist in the digestion of food.

FERMENTED FOODS

Fermented fruits and vegetables are an ideal to boost your probiotic intestinal flora. These are foods that are preserved in a brine with salt or vinegar. Yeasts start to feast on sugars in the food. A natural byproduct of this process is probiotics.

Types of fermented foods include:

We highly recommend fermented foods as a part of our Thryve Gut Health Program. If you are suffering from Candida overgrowth, stay away from fermented foods. This yeast will feast on the sugars, causing even more growth.

Probiotics Supplements

Gut health probiotics have boomed over the last few years. Unfortunately, a majority of leading probiotics supplements brands have proven to be ineffective. A number of reasons lead to that analysis, but a lead cause is that people are taking supplements that don’t contain any live probiotics.

Probiotics are living bacteria. They need to divide and colonize your small intestine so you can reclaim your gut biome. A good number of gut health probiotics on stores shelves are made with generic strains that didn’t survive the journey from lab to store to home.

Colony Forming Units (CFUs)

Gut health probiotics supplements are encapsulated in servings of colony forming units (CFUs). That means that each serving (a pill) contains X amount of live and active probiotic strains. The higher the CFU, the higher the dose.

Typically, gut health supplements come in 10, 20, 30 billion CFUs. While more may seem better, you don’t want to take too much because then the balance of power gets shifted negatively in the gut biome.

Microbiome Testing

This is a gut test to determine which stomach bacteria live in your gut biome. At Thryve, we use microbiome testing prior to formulating personalized probiotics supplements for each member of our gut health probiotics program.

We do this to avoid the issue we talked about before where too much of one bacteria strain can be detrimental to the system as a whole. It’s also why generic gut health supplements tend not to work. Stomach bacteria is unique to each person, as their gut health supplements should be too.

HOW MICROBIOME TESTING WORKS

At Thryve, we send you an At-Home Gut Health Test Kit. We provide you two sterile swabs and a vial of preservative. Simply collect a small sample from your toilet paper with the swab. Swirl the swab in the liquid and seal the vial shut. Mail back in the pre-stamped and addressed envelope we provide and wait for your microbiome testing results.

As you wait, activate your gut test kit. We walk you through the enrollment of your personalized gut health program. Based on the results of your sample and dietary preferences, we formulate personalized probiotics that get delivered to your door each month.

To help your gut health probiotics Thryve Inside, we also craft a healthy gut diet plan for you. This plan is rich in prebiotics that will help your gut health probiotics prosper.

Prebiotics

As we mentioned, probiotic bacteria are living beings. They need to eat too. Prebiotics are the foods that we can’t digest. If you are eating a ton of saturated fats and refined sugars, then this serves as prebiotics (dinner) for harmful bacteria.

Probiotics enjoy foods that are high in fiber. Complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, artichokes, and kale make ideal prebiotics for probiotics. However, we’ll walk you through all this when we help you craft your healthy gut diet plan through the Thryve Gut Health Program.

Thryve Probiotics Gut Health

Resources

[1] Crew, Bec. “Here’s How Many Cells in Your Body Aren’t Actually Human.” ScienceAlert, www.sciencealert.com/how-many-bacteria-cells-outnumber-human-cells-microbiome-science.