A happy gut is a healthy gut. A healthy gut is a happy gut, and a happier healthier you, too.
There is a well-documented connection between gut health and other aspects of your health. The human body has trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria and yeast, living in and on your body at any given time, working away to digest food and regulate immunity.
Microorganisms outnumber the cells in our body by about 10 to 1, and when the balance of those microorganisms goes out of whack it can impact your body in a number of ways. Studies have linked gut health to:
- metabolic and digestive health, affecting weight loss
- fat and good cholesterol levels, impacting cardiovascular health
- and even mental health— disorders like anxiety and depression, as well as cognition. (Did you know that 95% of the body’s serotonin— your “happy hormone”— is found in the gut?)
I’ve seen this firsthand, to some extent. My husband has ulcerative colitis, and odds are good that at least one of our kids will also, to some degree. Before he received his diagnosis and found a method of treatment that worked for him, life was pretty rough. Eating made him hurt, not eating triggered other problems. He wasn’t getting proper nutrients. He was always on edge from the ongoing issues. He got sick a lot. He slept all the time. He was in and out of the ER to replenish fluids.
Not everyone will experience anything so extreme, of course, but 30-40% of the population will experience some sort of functional bowel issue at some point and believe me, you’ll notice. Preventative measures are the easiest way to keep your gut, and the rest of you, healthy and happy. One way to keep tummy troubles at bay: a good probiotic.
Note: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.
NOW Women’s Probiotic 20 Billion
I tried out NOW Women’s Probiotic 20 Billion. This is one f several probiotics NOW offers, but this one is specific to women and has been specially formulated using three clinically tested probiotic strains to specifically support women’s health.* Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free, it has a guaranteed potency of 20 billion Colony-Forming Units (CFU), including the B. lactis HN019 and HN001 strains (which are though to support healthy immune system function in pregnant and nursing women).* HN019 also supports GI regularity and can reduce associated gas and bloating.
I’ll attempt to be delicate here: I have occasional stomach issues. Dairy makes my stomach unhappy, definitely, but sometimes other foods can be triggering too. Generally my digestive system swings to one extreme or the other. Neither is fun and both are uncomfortable, and I’ve been known to cancel plans to leave the house as a result.
I won’t say that taking a probiotic cured all my ills; I still have to be aware of triggers. But definitely I saw a difference in regularity and severity. I was much closer to the middle of the road with digestive health, and my issues seemed more predictable in terms of timing (keeping things moving on somewhat of a schedule). I also saw a distinct reduction in bloating.
That doesn’t sound very exciting, but it makes a huge difference in comfort levels.
Other ways to promote gut health
- Regular exercise to stimulate your digestive system.
- Avoid trigger foods, but be sure to get all your nutrients. If that’s a hard line to walk, see your doctor or a nutritionist for help.
- Reduce stress. Mental health issues and digestive issues are kind of a chicken or the egg situation, but from experience I’ll say I think that anxiety exacerbates existing symptoms.
- If you have ANY family history of stomach, colon, or GI issues, ask your doctor about what tests are recommended. My father died of colon cancer which could have been caught at a much earlier age with a colonoscopy.
About NOW Foods
I became very familiar with NOW when I was working at FitFluential. I can tell you though my interactions with their employees that they are VERY conscientious about the claims that they make, they take quality very seriously, and their prices are very competitive. NOW is one of the very few supplement companies that is using technology to genetically verify their probiotics; with their probiotic products, they use DNAfingerprinting technology to guarantee the identity, potency, and purity of the bacterial strains used. This also helps identify potential bacterial contaminants prior to production.
Long story short, this is a brand I trust.
You can find Women’s Probiotic 20 Billion at natural healthfood stores, on amazon.com, at iherb.com, and now-2-u.com. Full list of locations here.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.