7 Reasons To Take Probiotics

Over 100 trillion microbes (bacteria, fungi and viruses) populate our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and 99% of them are beneficial to human health. These microbes regulate not only our digestive system, but also our metabolism and immune system. Here are seven important, but less known, reasons to get a good microbial balance:

1. You'll boost your energy levels.

For every two minutes of energy you body creates, the microflora produces six seconds of it. If that doesn't sound like much, think of the most erotic two minutes of your life and take the best six seconds of it—that's what the microflora gives you.

2. You'll increase your metabolism. 

The microflora converts 30% of the inactive thyroid hormone, thyroxine, to its active form, T3, to help boost your metabolism. If you're feeling a little sluggish, constipated, and your hair is falling out (three signs of a subclinical thyroid disorder), perhaps you want to add a good probiotic to your thyroid optimizing protocol.

3. You'll enhance mercury detoxification. 

Very new research is showing that your microflora is responsible for up to 90% of mercury detoxification. If you enjoyed Hamachi for dinner last night and had a Niçoise salad for lunch today, augment your body's natural detox mechanisms by adding a good probiotic to your supplement routine for the next 14 days.

4. You'll improve your mood. 

The microflora synthesize B vitamins, which are used to create serotonin, the 'happy' neurotransmitter. B vitamins are also energy nutrients. If you want to be happy and energized, dejunk your diet, so the beneficial microbes can proliferate and do their work.

5. You'll improve mineral absorption. 

Beneficial microbes enhance the absorption of calcium, magnesium and zinc. If improved bone density is a goal, adding a good probiotic should be considered along with Vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium and other bone nutrients.

6. You'll decrease food sensitivities.

The microflora improve gut barrier function by creating fuel for the cells that line the GI tract. Without this fuel, these cells atrophy causing leaky gut. Once leaky gut is established, food sensitivities frequently develop.

7. You'll battle obesity. 

Beneficial microbes use more calories to survive than pathogenic microbes. The pathogenic microbes also interfere with insulin signaling, leading to increased fat mass. Modern animal husbandry has known this for years; give animals low-dose antibiotics and they get fatter.

Probiotics are designed to augment normal flora so the microbes can more easily perform their diverse functions. However, probiotics are not a panacea for wellness. They are part of a larger protocol to improve the gut microbial balance, which includes:

  • Limiting your intake of antibiotics (medically and in the food supply)
  • Dejunking your diet to limit fuel for the pathogenic microbes
  • Eating a colorful array of plant-based foods to provide substrates for the mircoflora to feast on
  • Adding naturally fermented foods, like coconut kefir and sauerkraut, to enhance the microbial balance, and
  • Playing in the dirt

Feeling a little fatigued? Feel like something's just not right, but Western Medicine tells you, "you're fine"? Jason Wachob, founder & CEO of mindbodygreen, tells all in his health story. Sign up now for FREE!

Dana James

Triple Board Certified Functional Nutritionist
Dana James, M.S., CNS, CDN, is a Columbia University–educated nutritional therapist and founder of Food Coach NYC. She holds her master's in clinical nutrition and is trained in nutrition biochemistry, functional medicine, and cognitive behavioral therapy. She believes that food should be viewed as nourishing, joyful, and fundamental to self-care. Her goal is to help women break their antagonist (and often obsessive) relationship with food and their bodies. She believes that true beauty stems from grace, dignity, and embracing our idiosyncrasies that make us unique and imperfect. Dana created the "How to Ditch Sugar" video series for mindbodygreen. Check out the program here: How to Ditch Sugar. Dana coaches one on one, runs workshops in NYC and LA, and holds tele-seminars on various topics that help women lead a more beautiful and balanced life. To connect more with Dana, check out her Instagram account and sign up for her biweekly Sunday-evening emails.
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