The Importance of Gut Health

Recently I was thinking to myself and realized that I have not been experiencing a lot of side effects I used to experience after I ate and I went through the last few months to see if I made any significant changes to my diet or lifestyle. After reflecting I realized that maybe my probiotics was actually the reason I feel much better

Some back story, after transitioning to a plant-based diet, although I had significant benefits, such as better energy and mental clarity, I had a lot of side effects, namely terrible cystic acne as well as incredible bloating and stomach aches

I was told that these symptoms only last a few weeks but after a few months, it was still very bad or worse. i had days where I was significantly bloated, my stomach constantly ached and my skin was breaking out terribly. I went to the doctor and she tested me for stomach ulcers and even referred me to a gastroenterologist (who I never saw because wait times in Canada for specialist are 6months to 1 year minimum). She suggested probiotics but I never took them consistently.

After a year or two on this diet I had gained 40+ pounds, never felt satiated and my skin was bad. You could have imagined how uncomfortable I was in my skin.

So in November, I went back to the hospital for my annual check up and was told to lose some weight and recommended probiotics again. This time I gave it a try by buying a powerful probiotic and taking it consistently for 3 months.

My personal experiences with it has been great! I am no longer bloated and my skin has gotten significantly better; I am currently left with all the scars which over time should fade as I am consistently using a face toner. I shed some pounds, which may or may not have been because of the probiotic because I also changed my eating habits.They say that your skin is a reflection of what is going on inside of you, which I should have paid more attention to this saying.

I took the liberty of reading more into the benefits of probiotic on overall health to better explain the benefits I was feeling.

  • Gut Health and nutrient absorption

Your microbiome is important because they break down foods your body cannot digest and affect expression of gut genes important in the processing of nutrients. When one changes their diet, they require different composition of bacteria to properly help in the digestion of the food and this is the part I missed. Studies have shown that the composition of microbiome differs based on what individuals. Eating a plant based diet requires a higher percentage of bacteria that can help in the digestion of plant foods. With the inclusion of probiotics I was able to balance out my microbiome better to actually better digest the food I was eating.

  • Gut Health and Acne

There are many causes for acne from hormonal to stress and bacterial infection but sometimes acne can be an indicator of your gut health. The gut bacteria can play a role in aiding inflammation that can cause flair up on the skin as well as absorption of nutrients that can contribute to better skin health.

  • Gut Health and Weight Gain

Your microbiome plays a role in energy balance. The metabolites the bacteria produce from digesting some of your food play a role in the production of leptin, which suppresses appetite. There have been clinical studies that show that certain strains of microbes in probiotics may lower host adiposity and weight.

The thing to remember though is that although these have significant benefits, they are not all the one solution. They are factors in improving my diet and I believe that probiotics, in MY OWN EXPERIENCE, were the missing link in my plant-based journey. I needed a little bit of help to fully utilize all the nutrients I was getting from my diet.

Resources Used

Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Zehra-Esra Ilhan, Dae-Wook Kang, and John DiBaise. 2012. “Effects of Gut Microbes on Nutrient Absorption and Energy Regulation.” Nutrition in Clinical Practice 27 (2): 201-214. doi:10.1177/0884533611436116. http://resolver.scholarsportal.info/resolve/08845336/v27i0002/201_eogmonaaer.

https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/can-probiotics-clear-acne

Reiner Jumpertz, Duc Son Le, Peter J Turnbaugh, Cathy Trinidad, Clifton Bogardus, Jeffrey I Gordon, Jonathan Krakoff; Energy-balance studies reveal associations between gut microbes, caloric load, and nutrient absorption in humansThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 94, Issue 1, 1 July 2011, Pages 58–65, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.110.010132

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