What Are Probiotics?

The human body is filled with bacteria that is considered both good and bad. Probiotics are considered good bacteria that helps with digestion and overall gut health. There are three main types of bacteria: lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and saccharomyces boulardii. Lactobacillus is the probiotic found in foods like yogurt. Probiotics are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But probiotics aren’t the only supplements that could improve gut health.

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Why is gut health important?

Gut health refers to the gut microbiome. Essentially, the microbiome refers to the microbes, also known as the good and bad bacteria, that live within the stomach intestines. A healthy gut is the basis of the digestive system and also assists the immune system along with brain health. Taking probiotics helps to restore balance and add good bacteria to the gut.

What other supplements aid in gut health?

Probiotics are considered living organisms that improve health. However, there are a few other supplements available that aid in overall gut health. Some of these supplements are licorice root, slippery elm, ginger, chamomile, and peppermint. A lot of these supplements are natural and can be found at any health food store or pharmacy.

What is slippery elm and how does it improve gut health?

The scientific name for slippery elm is Ulmus rubra. The slippery elm is a tree that grows in North America. The inner tree bark contains substances that increase the body’s mucous production. This plant helps with intestinal issues, constipation, and stomach ulcers. Slippery elm is available in oral form.

How does peppermint help with gut health?

Peppermint, scientifically known as mentha piperita, is a plant that originated in Europe. Peppermint has many different properties that make the plant great for gut health. Peppermint is an antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and an anesthetic among other things. The oil is known to help alleviate gas, diarrhea, and nausea.

What are the health properties of ginger?

The ginger plant is part of the Zingiberaceae family, and this flower is native to southeast Asia. The ginger plant contains gingerol, a powerful ingredient that relieves bloating, gas, nausea, and vomiting. Ginger also contains antioxidants that alleviate inflammation. Ginger can be found in the natural state as a root, powder, tea, and a dietary supplement.

How does licorice root give me a healthy gut?

Licorice root is derived from the licorice plant, scientifically referred to as glycyrrhiza glabra. This plant is commonly found in southern Europe and western Asia. Like peppermint, licorice root is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant. The plant is known to reduce acid reflux, upset stomach, and heartburn.

Should I talk to my doctor before taking supplements?

Yes, patients should speak to a healthcare provider before taking any new supplements or making drastic dietary changes. Some of these supplements can interfere with certain medications so speak with a pharmacist or other healthcare provider to learn more supplements and gut health.

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