We know that gut health is important to overall health for a number of reasons, but despite this, many people suffer from stomach problems, such as bloating, gas, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, irritable bowel disease, constipation, diarrhea and many others. These problems can have a number of etiologies, but with the number of people who frequently experience them, certainly poor diet and other lifestyle factors play a role. And, even people who do not suffer from these particular problems likely stand to benefit from taking a hard look at their gut health. But this is a vital step of the Kaufmann Lifestyle.
They say you are not so much what you eat, but what you absorb, and certainly gut health plays a role in this. Simply put, proper digestion is vital to overall health. You can be eating the healthiest foods, but if your body is not digesting and absorbing these foods properly, you may not be gleaning all the benefits of your efforts. Furthermore, the gut acts as a vitally important pillar of the immune system, often as the first line of defense. The gut is also known as the “second brain”, as it has an advanced neural network; have you ever wondered why stress and emotional distress can interfere with things like hunger, regularity or cause stomach pain? The gut is highly sensitive to our thoughts and emotions.
Ultimately, the gut is important for a number of reasons, but it’s not just our guts, themselves, that are important. The residents of our gut are equally as important. In the best case scenario, those residents are the multiple pounds of billions of beneficial bacteria residing in the gut. We are born with these colonies, and they assist in a number of vital roles. They help digest food; they manufacture important nutrients; and they are a vital part of the immune system, keeping the gut protected against invading pathogens.
Problems arise, however, when these beneficial bacterial colonies are depleted or damaged, which is not uncommon. This can happen a number of ways. When we take antibiotics (indiscriminate bacterial killers) these colonies can be damaged. Smoking and alcohol can damage them. Poor diet, stress and other lifestyle factors can also play a role. And mycotoxins––fungal byproducts––inherent in parts of our food supply (corn, grain, soy, sugar, etc.) can also wreak havoc on these bacterial colonies.
Once these bacterial colonies are depleted, there is less competition for resources, and other, more virulent organisms––such as yeasts and fungi––can flourish in the gut. From here, they can proliferate and cause numerous health problems. Naturally, we all have some yeast in our gut, but normally the populations of yeasts and any associate problems are kept in check by beneficial bacterial colonies.
This is the reason why probiotic supplements are important and necessary for anyone living the Kaufmann Lifestyle (The Kaufmann Diet). It simply is not enough to starve and kill yeast and fungi through diet and supplementation; long term success of the anti-fungal program hinges on those protective bacterial colonies being restored, or else virulent yeasts and fungi will likely return.
Sometimes, it can be beneficial to take a loading dose of probiotics, particularly in the early stages of the diet, so as to reintroduce a large number of these good bacteria into the gut. Following that, a lower dose can be taken regularly to aid in preventative maintenance.
I tell people to find a high-quality, live-culture probiotic. It may also be beneficial to include foods like plain yogurt with live, active cultures in your diet. Finally, it is important to avoid the factors that might have contributed to these bacterial depletions to begin with. Avoid alcohol, avoid foods likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins, and pay attention to your diet overall. Avoid medications like steroids and antibiotics in all but the most necessary cases, and––when your doctor recommends them––follow up their use with a strict Kaufmann One Diet, anti-fungals and more probiotics.
Regardless of where you are in your health journey, it is important to facilitate a healthy gut; likely, in this day and age, we all stand to benefit from probiotic supplementation; especially those living a Kaufmann Lifestyle.