Your body contains about 100 trillion bacteria – more than 10 times the number of cells in your entire body. The type and quantity of microorganisms in your gut—widely considered to be our body’s “second brain”— interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of all kinds of conditions (and can affect your mood, skin, immune system, digestion, etc.). Studies also show a direct correlation between probiotic intake and weight loss, possibly due to the effect probiotics have on hormones and proteins related to appetite and fat storage.

The ideal ratio between the bacteria in your gut is 85 percent “good” and 15 percent “bad.” Maintaining this optimal ratio is essential…but not always easy. Lifestyle and environmental factors like stress, pollution, processed foods and more can throw gut flora out of whack. Fermented foods (krauts, yogurt, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, etc.) can help to right some of those gut disparities.

If you find you’re not getting enough of these foods, opt for a probiotic supplement (best taken just before, during or after a meal). Make sure your supplement has a minimum of 3-50 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units), and that it targets your specific health concerns.

Here’s some more to consider when choosing an effective probiotic supplement, according to natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola:

  • Make sure it’s a reputable brand that you can trust
  • Make sure the package is resealable. Is it being stored as directed on the product label?
  • Ensure that it does not contain any bioengineered ingredients (GMOs)
  • Confirm that the product is manufactured according to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)
  • How many different strains of bacteria does it contain? Look for a product with multiple strains to work throughout your gastrointestinal tract
  • Look for valuable strains, including species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Some of the more important strains include:
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum that reside in the small intestine or the upper GI tract among your immune cells.
    • Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium bifidum that reside in the large intestine or the lower bowel, which are also critical areas for health.

One brand we love here at Rising Tide is Garden of Life; all of our Garden of Life Probiotics –including the Dr. Formulated products, customized by brain health expert and best-selling author of Grain Brain, Dr. David Perlmutter–will be on sale for 20% off the original price during the entire month of January.

Make 2017 The Year of the Gut!