If you’ve been keeping up to date with the science of the microbiome (gut bugs to you and me!) then you’ll have noticed that poor gut flora is being linked to a myriad of health woes.  They can help with everything from allergies and sensory issues to depression and auto-immune diseases. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a probiotic can cure pretty much EVERTHING. I don’t dispute that those gut bugs are very important little fellas when it comes to our health but there are other key physiological processes that we need to get in place BEFORE supplementing with probiotics. Here are just a few that jump into my mind …..

Restore stomach acid levels.

This is an important step. If you don’t have the right level of acid to breakdown your food you will be feeding the poor gut flora putrefying protein. An often overlooked point is that if you don’t have adequate stomach acid you will promote inflammation, not just in the gut but throughout your whole body.

Also, you are setting yourself up to develop SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) if your digestion and subsequent bile flow are not tip top. SIBO can worsen if probiotics are supplemented before rectifying stomach acid levels.

Eat the right foods (well, most of the time anyway).

If you don’t change the way you eat and your diet is full of refined, processed or sugary foods then no probiotic is going to be a magic bullet. Sorry. On the flipside, changing your diet can help to restore gut flora in a really big way, without supplementing probiotics. The variety and amount of vegetables in your diet will determine the health of your gut flora. Eat more vegetables and eat many different kinds of vegetables. It’s simple really.

Be ready for die-off.

When you push aside or kill off some of that less-beneficial flora you are likely to experience some level of diet off. To make this process as smooth as possible your diet needs to be pretty good; your nutrient levels for detoxification need to be optimal. This is particularly important if you have pyroluria or an MTHFR issue.

So in a nutshell – probiotics are super important and who knows, they may actually cure EVERYTHING (don’t quote me on this : ) ), but probably not on their own – they are just one part of a larger therapeutic programme.

Author: Sarah Hanratty

Sarah is a specialist practitioner at the Brain Food Clinic. She has a degree in Nutritional Medicine and is a certified Gut and Psychology Syndrome Practitioner. Sarah helps people to overcome physical and mental health issues using bespoke nutritional protocols.

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