Written by: Jen Cox - AdvDip NAT + WHM. @keeperandkin
We all know the more obvious and… explosive…. impact digestive upset can have. Bloating, gas, diarrhoea and cramping are common when we catch a tummy bug or overdo the good things in life eg. coffee or alcohol if you’re an adult or sultanas if you’re a kid. There are lots of lesser known signs your gut need’s a little love though. While these can seem disconnected, as a Naturopath, I link gut health to pretty much every aspect of wellbeing. This is a good thing! It means working in one area can benefit many. So if you’re a multitasker and keen to kill two - or 5 - birds with one stone, here are some of the links we commonly see between digestion and other areas of health.
You’re not sleeping well.
If you’ve tamed caffeine, are rocking an enviable bedtime routine and still can’t seem to nod off, check your gut health. Melatonin - our sleepy hormone - is actually made in both the gut and the brain. When we’re not properly crafting this hormonal snooze signal, the body can struggle to wind down and stay asleep, so it pays to take care of your tum if you want a decent night’s rest.
DID YOU KNOW: we even have certain strains of probiotics that respond to a sleep/wake cycle… kind of like mini humans! This means nurturing your microbiome with a prebiotic such as Nourishing Reds will benefit the health and functionality of your tribe on the inside. And when better digestive wellbeing = better sleep, this product just became your new best mate.
You struggle with stress, anxiety or depression.
Remember the sleepy hormones your gut can make? They’re not the only clever creation that happens down there. Probiotics called psychobiotics also live in the digestive system and are responsible for making a few neurotransmitters - specifically the ones that can make us feel happy. This means that when stress, anxiety or depression become a challenge, it’s important to ensure we have plenty of healthy little psychobiotics doing their thing to bring the good vibes up.
PRO TIP: If mental health challenges are impacting your wellbeing, adding in a broad spectrum synbiotic like our Coconut Plus is a great call. This covers a lot of bases! We also recommend meditation for stress relief and getting plenty of exercise.
You catch all of the colds.
If immunity is not your strong point, gut health may be connected. This is because around 70% of our immune system lives in the GALT (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue). And do we want a dilapidated share house for our most valuable system of defence? No we do not.
PRO TIP: Make sure your immune system gets the royal treatment by eating lots of fibre, loading up on brightly coloured fruits and vegetables in all the colours of the rainbow and hydrating like a boss.
You get frequent migraines or headaches.
Migraines are some of the most common health ailments globally - in fact around 1 in 5 women get them. Research has found a few ways a digestive focus and probiotics can be of support - from helping the vagus nerve to calm down, to supporting recovery from conditions that trigger a headache or migraine. They also support by simply reducing inflammation.
PRO TIP: there is research specific to Bifidobacterium Logum - a strain that features in our Gorgeous Greens blend. Because greens are alkaline and anti-inflammatory, this is our top pick for migraine sufferers.
You’re allergic to everything.
When Zyrtec and eye drops are your BFF during Spring, it’s time to invest in a probiotic. Research has found that specific strain combinations such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria work best, with the study participants from this report having less symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose. They also scored better quality of life, easier sleep and improved focus… did we mention that boosting but health was for multitaskers?
PRO TIP: Kids get allergies too! To help your little one through the sneezy season, try our Broad Spectrum Baby Probiotic to get that all important, evidence based combo of probiotic strains that support allergy reduction. This combo is available in all of the PONO probiotic range.