Living with a condition that mainstream medicine finds hard to fix can certainly get expensive. Supplements promise everything from improved sleep to enhanced immunity, and only the best quality, vitamin and mineral rich foods will do. But what’s the point of spending all that cash and putting in the effort to eat healthily if your digestive system is so shot that little to no nutrients are being absorbed?
For this reason alone, gut health should be a number one priority for anyone with adrenal fatigue. Recent studies show that supplementation with probiotics may help reduce stress induced gastro intestinal complaints such as constipation or IBS, and therefore should be considered a cornerstone of any serious adrenal fatigue strategy plan. Here’s why taking probiotics is a no brainer.
What Are Probiotics And Why Do We Need Them?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are invaluable for good digestive health. New research shows that these friendly bacteria offer a host of benefits including enhanced energy levels, better skin, and even weight loss. All great news for adrenal fatigue sufferers.
Probiotics And Stress
Probiotics are vitally important because the digestive system and its resident gut flora are particularly vulnerable to the effects of stress. This is because the brain and the gut are intimately connected. Ever needed the lavatory before an important event, or experienced that stomach churning feeling when anxious or worried? That’s your brain diverting energy away from the unimportant business of digestion while your body deals with a perceived threat.
People with adrenal exhaustion, (who may have spent many years in this constant state of fight or flight) will undoubtedly all to some point have compromised digestive function, which supplementation alone can’t adequately address.
But this isn’t the only impact stress has on your gut. Anxiety and worry directly affect the way food is broken down and therefore assimilated by the body. This in itself can create huge problems.
Whenever we’re feeling uptight, our muscles respond. Eating in this state (even if it is the best organic veg money can buy) impairs the muscular movement that enables food to smoothly pass through the digestive tract. The means that undigested particles of food can easily pass into the gut, resulting in a plethora of issues from constipation to dysbiosis (an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in the intestines.) In these instances, probiotics really are the number one tool for restoring order and balance throughout the digestive tract.
Probiotics And Weight Loss
Recent studies have also shown promising results when it comes to the use of probiotics for weight loss. As this is a problem for a significant number of people battling with adrenal fatigue, the results of these trials is encouraging.
A recent Japanese study involved 87 participants drinking fermented milk (either with or without probiotics,) for a period of 12 weeks. Amongst those who consumed the probiotic mix, a 4.6% reduction in body fat was noted, along with a significant reduction in hip and waist measurements. Although it’s not yet fully understood why probiotics are helpful for weight loss, it’s believed they may help improve bowel regularity, resulting in fewer calories being absorbed.
Probiotics And Immunity
Because probiotics have the ability to help the body break down food, taking them for even short periods of time can help increase the assimilation of nutrients from food. One recent study showed that a blend of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium improved the body’s ability to absorb anti-oxidants from the participants’ diets. This may be one of the reasons why taking probiotics is also thought to substantially boost the immune system – 70% of which lives in your gut. Whether you are eating a healthy diet or not, probiotics can help you to extract the minimum amount of nutrition from your food.
There are many different strains of probiotics, all of which have different effects on the body. Factor in the number of over the counter products which are also available (some of which come with a hefty price tag) it pays to do your research in order to select the right product for your particular situation. As always, a good practitioner can help reduce this stress by signposting you to the right supplements.
However, remember that nature always provides. Beneficial bacteria can readily be found in foods such as sauerkraut, fermented pickles and even blue cheese! Eating these in combination with prebiotic foods (foods that feed the probiotics) such as garlic, onions, chickpeas, oats, asparagus, cashew nuts, and leeks can go a long way to helping support optimum gut health and improving digestion.
Probiotics, and probiotic foods, are one of the most important parts of the adrenal fatigue recovery diet that Dr Wood and I recommend in our Adrenal Fatigue Solution package. It also includes a step-by-step program to get your health and energy levels back. Check it out 🙂