This is vital for good health and a long life


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This is vital for good health and a long life


Although the mainstream medical community is progressing toward acknowledging the importance of your gut in overall health, some of them still have a way to go.   

I was recently asked by a doctor if I thought it was important for her to take probiotics after finishing a course of “triple therapy” for ulcers—which consists of two antibiotics and an antacid.  

As tempted as I was to say, “Duh,” I responded respectfully and said yes, it’s crucial to rebuild your microbiome, especially after taking two medications (antibiotics) that basically destroy it. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of MDs who have joined the microbiome camp, as well as functional medicine doctors, integrative practitioners and holistic docs. 

While awareness of the importance of the gut is great, the challenge is this: How can you tell how healthy (or unhealthy) your microbiome balance is? 

Stool tests to the rescue! 

There are a variety of stool tests available for use both in a doctor’s office and at home that are designed to measure your gut inhabitants.   

The tests can vary in price and what they look for--some just test for bacteria levels, while others look for fungi, viruses, parasites and yeasts.  As you can surmise, the more wide-ranging the test is, the more expensive it is. 

But generally speaking, most tests will run you $100 - $300 and are not covered by most insurance companies.  (Of course not—don’t get me started on how I feel about most “health” insurance companies and what they won’t pay for…) 

Keep in mind that no test will be 100 percent accurate.  Some bacteria may not survive outside of you, so the feces tests may not be able to measure the level of bacteria that died upon exiting your body. 

Hello down there! 

Stool tests aside, a good indication of how well (or not) your gut microbiome is doing is your overall general state of health--in other words, how you FEEL.   

Here is a simple quiz you can take to see if microbiome imbalances may be affecting you: 

The Gut Quiz 

Answer yes or no to each question.  Do you: 

1) Wake up tired and feel fatigued throughout the day?   
2) Frequently suffer from constipation or diarrhea?   
3) For women: Get vaginal yeast infections?  
4) Suffer from allergies, asthma, skin rashes, eczema or psoriasis?   
5) Often have bloating and gas?   
6) Get urinary tract infections (UTIs)?   
7) Have frequent headaches or migraines?   
8) Experience memory problems, anxiety or depression?   
9) Get frequent colds, flu, sinus infections or bronchitis?   
10) Have high cholesterol?   
11) Find yourself unable to lose weight?   
12) Get cold sores?  
13) Have chronic halitosis (bad breath)?   
14) Get vague aches and pains that can't otherwise be explained?   
15) Experience IBS symptoms (gas, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhea) even occasionally?   
16) Have a known or suspected autoimmune condition? 

Your total number of Yes responses: ________ 

Each and every one of the complaints listed above is associated with an imbalance of your gut microbiome.   

So the more Yes answers you had, you guessed it--the more likely it is that your bacteria balance is out of whack. 

You may even be seeing a doctor or taking prescription drugs for one or more of these issues, but still not feeling significantly better. 

And a big reason for that is because any possible gut microbiome problem you may have hasn't been addressed! 

4 steps to feeling better 

It's essential to recognize the role your gut plays in your overall health and take measures to attain a healthy flora balance. 

When you do, you'll be amazed when you realize how you just got used to feeling "bad" and even more, how great it is to feel GOOD! 

Here is your 4-step plan to better gut health: 

Step 1- Eat gut-loving foods (and stay away from harmful ones) 

Your diet is the number one factor that determines whether your gut environment is healthy or one that favors sickness and disease. 

Foods that curb inflammation and encourage a strong gut environment include all kinds of fresh vegetables; whole fruits (avoid juices due to high sugar content); fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchee, tempeh, pickled vegetables and plain yogurt; healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts; wild-caught fish and grass-fed, pasture raised meats; and herbs and spices.    

On the flip side, avoid sugars, soda and refined carbs (like white bread, cookies, crackers, snack chips, bagels, cereals, pasta, cakes, donuts and pastries); refined vegetable oils (like canola, corn and soybean oils, which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids); and processed foods that are inundated with sugar and inflammatory fats.    

Be especially leery of hidden sugars in things like fruit flavored yogurts, sports drinks, specialty coffees, iced teas, and condiments like barbecue sauce and ketchup.  Read labels carefully, as you may be eating far more sugar than you think. 

Step 2- Reduce stress 

Stress has a tremendous negative impact on your gut environment as well as your digestion.  

Do whatever you need to do to keep stress at a minimum and get professional help if you need it. 

Plus keep in mind that regular exercise is one of the best stress reducers there is!  So if your sneakers have been collecting dust lately, get your doctor’s nod of approval and get moving.   

Step 3- Supplement with a full-spectrum, potent probiotic 

One of the best ways to ensure your army of intestinal good guys is strong is to repopulate them with a full spectrum, multi-strain probiotic supplement like Super Shield PLUS

Most people don’t realize this, but your beneficial intestinal bacteria are not “permanent residents”—they only “vacation” inside of you for about 12 days.   

So it’s crucial to help keep their numbers high with daily probiotic supplementation. 

And when it comes to an effective formula, nothing beats Super Shield PLUS’s 15 feisty strains of helpful bacteria and 20 billion CFUs!  

Step 4- Talk to your doctor about medication alternatives 

Many medications can have a negative impact or downright obliterate your microbiome balance, including antibiotics, antidepressants, birth control pills, acid reducers and steroids. 

If you are on any of these medications, I strongly encourage you to talk to your doctor about alternatives.    

Treat your microbiome like the gold that it is, and it will return the favor many times over! 

To your health, 

Sherry Brescia 


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