One of my goals for the New Year is to focus on gut health. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve had horrible issues with my gut over the years. You can read more on my About page, but in short, I had a colonoscopy at age 18 and doctors wanted to put me on medication for life. I said uhhhh no thanks and started my journey towards finding a better solution. And that solution for me has been using diet and stress management to control my symptoms.
One thing I’ve added fairly recently to my diet is probiotics. I didn’t really know much about them, but when my gut issues flared up when I was living in Charlotte, one of my doctor friends suggested adding a probiotic to my diet. (Charlotte life was super stressful for many reasons, which likely triggered the flare-up.)
Probiotics have been a game changer for me. My digestion seems to be working better (if you catch my drift) and when my digestion is working, I’m MUCH happier.
While I’m not trying to lose weight, there is research that shows our gut bacteria and the type of species we have in our digestive tract play a critical role in determining if we are lean or obese. And some studies show that an imbalanced gut flora can make us crave sugar – now THAT interests me. I go through phases where I’m craving sugar like crazy, and if I “feed” that craving with a treat, it gets worse day after day. Since I’m never going to give up sugar entirely, I like the idea that I can have more control over my cravings with a healthy gut!
(Coffee table details here)
I’ve recently been taking Silver Fern’s Ultimate Probiotic in the mornings. I used to take my probiotic at night, thinking that it would have time to stay in my system, “working overnight” and benefit me more. But, I recently read that good bacteria in probiotics love fiber and eating a meal with the probiotic that’s high in fiber and low in sugar helps support the growth of the good bacteria. On the other hand, “bad” bacteria love sugar and simple carbohydrates. If you have too much bad bacteria, you’re more likely to get sugar and carbohydrate cravings.
JANUARY 2020 UPDATE: I no longer take Silver Fern probiotic. I now take Seed probiotics since they have more research behind their strains than any other company I’ve tried. I LOVE Seed probiotics and finally feel like I don’t have to constantly switch brands to find the best one! (Not sponsored. I just love it!)
Silver Fern has a fiber supplement you can take with probiotics. But, so far I’ve been getting my fiber from a high fiber breakfast rather than the supplement. I try to introduce only one thing at time to monitor any reaction (positive or negative). Their fiber is next on my to-try list now that I know their probiotic is working well.
January 2021 UPDATE: I take Balance of Nature fiber 2-3x a week.
It’s not enough to eat a high-fiber diet, hoping to feed the healthy bugs already in your gut. Many of the “bad” bacteria that exist in your gut can also consume the fiber and turn that fiber into gas. And too much fiber can cause distress – you eat a bunch of “healthy” high-fiber foods and you get super gassy and bloating.
The reason that happens is because the bad bacteria in the gut convert the fiber into hydrogen and methane gas instead good compounds known as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). If you eat low-sugar, high-fiber foods with the right probiotic, the fiber will be converted to SCFAs instead of gas. This seems like a critical step when you’re upping fiber, which a lot of us are doing with New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthier!
I’ve been taking Silver Fern’s Ultimate Probiotic the past month or so and have been really happy with it. It’s the first probiotic on the market that has three of the world’s most well studied and widely used probiotic strains: Saccharomyces boulardii; Bacillus species (Bacillus subtilis HU58, Bacillus clausii, and Bacillus coagulans); and Pediococcus acidilactici. Don’t ask me how to pronounce them. 😉
Fun bacteria facts (I’m a nerd but I thought this was all so interesting!):
One tip the folks at Silver Fern suggested was to consume all my calories for the day in an 8-10 hour window. Having a fasting period of 12+ hours in the day allows for beneficial bacterial growth. Our gut microbes go through a cycle like our circadian rhythm. And when we are in “fed” state for much of the day, we prevent the beneficial microbial recycling from happening. So, I usually eat dinner around 8:00 pm and breakfast around 8 AM. This provides a 12 hour window of “fasting” while I sleep, i.e. it doesn’t feel like fasting. (Note: I do most of my runs on an empty stomach in the morning. On extra-hard run days, I break this rule so I can have fuel beforehand!)
I’m fascinated by all the new research being done about gut health, its impact on overall health and how probiotics play a role. I’d love to hear about your experiences with probiotics so be sure to share in the comments!
This post was sponsored by Silver Fern. As always, opinions are my own.
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8 responses to “Focusing on gut health in the New Year”
I know I could look this up but any idea if the Silver Fern probiotic is vegan?
LOOOOOVE this post. And looove probiotics. I super prefer taking mine in the morning, I honestly feel better. SO…… I’m glad I’m not ruining everything. HAHA. ??
I found your post when researching Seed vs Silver Fern Probiotics. I see in this post that you swapped from Silver Fern to Seed. Do you still think Seed is better after using it for a while?
100% – I have had it on monthly subscription for almost two years now!
Awesome! Thank you! I just placed an order!
do you still take silver fern or seed?
I take Seed and have for a few years. Here’s my review: https://terilynadams.com/seed-probiotics-review/
Hi! I’m currently taking silver fern but am thinking of switching to Seed. Did seed help with cravings/appetite like silver fern does? Thanks!