Gut Health Herbs + Hacks to Maintain a Healthy Microbiome!
“All disease begins in the gut.”
For millions of years, humans have lived in co-existence with the bacteria, yeasts, and fungi in their environment. From the moment we are born, we come into contact with a variety of important bacteria that build up our microbiome and contribute to our overall wellbeing.
Yet, the modern gut is continuously under assault.
From chronic stress, poor sleep, antibiotic overuse, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides to overly sterile environments, we are all exposed to gut-destroying factors every day. It is only in recent decades that modern researchers and scientists began to truly understand the steep toll that takes on our overall health and vitality.
The good news, though, is that there are ways to improve our microbiome and strengthen our gut health. With the right lifestyle changes, diet, and supplements, we can give our microbiome a chance to fight the elements that assault it daily.
The Importance of Gut Health and the Microbiome
First, though, let’s discuss why our gut health is paramount and foundational to our overall wellbeing.
Most of us were taught from early ages that bacteria and viruses were harmful, and we needed to kill them at all costs. While pathogenic microbes cause disease, most of the bacteria we come into contact with daily is harmless or even health-promoting.
Bacteria, yeasts, and viruses actually play a foundational role in how our bodies function. In fact, our bodies are made up of more bacteria cells than our actual human cells.
That means we are more bacteria than human!
In the right proportions, they are beneficial and keep our bodies running smoothly. A microbiome with a variety of different bacteria is a healthy one that will keep any bad bacteria in check.
Just a few ways healthy microbiomes are foundational to our health:
- Maintains a healthy weight
- Inhibits gut diseases, such as IBS and IBD
- Strengthens the immune system
- Protects the heart from plaque buildup
- Inhibits cancer
- Controls blood sugar
- Maintains brain health
Our microbiome affects every part of our bodies. Issues start to develop, though, as diversity goes down. Pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites can then easily take over and begin to cause symptoms.
While upset stomach, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are all obvious signs of a gut in distress, there are other symptoms of poor gut health. Some of these include:
- Unintentional weight fluctuations
- Brain fog
- Problematic skin
- Sugar cravings
- Autoimmune conditions
- Food intolerances
- Mood issues, such as depression or anxiety
- Sleep problems
To get to the root of these issues, then, the gut needs to be addressed.
Better Gut Health
While gut health is foundational to our wellbeing, it can be difficult to recover. Because the bacteria in our bodies are so diverse, what one person needs to correct will be different than another. However, there are ways you can start improving your gut health today.
Health practitioners have known many of the secrets of gut health. They observed that certain herbs improved gut motility and health.
Today, researchers and scientists have just started to observe the importance of gut health. They have verified much of what these ancient practitioners, such as Hippocrates from the quote above, knew.
Powerful Herbs that help support the gut…
Sweet Wormwood Extract
As one of the principal ingredients in the infamous absinthe, Wormwood was banned in the United States until 2007. However, it is not hallucinogenic and ancient people have long revered it for its medicinal properties.
When the gut is in poor health, microbes, parasites, and yeasts are no longer kept in check. The beneficial bacteria start to disappear, and more harmful opportunistic strains begin to take over instead. These strains further suppress the bacteria that should make up the majority of the gut. This leads to a downward spiral in health.
Wormwood helps restore proper balance by attacking the less helpful strains to encourage good bacteria growth.
Parasites are a common occurrence in poor gut health. While most people think that parasites usually come from less developed countries and risky food choices (i.e., raw meat), the fact is that parasites are incredibly common in the West.
The use of Wormwood to attack these parasites is an ancient one that can be traced back to early Egypt. Today, scientists have started to verify their ability to kill off parasites safely in the gut.
Research has also found that Wormwood contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties that can help keep dangerous bacteria and fungi at bay.
One study found that Wormwood was effective against several strains of bacteria, such as E.coli and salmonella. It may be effective against more because the study was limited to the bacteria they tested.
Not only does Wormwood keep problematic microbes at bay, but it can strengthen overall gut health for those who suffer from gut disorders.
SIBO (or small intestinal bacteria overgrowth) is a difficult condition to treat that results from bacteria (even beneficial) entering the small intestines, which is supposed to remain mostly free from bacteria. One 2014 study found that an herbal product that contained Wormwood was at least just as effective as traditional medicine for treating the condition.
Crohn’s is another debilitating gut condition that results from inflammation of the digestive tract. One study found that those who supplemented with Wormwood three times daily for eight weeks had fewer symptoms and less need for steroids than the placebo group.
While the research on Wormwood for these specific conditions is limited, it is promising and supports Wormwood’s long role in ancient cultures for supporting overall gut health.
One of the most active ingredients in Wormwood to support gut health is artemisinin.
Artemisinin received attention last year for its potential ability to inhibit COVID-19.
Artemisinin is widely used in the treatment of malaria, a parasite that attacks the gut. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends its use to boost the effectiveness of traditional medical treatments.
Beyond parasites, artemisinin is potent against yeast by attacking its energy source directly. Researchers have also found that it is powerful against Candida, another yeast that can disrupt healthy gut function.
When the gut is in distress, it can become inflamed in an attempt to heal itself. This inflammation can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms, ranging from gas and bloating all the way to serious diseases such as Crohn’s.
Artemisinin can help fight inflammation to help restore balance to the gut.
One study found that it had anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties to help bring down inflammation in the body. Another 2019 study found that it helped boost the immune system with its ability to bring down inflammation. A third study also found that it had anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties.
Black Walnut Hull Extract
Black walnuts are a popular treat that grows throughout the United States. While the nut is commonly eaten and contains health benefits of its own, the outer covering (or hull) is also full of benefits when taken in an extract.
The hull of black walnut is full of tannins, which research shows have antibacterial properties.
Black walnut is also helpful in fighting fungi that can also damage the gut.
Black walnut hull can be a powerful aid at keeping bad microbes in check to encourage the growth of more beneficial bacteria.
Organic Olive Leaf Extract
While olive oil has long been lauded in the health community for many of its health-promoting properties, the leaf of the olive tree also provides unique benefits.
Ancient practitioners have long used the olive leaf for its benefits. It was even used to treat malaria in the 1800s.
The secret to olive leaf health benefits lies in its properties. It is particularly high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are particularly helpful to the microbiome because it supports the gut and helps maintain a healthy balance of bacteria.
In particular, the Olive leaf is high in the antioxidant oleuropein that works synergistically with other antioxidants to have a potent effect on overall health, including the gut.
One study found that it could fight various strains of bacteria and fungi, including infections that can cause diarrhea and Candida. Another study also found that it could help fight parasitic infections.
Sugar is detrimental to the gut. Harmful bacteria feed off of sugar, which is why those who suffer from gut imbalances often crave sugar.
Olive leaf can help regulate sugar levels, which could protect the gut. Researchers have also found that it has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which are vital for maintaining a healthy microbiome.
More than a spice in your cabinet, clove extract has a long medical history for its ability to reduce pain and inflammation.
It is commonly used to ease tooth pain, but research shows it can help boost gut health as well.
Cloves can help fight against fungi that bring imbalances to the gut.
Cloves also help regulate blood sugar, which can help strengthen the gut.
Cloves also have strong antimicrobial properties.
In particular, researchers have found it has strong effects on bacteria in the mouth. It can be easy to forget that the gut actually starts in the mouth. Digestion begins there, and it is vulnerable to the same threats as the gut.
One test-tube study found that it inhibited the growth of two separate strains of bacteria that contribute to gum disease. Another study saw that participants saw an improvement in gum health after using an herbal mouthwash containing cloves for 21 days.
Coconut oil has gained popularity in the past couple of decades as a health food. Long demonized for its high saturated fat content, research has actually found that it can help contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
One of the most potent properties of coconut oil is caprylic acid, which has promising capabilities for strengthening the gut.
Caprylic acid is rich in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. One study found that it helped reduce five different bacteria strains in contaminated milk, including E. coli. Another study found that it could quickly reduce symptoms of viral and fungal infections when taken orally.
In particular, caprylic acid has been studied for its ability to reduce inflammation in the gut. Studies show that caprylic acid properties help inhibit inflammatory reactions by suppressing the secretion of inflammatory enzymes and cells.
Ceylon Cinnamon Extract
Ceylon cinnamon is not the typical cinnamon you buy in the grocery store. It is not commonly used for cooking because it has a much milder flavor than the regular cassia cinnamon.
However, it is chalked full of health benefits.
Ceylon cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to fight oxidative stress.
Research has also found that it stops the progression of free radicals to lower inflammation. The properties of Ceylon cinnamon have also been shown to help fight off harmful bacteria.
One property, in particular, cinnamaldehyde, actually causes bacteria cells to explode by disrupting the membrane.
It is also beneficial for bringing down blood sugar levels, which is particularly helpful for gut health. Researchers found that Ceylon cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels by an impressive 10-29%.
Life Hacks for Gut Health
While supplements can provide powerful support to the microbiome, lifestyle factors will still play a fundamental role in our gut’s health. Here are some ways to help boost the microbiome to stay healthy and happy for years to come.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Few things will affect our gut more than what we put in them daily. A diet rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, and healthy fats will provide the gut with a significant boost. Take out the gut-destroying foods, such as processed meals and sugar.
Also, consider adding bone broth for another gut boost.
Catch Some Rays
Take some time to get some sunshine to help your gut. Recent research has shown that exposure to sunlight changes the microbiome. It provides a boost of vitamin D, which can strengthen the microbiome.
Also, UVB rays are protective against inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Our bodies were never created to be in a sterile environment. Exposure to various bacteria will help improve the diversity of our own microbiome.
Put away the hand sanitizer and stick to old-fashion soap and water to get clean. Sanitizers destroy the good bacteria on the skin as well as bad, which can lead to a compromised microbiome.
Also, consider picking up a hobby such as gardening to get more exposure to healthy bacteria. It is also a healthy exercise and stress-busting activity to provide an extra boost!
Stress wreaks havoc on the microbiome. Reduce as much stress as possible to give your body an extra boost.
Use meditation, prayer, and other stress-busting activities to help mitigate the effects of stress in your life.
Get Quality Sleep
Disrupted and insufficient sleep can be harmful to your microbiome as well. Even one night of poor sleep can affect your overall health. Aim to get 7-9 hours every night.
Exercise changes our microbiome and promotes diversity in the gut. However, exercise’s effects do wear off eventually, so regular exercise is critical for making more sustained changes to the microbiome.
Find an enjoyable way to move to make it a lifelong habit. Whether hiking outdoors, yoga, dancing, HIIT exercises, rock climbing, or some other activity, make it a regular routine.
Improve the Gut for a Healthier Life!
With the right supplements and lifestyle changes, it is possible to strengthen the gut and promote diversity in our microbiomes.
EX-CANDIDA can help maintain a healthy gut with its ingredients proven by both historical use and science. Using only the purest and highest quality ingredients, EX-CANDIDA can provide a powerful boost to the microbiome when combined with lifestyle changes.
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