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Slummy Single Mummy

The creator of what is quite probably the best mummy blog in the TA1 postal code area.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GUT HEALTH AND NOT SCORE 4 OUT OF 10 FOR YOUR POO

Do you remember recently when I sent my poo through the post? It wasn’t the sexiest thing I’ve ever done to be honest, but it was part of some research looking at how your DNA and your gut bacteria effect your health. Although it didn’t flag any weird diseases or anything, my general gut health was not great. In fact, I only scored 4 out of 10 for my ‘microbiome diversity’.

Oops.

Apparently ‘Diversity indicates the approximate number of bacterial species that live in a person’s gut. Each type has its own functions that are often complementary. A diverse microbiome can perform a broader range of tasks that regulate and compensate, making the whole system more stable. If the community lacks richness, this compensation mechanism may be compromised and cause dysbiosis, a condition known to precede illness.’

And nobody wants THAT do they?

Also, generally I dislike doing badly in tests. It’s not really my THING. It takes me back to being ten years old and being in the team for the inter-school book quiz. We were in the semi-finals, which were being held in the town library in front of an audience of friends and family. We’d been given a book to read, which we were then quizzed on.

The quiz began.

‘We will be asking questions today about ‘Woof”, said the quizmaster.

I panicked.

We hadn’t read ‘Woof’.

It turned out that our teacher, Mrs Bryant, who I already had a bit of a grudge against as she had disagreed in front of the class with my interpretation of some of Romeo and Juliet, (I was a precocious child, but she was wrong), had made us read the book for the FINAL by mistake – ‘The Wolves of Willoughby Chase’. Rather than stand up and say something though, she let us sit through the WHOLE QUIZ getting everything wrong and looking stupid. Needless to say I cried at the end and have never forgiven her.

Anyway.

My gut bacteria.

It didn’t score quite as badly as we did in that book quiz, but it brought it all back. (The horror!) I do not want to be a 4 out of 10 kind of a girl.

So, it all came together very nicely really when ProVen got in touch with me in the New Year do see if I wanted to try out some of their ProVen Probiotics Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus – 25 billion – a ‘high-strength friendly bacteria supplement for adults containing Lab4 – the most studied group of friendly bacteria in the UK.’

Damn right I did. I told them all about my poo score and I could tell they were FASCINATED. They sent me some in the post, probably hoping to keep me quiet.

The thing with stuff like your gut health is that you can’t SEE changes, so it’s easily neglected. You might look in the mirror and notice that your skin isn’t looking great, or take a supplement and notice your fingernails seem stronger, but with a probiotic you won’t always notice a change, unless you have something significant like IBS going on. They’re great for IBS, bloating, or to support your gut if you’re taking antibiotics.

They are plenty of other benefits too.

Take your immune system. Evidence suggests that in supporting gut health, good bacteria also have a role in supporting the immune system and research into ProVen Probiotics supports this. In one trial for example, when children took ProVen Probiotics Fit for School for six months during school term time,, absenteeism from school was reduced by 30%.

And then there’s digestive health. The results of my gut bacteria test flagged up an important issue that comes from not having your digestive system working optimally – important nutrients aren’t as easily produced or absorbed:

It was

Balancing your gut bacteria improves overall digestive health and helps to make sure you get the most out of your food.

What’s interesting though is that improving your gut health can have emotional as well as physical benefits. As well as supporting your immune and digestive systems, ProVen probiotics could also improve concentration and mood.

It’s all about the gut-brain axis. There is a lot of interest at the moment in the link between gut flora and things like anxiety and stress responses, and although I’m not going to start looking at all the scientific research here, I do know that my sister for example is hugely aware of the link between her gut health and her mental health and is always trying to force feed me sauerkraut and natural yogurt. (Not together.)

She’s not a scientist exactly, but she is slightly neurotic and does obsessively research illnesses and disease. She tells me that ‘neuroscientists have found there is a huge amount of seratonin and other neurotransimitters in the stomach and it is generally considered to be the second brain. It is becoming more and more clear,’ she says, ‘that mental illnesses affect the stomach and vice versa.’

‘I’ve found that by changing my diet over the years,’ she goes on, ‘and getting in loads of live yoghurt and fermented products, I have seen a noticeable improvement in my stomach for one but also I’m less anxious, even when I am anxious, and also my sleep is generally way better too.’

Then she sent me a link to this about how probiotics in yogurt can reverse symptoms of depression. (I told you yogurt was a big thing for her.)

More generally, it’s logical that feeling better physically is going to impact on your mental health – taking care of your basic physical needs is an important part of emotional well-being.

So there you go. That’s how to improve your gut health with ProVen probiotics and hopefully score more than 4 out of 10 for your poo.

You’re welcome.

ProVen Probiotics 25 Billion are £13.95 for 30 capsules and are available from Boots and Holland & Barret.