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  • Writer's pictureHeather Anne

My Health Testimony- Probiotics and the Microbiome

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

This might be the most IMPORTANT post I have ever written. It is long, but it is worth the read I PROMISE YOU. I wrote this from the heart because I have crawled out of a deep chasm of health issues that wreaked havoc on my body due to undiagnosed celiac disease for the first 40 years of my life. This is part one of a series I am doing on my health testimony. Just 2 years ago, I had to use a scooter at Disneyland because otherwise it wiped me out for THREE days and I was often bedridden after a trip. I no longer use a scooter. I no longer have fatigue. I can walk Disneyland for 12 hours and be fine the next day. Now I take kick boxing at an MMA gym about 3 times per week and I exercise like crazy. There was a time I spent a lot of days in bed.

This article is ©2017 Heather Anne at Heather Anne Art and Soul. All rights reserved. See my copyright notice here.

I have not found ANY miracle cures. I will tell you that right now. That is why I am writing this as a series because it is not just one thing. However, some things I have tried have worked better than others and some have had miraculous results in one way or other. For this first article I'm going to share one of the things I have gotten incredible results from because it has been the most powerful and profound one.

I REFUSED to accept disability and sickness from autoimmunity (celiac, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency - my big three- are all linked to autoimmunity), so I work very hard at thriving... which I now do! Because of consistency and effort I THRIVE.

Part ONE- Probiotics and the Microbiome


Everything starts in your gut. Research on the vital role of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) has really stepped up in recent years. Scientists have learned that beneficial bacteria in our bodies function as if they are organs! They estimate that 70- 80% (yes you read that right SEVENTY to EIGHTY PERCENT) of our immune system starts in our gut... our digestive tract. This is insane to wrap my brain around but... they estimate that we have 10 times more probiotic bacteria than cells in our bodies.

Probiotics actually produce vitamins in your body and they help you absorb and utilize vitamins, minerals and nutrients. I will not write you a textbook on the importance of probiotics here. It's very easy to search and find information. There are many books written by doctors on the subject. If you need convincing that probiotics are your first line of defense to regain your health, I would urge you to read everything you can find about them and how to get them.

Here are links to a few articles that show you how powerful probiotics are. They can literally be the line between life and death in patients suffering from intestinal infections. I am only linking articles from trusted medical sources because I want to convince you to tackle your gut issues FIRST to regain your health! I don't want you to resist the information because you don't like Dr. Oz or some other media doctor. I found all of my articles on Pub Med . which is the US National Library of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health- basically an online library of articles published in medical journals, written by doctors and researchers with a long alphabet soup of degrees behind their names, and archived by the National Institutes of Health. You can't get more "sciency" than that.)

Here is what I want you to take away from this Yale article but if you want an A+ from Professor Heather Anne... read the whole thing!

"Mice populated with the microbiome from the obese twin had increased adiposity and decreased bacterial diversity compared to mice populated with the microbiome from the lean twin. These results demonstrate the ability of the microbiome to alter the metabolic phenotype of the host."

Let me explain that in plain English. They transplanted fecal matter (poop)... yeah I know it's GROSS but hang with me here for a second... into mice. They found that if they transplanted fecal matter from a chubby mouse (increased adiposity means chubby) into a lean mouse, the lean mouse started gaining weight with no change to diet! Conversely, if they translplanted fecal matter from a skinny mouse into a chubby one, the chubby mouse lost weight with no change to diet. This was due to the bacterial colony in the fecal matter of the mice. PROBIOTICS AFFECT OUR METABOLISM. They ARE our metabolism and when we are lacking the good bacteria, our metabolism tanks. Researchers are looking into using probiotics and fecal transplants to combat obesity in the future.

I am not suggesting you get an icky fecal transplant. I'm sharing this to show you the POWER of probiotics and get you to tackle the lack of them in your own body to heal yourself in other non-icky ways.

2. Gastroenterology and Hepatology: the Independent Peer Reviewed Journal Fecal Transplantation for the Treatment of Clostridium difficile Infection

This discusses how a disturbed microbiome can make you susceptible to deadly gut infections. I myself was hospitalized for C diff. infection after a round of antibiotics a few years ago. My colon was so thin at the infection site they were afraid it would burst, which can be fatal. (Yes I have been through H-E- double hockey sticks with my health issues.) People die from C Diff. and probiotics are saving lives.

Both of my babies had jaundice. My son was hospitalized for it and they were using words like "brain damage" when his bilirubin counts remained so high after days and days of light therapy in an incubator. I wish that 13 years ago we knew what we know now about probiotics.

When I searched for articles about probiotics on Pub Med, I found 16,580 results. Wanna know what that tells me? It tells me that doctors are FINALLY taking the gut microbiome seriously! And so should WE.

Antibiotics and the Need for Probiotics

If you have ever taken antibiotics, you need probiotics. If you don't trust me, then Google this or ask your doctor. It has become common knowledge and it did not used to be. I am a firm believer in using antibiotics correctly when they are necessary. Autoimmune disease, and celiac in particular, cause lots of inflammation throughout the body. Before my celiac diagnosis my inflammation markers were through the roof. Inflammation then leads to infections, especially respiratory ones.

Antibiotics can save your life, but they are a double edged sword because they all kill off your good guys and without our good bacteria friends running our bodies, things get wonky. (I love the word wonky and use it whenever possible. I also love the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, from the movie Mary Poppins by Disney, but I find far fewer opportunities to use it than I do for the word wonky.)

How Do You Get Probiotics Into Your Body?

You get probiotics into your body in two main ways. Supplements and fermented foods. There is another way but it's not something you do on a daily basis most likely. The other way is dirt. Digging in the garden gives you beneficial bacteria but I can't rely on that one. I'm too busy and you are, too.

If you have any health problems at all, you need to eat fermented foods. I can eat dairy products with no problem so I use whole, organic, real yogurt that contains live cultures. Not all yogurts contain actual live bacteria and most contain way too much sugar so read labels. I put my yogurt in smoothies (that will be another blog article), or I eat it with a bit of jam or pure maple syrup to sweeten it.

Daisy sour cream and cottage cheese are also among my favorites. Daisy brand does not add any gums or gunky stuff to their products. Even organic brands often have a bunch f organic gunk in them and I would rather just keep it simple. The ingredients are literally things like "cream." That's it. Both their sour cream and their cottage cheese are made the way they made them in Little House on the Prairie- by fermenting with beneficial bacteria.

There are non-dairy yogurts made from coconut milk and almond milk so if you cannot eat dairy try them out. You can always add them to smoothies if you don't love the taste.

Real sauerkraut and real pickles have probiotics in them, as well. Kimchee, if you like it, it an excellent source, but for me I admit I am not a fan of the taste. Kombucha is a fermented tea that also has great probiotics but again that's not one I am a fan of.

You might love them though, so try them. Like your mom used to say "Try one bite and if you don't like it, ya don't have to eat it."

The trouble is, it is just plain hard to keep our gut healthy with probiotic foods alone. Believe me I have tried! After years of battling gut healing from intestinal damage due to being diagnosed with celiac at the late age of 40, I have come to believe strongly in probiotics supplements. Taking them has given me marked improvement in my digestive health and unexpected aspects of my health.

So go eat your yogurt or your sauerkraut. Dig in the dirt a bit. Find a probiotic that works for you! Heal your gut!

DISCLAIMER: As you all know, I am not a doctor or a health care professional. I am a patient advocate who, after being misdiagnosed and having my health mishandled by doctors who did not help me, read, searched and was relentless to find what would make me well. Talk with your doctor before you add anything to your health regimen. This article is for informational and entertainment purposed only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose anything.

This article is ©2017 Heather Anne at Heather Anne Art and Soul. All rights reserved. See my copyright notice here.

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