When gut health is good, you’ll feel balanced – when it’s off, you may experience a variety of symptoms and this imbalance can also affect your emotional health, your immune system and skin health.
Signs you could benefit from taking a probiotic?
- You’ve taken a course of antibiotics
- You eat a lot of refined sugar
- You’ve taken a course of antacid medfication
- You experience bloating
- You have a lot of gas
- You suffer from loose stools/diarrhoea
- You regularly get constipated
- You have skin issues triggered by certain foods
50% of our stools are actually bacteria that have been living in your gut – therefore these bacteria need replacing everyday.
So how can we replace these wonderful hard working bugs?
- Plant-based fibre - helps our gut bugs thrive aim for ideally around 30g per day, ensuring vegetables and fruits of all the colours of the rainbow are included in a week.
- Fermented foods can boost the number of friendly bacteria in your gut, Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles (in salty brine), tempeh, natto, unsweetened yoghurt
- Prebiotics : these are like fertiliser for our new and current gut flora and include:
- Baobab fruit
- Moringa leaf
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Garlic, Onions, Leeks
- Barley, Oats
- Apples (with the skins)
- Dark chocolate
- Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds)
- Potatoes/pasta that have been cooked the day before and left in the fridge overnight
Why taking a probiotic could help?
Our GUT LOVE is a great multi-strain probiotic that can be taken daily, containing 19 different strains of live bacteria to help replenish your gut flora with a variety of strains.
It turns out that we really are ‘the sum total of our experiences.’ Had I known then the impact of many of my decisions, I may have made changes earlier, but it turns out that we must live life to truly understand it.
I was definitely living life. Perceived invincibility provided me with the tunnel vision which enabled me to dash from one task to another, ticking off one more achievement, adventure and accolade.
Of course you can’t sustain this symphonic level of intensity without topping up the tank with quick access fuel, mine came in the form of sugar- packets of delicious sweets and finely baked biscuits.
I also gradually began to neglect my regular exercise regimen in exchange for a membership in the weekend warrior club. Gut irritation and a little extra weight accumulated, but, as far as I was concerned, I felt normal for a 40-something professional.
‘That’ evening, the one that irreversibly shook up my life, Thursday 3 December, I found myself staring eternity squarely in the face. I had returned home from work with my two girls. It had been a stressful day capped by a suitably heated, hard-hitting quarrel that left me trembling.
I did not generally consider my life stressful, and yet I knew that I ran at a pretty high-octane pace. But that was OK, because, despite warnings from others, I was, or believed I was, bulletproof.
I wore my intensity like a shiny badge of honour. On that evening, however, the engine said ‘no more’; you can’t drive even the most brilliantly engineered sports cars at 5000 RPM indefinitely.
It took my mum, who spotted me bent over, clutching my chest, rubbing my arms on FaceTime and my daughter's subsequent fear-filled plea to get help for me to make the medical call. Reluctantly, in a haze of pain, I did make the call. In minutes an ambulance was there.
Pride masking the danger, I couldn’t help, but feel that all this commotion was quite unnecessary. The seasoned paramedics quickly assessed my traumatised frame, blood pressure surging through my veins like a blocked firehose. They looked me straight in the eyes, piercing my vanity, and said, “We are taking you to hospital. Now.”
‘That’ evening marked the beginning of a myriad of changes. Naturally, and most significantly was that of my health, but also, running neatly alongside, compelling me, almost without choice, was my desire to capture the goodness in life around me.
Being in hospital forced me to slow down and rest, my senses sharpened and my eyes opened to the subtleties in the world around me, to things I had not previously noticed before.
I became acutely aware of nuances in conversation, of the sacrifices of those around me and of the delicacy of relationships. I was also painfully cognizant, in increasing measure, of the compounding effects of the bad choices I had made for my body- sugar addiction, stress, exercise withdrawal and sleep deprivation.
Buckminster Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So, that is what I did (and am doing), engineering a new, more tantalising model for life.
My diet, for instance, has been transformed. The once glutinous intake has been replaced with cleaner foods, nutrition straight from the earth and, perhaps more importantly, I expunged sweets.
Implored by the immediacy of the situation, I also instilled radical changes to my work routine and introduced regular, gentler exercises in the great outdoors. The list goes on, but I feel that, if indeed we are ‘the sum total of our experiences,’ I have been gifted a lifeline with which to significantly alter the outcome of my time here on earth. And, I must say, my heart feels good, very good indeed.
NOTE FROM THE NAKED PHARMACY
Jeff Schmidt is the Author/illustrator of the bestselling book:
HEART ATTACK- Finding hope, joy and inspiration through adversity.
The number of vegans has been growing rapidly over recent years and the concept of vegetarianism is not new dating back as early as 500 BC, first mentioned by Pythagoras.
In Great Britain, the number of vegans is estimated to have quadrupled between 2014 and 2019.
Novak Djokovic, Venus and Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Mike Tyson, Martina Navratilova, David Haye are great examples that veganism offers one the potential to not only be healthy, but also for elite athletes to thrive.
Some key nutrients vegans should be aware of
Although there are health benefits to a vegan lifestyle, it is also important to recognise that, as with any diet, if not appropriately planned then it is easy to become nutritionally deficient as there are certain nutrients that are not available from plants.
Below are some of the 2 key nutrients that vegans need to be aware of to avoid deficiencies or imbalances.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, which does not originate in plants, but from bacteria.
In fact, B12 supplements are (for the most part) also given to farm animals, meaning even those on non-vegan diets are supplementing, but indirectly.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include:
- A pale yellow tinge to your skin
- A sore and red tongue (glossitis)
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- Disturbed vision
- Unexplained sadness
- A decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement
Due to B12 not being readily present in a vegan diet it’s recommended to supplement this, especially for strict vegans.
Two tablets daily of our Saffrosun Calm offers 100% of the Nutritional Reference Value (NRV).
Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin”, and although it is possible to obtain this through certain plant foods such as mushrooms, in general it is not broadly consumed on a vegan diet.
In fact, the NHS advises that "everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter” [Source ].
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency may include:
- Not sleeping well
- Bone pain or achiness
- Feelings of sadness
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Getting sick more easily
Again, it is good practice to use a supplement to ensure you are getting the recommend intake of Vitamin D, particularly in colder seasons with having less sun exposure. One capsule of our Pure Organic Vitamin D offers 200% of the NRV, and one capsule of our Vitamin D3 contains 100% NRV.
Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, and studies suggest that taking probiotics are linked to a range of health benefits. These include benefits for gut function, immune function, respiratory tract infections, and duration of illness.
Although vegans generally consume a diet rich in fibre, which is a key gut nutrient and it is possible to acquire probiotics from plant-based sources such as fermented foods (e.g. sourdough bread and tempeh), vegans don’t consume the most common probiotic rich foods such as yogurt and kefir.
Our Gut Love supplement contains 21 probiotics and prebiotics, and 19 billion good bacteria to support overall gut health including one probiotic which originates from soil.
The Naked Pharmacy Supplements
All of The Naked Pharmacy’s own brand of supplements are entirely vegan and contain natural ingredients, meaning higher absorption and bioavailability than synthetic supplements.
When spring arrives, many of us struggle with hay fever. Itchy eyes and throat, sneezing, congestion and coughing are all symptoms of this common pollen allergy.
In Naturopathic medicine, we always aim to correct the underlying cause of health issues rather than focus entirely on symptoms. With allergies, we look at the health of the gut, as well as the immune system itself, to find the underlying cause.
The Gut Connection
In Naturopathy, the root cause of most health conditions can be traced back to how well we're digesting and absorbing our food. It's very common for people to have problems with 'leaky gut', where the lining of the intestines has become damaged, allowing larger food particles into the bloodstream which wouldn't normally be there. The immune system initiates a response when it notices something unusual, and repeats this time and again every time we eat problem foods. Eventually, this can lead to an overactive immune system. This may be part of the reason why we can suddenly develop allergies, including hay fever.
Healing a leaky gut properly usually involves identifying and temporarily avoiding problem foods whilst taking medicine to heal the intestinal lining at the same time. Usually, this would be done under the supervision of a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, or Nutritional Therapist, but there are some self-help measures you can take too. Here are a few ideas:
- Try completely avoiding all dairy foods for a few weeks. These are known to aggravate catarrh conditions, and there are so many dairy-free alternatives nowadays it's actually quite easy.
- Get plenty of antioxidants from your diet by 'eating a rainbow' every day. That's at least one fruit or veg from every colour of the rainbow, plus 'black' fruit and vegetables like blueberries and aubergine.
- This 2016 study found that Turmeric extract was highly effective in treating hay fever, so our high strength turmeric extract - Natruflex will help. Take one capsule daily.
- Taking Gut Love will help support the bacteria in the gut which can also impact upon your digestion and is the first line of defence for allergies.
- Rhinodoron Nasal Spray contains aloe vera which acts as a natural barrier to prevent pollen attaching to the membranes of the nose and throat.
All of these products can be safely taken alongside antihistamines, but if you have any questions, please get in touch with our registered pharmacists and we'll be happy to help you.