The Importance of Gut Health
Did you know that your gut health plays an integral role in your overall health, including your brain? Gut health refers to the function of the gastrointestinal tract which is comprised of the esophagus, stomach and intestines. A well-functioning gastrointestinal tract depends on a balance of good bacteria in our gut and the ability to digest and absorb needed nutrients.
Unfortunately, an estimated 70 million Americans suffer from digestive issues and diseases, according to data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The good news? There are some ways that you can help curb digestive symptoms and improve your overall health.
Before we go into some steps you can take to achieve optimal gut health, here is why gut health matters more than you think.
- How the gut works
- The importance of healthy gut bacteria
- Improving gut health
How the Gut Works
There are three main parts of our guts: the esophagus which transports food to our stomach, the stomach which breaks down our foods and finally the small intestine which absorbs the nutrients from foods. Inside our intestinal tracts live good bacteria.
When our bacteria are properly balanced, our bodies are able to obtain energy and nutrients from the foods we eat while eliminating harmful bacteria and toxins. When bad bacteria take over, it can lead to a health issue called leaky gut, which occurs when the junctions in the lining of our stomach get loose and allow food debris and bad bacteria to “leak” through that lining and into our bloodstream.
Leaky gut symptoms include occasional gas, bloating, fatigue and constipation. However, leaky gut syndrome is not the only issue that can occur due to impaired gut health. Recent studies have shown a strong link between our brain and our guts. Occasional fatigue, mood issues, and sleeplessness are sometimes linked to gut health as well.
The Importance of Healthy Gut Bacteria
Good bacteria play a very important role in the health of your gut. There are two main species of bacteria in the lining of our intestinal tract, called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These bacteria break down the foods we consume and allow the absorption of needed nutrients.
When these bacteria are depleted due to illness, stress or lifestyle, it has the potential to wreak havoc on our digestive health and our overall health.
Improving Gut Health
You may find that you are experiencing leaky gut symptoms, or you may just want to maintain proper gut health. Here are some simple ways you can improve your gut health using supplements and food sources.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics work by helping to produce Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the microbiome of our intestinal system. Probiotics are made by isolating live microorganisms and adding them to a food or supplement.
Prebiotics are similar, but you consume them as a food source that can be processed through your digestive system. Prebiotics can be found naturally in foods such as asparagus, apples, leeks, garlic and onions.
Bovine Colostrum Supplements
Colostrum is the pre-milk released by female mammals before breastmilk production begins following the birth of their offspring. Colostrum contains the necessary nutrients for the first few days of life. One of the more popular forms of colostrum used today is cow or bovine colostrum.
Bovine colostrum is collected from a mother cow after her calf has received all the colostrum it needs. The rest is set aside by dairy farmers. Then it is dried and made into a pill supplement that is safe for human consumption, according to strict FDA guidelines.
Bovine colostrum contains unique components such as growth factors, which can promote cell repair and growth, as well as proteins and nutrients. Some studies have shown that these bioactive components can help strengthen the gut lining and tighten junctions while improving symptoms of leaky gut syndrome.
Additionally, maintaining a healthy gut can produce higher serotonin levels, which are linked to better mood and increased energy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bovine Colostrum and Gut Health
What does bovine colostrum do for your gut?
Some studies have suggested that bovine colostrum’s growth factors can stimulate intestinal cells, which can strengthen the lining of your gut junctions — preventing a condition called leaky gut.
What are the side effects of colostrum?
Bovine colostrum has not been known to have any side effects in humans. However, those with dairy allergies may not be able to take bovine colostrum. It’s always advisable to consult your physician before making a change to your diet or exercise program.
What does bovine colostrum taste like?
Individual tastes vary, but many have described bovine colostrum as having a mild buttermilk flavor. In raw form, it is pale yellow in color and has the consistency of whipping cream.