Guide to choosing a probiotic

Probiotics are a quick and easy way to improve the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are live microorganisms, so you want to make sure that the product you are buying actually contains live microorganisms.

When choosing a probiotic, it is important to purchase from a reputable company who sells products that have been well researched. Look at the company’s website to ensure they are credible and have independent research supporting their claims and the ingredients in their products.

When looking at the label of a probiotic, consider these four things:

1. Probiotic Strains: The number of different strains is typically listed on the front of the bottle as well as in the ingredient list. The more strains the better. Some products limit the number of strains to only well-researched strains, which have been shown to have specific benefits. (See resources below)

2. Colony Forming Units (CFU): This is the unit used to measure the number of active or live organisms in your probiotic. The CFU is the number of live organisms that exist at the time you take the probiotic, not when it was manufactured.

3. Expiration Date: A quality probiotic supplement should have an expiration date. Even if they are stored properly, bacteria can't live forever. You want to know how many live microorganisms are in each serving or dose, which should be constant, as long as the product is not expired.

4. Proper Storage Conditions: Remember, probiotics are live organisms, so they require proper handling to maintain their potency. When you are purchasing in a store, take note of where and how the probiotic is being displayed. In general, refrigeration in a dry environment promotes stability, but not all probiotics need to be refrigerated to remain stable. Advancements in manufacturing and packaging have allowed companies the ability to package shelf-stable probiotics in a way that keep out heat, light, moisture and air. You should always check the company’s website and read the label to ensure you are storing your probiotic properly.

• If it was in the refrigerated section, it probably needs to be refrigerated after you bring it home.

• If it was bought off the shelf, read the label to see if it needs to be refrigerated after opening. Not all probiotics need to be refrigerated to remain stable. The advantage of shelf-stable probiotics is that they are great to take with you when you travel.

• If you are purchasing online, make sure you know how the manufacturer is shipping the product. Some of the bacteria in probiotics can be killed or damaged when it is being shipped in a hot truck for too long, or even when it sits in your mailbox on a hot day.

Depression

      What is  depression and how can you help people  suffering ? 

According to research and science, Depression is a common mood disorder which becomes serious if left untreated.  It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, interact with people and handle daily activities. Sleeping, eating and working disrupt your quality of life. 

Depression can affect anyone, but when the symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, it should be addressed. We all know depression can strike anyone, we might be even feeling down, stressed, anxious for a couple of days.. but when we are surrounded with supportive friends and family, and get to the root cause of it, healing is easy. 

                     What symptoms should i look out for ? 

Depression becomes a disorder when you are unable to get out of bed, don't care about your favorite hobby..you might feel like you are just a ghost of a human body.. feeling hopeless , irritable, restless and disconnected from the world. 

Common symptoms are: 

  • Mood swings 
  • Unexplainable body aches 
  • Digestive Problems 
  • Changes in appearance 
  • Sadness 
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of appetite/overeating 
  • Substance Abuse 
  • Guilt 
  • Withdrawal 
  • Isolation 

                             But what causes depression? 

It's often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but science suggests that its not only having too much or too little brain chemicals. There are many other causes such as nutritional deficiencies, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, traumas, post traumatic stress, hormonal imbalances, medications, and underlying medical problems that we are not aware of.   

Sometimes certain food allergies /sensitivities cause brain fog, the symptoms are similar to depression. Having an IgG food allergy test can be helpful in understanding which food causes gut distress.  Brain allergy from certain food allergies such as gluten, milk and eggs are common allergens which wear down the stress hormone. 

Treatment should not be delayed, there is a lot of help available ! There are a variety of treatments such as psychotherapy ( Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) which helps you get to the root cause of your disorder , change your thoughts and the way you perceive the world. 

                                What can I do about it? 

  1. Visit your GP, address your concerns and talk about your thoughts and feelings. It's very important to have blood work done and check for nutritional deficiencies:  FULL Thyroid check, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, hormone check : they are play a big role in fluctuating stress hormones in your body. 
  2. Ask to be referred to a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist : practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you get to the root cause of your concern .
  3. If you have been advised to take medications, make sure your understand the side effects and take supplements with it under the supervision of your doctor. Medication AND CBT work very well together. Don't forget to exercise daily!
  4. Manage your food/lifestyle habits: changing your relationship with food and lifestyle helps heal depression. There are so many holistic factors that contribute to depression such as: relationships, spirituality, home environment, exercise, work life balance etc.. ask yourself: WHAT IS BEYOND MY PLATE?  Do certain relationships put you down? Does your career make you feel GUILTY  for not spending time with your family? Do you have enough time to prepare home made meals? WHAT IS ONE NON NEGOTIABLE TASK YOU NEED TO PERFORM EVERYDAY FOR YOUR OWN WELL-BEING? 
  5. The help of and guidance of a health coach can greatly help you in managing your food and lifestyle habits! 

 Have you ever felt depressed? Or noticed that a friend can be suffering in silence? There's so much you can do for them ! I will be writing more on how to help others in my next article! 

Meanwhile tell me.. is there anything you would like me to talk about? Anxiety, Gut health, cravings, emotional eating.. YOU name it! 

Love,

Dina