If you’ve been a reader of my blog, you know that I strongly believe that gut health is a must for good overall health. When the digestive system fails, other body systems soon follow. With that in mind, I came across an excellent article written by Michael Hennessey in the Developing Healthy Habits October 2014 newsletter. Mr. Hennessey talks about the five basics needed for gut health: probiotics, aloe vera, digestive enzymes, triphala, and herbal bitters. I encourage you to read his article. He can be reached at wildberryEDU@aol.com. I will  only discuss the two I’m familiar with, probiotics and aloe vera juice. Lets start with probiotics, which line the long gut, making colonies and working with good fats, amino acids, and nucleotides to communicate with the other body systems about what just entered the mouth, and what actions are needed next. Digestion is a major part of building the immune system. And probiotics are everywhere these days, from health food stores to large supermarkets to packaged foods. Mr. Hennessey states that “Most probiotics today are dairy-based, usually from a cow’s gut, then freeze-dried and manufactured using centrifugal force. Some boast massive bacteria counts, but what matters most is how strong the colony is, and if they are able to live in the gut after digestion. Good probiotics are alive, active, and capable of living with us.” I’ve tried several of the probiotic brands in capsule form, but have not noticed any benefit. However, there are plant-based probiotics that are fermented for a long time; sauerkraut is an example. Personally, I’ve had much better results with plant-based probiotics, I eat sauerkraut daily. There are also several brands of fermented organic vegetables, which can be quite pricey, but worth it. Or, you can ferment your own vegetables inexpensively at home. There are easy-to-follow directions on the Mother Earth Living website. Stress, heavy alcohol consumption, and antibiotics are devastating to the flora and fauna of the gut, which is why we need to continuously replenish the good guys.

Aloe vera is digestions best friend, but not all aloe vera juice is the same. Many of the over 200 brands contain a small amount of aloe vera diluted with water. The best are organic natural concentrates of the whole leaf. Aloe vera balances the pH of the gut, soothes inflamed tissue, and is an anti fungal, anti-inflammatory where the food is first broken down, drained, and then compacted for elimination. Most of us know that aloe vera heals the skin on the outside-it performs the same function inside. Aloe vera makes minerals more bioavailable than any other digestive support, and works well for seniors with low hydrochloric acid or concerns with calcium absorption. Find an aloe concentrate and take one ounce a day with water. On my journey back to optimal health, I used both of these products daily, and still do. Give them a try.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.