How to Normalize Intestinal Health Naturally

You'll never decrease the stress on the adrenal glands if you don't bring your intestine back into balance. Here are three important techniques for normalizing/improving intestinal health:

Probiotics

It's virtually impossible to go into a store or watch television without seeing an advertisement about probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that you consume to improve your health. In essence, they're used to put the beneficial bacteria back in the intestine to help normalize the intestinal flora.

Probiotic supplements can come in many formulations. The most common are those in capsule form; they're easily digested and tolerated.

You know that probiotics are important. The big question is what you should look for. You need to read the ingredients on each container before you buy. Here are three things to consider:

  • The number of colony-forming units (CFUs): The higher the number, the better. Note that there are trillions of organisms in your intestine, so the colony-forming units should be in the billions at least.

  • The types of organisms that are in your probiotic: A good probiotic should have a variety of species, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium species. Also look for brands that have Saccharomyces boulardii.

  • Storage considerations: Some brands of probiotics need to be refrigerated. Others can be kept at room temperature.

Your local health food store will have many different brands of probiotics. Read the directions on the labels concerning when and how often to take them. Some can be taken only on an empty stomach; others, only with meals. Many, if not all, are in a capsule form that can be taken two to three times a day.

If you've been prescribed an antibiotic, take the probiotic a few hours after the antibiotic. If you take them at the same time, the antibiotic may kill the beneficial bacteria in the probiotic. The idea behind the probiotic is that it decreases the risk of developing antibiotic-associated inflammation of the colon as well as Clostridium difficile colitis.

Probiotics are also in the following foods:

  • Yogurt, cheese, and kefir (a yogurt-type drink)

  • Unpasteurized sauerkraut

  • Kimchi (a cabbage mix in Korean foods)

  • Miso (as in the Japanese soup)

Digestive enzymes

If you have intestinal dysbiosis (a general term that refers to an unhealthy intestine), you're likely not digesting and absorbing the nutrients from your food well due to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. Digestive enzymes can help your body properly digest the food until you can restore the balance in your intestinal ecosystem.

An enzyme supplement usually consists of various enzymes, including bromelain and papain. You should take the enzyme supplement, which comes in pill form, with each meal. The dosage can vary, so talk with your healthcare practitioner about which digestive enzymes may be suitable for your health situation.

Taking a digestive enzyme before you begin to eat is a no-no — it can cause stomach discomfort. Most people should take digestive enzymes during meals or right after eating.

Supplements to fight fungal overgrowth

Treating intestinal dysbiosis involves eradicating Candida (a yeast) from the intestine. You can use several supplements to help eliminate Candida; they also have other health benefits.

  • Oil of oregano: This oil is a natural preparation for eliminating yeast from your intestine. It's also a natural antibiotic, effective against many common bacterial pathogens. Oil of oregano comes in various forms, including softgels and straight oil. Depending on the brand of the oil of oregano, the dosage can vary.

  • Garlic: Garlic isn't just an excellent supplement for eliminating Candida. It also protects your blood vessels, helping to keep them soft and pliable. It's a potent antioxidant, and it's excellent for treating high cholesterol.

    The form of garlic that you want to take is aged garlic extract, which comes in capsule form. You can begin with a dose of 400 to 600 milligrams a day, usually once a day.

    Garlic is a natural blood thinner, so if you're on blood-thinning medication such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Coumadin), talk to your healthcare provider before starting aged garlic extract.

  • Olive leaf extract: Olive leaf extract is a potent antifungal agent. A recommended starting dose is 500 milligrams a day, taken once a day.

    Because olive leaf extract can lower blood pressure, you need to talk with your healthcare provider before starting this extract. You also need to monitor your blood pressure on a daily basis when taking this supplement.

  • Grape seed extract: Not only does this extract have potent antioxidant properties, but it also has excellent Candida-killing properties. Grape seed extract capsules should be taken at least once a day at a dose of 250 milligrams.

  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil has antifungal properties. You should try to consume at least 1,000 milligrams of this supplement per day, which you can get in soft gel capsules. Some people enjoy just eating the coconut oil, 1 to 2 tablespoons daily.

Oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, and grape seed extract can kill both good and bad bacteria, so take them in moderation, as directed by your healthcare provider. Also make sure you take Candida-killing supplements separately from probiotics (discussed earlier in “Probing probiotics”). Taking them at the same time as probiotics diminishes the probiotics’ effectiveness in re-establishing normal bowel flora.

A common practice is rotating the supplements you use for eradicating Candida. Every practitioner is different, but some rotate their antifungal regimens on a 1- to 2-week interval. The idea is to decrease the risk that the Candida will develop resistance to one anti-yeast regimen. By using various antifungal agents on a varied schedule, you're more apt to eradicate the yeast.

If you don't eliminate sugar from your diet, the Candida-killing supplements won't be as effective. Sugar is a potent stimulus for yeast overgrowth (that's what yeast eats); consuming sugar is like adding fuel to a fire.

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