Today, we interviewed Eve Kalinik, a nutritional therapist, writer, and co-host of The Wellness Breakdown podcast, and discussed all things gut health and what we can do to support it. She outlines the difference between prebiotics and probiotics and the best routine for keeping your gut healthy.
How effective are gut health supplements in supporting the growth of gut flora?
Firstly, it is really important to acknowledge that there is no gut health ‘panacea’ however excellent the supplement. Moreover, no supplement will outweigh a diet that is devoid of quantity and diversity of fibre and polyphenols (special plant chemicals), which are crucial to cultivating the growth of a healthier and stronger gut microbiome. Both fibre and polyphenols provide essential fuel for our gut microbes to thrive and produce all the positive substances that they give back to us in abundance.
That being said, we can all struggle to meet these dietary needs and/or cope with the various demands, onslaughts and challenges that face our gut and gut microbiome on a daily basis. he functional element of the supplement is the water stabilized family of carbon-based redox (electrical charge) carrying molecules.’ It has also been ‘demonstrated that Terrahydrite® (ION* Gut + Microbiome) improves the integrity of the blood-brain barrier in every scenario – from control to blood-brain barrier exposed to gliadin (a potentially harmful metabolite of gluten), and then exposed to the peptides produced by gliadin-injured small intestine.’
Where do you start when searching for the right gut health supplement in a market full of pre/probiotics?
Prebiotics and probiotics are one area of gut health that have gained a lot of traction and interest, especially in the past 5 years, and these can have their benefits depending on the supplement.
However, prebiotics and probiotics are just one part of supporting gut health. As we gain further knowledge around gut health, the research is also shifting the focus more and more towards the absolute necessity of maintaining a strong and healthy gut barrier. Think of it almost like the foundation of our gut health, which has such a crucial role in how we interact with our gut microbes. Our gut barrier can be negatively impacted by a myriad of factors including commonly used medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, excessive dietary amounts of refined grains and sugar, chemical toxins, and stress to name a few key culprits. Where this barrier becomes compromised, we can see many different associated symptoms and conditions arise such as allergies, recurrent infections, chronic inflammation, mood disorders, metabolic issues and some autoimmune conditions which are increasingly on the rise in our modern world.
Supporting the health of this barrier is therefore of prime importance, and this is where a supplement like ION* Gut + Microbiome can help to maintain its integrity and strength. ION* Gut + Microbiome has a much broader and more general impact on our overall health and wellbeing for our gut and far beyond.
What are the benefits of using a mineral food supplement to support my gut lining?
Using a mineral food supplement like ION* Gut + Microbiome supports the body’s natural process of strengthening the gut barrier. In turn this helps to strengthen our main defence and has a broader impact on the body overall. You could consider it like providing the building blocks for the foundations of our gut health and our immune system. The focus therefore becomes more about supporting rather than supplementing.
What is your routine to keep your gut healthy?
- Start the day well – having a morning routine can help to support the natural rhythm of the gut which has certainly had some significant personal benefits. For the very first 5 minutes of the day I dedicate to journaling a stream of conscious thoughts onto a sheet of paper that allows me to get them out of my head and a clearer focus for the day. I then set aside another 10 minutes for some breathing exercises. Only after this I check emails and switch on my phone. I genuinely think this little 15-minute wake-up routine and gentle ease into the day has been such a support to my gut-brain connection which we know to be an extremely powerful and bi-directional one.
- After this I take time for a breakfast rich in fibre, polyphenols and protein to nourish my gut microbiome and support the health of the gut barrier. I’m a savoury kind of gal so some typical breakfasts for me might be a parmesan omelette with chargrilled broccoli, crispy free-range organic bacon and kimchi on proper sourdough, or my latest favourite is miso & chilli scrambled eggs with stir fried shiitake mushrooms. Delish!
- Allow fasting periods – I try to maintain at least a 4-5 hour gap between meals and an overnight fast for 12 hours as this allows the crucial time for repair and regeneration in the gut and the gut barrier that happens when we are in a fasted state.
- Make water more interesting – hydration is king for supporting gut health but making this more interesting with flavouring waters with herbs or slices of cucumber, lemon or lime can just make it more appealing and encourages me to drink more. I do however avoid large glasses of water with meals as this can dilute gastric secretions and means my digestion is not so efficient, so I try to have water away from mealtimes generally. A glass of red wine may often feature though…obviously for the polyphenol benefits.
- Rest & digest – another game-changing habit is really making my mealtimes count. Not so much in what I’m cooking but the way in which I’m eating them. Switching off all devices, slowing down and taking time to chew my food as well as framing the food on a nice plate can make all the difference in terms of optimising digestion, supporting the gut-brain connection and improving satiety levels.
- Prioritise sleep – the link between gut health and sleep is also a fascinating area of research because they function symbiotically- good sleep allows for good gut health. I give myself a strict curfew of no phone use after 9pm and instead take the hour before bed to read, have a bath or listen to some music or a podcast. It has changed the quality and quantity of my sleep which also gives my gut some good respite, too.
How do we identify products that disrupt our microbiota versus supplements that do good to our gut and overall health?
I often use the analogy of a garden with our gut health in that we need healthy soil in the garden for plants to grow and thrive, which is the exact same for our gut and the organisms that we want to cultivate in our microbiome. This is also the core premise of ION* Gut + Microbiome and it’s what Dr Zach Bush had in mind when developing it: to mirror the health of our soil with foundational gut health and using a supplement that looks to support on a grassroots level.
Like a garden, if we don’t feed the soil with nutrients and water and minimise chemicals, it will struggle to flourish. We have to think about our gut in the same way by providing it with sufficient fibre, polyphenols, hydration and avoiding highly processed foods, refined grains and unnecessary medications that can disrupt the status quo.
And as we diligently tend and respond to nature in our gardens, ION* Gut + Microbiome has a similar effect in working with your gut and giving it the key components to allow it to positively bloom!
For more gut health advice and tips from Eve, follow her on Instagram @EveKalinik
- Jiqian Huang MD/PhD, John Gildea PhD, Zach Bush MD. Dietary Supplementation of Terrahydrite® Promotes Lysine Production in Healthy Subjects: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0354/2789/files/ION_Lysine_Clinical_Study.pdf?v=11855692948099979603
- Zach Bush MD, John Gildea PhD. Blood-Brain Barrier Response to Terrahydrite and Intestinal Gluten Injury. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0354/2789/files/ION_Blood_Brain_Barrier_Science_Paper.pdf?v=3655431957365225496