A healthy gut is important for everyone – but if you have coeliac disease it’s even more crucial that you make sure your gut is in optimal condition.
Think about it, how many years could you have been suffering from ‘gluten attacks’ before you were diagnosed? Your gut took a brutal beating- isn’t it worth giving it some TLC now?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition and as such can often lead to the sufferer having a weaker immune system. As I suffer from coeliac disease and thryoid problems, my immune system isn’t the best. I often catch colds and flu and can be ill for weeks longer than most people.
But since I started taking my gut health seriously, things have started to change. I’m not about to preach that you start popping a load of pills – everyone is different and you should always seek medical advice – but I do take a variety of supplements including:
- Digestive enzymes
- Hydrochloric acid (I suffer from reflux and have found this helps a lot)
- Multi vitamins
And it makes sense. Did you know the majority of your immune system is based in your gut? If you’ve got a cold or flu and you sit eating a bunch of crap, it’s not going to help you get any better. A healthy gut is a healthy body.
So why a probiotic?
According to the American Gasteroentorological Association, it is thought that probiotics can, among other things:
- Boost your immune system by enhancing the production of antibodies to certain vaccines.
- Produce substances that prevent infection.
- Prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the gut lining and growing there.
- Send signals to your cells to strengthen the mucus in your intestine and help it act as a barrier against infection.
- Inhibit or destroy toxins released by certain “bad” bacteria that can make you sick.
- Produce B vitamins necessary for metabolizing the food you eat, warding off anemia caused by deficiencies in B6 and B12, and maintaining healthy skin and a healthy nervous system.
There have been some studies into how probiotics can specifically help with coeliac disease too. An article in the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity published in Spring 2012 cited:
The published data on the beneficial effects of probiotics in celiac patients is limited. Our clinical experience (Institute for Specialized Medicine – www.ifsmed.com) indicates that appropriately selected probiotics significantly reduce diarrhea and bloating in patients with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Furthermore, we see positive reduction of gluten-associated joint and muscle pain, fatigue and brain fog as well as on gut colonization with yeast.
It’s not just coeliac disease, probiotics can also be helpful if you have IBS or Crohns. They are also good to take if you do get ‘glutened’ to help your gut repair.
So how do you choose the best probiotic?
- Choose a reputable brand – going for the cheapest is not always best when it comes to supplements
- Personally, I would go for tablet/powder form- yoghurt drinks which claim to be packed with probiotics will also contain unwanted sugars and other ingredients which are unnecessary
- Always consult a professional before taking any new supplements
- Look for a product with between 5-50 billions CFUs. The higher end of the scale may be good if you are suffering with coeliac disease and have compromised gut health.
Do you take a probiotic? Do you feel it has helped your immune system?