This one may not be as familiar to people as a multivitamin, but it is just as important. A good probiotic is essential for not just healthy digestive function, but also total wellness. Our gut is home to trillions of good bacteria that aid in digestion, boost our immune system and consume bad bacteria. Making sure we keep them there is critical. As we age, we begin to lose a high quantity of those good bacteria and we can experience digestive failure. Aging isn't the only thing that affects the number of these good guys, antibiotic use and a poor diet can also wipe these guys out and leave you out of balance. It's ultimately up to you to fortify and repopulate your gut with these good bacteria and a daily probiotic is a good way to do that. Finding a good, broad-spectrum probiotic(containing many different types of good bacteria) is a start. Also, as I stated with multivitamins, be sure to refer to the link I attached to find the best companies to purchase from. Since a probiotic is full of many live bacterium, it's important to make sure you store them properly to keep them alive as long as possible. I recommend storing them in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Another reason it's important to chose a higher quality probiotic is because it needs to get past the stomach to do it's job. The better companies formulate the outer casing of the pill to give it the best chance to make it through your stomach acid.
Not only is it great to take a daily probiotic, but you can find natural probiotics in some foods as well. A few examples are live-cultured yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir and kombucha tea. These are all fairly easy to make yourself and will give you a higher number of good bacteria in each if you prepare them correctly. If they are highly processed and contain high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners the bacteria won't survive.
So be sure to keep these good bacteria in your stomach and you will find that you will have significantly better digestion as well as a strengthened immune system.
Ever wonder if you should be taking supplements and if so which ones should you be taking? "The Core 4" are four supplements I feel everyone should be taking. There may be gender specific and individual specific additions to these four, but these four will build a strong nutritional foundation for everyone. So without further ado, here is the first supplement on my list of "The Core 4".
This is an obvious one. Almost everyone has probably thought about taking a multivitamin or have even tried one for a little while. What I hear most often from people that used to take one is that they felt no difference other than it gave them urine they think could glow in the dark. While this is very common, I will delve into why that is and how to properly take it later on. But why is it important to take a multivitamin? While the majority of your nutrients should come from a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetable, a multi makes sure nothing falls through the cracks. A multi makes sure that you get all of the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs each day, keeping your engine running smoothly and protecting you against chronic illnesses. So what's with the bright-yellow urine? The bright color actually comes from excess riboflavin (vitamin B2) and this happens because your body is only able to absorb a certain amount of it at a time. What your body doesn't use gets excreted and you send it down the toilet or water a tree with it on the golf course (This method is not recommended :). The key to avoid wasting too much is to spread out your dosage throughout the day. This way your body will be able to absorb as much as possible and you won't be wasting as much. Now the question is why do some people not feel a difference when they take a multi. The difference you notice isn't as obvious as if you were to drink a Red Bull. What I tend to notice is I'm more alert throughout the day and I sleep better. This makes sense because being deficient in any key micronutrients can effect your energy and sleeping. Another reason could be that the multi you're taking is not a high quality one. With all supplements you get what you pay for. Some companies go the extra mile to design their products so they are more easily absorbed by your body and won't go to waste. Other companies do not. I always say any cheap supplement that doesn't work is more expensive than a higher priced one that works. I've attached a link of companies that go the extra mile to make high quality supplements. I recommend looking at your supplements and making sure your supplement brand is on the list. This list doesn't contain all, but the majority of the larger trusted companies.
Dr. Andy Johnson