Probiotics And What They Mean For Your Health

Probiotics And What They Mean For Your Health

"Probiotics" is a word you often hear talked about in commercials or you could see it on a food label.  Recently, many food products claim to have probiotics. Well, Probiotics is a type of "good" bacteria. It may be difficult to accept the idea that bacteria can actually be good for your health but it’s true. Research shows that probiotics offer a range of health benefits. Despite the biased portrayal of bacteria in advertisements, not all bacteria are harmful to your body.

What is a Probiotic?

Probiotics are gram-positive or good bacteria that are beneficial for your health. We have a common perception that bacteria make us ill. However, you will be surprised to learn that our intestines house bacteria. They help with digestion, some produce vitamins and others kill harmful microorganisms that live in our body.

Like these microorganisms, probiotics help maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria. The level of good bacteria in your system can deplete if you contract an illness. The best sources of probiotics are supplements available in local markets. You can also include natural foods in your diet that contain probiotics, such as yogurt and pickles. 

Health Benefits of Probiotics

According to experts, probiotics promote a healthy immune system and a healthy digestive tract.

A healthy digestive system treats harmful bacteria, chemicals, toxins, and prevents damage to health. Therefore, your digestive system should maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria to function properly.

However, eating unhealthy food, taking a lot of stress, lack of sleep, overuse of medication, and an unpleasant environment can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your system.

In this case, probiotics are beneficial for treating various digestive infections including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, gut transit, and abdominal pain.  In addition, if you’re suffering from diarrhea, probiotics can treat and reduce its severity.

Strengthens the Immune System

A healthy immune system protects your body from harmful microorganisms while a weak immune mechanism can put you at greater risk for severe illness. A weak immune system can cause autoimmune disorders, allergic reactions, and bacterial and viral infections.

In such conditions, probiotics are helpful in reducing the severity of the symptoms as they produce more antibodies and immune cells in your body. Scientific evidence reveals that an adequate intake of probiotics decreases the intensity and frequency of respiratory infections. Moreover, consuming probiotics reduces the risk of UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) in women by 50%.

Some other potential benefits of probiotics are:

Helps You Lose Weight

An unhealthy gut not only affects your digestive system but it also restrains your body to lose fats. Therefore taking probiotics will make your gut healthier and prevent fat storage in the intestine. In other words, probiotics enable you to burn more calories while reducing fat storage by increasing the level of certain hormones, such as GLP.

Probiotics also reduce belly fat, which you then excrete through feces. However, it’s important to look for only probiotics that help in weight loss because certain probiotics, such as L. acidophilus, can eventually result in weight gain.

Good for Mental Health

Today, a large part of the population is dealing with depression, anxiety, and mental stress. If you are one of them, probiotics will help you to cure these disorders. Researchers suggest that probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium help in curbing the risk of depression, anxiety, autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

As per a study on 70 workers from the chemical industry, participants who consumed 100 grams of probiotic yogurt or took a probiotic capsule for 6 weeks observed significant improvement in their health. Probiotic supplements not only help treat depression but also reduce C-reactive protein levels and hormones, such as insulin.

Reduces Cholesterol Level

Is your cholesterol above border-line? If yes, you should immediately take measures to prevent the risk of heart disease. Studies suggest that some probiotics can help in decreasing cholesterol levels, specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus. Many researchers confirm that the combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus and prebiotics can increase HDL cholesterol and reduce blood sugar in your body.

Treats Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A bad diet can lead to numerous infections such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The symptoms include intense pain in the abdomen, bloating, and unusual bowel movements. Research states that certain bacteria in the intestines cause IBS. Yet studies are underway to determine whether probiotics can be helpful for treating the condition.

According to a study, 60 people suffering from IBS took probiotics and Lactobacillus acidophilus for 2 months. The result indicated improvement in bloating and reduction in abdominal pain.

If you are going through IBS, eat yogurt or choose a probiotic supplement that is scientifically proven.

Reduces Allergy Symptoms

Allergies, such as itchy eyes or a runny nose are more common these days. But you can possibly prevent these ailments through probiotics. Scientific evidence proves that taking probiotics in combination with Lactobacillus acidophilus can prevent or reduce the effectiveness of some allergies.

Other than this, probiotics can help you reduce the symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis. It also minimizes the presence of antibodies in your body that causes these allergies.

Side Effects of Probiotics

Your current health status determines whether you can take probiotics or not. If you have a good health and a strong immune system, you may experience minimal side effects of probiotics. But if you have weak immune system and are prone to diseases, you may face severe side effects. Furthermore, if you underwent surgery recently, you must consult your doctor before taking any probiotic supplements.

Conclusion

Probiotics can be good for your ‘health’ but they are not good for ‘everyone’. There is still on-going research on the benefits of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and there are still a lot of factors that are unknown.  

Probiotic supplements and probiotic foods are generally considered safe to consume. However, you may experience minor side effects when you start taking them. In case, if you face continuous health issues stop your probiotic intake and consult your doctor without delay.

Is Your Digestion Getting Worse With Age?

Is Your Digestion Getting Worse With Age?

As we get older, our digestive abilities decrease and common digestion problems arise. The key reason behind this is that enzymes in the body become less efficient with age. There are many factors at play including diet choices that contribute to how well your body produces these enzymes; however, it seems as though a big factor surrounding enzyme production involves aging itself.

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3 Weight Loss Tips That Are Evidence Based

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How to Lose Belly Fat

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March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson

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Think you know everything about losing weight? Read this! Losing weight is tricky enough, so we’ve got your back.

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Five Adaptogens to Improve Sleep and Fight Stress

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand: When you experience deep, quality sleep, your brain chemicals can better regulate your stress hormones. Conversely, when you’re stressed, it can be difficult to fall asleep: Your brain races, your body is anxious, and insomnia becomes an unwanted companion. 

This can lead to an unproductive cycle, producing chronic stress and other complications. 

So, how can we better combat this lack of sleep and cycle of stress? For many, superfoods like adaptogens are one of the answers. Adaptogens have been used for many years, and today, they are used to help fight stress, fatigue, and anxiety. 

Below are five adaptogens that may help fight your fatigue:

1. Maca 

When you’re stressed, your body uses a lot of energy. Since the energy that comes from what you eat may not be enough, your body will rely on its energy reserves, which may result in a draining bodily state. Maca is an excellent aid in these situations as it can help your body develop a tolerance for stress.

Maca also can aid in balancing hormones, which can help ward off stress and its effects. And, as a stimulant, it can increase your energy, boost your mood, and maintain a pleasant state of mind.

2. Moringa 

Moringa is loaded with nutrients like amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, which are useful for stress and related sleep troubles. It’s possible to find the nutrients in other foods that this adaptogen provides, but you’ll need to eat a combination of supplements and foods to get the same concentration that moringa offers. 

The leaves of this adaptogen carry a type of amino acid called a tryptophan, which can be converted into serotonin when paired with riboflavin, iron, and vitamin B6. Serotonin is useful not only for healthy sleep, but also in stabilizing your mood and treating anxiety-related insomnia. 

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is an herb known to combat stress and depression in Chinese medicines. Turmeric has an active component called curcumin, which improves hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction related to stress. The HPA axis controls stress reactions and regulates various bodily processes. When your HPA is functioning properly, your body better maintains its ability to adapt to stress. 

4. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogen, which contains anti-inflammatory properties and is known to keep stress at bay by reducing the secretion of cortisol from adrenal glands. Ashwagandha also creates a calming effect and can boost your energy levels.

5. Chinese Hawthorn 

Used for centuries as an herbal remedy, Chinese Hawthorn is a crucial part of traditional Chinese medicines. It contains a powerful antioxidant, and studies have shown that it may lower blood fat levels and blood pressure, boost immunity, and aid in digestion and reduced anxiety. 


Creating healthy habits and routines to improve sleep patterns is always beneficial, and adding adaptogenic superfoods to your diet is an excellent way to balance health. If you’re looking to incorporate adaptogens into your routine, check out our supplement line here.

Although these powerful antioxidants can help alleviate the negative repercussions associated with stress, we must address and manage stress at its core -- which translates to our thoughts, relationships, and daily nutrition. 

Interested in increasing balance in your health? Schedule a free virtual consultation with a Ketality health coach, and we’ll get on the right track. 

March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson

Five Indicators of an Unhealthy Gut

The gut is incredibly complex, but incredibly important to our overall health.

Multiple studies in the past few decades have shown a linkage between gut health and the immune system, mental health, mood, autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, and more. 

The phrase “gut microbiome” refers to microorganisms that live in your intestines. There are about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria that live within a digestive tract. Although some microorganisms are damaging to an individual’s health, many are both beneficial and necessary to maintaining health.

According to a study, housing a wide variety of good bacteria in your gut can improve the functionality of your immune system, while combating obesity, increasing your mood, and providing multiple other benefits. 

So, what are signs of an unhealthy gut?

1. An upset stomach 

If you experience frequent stomach disturbances such as bloating, gas, constipation, heartburn, or diarrhea, then you might have an unhealthy gut. When your gut is balanced, it has less difficulty eliminating waste and processing food.

2. Unintended weight changes

If you are gaining or losing weight without making changes to your exercise regimen or diet, you may have gut issues. An imbalanced gut can negatively impact your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, store fat, or regulate blood sugar. Weight gain can be prompted by insulin resistance or the urge to overeat due to a lack of nutrient absorption, while weight loss may be due to a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

3. A diet high in sugar 

A diet full of added sugars and processed foods can lower the amount of healthy bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can result in an increase in sugar cravings, which can damage your gut even more. Particularly, high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup and other refined sugar have been linked to an increase in inflammation in the body, which can be a catalyst to a number of diseases.

4. Constant fatigue or sleep issues 

Sleep disturbances and chronic fatigue may be an indicator of an unhealthy gut. The majority of your body’s serotonin, a crucial hormone that affects your sleep and mood, is formed in the gut. (This is why eating healthy foods helps your mood!) Therefore, damage to your gut can hinder your sleep.

5. Skin irritation

Conditions such as eczema might be related to gut damage. When there is inflammation in the gut due to an unhealthy diet or food allergies, “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body can occur, which can irritate your skin. 

Do any of these signs resonate with you? 

If the answer is yes, then schedule a free call with a Ketality health coach to discuss your health + your specific goals and needs. 

The Ketality team has been trusted for many years to help balance hormones, address issues such as gut health, and offer customized, one-on-one weight loss coaching. 

We’ll show you how to get to the root of your problems and get the solutions you deserve. 

March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson

How to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability. There are numerous risk factors that can increase your chances of getting it—some in your control, and some out of it. 

Let’s start with the risk factors that you can’t change:

  • Your gender. Some risk factors can affect women differently than men. Example: Estrogen provides some protection, but diabetes raises the risk in women more so than in men.
  • Your age. Heart disease risk increases with age, and adults 45 and older have a greater risk.
  • Your race or ethnicity. Certain ethnicities have a greater risk than others. 
  • Your family history. If you’ve had a close family member who had heart disease, your risk increases.

Ok, so how can you lower your risk of getting heart disease?

Thankfully, there are multiple ways to reduce your risk of getting heart disease: 

  • Manage your blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked frequently (at least once a year or more if you have high blood pressure), and take steps to prevent or regulate high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure is a major risk factor. 
  • Control cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High cholesterol can clog arteries and high triglycerides can raise your risk of coronary artery disease. Implement lifestyle healthy changes and medicines (if recommended by a doctor) to lower your cholesterol and triglycerides. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being obese or overweight can majorily increase your risk of heart disease, since carrying excess weight is linked to other heart disease risk factors (like high cholestrol or triglyceride levels, diabetes, and high blood pressure). Managing your weight can lower these risks.
  • Manage or get tested for diabetes. If you have diabetes, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves, doubling your risk of diabetic heart disease. Be sure to keep your diabetes under control, or get tested if you don’t currently have it.
  • Eat healthy. Avoid added sugars, sodium, and reduce saturated fats. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole foods.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise strengthens your heart and improves circulation and can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 
  • Quit smoking. If you smoke, quitting will lower your risk of getting heart disease. If you don’t smoke, definitely don’t start. Smoking raises your blood pressure and increases your chances of a stroke or heart attack.
  • Cut down on alcohol. Drinking alcohol frequently can increase your blood pressure and the extra calories can cause weight gain--both of which raise your risk. Reduce your alcohol intake. 
  • Control stress. Stress is linked to many diseases, including heart disease. Implement stress-managing habits into your lifestyle, like exercise, listening to music, or meditating.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is a necessary and healing function that we all need. Without proper sleep, your risk of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure increases. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and implement good sleep habits. 

Ensuring you eat good foods, maintain a healthy lifestyle, limit stress, and implement exercise habits is necessary in lowering your chances of heart disease and other illnesses like it.

If you think you could benefit from a lifestyle change, custom weight loss program, and expert health education, then book a FREE virtual consultation with a Ketality health coach today.
March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson

How to Regain Control in Quarantine

The “Quarantine 15” has become a household phrase. With routines being upended and stress high nationwide, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds especially if you’re spending most of your time at home, and comfort food recipes are all over your Facebook feed. 

Nobody knows when the end to COVID lockdowns will come. Seeing as this is now the new normal, below are some tips of how you can reconstruct or create for the first time some of the healthy habits that we’ve associated with the “old normal”:

  • Change the story you tell yourself. Rather than ruminating about the ‘Quarantine 15,” take this as an opportunity to lose weight instead. If you catch yourself thinking of how unfortunate the situation is and how you are going to give up, make note to rebuild that thought pattern, and tell yourself, “This is a great opportunity for change. I can rise to the occasion. I’m going to be healthier and live longer because of the choices I’m making.”
  • Prioritize simple meals. Even though eating out at restaurants is now a rarity, this new life can still feel exhausting. At the end of a day, it may seem easier to order food. However, eating a simple, nourishing meal doesn’t mean it has to take a ton of time or effort. Focus on healthy staples, leave junk food off the shopping list, and shop smarter when going to the grocery store. 
  • Change your work setup. Don’t work in the kitchen or near food. If you are unable to not work near food, then set a schedule for yourself, such as you can’t open the fridge before 10:30 a.m. Give yourself a similar structure that you’d have while at the office.
  • Go outside. Improving your health doesn’t mean that you need to run five miles everyday. Studies show that even 20 minutes in nature reduces cortisol levels (your body’s stress hormone). When you get the urge to open the fridge and eat everything in sight, step outside for 10 minutes, stand on your porch, or even open your window. Whatever the case may be and wherever your location, distract yourself from eating with a good dose of nature. 
  • Meal plan. This new normal of quarantine means fewer trips to the grocery store for most of us. Take a good look at what food you have on hand, and take the time to build your meals around those ingredients. Your wallet will thank you, too!
  • Don’t be afraid to get help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to get things under control by yourself, a consultation with a health coach may help. Everyone’s approach needs to be customized to their bodies, health, and lifestyle. Plus, getting help can make you more likely to succeed. Schedule a FREE virtual consultation with a Ketality health coach, and we’ll help get you on track to ensure you reach your goals and build a healthy lifestyle.

Some version of this new normal will likely continue for a while, so adjusting to this current environment in a positive manner is crucial. Whether it be two months from now or two years from now, emerging healthier in body and mind should be a goal for us all.

March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson

Obesity + COVID-19: Can Weight Put You at a Higher Risk?

No one is immune to COVID-19, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that some people are more vulnerable to a severe case   including those who are very overweight. 

42% of adults in the U.S. are considered obese. Being obese places you at risk for being hospitalized or being placed in the ICU as a result of cornavirus. 

Given that COVID-19 will be with us for quite some time, here are three things that you should know about obesity and the virus: 

  • A person’s weight can increase their risk: Although obesity is quite prevalent in the U.S., it’s crucial to know if your weight is putting you at risk.  Even if you feel relatively healthy, being heavily overweight can increase your risk of severe illness. If you’re under the age of 55, obesity is the number one risk factor for developing a severe case of COVID-19. A person is considered to be obese if they have more body fat than what is considered to be healthy for their height. Click here to calculate your body mass index (BMI): a screening tool used for obesity. 

If a BMI indicates 30 or higher, a person’s risk increases by 27% for developing a severe case of COVID-19. A BMI of 40 or higher doubles the risk entirely. 

  • A severe case can be difficult to recover from. The research is still unclear on why obesity puts a person at higher risk of severe illness, but theories exist. One theory is that infection may worsen breathing difficulties that overweight people experience, even if they don’t realize it. Another thought is that obesity may increase a chance of experiencing “cytokine storm,” which is a threatening immune-related complication from COVID-19. A final theory is that, due to having more fat, the virus can possibly stick around longer due to molecular properties of fat cells and the virus. Whatever the reason for having increased risk, it’s important to remember that the sicker you are, the longer you’ll take to recover. 
  • An obese person can take steps to protect their health. Although we all are taking precautions to stay healthy, those at a higher risk should be even more vigilant. If you are obese, be extra cautious. Practice excellent hand hygiene, social distance, and wear masks. Make sure to manage other underlying health conditions. If you have other preexisting issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease, be sure to keep up-to-schedule on your medications. Lastly, don’t forget to support your immune system. Eat healthy, get good sleep, and exercise regularly. 

If you think you might be obese, here are some next steps you can take: 

 There’s no quick way to become thin overnight, but it’s never too late to start. 

March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson

Simple Steps to Boost Your Immune System

Nutrition and lifestyle have a huge impact on our bodies and our immune systems. The foods you ingest play a massive role in the way your body functions. If you have a weak immune system, you’re at risk of getting sick frequently, you often feel tired, and your wounds are slow to heal.

March 11, 2021 — Dr. Jason Olafsson