Back in 2013, Dr Eamonn Quigley authored a paper outlining the role of the “gut microbiota” in promoting health and combating disease. Long thought of as just the long tube that digests and excretes your food, the gut and its associated environment is now recognized for its role in preventing and treating conditions that extend far outside the bathroom.
We built Jetson not just because of our co-founder, Stefan’s story and beliefs, but because of the number of studies over the past two decades that have demonstrated links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions and even cancer.
So we know that a good gut (and by good, we mean having the right balance of the 300-500 different bacterial species cohabitating like a Star Trek episode) can and will contribute to overall health. The question? How do you achieve that balance (or ‘symbiosis’ if you’re feeling fancy)?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no magic pill. The good news, however, is that what you have to do isn’t that hard.
First, change your diet – even a little. Reduce processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods to as close to zero as possible.
Second, sleep more. And sleep better. Even 2 nights of sleep disruption can cause significant changes in the microbiome of your gut.
Third, drink enough water. Dehydration affects the lining of the gut and quite simply without enough water, your bacteria will be out of balance.
Fourth, introduce the right bugs to your gut and make sure they actually can get to where they’re going. That is why we made Jetson – scientifically proven strains with actual studies that demonstrate efficacy for health conditions all wrapped up in sweet little capsules that survive the stomach acid so they can get to where they need to go.
Is this the same thing as leaky gut that I’ve been hearing about?
Look, there is a ton of conflicting information on this being a thing. Some doctors that we have mas respect for (my doctor, Mark Hyman, included) definitely focus on the permeability of the gut as a key driver of inflammation throughout the body. Others, like Stephen Barrett call it “complete horsesh**” (ok, he didn’t say it that way but it’s fun to imagine him refuting it like that).
Here’s what we can tell you: the science is clear on having a healthy gut being a major factor in overall wellness. Take care of it. If in the process you also cure leaky gut – if it’s even a thing – then we’re all winning. In the meantime, we’re going to address many other health conditions through a better set of bugs.
Prove it – what does science actually say about what probiotics can do for my health beyond making me poop?
Glad you asked! Many people think about probiotics as the thing that Jamie Lee Curtis talked about on TV so many years ago that made you ‘more regular’. And while that is certainly a benefit, the science has evolved in the past decade to link probiotics with improvements in key health conditions that you might not expect, including:
- Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders
- LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and blood pressure
- Skin conditions, like eczema (especially in children)
- Colds and related sickness
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Weight reduction, and another one
- Diarrhea – especially that brought on through antibiotic use
- Seasonal allergies
Importantly, probiotics appear to help rebalance the gut microflora – an imbalance of which is linked to dozens of the conditions above.
Right now you’re probably saying, “What the hell! Why isn't everyone taking these miracle drugs if they are so effective for so many conditions?”
First, while many studies are conclusive, it’s still the early days. Second, many studies use particular strains of probiotics, while many store-bought supplements use generic versions of those strains – because they’re cheaper. While they may have the positive effects outlined in studies, there is no way to claim this in good conscience.
Have we reached peak probiotic? Is there anything left to discover?
Not. Even. Close. Pioneering scientists (like Dr. Jason Hawrelak down in Tasmania) have been investigating these connections for two decades. One of my favorite charts on his website shows the total count of the number of studies regarding probiotics and health, by year. As you can see, the interest in this space is only accelerating.