Gut health is all the buzz right now, and for good reason. But before you pick up that new probiotic or that influencer promoted supplement, it’s important to understand that your needs may be different from what these products are offering you. Studies show that while everyone’s gut bacteria makeup is different, the biggest commonalities in gut bacteria make up is ethnicity. So if your white-owned supplements weren’t tested in non-white bodies, will they actually work for you? Let’s start with the basics.
What is Gut Health? Why Is Gut Health Important?
When we talk about gut health, we are talking about the function of all parts of your gastrointestinal tract and the microorganisms like bacteria and viruses that lives within it (your gut microbiome). A healthy gut will defend from harmful bacteria & viruses in the body. It also aids in digestions things that may be more foreign to us like fiber, and absorbing vitamins and minerals from our foods. In our gut alone, we have more than 100 trillion microorganisms living in our digestive tract.
How does gut health differ by individual?
It is estimated that only one-third of gut bacteria is common amongst all humans. The rest varies with the most common predictor of gut microbiome makeup being ethnicity. Vanderbilt University scientists studied data on the gut microbiota of almost 1,700 identifying 12 bacterial groupings, or taxa, that consistently varied between ethnic groups. They compared many different characteristics like weight, gender, and age. It was only when they compared ethnicities, that they found stable and consistent features of bacteria present in the gut. While more study needs to be done, the differences are thought to be reinforced by all the things that come with ethnicity like ancestry, cultural traditions, diet, and environment.
What does this mean for people of color?
Most supplements on the market are not made by us or for us. That means many of these products on the market won’t work for us and we need to get really specific about our needs.
For example, Helicobacter pylori, a bad bacteria linked to stomach aches, bloating, gastric ulcers and stomach cancers, can be found in about 20% of the White US population, but it increases significantly with different racial groups. 60% of the US Black & Hispanic population is thought to carry this bacteria.
Lactobacillicus, a friendly bacteria shown to aid irritable bowel disease, colon inflammation, as well as healthy vaginal health is more dominant in White women than it is in Black women.
This means it’s important for us to seek out more customized supplement routines to match our internal health needs. Just as different as our hair and skin needs are, so are our gut health needs.
How can we reset our gut health?
Being mindful of what we put in our bodies, what agrees with us and what doesn’t is important. Journaling helps with keeping track of how certain foods and products react to the body’s environment.
Supplements centering the needs of people of color are difficult to come by— for now. Back To You™ by The Fit In is looking to change that and change the industry. Our Making Moves digestive supplement includes:
- Glutamine- proven to help combat intestinal damage caused by chronic stress
- Dandelion Root- proven to increase Lactobacillicus and aid in fighting bad bacteria in the colon
- Licorice Root- proven to reduce Helicobacter pylori and help reduce indigestion
- Peppermint- proven to ease digestive upset