Top 4 Ways To Help Identify The Signs Of Poor Gut Health

The world of science and medicine is only just beginning to uncover the full extent of the gut microbiome’s effect on overall health and wellness, which makes it an exciting time in the sphere of gut-mediated wellness. Father of modern medicine Hippocrates claimed over 2000 years ago that ‘all diseases begin in the gut’ and while we know this is an oversimplification, modern scientific research has shown that the gut microbiome is a lot more pivotal to overall wellbeing than first thought.

The gut microbiome is a delicate eco-system comprising trillions of microbiota that need to be kept in balance. A key part of this is the diversity of microbiota. When the balance isn’t quite right, the digestive tract suffers, along with other areas of the body. Gut health problems such as bloating, wind and diarrhoea are well documented, but there are clearer signs to watch out for too. Maintaining gut health in today’s on-the-go world has a number of challenges, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. The key is building more empathy with your gut microbiome and identifying the signs that your digestive health needs improvement, as well as knowing the most appropriate steps to take. 

Signs of an unhealthy gut

  1. Irregular Sleeping Patterns

There are a number of key signs that your gut microbiota needs to be rebalanced and owing to the close relationship of the digestive system to the other body functions, some of the signs may be unexpected.

If you’re finding it more difficult to get a restful night’s sleep, the solution could lie in your digestive tract. Irregular sleeping patterns have been linked to gut health, which means that insomnia or poor sleeping habits – along with the fatigue that comes with them – could be signs that the gut bacterial alignment isn’t quite right. The inverse is also true, insufficient sleep is also understood to have a negative impact on gut health, which marks the importance of maintaining a good bacterial balance.

While the exact nature of the relationship between gastrointestinal health and sleeping patterns are still being researched, there is considerable evidence that the gut-brain axis, a recently discovered relationship, impacts the circadian rhythm, the body’s internal process for regulating a predictable sleep-wake cycle. The rhythmic fluctuations in the gut microbiome’s structure, and subsequent misalignment in circadian rhythm, is directly correlative to sleep deprivation.

  1. Sugar cravings

A symptom of poor gut health that you may not have expected can be a significant sugar craving. Research demonstrates that gut microbes secrete proteins that function in a similar way to hunger-regulating hormones, which affect not only our food cravings, but also our mood. This means that in essence, the bacteria within the gut generate cravings for the substances they thrive on. Consuming large amounts of sugar feeds the bacteria that flourish with it, in turn creating more protein. This protein then generates more host cravings for sugar, creating a vicious cycle. This means that heightened appetite for sugar can be a clear sign that gut health needs to be balanced, with the bacterial diversity needing a helping hand.

  1. Skin wellness

The health and wellbeing of our skin is one of the clearest signs of gut health. Without microbial balance, conditions such as acne, rosacea or inflammation can develop. The main connector is food intolerance; a healthy balanced gut is able to effectively process foods and absorb nutrients required for cell regeneration and growth, a gut in poor condition cannot do this effectively.

This process is why skin, hair and nails are often the first place we notice changes following a change in diet. In a poorly managed gut, fewer nutrients are absorbed, and so the body directs them to the vital organs instead. Eczema can be another sign of gut disharmony, noted to be more prevalent in people that do not actively manage their gut flora.

The good news for consumers is that the health and wellness world has developed at an extremely rapid pace over recent years, galvanized by a renewed public interest in the science behind contemporary nutrition.

Consider GoFigure containing SlimBiome

This development is one of the drivers behind GoFigure, a unique suite of weight management products that contain the award-winning functional ingredient SlimBiome. Designed to enable sustainable weight loss, GoFigure achieves this through a number of gut modulation methods, including supporting biodiversity within the gut microbiome and promoting the feeling of fullness.

Independent studies have shown that SlimBiome has a positive impact on the gut microbiome composition, which in combination with a recommended diet plan, demonstrates significant reductions in weight and body fat, as well as lowering systolic blood pressure and improving the users’ mood.

Comprising a selection of flapjacks, mueslis and meal replacement shakes, the GoFigure range is a great choice for those aiming to sustainably lose weight through focussed gut health maintenance and is the ideal partner to a proactive nutrition and exercise routine.

Maintaining gut health can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on holistic wellness, and the true extent of the benefits are being better understood with each additional research study. Understanding how the body works and the warning signs of poor gut health makes it simple to identify opportunities to improve microbial diversity.

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Top 4 Ways To Have A Healthy Heart This Christmas

Christmas is a time of great tradition, spending time with the family, giving gifts and decorating the tree. Unfortunately, another tradition we now associate with this period is overindulgence on food and drink. It’s the time of year where temptation hides around every corner, but the dangers to heart health are just as real over the festive period as any other time of year.

In what can be a trying time for cardiovascular wellness, it’s important to keep heart health in mind during through Christmas and the new year. The challenge is that with social pressures all around, there are a number of behaviours we exhibit around Christmas that can have a real impact on our heart health.

Avoid overeating

When sweet treats are everywhere and Christmas dinner temptation is all around, it can be an extremely testing time when it comes to nutrition. In fact, US studies have shown that the average American gains up to 10lbs during the festive period, with the UK not far behind at 6lbs.

To understand the impact of gut health on cardiovascular wellness, it’s important to understand the link between the two systems. The body and its wider processes work hand-in-hand with the gut microbiome; the delicate ecosystem of bacteria, or microbiota, that help us to digest food and absorb nutrients, such as short-chain fatty acids and vitamins. The gut system is constantly influencing the health of the human microbiome and vice versa, meaning a healthy digestive tract has a positive impact on our physical wellbeing.

Over Christmas, as the stomach secretes hydrochloric acid to aid digestion, the sharp increase in food means more acid is produced. When this acid moves up to the oesophagus, we get the sensation of heartburn. What’s more, larger meals slow down the rate of digestion, causing a bloated feeling as food spends more time being digested. Rising indulgence increases the risk of obesity, which brings a well-documented risk of cardiovascular diseases. This excess weight can increase blood pressure that can damage the heart, as well as increase the risk factors for strokes and heart failure.

Manage cholesterol

Closely connected to the rise in overeating over Christmas is the increased intake in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) food that comes with it. High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood can clog up arteries, inhibiting the body’s ability to carry oxygen and nutrients to where they need to go, which if left unchecked can pose serious health risks.

Large build-ups of cholesterol become harder areas known as plaques, which stiffen and narrow the arteries in a process known as atherosclerosis. The tighter arteries put increased pressure on the heart, which has to work harder to pump blood around the body and can eventually weaken as a result. Additionally, blood clots can form over the plaqued areas of the arteries that can block the artery altogether, cutting off the vital blood flow. Furthermore, parts of the hardened blood clot can break away and lodge in another part of the body that can lead to a heart attack.

Cholesterol is already a quickly rising global epidemic and can sharply rise over the Christmas period as we overindulge. In fact, researchers in Denmark reported that levels of harmful cholesterol levels become 20% higher immediately after Christmas, with overall cholesterol (including high-density lipoprotein) rising by 15%.

Drink plenty of water

As we tend to drink more alcoholic beverages over Christmas, it’s important to drink plenty of water as well. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body, which means topping the body up with water allows it to function at its best.

When dehydrated, the cardiovascular system can be negatively affected. During this time, the volume of blood circulating the body can be reduced meaning the heart has to work harder to pump the same volume of blood. This can lead to increased heart rate and heightened blood pressure (hypertension).

Remaining hydrated over Christmas is an essential part of maintaining heart health, but is often readily overlooked. Experts recommend that a simple glass of water is the best way to stay hydrated. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have outlined the optimum amounts for temperate climates such as the UK; for women, it’s 11 cups per day (or 2.7 litres) and for men it’s 15.5 (or 3.7 litres).

Staying healthy this festive season

In order to maintain cardiovascular health over the festive period, it’s crucial to build up body empathy. What we consume over Christmas and the activities we take part in have an important impact on the overall health of the heart.

 At OptiBiotix, we specialise in creating science-backed solutions to some of the most pressing health challenges of today, including heart health and cholesterol management.

Through extensive microbiome engineering, and effective solution to weight control is available that helps to accelerate and sustain slimming. SlimBiome® is backed by strong scientific principals rather than relying on willpower alone and is the ideal complement to a healthy diet and exercise lifestyle.

SlimBiome supports the gut’s ideal microbiota balance, using microbiome modulation science as well as a patented formulation of natural ingredients (including a prebiotic) to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, benefitting heart health through creating a more harmonious gut.

OptiBiotix has also developed a standalone solution for improving and maintaining cholesterol balance, in CholBiome® and CholBiome® X3. Containing the unique active ingredient LPLDL®, the products offer a  holistic research-backed alternative to pharmaceuticals, and an effective way to reduce the levels of harmful LDL cholesterol in the body and boost healthy HDL cholesterol. LPLDL has been demonstrated to reduce overall cholesterol levels by up to 36.7%.

To find out more about SlimBiome or the effective food supplement for cholesterol maintenance CholBiome and CholBiome X3, please visit

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Top Tips For Looking After Your Heart Health This October

October is designated as National Cholesterol Month. The event is initiated and led by cholesterol awareness organisation Heart UK; intended to build greater awareness of the dangers of cholesterol and get individuals connecting with their heart health on a much closer level.

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We're celebrating World Heart Day! Organised by the World Heart Foundation, the event held annually on September 29 is designed to get people connecting more closely with their heart health. 

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Probiotic Supplements: The Ideal Way To Achieve Better Heart Health?

We have never been more connected to our health. Whether looking up our pulse rates on the latest wearable tech, recording our sugar intake or tracking calories on an app, our fundamental links to wellness have never been closer. One key aspect of holistic health is monitoring cholesterol to ensure long-term heart health. Having high cholesterol levels in the blood can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries, increasing the risk of developing circulatory and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

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Are Functional Foods Nutrition’s Next Frontier?

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The Human Microbiome, From Unknown to Mainstream

The human microbiome was first discovered in the mid-1880s when Austrian paediatrician, Theodor Escherich, uncovered the presence of Escherichia coli – a species of bacteria typically found within the stomach and intestines. While the 20th Century saw the identification of multiple microorganisms from nasal passages, oral cavities and skin, it wasn’t until the introduction of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) in 2007 that microbial science became mainstream.

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What Foods Help To Improve Gut Health?

We know that large quantities of processed foods can be bad for our waistlines, but few people realise the impact they can have on the diversity of bacteria in our gut. Studies have shown that just ten days of eating highly processed foods can cut gut microbiome diversity by 40%. 

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Spice Up Your Day - The Importance of Turmeric & Ginger

Looking for a healthy breakfast on the go? Put a spring in your step with a hum-zinger start to the morning by choosing GoFigure's turmeric and ginger muesli pot for weight management. This is a breakfast packed with flavour, high in fibre and contains the patented ingredient SlimBiome®.

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World Health Day: Top Tips on Taking a Proactive Approach To Health

World Health Day is here again, serving as a chance to both promote the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) vital work and to reflect on our own efforts towards health and wellness. Each year the theme of World Health Day differs, encompassing all aspects of health from beating diabetes to ensuring food safety. This year the theme is universal health coverage for all, reflecting the WHO’s primary goal of ensuring that everyone can obtain the care that they need, when and where they need it. 

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