Cleveland is going crazy for kombucha: Is your gut getting the right probiotics?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO/CBS) - What does your gut tell you?  It's an important question when making judgment calls, and also when considering your own health.
Good gut health can play a pivotal role in your overall wellness. And products made right here in Cleveland could provide just the boost your belly needs.

Things like probiotic yogurt, kombucha, and fermented foods are hotly marketed these days.

Makers tout their power to promote good gut health.

"When you have a healthy gut, you have more energy, you're able to be more productive throughout your day and get a better work out for sure," said
Kevin Madison.

He's a personal trainer so he cares about what he puts into his body.

"It's everything. Seventy percent of fitness is nutrition and what you put into your body," he said.

Dr. Jeffry Katz, a gastroenterologist at University Hospitals, said good bacteria play a role in the defense against infection, and metabolism, and that's not all. He says good gut health protects against inflammation, and could even positively affect your cardiovascular health, and prevent diabetes.

So where do you get the good bacteria?  In part, from probiotics, according to Drew Anderson, from Cleveland Kraut.

"You're repopulating that good gut bacteria and you're re introducing these probiotics into your system. It makes for a lot healthier system," Anderson said.

Cleveland Kraut is even recommended by the Cleveland Clinic Wellness department for it's gut boosting properties, and sold at their wellness center.  It's not the sauerkraut you grew up with.

The pasteurization process kills the good bacteria of that kind.

Anderson said their raw, fermented kraut can be a catalyst for good health, allowing your gut to absorb more nutrients from other foods, something Madison subscribes to.

"It's pulling out all the good stuff all the good protein and good vitamins, that an unhealthy gut might not be able to get," Anderson said.

"It also helps the proteins, and macro nutrients absorb which is important for recovery, muscle growth and general health," said Madison.

You can also drink you way to a healthier gut with kombucha.

"I tell everyone it doesn't help with anything, but it helps with everything," joked Aaron Powell, founder of Bearded Buch kombucha.

Powell brews his fermented tea with organic cane sugar and a "mother."

"The top layer is called a scoby. It's the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast," he said.

Powell says having the right kind of bacteria and enzymes in our digestive system can help prevent all kinds of ailments.

"It's all about balance.  We cant all eat the right way every time so kombucha covers a multitude of sin.  So if you can get some of the good fermented foods into your system it helps us deal with those times when we don't eat the way we should," he said.

Experts recommend starting slowly.  With kombucha, for example, Powell suggests 4-6 ounces at first, then building up to 4-5 bottles per week.

"I wouldn't suggest eating half a jar if you have not eaten fermented foods in a while," said Anderson.

But there's no magic potion, and no one size fits all. Katz said expect some trial and error.

"Everyone probably has their own specific healthy gut bacteria that works best for them with their interactions, with their immune system and genetics," Katz said.

The good news for your gut, he said, it can't hurt you to try.

The FDA does not regulate probiotics, so there are no requirements to label the dosage or the strain included in various products.

If you're interested in brewing your own kombucha, Bearded Buch is offering a coupon code (CLE19) exclusively for Cleveland 19 News.

The first 30 people to use it will get $10 off their kombucha brewing class.

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