GUT HEALTH 101
DATE: Oct 19, 2021
OUR STOMACHS ARE NOT HAVING 2020
While they’ve appreciated the home-cooked meals and the loaf after loaf of homemade bread we’ve been coaxing them to try, they’re still in full-on crisis mode.
Because rattled mental health doesn’t just affect our sleep or our stress or our focus. It also affects our gut.
Scientists have known for decades that our mental health and our gut health are connected. There has been case after case of people whose depression or anxiety brings on gut issues, from pain to bloating to constipation to irritable bowel syndrome. Since there’s been a surge of mental health problems in 2020, it is not surprising that many of us are also struggling with our guts.
But the interesting (and kinda great) thing is that this mind-gut connection isn’t just a one-way relationship. More recent research has suggested that our gut health can actually influence our mental health—for good or for bad.
Because of this relationship—and because our gut health is important in and of itself—we really have no excuse to neglect digestive wellness.
THE ONE-STOP SOLUTION TO OUR GUT ISSUES
FRISKA is a new wellness brand devoted entirely to ensuring that we give our guts all the care and help they need. They offer a variety of condition-specific supplements combining digestive enzymes, probiotics, and botanicals that are designed to make you feel better by focusing on gut health first.
They offer daily supplements for men and women, supplements catered specifically to carb-sensitive or dairy-sensitive folks and keto diet devotees, and supplements designed specifically for sleep, immunity, and (as you might have guessed) mood.
THE BELLY BLOAT CURE
While probiotics and enzymes both have a great many benefits, one of the most noticeable and widely beneficial is their impact on bloating.
Because enzymes help our body break down the food we eat—and can be particularly helpful if we have any food intolerances—that also influences how much bloating might occur during digestion. If you struggle with bloating or gas, enzymes can give your stomach the help it needs to alleviate these symptoms.
Probiotics have also been found to have an effect on gas and bloating. Some studies have shown that those supplementing with probiotics experience a reduction in these symptoms—a great sign for anyone who feels stuck with these issues.
Since enzymes and probiotics can both alleviate some of the most common gut issues symptoms, it’s all the more reason to combine the two to fully support our digestion.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I TRIED FRISKA
I started taking FRISKA supplements about a month ago. I decided to try the Women’s Daily, Mood Boost, and Nightly Reboot. I’ve been bowled over by insomnia for much of 2020, and have a long history of depression and more recent development of anxiety (COVID, I’m lookin’ at you), so Mood and Nightly were the perfect fit for my particular health struggles.
Patience is no virtue of mine, so when my digestion felt mostly unchanged after a week, I was disappointed. But, as with most good things, it just needed a little time. After another week of taking the supplements, I realized that I wasn’t noticing my stomach anymore—‘cause it had stopped getting irked by, well, anything. My digestion in the past couple of weeks has been regular, pain-free, constipation-free, and bloat-free. Just like that.
As for the “Mood” part of it, I definitely have felt a bit of a lift. It’s not a bouncing-off-the-walls change, but I wouldn’t expect that, what with a pandemic still in full swing and wildfires ravaging my entire state (I live in Oregon). It’s just enough of a boost to give me the assurance that I am doing what I can for my gut-mind relationship.
As for sleep, well, I love the Nightly Reboot. I’ve needed to take CBD or melatonin (or both) most nights for the past few months, and why not give my body some other health goodness while at it? So, I am completely and totally sold on a combo sleep and gut health supplement, and would highly recommend it for anyone who struggles to get a good night’s sleep.
Although I jumped at the opportunity to try FRISKA and have loved the benefits I’ve gotten from them, I don’t have a long, tortured digestion history. But one of my colleagues, Nicole, has a history of gut health challenges, so I asked her to try some FRISKA out to see if they could really help out those of us with harder-to-tackle digestive struggles.
Here’s her experience, in her own words:
NICOLE'S DYSFUNCTIONAL DIGESTION STORY
Some people have a dysfunctional relationship with their ex. Or their mother. Or that guy at work who hasn’t figured out how to socially distance.
Me? My dysfunctional relationship has always been with my digestive system.
When I’m stressed or anxious or angry or sad or overwhelmed, my stomach is the first part of my body to ring the warning alarm. It starts as discomfort, and then moves to bloating or nausea or that weird feeling where you’re not sure if you need to eat or if eating will, in fact, make you vomit.
For a long time, I would eat whatever I wanted and just accept that roughly 90 percent of it was going to make me feel sick or gross afterward. But over the past few years, as I’ve come to learn that getting older means I either take better care of my body or my body will flip out on me, I’ve found a few tricks that have changed my relationship with both food and my digestive system.
I’m not new to the science and magic of probiotics, so when I was asked to try out FRISKA’s enzymes, probiotics, and botanicals supplements, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued and a bit excited. I’ve taken different probiotics on and off for a few years and have had varying results, ranging from absolutely zero noticeable change to huge relief to a 15-pound weight loss in less than two months.
FRISKA’s products showed up at my door in bright, colorful packaging that housed two bottles of supplements: one Women’s Daily and one Mood Boost. The directions were simple—take one capsule each of the Women’s Daily and Mood Boost after breakfast, to start, and then after every meal for maximum results. While I wanted maximum results, I only had a 30-day supply of each (and you never know how something new will impact your body), so I started with after breakfast only.
I soon noticed how the Women’s Daily and Mood Boost were truly impacting my stomach and overall feeling of wellness. The change that I felt was subtle but consistent. Foods that normally give me issues, like eggs and leafy, green veggies, began easing into my system with less bloating and cramping. And the 3 or 4 p.m. slump that normally makes me crave sugar or a 20-minute nap when I should be getting a million things accomplished at work felt like a minor annoyance instead of my body’s cry for help. While I didn’t feel any huge surge of energy, I also didn’t feel as overwhelmed, agitated, or weighed down by my lunch as I often do.
I’d be interested to see how the results change by taking one capsule after every meal. I have a feeling that doing so might put me one step closer to a more functional relationship with food and with my digestive system.