Most people have a difficult time making the association between what is going on in the gut and health problems in other parts of the body. I help them connect the dots so that they can achieve better health. I help them get started on The Road to Perfect Health.

The Road to Perfect Health begins in the gut (your digestive system). If your digestive system is not healthy, the rest of you is typically unhealthy in some way.

Sure, you know that conditions like heartburn, gas, bloating and indigestion are related to your gut. But did you know that conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, skin conditions, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even arthritis are all related to the gut? It’s true. And I have seen it in so many people, including myself.

There are many different factors contributing to chronic illness that begin in the gut, but one primary factor is gut microbial balance. You need the proper balance of gut bacteria. I call it your “GPS”—your Gut Protection System. Your GPS is made up of 100 trillion bacterial cells. In fact, the bacterial cells in your gut outnumber the cells in your entire body by 10 to 1! That’s right, there are 10 times more gut bacteria than all the rest of the cells that make up your body.

The beneficial bacteria in your gut are known as probiotics. Probiotic means, literally, “for life.” Pro means “for” and biotic means “life.” This is in contrast to “antibiotic” (“against life”). The most common and most widely studied probiotic bacteria are what I call the L’s and the B’s—Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria are most associated with the little (small) intestine, and the Bifidobacteria are mostly found in the big (large) intestine, or colon. Having the right balance of good bacteria (more good guys than bad guys) is essential on The Road to Perfect Health.

For more information on how your GPS can help you return to perfect health, check out my new PBS show, The Road To Perfect Health. Check your local PBS listings for show times.