Healthy Gut, Healthy Heart?

Many of you know that February is American Heart Month, but did you know there is a significant connection between the bacteria in your gut and a healthy heart?

That’s right!  A healthy gut means a healthy heart!

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram (@drrachelgregg), you’ve heard me talk about “leaky gut” before.  Leaky gut is a condition where the lining of your small intestine becomes damaged causing undigested food particles and toxic waste and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines into the blood stream.  Having a healthy gut is important because it’s where 70% of our immune system resides.  If you don’t have a healthy gut you will experience a few common symptoms.


Symptoms may include: 

  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation or bloating.
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Sugar cravings
  • Headaches, brain fog
  • Poor immune system
  • Skin issues like eczema
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Joint pain/arthritis

For your kids, you may see symptoms like: 

  • Inability to focus in school, or disruptive (ADD/ADHD)
  • Consistently gets sick with Cold or Flu



Over the years, studies conducted by highly regarded researchers (most notably at Harvard Medical School) have concluded that having a healthy gut means a healthy heart.  Why?

Dr. JoAnn Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of preventative medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital says: “There’s a complex interplay between the microbes in our intestines and most of the systems in our bodies, including the vascular, nervous, endocrine and immune systems.  All of these relationships are highly relevant to cardiovascular health.” Studies that Dr. Manson and her colleagues conducted found that gut metabolites (substances gut microbes stir up) are factors closely tied to cardiovascular risk like diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammation.

For some, a risk of heart disease might depend on family history, age or gender.  However, others like obesity, cholesterol levels, toxicity, are all changeable and can be treated through diet and a lifestyle that supports a healthy gut and heart and by introducing pre and probiotics!  Probiotics have been shown to lower high cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides – all aspects of elevated cardiovascular risk.



One of the best ways to control cardiovascular risk is to introduce both prebiotics (compounds in food that help the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms) and probiotics (healthy bacteria).  As I’ve said before, one of the best things to look for in a probiotic is to make sure it has specific strains of bacteria.  There is ample evidence showing that certain probiotics can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation – but not all probiotics are the same!

I’m going to share a list of the most beneficial forms of pre and probiotics I take.  I would never promote something on any of my platforms if I wasn’t using it myself and seeing the results!












This probiotic has been clinically proven for digestive and immune health.  Optifora DI provides benefits with 10 billion CFU’s of 4 bacterial strains, including Bifidobacterium lactics HN019 – which was proven in clinical studies to provide digestive and immune health support.


  • Helps restore intestinal flora balance/good bacteria
  • Maintain regularity
  • Reduces occasional gas, bloating, and constipation
  • Gluten free, dairy free, soy free and Kosher D.
  • 1 capsule per day


  • Maintains a healthy digestive balance (healthy gut!)
  • Provides nutrients to feed friendly bacteria
  • Promotes long-term intestinal health

I’ve been using them for 4 years.  I can’t go a day without feeling brain fog, lethargy and a change in my (TMI) digestive process.  My body definitely knows the difference!









Optiflora® is a two-product digestive health system that provides dietary support for normal, healthy intestinal microflora.

Once the probiotics are delivered to the digestive system, prebiotics can deliver important nutrients that healthy intestinal bacteria need to grow and thrive.

Confused as to why I would list 2 different probiotics?  Should you take both?  You definitely could because each probiotic contains different bacteria profiles.  Remember, the more specific the strain – the more helpful to your system and the healthier your gut!  However, if you are just looking to take one a day, I would recommend the Optiflora D1 just because of how many different strains are covered.  The Optiflora Pearl is also included in the Vitalizer Vitamin Strip (see below).



Shaklee Life Shake™ is my go-to for pre or post workout recovery.  One of the number one ways to increase muscle is to get protein in your system after a good workout – and this one is a definite favorite for me.  It also has prebiotics to help your body digest the protein faster and so many other health benefits!

  • Increase energy and feel full longer with 20 grams of ultra-pure, non-GMO protein with precise ratios of all 9 essential  amino acids.
  • Powered by Leucine to help you preserve muscle mass, helping to build lean muscle, burn fat and improve metabolism†.
  • Easy to digest, promotes regularity and digestive comfort. The proprietary prebiotic comes from an ancient grains blend. Plus added digestive enzymes for improved protein digestion
  • 23 essential vitamins and minerals clinically proven to support heart, brain, vision, bone, immune and overall health. Includes 200 mg of calcium plus ALA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid and more.
  • Low glycemic. Supports healthy blood sugar levels with zero added sugar (stevia free option has 10 grams added sugar, but is still low glycemic).



Don’t take a daily?  You NEED to!  Especially if you are dealing with an unbalanced gut.  This will jump-start your recovery.  It dissolves in less than 30 minutes in the stomach and is designed to enhance absorption of folic acid because of the micro-coating.  I take these every day in addition to my Optiflora and the Life Shake.

What’s in it?

  • B+C Complex – Provides up to 198% greater absorption of B vitamins over 12 hours, as shown in a clinical study, through sustained-release delivery to the small intestine.
  • Caroto-E-Omega – Enteric coating helps reduce fishy aftertaste by delivering omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, vitamin E, and other fat-soluble nutrients to the upper intestine.
  • Optiflora Probiotic – Delivers healthy microflora to the lower intestine through triple-layer encapsulation technology, protecting them from stomach acid.

The combination of these products packs a punch!  If you want to try these as options to start your March off to a healthier start – You can buy the Life Shake and the vitamin strip together as part of the Vitalizing Plan or try the Shaklee 7-day cleanse program which includes the Optiflora D1.


In the spirit of American Heart Month – if you contact me to try these amazing products before March 1st – I will give you $50.00 off your order!  If you refer a friend – $75.

I believe in these products, their effectiveness and how they can positively impact you and those you love because I use them myself.  I have seen first-hand how they have changed my digestive and immune system, energy level and overall health (including my heart) for the better!

Don’t Wait to Feel Better.  Start Doing Something Today. 



I know I threw out a lot of information so AS ALWAYS, if you have any questions, comments or concerns – please do let me know.  It is my number one goal to make sure you guys are educated about how having a healthy gut affects every aspect of your health – and the heart is just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m excited to share in the coming weeks and months of ways to get your gut back in balance and to help you discover the benefits of supplements, nutrition and fitness so you can be the BEST version of yourself!

If you’re interested in learning more, I’ve created an online course called “Gut Health for Kids” – but it isn’t just for kiddos!  The course is jam-packed with information to transform families. Join me over there and learn more starting today!  It’s never a bad time to choose your health as your wealth and to know that there is always…

A better way to heal.

                                                                           XO       –          Dr. Rachel





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