Ashley Harris has a passion for gut health. Her life-changing experience with a severe microbiome imbalance led to her crusade to help moms and their families improve their gut health and overall well-being. During the birth of her son Hudson, Ashley was put on broad-spectrum antibiotics as a preventive measure. Over the next few months both Ashley and Hudson started getting sick. Ashley began suffering constant migraines and noticed a weakened immune system. Her son was very colicky, had digestive issues, and then right around the same time both Ashley and Hudson developed eczema. Ashley was frustrated with her compromised health condition and began a quest to discover what was happening to her and her son, and why. The culprit: bad gut bacteria. Doctors tested Ashley and found her symptoms were tied to a severe imbalance in her gut bacteria. When the doctors recommended taking probiotics, she noticed a dramatic improvement in their overall health.
Ashley extensively researched the underlying benefits of gut health and found that the gut is actually the body’s second brain. Bad gut health can have major implications on one’s entire body from mood to memory to the appearance of skin and hair and so much more. Ashley’s discoveries led her on a quest to help others improve their imbalanced microbiome. She worked with some of the world’s leading probiotic scientists, and they set out to create natural supplements with only the best probiotic strains, delivering the most effective good bugs to where they’re needed to do their work. Today, Ashley is founder and CEO of one of the fastest-growing, premium supplement brands, LoveBug Probiotics. Check out our interview below to learn more about this spectacular company and CEO!
1. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 (beauty & wellness) products could you not live without? (You have food and water)
I wouldn’t go anywhere without my probiotics. It truly is the one health-boosting supplement that everyone should be taking every day. Our microbiome is a delicate ecosystem that needs a combination of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bugs to function normally. Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that live naturally in your gut. These microorganisms, when properly balanced, act to support your immune system, aid in digestion, support your skin, hair and keep everything in your body running smoothly. We created LoveBug to help people improve their gut health and overall well-being.What else would I bring? It sounds silly to say that I’d bring coconut oil to a desert island, but until I learn how to make it myself, I’d need some on hand. Apple cider vinegar is another must-have. Between coconut oil and apple cider vinegar you can do almost anything beneficial for your skin and body.
2. What’s your favorite part about running Lovebug?
Without a doubt, the best part about running LoveBug is receiving emails from customers and especially parents about how our probiotics have dramatically improved their families’ health or helped solve any health issues that they have been struggling with for years. Hearing about the life-changing impact our products have on people’s lives is the most incredible feeling. So many factors today are negatively impacting the health of our microbiome.“All disease begins in the gut,” as Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, famously stated. Our bodies are ill-equipped today to handle the current lifestyles and conditions we are facing in our environment. A severe imbalance to our microbiome has led to many illnesses including, but not limited to: autoimmune disorders, food allergies, chronic infections, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, genital infections, autism and many more.There’s a current movement where consumers are taking their well-being into their own hands and are including health-boosting probiotics daily. But it’s important to note that not all probiotics are created equal. Probiotics are found in food and beverages, but taking a premium probiotic supplement are found to be more beneficial for consumers. The advantages of taking a probiotic supplement rather than getting your probiotics from food or drink is that you know exactly what you’re getting. If you get your probiotics from yogurt, kombucha or sauerkraut you often don’t know how many CFUs (colony forming units) or which strains you are getting. Probiotics are not all created equal. Each strain impacts the body and the microbiome in a different way. Not only do you know exactly what strains you are getting in a Probiotic supplement, but you also know the potency.
3. What’s a trend in the beauty industry you’d like to see grow?
I love the Environmental Working Group’s website, Skin Deep. They’ve created a database that rates all of the ingredients in almost 80,000 personal care products. You can search the products that you use on a daily basis and see how safe the ingredients are. I’d love to see more people research and become more aware of what ingredients they are putting in or on their bodies every day.It’s important to take a stand and demand that the beauty industry clean up their act. There are so many potentially harmful ingredients that we put on our skin daily without even thinking about it. It’s our responsibility as consumers to demand better, safer, cleaner products.
4. Of the products you make, which is your favorite?
I love our entire range of products, but I have to say that my favorite is Tiny Tummies, which is our probiotic for babies. The first years of life are crucial to the physical and mental development of children. By the time a child reaches their third birthday, the gut microbiome stabilizes and closely resembles the microbiome of an adult.If you give your baby quality probiotics in those first crucial years of life, it can significantly impact their physical health and mental well-being for the rest of their lives. It’s so exciting to create a product that can have such a beneficial health impact on a child for the rest of their life.Better microbial balance leads to better functioning immune systems—which means fewer illnesses and faster recovery. If the doctor says antibiotics are a must for your sick child, better microbiome health could mean fewer rounds of the drug will be needed to get them healthy again. Preemies given probiotics fuss and cry less, plus, studies are currently being conducted to examine the role probiotics play in treating and preventing common ailments including diarrhea, constipation, dermatitis, eczema and respiratory problems, to name a few.
5. Serious stuff. Which ingredients do you avoid at all costs?
Wow – there are just so many to list! We are bombarded with over-processed food – even so-called “healthy” foods that are made with so many un-natural ingredients which ultimately can have a negative impact on our microbiome. Digesting our food and absorbing its nutrients are vital to maintain optimal health. I stick to a healthy, organic whole food diet for my family on a daily basis. Anything that will help balance and support our gut health which means lots of fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, etc. Of all ingredients to avoid, I would say to cut out sugar completely. Sugar feeds the bad bugs. Sugar is a key factor in creating an imbalance in the microbiome. It feeds the bad bacteria in our microbiome, so it is important to also take probiotic without sugar. With so many harmful ingredients in the market today, we took this into consideration when we created LoveBug. Our formulas are Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Wheat-Free and Sugar-Free.