Gut Health

Back-To-College Special: Overcome These 5 Common Health Challenges

When you finally get to college, everything changes. You’re dealing with a new living situation… keeping up with demanding courses… and trying to make new friends all at once. 

Your life is a whirlwind of less-than-healthy food options, late nights, and test anxiety. All of that can take a surprising toll on you, and make it even harder to cope with the new hurdles you’re facing. 

For most college students, the BIG 5 most common health challenges include:

  • Staying healthy
  • Not gaining weight
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Boosting brain power
  • Managing anxiety and depression

The truth is that all of these potential problems are connected through a common root cause: an unbalanced gut. And dealing with that directly can also help ward off these five common problems that can interfere with your college career (or any career for that matter.)

Gut Central

Think of your gut as your body’s central hub. 

Your gut microbiome – the trillions of bacteria in your gut – provides the resources every system in your body needs to do its job well. It’s directly connected to your immune system, your metabolism, your body clock, and your brain function. 

So by keeping your gut microbiome in healthy balance, you’ll have a much easier time dealing with the 5 most common college health challenges.

college students

Gut Balance Changes Everything

When your gut microbiome has a healthy balance, beneficial probiotic bacteria vastly outnumber harmful bacteria. Those probiotics produce essential nutrients, antioxidants, feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin, and other important compounds that keep your body running smoothly.

But when your gut microbiome gets knocked out of balance, a condition called dysbiosis, the harmful bacteria take over. Instead of supporting your total body health, those bad bacteria wreck everything. They produce toxins and trigger inflammation all over your body. And they make sure probiotic bacteria can’t offer the support you need to succeed.

An unbalanced gut microbiome full of harmful bacteria sets you up to:

  • Get sick all the time
  • Gain weight
  • Lose sleep
  • Have trouble focusing
  • Get more anxious and depressed

Luckily, you can quickly conquer dysbiosis, rebalance your gut, and keep it in healthy balance with proper gut support (more on that later). For now, let’s have a look at the BIG 5 college health challenges and what you can do today to feel your best this year and beyond... 

Challenge #1: Staying Healthy

Colds, flus, and other infections spread through dorms quickly. Once a virus or other pathogen is going around, it’s virtually impossible to avoid all contact with it. But you can avoid getting sick. For that outcome, you need strong resilient immunity. And since 70% of your immune system is located in your gut, that’s where you need to focus your attention. 

Dysbiosis takes up a lot of immune system attention – after all, it has to deal with all of those harmful bacteria somehow. Then when you’re facing a new threat, like whatever virus is floating around, your immune system can’t focus on it immediately. That makes you more likely to get sick, have more intense symptoms, and stay sick longer.

But take away that burden, and a healthy gut microbiome actually helps your immune system deal with threats and defeat them. The takeaway: A healthy immune response depends on a healthy, balanced gut microbiome.

dorm room

Challenge #2: NOT Gaining Weight

At least 60% of college students gain an average 7.5 pounds during their first year! And most college students continue to gain weight over all 4 years at school. That’s not surprising when you consider the standard college diet focuses on junk food, pizza, and beer. But weight gain has also been linked to stress – another staple of college life. And dysbiosis also plays a starring role.

Did you know that bad bacteria love sugary, fatty foods? And that they can actually trick your brain into craving things like French fries and doughnuts? Dysbiosis also shifts your metabolism toward fat storage, which makes it super easy to gain weight… but nearly impossible to lose it.

You can flip that metabolism and quiet those cravings by rebalancing your gut microbiome with probiotics. Taking probiotics along with trying to incorporate healthier foods into your diet… or at least less junk food… and getting some regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, in college and beyond.

Challenge #3: Getting Enough Quality Sleep

Sleep deprivation… midday crashes… frequent sleep interruptions…

That describes the “normal” sleep patterns for most college students. In fact, around 70% don’t get enough sleep. That can lead to problems with academic performance, from trouble learning and remembering new concepts to lower GPAs. One study found that lack of sleep could sabotage your academic success even more than binge drinking.

Weird as it sounds, a balanced gut microbiome can help you:

  • Fall asleep faster
  • Stay asleep longer
  • Get more restorative sleep

And while your gut can’t make your roommate stop snoring, it can help sleep better whenever you have the chance.


Challenge #4: Boosting Brain Power

Your gut and brain share a direct connection known as the gut-brain axis. That’s how the bacteria in your gut affect your brain function, including things like memory and focus. Studies show that improving gut microbiome health also improves cognition, verbal memory, learning, and attention.

But the opposite is true too. Dysbiosis can cause brain fog, memory issues, and learning difficulties – exactly what you don’t want when you’re trying to ace your exams. 

So if you’re interested in getting the most out of your classes and boosting your GPA, keep your gut microbiome in healthy balance. That will give you the extra edge you need to succeed.

Challenge #5: Managing Anxiety and Depression

Even though you’re surrounded by thousands of people, your college experience can feel lonely. Many students feel completely overwhelmed by everything they have to deal with – especially when it’s the first time away from home. That can lead to increased anxiety and depression, which makes everything even harder.

As we mentioned before, beneficial gut bacteria produce “feel-good” neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) including

  • Serotonin
  • GABA
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine

These are the compounds that help you feel calm, motivated, and happy. 

If your brain doesn’t get enough of them, you can feel more anxious and depressed. When that happens, your first move should be to talk with a qualified counselor. While you’re getting help, studies show that probiotics can encourage the production of healthy amounts of those crucial neurotransmitters. And that can help you feel better faster.

college students

Face Your Challenges with Just Thrive

For foundational gut support, we recommend a special type of probiotic strain known as “spore probiotics” like those found in Just Thrive Probiotic. Unlike regular probiotics, these can survive even extreme temperatures, so they won’t die in your dorm room if you forget to stick them in the fridge. You can even nuke them in with your mac and cheese and still get the full potency!

And when you keep your gut microbiome in healthy balance with spore probiotics, it’ll be easier to tackle every challenge on this list… so you can feel your best and get the most from your college experience. 

Just Thrive Probiotic helps support:

  • Healthy immune function
  • Easy weight maintenance
  • Solid sleep (and brighter mornings)
  • Dynamic brain power
  • Better mood

Remember to keep your dorm or apartment well stocked with Just Thrive Probiotic to help you successfully stay healthy and happy throughout the semester.  

Just Thrive probiotic, gut health