'I started taking massive doses': Felicity Huffman attributes success to probiotics and 'gut health'

Yahoo Beauty
Felicity Huffman attends the Hollywood Reporter and SAG-AFTRA Inaugural Emmy Nominees Night in 2017. [Photo via Getty Images]
Felicity Huffman attends the Hollywood Reporter and SAG-AFTRA Inaugural Emmy Nominees Night in 2017. [Photo via Getty Images]

Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Felicity Huffman says that starting a probiotic regimen more than 10 years ago has kept her life running smoothly, both personally and professionally.

“I know, ‘gut’ can be such an icky word, but it doesn’t have to be,” the actress said during a panel in New York City sponsored by Renew Life Probiotics. “The gut can actually be the source of your potential. I can honestly say that I attribute much of my success as a wife, mom, and actress to my gut, more specifically my gut health.”


The 54-year-old mother of two (who celebrated 20 years of marriage to actor William H. Macy on Sept. 6) joined Ellie Krieger, RDN (a James Beard Award recipient and host of Ellie’s Real Good Food), and Amanda Quinones (model, mom and @lifewithmicah Instagram creator) to discuss the connection between digestive health and physical and mental well-being. The all-female “Power Your Potential” panel, along with moderator Cat Greenleaf (host of NBC and USA Network’s Talk Stoop), mentioned a handful of the proven benefits of building and maintaining a healthy gut, including better memory, more energy, improved sleep quality, fewer food cravings, and a stronger immune system.


Huffman, who is nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in American Crime, tells Yahoo Beauty that she was introduced to the power of probiotics when her daughters, Georgia and Sophia, were suffering from chronic ear infections. “I was so surprised — it never occurred to me,” she said of the advice to put the girls on probiotics.

This advice came in handy when Huffman found herself regularly ill while filming the early seasons of the hit TV show Desperate Housewives. “I had fevers, earaches, sore throats, stuffed-up nose,” she explained. “Just as I would get better, three or four days later I’d get sick again.”

The cause: an imbalanced life.

“When Desperate Housewives first came out, it was so hot right out of the box,” continued Huffman. “Then we had the second job of publicity, which was every weekend. Plus, I had two toddlers at home, which meant that every time you leave, they scream. And when you come home, it’s usually the witching hour and they’re screaming, and you bring them down. You feel guilty and you’re stressed. It was stress and exhaustion.”

The women of <em>Desperate Housewives</em> pose in the press room at the 57th Annual Emmy Awards in 2005. [Photo: Getty Images]
The women of Desperate Housewives pose in the press room at the 57th Annual Emmy Awards in 2005. [Photo: Getty Images]

After recalling the pediatrician’s advice, she headed to the health-food store. “I started taking massive doses,” she said, laughing. “And slowly but surely, my immune system got built up.”

As for her other essential healthy habits, Huffman exercises on a regular basis. “I run quite a bit, but now I’m doing more and more yoga because of my knees — I know they have a shelf life,” she said. “And I do circuits and weight training, so I do a little bit of everything.”


Huffman, who is also the creator of the women-friendly website What the Flicka?, “eats sort of Paleo now” and begins each day with a specific favorite beverage. “I have this amazing thing in the morning now called Fat Coffee,” she said. “It comes in these little packets. It’s like butter, coconut — it’s like butter coffee — and it’s fantastic! And you’re not hungry for a long time.”

As the hashtag for the event was #BeingHumanTakesGuts, Huffman also revealed her most recent “gutsy” action.

“I was on a talk show today — that actually took a lot of guts, because I get really nervous,” she said. “Right before I go out, I don’t want to do it. I’m thinking, ‘This is a big mistake — I’m going to mess up!’ So I was gutsy about that. Talking to people doesn’t make me nervous. But filming something, being on a talk show, makes me want to barf! I guess it’s because the spotlight is on you and I’m not working as a character, I’m coming out as myself. So that’s always difficult. It’s terrifying.”

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