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illustration of c. diff bacteria

Protecting Your Child From C. Diff Diarrhea

When health experts talk about Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections in the news — the most common superbug that causes life-threatening diarrhea — it’s largely associated with overprescribing antibiotics to older people in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Those concerns are warranted, considering about 500,000 Americans are sickened by C. diff infections and nearly 30,000 die from them annually.

However, C. diff infections are equal-opportunity offenders that can be a serious problem for young children too, according to findings published recently in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Based on a meta-analysis of 14 studies and 10.5 million children, prior exposure to antibiotics was the main culprit, nearly doubling the risk of C. diff infections in young children, compared to kids who hadn’t taken antibiotics.

But that’s not all…

Researchers also cited exposure to heartburn drugs — better known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) — as another C. diff risk factor for children. That’s not surprising given many adults rely on them too often and for too long at the expense of disrupting the healthy balance of their gut bacteria.

A study published last fall in the Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection backs up this link between severe cases of C. diff related to children taking PPIs.

The concerns about PPI use are so critical and obvious that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (connected with the National Institutes of Health) felt it was important enough to devote a detailed section to treating acid reflux in children and teens.

The good news: There’s growing consensus among health experts that taking a daily probiotic can be a very safe and effective solution for preventing C. diff infections altogether.

Additionally, recent scientific evidence has shown the benefits of treating patients with probiotics made with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria were very effective in preventing C. diff infections.

One safe and natural way to protect your young child from C. diff infections, especially if they are taking an antibiotic: Talk to your doctor about giving him/her a probiotic, like EndoMune Jr. Powder (recommended for children to age 3) or EndoMune Jr. Chewable Probiotic (ages 3-8).

Both varieties of EndoMune Jr. contain four strains of beneficial bacteria, along with a prebiotic (FOS).

girl in pink shirt holding drawing of liver

Could Probiotics Reduce Fat in Your Liver?

The health of your microbiome may be critical in spotting the early signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFD), the most common form of chronic liver disease affecting up to 100 million Americans.

Between 20-25 percent of that group will face the most severe form of NAFD — nonalcoholic steatohepatitis that can inflame and damage the liver — at some time in their lives.

Insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity are some of the variables that lead to the accumulation of fat in the liver, triggering NAFD.

Interestingly, Spanish researchers at the University of Granada spotted some of the first signs of a gut health connection with NAFD in a PLOS One study using probiotics.

Scientists discovered feeding obese rats beneficial strains of probiotic bacteria — either separately or combined — reduced steatosis, the first stage of NAFD in which fat accumulates in the liver.

Researchers used three proprietary strains (Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus paracasei) that are part of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic’s active formula of beneficial bacteria in their research.

For the study, obese rats were fed single strains of beneficial bacteria or a combination of them for 30 days. Compared to animals receiving a placebo, rats fed probiotics produced significantly reduced amounts of lipids (mainly triacylgylcerides) in their livers, along with lesser quantities of pro-inflammatory molecules in their blood.

The good news about NAFD: Making small lifestyle adjustments can do a lot of good. Losing those extra pounds (even as little as 3 percent of your starting weight), managing your cholesterol levels and moving on a regular basis with an exercise program can make a healthy difference.

Boosting your gut diversity with the help of a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic can be a healthy way to protect your health from problems related to obesity like NAFD too.

wooden spoon with real sugar on it

Real Sugar Disrupts Your Gut Health

We’ve warned you in the past about the growing number of ways too-sweet-for-their-own-good artificial sweeteners can harm your gut health.

These outcomes may have been surprising to some in the scientific community not so long ago based on an incorrect belief that sugar was absorbed into the intestine and never made it the gut.

Considering the amount of artificial and refined sugars many people eat in the typical Western diet full of processed foods, however, it’s hard to imagine human health, not to mention the gut, not being harmed in some way.

Now, we’re learning consuming refined sugar can be a problem for your gut too, especially if your goal is to stay lean and fit, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Based on their research with mice, scientists at the Yale School of Medicine discovered how large amounts of fructose and glucose (the main components of table sugar) immediately blocked the production of an important protein (Roc).

This protein allows a specific species of gut bacteria — Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron — to process vegetables and other fiber-rich foods efficiently and help your body maintain a healthy weight.

Maintaining and protecting the various species of Bacteroides in your gut is critical to good health and keeping those extra pounds off, as this bacteria can be pretty scarce in people who are obese or overweight.

“The role of diet in the gut microbiome goes farther than just providing nutrients. It appears that carbohydrates like sugar can act as signaling molecules as well,” says Dr. Eduardo Groisman, senior author of the study and professor of microbial pathogenesis, according to Yale News.

For this study, scientists tested several sugars, both simple and complex ones, but only mixtures with fructose or glucose triggered the blockage of proteins in the gut.

The good news here is that you have plenty of reliable resources at hand to help you lose weight, starting with eating a better diet focused on fewer carbs and more whole foods.

You can also give your weight-loss journey a gut-healthy boost with EndoMune Metabolic Rescue’s unique blend of Bifidobacteria lactis and the prebiotic XOS that protects your gut health and promotes natural, effective weight loss.

man cleaning kitchen counter

Are You Over-Sterilizing Your Life?

Keeping your body clean hasn’t been easier than it is today, but is there such a thing as being too clean?

No matter where you go — the supermarket, your local gym or even a neighborhood yoga class — antimicrobial chemicals have invaded our living spaces, creating an environment that’s become “too clean” for our own good.

The use of antimicrobial chemicals like triclosan may have seemed like a good idea at one time. However, that perception changed radically a few years ago when health problems related to the hygiene hypothesis and its lingering effect on our immune systems began lessening the natural ability of our bodies to fight disease.

Although triclosan has been the main focus for these problems, some of its notoriety faded when the FDA took the major step of banning it from antibacterial soaps and most body washes in 2016.

Despite the ban, triclosan can still be found in some personal care products (review the Environmental Working Group’s most current list) including some toothpastes as well as lining common consumer products like yoga/exercise mats and gym equipment.

That’s where a new health problem lies in plain sight…

Antibiotic resistance in dust?

This stealth invasion of triclosan in our environment may be creating antibiotic-resistant dust, according to a recent study appearing in mSystems.

Researchers at Northwestern University discovered this problem after collecting dust samples from 42 athletic facilities in the Pacific Northwest.

Study leader and associate professor Dr. Erica Hartman chose gyms due to the contact people have with mats, floors and gym equipment and how many clean them before and after using them with antimicrobial wipes.

Concerns arose when Hartman’s team collected dust from athletic spaces, hallways and offices, then examined the bacteria hiding in dust, and its genetic makeup.

Antimicrobial chemicals were the most concentrated in dust found in moist spots and gym spaces and in higher levels in rooms with carpeted floors or rubber mats.

In samples with higher levels of triclosan, scientists found genetic markers directly linked to antibiotic resistance and, specifically, medically relevant antibiotic drugs.

“There is this conventional wisdom that says everything that’s in dust is dead, but that’s not actually the case. There are things living in there,” says Dr. Hartman, according to Northwestern Now.

Trying to keep workout spaces clean for yourself and others creates a larger health problem with antibiotic-resistant infections, potentially leaving you vulnerable to superbugs.

Unfortunately, manufacturers of products like yoga mats aren’t required to disclose antibacterial chemicals like triclosan in their labeling, because their safety is governed by the EPA, not the FDA, Dr. Hartman says.

So, how do you protect your health and environment surrounding you from being “too clean?”

  1. Avoid products that are labeled with terms like fights germs, fights odors or antibacterial, according to experts at the National Resources Defense Council Health Program.
  1. Review the product labels of any personal care products you’re buying at the grocery store for anything that you suspect includes antibacterial chemicals (look for a future blog about triclosan in toothpaste).
  1. Protect your immune health the safe and natural way by taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, plus a prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
woman in pink shirt eating a protein bar

Could Crickets Improve Your Gut Health?

Do you like bugs in your food… literally?

You’ve probably seen news reports about the edible insect industry and its attempts to make an eco-friendly impact on the foods we eat in America.

An increasing number of companies are using insects — crickets are the most popular but locusts and mealworms are also on the menu — as substitutes for the proteins and fiber farmers typically grow for food for eco-friendly reasons (reduced water, space and greenhouse gases).

Everything from cookies and protein bars to chips and pet foods are being formulated and sold with insects in mind. There’s even a registry for restaurants and food products called BUGSfeed that can help you locate restaurants and stores specializing in edible insects.

We know insects may be something you actively avoid, especially in your foods, but they are a staple in the diets of some 2 billion people worldwide, according to the United Nations.

A group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin, Colorado State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently investigated the benefits of eating foods made with cricket-based flour on human gut health.

The controlled study, which appeared in Scientific Reports, measured the effects of feeding breakfast foods (muffins and smoothies) prepared with cricket flour on 20 health adults over a four-week period.

Although there were no side effects reported, scientists discovered some benefits to human gut health, namely reductions in a key inflammatory protein linked to cancer and depression, as well as increases in a strain of Bifidobacteria.

Still not convinced? The study’s lead author, Valerie Stull, who has eaten a lot of insects in her travels around the world, makes a good point about how American cuisine has shifted more recently to embrace a greater variety of foods.

“Food is very tied to culture, and 20 or 30 years ago, no one in the U.S. was eating sushi because we thought it was disgusting. But now you can get it at a gas station in Nebraska.”

So, eating foods made with insects may become mainstream as well as OK for your gut. But it’s important to pay attention to how they are prepared.

In this study, cricket flour was used in muffins and smoothies made with milk or sugar, ingredients that could negate its gut health benefits.

Yes, insects may be trendy food picks, just like fermented foods, on grocery store shelves. However, taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria plus a natural prebiotic may be a better, more effective way to help your gut and your overall health too.

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