Misc

pet store puppy looking up at owner

Did your pet store puppy make you sick?

Recently, we’ve talked about how a dog’s gut health may be very similar to our own, a great boon to researchers examining the human gut.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest problems in human health — the overuse of antibiotics — may be affecting the health of our canine friends and sicken us too, based on a recent CDC report about pet store puppies spreading antibiotic-resistant infections to humans.

More than 100 people in 18 states (including pet store employees) were made sick from exposure to puppies carrying Campylobacter jejuni, one of the most common causes of foodborne illness from bacteria in America, over nearly two years, according to the CDC.

Testing on eight dogs and 10 humans revealed resistance to seven common antibiotics (including ciprofloxacin, erythromycin and tetracycline) that are typically used to treat human Campylobacter infections.

How did this happen?

Based on drug records of nearly 150 pups, nearly all of them received at least one round of antibiotics before they arrived at the pet store or during their time there.

This practice of treating puppies with antibiotics is not surprising and largely unnecessary, but is used to offset poor infection control and management by larger breeding companies, according to experts.

“Antibiotics should only be used to treat illness, not to compensate for poor practices — whether it’s trucking dogs long distances and having poor hygiene in the process along the way,” says Matthew Wellington, antibiotics program director for the Public Interest Research Group in STAT.

“These are lifesaving medicines that should only be used to treat sick animals or sick people.”

As a result, the CDC created educational materials specifically for pet store employees to remind them to wear gloves when cleaning pet cages, eat meals away from areas where animals are fed and wash their hands.

Contact with animals that have been infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria isn’t a new thing. Investigators have been studying these problems for more than a decade.

In addition to keeping your hands clean with plain old soap and water (avoid antibacterial soaps), one of the best things you can do to protect your health and maintain the proper balance of bacteria in your gut is to take a probiotic.

Maintaining the diversity of bacteria in your gut is so much easier when you take a probiotic with multiple species of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

little girl playing with a puppy

A Dog’s Gut Health May Look Like Yours

How many of you think of your pets as if they were members of your own family? You’d probably have a hard time finding anyone who doesn’t feel that way about their four-legged family members, especially dogs.

Did you know a dog’s gut health has developed very similarly to ours, and good gut health may be beneficial to dogs and their human masters?

Not only did researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory discover great parallels in the gut health and microbial composition of 64 retrievers and beagles, they concluded our gut health could be more similar to dogs, according to their study published in the open access journal Microbiome.

The latter finding is an interesting one, given that pigs and mice are used commonly in gut health research, which led scientists to study how the gut health and diversity of lean and overweight dogs changed when fed low carb/high protein diets.

Just like their overweight masters, the microbiomes of heavier dogs changed significantly when fed high protein/low carb food, but not those of leaner dogs (a sign that thinner canines had healthier, more resilient gut microbiomes).

“These findings suggest that dogs could be a better model for nutrition studies than pigs or mice and we could potentially use data from dogs to study the impact of diet on gut microbiota on humans, and humans could be a good model to study the nutrition of dogs,” says Dr. Luis Pedro Coehlo, as told to BioMed Central.

The hygiene hypothesis connection

You may be wondering how the microbiomes of dogs and their masters became so interconnected. That’s where the hygiene hypothesis may come into play due to Western cultures living in more sterile environments that are too clean for our good.

On the other paw, dogs only get soapy when they’ve been dirty (and probably bad) and they tend to scratch, sniff and lick spots on their bodies and those of fellow canines that most of us would never do.

Dogs may not be the only animals that provide microbial protection to humans either. Based on a 2016 study from the New England Journal of Medicine, Amish children raised around farm animals were up to six times less likely to experience asthma.

What can you do to protect the microbiomes of your family if you don’t live on or near a farm and caring for a pet just isn’t realistic?

Taking a probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Junior Probiotic for kids, containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria can make a healthy difference in your gut health profile even if Fido isn’t available to help.

(Anecdotally, my wife and I have given our dogs EndoMune for seven years with no problems. All of them have a healthy GI tract and have experienced no gas, bloating or diarrhea during that time.)

a plane in the sky flying over a small town

How to Stay Healthy While Flying

Right now, we’re in the midst of a blazing hot summer when many of us are traveling in airplanes to cooler vacation destinations for some well-deserved R&R.

Along the way to that relaxing vacation hideaway, most of us have to put up with a lot of inconveniences — TSA security checks, overpriced foods in airport lounges and sitting next to or behind screaming kids and seat kickers — for hours surrounded by a lot of strangers.

Sounds like a lot of fun doesn’t it?

While your body is feeling out of sync due to traveling, your gut is experiencing something familiar. That’s because the typical commercial airplane has a “microbiome” too, and it’s very similar to the ones that occupy our homes and offices, according to a recent study that appeared in Microbial Ecology.

Scientists at Georgia Tech and Emory University studied 230 bacterial samples taken from commonly-touched areas in the typical airplane cabin — seat belt buckles, lavatory door handles and tray tables — and sampled cabin air before and after 10 transcontinental flights.

Although the microbiomes that inhabited airplane flights varied from flight to flight, the bacterial strains scientists detected were pretty ordinary.

“What we found was bacterial communities that were mostly derived from human skin, the human mouth and some environmental bacteria,” says Dr. Howard Weiss, a professor at the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics who worked on the study (according to a press release).

The bacterial communities that were found seemed benign and not unexpected. But, what about fellow travelers who may have the flu or a respiratory infection? In this case, closeness counts a great deal…

In a companion study featured earlier this year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, passengers who may be fighting the flu or another virus probably won’t spread their sickness much farther than two seats laterally or one row in back or front of you on a plane.

That distance sounds pretty safe, unless you’re traveling out of the country to an international destination or flying long distances. Plus, can you count on the person sitting next to you to admit they’re sick while traveling?

Some simple tips to keep in mind when you’re traveling:

  • Keep your hands as clean as possible with plain soap and water and limit your use of antibacterial soaps. Antibacterial soaps can make your body more vulnerable to superbugs, a growing worldwide health problem, due to the overuse of antibiotics and disinfectants.
  • Keep up with your sleep, especially when traveling across multiple time zones. Jet lag will disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythms just like shift work does.
  • Give your natural immunities an extra boost by taking a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.
downtown san antonio by the riverwalk

Dr. Hoberman Features EMR on Daytime at 9

Dr. Hoberman created EndoMune Probiotics when he discovered the need for a supplement that could help with stomach issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, Irritable Bowl Syndrome, and constipation. Watch Dr. Hoberman speak about the benefits of adding a probiotic in your daily routine during San Antonio’s TV segment, Daytime at Nine. Dr. Hoberman discusses his latest addition to the EndoMune family, Metabolic Rescue. EMR is a unique blend of prebiotics and probiotics that supports natural effective weight loss by boosting your metabolism and helping curb your appetite. Watch the Daytime at Nine segment to learn more.

aerial view of san antonio

Dr. Hoberman Speaks About Gut Health on SA Living

SA Living welcomed Dr. Hoberman, creator of EndoMune Probiotics, on the show to discuss the need people have for probiotics in their daily routine. Watch him discuss the benefits it delivers to your gut health and your overall health. The segment features the latest addition to EndoMune Probiotics, Metabolic Rescue. EMR is a unique blend of prebiotics and probiotics that support natural effective weight loss by boosting your metabolism and helping to curb your appetite.

Probiotics will keep us Healthy in Space

The very last thing you’re probably thinking about when watching exciting science-fiction films like Interstellar or Gravity is the gut health of the astronauts flying through space.

But that doesn’t mean Earth-bound scientists aren’t studying or thinking about it… a lot!

Some of these studies could have some important real-world implications and benefits, even for the 99.99 percent of us who will never fly higher than 39,000 feet (slightly more than 7 miles) in the air.

The Twins Study

The most current and popular project has been the Twins Study, encompassing 10 NASA-funded studies that compared the molecular structures of identical twin astronauts: Scott Kelly who spent nearly a year in space living in a zero-gravity environment and his brother Mark who stayed on the planet as an “Earth-bound control subject.”

One of these research projects, based in Chicago at Northwestern University, Rush University Medical School and the University of Illinois, discovered some interesting fluctuations in the gut microbiomes of both brothers.

Researchers found imbalances in two dominant groups of bacteria (Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes) had shifted in Scott Kelly’s while space bound and returned to pre-flight levels after arriving back on Earth. Interestingly, Mark Kelly’s gut microbiome fluctuated in those two areas too, however, not as drastically as his twin.

Another very surprising result: An expected change in gut diversity while Scott Kelly was in space never happened.

Female astronauts need probiotics

A pair of Canadian researchers at Western University made a good case for female astronauts taking probiotics in a 2016 report appearing in the health journal Women’s Health.

Scientists believe the unique challenges female astronauts face — osteoporosis, breast cancer, compromised vaginal health and urinary tract infections (UTIs) — could be more problematic during space flights.

For instance, women experience more UTIs during space missions than their male counterparts. Treating women with antibiotics may be problematic due to gravity, not to mention the complications associated with overusing them, which is why researchers believe probiotics may be a better option.

“It’s important to look at the health of women,” said Carmilla Urbaniak, a Ph.D. candidate working at the school’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, according to a press release.

“We know that drugs interact differently in males and females. The impact of probiotics are also different between males and females, and it’s time we focused our research on female astronauts.”

Studying gut health on a microchip

Preventing disease isn’t the only concern on the minds of one lab funded by NASA at the University of Arizona’s Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine.

Researchers there have created amazing “gut-on-a-chip” technology that mimics the internal workings of the human gut. Its primary function for this research is to test how the human gut will respond to cosmic radiation exposure during long periods of space travel.

Among the more practical applications for this microchip technology include the development of probiotics that could treat or even prevent radiation damage, says Dr. Frederick Zenhausen.

Don’t forget traveling on planet Earth

Back a bit closer to planet Earth, you may be traveling long distances in airplanes, especially over the long holiday season, to see family members far and wide.

Doing so creates opportunities for jet lag, a temporary sleep problem that happens when people travel quickly across multiple time zones.

These abrupt time shifts can also create problems for your gut, not only by messing up your body’s natural 24-hour circadian rhythms but playing a role in triggering the accumulation of body fat that leads to obesity.

Getting the right amount of sleep and eating a healthy, balanced diet goes a long way toward combating the effects of jet lag, but so does protecting the health of your gut.

Taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, every day gives your gut the extra protection it needs when traveling on land or in the air.

EndoMune Interview: Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy

This week we’re kicking off an ongoing series of interviews with noted health care experts who consider good gut health essential in treating a wide variety of health issues.

Our first interview with Dr. Josephine Ruiz-Healy discusses the various gut health benefits probiotics provide children. Dr. Ruiz-Healy is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at San Antonio. In private practice for two decades in San Antonio, she is Board Certified in Pediatrics and Integrative Holistic Medicine.

A relatively recent trend in American medical circles, integrative medicine focuses on treating the mind, body and spirit – at the same time by using the best of conventional and alternative therapies to facilitate the body’s innate healing responses, naturally and effectively.

Dr. Ruiz-Healy discusses how probiotics, good gut health and other integrative health tips can help babies get started on the right foot, along with avoiding antibiotics as often as possible.

Recent studies have reported mixed results about probiotics being an effective treatment for colic. Have you found probiotics to be helpful?

There has been mixed results in limited studies. The studies themselves show wide variability in their designs and parameters to offer definite results. However, it is a fact that infants with colic have a different intestinal microbiota than their “non-colicky” counterparts. Colicky infants have mainly coliforms that are not well colonized with Lactobacillus.

A different pattern is also seen in babies not colonized at birth who are born via Caesarean section and infants who are not breast-fed. We find the use of probiotics to be beneficial in some of our colicky babies who have these commonalities. Choosing the right probiotic is important. Not all are created equal and they all have different functions.

Multivitamins can cause constipation for some kids. Can probiotics and a healthy diet help?

We try not to use multivitamins that have iron if we do not need to supplement for this deficiency. But, without a doubt, trying to eliminate processed foods and over-cooked foods that indeed change your microbiota and substituting them with foods that have their own healthy biofilm and increasing their water consumption certainly change the microflora.

How do children benefit most from taking a probiotic?

Children are living in a toxic “artificial” environment now. That toxicity is interpreted by many scared parents as “too many germs” and not realizing we are more bacteria than human cells.

We try to eliminate everything that seems “contaminated.” We sterilize our homes but our children attend day cares where they get sick. Also, that illness in many instances is treated with antibiotics regardless if it is warranted or not, and kills the good bacteria in our gut further compromising our immunity.

Probiotics help fill that void we have because of life in the 21st century. A good blend of live probiotics seems essential to protect our kids and help them develop and maintain a healthy immune system.

What does good gut health mean for young children?

Good gut health translates to a good immunity.

There is research ongoing that the microbiota in infants is different for infants who develop allergic diseases, at all system levels. This is influenced by many external factors. We can change some of these factors by keeping, via the adequate mix of probiotics, a healthy gut microbiota.

When do you prescribe a probiotic to a young patient?

We recommend probiotics to infants who are bottle-fed, breast-fed infants whose mothers are on antibiotics or do not plan to breastfeed long, infants entering day care and fussy colicky infants who have no other underlying problems. It is essential children have a healthy gut microbiota before age 2!

Physicians are finally realizing the overprescribing of antibiotics is a serious health problem, although certain conditions require them. How do you advise parents?

Whenever we have children on antibiotics, we recommend probiotics rich in S. boulardi and we recommend they stay on them for at least a month before they change to a different mix of probiotics.

What other integrative health tips can you suggest to parents wanting to bolster their child’s gut health in addition to probiotics?

  • Avoid toxins!
  • Having parents understand that some fever is good for you and it is not a disease, and physicians taking the time to explain why not every time a child gets sick he/she needs antibiotics.
  • Give them vitamins every day.
  • Serve kids at least 6 servings per day of veggies and fruit, because it is the junk and processed foods that hurt them.
  • Decrease milk products.
  • Make kids get outside and play everyday.
  • Do not apply sunblock every time a kid goes outside. Let them get sunblock-free sun for at least 10 minutes.
  • Limit the time playing video games and watching TV.
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