Probiotics

person holding painkiller

Probiotics May Protect You From This Common Painkiller

Many medicines are available over-the-counter (OTC) at your local drug store and not prescribed by a physician, but that doesn’t mean taking them is completely risk-free.

A good example is acetaminophen (better known in America as Tylenol), probably the most common OTC painkiller available besides aspirin. (It’s also available in a prescription form as Percocet or Vicodin.)

Acetaminophen is available in lots of ways — syrups, capsules and drops — so it’s very easy to take their safety for granted.

One of the most common risks associated with taking acetaminophen is liver damage, when you take too much of it (no more than 3,200 mg per day). It’s enough of a concern the FDA devotes an entire web page that explains the risks of taking too much acetaminophen and how to avoid them.

So, how does taking too much of an OTC painkiller have anything to do with your gut health?

We warned you recently about an intriguing way your gut microbiome may be used to spot signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common form of chronic liver disease, based on subtle drops in genetic gut health diversity.

Not surprisingly, probiotics may limit the damage to your liver from taking too much acetaminophen, according to a study presented by Emory University researchers at a recent meeting of the American Society of Investigative Pathology.

In fact, one of the primary strains of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic — a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus — was the active ingredient in the report.

The problem with taking too much acetaminophen, not to mention serious liver damage or death, is a marked increase in free radicals that triggers oxidative stress.

Based on tests with mice, animals fed a probiotic in their food for just two weeks suffered less damage when given an overdose of acetaminophen than those receiving no probiotic at all.

These results build upon previous research which targeted the molecular process in which probiotics containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus protect the body from oxidative liver injury thanks to a protein (Nrf2) that regulates genes involved in fighting free radicals.

There’s a lot of work be done to determine if this same gut-friendly protection holds up for humans too. That said, it’s a good idea to stay on the safe side and follow some common sense precautions to avoid any problems with acetaminophen in the first place.

a leaky pipe being fixed with several wrenches

Could Marital Problems Lead to Leaky Gut?

Strong emotions can have a negative effect on your body. Add a diet full of high-fat foods to the mix and your gut becomes vulnerable too.

Emotional fights between married couples have been linked to symptoms of leaky gut, according to a report from Ohio State University that appeared in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Leaky gut is a condition created by breakdowns in the intestinal wall that allow undigested food, toxic waste products and other nasties to seep through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream to create a number of different health problems.

“We think every day marital distress, at least for some people, is causing changes in the gut that lead to inflammation and, potentially, illness,” says lead author Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the OSU’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

Forty-three married and healthy couples ranging in age from 24-61 participated in the study that involved talking to researchers about their relationships, then alone with each other for 20 minutes to resolve conflicts that were likely to provoke disagreements.

To give necessary context to this study, blood samples were taken from couples before and after their conversations without a researcher and those talks were filmed for later review.

Not surprisingly, patients who displayed more hostility during their one-on-one talks with their marital partners had greater levels of LPS-binding protein, a biomarker for leaky gut.

Signs of leaky gut was even more pronounced among spouses with histories of emotional problems and depression whose interactions were hostile.

What’s more, researchers identified specific biomarkers in blood samples (LBP and CD14) linked to signs of inflammation. Patients whose blood contained the highest levels of LBP had dramatically higher amounts of the primary inflammatory biomarker, C-reactive protein.

These biomarkers were far more prevalent among those whose medical histories included depression too.

In fact, scientists believe the presence of these inflammatory biomarkers that drive leaky gut may also be responsible for mental health problems, creating a “troubling loop.”

“With leaky gut, the structures that are usually really good at keeping the gunk in our gut — the partially digested food, bacteria and other products — degrade and that barrier becomes less effective,” says study co-author Dr. Michael Bailey.

To reduce the amount of inflammation from leaky gut, Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser suggests eating a more gut-friendly Mediterranean diet along with taking a probiotic.

Fortunately, protecting the health of your gut is so much easier when you take a probiotic that contains multiple species of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

a few pills next to a thermometer

Can Probiotics Reduce the Need for Antibiotics?

If you follow our blog regularly, you’re very aware of the many problems associated with antibiotics.

Patients have leaned on antibiotics so much over the years as go-to drugs to feel better in a hurry that doctors have tended to over-prescribe them.

All too often, doctors will give in to their patients, even for relatively minor health problems caused by viruses (colds, bronchitis and sore throats) that don’t respond to antibiotics in the first place or bacterial infections (many ear and sinus infections) that often aren’t necessary.

Every year, some 47 million prescriptions written for antibiotics are completely unnecessary, according to the CDC. At least half of the antibiotic prescriptions written for bacterial infections are unwarranted too.

This excess use has created an environment in which antibiotic resistance has become far too common. At least 2 million Americans are infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually and some 23,000 will die from exposure to infections, including superbugs like Clostridium difficile (C. diff).

That’s only about 75 years removed from the introduction of penicillin, the first commercially available antibiotic during World War II, in 1943, and a drug that was discovered almost by accident.

However, the tide may be starting to turn away from the excessive use of antibiotics, thanks to the timely use of probiotics, according to a recent report published in the European Journal of Public Health.

Based on a review of a dozen studies, researchers from the U.S. Netherlands and U.K. discovered children and babies were 29 percent less likely to be prescribed antibiotics if they were taking a daily probiotic.

Even more encouraging, a second look at studies that researchers judged to be of the highest quality saw those numbers of probiotic-protected children jump to 53 percent.

“More studies are needed in all ages, and particularly in the elderly, to see if sustained probiotic use is connected to an overall reduction in antibiotic prescriptions. If so, this could potentially have a huge impact on the use of probiotics in general medicine and consumers in general,” says Dr. Sarah King, lead author of the study.

Not surprisingly, the probiotics children were taking in these studies contained strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, some of the very same ones in EndoMune Jr. and EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Even if you or your family need to take antibiotics when you’re sick, it’s critical to recognize how these drugs can shift the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut and affect your recovery.

If you’re unsure how to maximize the benefits of taking a probiotic when prescribed an antibiotic, I urge you to review my recently updated and very easy-to-follow probiotic protocol.

Also, check with your doctor before taking a probiotic if you have any concerns, especially if you’re taking immunosuppressant drugs or antifungal products for a health condition.

someone sitting down showing a jagged spine

Taking a Probiotic May Protect Your Bones From Osteoporosis

Many people assume bone health is a condition only older adults need to worry about. That’s not a surprise, considering how harmful falls can be to seniors.

However, you may be shocked to learn that people reach their peak bone mass by age 30, and your body begins to lose more bone than it rebuilds after that.

Many variables affect bone health, from hormone levels and gender to specific medications and how much you smoke or consume alcohol.

Fortunately, there’s some really simple things you can do to protect the health of your bones, like staying physically active and making sure your body gets the right amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Considering adding a daily probiotic to the list of preventative measures to protect your bone health, based on a recent study featured in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska University Hospital (Sweden) came to that conclusion after monitoring the bone health of 90 older women (average age 76) who took a probiotic containing a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus or a placebo for 12 months.

Women who received the active probiotic lost only half as much bone compared to patients taking the placebo, based on comparisons of CT scans taken before supplementation began and after it ended.

There’s one important advantage probiotics offer that bisphosphonates (a class of drugs typically prescribed by doctors for bone density loss) don’t: Probiotics would reduce the rare but very serious risks of side effects linked to the long-term use of these drugs, like fractures to the jaw bone and possibly more common ones like heartburn.

“Today, there are effective medications administered to treat osteoporosis, but because bone fragility is rarely detected before the first fracture, there is a pressing need for preventive treatments,” says Dr. Mattias Lorentzon, a chief physician and professor of geriatrics at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

“The fact that we have been able to show that treatment with probiotics can affect bone loss represents a paradigm shift. Treatment with probiotics can be an effective and safe way to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in many older people in the future.”

The results of this study are less surprising than you might assume, given research we’ve discussed previously about poor dietary habits harming one’s gut health and triggering auto-inflammatory bone disease.

Imagine what taking a more robust probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic could do to make a healthy difference in your gut and your bones.

a pair of glasses sitting on top of a computer

Question What You Read Everywhere!

If you follow my blog and keep up with the news, you’ve heard about a pair of recent studies published in the medical journal, Cell, that found probiotics may have very limited value.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media — seemingly everyone from CBS News to Forbes — jumped on the bandwagon to dispute the value of probiotics without looking at their considerable and proven benefits over time, many of which we’ve discussed here.

Since you have some questions and concerns about these reports, we have some answers.

What do the studies say?

Study one examined how well a generic probiotic with 11 strains of bacteria could colonize the intestinal lining when given to 25 healthy adults, as determined with a colonoscope taking specimens from the mucosa, versus a placebo.

This approach differs from most previous studies in which probiotics were measured in stools. Their justification was to determine if the generic probiotics you find at most supermarkets “colonize the gastrointestinal tract like they’re supposed to, and then whether these probiotics are having any impact on the human host.”

Study two investigated whether patients should be taking a probiotic when they were prescribed an antibiotic to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Twenty-one healthy patients were divided into three groups: Seven took an antibiotic, six more were given an antibiotic and the same generic probiotic from the first study and the rest received an antibiotic and pills containing fecal samples from their own microbiome.

What were the results?

In study one, the generic probiotic bacteria were found in the stools of each patient, and only in the lining of the colon of a few patients. This finding led scientists to conclude that, if probiotic bacteria weren’t found in the colon, they’re not beneficial. It also explains why many stories reported probiotics were ‘’useless.”

The results of study two were a bit more complicated:

  • The microbiomes of patients who received just an antibiotic returned to their healthy composition after 21 days.
  • Patients given fecal transplants experienced a normal intestinal microbiome within days after stopping the antibiotic.
  • Among patients treated with a generic probiotic, their microbiomes did not return to their original composition even five months later.

Problems with both studies

Now that you’ve had a chance to review both studies, it’s easier to see why taking these results at face value is tricky.

The problem with study one that examined the use of a generic probiotic was pretty straight-forward. These generic probiotics were given to healthy people with normal microbiomes, so the beneficial bacteria wouldn’t find a place in the lining of the colon to colonize.

In fact, the immune system of the intestines and existing microbiome would prevent it!

Studies have shown when patients struggle with gut health problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), taking a good probiotic can treat their symptoms and rebalance their microbiomes. So, probiotics aren’t “useless!”

In study two, because patients treated with a generic probiotic after receiving an antibiotic didn’t return to normal right away, researchers assumed the probiotic might cause ”harm” by increasing their risk of intestinal disorders. Moreover, researchers suggested patients “personalized probiotics” in the form of fecal transplants might lessen any risks.

Unfortunately, this phase of the study set up patients for more health problems like diarrhea down the road, merely by giving them antibiotics.

Plus, antibiotics change the composition and balance of bacteria in the gut, which may increase the activity of enzymes that trigger a faster absorption of carbohydrates, leaving you more vulnerable to obesity and diabetes.

Remember those extra carbs and fats feed poor dietary habits that disrupt your gut-brain axis, the biological connection that links your intestines, brain and emotions.

One more variable this research team didn’t consider in either study: The contribution of prebiotics, the non-digestible starches that feed the bacteria in your gut contained in a lot of probiotics, including EndoMune Advanced ProbioticEndoMune Junior Probiotic and EndoMune Metabolic Rescue.

Prebiotics have been shown to offer a number of health benefits connected with probiotics, like improving your sleep and giving your body some extra protection from type 2 diabetes.

Also, I have to take issue with the use of fecal transplants to engineer the results of this study. Fecal transplants may have performed better among three options in this second study, but going this route isn’t without its risks, especially if you’re receiving fecal matter from another donor.

In one 2015 report, a patient was successfully treated for a recurring C. diff infection with a fecal transplant from an overweight donor (her daughter) only to gain 34 pounds in just 16 months.

In other cases, people who have tried “do-it-yourself” fecal transplants from donors have suffered brand new health problems they never expected from people who seemed to be very healthy, but were carriers of germs they could pass on to others.

I cannot stress enough that using these results from both studies to imply that probiotics in many cases are “useless” or “harmful” just isn’t accurate.

As a physician specializing in gastroenterology, I’ve seen firsthand how the use of probiotics has changed the lives of patients suffering from simple problems like constipation and hard-to-treat ones like IBS. Also, patients who are on a strong course of antibiotics may avoid the risks of experiencing life-threating infections just by taking a probiotic too.

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 jar of pills

Antibiotics Harm Your Gut – So Do Many Other Common Medications

Science is well aware of the problems antibiotics and heartburn drugs can create for your gut health, all while leaving you vulnerable to even deadlier infections if you rely on them a lot.

Unfortunately, the list of non-antibiotic drugs that can affect your gut has grown sharply too (coming on the heels of a report that found metformin, a go-to drug for diabetes alters gut health).

Out of more than 1,000 drugs tested by researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 24 percent affected the growth of at least one bacterial species in the human microbiome, according to a study appearing in Nature.

Overall, 250 out of 923 non-antibiotic drugs tested on 40 samples of selected species of human gut bacteria (including one species of Lactobacillus) altered their growth.

What’s more, 40 drugs affected at least 10 strains of gut bacteria, and 14 of them were previously unknown to have an antibacterial effect on gut bacteria. The most dramatic inhibitors of gut bacteria include these commonly prescribed medications:

  • Calcium-channel blockers that treat an array of conditions, from Raynaud’s to high blood pressure.
  • Antineoplastic drugs that treat cancer.
  • Antipsychotic drugs that treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

What concerns researchers the most?

“This shift in the composition of our gut bacteria contributes to drug side effects but might also be part of the drugs’ beneficial action,” says Peer Bork, according to a press release.

“This is scary, considering that we take many non-antibiotic drugs in our life, often for long periods,” says Nassos Typas. “Still, not all drugs will impact gut bacteria and not all resistance will be common. In some cases, resistance to specific non-antibiotics will trigger sensitivity to specific antibiotics, opening paths for designing optimal drug combinations.”

Since this study finds that individuals taking any prescription medications are inadvertently harming their gut health, they should consider taking EndoMune Advanced Probiotic to ensure their gut health isn’t being comprised by their prescribed medications.

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.

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.

a woman getting ready to sneeze

Get Ready for Allergy Season: Take Your Probiotics

No matter where you live, if the 2018 allergy season hasn’t started already, it will very soon for up to 30 percent of American adults and 40 percent of kids.

If you’re dealing with hay fever, one of the most common seasonal allergies around, you already know the routine. Exposure to outdoor or indoor allergens (not to mention strong chemical odors from cleaning products and perfumes or smoking) can trigger a stuffy or runny nose, which can lead to sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and fatigue.

Unfortunately, avoiding allergens in our polluted environment can only get you so far and taking medications can be a hit or miss.

Are you tired of the usual rounds of nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops and allergy shots that only keep seasonal allergies at bay? Taking a probiotic may be a smarter solution to ease your allergy symptoms, according to research appearing in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

University of Florida researchers randomly split 173 healthy adults who suffered from seasonal allergies, either into a placebo group or a second one that was given a probiotic containing multiple species of beneficial bacteria.

(Two of the three bacteria species tested in this study included proprietary blends of Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium longum, key ingredients in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic. All three species were chosen based on their performance in previous studies and their ability to boost the immune system.)

During the eight-week research period – deliberately scheduled during the height of the spring allergy season — patients reported their symptoms regularly via online surveys and provided fecal samples to monitor any gut bacteria changes.

Those who took probiotics experienced improvements in their symptoms, including fewer allergy-related nasal problems. Plus, patients in the probiotic group reported far fewer problems with constipation too.

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the benefits of using a probiotic containing another EndoMune species (Lactobacillus casei) to combat hay fever naturally by supporting the body’s immune system.

There are plenty of reasons to take simple steps to prevent allergies from invading your home, even if you have to travel to and from your home outdoors at least once a day for work or to run errands.

That’s why taking a probiotic with multiple species of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic may be your best first step to protect your health during the coming allergy season.

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