Women’s Health

Women’s Health issues can generally be helped by including probiotics in their diets to restore and maintain better gut health leading to overall better health.

woman laying on couch holding stomach in pain from fibromyalgia and IBS

The Gut Health Link to Fibromyalgia

The medical condition known as fibromyalgia — punctuated by widespread and intense musculoskeletal pain, debilitating fatigue and cognitive problems — has been one of the most challenging medical conditions for a very long time.

It’s been a real struggle until recently to convince medical professionals and laypeople that fibromyalgia is a very real thing (it is!), largely because the root causes of this condition remain very much unknown. Plus, diagnosing fibromyalgia can take a long time.

What we do know: Fibromyalgia goes hand-in-hand with gut problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As many as 70 percent of the fibromyalgia patients experience IBS symptoms, according to a paper written by UCLA’s Dr. Lin Chang for the University of North Carolina Center For Functional GI and Motility Disorders.

Like fibromyalgia, the exact causes of IBS are a mystery too. However, among the factors related to an IBS diagnosis is an imbalance of gut bacteria.

It just makes sense that a gut health link must exist and a group of Canadian researchers from the McGill University and the University of Montreal recently discovered it, in a hot-off-the-presses study appearing in the journal Pain.

Big differences

Scientists discovered very distinct differences in the mix of gut bacteria between healthy people and those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Using computational techniques including artificial intelligence, they compared the urine, blood, saliva and stool samples taken from 156 patients, including 77 female fibromyalgia patients, between ages 30-60.

Researchers identified 19 variances in species of gut bacteria — in abnormally higher and lower amounts — in fibromyalgia patients.

Moreover, these techniques allowed scientists to diagnose fibromyalgia in patients using only a patient’s microbiome with an amazing accuracy of 87 percent.

“The changes we saw in the microbiomes of fibromyalgia patients were not caused by factors such as diet, medication, physical activity, age, and so on, which are known to affect the microbiome,” says Dr. Amir Minerbi, lead author of the study.

Some imbalances in gut bacteria species have been linked to several intestinal diseases in lower amounts or inflammatory arthritis in higher numbers.

This news has some pain management experts intrigued about addressing fibromyalgia in a much broader way as part of the gut-brain axis.

“Having a microbiome signature could allow clinicians to understand to what extent the gut is promoting the condition as well as how planned interventions that may alter the microbiome — such as diet, prebiotics and probiotics — could be promising tools,” as pointed out by noted pain management expert Dr. Robert Bonakdar to Medscape.

Probiotics do a great deal of good, and not only as an IBS treatment. According to a recent review of studies, probiotics may be an effective tool in treating, not only fibromyalgia but chronic fatigue syndrome too.

To achieve the best outcome for your gut health, whether you suffer from fibromyalgia or IBS, your best bet is to take a probiotic created with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria amounting to 20 billion CFU, not to mention a prebiotic (FOS) that provides food for the good guys in your gut.

endomune-pcos-probiotic

How Gut Diversity Affects PCOS

For women experiencing hormonal issues or having trouble conceiving a child, a possible culprit could be polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

This condition, affecting as many as 10 percent of all women from ages 15-44, is defined by a number of tell-tale signs:

  • Increased levels of male hormones that create more body or facial hair.
  • Excess weight or having a harder time losing it.
  • Menstrual cycles that last longer and are more infrequent or irregular.
  • Enlarged ovaries.
  • Skin changes including darkening around creases and the appearance of more skin tags.
  • Problems with rest due to sleep apnea.

The presence of PCOS may also mean a greater risk of metabolic health problems, including elevated levels of insulin which could lead to type 2 diabetes. In fact, many women who are diagnosed with PCOS eventually become diabetic.

There’s a growing amount of evidence a woman’s gut health — specifically its diversity — could play a larger role in PCOS.

Could a probiotic advantage make a healthy difference? Let’s take a look…

Gut diversity issues

Some of the more recent studies from research teams in Poland, San Diego State University and the University of San Diego have discovered a gut health connection in their work with human and animal subjects.

For example, one study appearing in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism compared fecal samples from 73 PCOS patients with 43 women who had polycystic ovaries but no other signs of PCOS and 48 healthy women without this condition.

The comparisons fell the way you’d probably expect. Out of the three groups, PCOS patients had the least diverse gut health, while those with polycystic ovaries but no PCOS had better gut diversity, but less compared to healthy test subjects.

One of the previous studies involving mice from 2016 published in PLOS ONE suggested the possibility of probiotics being a treatment, and it’s certainly a more direct and less problematic one compared with insulin sensitizers and estrogens.

You don’t have look very hard to find evidence that a good probiotic can make a difference in treating PCOS, based on evidence in a double-blind clinical trial on 60 patients reported in the Journal of Ovarian Research.

During a 12-week trial, patients took a placebo or probiotics containing multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria and a 200-mg selenium supplement.

The use of probiotics and selenium by PCOS patients lowered testosterone levels, and made significant improvements in mental health problems including depression and reduced extra body hair.

Among the bacteria used in this study — Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum — are two of the 10 beneficial strains contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Taking a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic may be a safer, better approach for women wanting to ease the symptoms of PCOS.

baby looking up at a baloon

Give Your Baby a Gut-Healthy Start

As you know, infants receive many health benefits when their Moms are able to make some simple gut-smart health choices via breastfeeding and vaginal delivery.

But how does natural childbirth and breastfeeding really benefit an infant and why?

It’s very possible those beneficial bacteria introduced first into the gut have a head start and make a lasting and healthy impression, according to new research from a group of American and Canadian scientists featured in the journal eLife.

Scientists came to this conclusion by transplanting four different species of gut bacteria from older mice into the gastrointestinal tracts of young, genetically identical mice raised in a germ-free environment.

The primary takeaway: The gut bacterial diversity of younger mice over several months eventually resembled or was often dominated by the species that was transplanted in them first in repeated experiments.

That’s an intriguing outcome, considering genetics, environment, diet, physiology and lifestyle — all important factors to human health on their own — only account for less than 30 percent of any variations of the gut microbiome, says Dr. Jens Walter of the University of Alberta.

“Each of us harbors a microbiome that is vastly distinct, even for identical twins. Microbiomes are important for our health, but they appear to be shaped by many unknown factors, so it’s hugely important to understand why we are all different.”

Not only does this research show how the introduction and timing of bacteria in newborns could grow and dominate, it may also provide a bridge to better understand how the microbiome may be disrupted and harmed due to the use of antibiotics or C-section deliveries.

Dr. Walter believes science will figure out ways that infants can be colonized with specific bacteria that will steer their health in beneficial ways, but even he speculates that’s a 30-40-year journey.

Until that time comes (if ever), there are steps new Moms can take to protect the gut health of their babies right now, even if natural childbirth isn’t possible.

Breastfeeding is a great first step, as it provides the right mix of fats, protein and vitamins for newborns along with antibodies that boost their growing immune systems.

Unfortunately, some new Moms may not be able to breastfeed for as long as they planned or can’t due to health problems. Plus, their babies may be missing out human milk oligosaccharides (HMO), the largest solid component of breast milk apart from fat and carbohydrates and a natural prebiotic component of breast milk.

In these cases, new Moms may want to consider giving their babies a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Jr. Powder (recommended for young children up to age 3) that contains four strains of beneficial bacteria along with a natural prebiotic (FOS) that feeds their growing gut microbiomes.

Before you consider giving your newborn a probiotic, always talk to your pediatrician or doctor first.

A gut health boost is just one benefit among 18 that breastfeeding provides for you and your baby as you’ll learn in this extensive article.

someone sitting down showing a jagged spine

Probiotics may help prevent 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.

group of woman smiling together after a hike

Estrogen Therapy Affects Women’s Gut Health

There are many reasons why women take estrogen therapy as they approach menopause, from relieving related symptoms leading up to and following menopause to improving vaginal health and guarding against bone loss.

Just like other drugs, taking synthetic estrogen has an effect on the microbial makeup, balance and activity in a woman’s gut too.

Moreover, this activity may affect how a specific enzyme in the gut — B-glucuronidase (GUS) — metabolizes synthetic estrogens in the gut, according to recent findings from a University of Illinois study featured in Scientific Reports.

Scientists made this discovery while conducting tests on five groups of female mice treated with various estrogens either alone or with bazedoifene (an estrogen-receptor drug). These test animals also had their ovaries removed and were fed high-fat diets.

What does this discovery mean for women taking estrogen? Depending on a woman’s gut health, it could affect how efficiently her body metabolizes estrogen.

Although the overall diversity of these test animals didn’t change significantly, levels of some bacteria did decrease along with some associated with the GUS enzyme, including Akkermansia.

This finding was fascinating to researchers because this specific bacterial family is linked to anti-inflammatory properties in humans.

Results from some fecal samples in mice treated with estrogen and bazedoifene showed significantly lower levels of Akkermansia. On the other hand, animals with higher levels of Akkermansia had larger livers, more estrogen and gained more weight.

“Our findings indicate that clinicians might be able to manipulate the gut biome through probiotics to change the half-life and properties of estrogens so that long-term users obtain the therapeutic benefits of estrogen-replacement therapy without increasing their risks of reproductive cancers,” says Dr. Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, lead researcher and director of the University of Illinois’ Women’s Health, Hormones and Nutrition Lab.

Gut diversity + estrogen does matter

You may be skeptical that gut health has any bearing on a woman’s ability to metabolize estrogen and, after all, the University of Illinois study focuses on mice.

However, a 2014 study of postmenopausal women determined gut health — specifically gut diversity — does matter.

In fact, postmenopausal women whose gut health is diverse may be more able to break down estrogen, which could reduce their risks of breast cancer, according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

These findings were based on an analysis of urine and fecal samples taken from 60 postmenopausal women between ages 55-69 in Colorado with healthy mammograms.

“Our findings suggest a relationship between the diversity of the bacterial community in the gut, which theoretically can be altered with changes in diet or some medications, and future risk of developing breast cancer,” says Dr. James Goedert of the National Cancer Institute who worked on the study, according to a press release.

“But we are hopeful that because the microbiome can change the way the body processes estrogens, it may one day offer a target for breast cancer prevention.”

The takeaway from these studies, especially if you’re a woman taking estrogen, is that it’s important for women, young and not so young, who take estrogen to pay much closer attention to their gut health.

Fortunately, the best way to maintain a healthy mix of bacteria in your gut may be easier than you think. Taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, plus a prebiotic (food for the bacteria in your gut), can do a world of good for your health, and how your body uses estrogen.

a mother holding her bareskin baby

Protect Your Baby’s Health From Allergies Early

One of the best things an expecting mom can do to protect the health of her baby from all kinds of health problems, even before he or she is born, is to take a probiotic.

An extensive meta-analysis of studies by researchers at Imperial College London published recently in PLOS Medicine supports those benefits, showing how probiotics and fish oil may reduce problems in a baby’s early days with eczema and allergies.

Out of more than 400 studies that were examined, 28 trials determined moms who took a probiotic from the 36th week of their pregnancies, then for up to six months while breastfeeding, lowered by 22 percent their baby’s risks of eczema, a skin condition that causes the skin to be irritated or inflamed.

Overall, up to 20 percent of infants are affected eczema, which shows up as patches of red, dry or itchy skin.

Many of the probiotics identified by researchers in their meta-analysis contained Lactobacillus rhamnosus, one of 10 strains of beneficial bacteria found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

A similar pre-birth benefit was discovered by moms who took fish oil daily. Starting from the 20th week of their pregnancies up to four months of breastfeeding, babies avoided common allergies to eggs by a nifty 30 percent.

Interestingly, a mom’s avoidance of foods like nuts, dairy and eggs during her pregnancy made no difference in her baby’s risks of experiencing allergies or eczema.

Your breastfeeding wakeup call

At this juncture, It’s good to remind moms that breastfeeding (along with natural delivery) does a great deal of good for the health of their newborns, as it gives them an extra gut health boost that helps their tiny bodies fight off diseases naturally.

While most experts recommend that moms breastfeed their newborns for as long as they’re able — the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 12 months — even the best choices can fall by the wayside due to unexpected health concerns, like a caesarean (C-section) delivery.

However, moms who can’t breastfeed as long as they planned or at all can do a lot to protect the health of their babies, just by giving them a probiotic made just for them, like EndoMune Jr. Powder recommended for children up to age 3.

Like its “big brother,” EndoMune Jr. Chewable, EndoMune Jr. Powder contains four strains of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus families along with a prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the growing and diverse group of critters in your baby’s gut.

a woman holding a baby

Help Protect Your C-section Baby

Nearly a third of all babies born in America are delivered via C-section (Cesarean), surgery that brings an infant into the world through incisions in a woman’s uterus and abdomen.

There are many reasons why your obstetrician may recommend a C-section, especially if your baby isn’t getting enough oxygen or your baby isn’t positioned head first in the birth canal (breech or transverse).

Yet, a fair number of women request C-sections merely for the sake of avoiding labor or convenience, and even some hospitals tend to encourage them.

As common as C-sections are, they do come with long-term health risks for your baby via problems with their tiny gut microbiome, according to a recent Canadian study appearing in JAMA Pediatrics.

Gut health a factor

This study from the University of Alberta (Canada) tracked the health of 935 pairs of Moms and their babies to determine if C-section deliveries made babies more prone to obesity, paying close attention to babies born to overweight Moms.

Compared to being born naturally by a Mom of a healthy weight, babies born to overweight women were three times more likely to be overweight at ages 1 and 3.

Those risks of early weight problems for babies exploded to a factor of five among overweight women delivering their babies via C-section.

While examining infant gut microbiomes, scientists found a major gut health disparity – larger amounts of Lachnospiraceae — in babies born by overweight women and those delivered via C-section.

“Given that infant overweight and obesity are a major public health problem, our results reinforce increasing concerns over rising Cesarean deliveries and affirm the role of the gut microbiota as a ‘super organ’ with diverse roles in health and disease,” says lead study author Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, according to a press release.

Probiotics and breast milk

If a Cesarean may be the best health choice for a new Mom, what can she do to protect her newborn from obesity? In a recent interview with the New York Times, Dr. Kozyrskyj mentions breastfeeding as an effective tool.

In fact, breastfeeding in tandem with a beneficial probiotic may do just the trick, according to research appearing in mSphere from the University of California, Davis.

Scientists tracked the health of 66 breastfed babies over several months. A little more than half of the infants were treated with a subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum (one of four strains of beneficial bacteria found in EndoMune Jr. Powder and EndoMune Jr. Chewable) for three weeks, while the remainder received no extra probiotic help.

Compared to the smaller group, larger amounts of the Bifidobacterium longum subspecies were found in fecal samples taken from babies treated with the probiotic. Plus, those beneficial concentrations remained intact for at least 30 days after the probiotic period ended (and were still thriving up to six months later).

The probiotic babies had lower amounts of potentially harmful pathogens and high levels of acetate and lactate, important, beneficial products produced by the fermentation of human breast milk sugars by the Bifidobacterium subspecies.

Even more revealing were the changes in the gut health of babies born via C-section versus vaginally. In the beginning, both groups of infants were colonized by different gut bacteria.

After both groups were given the same Bifidobacterium longum subspecies, the microbiomes of the C-section group began to resemble that of the naturally born infant group.

“The probiotic was able to eliminate the differences inherent to C-section delivery,” lead study author Dr. Mark Underwood told Popular Science.

So, what if Mom can’t breastfeed? Dr. Underwood suggests giving your baby a three-week course of this probiotic and a formula with added human milk oligosaccharides could help with colonization and may continue as long as he/she is on that formula.

Before you consider giving your newborn a probiotic, always consult with your pediatrician or doctor first just to be on the safe side.

friends cheering their glasses of wine over plates of food

How Aphrodisiacs can Help Fight Disease

There has been a lot of recent interest among food researchers investigating the health benefits of resveratrol, an antioxidant found naturally in red wine, dark chocolate, peanuts and some berries.

As we’ve talked about previously in this space, good gut health is one of the variables that allows resveratrol-rich foods like dark chocolate and red wine to offer some pretty nifty advantages, like sharpening your brain.

Consuming resveratrol-rich foods may also be responsible for these perks by making changes to your gut health, according to a pair of reports related to protecting your cardiovascular system from disease.

Resveratrol vs. diabetes

A fascination about the benefits of resveratrol piqued the curiosity of Dr. Jason Dyck, who has spent years studying this antioxidant at the University of Alberta.

Previous studies found resveratrol benefited the health of diabetic patients by lowering their blood sugar levels, but scientists didn’t understand how because resveratrol levels circulating throughout the human bloodstream are so low.

That is, until Dyck and his research team examined how resveratrol affected the gut microbiomes of mice in a study appearing in the medical journal, Diabetes.

In step one, feeding obese mice resveratrol for six weeks was enough to change the makeup of their tiny microbiomes and improve their tolerance to glucose.

The positive results from stage two of their study – giving new healthy mice fecal transplants from that previous group of diabetic mice – were far more dramatic, rapid and impressive than feeding them resveratrol alone.

“We performed fecal transplants in pre-diabetic obese mice and within two weeks their blood sugar levels were almost back to normal,” says Dr. Dyck, according to a press release.

After some deliberation, scientists concluded this gut health change may be the result of one or a group of metabolites that could be triggering healthy changes in blood sugar levels.

“It’s going to take a herculean effort to find what that molecule is,” says Dr. Dyck. “Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s a combination of four or five, or maybe even a hundred. We don’t know, but we intend to find out.”

Resveratrol vs. heart disease

Resveratrol may also play an important role in reducing the production of TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), an organic gut byproduct that promotes heart disease by triggering the accumulation of plaque in the arteries by gut flora, according to a report appearing in mBio.

A group of Chinese researchers fed mice bred to have an elevated risk of developing atherosclerosis food with or without resveratrol for 30 days. Then, the mice were fed TMA (trimethylamine) or choline to trigger any unhealthy reactions.

Resveratrol had a very similar calming effect, not only on TMAO levels, but the production of TMA in the gut that generates TMAO. Additionally, feeding mice resveratrol also increased levels of various bacterial species, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Too much of a good thing

Before you start stocking up on resveratrol-rich foods, it’s important to remember too much of a good thing can cause health problems too.

For example, increasing your resveratrol intake by eating dark chocolate is OK, so long as you don’t overdo it. Be sure you’re eating minimally processed dark chocolate that contains high percentages of cocoa.

Consuming wine, along with beer and baked goods, can also be a problem for your gut, as these foods contain sulfites that can inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut if you’re not careful.

Feeding your gut by taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria may shield your heart health from cardiovascular diseases, like diabetes and chronic inflammation too.

Breastfed Babies With Colic Need Probiotics Too

There’s little doubt, colic is one of the most frustrating and upsetting problems Moms face with their newborns.

Although colic is a short-term problem that typically goes away by month 4 of an infant’s life, this knowledge provides little comfort to new Moms trying and failing to calm down their tearful babies after hours of non-stop crying.

Several health factors – food allergies, acid reflux, milk intolerance and gas – may contribute to colic, but no one really knows what triggers this alarming condition.

Over the years, probiotics have slowly emerged as a safe, cost-effective way to treat colic in previous reports we’ve cited here.

There’s even more evidence of such benefits for breastfed babies in a recent international study featured in Pediatrics that has attracted lots of attention.

A study of data collected from four double-blind trials conducted on three continents and 345 babies concluded that a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus reuteri reduced colic-induced crying after three weeks for children who are exclusively breastfed.

Breastfed babies treated with a probiotic were twice as likely to experience a 50 percent reduction in colic symptoms by day 21, says Dr. Valerie Sung, lead author of the study and Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

That’s a great step toward treating colic, but only for breastfed babies. Unfortunately, formula-fed infants weren’t included in this study, and there’s plenty of health-related reasons why some new Moms should breastfeed their babies.

Medical resources like the Cleveland Clinic and WebMD offer a variety of methods for treating colic ranging from the sensible (calming your baby) to the unproven and possibly unsafe (using herbal remedies).

Here are some safe, simple steps you can take to relieve your baby’s colic:

  • Cutting back on certain foods if you’re breastfeeding.
  • Introducing a pacifier.
  • Diverting your baby’s attention by playing soft music or rocking him/her.
  • Decreasing your baby’s exposure to outside stimulation.

Giving your baby a probiotic with four strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that feeds the good guys in his/her gut like EndoMune Junior could make a difference in your infant’s colicky symptoms and help you get a good night’s sleep too.

If you’re a new Mom and your baby’s colicky crying persists even after these simple and safe treatments, we urge you to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician for guidance.

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.

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