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Diet

Health Issues Related to Diet

Illustration of a gut, a heart, and a brain all connected by a dotted line. Text: The Gut's connection to stroke

The Gut Connection to Stroke

The Gut Connection to Stroke

Many of you know about the connection between poor diets rich in fats, red meat and processed foods and the cluster of problems that trigger metabolic syndrome.

Conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and extra body weight around the waist are manageable on their own. That is, until they manifest as a group leading to metabolic syndrome.

When they do, your risks of even more serious cardiovascular problems, like stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, escalate dramatically.

Did you know the gut has a direct connection to metabolic syndrome and poor cardiovascular health? This may increase your chances of a severe stroke and other serious health problems afterward?

Here’s how…

 

The TMAO Problem

When we consume foods or drinks high in choline (red meat, eggs, high-fat dairy products) and L-carnitine (red meat and some energy drinks), our gut bacteria breaks them down into trimethylamine (TMA).

Then, TMA is converted by the liver to TMAO (trimethylene N-oxide), a metabolite that has been linked to the narrowing or obstruction of arteries and increases in blood clots, leading to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have spent more than a decade examining how the gut microbiome affects our cardiovascular health with findings that have yielded significant insights about TMAO.

A recent Cleveland Clinic study determined the dual presence of elevated TMAO and choline was enough to produce, not only strokes of greater size and severity, but more challenging post-stroke functional impairments.

Scientists came to these conclusions after transplanting fecal samples from human patients with high or low levels of TMAO into germ-free mice.

Over the course of the study, animals receiving fecal transplants with higher levels of TMAO had more of it in their bloodstreams and experienced more extensive brain damage in multiple stroke models as well as greater post-stroke motor and cognitive deficits.

What’s more, the presence of bacteria containing CutC, a key enzyme related to choline that drives TMAO production in the gut, was enough to more than double stroke severity and worsened functional outcomes by as much as 30 percent.

 

What You Can Do About It

Based on our previous article about the problems associated with the Paleo Diet, a diet focused on more meat or Western diet staples like highly processed foods, creates the ideal environment for bad gut bacteria that generate unhealthy amounts of TMAO and lessen the impact of beneficial bacteria.

Fortunately, there’s some easy steps you can take to protect your gut and cardiovascular health from harm. For starters, increasing your intake of dietary fiber by just 1 ounce (30 grams) in your diet can help you lose weight and reduce your cardio risks.

Besides adding more fiber to your diet, taking a probiotic fortified with multiple strains of beneficial and proven bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, can do a great deal of good to promote the natural fermentation process that protects your gut.

 

References

Cell Host & Microbe

Cleveland Clinic/Consult QD

Cleveland HeartLab

SelfDecode

Mayo Clinic

Illustration of the human digestive tract. Text: Origins of IBS 101

IBS 101: The Origins

IBS 101: The Origins

Some of the most popular articles on our website feature irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the most common condition gastroenterologists diagnose.

As many as 15 percent of all Americans may experience IBS symptoms during their lifetime, yet only a small portion of people are diagnosed and treated for it.

That’s really not surprising given the three IBS subtypes, depending on whether the main symptoms are constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D) or a mix of both (IBS-A), that can create a lot of confusion.

A recent European study conducted by the Dutch university, KU Leuven, has shed some new light on the real mystery: What triggers IBS.

 

Food Allergy Or No Food Allergy?

This team of Dutch researchers had already demonstrated how blocking histamine (a chemical released when the immune system is fighting a potential allergen) improved the health of IBS patients.

The real question: If the immune systems of healthy patients don’t react to foods, what would change to trigger IBS? This same European research team conducted tests on mice and IBS patients to find out.

Knowing that patients experience IBS symptoms after a GI problem like food poisoning, scientists infected mice with a stomach bug while feeding them a protein found in egg whites that’s commonly used as a food antigen (any molecule that provokes an immune response).

After the infections cleared up, mice that were fed the same food antigen a second time became sensitive to it, evidenced by the release of more histamine in their bodies and signs of abdominal pain.

What’s more, this immune response was localized in the part of the intestine infected by the gut bug but didn’t produce more generalized symptoms of a food allergy.

When researchers conducted a similar test on 12 IBS patients (injecting their intestines with a mix of cow’s milk, wheat, soy and gluten), the results mirrored the same ones seen in mice to at least one food antigen.

 

More Work To Be Done

Although scientists have identified one trigger for IBS, there’s still a lot of research ahead before a reliable solution ever comes. But you don’t have to wait to treat IBS dependably and safely.

We already know that following a more balanced diet with more fiber and fewer carbohydrates eases symptoms. A registered dietician may also recommend a FODMAP diet, a restrictive but temporary eating plan to help you target problem foods that could trigger IBS symptoms.

Your doctor may also recommend medications, but changes in a patient’s IBS subtype can make that a tricky proposition. Also, if stress is a factor in your IBS challenges, your physician may prescribe an antidepressant drug too.

However, if you’re wary about taking a drug, there are good non-drug options for easing symptoms, like probiotics that handle the key symptoms of each IBS subtype.

Probiotics do a great job of treating diarrhea and shortening its duration. Maintaining the motility in your intestines with help from probiotics eases constipation. And, when stress becomes a factor, probiotics work well to keep your gut-brain axis in balance.

The reputation of probiotics has become so rock-solid that professional organizations like the British Society of Gastroenterology recommend them as a frontline treatment for IBS.

When you’re looking for a good probiotic, be sure it’s formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria that support the healthy microbial diversity of your gut.

Any probiotic you consider should also include a prebiotic, the unsung heroes of gut health that feed the bacteria living in your gut.

You can enjoy the best of both worlds with EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, formulated with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families plus the proven prebiotic FOS.

 

Resources

Nature

KU Leuven

Cleveland Clinic

About IBS

Nutrients

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

Women scratching irritated neck. TEXT: The Gut's Connection To Psoriasis

The Gut’s Connection To Psoriasis

The Gut’s Connection To Psoriasis

We’re getting more evidence by the day about the harmful effects of the Western diet, a nutrient-poor mix of highly processed foods full of fats, refined grains and sugars, and its relation to the gut.

It doesn’t take much to create unhealthy imbalances in the gut that lead to newly discovered problems, as researchers from the University of California Davis have recently discovered.

The reduction of microbial diversity and the loss of beneficial bacteria, better known as the dysbiosis of the human gut, is so harmful that it can leave you vulnerable to inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and more serious related problems such as psoriatic arthritis.

As many as 30 percent of patients who have psoriasis also suffer from psoriatic arthritis, a condition that causes painful, swollen joints. (This could be the first or only symptom of psoriasis.)

 

How Processed Foods Affect Psoriasis

To study the harm poor diets can do to the gut, scientists worked with mice, starting off by feeding them a Western diet for six weeks then injecting them with Interleukin-23 (IL-23), a chemical that drives inflammation, to induce a response that mimics psoriasis.

After that first six-week period, the mice were divided randomly into two groups, with half of them maintaining a Western diet while the rest eating a more balanced diet for an additional four weeks.

No surprise, mice that were fed a Western diet for the entire 10 weeks experienced skin and joint inflammation which wasn’t a surprise. In fact, test animals that were switched to a balanced diet had fewer skin problems and reduced ear thickness.

“It was quite surprising that a simple diet modification of less sugar and fat may have significant effects on psoriasis,” said Zhenrui Shi, a visiting assistant researcher in the University of California Davis’ department of dermatology and lead author on the study.

But that’s only part of the solution…

We’ve shared a lot of research with you recently about the benefits of maintaining a healthy gut to treat common skin conditions like acne and prevent bone loss by taking a probiotic with beneficial bacteria.

Any probiotic you take to protect your gut should contain multiple strains of beneficial bacteria to make a healthy difference, like the 10 proven strains from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

EndoMune also features a prebiotic (FOS) made of digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates that do important work behind the scenes to feed the bacteria in your gut and stimulate their growth.

 

References

Journal of Investigative Dermatology

UC Davis Health

Mayo Clinic

Science Direct

Woman on walk outside with towel over shoulder. Text: A gut-healthy way to lose weight

How Gut Health Affects Weight Loss

A Gut-Healthy Way to Lose Weight

As the holiday season approaches, many people are already thinking about the start of a New Year and reminded about those “Let’s lose weight!” resolutions.

It’s not surprising given the results of a recent American Psychological Association report we shared about average weight gains during our COVID-19 hibernation that nearly doubled the quarantine 15 weight-gain assumptions.

Most people focus on the basics, but did you know your gut affects your ability to lose weight too?

 

The Gut-Weight Link

In a recent study appearing in mSystems that examined a subset of patients who were part of a behavioral modification study, scientists at the Institute for Systems Biology concluded that the mix of bacteria in the gut not only influences your ability to lose weight, but it can prevent it too.

Out of the 105 patients who participated over 6 to 12 months, 57 patients maintained the same BMI and lost no weight while the remaining 48 patients lost more than 1 percent of their body weight each month.

What’s more, these patients were given a specific diet or exercise plan to follow which led researchers to dig deeper with blood work and stool samples.

 

Two key findings stood out:

  1. People whose weight and BMIs remained the same during the study had a gut bacteria mix that broke down starchy foods into sugars more effectively.
  2. Among patients who lost weight consistently, researchers identified genes that helped gut bacteria grow, replicate and form cell walls faster, allowing starches to be consumed before they could add extra pounds.

These differences in genes shed light on the impact of nutrient-poor Western diets that create differences in the composition of gut bacteria among healthy people and those are obese, says lead study author Dr. Christian Diener.

So, what do you do to lose those extra pounds?

 

The Gut-Healthy Way To Lose Weight

You can take healthy steps — eat more nutrient-dense whole foods, incorporate more movement during your day and take a few minutes at day’s end to destress — but your body may still need help to build the momentum it needs to lose those extra pounds.

That’s where research has shown how targeted strains of beneficial bacteria in a probiotic supplement can maintain the healthy balance in our gut and help our bodies regulate our metabolism. (This is especially important if you’re older due to a natural decline of beneficial bacteria in your gut.)

EndoMune Metabolic Rescue contains a proven blend of Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS (Xylooligosaccharides) that stimulates the release of hormones in your gut that reduce your appetite by promoting a greater sense of fullness.

If you’ve been struggling to get started on your weight loss journey, EndoMune Metabolic Rescue is formulated to help you start your weight loss journey in a safe, all-natural, gut-healthy way.

 

Resources

mSystems

Technology Networks: Immunology & Microbiology

Science Focus/BBC

Nourish/WebMD

 

Illustration of a digestive system and a curled arm showing bicep muscle. Text: Your gut and muscle growth

How Gut Affects Muscle Growth

Your Gut and Growing Muscles

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body, whether it’s strength training, swimming, tai chi or walking.

What’s more, the benefits of exercise — from losing weight and reducing your risks of serious disease to strengthening your bones and muscles — are many and well-proven.

We already know exercise changes our gut for the better based on the production of butyrate, short-chain fatty acids that protect your gut from more harmful bacteria.

Did you know the health of your gut microbiome may affect the growth of your muscles too?

The Antibiotic Angle

Researchers at the University of Kentucky put this question to the test by taking an interesting approach using 42 female mice.

During the nine-week trial, some mice were fed water laced with a variety of low-dose antibiotics, no friend to the gut, while others were fed plain water. During this period all test animals had access to running wheels to encourage exercise.

No surprise, the muscles of mice that were fed antibiotics didn’t grow nearly as much as the group protected from antibiotics, although both sets of test animals exercised for about the same amount of time.

Of course, these results provoke new questions regarding the kinds of antibiotics used and whether the gender of the test animals really made as difference.

The fact remains that there is a connection between the presence of specific gut bacteria and muscle growth, according to Dr. John McCarthy, and associate professor at the University of Kentucky.

McCarthy cited a recent study in Nature Medicine that linked endurance for elite marathon runners and mice to the abundance of a specific species of gut bacteria (Veillonella).

The goal here isn’t limited only to improving athletic performance. This growing body of knowledge will help to identify substances made by gut bacteria to promote muscle growth among people dealing with cancer or aging, says study co-author Taylor Valentino.

The Lesson Learned

For now, no matter what researchers learn about muscle growth, our take-home message remains pretty simple…

Even after taking in all of this research, we’re still learning about the wide-ranging benefits the gut has to offer as well as the many problems associated with antibiotics.

If you have concerns about what to do when you’re prescribed an antibiotic by your family physician, be sure to take a look at our recently updated antibiotic protocol for guidance.

Antibiotics have a depleting effect on the bacteria in your gut that keep your immune system strong and healthy. One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect and support is to take a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, about two hours before that scheduled antibiotic.

That extra time gives those beneficial bacteria to make it to your gut and protect your gut, the center of your immune system.

Resources

The Journal of Physiology

The Physiological Society

Harvard Medical School

MedlinePlus

Clinical OMICs

Nature Medicine

Four spoons holding different types of sugar and artificial sugars. Text: Should you use artificial sweeteners?

Artificial Sweeteners Disrupt Gut Health

Artificial Sweeteners Disrupt Your Gut Health

Artificial sweeteners are some of the first options people consider when they want to lose weight yet still satisfy their sweet tooth.

But, as we’ve learned from previous research, there are tradeoffs when you turn to popular products like artificial sweeteners. Some of them may do more harm than good to your health.

An international research team from Israel and Cyprus recently took a second look at how those six artificial sweeteners affect human health.

Based on a new report featured in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, scientists found three of those very popular artificial sweeteners used in so many “diet” foods, sports supplements and carbonated beverages may interfere with how the bacteria in your gut communicate and could increase your risk of disease.

 

The Unsweet Results

The test was a very simple one as researchers exposed light-emitting bacteria to a half-dozen FDA-approved artificial sweeteners contained in many sports supplements athletes use.

Three of those artificial sweeteners — aspartame, sucralose and saccharin — reduced the light from the light-emitting bacteria, signaling to researchers that communication between bacteria was disrupted.

Why this new knowledge is so important: Labeling on products like popular diet sodas and sports drinks don’t accurately tell us how much of the fake stuff they contain, says Dr. Ariel Kushmuro, who runs the Ben-Gurion University’s Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology.

In other words, how much artificial sweetener is contained in that sports drink and what amount of it creates health problems? Given that aspartame, sucralose and saccharine range in sweetness from 200 to 700 more than table sugar, it’s hard to be completely sure.

Healthier Options

If you’re ready to reduce your intake of diet drinks and sports supplements, you do have better, healthier options, like drinking water that promotes more natural fullness and keeps you hydrated.

However, if you’re not ready to give up on sweet drinks and other products containing artificial sweeteners, it’s a good idea to protect the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut by taking a probiotic with proven strains of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families, like those found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

References

International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Ben-Gurion University

Israel 21

Times of Israel

Illustration of woman holding her hands in the shape of a heart over her gut while arrows point in cyclical directions from her gut to her brain. TEXT: Gut-Brain Axis 101 A gutsy link to your emotions.

Gut-Brain Axis 101

Gut-Brain Axis 101: The Gutsy Link to Your Emotions

How often do you make decisions based on a gut feeling during the day? And, do you notice butterflies in your stomach when you do make them?

We’re not exactly sure about the origins of those sayings but it seems as if we have known about the gut-brain axis — the connection that links the brain, intestines and emotions — for a very long time.

Although its existence had been debated in the past, that became impossible once modern medicine proved some 90 percent of serotonin (a neurotransmitter chemical that governs mood) in the body originates in the human gut, and specific bacteria play important roles in producing it.

The gut and brain are linked by the enteric nervous system (ENS), a network of 100 million nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus down to the rectum. Although the ENS doesn’t “think,” it transmits signals between the gut and brain.

Unfortunately, we begin to notice the gut-brain axis in our lives when these two-way signals become scrambled due to disruptions in the healthy balance of gut bacteria due to variables like a poor diet that lead to more stress and less restful sleep.

The good news: There are safe and effective tools you can use to bring balance to your gut and calm your brain.

 

Protecting Your Gut-Brain Axis At Work

The world of information technology (IT) — encompassing everything from information processing to building computers and websites like this one — is known for the high-pressure, 24/7 demands it places on its workforce.

Given those many stressors, a team of Chinese scientists investigated how to create more emotional stability to IT workers via the gut-brain axis with the help of a daily probiotic.

Out of 90 recruits, 36 IT workers (ages 20-60) met the criteria to participate in an eight-week trial, largely based on high initial stress test scores.

During the trial, workers took a probiotic containing a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus plantarum (one of the 10 strains of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic).

After the testing period, stress test scores dropped significantly in terms of self-perceived stress, depression and overall negative emotions as well as gastrointestinal problems.

Additionally, scientists also noted a decrease in cortisol (the body’s primary stress hormone) with a coordinated increase in positive emotions with IT workers taking a probiotic.

 

The Gut-Brain Health Solution

You can tell the popularity of the gut-brain axis has grown by leaps and bounds given all of the new attention by medical experts looking for alternatives for the alarming rise of prescription drugs to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia just during the coronavirus pandemic.

Making lifestyle changes in the form of eating healthier diets full of nutrient-dense foods rich in dietary fiber and getting more sleep really do matter, but those aren’t the only tools at your disposal if you want to keep your gut-brain axis working as it should.

Taking one more precaution — a probiotic — gives your gut-brain axis the extra protection you need, especially on those extra-long workdays from home or at the office.

Make sure that any probiotic you select contains proven, lab-tested strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic, made from non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates that feed the good guys in your gut (they may help you fight cancer too).

It really takes a community of beneficial bacteria and prebiotics to protect your gut-brain axis. That why EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is formulated with 10 strains and 30 BILLION CFUs of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus the prebiotic FOS.

 

Resources

Frontiers in Nutrition

Healthline

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Caltech

Neuroendocrinology

Mayo Clinic

University Hospitals/Cleveland Medical Center

Yellow illustration of a gut with a magnifying glass being held up to it and showing probiotic bacteria while enlarged red illustrations of coronavirus are being smashed against the gut illustration and breaking

Does Diet Affect Covid Symptoms?

How Your Gut Health May Affect The Severity of the Coronavirus

Eating a poor diet like the typical Western diet — full of processed foods full of sugar, fats, and refined grains — creates all kinds of problems for your health related to your gut.

For starters, these nutrient-poor diets increase your risks of obesity and your vulnerability to a cluster of serious health conditions (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer) known as metabolic syndrome.

Now, some health experts believe unhealthy diets may also increase your risks of a more severe case of the coronavirus too, based on a recent review of research published in mBio, the journal of the American Society of Microbiology.

Another Culprit: Leaky Gut

The report stems from a question posed by Dr. Heenan Stanley Kim, a microbiologist at Korea University’s Laboratory for Human Microbial Interactions: Why are countries like the U.S with solid medical infrastructures being hit so hard by the coronavirus?

As we know very well, the common link, the Western diet already disrupts the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Another gut health problem Dr. Kim points to is leaky gut, a condition in which breakdowns in the intestinal wall allow toxic waste products, undigested food, bacteria and viruses to break through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.

Leaky gut may be a pathway in which the coronavirus spreads from the gut into the bloodstream and other organs in the body, leading to more severe cases. (A healthy gut supported by the presence of butyrate may block that kind of response.)

Rebalancing Your Gut

This report supports a study we shared with you recently that found a link between imbalances in the gut and the severity of coronavirus. Its chief finding: The guts of coronavirus patients contained fewer strains of beneficial bacteria that could muster an immune system response.

What’s more, studies appearing in other medical journals (Gastroenterology and Clinical Infectious Diseases) in 2020 have found similar links to gut health imbalances and the coronavirus, so there’s a likely connection.

Fortunately, you can improve the health of your gut very easily by taking some simple steps.

First and foremost, it’s critical to eat a healthy, balanced diet, especially when you’re prescribed an antibiotic, a well-known disruptor to your gut health.

Make sure that diet includes a daily “dose” of dietary fiber. Just 1 ounce (30 grams) is all it takes and that’s pretty easy to do, especially if you enjoy eating strawberries, lentils, beans, apples, and whole grains.

Another way to ensure the bacteria in your gut stay in balance: Take a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotics,‑with 10 buildings blocks from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus a prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.

Resources

mBio

Gut Microbiota For Health

Mayo Clinic

Clinical Infectious Diseases

Gastroenterology

Thumbs up graphic with healthy foods inside. Thumbs down with unhealthy food inside. Text: Do you have IBS? How's Your Diet?

How Diet Affects IBS

Poor Diets Increase IBS Problems

For those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), not a day goes by without the imminent reminders of symptoms of diarrhea, constipation or both. But, did you know up to 45 million Americans suffer from IBS, the most common reason patients consult with a gastroenterologist?

Although the experts aren’t exactly sure what causes IBS, a lot of factors play a role, from emotional issues and bacterial infections in your digestive tract to food sensitivities.

What’s more, these factors vary among patients, and there are different subtypes of IBS, depending on whether diarrhea (IBS-D) or constipation (IBS-C) dominate or both symptoms alternate (IBS-A).

However, we may be learning some important clues about the causes of severe IBS related to a very familiar culprit of all sorts of gut health problems: The typical Western diet filled with low-fiber processed foods and bad fats.

Bad Diets, Severe Symptoms

Suspecting poor diets could be a major factor in IBS, a group of European researchers compared the health of 149 adults with IBS (almost half suffering from severe symptoms) to 52 healthy patients by monitoring their eating habits (four days) and stool samples (two weeks) closely via detailed diaries.

Once patients turned in their diaries, three facts stood out right away.

  1. Eating meats and plant-based foods were major drivers in determining dietary patterns. (This makes sense given what we know about paleo diets creating serious gut health imbalances and heart health problems.)

 

  1. IBS patients with more severe symptoms ate diets filled with more sugary, carbohydrate-rich, low-fiber processed foods that are found in the Western diet.

 

  1. The guts of IBS patients produced a lot of specialized microbial enzymes related to breaking down complex carbohydrates known as food glycans. That overproduction of glycans is important, given how they shape bacteria in the human gut, according to a study appearing in Nature Reviews Microbiology.

The Take-Home Message

If you’re suffering from IBS, many physicians will recommend eating a more balanced diet focused on avoiding gluten and foods that generate more gas and consuming more fiber. Your doctor may also recommend following a low FODMAP diet, and other important lifestyle changes, like reducing your stress levels and getting more sleep and exercise.

If you’re having problems with IBS, you may want to avoid a drug like alosetron (Lotronex) that has its own share of unpleasant side effects, and consider taking a probiotic.

In addition to protecting the overall health of your gut, probiotics work well to maintain the motility in your intestines which lessens constipation, plus they are a safe, effective means to treat diarrhea too.

In fact, the latest guidelines issued by the British Society of Gastroenterology in the medical journal Gut now recommend probiotics as a frontline treatment for IBS.

But, not any probiotic will do the trick.

Taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotics —‑with 10 buildings blocks from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families — will help to treat the symptoms of IBS more effectively plus give your body’s immune system a much-needed boost.

Resources

image of broken chocolate bar on white background

What’s a “Healthy Dose” of Chocolate For Women?

At least once a year, we review new studies bragging about the benefits of eating chocolate for your health and gut. Some of these studies read like ads for the newest “healthy” chocolate candy, and often sound too good to be true.

This latest study we reviewed claims eating 100 grams of milk chocolate consistently at specific times of the day can help post-menopausal women lose weight and improve their gut health.

But there always seems to be a catch…

The good news

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Spain compared the health of 19 post-menopausal women from Spain with healthy BMIs in relation to eating 100 grams of milk chocolate at very different times during the waking day.

Over a nine-week period, patients would alternate between periods of eating milk chocolate within an hour of waking up for the day, an hour before going to sleep at night or not eating it at all.

During the study, women never gained significant weight during any prescribed time period, but lost inches around their waists — only after consuming milk chocolate in the morning.

At night, women experienced far less hunger and cravings for sweets when eating milk chocolate, plus their guts produced greater quantities of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), leading to beneficial changes in some gut bacteria species.

Can chocolate really help manage your weight and gut?

Before you begin stocking up on milk chocolate in an effort to improve your health, here’s something to think about…

Eating 100 grams of milk chocolate every day amounts to consuming just under a quarter-pound of the sweet stuff, about 25 grams of fat, 50 grams of sugar (depending on how it’s processed) and 18 grams of caffeine. All of these variables create problems if you’re wanting to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Achieving those kinds of nutritional benefits may be possible in a study, but not necessarily in the busy world we live in with a multitude of daily responsibilities.

You must have a healthy gut and get the basics right (good sleep, good exercise, good diet) if you want to even consider trying chocolate in the first place.

In addition to making those lifestyle changes, taking a probiotic with targeted strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic (that feeds the good guys in the gut) has helped patients get a good start on their weight-loss journey.

For example, EndoMune Metabolic Rescue features two key components — Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS — that aid in a healthy weight loss by improving metabolic efficiency and stimulating the release of hormones in your gut that reduces your appetite and waistline.

Do you really need a “healthy dose” of chocolate when taking care of your health and gut can make a real difference?

References

100 grams = 3.5 ounces

 

 

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