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Diet

Health Issues Related to Diet

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

 

 

text graphic: Ready to lose the extra weight you gained during lockdown? Eat more fiber. Read those nutrition labels. Hit the gym. Check in with your mental health. Give your metabolism a natural boost.

Ready To Lose Your Extra COVID-19 Weight?

With vaccines readily available and the number of infections and fatalities declining, Americans are emerging out of COVID-19 hibernation and back into the world yet, feeling a little heavier than usual.

Many of us saw social media memes joking about the quarantine 15 (a play off of the “Freshman 15”, however, this is a clear signal of more serious concerns about what social isolation, working from home, less separation from the couch, and a kitchen full of snacks could do to our collective health.

Unfortunately, this extra COVID-19 weight is real, but the numbers are higher than the quarantine 15 many of us expected.

By The Numbers

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports more than 60 percent of Americans they surveyed experienced changes in weight, with 42 percent admitting to much higher weight gains than they expected.

Although 15 pounds was the median weight gain, the APA found the average boost in weight was nearly double that, at 29 pounds. Americans also reported in disruptions in sleep (too much or too little) and greater concerns about their health after the pandemic.

A smaller study of patients in 37 states found Americans gained about a half-pound every 10 days, amounting more 1.5 pounds each month, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

What’s more, that 1.5-pound weight gain may be an underestimate, says Dr. Gregory Marcus, a UCSF professor of medicine and author of a report appearing in JAMA Network Open.

The combination of COVID-19 weight gains spurred by poor diets, plus generous amounts of stress, sleep issues and isolation (not to mention a lack of exercise) have served up a perfect recipe for worsening the existing problems we have with another health epidemic: Obesity.

Your COVID-19 Weight Loss Plan

The good news: Despite these gloomy numbers, here are four very simple steps right now to jumpstart your COVID-19 weight loss plan.

  1. It’s time to diversify that Western diet chock full of processed foods by eating a more nutrient-dense menu full of fruits, lean meats (easy on the red meat) and foods rich in dietary fiber.
  2. Pay closer attention to nutritional labels of the foods you eat, and be careful to not overdo it on products like sugar substitutes like stevia.
  3. Now, that gyms are opening up again, you have no excuse not to get more active with exercise. Even taking aside a few minutes each day for some kind of easy movement, like taking a walk or doing tai chi, makes a difference.
  4. Are you setting aside a few minutes for some personal time to destress at the end of the day? Neglecting your mental health can create bigger problems with anxiety that can become more challenging if left untreated.

By now, you’ve probably noticed a strong gut health connection in this COVID-19 weight loss plan, and that’s critical, especially for your immune health.

Even with this simple plan, losing that extra COVID-19 weight can still be difficult. That’s why we formulated EndoMune Metabolic Rescue to give your weight loss plan a healthy, natural boost.

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

With a nutritious diet, exercise and better stress management in place, EndoMune Metabolic Rescue can help you get your quarantine 15 weight loss plan on track!

Resources

 

 

Text over coffee mug: Is Stevia Really A "Gut-Safe" Sugar?

Is Stevia Really a “Gut-Safe” Sugar?

For a long time, people have been looking for ways to satisfy their sweet tooth cravings without having to sacrifice their waistlines or gut health for it. The real refined sugar contained in most processed foods that populate Western diets (including ones you’d never imagine) is a big no and the same applies for artificial sweeteners.

Whether it’s real sugar or the artificial sweeteners, both can create problems with the gut, either by blocking proteins that help you maintain a healthy weight or changing the composition of your gut bacteria for the worse.

With the reputation of real sugar and artificial sweeteners on the wane, a lot of you may have considered stevia, a sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant that contains nearly no calories.

Like many food products, stevia is marketed by manufacturers as a natural one, even though it’s actually processed or combined with other ingredients to create a sweetener.

But is stevia really good for your gut?

An unbalanced answer

Considering its emerging popularity, scientists at Ben Gurion University in Israel studied the effect of stevia extracts (steviol, Reb A and stevioside) in the lab on a strain derived from the harmful E. coli bacteria with an emphasis on digesting food.

Like other sweeteners, however, stevia created problems, but not by tipping the balance of good versus bad bacteria in the gut as one might assume.

Instead, stevia had the effect of disrupting the communication between bacteria in the gut, which could explain why some people experience constipation, gas or stomach pain after using it in their coffee or in making foods.

This study serves as an initial analysis that shows more work needs to be done “before the food industry replaces sugar and artificial sweeteners with stevia,” says lead researcher Dr. Karina Golberg.

The take-home message

Don’t be too concerned that there’s no “safe” sweetener you can use that will help you in your quest to protect your gut health and keep the pounds off. Here are simple steps you can take that can make a difference today.

  1. Stay hydrated with clean fresh water. (A healthy tip: Add lemon slices along with a dash of cinnamon or turmeric to your water for extra flavor.)
  2. Moderation, moderation and moderation. Pay attention to what you’re eating or drinking and how your body feels afterward (even if tastes great).
  3. Read the Nutrition Facts displayed on the labels of any processed foods you eat for signs of added sugars.
  4. Protect the bacteria in your gut so they keep working as they should behind the scenes by taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is formulated with a proprietary blend of 10 bacterial strains plus a proven prebiotic (FOS) that can keep the microbiome communicating even in the presence of a “natural” sweetener like stevia.

References

EndoMune pills on a cutting board, surrounded by various fresh vegetables

Protect Your Gut on the Paleo Diet

You’ve probably heard of the Paleo Diet, one of the more popular diet strategies people use to lose weight.

Designed to imitate what scientists believe cavemen/cavewomen ate, this diet focuses on a narrower number of foods (lean meats, fresh fruits, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, plant-based oils and fish).

Although the tradeoffs — avoiding grains, dairy products and processed foods — can be a deal-breaker for some, growing research points to the Paleo Diet aiding in safe weight loss, improved cardiovascular health and lower BMIs.

As you make drastic alterations in your diet, however, the balance of bacteria in your gut changes too and not always for the better, particularly for your heart.

The heart-gut link

Foods rich in choline like liver and red meats that are part of a Paleo Diet plan may also increase the production of TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), which has been linked to an increased risk of blood clots that cause stroke and heart attacks, in the gut.

An Australian research team examined the effect of following a Paleo Diet by comparing the health of 44 patients on the meatier diet with a control group following more balanced diets.

A series of examinations determined that Paleo Diet patients had double the level of TMAO compared to the control group.

So, how did that happen?

Paleo Diet patients had some serious imbalances in their gut bacteria, including elevated levels of gut microbes like Hungatella. These kinds of microbes produce greater amounts of TMAO and lower levels of beneficial gut bugs that ferment dietary fiber like Bifidobacterium.

“Many Paleo diet proponents claim the diet is beneficial to gut health, but this research suggests that when it comes to the production of TMAO in the gut, the Paleo Diet could be having an adverse impact in terms of heart health,” says lead researcher Dr. Angela Genoni from Australia’s Edith Cowan University.

A probiotic solution

At first look, a simple solution for this looming heart-harming problem — increasing your intake of dietary fiber by eating whole grains — may work, but there goes your weight loss plan.

But, if you’re doing well on a Paleo Diet, a safer, smarter and healthy solution for treating this imbalance of gut bacteria is just as easy.

Taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families may make a world of difference, not only for your gut health, but your heart health too.

If weight loss and improved heart health are part of your dietary goals, you should consult with your physician and consider adding EndoMune Metabolic Rescue to your regimen too.

EndoMune Metabolic Rescue’s unique formula of Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS improves metabolic efficiency and boosts weight loss by stimulating the release of hormones that decrease your appetite and promote a greater sense of fullness.

When taken with EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, EndoMune Metabolic Rescue work together to support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Gut health and weight loss are very doable when you have the right tools like probiotics!

References

European Journal of Nutrition

Edith Cowan University

The Mayo Clinic

Harvard Medical School

National Institutes of Health

Gut Microbiota For Health

Chocolate bar broken up into pieces.

Is Dark Chocolate REALLY Good For Your Gut?

Lately, I’ve seen several articles bragging about the health advantages of eating dark chocolate.

Unfortunately, a lot of them sound too much like advertisements for products, like this “healthy candy taste test.” On top of this, these “healthy” chocolate bars can be pretty pricey too. In some cases, they cost more than $3 per bar!

So, I did a little research of my own and found some compelling evidence that supports some benefits for eating dark chocolate.

Comparing dark chocolate to lycopene

A group of European scientists compared the effects of dark chocolate and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found naturally in a lot of foods (from tomatoes and watermelon to red bell peppers and asparagus), on 30 patients who suffered from moderate obesity.

Scientists divided patients into five groups. Patients were assigned to take daily doses ranging from 7-30 mg of lycopene, dark chocolate alone and dark chocolate infused with 7 mg of lycopene for a month.

Interestingly, both lycopene and dark chocolate increased — together and separately — amounts of Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus strains in each patient.

In addition, the lycopene groups experienced dose-dependent changes in the blood, liver, skeletal muscle and skin.

Weighing the benefits and concerns

These gut-friendly results sound promising, but before you stock up on dark chocolate, there’s some important health concerns you need to consider.

  1. Not any dark chocolate will do. Patients were consuming 70 percent dark chocolate, which health experts estimate is the minimum percentage you need to achieve greater nutritional benefits.
  2. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids in dark chocolate, the less sweet and more bitter it will be.
  3. All dark chocolates are not processed equally. Depending on how the chocolate was processed chemically, any nutritional value it may have had could be lost.
  4. The average 2-ounce serving of 70 percent dark chocolate contains about 60 mg of caffeine, less than an 8-ounce cup of coffee (100 mg at minimum) by not by much.
  5. For many people, especially those dealing with existing health problems like obesity or diabetes, eating dark chocolate on a daily basis to give your gut health a boost isn’t the best idea. Also, extra ingredients add fats and calories that limit any benefits you hope to achieve.

My most important take-home reminder for you is that your gut must be healthy first to take any advantage of these chocolatey benefits.

Taking a daily probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, is the best first step you can take to improve the health of your gut right now.

Then, you can have dark chocolate, but only in moderation…

Resources

Biomed Research International

Washington Post

Mayo Clinic

CNN Health

My Food Data

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Walnut in the shape of a heart

Can Probiotic Foods Like Walnuts Boost Your Gut Health?

I get asked by A LOT of people about the best kinds of “probiotic foods” that can boost their gut health.

Many people are surprised to learn that simple adjustments to one’s daily diet — like adding almonds — may be better and easier than fermented foods that come with as many negatives as positives.

If you’re looking to boost your gut health and improve your heart health too, you may want to consider adding walnuts to your diet, according to researchers at Penn State University.

Testing the gut/heart health advantages

Previous studies have found the addition of walnuts to a diet that is low in saturated fats can benefit your heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Scientists at Penn State University and Juniata College examined the role gut health plays in those health benefits by tracking gut bacteria changes in relation to dietary changes and heart disease risk factors experienced by 42 overweight or obese patients over several months.

First, each patient was assigned to eat a standard Western diet, followed by a random series of three diets for six weeks at a time.

One of the three diets included walnuts, while the other two substituted walnuts with similar amounts of fatty acids contained in vegetable oils.

Then, scientists collected fecal samples from each of the patients three days prior to finishing each diet. What they found was surprising!

Eating real walnuts makes the difference

Compared to the other diets, the one that included walnuts produced real, measurable benefits.

With the walnut diet, researchers saw improvements in various gut bacteria and heart health, resulting in significant reductions in blood pressure, total cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol. The two diets that substituted walnuts for vegetable oils did not present these benefits.

“Foods like whole walnuts provide a diverse array of substrates — like fatty acids, fiber and bioactive compounds — for our gut microbiomes to feed on,” says Regina Lamendella, an associate professor of biology at Juniata College. “In turn, this can help generate beneficial metabolites and other products for our bodies.”

After this successful trial, the research team plans to examine how walnuts can make an impact on blood sugar levels.

Before you stock up on walnuts…

There’s little doubt about the link between the heart-healthy benefits of walnuts and the bacteria in your gut. However, before you start eating them every day or any other probiotic foods, I need to remind you about a few things…

While walnuts are very nutrient-dense and low in carbs, their fat content, at 65 percent, is high. A 1-ounce serving (14 half-pieces) of walnuts contains about 18 grams of fat, so be careful about how much you’re eating.

Also, due to their higher fat and fiber content, be very careful to eat small amounts of walnuts, especially if you experience problems with diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).

Eating walnuts, almonds or most probiotic foods are good in moderation. However, they don’t do a complete job of protecting your gut health like probiotics made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, plus a prebiotic that feeds the bugs in your gut like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Resources

Penn State University News

The Journal of Nutrition

Medical News Today

Healthline

Food Answers

Picky Eater Child Refusing To Eat

Your Picky Eating Kid May Be Experiencing Constipation

Does your child experience constipation?

Like gas, constipation is a pretty common health issue, but another gut-related problem most people, especially kids, don’t like talking about.

More than 18 percent of toddlers and about 14 percent of kids ages 4-18 face problems with constipation, based on recent research.

Some signs your child has issues with chronic constipation — bowel movements occurring no more than twice a week or soiling (unintentional leakage of stool or liquid on the underwear) due to a buildup of stool — are pretty apparent.

Some less noticeable problems kids experience include:

  • Pain in their stomach or while having a bowel movement.
  • Hard-to-pass bowel movements.
  • Holding in stools that can cause complications.

You may be surprised to learn your child’s picky eating habits could explain his/her constipation problems too.

Sensory issues

Underlying sensory issues experienced by preschool-age kids who are developing normally may be playing a key role in chronic constipation, according to a recent study appearing in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“In many cases, chronic constipation might be the first hint that the child also has some sensory issues and could benefit from occupational therapy,” says senior author Dr. Mark Fishbein, a pediatric gastroenterologist and associate professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Fishbein and his team of scientists in Chicago and Miami compared the health of 66 children (ages 3-5) dealing with chronic constipation with an equal number of control subjects with no health issues.

Part of their attention focused on how picky eating showed up in how kids responded to sensory stimuli.

Researchers soon learned that a heightened sensitivity to tastes, odors and textures in foods was the most important factor in predicting a child’s tendency to avoid the bathroom or becoming constipated.

The link between sensory sensitivity and constipation may not be apparent to the naked eye, says Dr. Fishbein. “However, increased sensory sensitivity can create discomfort and lead to avoidance, and we see that response in both food refusal and in the toileting behaviors of children with chronic constipation.”

Because these sensory problems are really common among children, Dr. Fishbein warns that it’s best to address this issue when kids are young, ideally before age 5, before these behaviors become harder to solve.

What parents can do

Treating your child’s constipation will take some time, persistence and patience on your part, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel — literally — if you follow these tips:

  1. Monitor your child’s daily intake of water (give them more) and milk (give them less).
  2. Work with your daughter or son to make regular visits to the toilet (make it fun).
  3. Feed your child foods containing dietary fiber, especially fruits and veggies (more is better).
  4. Don’t overdo the dosage of any laxative suggested by your child’s pediatrician (too much can be dangerous).

Have you considered giving your child a probiotic for constipation too? A recent report featured in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology found probiotics increased the number of times kids pooped each day, which goes a long way toward solving the constipation problem.

EndoMune Jr. Advanced Probiotic Powder (for children up to age 3) and EndoMune Jr. Advanced Chewable Probiotic (for children from ages 3-8) are multi-strain probiotics that contain four key strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that can work wonders in treating constipation.

Child prepared for food allergy reaction with epipen in lunchbox

Children’s Food Allergies and Gut Bacteria Imbalances

Children’s food allergies can be some of the most frustrating and common problems parents face.

Although some 170 foods can cause reactions, most of the problems kids have — ranging from mild to severe and fatal — can be boiled down to eight.

  • Wheat
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts (pecans, pistachios)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Milk

What’s more, 40 percent of kids with food allergies are allergic to more than one food, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

And, if you’re wondering when or if a child “outgrows” a food allergy, often it depends on the food. Some food allergies begin to fade away by age 5 (wheat, milk, egg, soy) while others are much more persistent (tree nuts, seafood, peanuts).

In one very tragic case reported earlier this year, an 11-year-old boy allergic to fish died by exposure to fumes from cod cooking on a stove.

Food allergies aren’t the only health problems young children face, however. Many of today’s children are born via C-section, have fewer opportunities to breastfeed and are exposed to antibiotics.

All of these things deplete your child’s gut health, leading to a host of other problems, not to mention slowing down the development of his/her immune system.

You can add food allergies to that list of problems, based on recent studies. (But there may be some hope on the way!)

Butyrate strikes again!

The common link between both studies: Healthy kids have gut microbiomes that are very different from those with allergies, according to two recent studies appearing in Nature Medicine.

This research followed somewhat similar models in that both collected fecal samples from healthy children and those with allergies, then transplanted them in mice to observe how their bodies reacted.

In the study conducted by scientists at the University of Chicago and Italy, the bodies of germ-free mice receiving gut bacteria as fecal transplants from eight healthy babies or ones with a food allergy to cow’s milk (the most common food allergy) reacted as you’d expect.

Germ-free mice receiving food-allergic bacteria experienced anaphylaxis, a severe and possibly life-threatening reaction, after drinking cow’s milk for the first time, while those with healthy bacteria didn’t.

After digging deeper into the composition of gut bacteria among test animals, researchers identified the species Anaerostipes caccae that may protect the body from allergic reactions when present in the gut. This species is part of bigger class of bacteria (Clostridia) that has been found to protect the body from nut allergies.

This class of bacteria also produces butyrate, a substance already known for protecting the gut from inflammation and more harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.

Missing gut bacteria

A similar and more recent study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital also took fecal matter from babies with and without food allergies, then transplanted it into mice that were sensitive to eggs.

Again, the mice receiving healthy gut bacteria were more protected from allergies than the those that were given bacteria sensitive to eggs. But that’s not all…

With the help of detailed analyses, researchers developed a two probiotic mixes of multiple strains of beneficial human gut bacteria that successfully suppressed allergic reactions in mice already experiencing problems.

Could a response to a food allergy be reversed with probiotics? This is very possible, given a report I shared with you recently that found Moms who took a probiotic and fish oil delivered babies who were more protected from eczema and egg allergies.

There’s a lot you can do to protect your baby’s gut after she/he is born, even if natural childbirth isn’t in the cards, starting with breastfeeding, full of nutrition and the healthy microbes your young child needs.

However, if breastfeeding is an issue or your baby needs an antibiotic to fight a common infection, you can turn to EndoMune Jr. Advanced Probiotic Powder, an infant probiotic containing a blend of four building block strains of beneficial bacteria plus a prebiotic.

kombucha tea in a mason jar sitting on a table

Kombucha Tea: Facts vs. Fiction

Does drinking a cup of slightly sweet tea containing a live fermented mix of bacterial and yeast cultures sound appealing to you?

For many people who drink kombucha tea, it does by a long shot.

You can’t make a trip to the grocery store without seeing shelves full of bottled kombucha teas in various flavors, along with books and instructional kits on how to make it at home.

Many people see the word “fermented” — just like yogurt, pickles, sourdough bread, sauerkraut and tempeh — and assume they’re enjoying a delicious source of beneficial bacteria.

But is it really all that beneficial? Let’s find out with a review of how it’s made by true believers at home.

Making kombucha at home

Kombucha is created by brewing tea — black, green or oolong — removing the bags, then adding sugar while the brew is still hot, according to Food Source Information, a food production resource created by Colorado State University

Once the tea cools to room temperatures, a spongy culture called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) is added to the brew along with a starter liquid made from previously fermented kombucha to prevent contamination of the tea.

(You can buy a SCOBY and starter liquid at a local health food store or even online.)

The tea and SCOBY are placed in a glass, plastic or stainless steel container, covered with a clean towel and out of direct sunlight for up to 10 days to ferment.

After that, the kombucha tea may be ready for extra flavoring but only if the pH levels of the mix are between 2.5-4.2 (no higher or lower for safety’s sake).

The fictional benefits

If the process of making kombucha at home sounds time-consuming and tricky, it is.

Making kombucha tea at home can be risky if people aren’t careful to keep it safe and sanitary from contamination from bugs like aspergillus that can harm people with compromised immune systems.

Back to addressing the initial question — Is kombucha tea really good for your gut? — there is very little hard medical evidence beyond subjective accounts to support it.

In fact, a recent review by researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine appearing in the Annals of Epidemiology found exactly one study (from 2002) documenting any health benefits of kombucha in human subjects.

Moreover, this review found a number of potential risks to human health, including hepatitis after drinking kombucha tea for two years.

That’s not surprising given that kombucha is unpasteurized and contains an unpredictable mix of bacteria that can create problems for people with weaker immune systems.

Plus, if you’re watching your weight, many mass-produced brands of kombucha drinks contain a lot of sugar, as much as 7 teaspoons per serving!

The best and safest way to replenish the bacteria your body and gut needs to maintain good health is also the most predictable one.

Taking a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, does the work to protect and boost your immune system and is far better at treating and protecting you from a wider range of health issues too.

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