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Digestive Health

Digestive Health related factors related to maintaining a healthy gut.

Hand holding a magnifying glass over an illustration of the digestive system.

Your Gut Health and Colon Cancer Risks

Your Gut Health and Colon Cancer Risks

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. What’s really worrisome is the steep rise in younger colon cancer patients under age 50. In fact, the number of colon cancer patients under age 55 has nearly doubled to 20 percent over the past decade and more people have died from it, according to recent numbers compiled by the Yale School of Medicine. Many factors associated with colon cancer — from a diet full of processed foods to a sedentary lifestyle — can exert a lot of influence on your microbiome in ways that could make it easier for precancerous polyps to grow in your colon, according to a new study appearing in Cell Host & Microbe.  

How Polyps Develop In Your Colon

Researchers at Harvard Medical School believe poor diets and sedentary lifestyles (plus tobacco and alcohol use) promote the growth of polyps via your gut in two ways:
  1. The diversity of your microbiome changes in ways that stimulate polyp growth due to external lifestyle factors.
  2. Lifestyle factors promote polyp growth directly which influences the microbiome by affecting the cells lining your gut.
They came to these conclusions after examining data collected on the health of 1,200 patients receiving routine colonoscopy screenings, including diet, medication use, lifestyles and stool samples. Their goal: Analyzing differences in gut bacteria signatures between those who had no evidence of polyps versus those who were diagnosed with two kinds of polyps (tubular adenomas or sessile serrated adenomas). Overall, 27 bacterial species significantly differed between patients with both sets of polyps and healthy patients. What comes next for researchers: Isolating those bacterial species to determine the functional relationships between them and polyp growth in the lab. But there’s a lot you can do to lower your colon risks long before that next study is published…  

Follow This Checklist To Lower Your Colon Cancer Risks!

  • Clean up your diet by eating more nutrient-dense whole foods full of fiber and natural sugars.
  • Take antibiotics only when you absolutely need them and as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Get off the couch and carve out a few minutes each day for exercise.
  • Protect the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut — the center of your immune system — by taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and a proven prebiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.


Cell Host & Microbe Harvard Medical School American Cancer Society Mayo Clinic CDC Yale School of Medicine
A spoon full of sugar. Text says "Are artificial sweeteners making your gut leak?"

Are Artificial Sweeteners Making Your Gut Leak?

Are Artificial Sweeteners Making Your Gut Leak?

Artificial sweeteners have been the go-to for many people wanting to satisfy their sweet tooths without the extra calories. These man-made chemicals are so effective, giant food manufacturers use them in many processed foods, even ones you’d never imagine (from packaged fruits to tortillas). But, as we’ve discussed previously, the tasty tradeoffs often do more harm than good especially for your gut. One of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners on the market — sucralose — is under more scrutiny than ever after a recent report from North Carolina State University (NCSU). If you use artificial sweeteners to add a little sugar to your morning coffee or to bake your favorite cookies, you will definitely think twice after reading this report!  

A Toxin For Your DNA and Gut

The biggest takeaway from this NCSU report appearing in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B: A compound formed when sucralose is digested in the gut — sucralose-6-acetate — is a genotoxin capable of causing damage to the DNA in your cells. Scientists came to this alarming conclusion after exposing human blood cells to sucralose-6-acetate, and observing how this chemical broke up DNA. And that’s not all. Exposing gut tissues that line the walls of the gut to sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate created opportunities for leaky gut. When your gut is exposed to sucralose and other artificial sweeteners, the lining of walls in your gut breaks down allowing toxic waste products and undigested food that would normally be removed in your feces to seep into your bloodstream, triggering inflammation that leads to even more health problems. “We found that gut cells exposed to sucralose-6-acetate had increased activity in genes related to oxidative stress, inflammation and carcinogenicity,” says study author Dr. Susan Schiffman. Scientists also detected trace amounts of sucralose-6-acetate in containers of sucralose you can buy in your local grocery store, Dr. Schiffman says. If you’re wondering how much sucralose is too much, trace amounts of sucralose-6-acetate contained in the average artificially sweetened drink exceed 0.15 micrograms, a threshold of toxic concern established by the European Food Safety Authority. These findings revealed such serious problems for human health, researchers recommended that federal health officials revisit the safety and regulatory status of sucralose.  

Here’s How To Protect Your Health and Your Gut

Dr. Schiffman says the best way to protect your health from this looming health issue is the easiest. “If nothing else, I encourage people to avoid products containing sucralose. It’s something you should not be eating.” That means giving up sweet drinks for water and processed foods made with artificial sweeteners for more whole foods. (Time to read the nutrition labels on any processed foods at the grocery store too!) Also, you’ll want to make an effort to heal and rebalance the health of your gut and a good probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that feeds the good bugs in your gut, can do the job!  


Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B North Carolina State University WebMD Cleveland Clinic Yahoo Life PubMed
Woman bringing yellow suitcase through airport.

Don’t Let Traveler’s Diarrhea Ruin Your Vacation

Don’t Let Traveler’s Diarrhea Ruin Your Vacation You know what time of year it is… You’ve been planning and saving a long time for that special vacation of a lifetime with your family. Now that the planning is over and the trip is nearly here, you may still be wondering if you’ve covered all of the bases. Is your vacation taking you to a warmer, international destination thousands of miles and several time zones away (even on a cruise)? If so, you will want to take steps to avoid a run-in with traveler’s diarrhea, the most common and predictable illness travelers face. Consuming contaminated foods and liquids are the main culprits of traveler’s diarrhea. Depending on what time of year, where people travel and the precautions you may or may not take, as many as 70 percent of you could be dealing with traveler’s diarrhea. So, why is traveler’s diarrhea so troublesome and harmful to your health?   The Persistent, Harmful Cause Of Traveler’s Diarrhea Researchers at Boston University and Umea University in Sweden have studied Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) or ETEC, the leading cause of traveler’s diarrhea, in hopes of finding ways to eliminate the bad bacteria without harming the good bacteria in a patient’s gut. Under the microscope, scientists got one step closer to understanding how ETEC can do so much harm. Using long thick filaments (also known as pili), ETEC cells bind themselves to cells in the gut through a process of winding and unwinding to help them hang around in your body and make you sick. This winding/unwinding of filaments also allows ETEC cells to adjust to their particular microenvironments (the urinary tract or gut) and keep them in place. Now that scientists better understand how ETEC works, their next task is determining how to get rid of them, a process that has taken nearly two decades in the laboratory just to get this far… Preventing Traveler’s Diarrhea Rather than wait around a whole lot longer for a possible “cure” for traveler’s diarrhea, here’s some easy steps you can take right to reduce your risks of illness on the road:
  • Maintain good hygiene with plain soap and water (avoid antibacterial soaps).
  • Don’t ask your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic to prevent traveler’s diarrhea, because it could do far more harm than good.
  • Know where your sources of water are coming from and avoid drinking unsterilized water. (Bottled water is your best friend!)
  • Take a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like those building block strains from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.
  Resources Structure The Brink/Boston University Cleveland Clinic CDC
Woman holding their gut. Text reads "IBS and your unbalanced microbiome"

IBS and Your Unbalanced Microbiome

IBS and Your Unbalanced Microbiome

How much does an unbalanced microbiome really affect your health?

Eating a nutrient-poor diet largely made up of highly processed foods — a tell-tale marker of an unbalanced microbiome — is so harmful that some experts believe it may exert a greater effect on your overall health than other factors like your genes.

So, it should come as no surprise that a lack of diversity in your gut may be one more indicator of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the most common condition gastroenterologists diagnose.


Comparing Data By The Numbers

A trio of Korean scientists came to this conclusion based on an analysis of data that compared the balance of gut bacteria among 567 IBS patients (360 adults and 207 children) to 487 healthy controls (244 children and 243 adults) for discrepancies between both groups.

Not only are the microbiomes of adult IBS patients less diverse, the abundance of 21 key strains of gut bacteria differed between healthy controls and IBS patients.

Although researchers believed the sample sizes of children weren’t large enough to make that same conclusion, the first step in this study (a comparison of 19 IBS patients to 24 healthy patients) also showed some significant differences in diversity between those with IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant) and healthy patients.


The Probiotic Way

Although Korean scientists say they will learn much more about the connection between unbalanced microbiomes and IBS in functional studies in the future, there are many steps you can take right now to treat both problems.

Lifestyle modifications like getting more sleep, eating more nutrient-dense, fiber-filled foods and avoiding gluten and reducing your stress can make a gut-healthy difference if your IBS symptoms are on the mild side.

Doctors can prescribe a drug, but that can be challenging depending on whether the main symptoms are diarrhea (IBD-D), constipation (IBS-C) or a mix of both (IBS-A).

But, if you want to avoid a drug, taking a probiotic is a safe and effective option that treats diarrhea safely, eases constipation and keeps your gut-brain axis in balance.

Just be sure you’re taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of bacteria like those from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that support the healthy diversity of bacteria in your gut.



Microbiology Spectrum

American Society for Microbiology



Simple graphic depicting a bottle of antibiotics surrounded by different colored illustrations of bacteria. Text says: "Why take probiotics with an antibiotic"

Why Take Probiotics With An Antibiotic

Why Take Probiotics With An Antibiotic

We spend a lot of time talking about antibiotics in this space for good reasons.

Once upon a time, antibiotics were considered “miracle” drugs and were prescribed for all kinds of reasons. Many of these uses were justified (strep throat was a fatal disease before antibiotics) but now these drugs are being prescribed for viral infections (common colds and the flu) that often create more health problems than solutions.

It’s hard to dispute how often antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately, based on the recent findings of an Oregon State University report on outpatient visits to health care providers.

In that Oregon State report, roughly 25 percent of the antibiotics were prescribed for the wrong reason and an additional 18 percent were prescribed for no reason at all, amounting to an alarming 56 million prescriptions during the study period.

Unfortunately, this unnecessary overuse of antibiotics coupled with our daily exposure to antimicrobial chemicals has created an environment in which these drugs often don’t work as they should or not at all.

At times in your life, you will need to take an antibiotic to resolve a health problem. That’s a given.

The number one piece of advice we consistently recommend: Take a probiotic, ideally one with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, to protect your gut, the center of your body’s immune system.

Although previous reports have cited probiotic benefits in reducing gut-related side effects when taking an antibiotic, some still question whether probiotics taken in conjunction with antibiotics protect the healthy composition and diversity of a patient’s microbiome.

However, a recent paper appearing in the Journal of Medical Microbiology confirms what we’ve been saying for a very long time.


The Probiotic Benefits

Researchers from TCU, the University of Texas and Mexico conducted a systematic review of 29 studies published over the past seven years related to how probiotics work alongside antibiotics.

Overall, the report concluded taking a probiotic with an antibiotic lessens or prevents changes to the composition of microbiomes, protects the diversity of species in the gut and even restores friendly bacterial species like Faecalibacterium prausnitzii that reduce inflammation.

When antibiotic treatments were combined with probiotics, the majority of those changes in gut bacteria were less pronounced and some were even prevented, says study co-author Dr. Elisa Marroquin, an assistant professor at TCU.

In fact, Dr. Morroquin says there is no good reason not to take a probiotic when antibiotics are prescribed.

Based on our antibiotic protocol (check out our Antibiotic 101 article), we suggest taking a probiotic like EndoMune about two hours before the prescribed antibiotic to give your microbiome time for those beneficial bacteria to reach your gut and protect your immune health.



Journal of Medical Microbiology

Microbiology Society

Medical News Today

Oregon State University

Middle aged man holding bag of groceries overstuffed with produce

How Men Can Avoid the Colon Cancer “Diet”

How Men Can Avoid the Colon Cancer “Diet”

There’s no doubt in the world that one of the easiest things you can do to protect your health and avoid serious disease — eating a nutrient-dense diet packed with lots of unprocessed whole foods, fiber and natural sugars — is one of the best things too.

Unfortunately, we see the old adage, You are what you eat!, play out every day in rising mortality rates on a global scale due to poor diets than smoking and car accidents.

A recent study appearing in The BMJ underscores the risk of poor diets, concluding that men raise their risk of developing colon cancer by 29 percent just by eating highly processed foods.


Rising Rates of Colon Cancer

You’ve probably read similar reports we have about the rising rates of colon cancer, leading scientists to predict it will become the leading cause of death for patients under age 50 by the end of this decade.

Researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy already had assumed diet was a major contributor in a colon cancer diagnosis, but who was more vulnerable and why.

Scientists reviewed data from more than 205,000 patients across three large studies that tracked dietary intake along with how often people consumed a list of some 130 foods for more than 25 years.

During that time, men were far more susceptible to colon cancer than women, largely due to eating diets full of highly processed meats, poultry, pork and fish, ready-to-eat meals and sugar-sweetened drinks.

These results led researchers to consider the possibility that other factors could be responsible for rising colon cancer risks among men, like the role food additives play in harming the balance of bacteria in the gut and promoting inflammation.


Reduce Your Colon Cancer Risks

Eating a healthier, fiber-rich diet made up of fewer highly processed meats along with incorporating some movement into your daily routine will go a long way toward reducing your colon cancer risks. However, we recommend adding a couple of things to your to-do list.

For one, get screened for colon cancer as soon as you’re able. Although the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended lowering the age for a first screening to age 45 last year, if you have a family history of colon cancer take the initiative and do it sooner.

Also, given what we already know about the health-harming use of antibiotics and their effect on raising your colon cancer risks, we recommend taking a daily probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and a proven prebiotic (that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut).

You can get the protection you need with the proprietary blend of 10 proven strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families and the prebiotic FOS contained in each serving of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.



Tufts Now



packet of sugar alternatives

Are Sugar Substitutes Safe For Your Gut?

Are Sugar Substitutes Safe For Your Gut?

The challenge for many people trying to lose weight often comes down to the tradeoffs they make along the way.

For example, low-calorie sugar substitutes are some of the most popular tools people use to satisfy their sweet tooth and keep their weight-loss goals on track.

However, we’ve seen plenty of evidence that sugar substitutes like sucralose, saccharine, aspartame and stevia create lots of gut health problems.

Could you be swapping one set of serious health problems for others by using zero-calorie sweeteners?


Sugar Substitutes Alter the Microbiome

Israeli researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science recently showed how a variety of sugar substitutes alter the microbiome negatively, even when consumed briefly in small amounts, according to a study appearing in Cell.

Scientists screened some 1,400 healthy patients before selecting 120 people (ages 18-70) for this project who had one thing in common: Each patient avoided artificially sweetened foods and drinks in their daily life.

Then, patients were divided into groups who consumed prescribed amounts one of four sweeteners (saccharin, sucralose, aspartame or stevia) and two control groups (glucose or no sweetener at all) for two weeks.

Compared to those in the control groups, patients who consumed any sugar substitute experienced unique changes in the composition and functionality of their microbiomes.

Also, patients in the sucralose and saccharin groups had experienced even more significant alterations in how their bodies metabolized these chemicals, a warning sign of metabolic disease, by altering their glucose tolerance.

As one last check, researchers transplanted gut bacteria from 40 “sugar” patients into germ-free mice that had never consumed it to observe any changes. No surprise, the changes in glucose tolerance among mice consistently mirrored those of their human donors.

“These findings reinforce the view of the microbiome as a hub that integrates the signals coming from the human body’s own systems and from external factors such as the food we eat, the medications we take, our lifestyle and physical surroundings,” says lead researcher Dr. Eran Elinav.


Losing Weight Safely

Although consuming sugar substitutes in amounts big or small can harm your gut and the way your body breaks down glucose, you still have healthy options that are pretty easy to follow to keep losing weight and protect your gut.

For one, drinking plenty of clean water keeps you hydrated. (Add some flavor to your water with slices of lemon along with a dash of turmeric or cinnamon.)

If you can’t give up your favorite “diet” soft drink, be sure to protect the balance of bacteria in your gut by taking a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

And, if you want some extra help to lose those extra pounds, consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, a probiotic uniquely formulated with Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS that promotes a sense of fullness and protects your gut health.




Weizmann Institute of Science


Woman running along a street. Running away from camera.

Should Long-Distance Runners Take Probiotics?

Should Long-Distance Runners Take Probiotics?

There’s no doubt exercise is one of the best things you can do for the health of your body and your gut.

However, some forms of exercise can be more taxing on the gut. For example, as many as 90 percent of long-distance runners experience “runner’s stomach,” the gastrointestinal distress associated with cramping, constipation, bloating, nausea, urgency and pain.

There are lots of ways for athletes to ease symptoms of runner’s stomach, including staying hydrated to paying closer attention to their diets.

Taking a multi-strain probiotic could be another important tool competitive runners use to avoid gut-related distress, based on a recent Polish study appearing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.


How Probiotics Affect Running

Sixty-six active long-distance runners between ages 20-60 were assigned to take a multi-strain probiotic or a placebo twice a day for three months while running at least 3 miles for five or more days a week, participating in strength training and completing food diaries.

(Participants in the probiotic group received proprietary strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium lactis similar to those contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)

After the study period ended, scientists uncovered some beneficial gut health changes that were related to taking multi-strain probiotics, but not with diet.

Female runners enjoyed many probiotic benefits, including higher levels of iron, good HDL cholesterol, potassium, sodium and triglycerides (often depleted by high levels of intense physical activity).

Generally, higher percentages of men and women in the probiotic group reported overall improvements in their health along with sharp drops in alternating symptoms of constipation and diarrhea that are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


Can Probiotics Help Runners?

While researchers discovered some new benefits for distance runners associated with multi-strain probiotics, even they admit that their work is just beginning. More time to conduct the study plus a deeper dive into the gut health of each patient could’ve revealed even greater benefits.

The good news keeps growing for probiotics with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that are better equipped to treat a wider range of problems, like treating Long COVID symptoms to protecting your gut when taking an antibiotic.



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Runner’s World

Inside Tracker


Five people toasting a "cheers" with glasses of beer

How Beer Affects The Human Gut

How Beer Affects The Human Gut

The football season has officially (and finally) arrived and along with it comes the tradition of drinking beers at a game, local bar or in front of your TV.

But, is drinking beer actually good for your gut? Lately, the health results have been mixed, with studies testing non-alcoholic beers or alcoholic beers but few with both.

That changed when a research team from Portugal recently launched a small trial that monitored the health of 19 healthy men who were randomly assigned to drink 11 ounces of an alcoholic (5.2 percent) or non-alcoholic lager beer with dinner for 28 consecutive days.

Based on analyses of stool and blood samples collected before and after the testing period, standard health markers — weight, BMI, heart health and metabolism — for patients didn’t change but their microbiomes did for the better, according to the study that appeared in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Scientists observed increased diversity in each patient’s microbiome, plus higher levels of fecal alkaline phosphatase that show an overall improvement in intestinal health.

Those benefits would make some sense in the short-term, given that beer is brewed through fermentation just like kombucha tea.

But, more diversity doesn’t necessarily mean increases in the healthiest kinds of gut bacteria. Microbial functionality wasn’t evaluated in this small study, so some boosts in gut diversity could come from unhealthy bacteria that could harm your health in the long run.

Plus, some experts are concerned that people could use these results to justify chasing gut health improvements in a beer bottle rather than working on their cleaning up their Western lifestyles and adding more fiber-rich foods to their daily diets.

Want to give your gut some extra help that works safely and reliably?

Consider taking a probiotic that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families and a proven prebiotic (FOS) that keeps the bugs in your gut well fed like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

The moral of the story: Enjoy that beer you’re drinking (responsibly) while watching football at home or at the game and don’t count on it to help you protect the health of your gut… Doctor’s orders!



Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

American Chemical Society




Child playing with dog outside

Could Your Dog Protect Your Child’s Gut Health?

Could Your Dog Protect Your Child’s Gut Health?

You would have a very hard time finding anyone who believes their pets aren’t important four-legged members of their families, especially dogs.

Even when you don’t feel like taking care of yourself, owning a dog pushes you to get out of the house in the sunshine even for a few minutes every day. Mr. Fido needs that loving attention and so do you.

In addition to the unconditional love dogs provide, canines may also offer some additional gut health protection from Crohn’s disease for your young children, according to researchers at the University of Toronto.


The Hygiene Hypothesis Strikes Again

Scientists collected health information from nearly 4,300 patients from a Canadian database (gathering genetic, environmental and microbial information) for more than five years to search for environmental factors that could protect young kids from Crohn’s disease.

Among the factors examined in addition to the presence of a dog: Living on a farm, family size, growing up with other pets and drinking well water and unpasteurized milk.

Overall, a child living with a dog between ages 5-15 had a 37 percent reduced risk of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The only other factor that offered more protection: Living in larger families of more than three members during a child’s first life of life lowered the risk of Crohn’s by 64 percent.

The common link between dogs and larger families and a greater protection from Crohn’s disease: Being exposed to a wider array of microbes helps young kids strengthen their developing immune systems versus living in more sterile environments, as described by the hygiene hypothesis.

A child’s exposure to dogs, especially from ages 5-15, was linked with a better balance of gut bacteria, healthy gut permeability and a stronger immune response.


No Gut Benefits From Living With Cats

Unfortunately, living with cats offered no extra protection, says Dr. Williams Turpin, the study’s senior author. “It could potentially be because dog owners get outside more often with their pets or live in areas with more green space, which has been shown previously to protect against Crohn’s.”

There’s another way to protect and enhance your child’s gut health, even if you don’t own a dog or your nuclear family is a small one.

Giving your child a probiotic containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families plus a prebiotic (FOS) can make a gut-healthy difference that gives the developing immune systems a much-needed boost.



Digestive Disease Week

CBS News


Mayo Clinic

Verywell Health

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