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Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging depends on maintaining a healthy digestive system aided by probiotics.

photo of woman sleeping. Text on image: Healthy Sleep, Healthy Gut

Healthy Sleep, Healthy Gut

A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. In fact, many health experts view sleep as a way your body “reboots,” much like a computer, to repair and restore itself from the stresses of the day.

Previously, we’ve talked about how disrupting your sleep-wake schedule — better known as your body’s circadian clock — not only steals time your body needs to replenish and restore its resources, it harms the health of your gut microbiome too.

But how?

Good Sleep, Good Gut Diversity

Researchers from Nova Southeastern University and Middle Tennessee State took on the job of finding gut health connections to sleep with the help of 26 healthy patients.

Over 30 days, patients were monitored 24/7 for their sleep-wake activity (by wearing smart watches), took tests to measure their cognitive skills in eight areas and provided saliva and fecal samples.

No surprise, sleep quality and total sleep time yielded significant benefits for patients related to the diversity of species and richness of their microbiomes, while fragmented sleep patterns affected overall sleep quality and gut health adversely.

On the cognitive side, the gut health/good sleep connection stood out in a few measures including abstract matching, while a lack of richness was linked to poorer risk decision-making.

Scientists also found increased levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) that were linked to total sleep time and positive impacts on diversity and richness of the gut microbiome.

The Take-Home Message

On the surface, getting more sleep along with the quality and time you devote to it goes a long way towards the health of your gut, and thus, your overall health.

Also, following good hygiene before you go to sleep by taking simple steps — maintaining a consistent sleep routine and turning off your phone, laptop computer or tablet about an hour before you turn off the lights — can help.

Health experts also believe taking a probiotic along with a prebiotic may do lots of good, not only to promote better more restful sleep, but to protect the rich diversity of bacteria in your gut as well. But not just any probiotic will do…

Be sure to look for a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families that mirror the diversity of bacteria in your gut, plus a prebiotic that feeds the “good guys” in your gut, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

References

 

Text: Does a Healthy Gut-Brain Axis Make You Wiser?

Does a Healthy Gut-Brain Axis Make You Wiser?

Not so long ago, medicine debated the existence of the gut-brain axis, the connections that link to and influence your brain, emotions and gut microbiome. It’s hard to dispute that link now, given that about 90 percent of your body’s serotonin, a chemical that works as a brain transmitter, is generated by bacteria in the human gut. Many of us have been more in touch with our gut-brain axis than ever before during the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We know our gut-brain axis is working when we make those decisions that create butterflies in our stomachs, but could other emotions be telling us everything is working smoothly as it should?

The less lonely gut microbiome

Multiple studies have shown a relationship between the levels of wisdom (more happiness and life satisfaction) and loneliness. For example, the wiser a person is the less lonely they feel, and vice versa.

Scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine recently took this connection between loneliness and wisdom a step further to a gut level in a study appearing in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

UCSD researchers examined the gut health (through fecal samples) and mental health scores of 187 patients ranging in age from 28-97.

Overall, greater levels of wisdom, social support, compassion and engagement were linked to healthier gut microbiomes.

Conversely, a reduced gut diversity was seen in patients, who were more vulnerable to loneliness, particularly older folks who may be more susceptible to health-related consequences, and some of them could lead to death too.

The gut-brain axis in action

What UCSD researchers described in their results points to the gut-brain-axis in action, with the diversity of gut bacteria being the key factor.

The microbial diversity of your gut is critical to so many different parts of your health. Something as simple as eating a Western diet full of high-fat diets and sugar can be a real problem.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to repair and protect the health of your gut and brain right now.

  1. Clean up your diet, which may be more statistically beneficial to your overall health than giving up smoking.
  2. Get the right amount of sleep every day
  3. Step up your game with exercise.
  4. Take a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families plus a proven prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

References

 

 

Coffee and Gut Health

Coffee, Chronic Disease and Your Gut

Hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear news about the next “best” food for your gut. Here at EndoMune, we keep up with these developments pretty regularly because you never know when a patient will ask us, Is this really true? Well, a patient quizzed us recently about the benefits of drinking coffee related to the gut, so we did some research. You may be surprised about the answer.

Does coffee drinking matter?

Curious about the benefits of coffee consumption, scientists at Baylor College of Medicine analyzed the gut health of 34 patients in a unique way by collecting several colon biopsies during their colonoscopies.

Patients also answered questionnaires that determined if they drank coffee containing more or less than 82.9 milligrams of caffeine per day. (The average 8-ounce cup contains 95 milligrams.)

Based on the health of colon samples and self-reported coffee consumption, patients who downed at least two cups of coffee every day had healthier gut microbiomes than those who drank less than that or none at all.

Heavy coffee drinkers had more diverse gut bacteria, and it was more evenly distributed in the large intestine. Additionally, the guts of heavy coffee drinkers were less likely to contain a strain of bacteria linked to obesity and metabolic problems (Erysipelatoclostridium).

Just because you CAN drink coffee…

Some experts believe coffee can make a gut-healthy difference thanks to the polyphenols and antioxidants it contains, just as they do in plant foods.

What about the side effects of drinking too much coffee?

Just as we reminded you often about foods celebrated for their “probiotic” benefits — walnuts, almonds, and dark chocolate — it’s all about moderation.

Overdoing it on coffee, with its high acid content, can lead to more gut health problems (heartburn and IBS) than benefits.

The best advice I can give you: Your gut must be healthy first before you can take advantage of any small benefits coffee or any other food may provide.

One of the most important things you can do to improve your gut health right now is taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

Our multi-strain probiotic, EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, is uniquely fortified with ten strains of beneficial bacteria and 30 billion CFUs plus a proven prebiotic (FOS) that does the dirty work behind the scenes to feed the good bacteria living in your gut.

References

 

 

 

Bad diet or bad genes

The Gut or Your Genes: What Affects Your Health More?

We’re pretty sure you’ve heard the same old phrase, You are what you eat! way too many times to count.

Nevertheless, there’s a certain amount of logic to this saying, given that eating poorly has been proven to kill you faster than smoking or even a serious car accident!

Plus, the three leading causes of deaths associated with inadequate diets — cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes — can be largely preventable with the right amount of attention to your health.

There’s no question the quality and kinds of foods you eat also affects the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut very directly… but just how much?

Would you think twice about eating a nutrient-dense diet more often and processed foods a little less often if you knew doing so had a more powerful effect on your overall health than your genes?

Nutrition matters

The foundation upon which this international study of nearly 1,100 patients conducted in the U.S. and Europe was built is one we’ve talked about for a long time.

The quality of the diet you eat every day directly affects your gut, leaving you more or less vulnerable to health problems.

Patients who ate a diverse diet full of minimally-processed, nutrient-rich foods had healthy microbiomes, while those consuming unhealthier diets chock full of processed foods, juices, and refined grains had microbiomes full of harmful bacteria.

That’s not new.

What is new: Scientists identified specific bacterial strains associated with affecting a patient’s risks of health problems like heart disease, obesity, and heart disease, both good and bad.

For example, the presence of the species Blastocytis was associated with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels after meals, certainly a good thing.

What’s more, scientists linked these bacteria to specific food groups, nutrients, and diets, which explains why they concluded that what you eat may have a more significant impact on the gut and your health than your genes.

“Given the highly personalized composition of each individuals’ microbiome, our research suggests that we may be able to modify our gut microbiome to optimize our health by choosing the best foods for our unique biology,” says Dr. Sarah Berry of King’s College London.

In fact, some of these microbiome-based biomarkers for cardiovascular disease, impaired glucose intolerance, and obesity identified by scientists are also key risk factors for the coronavirus.

Protect the health of your gut

The important lesson — taking ownership by eating more nutritious meals consistently and cutting back on highly processed foods for the health of your gut — appears much more evident now than ever.

Your genes may not have the influence experts once assumed, but that’s an empowering thing. Now, you’re in the driver’s seat to make the changes you need, starting with protecting and improving the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

In addition to eating more nutritious meals made of whole foods, a probiotic, ideally formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, can be a great, natural tool to help you re-establish your gut’s healthy balance too.

The ten proven strains of beneficial bacteria in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic can make a huge difference in balancing your gut microbiome and help you protect your health naturally.

 

Resources

 

 

Graphic of dietary fiber foods: carrots, bananas, broccoli, and cabbage.

The Benefits of Dietary Fiber

Are you eating enough dietary fiber to protect the health of your gut?

You may be eating lots of fiber in your diet if you enjoy…

  • Fruits (raspberries and mangoes)
  • Legumes (lentils and chickpeas)
  • Vegetables (cauliflower, green beans)
  • Chocolate (the darker kinds with more cocoa)
  • Popcorn (just skip the butter)
  • Oats and barley
  • Mushrooms

Many foods claim to have lots of fiber in them. Even processed foods like corn or potato chips and fruit juices contain some fiber, but it’s far less compared to more minimally processed foods.

Understanding dietary fiber

To really understand dietary fiber is to know the differences between the different kinds: Soluble (the kind dissolved by water) and insoluble (the kind not dissolved by water).

Both soluble and insoluble fiber are good and come in different amounts depending on what you’re eating.

Insoluble fiber works best in your gastrointestinal tract by “attracting” water to your stool, making it easier to pass with less stress on your bowel.

Conversely, soluble fiber is dissolved by water and fermented into beneficial by-products including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

What are the benefits?

When you digest fiber-rich foods, your gut generates a number of beneficial SCFAs. One of them — butyrate — provides nourishment for healthy bacteria, but that’s not all.

Butyrate acts to strengthen the structural integrity of the gut, protecting it from leaky gut, a problem created when breakdowns in the intestinal wall allow undigested food and other toxic waste products to seep into the bloodstream.

Butyrate also improves heart health by lessening problems with inflammation and the presence of fatty plaque that can clog arteries — a sure sign of atherosclerosis.

Eating more soluble fiber also delays the emptying of your stomach, which promotes more fullness, meaning you won’t feel the need to each as much as you did before.

In fact, a very recent review of studies, appearing in the medical journal Nutrients, underscored these important benefits and generally reported healthy alterations of gut bacteria among patients.

How much dietary fiber do you need for your health?

Despite all the good dietary fiber can do, the quality of your diet and the amount of fiber you consume each day determines how much you’ll really benefit.

Eating the right amount of fiber every day can be a challenge, especially for men who need a bit more of it (30-38 grams) than women (21-25 grams), depending on age.

That problem can be more difficult if you’re always eating on the go and your diet is chock full of highly processed, sugary and fatty foods, the kinds with little to no fiber content.

Adding roughly 30 grams of fiber may sound like a lot yet, in reality, that amounts to about 1 powerful ounce of protection.

But that’s not all you can do…

Taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria and the prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharide) enhances the natural fermentation of fiber that feeds your gut and protects your health.

If you’ve been wanting to lose weight, you may want to consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, a special probiotic/prebiotic blend that stimulates the production of hormones in your gut and decreases your appetite.

References

Nutrients

Science

Frontiers in Immunology

American Heart Association

Harvard Health Blog

Healthline

 

 

 

image of intestines and pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness

How Gut Health Drives Breast Cancer

When women consider the steps they’ll take to lessen their risks of breast cancer, protecting the healthy balance of gut bacteria may not be at the top of their to-do lists.

However, women would probably reconsider in a heartbeat if they understood how restoring that balance affected the severity and aggressiveness of breast cancer.

Disruptions of the gut microbiome balance and inflammation may worsen the spread of at least one form of breast cancer severely, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Research.

Disruptions with antibiotics

Hormone receptor-positive breast cancers (ones triggered by estrogen or progesterone) accounts for at least two-thirds of all diagnoses and these forms usually respond well to hormone therapy.

Major problems arise when these cancers metastasize, spreading beyond the breast into other body tissues. High levels of immune cells in those tissues known as macrophages can fuel early metastasis.

Scientists at the University of Virginia led by Dr. Melanie Rutkowski examined how the gut affects the spread of breast cancer by altering the microbiomes of mice. (They fed mice antibiotic “cocktails” for 14 days or plain water before injecting them with mammary cancer cells.)

Spreading breast cancer

No surprise, the microbiomes of mice treated with antibiotics were disrupted, resulting in inflammation systemically and within mammary tissue.

“In this inflamed environment, tumor cells were much more able to disseminate from the tissue into the blood and to the lungs, which is a major site for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to metastasize,” says Dr. Rutkowski.

Based on these findings, Dr. Rutkowski and her team believe an unhealthy gut and the problems that occur in the body as a result may be early predictors of metastatic or invasive breast cancer.

It’s important to note that the megadoses of antibiotic used to accelerate the long-term imbalances of animal microbiomes wouldn’t happen with patients taking a typical course of antibiotics during a typical cancer treatment, Dr. Rutkowski says.

But, too many patients still rely on antibiotics way too often, even for treating minor health problems that aren’t designed to respond to these drugs.

Gut health affects your entire health!

Your gut affects so many parts of your health that are intricately tied to your immune system, and a lack of gut bacteria diversity harms those efforts.

Although there’s many steps you can take to protect and improve the health of your gut and immune system, taking a probiotic is among the best and easiest choices you can make.

To get the most good out of the probiotic you’re taking, ensure it’s formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria that mirror and enhance the diversity of your gut too.

Formulated to give your immune system a much-needed daily boost, EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families — 30 BILLION bacterial allies — that protect your gut every day.

References

x-ray image of two hands making the shape of a heart.

Can Probiotics Prevent Bone Loss?

Protecting bone health is so important for everyone. This includes young people, considering most of us reach about 90 percent of our peak bone mass by early adulthood (ages 18-20)!

Bone loss is inevitable, especially for women wanting to stay one step ahead of osteoporosis after reaching menopause. Unfortunately, women account for roughly 80 percent of all Americans who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Bisphosphonate drugs like alendronate (Fosamax) are typical treatments prescribed for osteoporosis, but taking them comes with risks ranging from the uncomfortable (heartburn and ulcers) to the severe and rare (thigh fractures and bone death).

If you face a low risk of fractures, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking a bisphosphonate drug after three to five years.

So, what do you do to protect your bones, especially if you’re healthy?

Multi-strain probiotics make a difference!

We’ve learned in previous reports that probiotics have emerged as a healthy way to protect your bone health, and a far safer one than bisphosphonate drugs.

A recent study appearing in The Lancet Rheumatology examined how a multi-strain probiotic can tip the scales to protect women in the early stages of menopause from lumbar spinal bone loss.

Swedish researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy monitored more than 230 women who were assigned to take a multi-strain probiotic containing proprietary strains of Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus plantarum or a placebo every day for a year. (Both are among the 10 strains contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)

No surprise, postmenopausal women who took a probiotic experienced no bone loss compared to the placebo group.

Although this group of researchers remained wary about women ditching bisphosphonate drugs for probiotics altogether, the benefits were very obvious and measurable. Despite this, patients are always on the lookout for safer ways to prevent health problems before they occur.

Probiotics made with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic are uniquely formulated to make that difference.

References

The Lancet Rheumatology

National Institutes of Health

Rheumatology Network

WebMD

Mayo Clinic

National Osteoporosis Foundation

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

The Gut Health Link to Fibromyalgia

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

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

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

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

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

Big differences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

heart and stethoscope being held by mother and daughter

How Eating Dietary Fiber Promotes Heart Health

One of the easiest and best things you can do to give your health a much needed boost is to eat more foods rich in dietary fiber.

When you hear people talking about eating more dietary fiber (found in whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables), it’s mostly associated with treating.

However, eating more dietary fiber — the indigestible parts of plant foods that pass through your lower gastrointestinal tract relatively intact  — does a lot to promote good heart health too.

Based on previous research, it doesn’t take eating a whole lot more dietary fiber to make a heart-healthy difference. But the hows and whys have been a mystery to scientists…

A recent study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA and the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) may go a long way toward explaining the reasons behind this gut-healthy benefit that gets far less attention than it should.

The fatty acid connection

Wisconsin scientists identified one species of gut bacteria — Roseburia — linked to the production of the beneficial fatty acid butyrate in the guts of germ-free mice. Conclusions from the study appearing in Nature Microbiology showed reduced inflammation and atherosclerosis.

But there’s one catch: The presence of Roseburia alone wasn’t enough.

Feeding mice a high-fiber diet was the catalyst that provided extra protection. Even test animals who had Roseburia in their gut microbiomes but not enough fiber in their diets just didn’t produce enough butyrate to make a heart-healthy difference.

To ensure their high-fiber results were valid, researchers fed germ-free mice that lacked butyrate-producing bacteria a slow-release version of butyrate that would survive intact through their gastrointestinal tract.

No surprise, the presence of butyrate alone reduced signs of atherosclerosis and inflammation along with the amount of fatty plaques.

Leaky gut issues

This study really underscores the important link between dietary fiber and gut health, given previous research that found human patients with cardiovascular disease had diminished levels of gut bacteria and butyrate-producing Roseburia.

Not to mention, the presence of leaky gut, a condition in which unintended substances penetrate the vulnerable intestinal lining of the gut and into the bloodstream, is linked in a huge way to inflammation.

The good news: It doesn’t take much dietary fiber to make a big difference in your health. Increasing your intake of dietary fiber by 1 ounce (30 grams) can lower your cardiovascular risks and help you lose weight too.

In addition to eating a bit more dietary fiber every day, taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic can do a lot of good by promoting the natural fermentation process that feeds and protects your gut.

an x-ray of a broken shoulder bone

How Probiotics May Increase Bone Volume

Recently, we shared the results of an interesting report about the benefits of taking probiotics to protect the health and longevity of your bones

That’s great news, but how do probiotics really work to make a bone-healthy difference?

A new study featured in the medical journal Immunity provided an answer with the help of a proprietary blend of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and it’s a familiar one too.

During a four-week testing period, scientists discovered female mice that were given Lactobacillus Rhamnosus also enjoyed a healthy boost of short-chain fatty acids known as butyrate.

The production of butyrate already does a lot of good behind the scenes to protect your gut from inflammation and harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.

Giving female mice living in an open environment a probiotic stimulated the growth of butyrate in their tiny bodies and increased the formation of bones too.

Supplementation with a probiotic or butyrate also triggered the growth of regulatory T cells in the gut and bone marrow of mice. These extra T cells in bone marrow were also responsible for secretions of a unique protein (Wnt10b) that’s vital for bone development.

(Interestingly, mice raised in a germ-free environment didn’t enjoy the same bone-building benefits, leading scientists to speculate that a probiotic works better when it interacts with other microbes in the gut.)

“We were surprised by the potency of the gut microbiome in regulating bone and by the complexity of the mechanism of action of probiotics,” says senior study author Dr. Roberto Pacifici of Emory University.

And, despite recent controversies in the press about the true health value of probiotics, “We show that they work for real in bone,” Dr. Pacifici says.

Emory University researchers plan to continue their exploration of gut health in relation to other bone diseases, how supplementation with butyrate may treat osteoporosis and if probiotics are versatile enough to improve bone health in varying disease states.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus is just one of 10 species of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that may do a world of good for your health in addition to your bones.

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