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Healthy Aging

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

a medical writing down a list of medication

The Best Weapon Against C. Diff: Probiotics

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections are the most common superbug pathogens patients face in American healthcare settings (hospitals and long-term care facilities), largely due to doctors overprescribing antibiotics.

Some 500,000 patients are sickened by C. diff infections annually in America and nearly 30,000 lives (largely seniors) are lost as a result.

Fortunately, medical experts are coming around to the idea that less — in the case of antibiotics — is more and multi-strain probiotics may be better weapons for preventing these infections, based on a pair of studies published earlier this year in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

The first report — a metanalysis of 18 controlled trials and about 6,800 patients in 12 countries — found probiotics reduced the chances patients would be sickened by a C. diff infection by roughly two-thirds.

Moreover, multi-species probiotics (probiotics with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria) were much more beneficial to preventing C. diff infections, compared to single-strain probiotics.

Interestingly, probiotics were very effective in preventing C. diff infections in cases where patients were taking more than one antibiotic and in healthcare settings where the risks of infection were higher than 5 percent.

A second study, conducted in the Cook County Health System in Illinois, reported more positive results with multi-strain probiotics (featuring three of the 10 strains contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic) providing a long-term benefit.

Over a 12-month period of monitoring treatment with probiotics, reports of C. diff infections fell significantly during the final six months. During that time, patients took probiotics initially within 12 hours after receiving their first antibiotic dose until five days after completing their course of antibiotics.

It’s not surprising how protective and beneficial multi-strain probiotics can be for your health, given how effective they are in easing the symptoms of a variety of health conditions, including leaky gut, depression and constipation.

Even when you’re not actively taking antibiotics for a health condition, you may be surprised by how often you’ve exposed to them merely by eating meat or dairy products that retain traces of antibiotic-resistant germs that can trigger foodborne infections all on their own.

All the more reason you may want to consider taking a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune to protect your health.

a few pills next to a thermometer

Can Probiotics Reduce the Need for Antibiotics?

If you follow our blog regularly, you’re very aware of the many problems associated with antibiotics.

Patients have leaned on antibiotics so much over the years as go-to drugs to feel better in a hurry that doctors have tended to over-prescribe them.

All too often, doctors will give in to their patients, even for relatively minor health problems caused by viruses (colds, bronchitis and sore throats) that don’t respond to antibiotics in the first place or bacterial infections (many ear and sinus infections) that often aren’t necessary.

Every year, some 47 million prescriptions written for antibiotics are completely unnecessary, according to the CDC. At least half of the antibiotic prescriptions written for bacterial infections are unwarranted too.

This excess use has created an environment in which antibiotic resistance has become far too common. At least 2 million Americans are infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually and some 23,000 will die from exposure to infections, including superbugs like Clostridium difficile (C. diff).

That’s only about 75 years removed from the introduction of penicillin, the first commercially available antibiotic during World War II, in 1943, and a drug that was discovered almost by accident.

However, the tide may be starting to turn away from the excessive use of antibiotics, thanks to the timely use of probiotics, according to a recent report published in the European Journal of Public Health.

Based on a review of a dozen studies, researchers from the U.S. Netherlands and U.K. discovered children and babies were 29 percent less likely to be prescribed antibiotics if they were taking a daily probiotic.

Even more encouraging, a second look at studies that researchers judged to be of the highest quality saw those numbers of probiotic-protected children jump to 53 percent.

“More studies are needed in all ages, and particularly in the elderly, to see if sustained probiotic use is connected to an overall reduction in antibiotic prescriptions. If so, this could potentially have a huge impact on the use of probiotics in general medicine and consumers in general,” says Dr. Sarah King, lead author of the study.

Not surprisingly, the probiotics children were taking in these studies contained strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, some of the very same ones in EndoMune Jr. and EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Even if you or your family need to take antibiotics when you’re sick, it’s critical to recognize how these drugs can shift the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut and affect your recovery.

If you’re unsure how to maximize the benefits of taking a probiotic when prescribed an antibiotic, I urge you to review my recently updated and very easy-to-follow probiotic protocol.

Also, check with your doctor before taking a probiotic if you have any concerns, especially if you’re taking immunosuppressant drugs or antifungal products for a health condition.

window cleaner next to paper towels

Why a “too clean” home may harm your child

Keeping your home a bit “too clean” by using common multi-surface disinfectants could be changing and harming your child’s gut bacteria by making them more susceptible to obesity.

That’s the chief finding from data culled from an examination of fecal samples collected from 757 Canadian babies, along with their exposure to various cleaning products, according to a recent report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Babies living in homes where disinfectants were used every week were twice as likely to have increased levels of one bacteria (Lachnospiraceae), according to researchers.

That difference in one strain of bacteria was enough to elevate the chances of young children being overweight by age 3, compared to kids who weren’t exposed to disinfectants as infants, says Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, the principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project that examines how altering the gut health of infants impacts their health.

Canadian scientists could see the connection, especially as they discovered babies living in households with greater use of more eco-friendly cleaners had a decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Although this study cited concerns about the use of antibacterial cleaners, researchers didn’t track the kinds of chemicals being used to clean the homes where their participants lived as babies.

Still, these results may be more evidence of the hygiene hypothesis, in which the body’s immune responses are reversed due to continuing exposure to disinfectants, antibacterial chemicals, antibiotics and bottled water, all of them intended to make our lives way too clean.

(The hygiene hypothesis can also work to protect kids from health problems like asthma. For example, Amish children surrounded by nature, farm animals and common house dust — a less hygienic environment than most homes — were less likely to suffer from asthma, according to a New England Journal of Medicine report.)

Fortunately, there’s a simple and healthy solution to protect the delicate balance of bacteria in your baby’s gut and reduce his/her risks of obesity at the same time (especially for moms who can’t breastfeed for very long or at all).

A quarter-teaspoon of EndoMune Jr. Powder, recommended for children up to age 3, contains four strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria families along with a prebiotic (FOS) that keeps their gut health in balance.

someone pouring sweetener into their coffee

How Artificial Sweeteners May Hurt You

Artificial sweeteners have found their way into a wide variety of foods — mostly processed products like diet sodas, but even in ones prepared at home — people eat in their efforts to lose weight over the years.

There are always tradeoffs when you make drastic changes in your diet, however, and some may not be worth it based on the state of your health.

Unfortunately, switching to artificial sweeteners could be a serious tradeoff that can cause serious problems for your gut health.

The damage was real, based on the results of a very recent study that monitored the gut health of 29 healthy, non-diabetic Australian patients who consumed artificial sweeteners.

Some patients received the amount of artificial sweeteners you’d drink in 1.5 liters (about 51 ounces) of diet sodas each day for just two weeks or a placebo.

After comparing stool samples before and after the trial, researchers concluded the consumption of artificial sweeteners was enough to change the composition of bacteria in the human gut for the worse.

Not only did bacteria that promote good health significantly decrease, so did the species that fermented foods. Plus, 11 different species of opportunistic bad bacteria increased too.

All of these changes in the gut occurred at the very same time as declines in microbial genes that work to metabolize simple sugars like glucose and a specific hormone (GLP-1) that controls blood glucose levels.

Just to reiterate, all of these changes happened in just two weeks.

A second recent study appearing in the journal Molecules (conducted by researchers in Singapore and Israel) underscored the damage artificial sweeteners could do to your gut health.

This time, scientists exposed modified E. coli bacteria to 1 milligram amounts of a half-dozen popular sweeteners. Interestingly, each sugary substance did its own unique damage, from harming DNA to proteins in bacteria.

Artificial sweeteners are non-natural for good reason. Compared to real table sugar, many high-intensity, artificial sweeteners can be as much as 20,000 times sweeter than the real thing.

For example, the six artificial sweeteners used in the E. coli study are referred to as high-intensity sweeteners, according to the FDA. Here’s why, based how much sweeter they are compared to table sugar.

  • Aspartame: 200 times
  • Acesulfame potassium-k: 200 times
  • Sucralose: 600 times
  • Saccharine: 200-700 times
  • Neotame: 7,000-13,000 times
  • Advantame: 20,000 times

These aren’t the first studies that have called out artificial sweeteners for the possible harmful effects to your gut health, and they probably won’t be the last ones either.

The good news is that you have healthy options that are easy to do. For example, drinking more water keeps you hydrated, and promotes a sense of fullness so you won’t overeat.

If diet drinks are too hard for you to give up, based on this research alone, taking a probiotic — ideally a brand with multiple species of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic — will protect the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

And, if you’ve been wanting to lose weight, the unique mix of Bififobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS in EndoMune Metabolic Rescue will give your body the jump start it needs to promote a feeling of fullness and protect your gut health too.

someone sitting down showing a jagged spine

Probiotics may help prevent Osteoporosis

Many people assume bone health is a condition only older adults need to worry about. That’s not a surprise, considering how harmful falls can be to seniors.

However, you may be shocked to learn that people reach their peak bone mass by age 30, and your body begins to lose more bone than it rebuilds after that.

Many variables affect bone health, from hormone levels and gender to specific medications and how much you smoke or consume alcohol.

Fortunately, there’s some really simple things you can do to protect the health of your bones, like staying physically active and making sure your body gets the right amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Considering adding a daily probiotic to the list of preventative measures to protect your bone health, based on a recent study featured in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska University Hospital (Sweden) came to that conclusion after monitoring the bone health of 90 older women (average age 76) who took a probiotic containing a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus or a placebo for 12 months.

Women who received the active probiotic lost only half as much bone compared to patients taking the placebo, based on comparisons of CT scans taken before supplementation began and after it ended.

There’s one important advantage probiotics offer that bisphosphonates (a class of drugs typically prescribed by doctors for bone density loss) don’t: Probiotics would reduce the rare but very serious risks of side effects linked to the long-term use of these drugs, like fractures to the jaw bone and possibly more common ones like heartburn.

“Today, there are effective medications administered to treat osteoporosis, but because bone fragility is rarely detected before the first fracture, there is a pressing need for preventive treatments,” says Dr. Mattias Lorentzon, a chief physician and professor of geriatrics at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

“The fact that we have been able to show that treatment with probiotics can affect bone loss represents a paradigm shift. Treatment with probiotics can be an effective and safe way to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in many older people in the future.”

The results of this study are less surprising than you might assume, given research we’ve discussed previously about poor dietary habits harming one’s gut health and triggering auto-inflammatory bone disease.

Imagine what taking a more robust probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic could do to make a healthy difference in your gut and your bones.

two men running in the sunset

Prebiotics May Help Treat Osteoarthritis

If your joints begin to stiffen and feel painful — especially when you wake up in the morning or as swelling becomes more common — your body could be telling you that osteoarthritis may be just around the corner.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions that harms the joints, often affecting the lower backs, necks, small joints of fingers and the knees of nearly 10 percent of all Americans.

A deterioration of cartilage is the common culprit in osteoarthritis, leading to breakdowns that spur inflammation, pain and joint damage. Because this discomfort makes it harder to move around, you may be dealing with other health problems related to a sedentary lifestyle that lead to obesity and cardiovascular problems like heart disease or diabetes.

Osteoarthritis also increases your chances of experiencing more falls (30 percent) and debilitating fractures (20 percent) than someone in good health.

You may be very surprised to learn the health of your gut could be a driving force behind osteoarthritis and that prebiotics — non-digestible carbohydrates/plant fiber that feeds the good bacteria living in your gut — may play an important role in treating this condition, according to a study appearing in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Prebiotics to the rescue!

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered how prebiotics could help in treating osteoarthritis while studying mice fed high-fat foods, not unlike the cheeseburgers and shakes humans eat in a Western diet.

After 12 weeks on a high-fat diet, mice experienced all of the telltale signs of eating a poor diet (obesity, diabetes) and their gut health showed it.

Not only were their microbiomes dominated by bacteria that triggered inflammation, they were nearly depleted of beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacteria.

(These symptoms are also linked very strongly with leaky gut, a serious health condition that occurs when unintended substances seep through the intestinal barrier to the bloodstream.)

These internal changes were evident with signs of inflammation prevalent all over the tiny bodies of obese mice, along with a faster progression of osteoarthritis (nearly a total loss of knee cartilage within 12 weeks after a meniscal tear) compared to leaner mice.

However, the damage done by obesity was prevented almost completely when obese mice were fed a prebiotic (oligofructose). Although their body weight remained the same, the effects of osteoarthritis lessened greatly.

In fact, obese mice that were fed prebiotics had healthy knee cartilage indistinguishable to those of leaner mice and signs of diabetes diminished too.

“This reinforces the idea that osteoarthritis is another second complication of obesity, just like diabetes, heart disease and stroke, which all have inflammation as part of their root cause,” says Dr. Robert Mooney, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, according to the URMC Newsroom.

These positive results of the mice study have set the stage for a follow-up study with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs using probiotics and prebiotics to help vets suffering from obesity-related osteoarthritis.

Just a reminder that EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Jr. (Chewable and Powder) contain multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, and the prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides). Both are proven weapons for fighting obesity that could also protect your body from the damage done by osteoarthritis.

gardening woman standing in the sunlight

A Healthy Gut May Protect Your Liver

We’ve talked a lot about how the gut is so hard-wired to the body that it governs many aspects of your health behind the scenes, from the inner workings of your brain to getting a healthy night’s sleep.

Your gut microbiome may also play an important role in spotting early warning signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most common form of chronic liver disease harming patients who build up too much fat in their liver, according to research in Nature Medicine.

Not only does NAFLD affect people in their middle years (especially those with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome), it is the most common form of liver disease found in children, according to the American Liver Foundation.

The most common problem with NAFLD, according to the Mayo Clinic, is cirrhosis, usually in response to inflammation due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (a syndrome that promotes liver damage not associated with alcoholism but is indistinguishable from it).

Over time, some 20 percent of patients who are diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis will fight cirrhosis.

The reason this discovery by European researchers led by Imperial College London is so very important: NAFLD has few external signs, apart from fatigue, abdominal pain and an enlarged liver. But, sometimes, there’s no signs at all.

Unless blood work or an ultrasound is recommended by a physician, this disease may not be detected until damage to the liver is significant.

European researchers led by Imperial College London found this gut health link by comparing biological data from 100 obese women with fatty livers (including fecal, blood and urine samples and liver biopsies) to those taken from healthy patients.

Scientists involved in the research identified a compound produced by gut bacteria — phenylacetic acid (PAA) — that breaks down amino acids for food and could be used down the road by doctors to screen patients in blood tests for NAFLD.

Not only do high PAA levels signal more fat accumulating in the liver, subtle drops in genetic gut health diversity begin to occur.

As NAFLD becomes more advanced, the number of genes encoded by gut bacteria lessen, thus the composition and diversity of the gut drops too.

That’s not surprising, considering metabolic syndrome — the cluster of conditions fueled by obesity and high-fat diets that boost your risk of cardiovascular issues like stroke and heart disease — harms your gut by creating problems that alter your gut bacteria and produce inflammation in your intestine.

More studies are needed to determine how and why PAA may be linked to NAFLD and its relation to gut bacteria imbalances.

In the meantime, if you’ve been fighting a losing battle with metabolic syndrome, experiencing trouble losing weight and are concerned about the damage being done to your gut, you’re in luck.

EndoMune Metabolic Rescue and its unique blend of Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS work in tandem to restore the balance of bacteria in your gut and give your body the boost it needs to promote weight loss in an effective and healthy way.

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Estrogen Therapy Affects Women’s Gut Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gut diversity + estrogen does matter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a man holding whole foods standing near a window

Fight Type 2 Diabetes with a Healthy Gut

There’s no disputing the health benefits of eating whole foods — legumes, vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains – rich in dietary fiber.

For a long time, science has recognized the role good gut health plays with help from dietary fiber in treating diseases like type 2 diabetes without really understanding how both converge to promote better overall health.

The results of a Chinese study that treated type 2 diabetes patients partly with a high-fiber diet may offer a critical clue, based on a tiny group of bacteria in the human gut.

A select group of gut bacteria

Researchers split patients into two groups: A control group who received standard dietary recommendations and patient education and a more active group who was prescribed a high-fiber diet containing many kinds of dietary fiber from whole grains, prebiotics and Chinese medicinal foods, according to the study featured in Science.

After 12 weeks, patients following the fiber-rich diet created by scientists that jump-started the development of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) had done its job.

Those patients in the active group experienced sharply reduced blood glucose levels at faster rates and lost extra weight too.

How did high-fiber diets make such a difference?

Researchers believe diseases like type 2 diabetes may occur as a result of problems in producing SCFAs in the gut. Surprisingly, a tiny number of gut bacteria – 15 out of a possible 141 strains – were affected by eating a high-fiber diet. In fact, this select group became the dominant strains in the guts of patients, after increasing butyrate and acetate levels.

Simply, the presence of higher levels of butyrate and acetate (both are SCFAs) created mildly acidic environments that decreased the amounts of bad bacteria in the gut, leading to a greater production of insulin and improved blood glucose control.

“Our study lays the foundation and open the possibility that fibers targeting this group of gut bacteria could eventually become part of your diet and your treatment,” says Dr. Liping Zhao, lead author of the study and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University, according to a press release.

More whole-grain goodness

This select group of gut bacteria may also be at work in the results of a study appearing in Gut, in which 60 Danish adults followed a high whole-grain diet (more than 100 grams per day) and a low refined grain diet (13 grams per day) alternately for eight-week periods.

Compared to the refined grain diet, patients eating a diet rich in whole grains lost weight and lowered the number of markers associated with inflammation that causes metabolic syndrome.

That’s a cluster of conditions ranging from elevated blood sugar levels to extra body fat around the waist that increases your risk of serious cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

Are you having trouble losing weight? Are you fighting a losing battle against metabolic syndrome?

To prevent metabolic syndrome from harming your health further and begin the healing process, restore the proper balance of gut bacteria with the help of EndoMune Metabolic Rescue and its unique probiotic blend of Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS.

How EndoMune Metabolic Rescue works

Unfortunately, the number of Bifidobacteria in your gut decline as your body ages, largely due to a changing diet that usually contains more fiber-free foods.

That’s where your adult gut needs extra help from a prebiotic, a substance made from non-digestible starches that literally feed your gut by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

In recent years, XOS has emerged as a versatile, natural prebiotic that can provide many benefits, for example, reversing imbalances in the human gut during the development of type 2 diabetes to healthier ones.

EndoMune Metabolic Rescue’s unique formulation of Bifidobacterium lactis (a beneficial subspecies of Bifidobacteria) works as a synbiotic to produce SCFAs, stimulating the production of hormones that could slow down activity in the appetite center of your brain.

This hormonal action also slows down the motility (emptying) of your stomach, which promotes the sense of fullness or satiety. In other words, it takes less food to feel full.

Research related to consuming XOS has found increased amounts of Bifidobacteria in test subjects. Other studies have shown how patients given Bifidobacteria lactis can metabolize resistant starches like XOS, producing the SCFAs that act as signals to reduce appetite and slow down stomach motility, ideally resulting in weight loss and a healthier gut.

two woman standing at yoga class

Exercise Changes Your Gut

Exercise is one of the best things you can do, not only for improving your physical and mental health. Fact is, exercise can help your body work and sleep better and may even help you live longer too.

In some cases, exercise may promote a stronger immune system, based on findings from a pair of related studies on mice and human subjects appearing in Gut Microbes and Medicine & Science in Sports & Science.

Running mice beat colitis

The animal study, conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois and the Mayo Clinic, started by letting a group of mice either run around or be sedentary for most of their lives.

Then, researchers transplanted gut bacteria from those two groups of mice into rodents that were bred to be germ free, so their microbiomes would more easily adapt to the new bugs.

Several weeks later, those younger mice were exposed to chemicals that induced ulcerative colitis to test the health of their microbiomes.

No surprise, those germ-free mice conformed to the bacteria they received, and the changes in their gut health were plain to see. But how?

Mice receiving transplants from active animals experienced less inflammation and healed damaged tissues better and faster than those receiving bacteria from sedentary animals. The tell-tale sign: Higher amounts of gut bugs producing butyrate.

In humans, the presence of butyrate (a short-chain fatty acid) protects your gut from harmful bacteria like E. coli and keeps gut inflammation in check.

The human touch

Researchers took a different approach with their follow-up work on human subjects (18 lean and 14 obese patients). First, patients were assigned to an ongoing cardiovascular exercise program (30-60 minutes, three times per week) for six weeks.

After completing the exercise cycle, microbiome samples were taken, and then a final one after six weeks of no exercise.

Just like their animal counterparts, the guts of humans produced more butyrate and other short-chain fatty acids during the exercise cycle, then declined during the sedentary period of rest.

Also, levels of butyrate and other short-chain fatty acids rose dramatically in the guts of leaner patients, compared to that of obese patients. Moreover, there were very consistent differences in the ratios of gut microbes between obese and leaner patients at every point in the study.

“The bottom line is that there are clear differences in how the microbiome of somebody who is obese versus somebody who is lean responds to exercise,” says Dr. Jeffrey Woods, a University of Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health. “We have more work to do to determine why that is.”

An additional factor that may have been a difference maker on the human side of this study: Patients ate what they wanted and weren’t assigned special diets.

A lot more to learn

There’s more work being done at other research venues to determine how much exercise benefits the human gut and how frequently one needs to be active in order to maintain those healthy rewards.

As is the case with many healthy things, however, the benefits of exercise have their limits, especially when you overwork your body. Pushing it with excessive exercise can become a big problem to the point that it can reverse the physical benefits you hoped to achieve.

Exercising to an extreme can take a huge toll on the health of your gut too, promoting leaky gut in as little as two hours.

However, one of the chemical triggers of leaky gut – the production of zonulin – was eased in a human study by taking a probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

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