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Synbiotic Blend of 10 Beneficial Strains, Developed by Board-Certified Gastroenterologist

Mental Health

Mental Health issues, according to an increasingly number of studies examining the link between digestive health and our brains, may improve by restoring our gut health.

Illustrated graphic of a head next to a brain, digestive system, and supplements. Text reads "Mild Cognitive Impairment: Your Gut, Your Brain and Probiotics"

The Microbiome’s Effect On Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild Cognitive Impairment: Your Gut, Your Brain and Probiotics

Given our existing knowledge of the gut-brain axis — the connection that links your intestines, emotions, and brain — it was only time before modern science would examine how the microbiome and human mind work together in other ways.

Lately, a growing number of researchers are studying the effect of the microbiome on mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a stage between the typical cognitive decline due to normal aging and dementia.

Nearly a fifth of people age 60 or older live with MCI, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Generally, the cognitive shifts associated with MCI are noticeable, but don’t limit a patient’s ability to do daily tasks.

Fortunately, MCI doesn’t always lead to Alzheimer’s and cognitive changes may improve in time and, occasionally, it can be misdiagnosed due to a drug side effect.

Based on what we’ve learned from a pair of recent studies, the health of the human gut may provide some clues about MCI and a possible treatment with the help of probiotics.

 

The Bad News: Gut Bacteria Imbalances

One of the first signs of trouble with gut health are imbalances in the microbiome. Based on a comparative analysis of fecal samples, a group of Chinese researchers spotted noticeable differences in gut bacteria between healthy patients and those with MCI in a study appearing in the Journal of Immunology Research.

On the plus side, MCI patients had significantly more of some strains from the Staphylococcus genus than the healthy controls. That may be problematic, given that another Staphylococcus strain has been linked to neurodegeneration, a deterioration of neuronal structures leading to cognitive problems and dementia.

On the minus side, those with MCI had reduced levels of Bacteroides strains, in line with previous research connecting them to Alzheimer’s. In fact, Chinese scientists recommended that these Bacteroides strains could be used as potential microbiome markers for MCI or Alzheimer’s.

 

The Good News: Probiotics

Fortunately, there may be a silver lining to all of this bad gut bacteria news with the help of a probiotic.

Japanese researchers compared the effect of a probiotic formulated with a proprietary strain of Bifidobacterium breve to a placebo on 80 healthy older MCI patients in a Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease report.

(Bifidobacterium breve is one of the 10 strains of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)

After both MCI groups took a probiotic or placebo for 16 weeks, researchers measured cognitive functions with a battery of standard tests.

No surprise, patients who took a probiotic achieved significantly higher scores in relation to immediate memory, visuospatial functioning (tasks like buttoning a shirt, assembling furniture or making a bed), and delayed memory.

These studies are merely the beginning of many as science looks to stem the tide of memory issues that surface with MCI and measure how well non-drug therapies like probiotics will perform in the real world.

One thing is certain: Taking a daily probiotic, especially a multi-species product like EndoMune supports your gut-brain axis, improves your mood, alleviates stress and helps you get the restful sleep your body needs naturally, safely, and without a drug.

 

References

Alzheimer’s Association

Journal of Immunology Research

NutraIngredients USA

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Medical News Today

Man laying face down sleeping in bed. Text reads "Sleep 101: Your Gut Heath Matters

Sleep 101: Your Gut Health Matters

Sleep 101: Your Gut Health Matters

Whether it’s working longer hours, traveling across time zones, catching up on your favorite book or late-night doom-scrolling on your phone, getting a good night’s sleep remains a serious challenge for many people.

Any one of these aforementioned variables can disrupt your circadian clock (the human body’s natural sleep-wake schedule), stealing precious time your body needs to “reboot” and repair itself from the rigors of daily living.

Over time, these disruptions to your sleep may create vulnerabilities to serious health problems like the cluster of symptoms that lead to stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease better known as metabolic syndrome.

Did you know your gut health plays an important role in helping you get the sleep you need too?

 

The Prebiotic Solution

Previously, we’ve shared the results of a report from the University of Colorado about the benefits of prebiotics, the unsung heroes of gut health, related to sleep.

Made of non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates, prebiotics do a lot of work behind the scenes to feed the bacteria living in your gut.

Researchers at the University of Colorado were tasked by the Office of Naval Research to learn how prebiotics could ease disruptions in the body-clock from irregular work schedules, jet lag, and a lack of daily exposure to sunlight.

These challenges are a daily reality for military personnel, especially those who work on submarines for months at a time, says lead study author Dr. Robert Thompson.

First, scientists fed two groups of rats regular food or chow enhanced with two prebiotics, then manipulated their light-dark cycles (creating the stressful effect of traveling to a new time zone 12 hours ahead) each week over two months.

No surprise, the addition of prebiotics made a healthy difference, helping test animals more quickly adjust their sleep-wake cycles and core body temperatures (a problem when the body’s internal clock is disrupted).

What’s more, the gut health of animals fed prebiotics generated an abundance of health-promoting bacteria and resisted changes in gut flora related to stress and jet lag.

 

Gut Health and Good Sleep Hygiene

There’s lots of ways to improve your rest through good sleep hygiene. Here’s a few common-sense suggestions from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Turn off any tablets or phones at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature.

Adding a prebiotic to your diet may seem simple, given that a lot of vegetables (leeks, asparagus, garlic, onion, corn and bananas) contain rich amounts of them, but doing it consistently and daily can be challenging.

Fortunately, you can give your sleep a healthy and natural prebiotic advantage — along with the health of your gut — by taking a proven probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria and the proven prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

 

Resources

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

CU Boulder Today

Healthline

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

CDC

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

Gut-Brain Axis 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Protecting Your Gut-Brain Axis At Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Gut-Brain Health Solution

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

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

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

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

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

 

Resources

Frontiers in Nutrition

Healthline

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Caltech

Neuroendocrinology

Mayo Clinic

University Hospitals/Cleveland Medical Center

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

 

 

Text: How can probiotics help you

Could a Probiotic Help You?

Probiotics seem to be everywhere right now; in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, lining the supplement shelves, we’re even seeing them in the beauty and skincare section! Hearing about all the benefits of probiotics may have you wondering, “Do I need to take one?”

Defined by the ​World Health Organization​, probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” They are not chemicals like antibiotics, but cultures of live bacteria or yeasts that help to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome. When your gut becomes unbalanced it can cause many health issues, such as gas, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and obesity. Probiotics have been shown to help “restore the healthy composition and function of the ​gut microbiome​” and thus, help combat many of these troublesome issues.

Think taking a probiotic supplement could benefit you? Below we’ll discuss a handful of reasons why people may be adding a probiotic supplement to their daily routine.

When you need immune system support

Do you feel like you get sick every flu or cold season? If yes, then you may need to strengthen your immune system. 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut and the health of your microbiome directly impacts the overall health of your immune system. Probiotics are a great way to help ​support your immune system​ and protect your body against harmful viruses.

When you’re taking antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to kill disease-causing bacteria in the body. This is good, but sometimes taking an antibiotic can trigger diarrhea. That’s because these strong antibiotics can kill our good bacteria while targeting the bad bacteria resulting in an ​unbalanced microbiome​. Taking a probiotic while on antibiotics is a great way to help your body stay in balance and prevent a case of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

It’s important to remember to take your probiotic supplements at least two hours after taking your antibiotics to ensure the antibiotics do not kill the good bacteria in your probiotics!

When you’re having digestive problems (and when you’re not!)

If you constantly suffer from stomach problems such as gas, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea, your microbiome may be unbalanced. Taking a ​probiotic ​has been ​shown​ to help restore the balance of your gut microbiome and improve the functioning of your GI tract.

When you have allergies

Up to 30% of the general population suffers from one or more atopic diseases including allergies, asthma, and eczema. These are usually caused by heightened immune responses to common allergens, especially inhaled or food allergens. Probiotics have been ​shown​ to help alleviate allergic inflammation and food allergy symptoms. Another ​published study demonstrated that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei decreased the number of days preschool children with allergic rhinitis were sick over 12 months. If you tend to lock yourself inside during allergy season, then a probiotic may be what you need!

When you experience frequent yeast infections

If you suffer from frequent yeast infections, it could be a sign that there is a disturbance of the beneficial bacteria in your body. ​Studies ​have shown that supplementing with probiotics can improve symptoms of yeast infections and may also be able to prevent potential infections. Vaginal yeast infections are surprisingly common, as ​75% of all women ​are likely to have a yeast infection at least once in their lives. While there are many treatment options, beginning to take a probiotic supplement is one of the easiest, all-natural ways to correct the loss of good bacteria and bring your body back into balance.

Convinced yet?

It can be difficult to maintain the balance of bacteria in your microbiome when things like diet, travel, and stress can throw it off. In some circumstances, eating plenty of probiotic-rich foods may not be enough, and a probiotic supplement may be able to help keep everything in line. If you find yourself experiencing any of these health concerns consider taking a ​probiotic supplement ​to help achieve a healthy microbiome, strong immune system, and an overall healthy body.

 

 

EndoMune capsules displayed on blue background

Help Ease Your Anxiety with Probiotics

As our country watches the COVID-19 pandemic with apprehension, it’s no surprise that mental health specialists report a sharp increase in the number of anxiety and depression cases. A recent poll taken by the American Psychiatric Association indicates 36% ofAmericans said COVID-19 has made a serious impact on their mental health. If the physical isolation isn’t enough, the pandemic has escalated fears over potential job losses, bankruptcy, acute illness, and death.

Probiotic consumption has been a hot topic for research concerning the gut-brain axis in the past few years. The gut-brain axis (GBA) is the connection between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS.) That connection links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with our body’s intestinal functions. Recent research describes the important role gut microbiota play in these functions.

Probiotics protect against stress

That evidence suggests that probiotics can protect the body against the harmful physical and mental effects of stress. Conversely, it also suggests that probiotics can help regulate mood by keeping the gut microbiome balanced and performing optimally. That means if we want better mood and mental health, we need to take care of our guts.

However, gut bacteria can also be altered by stress, leading to suboptimal gut health. Moreover, other things can reduce the efficiency of our gut function such as antibiotics, intestinal infections, and poor diet – all of which can kill off beneficial or “good” bacteria. A lack of good bacteria in the gut has also been associated with other health problems such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Clearly, this evidence indicates we can’t achieve optimum health unless our guts are maintained at peak efficiency and fortifying our microbiota with probiotics may be a way to both fight and prevent anxiety and mood disorders.

How it works

The bacteria in our gut enhance our resilience to stressful situations by helping seal the gut barrier. When our microbiome is not balanced, its compromised, inefficient gut function can have a negative impact on our overall health (including mental health), due to leakage of hormones and intestinal inflammation.

If the gut lining stays porous for too long, it can allow toxins and toxic bacteria into our body, where some of those toxins can pass through the blood-brain barriers that protect the brain from these types of pathogens.

That’s how a balanced gut microbiome strengthens the gut lining, protects us against leaky gut, and reduces gut inflammation, which in turn plays a role in our mental well-being.

Inflammation also affects the central nervous system and can cause symptoms of depression; but conversely, depression can cause inflammation itself. That’s why having a robust, diverse microbiome is necessary to help control inflammation by strengthening the gut lining, and preventing unwanted toxins from entering the body.

Researchers report that people who suffer from anxiety often have symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as IBS, gas, and diarrhea. These ‘co-occurring disorders’ help cement the conclusions over the importance of the gut-brain axis and its role in many common illnesses.

The link between the gut-brain axis plays a critical role in how healthy we are, and an ever-increasing body of evidence strongly suggests that the microbiota in your gut influences every other aspect of your overall health – including our mental health. Simply put, it seems that now, more than ever, it’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle unless our guts are happy and thriving, and everyone’s first step to better health should be to repair our guts. Consequently, dietary changes and probiotics are some of the methods researchers use to alter the microbiota in patients to help treat anxiety and depression.

Since microbiota has such an important impact on your entire body, it’s not surprising that taking probiotics for your mood doesn’t just benefit our mental health in one way. Probiotics may also help other precursors associated with an increased risk of anxiety:

  1. Helps reduce inflammation, and research suggests that depression may be an inflammatory disease
  2. Increases tryptophan, the happiness hormone, which stimulates natural serotonin production.
  3. Certain probiotic strains, like L. Rhamnosus, help reduce levels of the stress hormone corticosterone.
  4. Some strains of probiotics may possess inherent anti-depressant qualities.

Research on probiotics and the brain-gut connection continues, but the importance of this connection seems clear. Incorporating more probiotic foods in your diet, is a great step to achieving robust overall health. Unfortunately, our fast-paced lifestyles and the ever-present temptations of industrialized food make eating well-balanced, healthy meals hard. The easy answer to that is to help our guts with a probiotic supplement like an EndoMune Probiotic.  Try one today – your body and your mental health will thank you.

Blood pressure cuff making a heart around "probiotics"

How Hypertension and Depression Are Tied to Your Gut

Hypertension is one of the common health problems Americans face every day. Slightly more than half of all American adults have their blood pressure under control at any time.

Your gut plays a critical role in your blood pressure. For example, some medicines you may be taking for hypertension may or may not be working properly, depending on the health of your gut.

Medical experts estimate about 20 percent of all patients with high blood pressure don’t respond to treatments, even when using multiple drugs.

Over the past decade, modern medical science is discovering multiple overlaps between symptoms of hypertension and depression. Both health conditions are linked for some people, but not others.

Your unique gut bacteria profile may soon be a way for doctors to determine if hypertension or depression are working together or separately to harm your health, according to the research team at the University of Florida Health.

New forms of hypertension?

Scientists came to this important finding by analyzing and comparing stool samples from more than 100 patients who had depression, hypertension, both conditions or neither.

Rather than looking merely at symptoms however, studying this problem from a unique perspective gave researchers the freedom to see these health problems from a more holistic, gut-health approach.

Each patient group possessed distinct profiles based on the biochemical processes and genes of their gut bacteria. In fact, Dr. Bruce Stevens, a professor of physiology and functional genomics at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. and his research team identified three new and separate disorders related to these gut bacteria signatures, including depressive-hypertension.

Determining how a patient’s gut bacteria interacts with the rest of his/her body is a critical first step in devising therapies that work better, says Dr. Stevens.

This discovery could also explain why some blood pressure medications and antidepressants with antimicrobial properties may worsen those health problems.

How to treat it

The next phase for Dr. Stevens and his research team is clear: understanding how the gut-brain axis works to influence a myriad of functions from inflammatory centers to blood regulation.

Along with that knowledge will come better tools to treat both depression and hypertension.

Fortunately, we already have one in probiotics, a safe non-drug way that’s been found in other studies to lower your blood pressure and moderate your mood, given nearly 90 percent of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut.

But not just any generic probiotic will do the trick, given that your gut is populated with a diverse array of bacteria that work very hard in a myriad of ways to keep you healthy.

You may want to consider EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, a product containing 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria families, plus a prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good bugs in your gut.

older woman smiling and sitting in yoga pose

The Probiotic Treatment For Anxiety

Experiencing anxiety is more common than you think.

Think about the last time…

  • You went to the hospital for a medical test.
  • You gave a talk in front of a group of people, including some you didn’t know.
  • You had to make a decision about a problem with no clear-cut solutions.

Any one of those situations are potentially nerve-wracking, but they tend to pass pretty quickly.

But, if you’re frequently avoiding situations that could create excessive worries, you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder, and that may be a real problem.

Many people — including health providers — turn to antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac) or escitalopram (Lexapro) or benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) or alprazolam (Xanax) to alleviate anxiety.

However, taking drugs (especially benzodiazepines) may create even more health challenges down the road.

Did you know taking better care of your gut health may be just as beneficial in treating anxiety?

The gut health solution

As you know, there’s plenty of evidence supporting the gut-brain axis, the connection linking your intestines, brain and emotions.

A new report by Chinese researchers, recently published in the journal General Psychiatry, reviewed a batch of studies, finding 21 studies that examined boosting gut health as a means to treat anxiety.

The success rate was excellent. Eleven of the 21 studies discovered improvements in anxiety symptoms by treating a patient’s gut health.

Interestingly, the results were split nearly down the middle with five studies finding success with probiotics and six studies treating patients through non-probiotic means such dietary interventions.

Of course, there were limitations, as most of the patients participating in these students were having problems with an array of health issues. Among the six studies that did examine gut health interventions to treat anxiety, four showed positive results.

Listed among the non-probiotic interventions was the use of short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), a natural prebiotic made from plant sugars and non-digestible starches. Additionally, FOS is one of the key ingredients in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

It’s important to remember prebiotics feed the good guys in your gut, but really do a lot more good when they’re part of an effective probiotic like EndoMune.

Drug-free treatments for anxiety

There are many things you can do treat anxiety that don’t require taking a drug:

All of these things have one important thing in common: Not only do they improve your overall health, they do wonders for your gut.

In addition to working on these healthier habits, be sure to take an effective probiotic like EndoMune, with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, plus a prebiotic.

Illustration of probiotics at a cellular level.

The Multi-Species Advantage For Your Brain and Mood

The human gut is one very diverse sector of the human body.

More than 1,000 unique species of gut bacteria have been identified by medical investigators so far. That doesn’t include 2,000 more species recently discovered in populations of people living in Asia, Africa and South America.

What we do know (for the moment): Experts believe about 150-170 species live in the human gut at any time.

So, when we talk about the value of treating health problems like constipation, C. diff infections and even colon cancer, probiotics that contain multiple species of beneficial bacteria have been proven to do much more good than single-species products or even “probiotic” foods.

The gut-brain axis difference

The very same can be said for your gut-brain axis, the vital connection that links your brain, emotions and intestines, according to recent research appearing in the medical journal, Frontiers in Psychiatry.

For this study, researchers at the University of Verona (Italy) tracked the progress of 38 healthy volunteers (ages 18-35) who took either a placebo or multi-species probiotic including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium longum for six weeks.

(This trio is part of the 10 species of beneficial bacteria contained in every bottle of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)

Scientists monitored the mood, mental health and sleep quality of patients before the study began, then in three-week intervals during and after the study concluded.

The group who took probiotics reported significant improvements in fatigue, mood and anger, better acceptance (a marker of decreased depression) and enhanced sleep quality.

In fact, scientists were surprised to find benefits from taking multi-species probiotics lingered at least three weeks after the test subjects stopped taking them.

Those positive results for multi-strain probiotics aren’t surprising at all, given that the gut produces neurotransmitter chemicals like serotonin (governing your mood) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (controlling anxiety and fear).

Getting good sleep matters too

A healthy gut helps you get the right amount of sleep too. Not only does it promote better sleep, good gut health eases disruptions in your body’s circadian rhythms — governing your 24-hour biological clock — particularly when jet lag can be a factor due to traveling across multiple time zones in short periods of time.

Another gut-healthy way to promote restful sleep: Be sure you’re eating enough prebiotics, the natural, non-digestible carbohydrates/plant fiber contained in whole foods like almonds, jicama, artichokes, onions, leeks, apples and bananas.

If you’re not getting enough whole foods, that’s just one more important reason to take a daily probiotic like Endomune, that features fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), a natural prebiotic made from plant sugars.

two women locking hands during workout

The Gut-Brain Link to Depression and Obesity

It wasn’t long ago that conventional medicine debated the existence of the gut-brain axis, the connection that links your emotions, intestines and brain.

The medical community couldn’t dispute it for long, however, given that about 90 percent of serotonin, a chemical that sends messages from one side of the brain to the other, is produced in the human gut.

Obesity and diabetes are serious conditions that harm many parts of your health, including your gut. (Remember, gut health problems could be a warning sign of type 1 diabetes?)

Eating a high-fat diet, a direct contributor to obesity and diabetes, creates greater emotional problems and direct shifts in the makeup of bacteria in the gut too, according to findings from the Joslin Research Center (affiliated with Harvard Medical School).

In their work with mice, Joslin researchers had long studied the damage done by diabetes, obesity and other metabolic health problems in their work with mice fed high-fat diets.

One variable stood out in their previous research: Obese mice that had been fed high-fat diets showed far more signs of emotional problems (depression, anxiety and obsessive behaviors) than animals fed healthier diets.

For their newest study, researchers took a different approach by giving mice behavioral tests commonly used to screen drugs for depression and anxiety. They learned mice that were fed high-fat diets experienced greater amounts of depression and anxiety.

However, when scientists took steps to change the gut health makeup of obese mice by giving them antibiotics their emotional health improved.

Taking that gut bacteria shift one step further, Joslin research also discovered the gut microbiomes of obese mice triggered emotional problems when they were transplanted in germ-free mice. And other germ-free mice that received gut bacteria from obese mice given antibiotics showed no signs of emotional problems either.

Where the gut-brain link really came into play was when researchers examined parts of the brain that govern metabolism and emotions, according to Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, Chief Academic Officer who leads the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at Joslin.

Like other tissues, these areas of the brain became insulin-resistant in test animals fed high-fat diets and this resistance was mediated partly by their microbiomes, Dr. Kahn said.

The Joslin team also found alterations in the gut health of mice were linked to the production of some chemicals that send signals across the brain too.

Now, scientists are studying specific populations of bacteria involved in the gut-brain axis that may govern this process, with an eye on creating healthier metabolic profiles in the brain.

Interestingly, Dr. Kahn points out the problems of using antibiotics as “blunt tools that change many bacteria in very dramatic ways.”

“Going forward, we want to get a more sophisticated understanding about which bacteria contribute to insulin resistance in the brain and other tissues. If we could modify those bacteria, either by putting in more beneficial bacteria or reducing the number of harmful bacteria, that might be a way to see improved behavior.”

Fortunately, there’s a growing body of evidence that shows probiotics like EndoMune Advance Probiotic may be a safe and proven tool for treating behavioral issues among mice and humans and provide some extra help to fight obesity too.

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