butyrate

heart and stethoscope

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.

a woman jogging down the beach

Lose Weight the Healthy Way: Follow Your Gut

We’re well into the new year, and many of us set new goals and resolutions to focus our attention on making lifestyle changes that we (hope) will improve our lives.

At the top of the list for many Americans is weight loss. In an attempt to shed those extra pounds, people do a lot of smart things, like moving more, joining a gym, getting more rest, eating more whole foods (full of fiber, less fat and natural sugars), and spending less time at the fast-food drive-thru grabbing processed foods on the run.

Sadly, however, many people prefer to take the fast lane to better health. We turn to detox diets or the bewildering number of weight-loss products on the market, many of which come with dangerous side effects.

If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight too many times and you’re willing to risk your health on products that could harm you in the process, maybe it’s time to take the word “loss” completely out of the equation.

Gaining instead of losing

Rather than looking at this challenge as a “losing” one, rethink your strategy and replace it with a gain, but not on the scale or your waistline.

Losing weight and keeping it off requires a different lifestyle approach, but not one of deprivation either. Your best and healthiest strategy starts with taking charge of your health.

Maybe you’ve started that process on the right foot by doing those smart things I mentioned earlier, but you’re still unable to lose those stubborn inches, especially if you’re older.

As the human body ages, the amount of beneficial bacteria in our guts decline. So, what does your gut have to do with your weight?

The human microbiome ─ the trillions of microorganisms that live in our intestines ─ plays a significant role in our overall health in so many ways, specifically protecting the integrity of the lining of the gut from intestinal toxins.

The microbiome, when kept in proper balance, can also help regulate metabolism and support weight loss.

Here’s how.

When our body’s healthy balance of gut bacteria becomes compromised by eating a diet full of too many nutrient-poor, highly processed foods, not handling stress as it comes and relying too often on antibiotics, we become more susceptible to metabolic syndrome.

If you’re not familiar with metabolic syndrome, it’s the cluster of symptoms — high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels and extra body fat around your waist — that elevate your risks of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Your gut and weight gain

An imbalance of gut flora can actually contribute to weight gain by causing inflammation, stimulating fat production and decreasing brain signaling via the gut-brain axis that controls hunger.

So, it’s very possible you could be doing all of the right things — exercising, destressing and eating your vegetables — and still be struggling with weight loss and metabolic inefficiency.

What now?

In addition to making lifestyle changes, achieving a healthy weight often comes down to listening to our gut. Research continues to unfold about the benefits of probiotics that help us maintain an optimal gut bacteria balance and regulate metabolic function.

Several specific strains of beneficial bacteria are more effective at helping with weight loss. Bifidobacterium lactis, for example, aids in fermenting resistant starches, which results in improving the health of the intestinal lining and lessening the risk of leaky gut.

Leaky gut is a disorder in which a breakdown in the intestinal wall allows unintended substances (toxic bacteria and waste products) to seep through the intestinal barrier and into your bloodstream.

The prebiotic difference

Supplements that combine a prebiotic ─ non-digestible starches that feed the good bacteria already living in your gut ─ with probiotic strains in relevant proportions have shown to be even more effective.

How? Those well-fed bacteria in your gut stimulate the release of hormones that decrease satiety, thus reducing hunger. In addition, this release of hormones slows the emptying of the stomach, which can result eating smaller meals.

More recently, the natural prebiotic Xlylooligosaccharides (XOS) has demonstrated great benefits on the microbiome in small doses, and even helped in avoiding the development of pre-diabetes.

If you follow gut health issues like I do, you’ve probably heard about GLP-1, better known as glucacon-like peptide-1, a hormone produced by the gut that can decrease blood sugar levels by enhancing the secretion of insulin.

Most probiotics don’t contain a prebiotic, which is critical in maintaining intestinal health. Prebiotics create short-term fatty acids, thus releasing butyrate, a critical component in providing nourishment to the colon.

If you want to lessen your risks of metabolic syndrome, improve your cholesterol and hypertension levels and give your weight-loss journey a fresh start, you may want to consider trying EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, which contains 1 billion CFUs of beneficial Bifidobacterium lactis along with 600 mg of XOS.

Combining a nutritious diet, exercise and all-natural probiotic/prebiotic supplementation can help you gain the benefits of losing weight and staying healthy.

Board-certified gastroenterologist Lawrence Hoberman, M.D., is the creator of EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and founder of Medical Care Innovations.

During his 40-plus years practicing internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Hoberman has worked with microbiologists to identify beneficial bacteria, resulting in the development of his own supplements for adults and children.

To learn more about how your gut affects your health in so many ways and how probiotics can help, visit www.endomune.com.

a still life of fruits and nuts

Eating Dietary Fiber Protects Your Brain

Eating a diet rich in dietary fiber — the parts of plant-based foods that can’t be digested — is very beneficial for your health.

It’s pretty easy to do too, especially if you like nuts, fruits, legumes like chickpeas and lentils, popcorn (skip the movie theater butter), oats, seeds and even dark chocolate.

However, these benefits rely on the bacteria in your gut being healthy, diverse and working as it should to digest dietary fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate.

As we’ve learned previously, the production of butyrate increases the use of oxygen, protecting your gut from Salmonella, E. coli and other harmful pathogens.

Eating more dietary fiber may also protect your brain from inflammation that steals memories and impairs normal functioning due to aging, according to a recent study from the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science (ACES) that appeared in Frontiers in Immunology.

Knowing they were already on the right track in previous studies with a drug-based form of butyrate (sodium butyrate), scientists used dietary fiber in hopes of achieving similar results with older mice.

First, researchers fed young and older mice low- and high-fiber diets, then measured levels of butyrate and other SCFAs in their blood along with inflammatory chemicals in their intestines.

No surprise, feeding both age groups a high-fiber diet boosted their production of SCFAs and butyrate, and intestinal inflammation was reduced so dramatically there was no noticeable differences between both sets of mice.

The ACES team of researchers discovered the brain benefits of a high-fiber diet when they examined 50 unique genes in the microglia (cells located in the brain and spinal cord).

In older mice, the presence of extra butyrate inhibited the amount of harmful chemicals produced by inflamed microglia, including interleukin-1 beta that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

It doesn’t take much dietary fiber to make a difference in your health. For example, eating just 1 extra ounce (about 30 grams) of dietary fiber a day can relieve constipation, reduce your risks of cardiovascular problems and help you lose weight too, in addition to these newly discovered brain benefits.

Taking a product like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria (plus a prebiotic), helps your gut process that extra fiber you’ll be eating more efficiently for improved brain health.

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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