COVID-19

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Coronavirus and the Gut-Brain Blues

There’s no doubt following social distancing guidelines when you and your family go outside is the smart and safe way to avoid the many health risks associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

But those guidelines don’t take into account the stress you’re feeling, whether you’re hunkered down for long periods of time with work-at-home responsibilities plus family responsibilities or not working at all.

We’ve talked a lot about the gut-brain axis, the connection between your brain, emotions and intestines.

If you’ve been doing a lot of stress eating lately, it could be a sign that your gut-brain axis needs some extra help to stay in balance and keep the weight off too.

Don’t fear, there’s many ways to rebalance your anxious gut-brain axis safely and gently, even in these stressful coronavirus times.

First, let’s take a look at how we got there.

Overeating processed foods

Consuming a typical Western diet full of processed, high-fat foods is a huge problem all by itself, which is often worsened by stress.

The more you eat, the more your gut produces higher levels of gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), a hormone that manages the balance of energy in your body.

Last year, Baylor College of Medicine researchers discovered this extra GIP that the gut produces travels through the bloodstream to the brain where it slows down the impact of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that promotes a feeling of fullness or satiety, in a series of tests on mice.

(Messing up your sleep cycle affects how your body produces leptin too.)

Baylor scientists recognized the gut-brain connection when they took steps to block the production of GIP which reduces the appetites and weights of mice fed high-fat diets.

But that’s not all…

Too much real sugar

You may also recall our warning about foods sweetened with real, refined sugar that can be just as harmful to your health as those containing artificial sweeteners. It doesn’t take much of the real thing to trigger sugar cravings either.

The average American consumes at least 66 pounds of real sugar, if not more, every year, fueling the epidemic of obesity and many more health problems.

Real sugar affects the brain in a unique way by signals traveling from the gut all the way to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a very recent study on mice appearing in Nature.

It was really hard for Columbia University researchers to ignore the connection. When given the option of being fed water with artificial sweeteners or real sugar, mice gravitated to the real thing after only two days.

What’s more, scientists found that the gut-brain connection kicks into gear in the presence of glucose (often added to processed foods as dextrose and extracted from corn starch).

Rebalancing your anxious gut-brain axis

Depending on how the coronavirus outbreak is slowing down in your area (or not), getting back to a normal routine may take a while.

With this in mind, ask yourself these four questions each day to help make sure you’re maintaining your balance, mentally and physically.

  • Are you taking breaks to exercise at home? At the very least, plan short walks outdoors (while practicing safe distancing).
  • Are you reaching out to your family and friends for support? All of us need some extra love and attention right now.
  • Are your sleep habits a real mess? Get back on a regular schedule!
  • Are your eating habits in hibernation mode? You have a golden opportunity right now to clean up your diet and lose some extra pounds.

A very safe and healthy way to relieve those gut-brain blues and boost your immune system without a drug — taking a multi-strain probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria — is one of the best choices you can make.

And, if you need some extra help to lose a few pounds, you may want to consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue with its proven formula of Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS that promotes a greater sense of fullness and healthier blood sugar levels too.

Resources

Journal of Clinical Investigation

Baylor College of Medicine

Nature

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

University of California at San Francisco/sugarscience

Healthline

Young boy holding sandwich in front of his face. Caption is "EndoMune Cares!"

EndoMune Gives Back: Feeding America

At this time, an estimated 17 million additional people in the U.S. are experiencing hunger due to the impacts of COVID-19. Schools are closed, and so are the programs that feed many children whose parents or caregivers may now be unemployed.

We at EndoMune are committed to supporting the health of our communities nationwide during this time of vulnerability and are grateful for our ability to do so when food banks are experiencing their greatest need. As a physician, I appreciate Feeding America’s efforts to supply fresh, healthy and nutritious foods necessary for maintaining a balanced diet.

For each bottle purchased on our website, we will donate $2 to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Donations will continue for as long as the Fund is active.

Feeding America, through its network of 200 food banks across the U.S., secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals per year as the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization to children and families in need.

We kindly ask that you join us in our effort to help feed America during this time.

Sincerely,
Dr. Hoberman

Pregnant woman looking out a window while holding her belly.

Coronavirus and Pregnancy

Coronavirus Adds New Anxieties for Pregnant Women 

Recently, the World Health Organization labeled coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. Many pregnant women have expressed concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their health and the health of their unborn babies. Not much is known about pregnancy and the new Coronavirus as more research is being done.

As you might already know, the virus spreads through respiratory droplets sent into the air when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes. It might also spread when someone touches a surface infected by a person who has the virus.

Health officials are urging pregnant women, along with the elderly and others with weakened immune systems, to do their best to avoid exposure to the Coronavirus. Doctors suggest staying home as much as possible, avoiding crowds — including long lines at the supermarkets and other stores — and staying away from emergency rooms if possible.

New information is being discovered daily, but today we answered some of the most common questions surrounding pregnancy and COVID-19.

What can pregnant women do to protect themselves against the novel Coronavirus? 

While there is further research underway across the world, it is currently not known if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public or if they are more likely to have a serious illness as a result of it.

Women experience physiological changes during pregnancy that can weaken their immune systems and place them at higher risk for severe complications if exposed to viruses, especially if they have underlying health conditions. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness in the past.

With little knowledge of how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their unborn children, it is pertinent they protect themselves from illnesses and use all the precautions to reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19.

Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to void infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes – using a tissue is best, but your elbow is a good alternative
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables from the store
  • Avoid public spaces (social distancing is important to limit the spread of the virus)
  • Avoid people who are sick – even in your own home
  • Hydrate and rest often
  • Take a high-quality probiotic to promote healthy digestion and immune health
  • Maintain a healthy diet, high in antioxidant-rich foods

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn? 

It is not currently known if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

In a recent study published in ​The Lancet​, researchers followed nine pregnant women who had tested positive for the Coronavirus in Wuhan, China— the epicenter of the outbreak— during their third trimester. “Researchers found that none of the infants, all delivered cesarean, had the virus at birth. The virus was not found in samples of the mothers’ breast milk, cord blood, babies throats or amniotic fluid.”

“The risk of passing the infection to the fetus appears to be low, and there is no evidence of any fetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19,” according to the study.

Can you breastfeed if you tested positive for COVID-19? 

While there is no ​evidence​ of the virus in breastmilk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s still not clear whether the virus can be transmitted to infants during feedings.

“Given that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, mothers should wash their hands before feeding their babies, consider wearing a face mask to minimize the infant’s exposure and properly clean their breast pumps.”

Stay Positive and Take Your Probiotics

It’s important to keep it all in perspective! Create a new daily routine at home to help maintain a sense of normalcy until the baby arrives and take your daily probiotics to help build the best defense.

Resources

US National Library of Medicine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Lancet

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist

 

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