diet

hand holding a chocolate sprinkled donut

Your Western Lifestyle Could Kill You Faster Than Smoking

We’re becoming so conditioned as a society to the dangers of smoking it seems unlikely that eating the typical Western diet filled with processed foods could actually be worse for our health.

But the numbers don’t lie, according to a recent report published in The Lancet that tracked global health trends in 195 countries from 1990-2017.

Some 11 million deaths — one in five globally — were blamed on poor diets in 2017. That’s more than smoking tobacco (7 million) and car fatalities (1.4 million) combined.

The three main causes of death attributed to poor diets:

  • Cardiovascular disease: 10 million.
  • Cancer: More than 900,000.
  • Type 2 diabetes: More than 330,000.

The key takeaway: Diet-related deaths were more connected to people eating low amounts of fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains in the last year of the study (2017) than consuming higher levels of red and processed meats, sodium, sugary drinks and foods with large amounts of trans fats.

These problems make sense, given that only a fraction of people on average eat the nuts and seeds (12 percent) and whole grains (23 percent) they really need to maintain good health.

Poor diets filled with unhealthy foods also create problems for your gut which makes you very vulnerable to obesity due to a less diverse microbiome.

Also, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are linked to the cluster of conditions known as metabolic syndrome that spur obesity and harm your health.

Healthy changes don’t come easily. But, many medical experts agree that focusing less on diet and more on eating nutrient-dense whole foods tailored to your tastes and moving more with exercise can make a difference.

Even after changing your diet and exercise habits, you may still face challenges. That’s especially true if you’re older due to a naturally declining amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

One way to give your weight-loss plan a healthy boost with the help of your gut: Consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, which contains 1 billion CFUs of the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium lactis and 600 mg of the prebiotic XOS (an important fiber shown to optimize the good bacteria in the colon and stimulate the release of hormones that affect the satiety center).

The ingredients in EndoMune Metabolic Rescue form a potent duo that research suggests helps people lose weight and improve their fasting blood sugar and insulin levels within 30 days.

3 spoonfuls of spices and salt

Your Gut May Protect You From Too Much Salt

Are you eating a diet heavy in processed or fast foods? Chances are good you’re eating way too much salt and setting yourself up for a lot of cardiovascular problems.

You’re already thinking, “I never touch a salt shaker at dinner or when I’m eating out.” More than 75 percent of the salt you consume hides in the processed foods you eat on the run or in a restaurant, according to the American Heart Association.

The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of salt every day, nearly 50 percent more than the 2,300 milligrams (1 teaspoon) recommended by most health experts.

Left unchecked, all of that extra salt in your body is a silent force that can lead to high blood pressure and, in time, heart disease, which leads the list of the top 10 causes of death among all Americans.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn all that extra salt harms your gut health too. But, a recent study on animals and human subjects appearing in Nature – a team-up between researchers at MIT and Berlin’s Max Delbruck Center and Charite – offers a bit hope.

Previous work has shown how a high-salt diet harms the body’s immune system by increasing the production of Th-17 cells that trigger inflammation and elevate a patient’s risks of hypertension.

For this new study, researchers sharply increased the salt intake of mice (eight times) and 12 healthy men (nearly three times) for two weeks apiece compared to healthier diets to determine how their bodies would react.

In both sets of tests, the composition of gut bacteria in mice and men changed for the worse with drops in Lactobacillus. These declines were also marked by expected increases in inflammatory Th-17 cells and higher blood pressure.

Interestingly, when probiotics containing Lactobacillus were introduced the collective gut and cardiovascular health of both sets of test subjects improved rapidly too, underscoring a link between salt and gut bacteria.

(Both EndoMune Advanced Probiotic for adults and EndoMune Jr contain multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus).

Extra salt harms your brain

According to researchers, heart disease may not be the only health issue affected by excessive salt intake either, as the uptick in inflammation may trigger the development of autoimmune diseases similar to multiple sclerosis.

A more recent study on salt appearing in Nature Neuroscience tied the accumulation of Th-17 cells in the gut (they produce proteins that suppress nitric oxide which reduces the supply of blood to the brain) to damaged neurons and cognitive problems related to the gut-brain axis.

“We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise,” said senior author Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine, according to a press release.

“This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.”

Despite the restorative power of probiotics mentioned in the MIT study, researchers were concerned consumers might take them in hopes of canceling out the effect of eating of salty, fatty foods.

Yet, as we’ve seen in previous reports documenting the production of TMAO (trimethylene n-oxide), the gut is much more strongly connected to heart disease than many experts previously assumed.

Probiotics certainly aren’t “magic pills” that can cure any disease, but even the experts have come to appreciate the many ways the gut touches all parts of human health.

Taking a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune, is quickly becoming a must if you want to protect your health, safely, effectively and naturally.

a person holding a handful of grain

Antibiotics Hurt Your Whole Grain Intake

It’s amazing how incorporating whole grains into your diet reduces your risks of serious health problems – stroke, cancer, chronic inflammation and type 2 diabetes – while delivering important minerals, vitamins and antioxidants your body needs.

Adding whole grains to your diet can be as simple as replacing white rice in your favorite meals with brown rice or quinoa, swapping out white flour tortillas with ones made with stone-ground corn or eating a little popcorn (just forget the fatty movie theater butter and salt).

However, all of that dietary goodness you’ve done for your health may evaporate when you take antibiotics, drugs that doctors prescribe too often.

Researchers at Aarhus University discovered this critical problem while examining the health of more than 2,200 Danish patients who developed cancer over a 13-year period in a 2016 study appearing in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

The problem occurs when antibiotics disrupt one component of whole grains, lignans (beneficial polyphenols found in a host of plant-based foods, including flaxseeds and sesame seeds), in the human gut.

Antibiotics prevent the conversion of lignans in the gut to enterolignans, chemical byproducts that behave like estrogen and have been associated with lower mortality rates among breast cancer patients.

Concentrations of enterolignans in women who had taken antibiotics dropped by 41 percent less than three months before giving blood samples and 12 percent among men, both compared to patients who didn’t take them.

Those numbers remained relatively low (26 and 14 percent among women and men, respectively) up to a year later too.

A follow-up study by part of the same Danish research team on pigs found enterolignan concentrations dropped 37 percent in animals treated with antibiotics, compared to a control group.

The easy advice would be to avoid taking broad spectrum antibiotic drugs as much as possible, but that’s just one part of the solution.

Unfortunately, our bodies are exposed to soaps, toothpastes and cosmetics on a daily basis that contain antimicrobial compounds like triclosan.

Constant exposure to these chemicals creates a backlash known as the hygiene hypothesis, in which your body’s ability to develop its own immunities to disease is weakened significantly. In other words, your environment may be “too clean” for its own good.

Protecting your body from the damage antibiotics and harmful chemicals can do to your gut is as easy and effective as taking a probiotic containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic for adults and EndoMune Junior Probiotic for kids.

How Dietary Fiber Protects Your Health

Eating a variety of foods rich in dietary fiber – whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fresh fruits – is one of the best things you can do to protect your health from disease.

Unlike other components of food, dietary fiber isn’t broken down or absorbed. It passes through your body either as soluble fiber that dissolves in water and lowers cholesterol and glucose levels or insoluble fiber that helps food move through your digestive system.

Scientists at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) discovered another reason to eat more fiber based on how it interacts with your gut bacteria in ways that may protect your body from harmful pathogens, according to a recent study published in Science.

Here’s how it works: As the microbes in your gut process soluble fiber, short-chain fatty acids (better known as butyrate) are created which does a lot of good behind the scenes.

Ideally, butyrate signals to the cells lining the walls of your large bowel to increase its consumption of oxygen, protecting your gut from more harmful bacteria, like E. coli and Salmonella. (Butyrate production keeps gut inflammation in check too.)

Scientists better appreciated the work butyrate does when cells were exposed to antibiotics – definitely no friend to your gut. Antibiotics deplete your body’s reserves of butyrate, which reduces the signaling between butyrate and the gut wall.

This disruption in your gut’s natural signaling allows more oxygen to hang around, letting E. coli and other nasty bugs multiply. In time, all of these behind-the-scenes problems could come to the forefront and make you sick.

“Our research suggests that one of the best approaches to maintaining gut health might be to feed the beneficial microbes in our intestines dietary fiber, their preferred source of sustenance,” said Dr. Andreas Bäumler, professor of medical microbiology and immunology at UC Davis and senior author of the study, according to a press release.

Unfortunately, too many Americans are addicted to Western diets, full of fatty foods with little nutritional value, so they tend to avoid fiber-rich foods at the expense of their health.

That said, it doesn’t take a lot of fiber to make a big difference in your health. Merely increasing your intake of dietary fiber by just 1 ounce (about 30 grams) is enough to help you lose weight and lower your risk of cardiovascular problems, not to mention relieve constipation.

Boosting the amount of fiber you eat every day isn’t hard, especially if you like lentils, beans, artichokes, apples, pears, strawberries and whole grains.

Along with eating more fiber, taking a daily probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic (FOS), may do even more good as both work in sync by triggering the fermentation process that feeds your gut safely and naturally.

A balanced gut may tame autism

Is medicine better able to spot signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or is the incidence of this challenging developmental disability actually growing?

It’s a question without a concrete answer…

Although the numbers remained stable from 2010 to 2012 according to the most recent CDC stats (2012), autism affects 1 in 68 children, and it’s some 450 percent more common among boys than girls.

Despite this lack of clarity, fortunately, researchers have identified a pretty common problem kids across the spectrum share: Gastrointestinal challenges that could be related to taking too many antibiotics, thus reducing their microbial diversity too early in their young lives.

A pair of recent studies highlighted the range of gut-based treatments that may soon tame the effects of autism.

 

Going the fecal transplant route

A research team from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and Ohio State University experienced success treating a small group of 18 kids using fecal transplants, according to a study appearing in Microbiome.

Over 10 weeks, this young group of patients, ranging in age from 7-16, were treated with a bowel cleanse and two weeks of antibiotics, followed by daily fecal transplants for eight weeks.

The treatment regimen was effective, as it improved gastrointestinal symptoms by some 80 percent along with gut microbial diversity and calmed autistic behaviors by around 25 percent. And, that gut diversity held after treatments ended too.

But, there’s a couple of caveats to consider about this study too. For starters, there was no side-by-side placebo trial that would demonstrate if doing nothing made a difference too. That’s not a big deal.

The larger concerns, however, are the unintended consequences of having a fecal transplant in the first place, like receiving gut bacteria from someone who may be reasonably healthy but overweight then acquiring that same health problem.

Also, these risks can be especially tricky when patients attempt to take matters into their own hands by trying to replicate these treatments, a real problem researchers have acknowledged.

 

A dietary/probiotic solution?

The lack of diversity in the gut was important to another study, this time with mice bred to exhibit autism-like behaviors, according to a 2016 report by Baylor College of Medicine researchers appearing Cell.

Based on sequencing long strands of DNA, the offspring of mice moms fed high-fat diets were severely lacking in Lactobacillus reuteri in their guts by a factor of nine.

Restoring that balance lessened some autistic behaviors and boosted the production of oxytocin, a hormone that acts like a neurotransmitter in the brain and a facilitator of bonding

Researchers speculate this genus of Lactobacillus may provide a basis for treating human neurodevelopmental issues in the form of a probiotic.

Treating neurodevelopmental issues with a probiotic, ideally a product made of multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, certainly seems more ideal and much safer than taking drugs or undergoing treatments that may not yield the best results.

Could your gut be training your body to yo-yo diet?

Losing weight isn’t easy. It takes a lot of consistent effort in many areas — exercise, food choices, portion control, sleep, self-esteem are just a few — to do it the safe and right way.

Sadly, life often gets in the way and not every weight loss effort goes as planned. Sometimes, this can lead to weight cycling, better known as yo-yo dieting.

Although there’s no general consensus among medical experts whether repeatedly losing and regaining weight is bad, there are health consequences associated with yo-yo dieting, like coronary issues, extra stress and a slower metabolism.

A recent series of tests by a team of Israeli researchers pinpointed a potential cause for yo-yo dieting in a study appearing in Nature: A gut microbiome that changes when weight is lost, then exposed to high-fat foods again.

 

The experiments

As scientists studied mice, they discovered an important constant with yo-yo dieting: After one cycle of gaining and losing weight, every bodily system in their test subjects reverted to normal except for their microbiomes. For some six months after their weight loss, mice retained an “obese” microbiome.

“This persistent microbiome accelerated the regaining of weight when the mice were put back on a high-calorie diet or ate regular food in excessive amounts,” said lead researcher Dr. Eran Elinav of the Weizman Institute of Science in a press release.

No surprise, when researchers transplanted gut bacteria from obese mice into germ-free mice, they began to gain weight too when fed high-fat foods.

It was only when scientists bombarded obese mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics or gave them fecal samples from mice that had never been obese that the cycle stopped.

Those treatments may work for mice, but for humans, antibiotics have been a known enemy of gut health for a very long time and fecal transplants have unintended consequences that may do more harm than good.

However, scientists identified a pair of flavonoids, a diverse family of natural chemicals found in nearly all fruits and vegetables, that were in short supply among obese mice that would improve fat-burning.

When mice were fed flavonoids in their drinking water, their little bodies readjusted and didn’t experience accelerated weight gains, even when fed high-calorie diets.

 

Targeting the gut

Whether extra flavonoids will work on the guts of humans to prevent yo-yo weight gains is anyone’s guess. However, there’s one critical aspect of gut health that the Israeli study didn’t investigate.

Microbial diversity in the gut plays a vital role in protecting humans from all kinds of health issues, not to mention obesity. Unfortunately, our go-go-go lifestyles can make it difficult to eat at the right times, get enough exercise or follow a consistent sleep schedule.

That’s when taking a quality probiotic made with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic can make a big impact in protecting your health.

Colon cancer patients are getting younger

For the longest time, the incidence of colon cancer — the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and third among women in America — has been confined to older people.

Some 90 percent of all new cases of colon cancer occur in patients age 50 and older, and the average age of diagnosis has been age 72. Until now…

Research by the American Cancer Society has shown a steady uptick in colorectal cancer rates among young and middle-age adults including those in their early 50s, according to a recent report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

By the numbers

Based on a deeper look at the demographics, researchers discovered colon cancer rates had increased by as much as 1-2 percent per year from the mid 1980s to 2013 among adults ages 20-39.

The numbers are even more alarming for rectal cancer, with cases rising about 3 percent annually among adults ages 20-29 (1974-2013) and adults ages 30-39 (1980-2013).

“Our finding that colorectal cancer risk for millennials has escalated back to the level of those born in the late 1800s is very sobering,” said Dr. Rebecca Siegel of the American Cancer Society, according to a press release.

In fact, the trend toward younger colon cancer patients over the past two decades has closed a once wider gap in disease risks and patients in their early 50s compared to those in their late 50s, the study says.

Also, an increase of new cases among patients ranging in age from their 40s to early 50s in 2013 has prompted researchers to suggest starting colorectal cancer screenings for patients at average risk earlier than age 50.

(Due to higher incidences and lower survival rates, the American College of Gastroenterology published guidelines that recommend colon cancer screenings for African-Americans starting at age 45.)

5 ways to prevent colon cancer

No matter how gloomy the stats appear on the surface, the underlying good news here is that it’s pretty easy to reduce your risks of colon cancer if you’re willing to take some simple preventative steps.

  1. Get screened! There are an array of tests at your disposal, from a high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT) done annually to the flexible sigmoidoscopy (five years) and colonoscopy (10 years).
  1. Fight the obesity bug with exercise and a healthy diet. Obesity increases your odds of colon and rectal cancer by 30 percent, and higher BMIs elevate those cancer risks among men even more. Instead of trying and failing to conquer obesity with a home run punch, however, many scientists suggest a more measured, steadier approach. In fact, a 2016 study from Washington University concluded the greatest health benefits come from patients losing just 5 percent of their body weight.
  1. Take a supplement. If you’re taking a daily supplement for your good health, make sure it includes the right amount of vitamin D (1,000 IU) and calcium (1,000-1,200 mg), two proven colon cancer fighters.
  1. Reduce your contact with antibiotics and antibacterial soaps. Relying too often on antibiotics not only upsets the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. Exposure to a common antibiotic like penicillin can increase your risk for colon cancer by promoting a “pro-inflammatory environment” for up to a decade before a diagnosis. Plus, it’s time to give up antibacterial soaps, toothpastes and personal hygiene products that contain triclosan, an endocrine disruptor and antimicrobial compound linked to bacterial resistance.
  1. Take a probiotic. The best step to ensure your continued good health, and protect the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut: Take a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Advanced Junior (for your kids).

Dietary changes may affect your gut health, triggering auto-inflammatory bone disease

As you know, the diversity of bacteria in your gut—specifically the lack of it—can be an indicator of serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and obesity.

Moreover, your daily diet plays an important role in the makeup of your gut bacteria, which influences your susceptibility to health problems like auto-inflammatory bone disease, according to a study recently published in Nature.

Scientists at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital studied mice with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO), an inflammatory childhood bone disorder. These test animals had mutated Pstpip2 genes whose presence leads to osteomyelitis (an infection inside a bone).

During their research, scientists discovered changing the nutritional balance of test animals affected the makeup of their gut bacteria positively and negatively. Among the bacteria affected by diet variations was Prevotella, which has been linked to inflammatory problems in humans like arthritis, periodontal disease and osteomyelitis.

For example, one beneficial diet scientists tested limited the growth of Prevotella by reducing amounts of Interleukin-1 beta chemicals. (For this study, the supply of Interleukin-1 beta chemical was affected in specific immune cells called neutrophils, chemicals that are the biggest type of white blood cells in mammals that form an essential part of the innate immune system.)

“While multiple lines of evidence have suggested that diet can impact human disease, the scientific mechanism involved was a mystery,” said Dr. Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti of St. Jude’s Department of Immunology.

“Our results show that diet can influence immune-mediated disorders by shaping the composition of the gut microbiome, which our findings suggest play a role in immune regulation.”

The intestinal connection between osteomyelitis and the gut microbiome was verified when scientists successfully treated test mice fed a disease-promoting diet, first, with an array of broad-spectrum antibiotics, then, by transplanting the microbiomes of healthy mice to sicker, genetically modified mice.

“The results suggest probiotics might provide a more targeted method for suppressing production of [Interleukin-1 beta] and protecting against autoimmune diseases,” said Dr. John Lukens, according to a press release.

Often, our go-go-go lifestyles don’t leave us much time to eat healthy, nutrient-rich diets that promote good gut health and boost our collective immune systems.

That’s why taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Advanced Junior (for kids) with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, is so important and beneficial in protecting your health naturally.

Is the Paleo diet good for your gut and losing weight?

Think about that bad morning when you got ready for work and nothing in your closet fit. You had been losing the battle of the bulge for so long that you were willing to consider extreme dieting fads just to fit into those old but favorite clothes.

Perhaps, that desperation has led you to consider the Paleolithic diet, better known as the Paleo diet, based on what scientists speculated cavemen/women ate during that era, ending some 10,000 years ago.

Some experts (Loren Cordain, Ph.D. and Robb Wolf) assume that shunning the many unhealthy staples of the Western diet—dairy products, processed foods filled with extra salt and sugars, carbs, starches, and grains—for a more basic diet made up of lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables and “good” fats can be a healthier way to lose weight.

Unfortunately, the Paleo diet isn’t open to everyone. Vegans aren’t allowed in the party due to their specific dietary restrictions (no eggs, seafood or meat), plus Paleo dieters aren’t allowed to eat veggie sources of protein (beans and other legumes).

So, despite its limitations, does the Paleo diet really work? A study published by the American Society of Microbiology earlier this year that compared the gut microbes of humans and animals questioned the Paleo diet’s ability to suppress hunger.

A scientist at Imperial College London compared fecal bacteria samples taken from human vegetarians to those from gelada baboons, the only modern primate that mostly eats grass.

Is the Paleo diet good for your gut and losing weight?Then, researchers fed the samples one of two diets—a predigested grassy, high-fiber diet or a predigested potato, high-starch diet—then tracked the changes in bacteria.

Interestingly, human cultures fed the potato diet by scientists produced the best results: High levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), chemicals associated with triggering appetite-suppressing gut hormone peptides.

What’s more, baboon cultures fed the potato diet produced more SCFAs than those given grass. When some of these potato cultures were added to the colon cells of mice, the animal cells produced appetite-suppressing, gut hormone peptide YY (PYY).

Simply put, these results demonstrate the belief among many dietary experts that the appetite suppression connected with following a Paleo diet may not be entirely accurate, or that plant-based, high-fiber diets may not increase the presence of SCFAs or inhibit appetites after all.

If you want to overcome obesity and improve your health, eating like Fred and Wilma Flintstone may not help you very much.

Along with eating the right foods and starting an exercise plan, taking a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic will increase the diversity of bacteria in your gut that will assist you in beating obesity and improving your health for the long term by helping to produce the SCFAs that decrease your appetite.

Gut bacteria can change very quickly

If you read our blog regularly, you appreciate how good gut health, supported by taking a multi-species probiotic, affects the overall quality of your bodily health, from lowering your blood pressure to obesity.

However, an important part of treating any health condition is knowing how long it will take before your health returns to normal.

A pair of American studies published this year have concluded the human gut microbiome is uniquely flexible and may change in as little as a single day, a good thing to know when monitoring health problems like inflammatory bowel disease.

The microbial shift between diets is fast!

In one study published in Nature, Harvard University scientists tested the composition of gut bacteria on humans after discovering how flexible and responsive the microbiomes of mice were each day.

Researchers tested their premise on nine human volunteers who were prescribed radically different diets for five days with a break in between them. (The gut health of the nine patients was tested before, during and after each diet.)

The first diet centered on meats and cheeses—ribs, eggs and bacon—then followed after a break by a high-fiber diet focused on plant-based foods—granola, lentils, fruits, rice and vegetables.

“The relative abundance of various bacteria species looked like it shifted within a day after the food hit the gut,” Duke University researcher Lawrence David told Nutraingredients-usa.com.

After three days on each diet, the collective behavior of human microbiota had changed along with the way gut bacteria behaved.

Checking your microbiota easy as checking out an iPhone app

MIT researchers came up with similar findings, published in Genome Biology, and were helped with the use of an iPhone app.

The two study participants were monitored for a full year via the collection of daily stool samples and tracking various health measures (sleep, exercise, emotions, diet) using an iPhone app.

“On any given day, the amount of one species could change manyfold, but after a year, that species would still be at the same median level,” explained Eric Alm, MIT associate professor and senior author of the paper. “To a large extent, the main factor we found that explained a lot of that variance was the diet.”

For example, increases in dietary fiber matched boosts in Roseburia, Eubacterium rectale and Bifidobacterium (one of the species contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Advanced Junior).

During the yearlong study period, both subjects became sickened, which changed their gut bacteria considerably. In both cases, the relationship between specific groups of bacteria and diet occurred in one day.

While living in a developing country, one patient experienced a two-week bout of diarrhea and severe problems with his microbiota. However, once he returned stateside, his microbiota recovered and returned to its original composition.

Interestingly, the second patient experienced food poisoning fueled by Salmonella. During that time, Salmonella levels tripled to 30 percent of the gut microbiome while the Firmicutes phylum of beneficial bacteria almost vanished.

Beneficial levels of Firmicutes bacteria increased with the patient’s recovery to some 40 percent, but the strains were different from those present at the start.

The long-term goal of this research, said Dr. Alm, is to ease the data collection process so patients suffering from inflammatory bowel syndrome or other diseases could be fitted with a personalized monitoring system that warns them ahead of a flare-up so it can be avoided.

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