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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 vegans 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.

A probiotic every day keeps listeria away!

The norovirus isn’t the only infectious disease sneaking up to harm the health of unsuspecting Americans.

Over the past six months, America’s once safe food supply—from whole foods including plums, peaches and nectarines to processed foods like bagged salads, cheeses, salsa, peanut butter, fruit pies, hummus and pre-packaged meals—has been plagued by the harmful foodborne L. monocytogenes bacterium, better known as listeria.

Unfortunately, this latest outbreak of listeria doesn’t have any boundaries, as major grocers, including Target, Trader Joe’s, BJ’s, Costco, Hy-Vee, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, Wegmans and Giant Eagle, have sold foods that have been recalled due to potential contamination.

Listeria popped up on the radar of food safety experts and consumers most notably in 2011 when an outbreak infected cantaloupes grown at Colorado-based Jensen Farms that sickened 147 Americans in 28 states, including 40 in the Centennial state.

Of those who were sickened, 33 people died and a pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage, culminating in the worst foodborne outbreak in the U.S. in at least a century.

The human targets of listeria

Listeria is a very hardy bacteria—it can survive even in refrigerated and freezing environments—and is very common in our environment, yet very few Americans (1,600) are sickened by it annually.

Symptoms range from the light—fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea—to the more serious—headaches, stiff neck, loss of balance, confusion and convulsions—and the incubation period could stretch out to 70 days. Yet, pregnant women may only feel a mild flu.

However, in the right environments, listeria can be very deadly, as it is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning. Patients at the greatest risk of harm:

  • Pregnant women and their newborns
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Seniors age 65 and older

The six ways to avoid listeria infections

The good news: People who are prone to develop more serious problems due to listeria or other food poisoning issues can take some very simple steps to avoid them:

  1. Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or soft cheeses.
  2. Refrigerate any leftovers within two hours and reuse them in no longer than four days.
  3. Maintain the same low temperatures in your refrigerator (40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower) and freezer (0 degrees or lower) with a thermometer.
  4. Don’t eat hot dogs and deli meats until they’re steaming hot.
  5. Avoid eating risky foods by monitoring websites like Foodsafety.gov.
  6. Take a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Advanced Junior for kids can help prevent infections caused by contaminated foods by boosting your intestinal immunity.

Eating a healthy diet promotes gut health and a longer life

There are so many reasons why maintaining the balance of your gut bacteria is important for your health, ranging from boosting your body’s natural immunities to sidestepping traveler’s diarrhea.

You may not be very shocked to know that good gut health can change quickly for the good — and bad — based on eating a healthy diet. You may be surprised to learn eating a healthier, calorie-restricted diet can help you live a longer life too, based on findings from Nature.

Where You Live Makes a Difference, Too

First, a study conducted by Irish researchers at University College Cork on more than 170 people over age 78 concluded the health of their gut was determined by two factors: What they ate and where they lived.

Older people who lived independently in their communities were healthier and had a more diverse (and healthier) gut microbiome than those who resided in a nursing home or hospital.

Interestingly, although the diets of the elderly changed quickly when moving from independent living to a nursing home or a hospital, researchers discovered alterations in their collective gut health to a less diverse, weaker state took a year to occur.

Cut Calories, Live Longer

In a study on mice, a team of Chinese researchers discovered reducing their caloric intake by 30 percent — below what these animals would typically need to maintain the same body weight for a lifetime — promoted a more diverse environment for improved gut health by radically changing its composition.

Scientists discovered the act of calorie restriction promoted the presence of some beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus, and decreased the amount of harmful bacteria, including some opportunistic pathogens.

One more benefit from a calorie-restricted diet for possible pain management: Researchers observed a drop in inflammation scores among mice.

There’s at least one caveat about calorie restriction: Cutting calories alone may not work alone in lengthening your life. Based on research on fruit flies, increasing physical activity may provide the jump-start your metabolism needs too.

In addition to getting the right amount of exercise and lowering the amount of calories you consume every day, especially cutting out nutrient-poor foods stuffed with empty calories, taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune, is a safe, easy way to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria for good gut health.

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