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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.

Eating Dietary Fiber Protects Your Brain Read More »

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.

How Dietary Fiber Protects Your Health Read More »

A Low-fiber Diet may Harm Your Grandkids

Previously, we’ve discussed the benefits related to including more fiber-rich foods in your daily diet, from relieving constipation to protecting your heart.

The downside of avoiding dietary fiber, however, may be worse and more far-reaching than health professionals ever imagined, according to a Stanford University School of Medicine study appearing in a recent issue of Gut Metabolism.

Much is known about the many ways gut bacteria can be depleted from the human gut — too many antibiotics, more C-section births and less breastfeeding — in industrialized societies like our own, says Dr. Erica Sonnenburg, lead author of the Stanford study.

“We asked ourselves whether the huge difference in dietary fiber intake between traditional and modern populations could, alone, account for it.”

In fact, Dr. Erica Sonnenburg, along with many other scientists, now believe the gut health of people in developed countries like our own is an estimated 30 percent less diverse than those living as hunter-gatherers today, due to the disparity in fiber.

Fiber vs. no fiber

Researchers tested their concerns on mice living in a sterile environment, whose guts were populated with human gut bacteria. Then, the mice were split into two groups. One was fed high-fiber, plant-derived food, while the other was fed a similar chow (similar fat, protein and calories) that contained almost no fiber.

Within two weeks, the differences between both groups became very apparent. Among mice consuming low-to-no fiber, many species of gut bacteria disappeared altogether, while others fell by about 75 percent.

Switching back to a healthier, fiber rich diet didn’t solve the problem entirely for the no-fiber mice either, as a third of the bacterial species that inhabited their guts early on were never restored.

About your grandkids…

So, how can a low-fiber diet affect generations of grandkids?

Once a group of these mice were fed and raised on high-fiber foods and allowed to reproduce, scientists discovered the gut health of each successive generation of animals declined sharply.

By the fourth generation, bacterial diversity in the guts of mice had fallen by nearly 75 percent, compared to the first generation. Even worse, at least two-thirds of the bacterial species in the guts of first generation mice were lost for good.

Stanford researchers managed to engineer a happy ending to this study, albeit with caveats. By giving the fourth generation of depleted mice fecal transplants taken from high-fiber diet mice and feeding them high-fiber diets, the diversity and composition of gut bacteria mirrored those of the control mice within 10 days.

Although changes in human DNA are few as generations pass, the same may not be said about our gut microbiomes over time, says Dr. Sonnenburg, in an interview with Science.

Unfortunately, a fecal transplant isn’t a quick fix for health problems either. Based on a recent case study, a woman became overweight after receiving a fecal transplant from her daughter.

One very safe way to maintain and improve the diversity of your gut is to take a daily probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

Your children and grandchildren will also benefit by supplementing their health with the multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria contained in EndoMune Junior.

A Low-fiber Diet may Harm Your Grandkids Read More »

The Western lifestyle is harming your gut health

There’s no denying the typical Western lifestyle — consuming diets high in processed foods, red meat, refined sugars, carbohydrates and saturated fats — has fueled the current obesity epidemic plaguing much of the industrialized world.

Part of the damage done to our bodies is how our health has changed drastically to compensate for eating these calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diets, doing great harm to our gut microbiota.

A trio of 2015 studies show how the human gut health varies according to lifestyle and geography, and, in one case, how quickly one’s gut health can change.

Native populations have more diverse gut microbiomes

Two studies compared the gut microbiomes of natives in various non-industrialized communities around the world to those U.S. residents.

In one study comparing the gut microbiomes of people living in the U.S. to those in non-industrialized Papau New Guinea (published in Cell Reports), scientists discovered Americans lacked some 50 different species of gut bacteria.

Why? Western lifestyles that reduce the ability of bacteria to move from person-to-person (bacterial dispersion) via drinking water or sanitation may have contributed to these differences in gut bacteria, says study co-author Dr. Jens Walter of the University of Alberta Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science.

This discovery implies a connection to the hygiene hypothesis, in which the body’s immunities and gut health are harmed by constant exposure to antibacterial soaps, bottled water, antibiotics and disinfectants.

The real challenge posed by this study is developing methods to reduce the damage done to human gut health without jeopardizing the benefits, says study co-author Dr. Andrew Greenhill of Federation University Australia.

The same lack of gut bacteria was also discovered in another study, appearing in Nature Communications. This study compares Americans living in Norman, Okla., to native farmers and hunter-gatherers living in Peru and the Amazon.

In this study, the genus Treponema, a family of bacteria that has co-existed for millions of years in humans and primates, was missing in industrialized populations.

“In our study, we show that these lost bacteria are in fact multiple species that are likely capable of fermenting fiber and generating short chain fatty acids in the gut. Short chain fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties,” says Cecil Lewis, co-director of the Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research at the University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences, in a press release.

“This raises an important question: could these lost Treponema be keystone species that explain the increased risk for autoimmune disorders in industrialized people?”

Multi-national diet changes quickly alter colon cancer risks

Western diets were blamed for rapid gut health changes that raised the risks of colon cancer in a third study appearing in Nature Communications, comparing the health of African-Americans in the U.S. to native Africans living in rural South Africa.

Twenty African-Americans swapped diets with a similar number of native South Africans for two weeks. Before and after the change in diets, all patients were given colonoscopies. Also, researchers examined biological markers that measured a patient’s risks of colon cancer, along with bacterial samples taken from the colon.

At the beginning, nearly half of the Americans participating in the study had polyps (growths in the colon that can evolve into colon cancer). Americans who followed the African diet experienced a reduction in biomarkers for cancer, significantly lessening the inflammation in their colons and an increase in butyrate, a byproduct of metabolizing fiber linked to key anti-cancer benefits.

Conversely, the cancer risk for African patients following a westernized diet, one low in fiber but high in protein and fat, increased dramatically too.

Both sets of findings underscore how a change in diet can quickly and dramatically alter one’s health for better or worse. The obvious difference in the Western diet was the lack of dietary fiber, according to Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, of Imperial College London in a press release.

“This is not new in itself but what is really surprising is how quickly and dramatically the risk markers can switch in both groups following [a] diet change. These findings also raise serious concerns that the progressive westernization of African communities may lead to the emergence of colon cancer as a major health issue.”

Increasing your daily intake of dietary fiber by 30 grams (about 1 ounce) can also help you lose weight and help reduce cardiovascular problems.

Boosting your intake of dietary fiber, along with taking a quality probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, provides even greater benefits.

Eating more fiber feeds your gut bacteria the starches it needs to jump-start the fermentation process to provide nourishment to the cells lining the colon. As a result, the intestinal tract becomes much healthier and functions more effectively.

Adding a probiotic containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune, not only increases the fermentation process of fiber in the gut, it reduces the impact of various diseases.

The Western lifestyle is harming your gut health Read More »

Eating dietary fiber does more than relieve constipation

Getting the right amount of dietary fiber from fresh fruits, legumes, whole grains and vegetables is good for your gut health as it can help to relieve constipation safely and naturally.

However, you may not know eating dietary fiber — the portions of plant-based foods that can’t be digested — offers additional healthy benefits, thanks to a pair of recent studies that link good eating habits to a lower risk of heart disease and losing weight.

Dropping pounds may be easier with a dietary fiber focus

Which is a more effective dietary approach: Following a basic diet with few rules or a more complex, restrictive eating strategy?

Based on a study featured in the Annals of Internal Medicine, following a simple diet of eating more fiber-filled foods may be just as effective for losing extra weight as the more rigorous American Heart Association (AHA) diet.

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts tested their theory by splitting 240 adults considered to be at-risk of developing Type 2 diabetes into two groups. One patient group followed a simple goal of increasing their dietary fiber intake by at least 30 grams a day, while the other followed the more complex 13-step AHA plan that restricted calories, sugar and salt while balancing cholesterol, proteins, carbohydrates and fats to specific ratios.

A year later, high-fiber patients lost an average of 4.6 pounds, while those who followed the AHA diet dropped 6 pounds. Patients in both groups also experienced improved insulin resistance and fasting insulin as well as lower blood pressure numbers.

“We found that increasing dietary fiber was accompanied by a host of other healthy dietary changes, likely because high-fiber foods displaced unhealthy foods in the diet. Asking people to make one dietary change can have collateral effects on the rest of their diet,” said study co-author Dr. Sherry Pagoto in a press release.

Reduce cardiovascular problems by increasing dietary fiber intake

Declines in coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) prompted scientists at the University of Leeds to review health data collected from the U.S., Japan, Australia and Europe to uncover any links to the consumption of dietary fiber (soluble, insoluble and total intake).

The good news: Based on a number of categories (insoluble, fruit, vegetable and total intake), the chances of a CHD or CVD event drop steadily as the intake of dietary fiber increases. In fact, the risks of cardiovascular or coronary problems drop by 9 percent with every additional 7 grams of total fiber consumed, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal.

Adding 7 grams of fiber to one’s diet can be as easy as eating a portion of whole grains (pasta, bread, cereal or rice) along with a serving of beans or lentils or two to four servings of fruits and vegetables.

But that’s not all of the good news. The combination of taking a probiotic and eating foods high in dietary fiber provide even greater benefits.

A high fiber diet provides nourishment for the healthy intestinal bacteria. Bacteria in the gut ferment the resistant starches in the fiber and use it for energy. In the process of fermentation, metabolites like butyrate provides nourishment for the colon lining cells.

The result is that the intestinal tract is healthier and functions more effectively. Adding probiotics increases the fermentation process of the fiber and lessen symptoms of various diseases.

Protect your health and heart with probiotics

Considering how important fiber is to your health and heart, based on these studies, it seems like a no-brainer to add fruits and vegetables to your daily diet.

Unfortunately, our on-the-go lifestyles often force us to eat on the run, prompting us to choose high-fat, fast foods that clog our arteries and slowly but surely, harm our health.

Recent studies have shown how gut health — greater amounts of beneficial bacteria and the diversity of those species — offers more protection from cardiovascular diseases and can help you lose weight, too.

The best thing you can do to protect your family’s health from the damage done by cardiovascular disease and obesity: Give them a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Advanced Junior (for kids) that protects the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

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