gut health

person holding tablet that displays text: "Statins and gut health"

Should You Take Statins For Your Gut Health?

You may remember my previous blog article that urged you to question what you read everywhere when it comes to probiotics.

At the time, a handful of people had asked me about some mainstream media reports that disputed the benefits of probiotics, so we addressed them directly, honestly and scientifically. If the need arises, we will do it again…

During a recent review of studies, I discovered another report that might lead a few of you down the wrong path, this time about statins, a common and very effective class of drugs that lowers your cholesterol levels.

Obesity and gut imbalances

As you know, obesity is a risk factor that can elevate your cholesterol levels and harm the healthy diversity of bacteria in your gut.

A recent study that tracked the gut health of nearly 900 obese patients in France, Germany and Denmark discovered those who had been treated with a statin drug, not only had lower their cholesterol levels but healthier gut bacteria profiles compared to people not taking those drugs.

What made the difference: A specific configuration of unhealthy gut bacteria (Bact2) in obese patients tied to gut inflammation and diseases like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease that may be linked to inflammation too.

In fact, obese patients taking a statin drug had much lower levels of that unhealthy gut bacteria than those who didn’t use a statin drug and closer to levels observed in healthy, non-obese patients.

Take a statin drug for its real purpose

On the surface, those results sound encouraging, but here’s some things you need to consider.

For one, your chances of being obese, taking statins and having this specific kind of gut bacteria is very low, which brings little clarity to whether statins really help.

Plus, we warned you some time ago that some statins may work — or not — depending on your gut bacteria.

Fact is, statins are very safe and effective drugs for what they do: Lessening heart disease by reducing LDL (low-density) cholesterol, the fat-like, waxy substances that build up in the arteries.

Multiple studies have found statin drugs really are life-saving medications with very clear benefits.

However, a statin drug isn’t designed for the heavy-duty work that a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, formulated with 10 strains and 30 BILLION CFUs of beneficial bacteria and a proven prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good guys in your gut, can do.

If you want to get healthy, give your body a gentle and natural weight-loss boost and begin to reduce your need for a statin drug, consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, a probiotic/prebiotic blend that stimulates the release of hormones that can create a greater sense of fullness and reduce your appetite.

Resources

woman with migraine laying in bed

Probiotics: A Safe Way to Treat Migraines

It’s very difficult to describe the debilitating, forceful pain migraine headaches exert on patients in vivid detail. Not only can migraine symptoms be frighteningly severe and wide-ranging, at their worst, they can last for more than three days!

One out of four households includes someone who experiences migraines, and 90 percent of those sufferers have a family history of problems with them too.

About three years ago, we explored the growing connection between the gut microbiome and migraines and how probiotics may serve as a way to treat them very soon.

That time may be much closer than we expected…

Multi-strain probiotics to the rescue

Some 80 patients out of 100 who were experiencing either episodic or chronic migraines completed a trial that evaluated the benefits of taking two daily doses of a multi-strain probiotic or a placebo for 8-10 weeks.

Patients in both migraine groups who took probiotics reported reductions in attacks by at least 40 percent and in intensity by at least 29 percent, exceptionally good results by any measure, compared to taking a placebo.

(Nine of the strains used in this trial are a part of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic’s effective and powerful mix of beneficial bacteria providing 30 billion CFUs in every serving.)

Given the duration and severity of pain people experience due to migraines, these results are certainly great news!

The hows and whys

Although the hows and whys probiotics make a difference in migraine treatments haven’t been nailed down, some health experts believe the gut-brain axis — the connection that links your intestines, emotions and brain — may be the reason.

A recent review of studies also cited other possible gut-based problems that could contribute to migraines, including some very familiar ones like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and leaky gut.

The other piece of the puzzle may come down to the multi-species advantage that probiotics like EndoMune address.

Multi-species probiotics are formulated to protect and strengthen the diversity of your gut as well as treat a wider range of health challenges, including sleep, mental health and hypertension.

Resources

EndoMune capsules displayed on blue background

Help Ease Your Anxiety with Probiotics

As our country watches the COVID-19 pandemic with apprehension, it’s no surprise that mental health specialists report a sharp increase in the number of anxiety and depression cases. A recent poll taken by the American Psychiatric Association indicates 36% ofAmericans said COVID-19 has made a serious impact on their mental health. If the physical isolation isn’t enough, the pandemic has escalated fears over potential job losses, bankruptcy, acute illness, and death.

Probiotic consumption has been a hot topic for research concerning the gut-brain axis in the past few years. The gut-brain axis (GBA) is the connection between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS.) That connection links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with our body’s intestinal functions. Recent research describes the important role gut microbiota play in these functions.

Probiotics protect against stress

That evidence suggests that probiotics can protect the body against the harmful physical and mental effects of stress. Conversely, it also suggests that probiotics can help regulate mood by keeping the gut microbiome balanced and performing optimally. That means if we want better mood and mental health, we need to take care of our guts.

However, gut bacteria can also be altered by stress, leading to suboptimal gut health. Moreover, other things can reduce the efficiency of our gut function such as antibiotics, intestinal infections, and poor diet – all of which can kill off beneficial or “good” bacteria. A lack of good bacteria in the gut has also been associated with other health problems such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Clearly, this evidence indicates we can’t achieve optimum health unless our guts are maintained at peak efficiency and fortifying our microbiota with probiotics may be a way to both fight and prevent anxiety and mood disorders.

How it works

The bacteria in our gut enhance our resilience to stressful situations by helping seal the gut barrier. When our microbiome is not balanced, its compromised, inefficient gut function can have a negative impact on our overall health (including mental health), due to leakage of hormones and intestinal inflammation.

If the gut lining stays porous for too long, it can allow toxins and toxic bacteria into our body, where some of those toxins can pass through the blood-brain barriers that protect the brain from these types of pathogens.

That’s how a balanced gut microbiome strengthens the gut lining, protects us against leaky gut, and reduces gut inflammation, which in turn plays a role in our mental well-being.

Inflammation also affects the central nervous system and can cause symptoms of depression; but conversely, depression can cause inflammation itself. That’s why having a robust, diverse microbiome is necessary to help control inflammation by strengthening the gut lining, and preventing unwanted toxins from entering the body.

Researchers report that people who suffer from anxiety often have symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as IBS, gas, and diarrhea. These ‘co-occurring disorders’ help cement the conclusions over the importance of the gut-brain axis and its role in many common illnesses.

The link between the gut-brain axis plays a critical role in how healthy we are, and an ever-increasing body of evidence strongly suggests that the microbiota in your gut influences every other aspect of your overall health – including our mental health. Simply put, it seems that now, more than ever, it’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle unless our guts are happy and thriving, and everyone’s first step to better health should be to repair our guts. Consequently, dietary changes and probiotics are some of the methods researchers use to alter the microbiota in patients to help treat anxiety and depression.

Since microbiota has such an important impact on your entire body, it’s not surprising that taking probiotics for your mood doesn’t just benefit our mental health in one way. Probiotics may also help other precursors associated with an increased risk of anxiety:

  1. Helps reduce inflammation, and research suggests that depression may be an inflammatory disease
  2. Increases tryptophan, the happiness hormone, which stimulates natural serotonin production.
  3. Certain probiotic strains, like L. Rhamnosus, help reduce levels of the stress hormone corticosterone.
  4. Some strains of probiotics may possess inherent anti-depressant qualities.

Research on probiotics and the brain-gut connection continues, but the importance of this connection seems clear. Incorporating more probiotic foods in your diet, is a great step to achieving robust overall health. Unfortunately, our fast-paced lifestyles and the ever-present temptations of industrialized food make eating well-balanced, healthy meals hard. The easy answer to that is to help our guts with a probiotic supplement like an EndoMune Probiotic.  Try one today – your body and your mental health will thank you.

EndoMune is 13 Years Strong!

Happy 13th Birthday… To Us!

In the midst of the many distractions the world has thrown at us so far in 2020, it’s hard to believe that EndoMune’s birthday has come around once again!

The world has changed a lot since I started EndoMune in 2007…

When I was a full-time gastroenterologist, I was concerned with helping my patients relieve symptoms related to issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, traveler’s diarrhea, colic and gas — not to mention boosting immune health — that I felt an urgency to create EndoMune.

All of the reasons to protect your gut health with probiotics still exist today. In fact, there are many more of them to think about…

As the list of problems keep growing, EndoMune’s mission remains constant: Protecting your body’s immune health.

Frankly, that mission has never been more important in my lifetime than it is right now, as we’re facing a global health crisis with the coronavirus pandemic, the likes of which none of us have ever seen.

We’ve taken the steps to ensure that every member of your family has all the support we can provide, from EndoMune Jr. Advanced Probiotic Powder for your baby to EndoMune Jr. Advanced Chewable for your growing child to EndoMune Advanced Probiotic for the grownup gut.

Along the way, we developed EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, a probiotic formulated with your gut and waistline in mind to slow down your appetite, increase fullness and help you lose weight.

You’ve depended on us for your immunity needs for the last 13 years, and we’ve worked hard to earn your trust.

We’re not going anywhere. In fact, we’re just getting started…

To you and yours in good gut health!

Dr. Lawrence Hoberman

mom holding up baby and kissing it on the cheek

Breastfeeding: Protecting Your Baby from Allergies

Allergies are among the most common and persistent health problems children face. Children’s allergies come with a myriad number of causes and symptoms ranging from “hay fever” (allergic rhinitis,) and skin rashes (hives and eczema) to more concerning conditions like asthma. In worst cases, kid’s allergies trigger serious health problems such as life-threatening allergic reactions to certain foods or medications. Allergies affect up to nearly 10 percent of all kids under age 18.

Mothers wants their children to be as healthy as possible, and wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to help prevent your child from developing allergies? Previously, we showed how easy it is to boost a baby’s immune system and gut health through a simple practice like breastfeeding.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends new mothers breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months of the baby’s life, and new studies suggest that breastfeeding helps to prevent your child from developing allergies.

However, many new mothers find it problematic to breastfeed for the entire six months, but infants breastfed every day for just his/her first three months may reduce their chances of developing respiratory allergies and asthma significantly by the time your child is old enough to go to school.

The benefits of breastfeeding

Many scientists have examined the benefits of breastfeeding, but most limited their research to an all-or-nothing choice, meaning the studies focused on infants who were breastfed against those who were not breastfed. Infants whose mothers breastfed intermittently were ignored. Now, a study from the University of Maryland at Baltimore evaluated health data on nearly 1,200 moms and babies obtained from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, based on intermittent periods of exclusive breastfeeding over the first three months of their lives. To be clear, these mothers alternated between feeding their babies breastmilk and formula.

These mothers reported their breastfeeding schedules in addition to any incidents of viral infections or wheezing during the first three months of their baby’s life. The also reported when they introduced solid foods, complete family health histories, and other health related variables. Then, scientists examined the aggregated data looking for incidents of respiratory problems and asthma at age 6.

The data clearly indicated that nearly one third of these children, who were breastfed exclusively for their first three months, were 23 percent more likely to avoid respiratory allergies, and 34 percent of them were less likely to have asthma (but only if they didn’t have a family history of asthma).

On the other hand, intermittent breastfeeding had little significant effect on reducing the risk of developing respiratory ailments.

Significantly, infants fed exclusively with formula experienced the highest rates of asthma and respiratory problems.

A healthy option if you can’t breastfeed

Unfortunately, less than half of all working mothers in America are able to breastfeed their newborns exclusively through the first three months of their lives. That percentage drops to 25 percent through the first six months, according to the CDC. These unfortunate statistics mean a large population of American infants risk developing allergies that otherwise would be potentially preventable with natural breastfeeding.

Fortunately, concerned mothers unable to exclusively breastfeed their baby can help protect their baby’s immune system, safely, effectively, and help them avoid developing allergies or asthma with a probiotic formulated exclusively just for infants like EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder. Sprinkling one tiny scoop of EndoMune Junior in their food or formula once a day feeds the good bugs in your baby’s gut and gives his/her growing immune system the gentle boost he/she needs!

(Please be sure to check with your pediatrician before starting your baby on EndoMune or any probiotic.)

Resources

Illustration of orange pill bottle on dark blue background

Should You Really Be Taking an Antibiotic?

The last time you visited your doctor, you may have received a prescription of an antibiotic. Did you take the initiative to ask the physician if you really needed that antibiotic you were prescribed?

Often, antibiotics serve as effective tools that solve a multitude of health problems, but only when they’re really necessary. Patients rely too often on antibiotics even for minor problems, like viruses or bacterial infections that don’t even respond these kinds of drugs.

Maybe, you pressured your doctor to prescribe a round of antibiotics just so you could get well and get back to work…

Consider this scary report about the rampant over-prescribing of antibiotics as your latest wake-up call to really consider whether you really need them or not.

No reason to prescribe antibiotics

A team of Oregon-based scientists examined how often patients received prescriptions for antibiotics out of nearly a billion of outpatient visits nationwide.

They examined samples of data culled from the 2015 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, looking for indications whether antibiotic prescriptions were necessary, inappropriate or issued for no documented reason.

Antibiotics were prescribed in about 13 percent of those visits (some 130 million times). A majority of them (57 percent) were judged to be medically appropriate and necessary.

But that’s only part of the story…

The remainder of antibiotics were inappropriately prescribed (25 percent) or issued for no documented reason (18 percent). In other words, many of the 56 million prescriptions for antibiotics in those other categories were probably unnecessary.

Many of those wasted prescriptions were for urinary anti-infective agents, drugs used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). What’s more, patients who spent more time with their physicians or suffered from chronic health issues were prescribed antibiotics for no reason.

Probiotics to the rescue

All of these unnecessary prescriptions come with a huge price: Creating an antibiotic-resistant world where these valuable drugs lose their ability to work properly.

The end results are superbug infections stemming from Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) that can be impossible to treat.

The most important takeaway is pretty simple: If you need to take an antibiotic for any reason, be aware these drugs can create imbalances in your gut that harm your immune system and slow down your ability to get well.

Your best weapon to protect your health and help your body do the hard work of healing with a little damage as possible is a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

EndoMune’s powerful formula of 10 beneficial strains of bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillusfamilies and a prebiotic (that feeds the good bugs in your gut) not only protects and enhances your immune health.

(If you’re suffering from a urinary tract infection, probiotics like EndoMune are a safe and proven way to treat them.)

It helps that very necessary antibiotic you need to do its job to help you get well when you really need it.

Resources

female reproductive system made out of paper flowers

Bad Gut Health Worsens PCOS Risks For Young Women

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a seriously frustrating condition that affects nearly 20 percent of women who want to conceive or experience hormonal challenges during their reproductive years.

Although the root cause of PCOS remains unknown, some experts believe an overproduction of insulin may be a prime suspect. (Up to 40 percent of women with PCOS have also been diagnosed with insulin resistance.)

Too much insulin can increase the production of androgens, leading to acne, irregular ovulation, depression, excessive body hair growth and weight gains.

More evidence is pointing to another telltale sign of PCOS: A gut bacteria imbalance.

An unhealthy imbalance

Scientists established a connection between gut bacteria imbalances and PCOS while examining the health of young girls for a study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

University of Colorado researchers tracked the gut health of obese and sedentary teens, including 37 patients with PCOS and 21 patients with regular menstrual cycles.

An analysis of fecal samples among teens with PCOS found telltale signs of problems related to imbalances of more bad gut bacteria: Higher levels of testosterone and markers of metabolic syndrome (liver inflammation, the appearance of plasma triglycerides and higher blood pressure numbers)

The good news: Previous research on reducing PCOS symptoms uncovered a simple, healthy solution that can rebalance the gut health of women early in their reproductive years: multi-strain probiotics.

This simple intervention improved issues with depression, lowered testosterone levels and reduced the incidence of extra body hair.

In fact, two of the beneficial bacterial strains used in this previous study from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families are among the 10 gut-healthy ingredients found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 30 BILLION bacterial allies that protect your gut every day, plus a prebiotic (FOS) that keeps the beneficial bacteria in your gut fed and happy.

References

 

Row of pill bottles half-way filled with pills inside a pharmacy.

Taking Medicines Changes Your Gut Health

Any medicines you take every day should improve your overall health for the better.

However, does your doctor consider how your gut health may be affected by what he/she prescribes for a specific health issue?

We remind you often about the many problems that occur when doctors treat a problem, like heartburn, by prescribing an over-the-counter proton pump inhibitor (PPI) like omeprazole magnesium (Prilosec) that also may be harmful to your gut health when you overdo using it.

If you follow our blog regularly, you know similar gut health complications arise when you’re prescribed an antibiotic too.

Unfortunately, antibiotics and heartburn medicines aren’t the only ones that alter your gut health…

19 kinds of medicines

Dutch researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen found 19 kinds of drugs that may be harmful to your gut health, according to a study that appeared recently in Nature Communications.

Scientists analyzed nearly 1,900 fecal samples from three sets of patients: A general group with no specific health issues and those treated for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and irritable bowel disorder (IBD).

(The majority of patients participating in this study took at least one medication and some took as many as 12 of them.)

Among the categories of medicines researchers detected in analyses of fecal samples, PPIs and antibiotics were linked to gut health changes, but not all of them.

These medications attracted attention from researchers too, depending on the kind of analysis conducted and the patient group.

  • Metformin, the go-to drug for type 2 diabetes patients.
  • Laxatives used to treat constipation.
  • Vitamin D supplements.
  • Steroid inhalers for asthma.
  • SSRIs and other antidepressant drugs.

Protecting your gut health balance

Whether it’s the foods you eat, the medicines you take, the sleep you get (or don’t) and the exercise routine you follow, all of these variables affect your gut health based on your calendar.

Depending on the day, you may need to take some medication for a brief health problem, adjust your diet, work longer hours to meet a deadline or skip the exercise you need.

Your best insurance policy to maintain the health of your gut — the center of your immune system — no matter what life throws at you: Take a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Resources

Nature Communications

United European Gastroenterology

Medical News Bulletin

UPI

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.

someone pouring sweetener into their coffee

How Artificial Sweeteners May Hurt You

Artificial sweeteners have found their way into a wide variety of foods — mostly processed products like diet sodas, but even in ones prepared at home — people eat in their efforts to lose weight over the years.

There are always tradeoffs when you make drastic changes in your diet, however, and some may not be worth it based on the state of your health.

Unfortunately, switching to artificial sweeteners could be a serious tradeoff that can cause serious problems for your gut health.

The damage was real, based on the results of a very recent study that monitored the gut health of 29 healthy, non-diabetic Australian patients who consumed artificial sweeteners.

Some patients received the amount of artificial sweeteners you’d drink in 1.5 liters (about 51 ounces) of diet sodas each day for just two weeks or a placebo.

After comparing stool samples before and after the trial, researchers concluded the consumption of artificial sweeteners was enough to change the composition of bacteria in the human gut for the worse.

Not only did bacteria that promote good health significantly decrease, so did the species that fermented foods. Plus, 11 different species of opportunistic bad bacteria increased too.

All of these changes in the gut occurred at the very same time as declines in microbial genes that work to metabolize simple sugars like glucose and a specific hormone (GLP-1) that controls blood glucose levels.

Just to reiterate, all of these changes happened in just two weeks.

A second recent study appearing in the journal Molecules (conducted by researchers in Singapore and Israel) underscored the damage artificial sweeteners could do to your gut health.

This time, scientists exposed modified E. coli bacteria to 1 milligram amounts of a half-dozen popular sweeteners. Interestingly, each sugary substance did its own unique damage, from harming DNA to proteins in bacteria.

Artificial sweeteners are non-natural for good reason. Compared to real table sugar, many high-intensity, artificial sweeteners can be as much as 20,000 times sweeter than the real thing.

For example, the six artificial sweeteners used in the E. coli study are referred to as high-intensity sweeteners, according to the FDA. Here’s why, based how much sweeter they are compared to table sugar.

  • Aspartame: 200 times
  • Acesulfame potassium-k: 200 times
  • Sucralose: 600 times
  • Saccharine: 200-700 times
  • Neotame: 7,000-13,000 times
  • Advantame: 20,000 times

These aren’t the first studies that have called out artificial sweeteners for the possible harmful effects to your gut health, and they probably won’t be the last ones either.

The good news is that you have healthy options that are easy to do. For example, drinking more water keeps you hydrated, and promotes a sense of fullness so you won’t overeat.

If diet drinks are too hard for you to give up, based on this research alone, taking a probiotic — ideally a brand with multiple species of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic — will protect the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

And, if you’ve been wanting to lose weight, the unique mix of Bififobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS in EndoMune Metabolic Rescue will give your body the jump start it needs to promote a feeling of fullness and protect your gut health too.

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