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Antibiotics and the C. Diff Superbug

American doctors wrote some 266 MILLION prescriptions for antibiotics in 2014, according to the most recent numbers reported by the CDC. Simply put, for every 1,000 Americans, 835 prescriptions for antibiotics were written.

Those are amazing and frightening numbers…

Hovering near the top of the list of most prescribed antibiotics is Ciprofloxacin (better known as Cipro), part of the fluoroquinolone class of synthetic broad-spectrum drugs.

If Cipro sounds familiar, your doctor may have prescribed it (or Levaquin) at some point to treat a urinary tract infection, bronchitis or sinus infection.

(You may have also missed a recent FDA advisory urging doctors to dial back prescribing fluoroquinolones due to reports of disabling and permanent side effects to the central nervous system as well as joints, tendons and muscles.)

Superbugs = super-damage to human health

This deluge of antibiotics has done unintentional but very serious damage to the collective health of Americans, contributing to the epidemic of superbugs like Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections in hospitals.

Fighting C. diff has been a real headache for health care facilities that have already scrambled to update their cleaning protocols to eliminate the use of chemicals containing antibacterial compounds like triclosan to prevent healthcare associated infections (HAIs) from doing harm to patients who just want to get well and go home.

For a long time, hospitals and medical professionals assumed dirt and germs were at the root of the superbug epidemic.

So, how much of an impact do antibiotics really have in a hospital setting? Based on a recent study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, it’s much more than you’d expect given all of the attention to superbugs.

  1. diff rates dropped by a dramatic 80 percent only when the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro was restricted and used in targeted ways, according to the study of hospitals in the UK.

“These findings are of international importance because other regions such as North America, where fluoroquinolone prescribing remains unrestricted, still suffer from epidemic numbers of C. difficile infections,” said Dr. Derrick Crook, co-study author and professor of microbiology at the University of Oxford in a press release.

“Similar C. diff bugs that affected the UK have spread around the world, and so it is plausible that targeted antibiotic control could help achieve large reductions in C. diff infections in other countries,” says co-author Dr. Mark Wilcox.

Protect your health from antibiotic-associated infections

Apart from dispensing too many antibiotics, physicians and hospitals have another tool upon which they can rely to reduce the rate of antibiotic-associated infections like C. diff., according to a 2016 survey of studies published in the International Journal of General Medicine.

Giving adults and children probiotics reduced the risks of developing a C. diff infection by some 60 percent, particularly among patients recovering in a hospital.

Among the beneficial bacteria cited as beneficial in halting the spread of C. diff: Lactobacillus, among the active strains contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Junior.

Antibiotics and the C. Diff Superbug Read More »

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.

Could your gut be training your body to yo-yo diet? Read More »

A diverse gut protects your health during immunotherapy treatments for cancer

For many cancer patients, undergoing chemotherapy or radiation are often a necessity, but they come with lots of risks depending on the severity and length of treatments.

Rather than bombarding tumors with chemo and radiation, however, some patients and their teams of doctors are choosing other cancer-fighting approaches like immunotherapy that work far differently.

Immunotherapy focuses on treating your body’s immune system to fight cancer either by supercharging a patient’s immune system or teaching his/her body how to spot cancer cells and eradicate them. Also, in some cases, immunotherapy can aid in a cancer patient’s recovery long after treatments have ended.

But not everyone responds well to immunotherapy, which has researchers scrambling for answers.

Over the years, cancer researchers have learned how good gut health plays a critical role in protecting cancer patients during chemo treatments.

A diverse gut microbiome may also be very important in how well the human body handles certain forms of immunotherapy, according to a study presented at a recent symposium sponsored by American Society of Clinical Oncology.

A team of researchers, led by senior study author Dr. Jennifer Wargo from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, studied the connections between a healthy gut and the benefits of immunotherapy by examining fecal and oral bacteria samples taken from more than 200 patients fighting metastatic melanoma, an advanced form of skin cancer.

Ninety-three patients received an anti-PD1 immune drug that blocked a pathway protecting tumor cells from a patient’s immune system equipped to fight it.

From that smaller group, scientists studied fecal samples provided by 30 patients who responded to immunotherapy and 13 more who didn’t.

No surprise, patients who responded to the anti-PD1 drug had greater diversity of gut bacteria and for a specific type of bacteria (Ruminococcaceae). Plus, an examination of their tumors uncovered a greater number of cancer-fighting immune system cells (CD8+T).

On the other hand, patients whose bodies didn’t react to immunotherapy drugs had much lower gut diversity and one specific family of gut bacteria (Bacteriodales).

“Meanwhile, we need concerted research efforts to better understand how the microbiome may influence immune responses, as well as an in depth view on how we can tweak the microbiome so that more patients can benefit from immunotherapy,” said Dr. Wargo, an associate professor of genomic medicine and surgical oncology, according to a press release.

Some of that tweaking may come from changing a patient’s dietary habits or boosting the diversity of their gut by recommending a probiotic, scientists said.

Although taking a probiotic is beneficial for your health, many believe eating a cup of yogurt or taking a cheap supplement containing one or two strains of bacteria is good enough.

The real value of taking a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic: Ten strains of beneficial bacteria plus the prebiotic FOS provide 20 billion allies that protect your health every day.

A diverse gut protects your health during immunotherapy treatments for cancer Read More »

The gut-brain axis even works between mice and men

The importance of a healthy gut-brain axis — the connection that links your brain, intestines and emotions — is critical to protect your cognitive and physical well-being.

That connection seems pretty clear, considering as much as 90 percent of your body’s serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter that sends message from one part of your brain to another, may be produced in your gut.

A recent study appearing in Science Translational Medicine takes the gut-brain axis connection to the next level, literally between mice and men, with the help of fecal transplants.

IBS and the gut-brain axis

Curious about the effect irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has on behavior and intestinal health, researchers from McMaster University and the University of Waterloo took an unconventional approach: Transplanting fecal samples from eight patients suffering from IBS with diarrhea for at least two years and five healthy people into germ-free mice.

Three weeks later, compared to mice that received healthy samples, animals that were given IBS-laced transplants experienced increased gut permeability, low-grade inflammation and faster gastrointestinal transit (how long it takes food to travel from the stomach and through the intestine).

Then, scientists tested anxiety-associated behaviors by measuring the time mice spent in the dark and how long it took them to step down from a platform to explore their environments, according to The Scientist.

Mice that were given fecal samples from human IBS patients who reported anxieties experienced similar emotional difficulties, compared to animals given fecal samples from healthy patients and those with IBS who reported no problems with anxieties.

Probiotics to the rescue

Researcher Dr. Giada De Palma called these findings a landmark “because it moves the field beyond a simple association and toward evidence that changes in the microbiota impact both intestinal and behavioral responses in IBS.”

These results also offer more evidence that human gut health may play a larger role in the range of brain disorders ranging from the emotional (mood or anxieties) to more serious problems, like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and autism, according to a press release.

The good news: Scientists believe treatments such as probiotics and prebiotics could be beneficial in treating, not only the physical aspects of IBS but the behavioral issues associated with it too.

Protecting the health of your gut by taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is certainly much safer and more effective than taking a drug like mesalazine that merely treats symptoms but not the root cause of IBS: Restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

The gut-brain axis even works between mice and men Read More »

Take care of your aging gut health

Nearly 45 million Americans — slightly more than 14 percent of our nation’s population — are 65 years or older, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging (AOA). Over the next 45 years, the AOA estimates the number of American seniors will explode, more than doubling to 98 million by 2060.

With so many heading to retirement now and in record numbers over the long term, it will become more important than ever for seniors to take steps to safeguard their gut health.

Changes in gut health among the elderly, spurred by taking many more medications (think antibiotics), eating poorly and moving a lot less frequently than before, can create more serious problems, like inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and diabetes.

A pair of recent studies — both substituting fruit flies for humans — tracked the progress of the aging gut and came up with mixed results on how to protect the gut.

Free radicals

In one study conducted by the Buck Institute For Research on Aging, scientists took factors like inflammation, impaired immune response, oxidative stress and the overgrowth of stem cells into account.

When a stress response gene (FOXO) is activated, this suppresses the action of a single class of molecules (PGRP-SCs) that regulate the immune response to bacteria, promoting an imbalance.

In turn, this imbalance triggers inflammation, including the production of free radicals that causes stem cells in the gut to over-proliferate in the gut, setting the stage for a possible pre-cancerous condition.

The good news: Increasing the expression of PGRP-SC limits the growth of stem cells and restores a good gut health balance.

Treating gut health with antibiotics?

In previous research conducted by UCLA scientists, fruit flies developed signs of leaky gut, a serious health condition that occurs when unintended substances seep through the vulnerable intestinal barrier and into the bloodstream, about six days before dying.

When fruit flies experience leaky gut, their immune response revs up strongly and chronically, causing health problems just like it does in humans.

In their latest research, however, UCLA scientists detected bacterial changes before leaky gut occurred, and gave some fruit flies antibiotics that prevented the age-related increases of gut bacteria and improved their gut health.

Seniors don’t need antibiotics!

While it’s not surprising antibiotics would reduce the amount of gut bacteria in fruit flies, we live in a world where we’re over-exposed to antibiotics, from the flesh foods we eat to the antibacterial soaps we use to wash our hands.

The deadly result of this over-exposure: Creating superbugs that resist all drugs, causing serious and untreatable diseases that kill a growing amount of Americans every year.

For many reasons, the best and safest way to protect your gut health, old or young, from harm is to take a probiotic, ideally a multi-strain product like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria.

Take care of your aging gut health Read More »

The gut health mix of young babies may signal food allergies, asthma

The lack of diversity in the gut is a clear sign there are health problems looming, as we’ve seen in recent reports linked to obesity and heartburn drugs. Unfortunately, that reprogramming of human gut diversity may start much earlier, during the very early stages of childhood development before birth due to early exposure to antibiotics.

New research from Canadian scientists at the University of Alberta and University of Manitoba published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy has discovered that the lack of gut diversity among babies as young as three months old, may be a warning sign about the early development of asthma or food allergies.

Gut diversity matters

Researchers examined data collected from 166 infants enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. This ambitious study is closely monitoring the health of more than 3,500 families and their newborn infants to provide more knowledge about the genetic and home environmental factors that trigger asthma and allergies.

Scientists used DNA techniques to classify the good bacteria in stool samples taken at three months and age one, then identified which bacteria were present when food allergies began to emerge later in life (based on a skin reaction test to foods).

Overall, only a dozen babies experienced sensitivities to foods. No surprise, infants with less diversity of specific types of gut bacteria—Enterobacteriaceae (too much) and Ruminococcaceae and Bacteroidaceae (not enough)—at three months were more likely to develop allergies to peanuts, eggs and other foods by the time they reached age one.

“It is something that one can measure which indicates increased risk of food sensitization by one year of age,” said Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and senior author of the study in a press release.

Scientists hope to expand the sample size as data comes from other Canadian cities to some 2,500 children across the country, tracking them as they grow up, then re-examining the findings again at ages three and five.

Protect your baby’s gut health

The good news: Protecting and improving the diversity of your baby’s gut health can be as safe and convenient as giving him/her a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Junior, made from four different strains of beneficial bacteria plus the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide.

Each dose of Endomune Advanced Junior features 10 billion CFUs of good bacteria and contains no artificial colorings, dairy products, preservatives or sugar and is certified Kosher and gluten-free.

The gut health mix of young babies may signal food allergies, asthma Read More »

Jet lag may affect your gut health, increase obesity risks

Jet lag — a temporary sleep problem created when your body’s natural circadian rhythms are out of whack — is a common occurrence for people who regularly fly long distances and multiple time zones for business or pleasure (or do regular shift work).

You may be surprised to learn jet lag, long associated with symptoms including fatigue and sleeplessness, has become such a health problem that it’s now defined by experts as a disorder.

No wonder, considering a recent study from the Weizman Institute of Science (Israel) that compared the gut microbiota of mice at different times during a 24-hour cycle concluded jet lag may also affect your gut health and trigger more serious problems including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

These differences between healthy and jet-lagged gut bacteria were most pronounced when comparing fecal samples from healthy mice and genetically engineered mice with disabled circadian clocks kept in normal 12-hour cycles of light and dark.

During the light phase, the healthy gut microbiomes of mice functioned normally, detoxifying their environments and building flagella that help microbes move, according to the journal Science. Bacteria were more active during the dark phase, digesting nutrients, growing and repairing DNA. During a 24-hour day, some 60 percent of bacterial types in normal mice fluctuated.

In genetically modified mice, however, their gut bacteria didn’t experience the same fluctuations of growth or activity, leading scientists to conclude an animal’s biological/circadian clock has a direct effect on gut health.

Another very noticeable and health-harming difference between both sets of mice was their eating habits. Genetically modified mice ate almost all of the time while normal mice ate only at night (when they’re very active). Additionally, the modified mice gained weight and exhibited other health complications related to diabetes (insulin resistance), according to Science.

Interestingly, this same shift in the composition of gut bacteria to unhealthy extremes was also observed during part of the study in which researchers compared the fecal bacteria of two humans who lived on a normal schedule to another pair who had travelled from America to Israel and endured jet lag.

The good news: Although the fecal samples of human subjects who were jet-lagged experienced an uptick in unhealthy bacteria linked to patients with diabetes and obesity, their microbiome returned to normal after their bodies adjusted to the distant time zone.

“Our inner microbial rhythm represents a new therapeutic target that may be exploited in future studies to normalize the microbiota in people whose lifestyle involves frequent alterations in sleep patterns, hopefully to reduce or even prevent their risk of developing obesity and its complications,” said Dr. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department in a press release.

Dr. Elinav also believes populations harmed by jet lag or shift work may benefit from probiotics or other antimicrobial therapies that “may reduce or even prevent their risk of developing obesity and its complications.”

Just another of the many reasons travelers and swing-shift workers benefit from taking a multi-strain probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Advanced Junior (for kids) that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria to boost your immunity by maintaining a healthy balance of good gut bacteria.

Jet lag may affect your gut health, increase obesity risks Read More »

Supplements 101 Part 2 of 2: Eight supplements to take every day for your good health

In my previous post, I discussed the five questions everyone must ask before taking any supplement. Now, we’ll review the eight key supplements to take for your good health

Before we examine these top supplements, keep one very important caveat in mind: The best supplements for you may vary depending on your current diet, health and any current medicines you take. So you should see your doctor before taking any supplements for your own safety.

1. Vitamin D

Although commonly found in cold water fish like salmon, halibut and sardines and fortified foods (cereals, dairy products and juices), the best and most natural source of vitamin D is your body’s daily exposure to sunlight.

However, depending on the season and your work schedule, you may not get enough exposure to sunlight to make a difference. For instance, work schedules and the seasons can limit our ability to get outdoors, especially during colder times of the year. Also, when taking vacations in warmer weather, the sunscreens you wear on your body can block the sun very effectively.

In fact, some studies in 2014 have underscored the need for vitamin D, from raising survival rates among cancer patients to lowering the risks of preventing the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

2. Calcium

Out of all the supplements listed here, calcium may be the least necessary, unless you don’t eat leafy, green vegetables, fish and dairy products regularly.

Your teeth and bones store almost all the calcium in your body, which may explain why taking a calcium supplement—at least 1000 mg—prevents bone loss, osteopenia and osteoporosis. More recently, scientists have discovered calcium, in combination with vitamin D, may improve the cholesterol levels of postmenopausal women.

Medline Plus advises consumers to look for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) logo word or the word “purified” on calcium supplement labels. Also, be careful about calcium supplements containing dolomite, unrefined oyster shell or bone meal, as may have high levels of toxic metals, including lead, in them.

3. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 may be one of the lesser known supplements you need to take, but it’s one of the most important. Not only does this nutrient protect the health of the human body’s blood and nerve cells, but it also helps to create DNA.

Although the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 is low for teens and adults (ranging from 2.4-2.8 mcg), epidemiological studies have found more than 20 percent of older adults have less than what they need. Moreover, many older adults over age 50 don’t have enough hydrochloric acid in their bodies, preventing them from getting enough vitamin B12 through food alone. As a result, doctors have prescribed vitamin B12 supplements ranging from 25-100 mcg in older people, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can also occur when you take certain medications, including proton pump inhibitors (Prevacid or Prilosec) for the long term, histamine H2 receptor antagonists (Zantac or Tagamet), the diabetes drug metformin and the antibiotic chloramphenicol (Cholormycetin).

4. Iron

Iron supplementation is important but can be tricky. Too little iron due to blood loss—particularly women during their child-bearing years due to menstruation or people who donate blood more than twice a year—can trigger anemia. Not to mention, the healthy RDA amount of iron a pregnant woman needs jumps to 27 mg, according to the National Institutes of Health.

On the other hand, taking too much iron can poison your body, and an inherited disease like hemochromatosis allows the body to buildup too much iron.

5. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil

There’s no doubt about benefits of eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, naturally found in fatty fish (catfish, halibut, salmon) and plant-based sources (vegetables oils, tofu, walnuts).

However, as mentioned earlier, the problem lies in getting the right amounts, as most people don’t consume the right balance of fatty acids for their good health. Instead of consuming foods rich in omega-3s, American diets are dominated by high levels of health-harming omega-6 fatty acids, like those found in palm, soybean sunflower and rapeseed oils, that have been linked to depression and heart disease.

On the other hand, the advantages of taking a fish oil supplement are its rich sources of omega-3s that may benefit people with a number of health obstacles, including cardiovascular and sleep problems.

6. Aspirin

More doctors are prescribing a low dose aspirin tablet—81 mg—at least every other day, if not daily, to lower one’s risks of a second stroke or heart attack and preventing one altogether.

This low dose routine works by slowing down the blood’s clotting action by decreasing the risk of platelets clumping that forms blood clots.

However, if you’re interested in pursuing this therapy, be sure to see you doctor first, as there are many reasons why some people shouldn’t take a low dose aspirin, from existing stomach ulcers to allergies and asthma.

7. Multivitamins

Recommendations about the value of taking multivitamins seemingly change by the day. A recent Annals of Internal Medicine editorial says using them or supplements is “waste of money.”

That said, taking a multivitamin that contains 500 mg of calcium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D may be a good two-for-one solution for your health, if you’re not getting enough of either from your diet.

Iron is another consideration. If you’re a healthy adult over age 50, you won’t need iron in a multivitamin, unless you donate blood more than twice a year. And, a woman going through menstruation will also need that iron.

8. Probiotics

Seemingly, there are studies being released every day that spell out all the reasons you need to be taking a daily probiotic for your continued good health. Boosting your body’s immune system by replenishing some of the key strains of beneficial bacteria is one of just 10 very important reasons to take them.

When you’re doing research to find the best probiotic for your health, I strongly recommend taking ones containing multiple strains of bacteria, as they have been found to be more effective in treating many health problems, including diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, immune functioning and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Supplements 101 Part 2 of 2: Eight supplements to take every day for your good health Read More »

How can white bread be healthy? It’s all about your gut!

In a recent blog post, we discussed how the human body can experience measurable health benefits by eating dark chocolate that interacts with Bifidobacterium in the gut to produce anti-inflammatory compounds.

The trick about deriving nutritional benefits from dark chocolate hinges on eating bitter-tasting brands that are minimally processed.

A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry demonstrates just how versatile the healthy gut can be by taking advantage of the most popular processed food in the Western diet: white bread.

The white bread scoop

Because our diet has a direct impact on gut health, Spanish researchers from the University of Oviedo compared the intake of fibers and polyphenols (commonly found in fruits, vegetables, teas and spices) consumed in a normal diet in fecal samples taken from 38 healthy adults.

Many previous studies linking the gut microbiota to diets have focused on single foods full of soluble fibers that work as prebiotics (defined as nondigestible food ingredients that benefit human health by stimulating the growth of one or several bacterial species in the gut including Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria).

In some of those studies, pectin alone, a gelatinous polysaccharide present in ripe fruits, usually evades digestion to reach the colon where it stimulates the growth of various gut bacteria.

However, pectin was also associated with a drop of certain fecal bacteria (C. leptum and B. coccoides) in this study, leading researchers to believe that it interacts with other chemicals in oranges to create this effect.

The most interesting finding: Eating plain white bread, made with refined grains, was responsible for a spike in Lactobacillus, one of the strains of bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Until this study, prebiotic spikes in gut bacteria were mostly observed from eating whole-grain cereals due to the fiber content.

Don’t do it!

Before you consider adding white bread to your diet, there are plenty of healthy reasons to avoid it.

The most recent study on the consumption of white bread—scientists tracking the health of some 9,200 Spanish college grads during a five-year period—found patients who ate only white bread and two or more portions each day were 40 percent more likely to become overweight or obese compared to those who ate just one portion a week.

Conversely, no significant risk was found by eating only whole-grain bread with more fiber and various kinds of carbohydrates.

These results go hand-in-hand with dietary recommendations posted by the Mayo Clinic to prevent heart disease.

Yes, white bread is better than sweets, but it has a high glycemic value, so eating a lot of it can add to your risks of obesity and diabetes, said UK nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton to

For your health’s sake, the best choice to promote good gut health is taking a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Advanced Junior that contain no dairy products, preservatives and artificial colorings and are GMO- and gluten-free.

How can white bread be healthy? It’s all about your gut! Read More »

Dark chocolate’s healthy benefits start in the gut

Thanks to its polyphenol powers, dark chocolate has gained a healthy reputation as modern science has discovered the delicious ways it beats life-threatening diseases.

Consuming the chemical components of dark chocolate has been linked to suppressing the growth of colon cancer cells and to improving glucose tolerance that may prevent type 2 diabetes.

In fact, the chocolaty path to better health may start in the gut, according to a recent Louisiana State University (LSU) study.

Determining how chocolate mixes with gut bacteria to produce measureable health benefits was a “rather disgusting process,” according to LSU food sciences professor John Finley (as told to Scientific American).

First, three kinds of cocoa powder were doused with enzymes to recreate the upper digestive tract in humans, then traveled to a gut filled with feces harvested from nine grad students (you were warned).

The gut microbes inside the, um, poop, then consumed the remainder of the cocoa. What was left at the end: Fermented fiber and non-digestible compounds, including catechin and epicatechin (also found in green tea, skins and seeds of some fruits). These were broken down into smaller, more easily absorbed molecules that display the beneficial anti-inflammatory activity, which other studies have previously revealed.

The minuses about eating chocolate

If the positive benefits from these studies has piqued your curiosity about eating chocolate a bit more regularly, there are caveats to consider.

A growing number of studies have demonstrated these health advantages come from eating dark chocolate, not processed chocolate candy bars containing milk and sugar. The real plus, health experts say, comes from eating chocolate containing the highest percentages of cocoa.

“The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate. When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory,” says co-study author and LSU student Maria Moore.

Additionally, researchers found patients could achieve even greater benefits by eating dark chocolate with fruits, like acai and pomegranates.

The Bifidobacterium connection

To derive benefits from dark chocolate, however, be sure you’re eating minimally processed chocolate containing higher percentages of cocoa. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more bitter the dark chocolate will taste.

Also, even though dark chocolate may be good for your health, you can’t eat it all the time. Any extra ingredients can add lots of extra fat and calories your body doesn’t need and limit any health benefits.

However, your gut must be healthy to take advantage of these dark chocolate benefits. Bifidobacterium, one of the beneficial strains of bacteria identified by LSU researchers, is one of the active strains contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Advanced Junior.

In addition to the multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, both EndoMune probiotics contain no dairy products, preservatives and artificial colorings and are GMO- and gluten-free.

Dark chocolate’s healthy benefits start in the gut Read More »

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