Protect Your Gut From Fatty Holiday Foods

Many of us can’t wait for the end of the year, if for no other reason than to satisfy our year-round cravings for eggnog, prime rib, dressing, pecan pie and other fatty holiday foods.

Eating those holiday foods in excess as many of us do during the season comes with an unhealthy price to pay in adding extra pounds, not to mention harming our gut.

A recent study featured in Cell Reports goes a long way toward describing how the gut may predict the damage you do to your body merely by eating excessive amounts of high-fat foods.

High-fat diets: No ho, ho, ho!

Previous studies have found that people eating the same high-fat diets — the major culprit in an array of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stroke — react differently. Some may suffer from less or more problems than others.

Researchers fed genetically similar mice healthy foods and screened urine samples for compounds produced by their gut bacteria, establishing a baseline of healthy chemical profiles.

Once those same lab animals were switched to fatty foods, their tiny bodies reacted just like their human counterparts, with some becoming less tolerant to glucose (an early sign of diabetes) while others gained more weight.

Follow-up analyses of urine samples taken from mice after feeding them fatty foods changed too, predicting signs of unhealthy changes in weight, glucose and behavior.

In fact, the presence of one very popular chemical produced by the gut — trimethylene n-oxide (TMAO) — was a sign of glucose issues, not to mention heart disease.

“We tend to believe that obesity is caused by bad genes or by bad genes interacting with bad environment,” says Dr. Dominique Gauguier, a senior investigator on this study based in Paris, according to a press release.

“Our findings indicate that an organism’s gut microbiome can drive the adaptation to dietary challenges in the absence of genetic variation.”

These results are only the beginning, as researchers plan to embark on a larger, more in-depth clinical trial on 2,000 human patients that will go further toward forecasting how people react to differing diets and how gut health drives their overall health.

The long-term goal: Generating chemical profiles from urine and blood samples that may offer guidance on what diets are most supportive for a patient’s optimal health.

Until that comes…

What we do know right now is that maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial gut bacteria is critical in protecting your body from cardiovascular diseases like diabetes, based on the findings of a Danish study we’ve discussed previously.

That same study also found that patients who had less diverse gut microbiomes carried more fat on their bodies and experienced more inflammation in their digestive tracts, making them more vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases.

The holiday season is full of gatherings with friends, family and lots of fatty seasonal foods that can add inches and pounds to your waistline and disrupt the diversity of your gut in no time if you overindulge too often.

Keeping your portion sizes small and eating healthier foods rich in fiber can do a lot of good for your body and keep off those extra pounds.

Taking a multi-species probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 distinct species of beneficial bacteria, can also go a long way toward protecting the diversity of your gut and your overall health too.

Fish oil promotes healthy gut bacteria

Taking a fish oil supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids has emerged as a potent and necessary weapon for maintaining optimal health by protecting our bodies from an assortment of problems, including many related to cardiovascular health.

The need for omega-3 supplementation has grown due to an imbalance in our Western diets, which are full of high-fat, processed foods containing omega-6 fatty acids, and has perpetuated our current obesity epidemic.

Our bodies require both kinds of fatty acids to thrive. Ratios of 2:1 to 4:1 (omega-6 to omega-3 fats) are necessary to maintain good health. Unfortunately, the average diet contains up to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s.

If you don’t eat fish high in omega-3s like salmon, herring, sardines or tuna at least twice a week, a fish oil supplement may be a smart choice for the health of your body thanks to your gut, according to a new study featured in Cell Metabolism.

First, European scientists monitored the metabolic health of mice while feeding them fish oil or lard for 11 weeks. Based on the problems of the Western diet, the lard “diet” promoted the growth of Bilophila, gut bacteria linked to inflammation.

On the other hand, mice that consumed fish oil increased their production of Akkermansia mucinphila, gut bacteria that improved the metabolism of glucose and reduced extra weight.

“We were surprised that the lard and the fish oil diet, despite having the same energy content and the same amount of dietary fiber – which is the primary energy source for the gut bacteria – resulted in fundamentally different gut microbiota communities and the microbiota had such large effects on health,” says study co-author Dr. Robert Caesar, according to a press release.

Scientists conducted a follow-up round of tests, transplanting fecal samples from mice fed fish oil or lard into antibiotic-treated mice fed a lard diet for three weeks. Mice receiving fecal samples enhanced by fish oil gained less weight and produced lower levels of lipopolysaccharides than those fed lard.

Based on this small mice study, taking fish oil may be a good supplement for your overall gut-health along with a probiotic, ideally a multi-strain product like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic containing 10 strains of beneficial bacteria.


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