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TEXT: Antibiotics 101 How to protect your gut health

Antibiotics 101: Protect Your Gut

Antibiotics 101: How to Protect Your Gut Health

Every so often, we like to remind you about basic health and lifestyle steps you can take that may help or harm your gut health, like the do’s and don’ts of taking an antibiotic safely.

Antibiotics were once considered “miracle” drugs that treated serious health issues and controlled the spread of disease. For example, some childhood conditions like strep throat and bacterial meningitis were fatal diseases before antibiotics.

Over time, however, antibiotic drugs transitioned from their “miracle” status to being prescribed for many more health problems, such as viral infections like colds, the flu and most coughs and many sinus infections, that do more harm than good.

An estimated 43 percent of the antibiotic prescriptions in America were issued for health problems that were completely unnecessary, based on numbers compiled in a 2019 Oregon State University report.

How did this happen?

The simple explanation: The overuse of antibiotics, plus our exposure to antibacterial chemicals in soaps, paints and even gym equipment, has over-sterilized our lives to such a degree that these drugs may promote resistance and, in some cases, do not work as they should or at all.

This could lead to infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics become much more costly (more expensive treatments, trips to the doctor) and much harder to treat.

Are you concerned about that next antibiotic prescription from your physician? We’ve got you covered.

Your antibiotic protocol

Antibiotics are valuable medications when they’re prescribed by your doctor for good reasons, not because you’ve had a persistent cold or flu and want to feel better right now.

If you’re concerned about over-exposure to antibiotics, it’s important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Do not be afraid to ask them questions!

And, if you do need to take an antibiotic, take them as prescribed by your physician until your course is completed. That’s critical because lots of people only take antibiotics until they start feeling better, then drop them.

Here are some extra steps you can take on your own to lessen the need for antibiotics:

  1. Keep your hands clean with plain soap and warm water, and ditch the antibacterial soap.
  2. Cook your foods thoroughly, and have a working food thermometer in your kitchen always at the ready.
  3. Monitor your use of prescription pain relievers, as some may worsen the problem.
  4. Stay up-to-date on your doctor-recommended vaccinations. Some vaccines will protect you and your family from bacterial infections stemming from whooping cough and diphtheria.

When you absolutely need to take an antibiotic for a health problem, please remember that it’s vital to protect your gut, the center of your body’s immune system too.

Antibiotics create problems for the gut by depleting the balance of bacteria that normally keep you healthy. If you have to take an antibiotic and want to protect the health of your gut, consider taking 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 Lactobacillus families and a prebiotic (that feeds the good bugs in your gut) not only protects but supports your immune health.

Taking a probiotic like EndoMune about two hours before that necessary antibiotic gives those beneficial bacteria extra time to reach your gut and protect it and your immune health when you really need it the most.

Resources

Text: How can probiotics help you

Could a Probiotic Help You?

Probiotics seem to be everywhere right now; in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, lining the supplement shelves, we’re even seeing them in the beauty and skincare section! Hearing about all the benefits of probiotics may have you wondering, “Do I need to take one?”

Defined by the ​World Health Organization​, probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” They are not chemicals like antibiotics, but cultures of live bacteria or yeasts that help to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome. When your gut becomes unbalanced it can cause many health issues, such as gas, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and obesity. Probiotics have been shown to help “restore the healthy composition and function of the ​gut microbiome​” and thus, help combat many of these troublesome issues.

Think taking a probiotic supplement could benefit you? Below we’ll discuss a handful of reasons why people may be adding a probiotic supplement to their daily routine.

When you need immune system support

Do you feel like you get sick every flu or cold season? If yes, then you may need to strengthen your immune system. 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut and the health of your microbiome directly impacts the overall health of your immune system. Probiotics are a great way to help ​support your immune system​ and protect your body against harmful viruses.

When you’re taking antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to kill disease-causing bacteria in the body. This is good, but sometimes taking an antibiotic can trigger diarrhea. That’s because these strong antibiotics can kill our good bacteria while targeting the bad bacteria resulting in an ​unbalanced microbiome​. Taking a probiotic while on antibiotics is a great way to help your body stay in balance and prevent a case of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

It’s important to remember to take your probiotic supplements at least two hours after taking your antibiotics to ensure the antibiotics do not kill the good bacteria in your probiotics!

When you’re having digestive problems (and when you’re not!)

If you constantly suffer from stomach problems such as gas, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea, your microbiome may be unbalanced. Taking a ​probiotic ​has been ​shown​ to help restore the balance of your gut microbiome and improve the functioning of your GI tract.

When you have allergies

Up to 30% of the general population suffers from one or more atopic diseases including allergies, asthma, and eczema. These are usually caused by heightened immune responses to common allergens, especially inhaled or food allergens. Probiotics have been ​shown​ to help alleviate allergic inflammation and food allergy symptoms. Another ​published study demonstrated that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei decreased the number of days preschool children with allergic rhinitis were sick over 12 months. If you tend to lock yourself inside during allergy season, then a probiotic may be what you need!

When you experience frequent yeast infections

If you suffer from frequent yeast infections, it could be a sign that there is a disturbance of the beneficial bacteria in your body. ​Studies ​have shown that supplementing with probiotics can improve symptoms of yeast infections and may also be able to prevent potential infections. Vaginal yeast infections are surprisingly common, as ​75% of all women ​are likely to have a yeast infection at least once in their lives. While there are many treatment options, beginning to take a probiotic supplement is one of the easiest, all-natural ways to correct the loss of good bacteria and bring your body back into balance.

Convinced yet?

It can be difficult to maintain the balance of bacteria in your microbiome when things like diet, travel, and stress can throw it off. In some circumstances, eating plenty of probiotic-rich foods may not be enough, and a probiotic supplement may be able to help keep everything in line. If you find yourself experiencing any of these health concerns consider taking a ​probiotic supplement ​to help achieve a healthy microbiome, strong immune system, and an overall healthy body.

 

 

Healthy Gut Protocol Instructions

Your Gut Healthy Protocol During the Coronavirus Holiday Season

It’s THAT time of year when our thoughts turn to the holidays and celebrating the end of the old year and the start of a brand new one.

But this holiday season is unlike any other in recent memory, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the Thanksgiving break, the CDC asked Americans to stay put and not travel. So far, there are no indications that future advisories from federal health officials will change very much at least in the short term.

With families staying at home as much as possible and limiting their contact to very small groups of people — appropriately distanced, of course — the last thing you should be worried about is your gut health, right?

Wrong. Here are 3 reasons why you should be:

How are you sleeping?

The health of your gut (and your body) is affected by shifts in your body’s circadian eat-sleep-wake cycles.

Disturbing that schedule — anything from long work hours to getting to know your new PS5 — messes up those natural processes the gut performs on its own while you’re sleeping.

Getting the sleep you need and sticking with a schedule matters, along with eating enough prebiotics, a natural part of whole foods ranging from onions to almonds and jicama.

How are your emotions?

Because many of you are staying home and glued to your work desk (or that shiny new PS5 next to your TV), your emotions may be up, down or all around depending on your mood and the time of day.

It’s certainly understandable, given that we live for our human connections to the outside world.

Maintaining the vital connection that links your brain, intestines, and emotions — your gut-brain axis — helps you regulate those stressors naturally and effectively.

How’s your diet?

If you’re staying home a lot more, your once healthy and balanced diet may have fallen by the wayside, in favor of more highly processed foods full of sugar — real or artificial — and chemicals that disrupt the critical balance of good bacteria in your gut.

5 ways to protect your immune system

This trio of variables all leads up to one very serious problem: A disrupted immune system that can leave you very vulnerable to an array of health problems.

What’s more, a growing number of experts all over the world are coming around to the belief that gut health is the key, not only to stay healthy in the good times, but to reduce your risk of respiratory infections too.

With all of this in mind, here’s your updated gut-health protocol to help you and your family stay safe during this coronavirus holiday season:

  1. Keep the surfaces in your bathrooms and kitchens as clean as possible.
  2. Get on a sleep schedule and stick to it. (Put the PS5 in the closet when you’re not using it.)
  3. About schedules: Take breaks for healthy, balanced meals away from the TV or computer screens and get a little exercise. Even a short walk with your dog helps!
  4. Keep those hands clean with plain soap and water. No antibacterial soap necessary!
  5. Give your gut health a much-needed boost by taking a probiotic, ideally containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

Although your gut is a diverse environment that requires an array of species to do countless things behind the scenes, lots of probiotics still rely on one strain of beneficial bacteria to do the heavy lifting. Simply, these single-strain probiotics just aren’t up to the job.

Our multi-strain probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, is fortified with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus a prebiotic (FOS) that feed the good bacteria in your gut.

Protecting your gut by following our updated protocol will help you stay healthy through the holidays and to a better 2021.

References

Microorganisms

Frontiers in Psychiatry

PNAS

Gut Microbiota For Health

UNC Health/WRAL.com

Current Pharmaceutical Design

 

 

Man in white t-shirt flexing his arm.

How Probiotics Support Your Immune System

During the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen a renewed focus from our customers on ways to “support your immune system.” The obvious question is: can probiotics, by helping your gut be as healthy as possible, also support your immune system? Although probiotics are proven to help digestion and optimal gut health, recent studies indicate probiotics also protect and enhance your immune system.

The primary reason probiotics, by strengthening your gut health, help your immune system function better is simple. Your gut and immune system have a symbiotic relationship. For example, 70-80% of your immune cells are located in your gut. The health of your gut directly impacts the overall health of your entire immune system.

Healthy guts make healthy immune systems. Conversely, compromised, unhealthy guts erode the effectiveness of immune system function. That leads to potentially more illnesses like common colds, flu, and many other infections – potentially even COVID-19.

Scientists have known for years that our microbiome helps keep overactive immune responses (leading to conditions like IBS and other autoimmune diseases) in check. However, they were still unsure of the exact mechanisms that drive this interaction.

Vitamin A

Emerging research may have found one of the potential answers. Vitamin A seems to help the healthy bacteria in our guts produce beneficial chemicals and activate naturally occurring vitamin A found in the food we eat that helps regulate our immune system naturally. After all, our goal as medical professionals is to help your body defend itself from disease naturally without medications, and the frontline of your body’s war against threats from bacteria and viral diseases is in your gut.

A study led by Shipra Vaishnava, Assistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Brown University, found that when your gut has an adequate level of vitamin A, your gut seems to be able to suppress overactive immune responses. That suggests that instead of your body’s defense system attacking helpful bacteria in your gut and upsetting the natural balance of these necessary flora, they can coexist with each other peacefully; hopefully, leading to a combination of optimal gut and immune system health function.

“A lot of these diseases are attributed to increased immune response or immune activation, but we’ve found a new way that bacteria in our gut can dampen the immune response,” Shipra Vaishnava argues. “This research could be critical in determining therapies in the case of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as vitamin A deficiency.”

Simply put, probiotic supplements give your body the ability to absorb nutrients more efficiently, resulting in an improved immune system. That’s why better gut health prepares your body to defend itself against external threats – even during a pandemic.

Diversifying your Gut to Strengthen your Immune System

Since a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available until sometime next year, anyone looking for ways to build up your body’s defenses naturally should make sure your body has a diverse microbiome which leads to a healthy gut. A health gut, in turn, leads to a more robust, healthier immune system

The best way to increase microbiome diversity is to eat foods that support a healthy gut, and avoiding alcohol and highly processed foods. We get it, that’s always hard to do, and is challenging during a pandemic like COVID-19. One easy way to help your gut stay healthy and strong is to take a multistrain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotics.

However, don’t forget to help your body stay strong by managing your mental health, getting enough sleep, and staying physically active if you can do so safely.

It’s small, daily steps like these that make a big difference in protecting your health.

For more information on how to combat the Coronavirus, read our previous blog:

C oronavirus: Protect Your Immune System

Warning sign that says "CORONAVIRUS"

Coronavirus: Protect Your Immune System

Just when you thought you were prepared for the worst of the cold and flu season, here comes COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus. As the coronavirus has spread across the globe and made its way around the world to America, most of you are concerned, as you should be.

However, there’s been lots of fear-mongering conspiracies shared about the coronavirus by media sources choosing to scare you rather than truly help you.

Still, your number one priority during this coronavirus pandemic —protecting your immune system — remains the same as it does during our annual flu fight.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus doesn’t have a vaccine on the market preventing it, and there may not be one available for quite some time. Some researchers estimate that a vaccine may not be available for 12-18 months.

So, what can you do?

Your updated healthy habits list

With no vaccine coming for a while, here’s your updated healthy habits list. This time there will be a greater emphasis on protecting your immune health.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water often. It is recommended to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after toileting, sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
  2. Work on not touching your nose, mouth and eyes so much. (Yes, it’s very hard to do!)
  3. Cover your nose or mouth when sneezing or coughing with a facial tissue. Be sure to throw it away afterwards!
  4. Keep common surfaces you use a lot (your kitchen sink, countertop and bathroom lavatory) as clean as you can. Household sprays will do perfectly fine for this task.
  5. Eat healthy meals and get as much exercise as you can.
  6. Avoid close contact with the sick and stay home when you’re sick. The CDC recommends not spending money on a mask unless you wear it to protect others from the coronavirus.

Boosting the bugs in your gut with a probiotic supports your immune system too… but how?

Multiple strains of bacteria make a difference

Although there has been no testing of probiotics against the coronavirus, a group of researchers examined the effect of 12 strains of beneficial bacteria contained in probiotics to fight viral diseases in a review published in Current Pharmaceutical Design.

In most instances, these strains of beneficial bacteria reduced the severity of symptoms (diarrhea, coughing, fevers) from colds and flu and upper respiratory infections in young children and healthy adults.

(Scientists tested a number of strains including Lactobacillus caseiLactobacillus rhamnosusLactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium lactis contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)

Follow my updated healthy habits list, monitor news reports from trusted sources like the CDC and World Health Organization and take a probiotic. By taking these simple steps, you’re doing all you can to protect you and yours from the coronavirus.

Advisory Note:

Facts and findings are always being updated on the status of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. For the most updated advisories on the COVID-19/coronavirus, visit CDC.org (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html).

References

World Health Organization

CDC

Current Pharmaceutical Design

New York Times

NBC News

The Hill

 

 

sterile white couch in an all white room

Your House Paint May Contain Gut-Harming Antimicrobials

I’ve talked about all of the trouble associated antibacterial products (preventing the development of bacteria) and antimicrobial products (preventing the spread of fungi, viruses and bacteria) too many times to count on my blog.

Over-sterilizing your life creates lots of problems for your gut microbiome. And, this doesn’t include exposures to all sorts of things under our very noses — from yoga mats to common personal care products like toothpaste — that contain gut bacteria-robbing chemicals.

Could the latex paint that lines the walls of your home be another problem hiding in plain sight?

Antimicrobial latex paints put to the test

Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago tested the effect of three kinds of antimicrobial, synthetic latex paints (formulated to improve indoor air quality) on bacteria in a study featured in the journal, Indoor Air.

To reproduce the typical home environment, scientists painted a group of 2×2-inch squares of drywall twice (with a day in between applications for drying), added tiny drops of water and placed them in sealed glass jars.

Then, some of the samples were exposed to five forms of bacteria taken from gym facilities that are commonly found in homes.

Within a day, all but one of the bacterial species — the spore-forming Bacillus timonensis — had died. The concern: Most bacteria die on dry, cold surfaces, but why not this one?

Spreading bacteria where it shouldn’t be

When bacteria are attacked with antimicrobial chemicals, they will mount a defense, says lead researcher Erica Hartmann. “Bacillus is typically innocuous, but by attacking it, you might prompt it to develop more antibiotic resistance.”

Spore-forming bacteria like Bacillus timonensis protect themselves on painted surfaces by lying dormant for a time, and resisting harsh conditions until they reactivate.

By now, you’re probably wondering why paint companies don’t test their antimicrobial products on common forms of bacteria. That was the gist of the test, Hartman says.

All too often, companies test their products on how E. coli — considered by some to be the “lab rat” of the microbial world — and Staphylococcus survive, yet ignore other microbes people encounter every day.

“We should be judicious in our use of antimicrobial products to make sure that we’re not exposing the more harmless bacteria to something that could make them harmful,” Hartmann says.

Protecting your immune health

The presence of antimicrobial cleaners and paints in our lives can create a “too clean for our own good” environment that hurts our health in many ways.

Exposure to antibacterial and antimicrobial products, even those seemingly as benign as paint, can harm us by eroding the delicate balance of bacteria in our gut.

Maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria helps our body do critical things like fortifying our immune systems and creating nearly all of the serotonin our bodies need.

Taking a good probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, is an easy way to protect your overall health and your gut from antibacterial products that may hiding on your walls, countertops and elsewhere.

Beat The Flu With Probiotics

If you and your family have stayed healthy throughout this latest flu season — one that many experts say may be one of the worst ever — consider yourselves lucky.

The huge majority of this year’s flu cases in America originates from the H3N2 strain, one that hit Australia hard last year, sending countless patients to hospitals and killing four times more people than the most recent five-year average for a flu season.

Also, treating the flu is very expensive for all of us, accounting for more than $27 billion annually in direct medical expenses and lost wages.

A very timely study appearing in Scientific Reports demonstrates how a single strain of beneficial bacteria may protect you from some of the worst symptoms of the influenza A virus and its many variations.

Scientists at Georgia State University treated mice with a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus casei (one of the 10 strains of beneficial bacteria used in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic) before infecting them with a lethal dose of the influenza A virus.

Surviving the flu

All of the mice that were treated with Lactobacillus casei survived their run-ins with influenza A, according to Dr. Sang-Moo Kang, lead study author and a professor at Georgia State’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences.

Among the survivors, their immune systems were strong enough to resist deadly primary and secondary strains of the flu and protect them from losing weight.

By comparison, the control mice that weren’t treated with Lactobacillus casei experienced severe weight loss within nine days after being infected with the flu, had 18 times more influenza virus in their tiny lungs and eventually died.

These results aren’t surprising, considering the findings of an older study that found treating patients with another proprietary strain of Lactobacillus after giving them a flu shot held onto a protective amount of the vaccine for at least four weeks.

Even if you hate getting a flu shot in the first place, there’s many simple steps you can take to boost your immune system, from washing your hands early and often with plain soap and water (no antibacterial soaps) to getting the right amount of sleep and staying hydrated.

Taking a multi-species probiotic with important strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Junior Probiotic (for kids), can also be a safe and effective non-drug way to protect your family’s health from the flu too.

How Do You Take a Probiotic?

So, you’ve finally realized there are many reasons why you need to take a probiotic, but that’s only the first step toward improving your gut health.

How you take a probiotic — ideally with multiple species of beneficial bacteria — is even more important, as it helps you get the best value for your family’s health and your pocketbook.

Healthy kids and adults

Most healthy adults will get a much-needed boost to their immune system and gut health if they take a probiotic, ideally, about 30 minutes before eating a morning meal on an empty stomach.

This simple routine for most adults makes sense, based on the findings of a 2011 study featured in the journal Beneficial Microbes, that showed fewer good bugs contained in multi-species probiotics survived in smaller numbers through the upper gastrointestinal tract after a meal (when stomach acid is usually at its highest).

For small children age 3 or under, parents can protect their developing immune systems and reduce episodes of colic or diarrhea by sprinkling a probiotic in a powdered form (like EndoMune Junior) in a noncarbonated formula or liquid or on soft foods before or with a meal once a day.

Then, once your kids reach age 3, they can “graduate” to a chewy, fruity probiotic of their own (like EndoMune Junior Chewable).

When you’re sick

Another important consideration is how to take a probiotic when you’re sick. In fact, it’s becoming more common to see people taking a probiotic when their doctor prescribes an antibiotic, based on growing concerns about antibiotic-resistant infections.

Antibiotics can do a great deal of harm by wiping out the healthy bacteria in your gut and allowing bad bugs to hang around and cause more problems, like the persistent diarrhea associated with Clostridium difficile (C.diff).

Ideally, you’ll want to give your body at least a two-hour break in between taking a probiotic and antibiotic to allow those live and very beneficial probiotic bacteria an opportunity to protect your gut.

Before you begin taking a probiotic, it’s also critical to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have, especially if you have a health condition that requires taking specific drugs, like antifungal products or immunosuppressants.

Deciding on adding a probiotic to your daily routine is one of the easiest things you can do for your health. But knowing how and when to use a probiotic effectively can make all the difference in your health for the long haul.

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.

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