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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Vitamin D capsules laid out in the shape of the sun. TEXT: Can vitamin D help relieve IBS symptoms?

Does Vitamin D Relieve IBS?

Does Vitamin D Relieve IBS?

Vitamin D is a versatile and very essential nutrient that does great things for your body.

Not only does vitamin D aid in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus to keep your bones strong and healthy, it reduces your risks of some serious health problems (from multiple sclerosis to heart disease and the flu) and helps you regulate your mood too.

Plus, your body makes vitamin D naturally thanks to your daily exposure to the sun. (That’s why it’s called the sunshine vitamin.) However, if your body doesn’t produce enough vitamin D, eating fatty fish (salmon and tuna) or fortified foods like milk or cereal or take a daily supplement may help.

But should you take vitamin D to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Not so fast…

Putting Vitamin D To The Test

For nearly a decade, scientists at the University of Sheffield have done lots of research on the connections between IBS and low vitamin D levels. In fact, the results of their 2018 study determined that vitamin D had some small benefit, leading them to advise most IBS patients to take a supplement.

Scientists put their theory to the test in this latest study: A 12-week trial in which 135 patients with chronic IBS took a 3,000 IU of vitamin D or a placebo with a goal of lessening its symptoms.

Although vitamin D levels increased in comparison to a placebo treatment, there were no differences reported in the severity of IBS between both groups of patients or even a mild alternations to their quality of life.

For people living with severe IBS, low vitamin D levels may be attributable to changes in diet and lifestyle as a result of adjustments they make due to anxiety or other coping mechanisms, says lead study author Dr. Bernard Corfe.

How To Relieve IBS

If you’re coping with IBS, you may already know that making basic adjustments — eating more fiber and low FODMAP meals, reducing your stress and getting more movement and sleep — are helpful. (These are important ways to curb the obesity epidemic).

Depending on the subtype of IBS affecting you and its severity, your physician may suggest targeted drugs like alosetron (Lotronex) or rifaximin (Xifaxan), but these come with their own side effects ranging from constipation to pancreatitis.

If you want to treat IBS without a drug, many medical experts believe probiotics are one of the most effective and safest treatments available.

Probiotics lessen constipation by maintaining the motility in your intestines and reduce the duration of diarrhea. Plus, they work with your gut-brain axis to calm your emotions and help you better handle your stressors.

What’s more, studies have shown the effectiveness of multi-strain probiotics, especially when they’re taken over the long haul.

Remember your gut microbiome is a diverse accumulation of bacteria, so any probiotic you take needs to be built to combat the symptoms of IBS plus protect and enhance your body’s immune system.

Look for a probiotic with proven strains of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families, like those found in EndoMune Advance Probiotic.

One more thing: The next time you have blood work done during your annual checkup, be sure you ask about your vitamin D levels and consult with your physician about a supplement if you need one!

References

European Journal of Nutrition

The University of Sheffield

Healthline.com

National Institutes of Health

Nutrients

Thumbs up graphic with healthy foods inside. Thumbs down with unhealthy food inside. Text: Do you have IBS? How's Your Diet?

How Diet Affects IBS

Poor Diets Increase IBS Problems

For those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), not a day goes by without the imminent reminders of symptoms of diarrhea, constipation or both. But, did you know up to 45 million Americans suffer from IBS, the most common reason patients consult with a gastroenterologist?

Although the experts aren’t exactly sure what causes IBS, a lot of factors play a role, from emotional issues and bacterial infections in your digestive tract to food sensitivities.

What’s more, these factors vary among patients, and there are different subtypes of IBS, depending on whether diarrhea (IBS-D) or constipation (IBS-C) dominate or both symptoms alternate (IBS-A).

However, we may be learning some important clues about the causes of severe IBS related to a very familiar culprit of all sorts of gut health problems: The typical Western diet filled with low-fiber processed foods and bad fats.

Bad Diets, Severe Symptoms

Suspecting poor diets could be a major factor in IBS, a group of European researchers compared the health of 149 adults with IBS (almost half suffering from severe symptoms) to 52 healthy patients by monitoring their eating habits (four days) and stool samples (two weeks) closely via detailed diaries.

Once patients turned in their diaries, three facts stood out right away.

  1. Eating meats and plant-based foods were major drivers in determining dietary patterns. (This makes sense given what we know about paleo diets creating serious gut health imbalances and heart health problems.)

 

  1. IBS patients with more severe symptoms ate diets filled with more sugary, carbohydrate-rich, low-fiber processed foods that are found in the Western diet.

 

  1. The guts of IBS patients produced a lot of specialized microbial enzymes related to breaking down complex carbohydrates known as food glycans. That overproduction of glycans is important, given how they shape bacteria in the human gut, according to a study appearing in Nature Reviews Microbiology.

The Take-Home Message

If you’re suffering from IBS, many physicians will recommend eating a more balanced diet focused on avoiding gluten and foods that generate more gas and consuming more fiber. Your doctor may also recommend following a low FODMAP diet, and other important lifestyle changes, like reducing your stress levels and getting more sleep and exercise.

If you’re having problems with IBS, you may want to avoid a drug like alosetron (Lotronex) that has its own share of unpleasant side effects, and consider taking a probiotic.

In addition to protecting the overall health of your gut, probiotics work well to maintain the motility in your intestines which lessens constipation, plus they are a safe, effective means to treat diarrhea too.

In fact, the latest guidelines issued by the British Society of Gastroenterology in the medical journal Gut now recommend probiotics as a frontline treatment for IBS.

But, not any probiotic will do the trick.

Taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotics —‑with 10 buildings blocks from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families — will help to treat the symptoms of IBS more effectively plus give your body’s immune system a much-needed boost.

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

Bathroom sign with text that says, "IBS Sufferer?"

How Probiotics Can Aid IBS Sufferers

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with physicians, pharmacists and patients over the years about the benefits of probiotics. The topic that comes up most frequently when I talk to people is how probiotics help those who suffer daily from symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Routinely, patients consult with gastroenterologists about IBS more than any other condition, and it’s one of the most common problems primary care physicians see too.

As many as 20 percent of Americans experience symptoms of IBS, but a lot of patients still have a hard time recognizing them for what they are.

In fact, a global impact report of IBS estimates that it can take up to four years for a patient to receive an IBS diagnosis and only after undergoing many costly and unnecessary procedures.

Medical prescriptions for IBS

When I became a gastroenterologist, the medical understanding of IBS was very limited. Back then, many health professionals believed the common symptoms of IBS — abdominal pain, gas, constipation and diarrhea — were related to stress.

So, doctors treated stress by prescribing a range of tranquilizers and antidepressants combined with antispasmodics that affected the nerves going into the GI tract.

Nowadays, drug regimens have changed to more targeted IBS medicines like alosetron (Lotronex), eluxadoline (Viberzi), rifaximin (Xifaxan) and lubiprostone (Amitiza).

However, these drugs create their own sets of side effects, including pancreatitis, abdominal pain, nausea and constipation. Also, the kind of drugs doctors prescribe will differ depending on the subtype of IBS.

What about probiotics for IBS sufferers?

The good news for IBS patients who are otherwise healthy: Among the many non-drug therapies used to treat IBS, probiotics rises to the top of the list due to their effectiveness and the lack of drug interactions with other medications.

Probiotics work in versatile ways to reduce IBS symptoms safely. However, the kind of probiotic you take really matters when it comes to treating IBS effectively.

The benefits of multi-strain probiotics are well-documented, as it takes a variety of beneficial bacteria to maintain and protect the balance of good bugs in your gut.

A recent review of studies appearing in the medical journal Nutrients concluded probiotics containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria provided better results in treating IBS.

Overall, seven of those 11 trials reviewed by European researchers found probiotics significantly improved IBS symptoms compared to a placebo.

What’s more, eight of those trials evaluated how IBS patients benefitted from taking a multi-strain probiotic. When IBS patients took a multi-strain probiotic for at least eight weeks, the results were more dramatic and beneficial.

A similar review of studies appearing in Complementary Therapies in Medicine came to the same conclusions about probiotics as a safe and effective treatment for IBS symptoms and abdominal pain too.

The take-home message

Have you been thinking about treating your IBS with a probiotic but don’t know where to begin?

You can start by reading about many more reasons why you need to take a probiotic, not only to relieve your IBS symptoms, but to protect the health of your gut every day.

Populated by more than 1,000 diverse species of bacteria (10 times more than the cells in your body), your gut performs a wide range of duties 24/7 to protect your health.

Taking a multi-strain probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, is a smart and proven way, not only to make a daily difference in your gut health but do a world of good in treating your IBS symptoms too.

Resources

Nutrients

Complementary Therapies in Medicine

American College of Gastroenterology

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Medline Plus

Medical News Now

MedPage Today

News Medical Life Sciences

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

Graphic with lists of good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut.

The IBS/Traveler’s Diarrhea Connection

The holiday travel season may be long over, but the memories of that special trip, maybe to a warmer destination many time zones and thousands of miles away, still resonates.

Your only sour memory of that trip is a bad case of traveler’s diarrhea, the most common ailment vacationers face when they journey long distances, particularly to international destinations like South America, Africa, Mexico and Asia.

That run-in with traveler’s diarrhea could leave you vulnerable to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the most common gut health problem that affects up to 15 percent of all Americans, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

A weakened immune system

Although researchers are still trying to figure out all of the answers, a recent study may have found an important connection between IBS and traveler’s diarrhea, according to a recent study appearing in the journal Cell.

To support a healthy gut, our body’s immune system must be equipped to maintain a balanced response to problems as they come without overdoing it.

For example, inflammation can help the gut fight an infection, but too much of a response “can cause lasting harm,” says Dr. Daniel Mucida, head of The Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology.

After Dr. Mucida and his team treated mice with a weak form of Salmonella (a very common bacterium that causes food poisoning), they discovered a lingering drop of neurons in the gut that could create an inflammatory response.

Previous work by Dr. Mucida determined these neurons could also be triggering the death of a specialized set of gut immune cells that can lead to constipation, a key IBS symptom.

A gut bacteria imbalance

Not surprisingly, this research team also discovered treating mice with Salmonella tipped the balance of beneficial gut bacteria in their tiny bodies in a bad way.

However, those neurons recovered when scientists restored the healthy balance of bacteria in those very same mice.

Fortunately, one of critical steps you should take to prevent traveler’s diarrhea — taking a probiotic — works very well when treating IBS too.

That being said, not just any kind of probiotic will do the trick.

Many probiotics are formulated with a single strain of bacteria to treat a specific problem, but not the kinds that patients encounter with IBS.

Based on a very recent review in the journal Nutrients, patients experienced greater benefits when taking probiotics with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria for at least eight weeks.

The human gut is populated by more than 1,000 species of bacteria. A probiotic made with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria is formulated to boost your immune system and treat IBS more effectively.

Taking a product like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic made from 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families plus a prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good bugs in your gut may be the safer and more effective choice for treating IBS and traveler’s diarrhea too.

References

CDC.gov

Cell, Vol. 180, Issue 1

The Rockefeller University

Nutrients, Volume 11, Issue 9

Gut Microbiota For Health

probiotics and IBS written on a paper on a clipboard.

Probiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the number one reason patients are referred to gastroenterologists.

IBS is a chronic disorder that creates a variety of painful symptoms, including diarrhea, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation and other abdominal pain.

Anywhere from 10-20 percent of Americans commonly experience IBS symptoms (usually younger than age 45). Typically, IBS affects twice as many women as it does men and often begins during young adulthood.

Despite the ability of modern medicine to spot the symptoms of IBS, nailing down a culprit has been far more difficult.

Certainly, stress may be a trigger for IBS, given the role the gut-brain axis plays in connecting your intestines, emotions and brain. The kinds of foods and the amounts we consume (too many carbohydrates) can also be big problems. Ditto for alcohol.

Although there’s no definitive tests for IBS, your gastroenterologist will want to perform some of these procedures to help him/her rule out other health problems.

  • Blood work
  • Stool culture
  • Colonoscopy or upper GI endoscopy
  • Hydrogen breath test

Another aspect that makes treating this disease really tricky: There’s different subtypes of IBS: Diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D), constipation-predominant (IBS-C) and alternating type (IBS-A).

And, IBS is a health problem that patients can switch from one subtype to another.

Treating a moving target

Many doctors will recommend some very basic lifestyle changes that may make a difference, especially if a patient’s IBS symptoms are mild:

  • Avoiding high-gas foods and gluten.
  • Eating more fiber and low FODMAP meals (with supervision from a physician or dietician.
  • Getting more sleep and exercise.
  • Reducing stress as much as possible.

(If some of these lifestyle changes sound familiar to you, health care professionals recommend them for fighting the obesity epidemic too.)

Physicians can prescribe medications, but shifts in an IBS patient’s subtype make that problematic too. For example, one drug for IBS-D — alosetron (Lotronex) — is recommended only for women with IBD-D and with special precautions and warnings.

Should stress also play a role, your doctor may want to prescribe an antidepressant drug, like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (fluvoxamine or sertraline), an older tricyclic drug (amitriptyline or imipramine) or an antispasmodic drug (dicyclomine).

The probiotic approach

Out of the many non-drug therapies medical experts cite to control IBS, however, probiotics always seems to rise to the top of the list because they are among the safest ways to treat this condition effectively.

Why? Probiotics are much more versatile in the ways they work in your body, compared to a drug.

They do a great job in maintaining the motility in your intestines and lessening constipation, a key symptom of IBS.

And, probiotics are a safe, effective means to treat diarrhea and reducing its duration.

When emotions and stress begin to manifest in problems with your gut-brain axis, probiotics can be a difference-making tool.

But not just any probiotic will do.

The evidence

A very recent review of studies appearing in the medical journal Nutrients that examined controlled trials over the past five years underscored the effectiveness of multi-strain probiotics in relationship to IBS.

Of the 11 studies that met the final cut for the review, seven of them reported significant improvements among IBS patients taking probiotics. But that’s not all.

Eight of those 11 trials evaluated how IBS patients benefit from taking a daily multi-strain probiotic. When IBS patients were given multi-strain probiotics for eight weeks or more, the benefits were far more distinct, especially over a long period of time.

Probiotics containing a single species of bacteria may be good for treating one specific problem, but not several health challenges like those that occur with IBS.

Your gut contains a diverse accumulation of bacteria, 10 times more than the cells in your body (in the tens of trillions) and more than 1,000 different species.

That’s why a multi-species probiotic is built to be a more effective way to treat the symptoms associated with IBS and give your body’s immune system a healthy boost.

Taking a probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families (plus a prebiotic that feeds the bugs in your gut) like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic can be a safer, better alternative for treating IBS that may help you avoid taking a prescription drug too.

woman laying on couch holding stomach in pain from fibromyalgia and IBS

The Gut Health Link to Fibromyalgia

The medical condition known as fibromyalgia — punctuated by widespread and intense musculoskeletal pain, debilitating fatigue and cognitive problems — has been one of the most challenging medical conditions for a very long time.

It’s been a real struggle until recently to convince medical professionals and laypeople that fibromyalgia is a very real thing (it is!), largely because the root causes of this condition remain very much unknown. Plus, diagnosing fibromyalgia can take a long time.

What we do know: Fibromyalgia goes hand-in-hand with gut problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As many as 70 percent of the fibromyalgia patients experience IBS symptoms, according to a paper written by UCLA’s Dr. Lin Chang for the University of North Carolina Center For Functional GI and Motility Disorders.

Like fibromyalgia, the exact causes of IBS are a mystery too. However, among the factors related to an IBS diagnosis is an imbalance of gut bacteria.

It just makes sense that a gut health link must exist and a group of Canadian researchers from the McGill University and the University of Montreal recently discovered it, in a hot-off-the-presses study appearing in the journal Pain.

Big differences

Scientists discovered very distinct differences in the mix of gut bacteria between healthy people and those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Using computational techniques including artificial intelligence, they compared the urine, blood, saliva and stool samples taken from 156 patients, including 77 female fibromyalgia patients, between ages 30-60.

Researchers identified 19 variances in species of gut bacteria — in abnormally higher and lower amounts — in fibromyalgia patients.

Moreover, these techniques allowed scientists to diagnose fibromyalgia in patients using only a patient’s microbiome with an amazing accuracy of 87 percent.

“The changes we saw in the microbiomes of fibromyalgia patients were not caused by factors such as diet, medication, physical activity, age, and so on, which are known to affect the microbiome,” says Dr. Amir Minerbi, lead author of the study.

Some imbalances in gut bacteria species have been linked to several intestinal diseases in lower amounts or inflammatory arthritis in higher numbers.

This news has some pain management experts intrigued about addressing fibromyalgia in a much broader way as part of the gut-brain axis.

“Having a microbiome signature could allow clinicians to understand to what extent the gut is promoting the condition as well as how planned interventions that may alter the microbiome — such as diet, prebiotics and probiotics — could be promising tools,” as pointed out by noted pain management expert Dr. Robert Bonakdar to Medscape.

Probiotics do a great deal of good, and not only as an IBS treatment. According to a recent review of studies, probiotics may be an effective tool in treating, not only fibromyalgia but chronic fatigue syndrome too.

To achieve the best outcome for your gut health, whether you suffer from fibromyalgia or IBS, your best bet is to take a probiotic created with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria amounting to 20 billion CFU, not to mention a prebiotic (FOS) that provides food for the good guys in your gut.

woman having trouble getting out of bed

Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a gut issue?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a very frightening and complicated disorder. Defined as severe exhaustion that can’t be relieved by rest, this condition has frustrated modern medicine for a long time.

Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), this disease has no real triggers or underlying conditions, and diagnosing it requires a lot of time and testing. Although anyone can have CFS, women are far more likely to suffer from it than men, most commonly in their middle years.

Its symptoms run the gamut, from extreme fatigue lasting more than a day and unexplained joint or muscle pain to enlarged lymph nodes, headaches, poor sleep and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

While CFS is a condition with very few connections, research teams at Columbia and Cornell Universities have found important markers that link it to the human gut.

83 percent accurate

The discovery that connects chronic fatigue syndrome to the human gut was a welcome confirmation to Cornell researchers that its origins were definitely not psychological.

“Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in ME/CFS patients isn’t normal, perhaps leading to gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms in victims of the disease,” says Dr. Maureen Hanson, senior author of the study, according to a press release. “Furthermore, our detection of a biological abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin.”

For the record, the Cornell study compared blood and stool samples from 48 CFS patients to 39 health controls. The links to a gut health connection were obvious.

Chronic fatigue patients had less gut bacteria diversity and their blood samples showed signs of inflammation linked to leaky gut. Stool samples also found markers for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, even more serious gut problems.

Moreover, scientists were able to detect which patients were battling CFS based on microbiome testing with 83 percent accuracy.

Gut imbalances affect severity

Mirroring the Cornell findings, Columbia researchers also found bacterial imbalances – too much of some bacterial species including Faecalibacterium – in the fecal samples of the 50 chronic fatigue syndrome patients they examined (versus an equal number of healthy ones), according to the study appearing in Microbiome.

These imbalances varied depending on whether CFS patients were also suffering from IBS or not (21 of the 50 patients did have IBS). Also, depending on which bacteria imbalance chronic fatigue syndrome patients had and the metabolic pathways affected, the severity of their symptoms differed too.

“Individuals with ME/CFS have a distinct mix of gut bacteria and related metabolic disturbances that may influence the severity of their disease,” says Columbia researcher Dorottya Nagy-Szakal, according to a press release.

Probiotic success

Despite all of the attention paid by Columbia and Cornell researchers, a few scientists already had an eye on the intersection of gut health and chronic fatigue syndrome.

In fact, a systemic review of studies appearing very recently in Beneficial Microbes cited studies that showed how using probiotics may be effective in treating CFS and fibromyalgia.

(Both studies cited in this review used proprietary strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the two building blocks of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)

Based on these results, it seems more likely probiotics could become part of a more comprehensive treatment plan for chronic fatigue syndrome. 

“If we have a better idea of what is going on with these gut microbes and patients, maybe clinicians could consider changing diets using prebiotics such as dietary fibers or probiotics to treat the disease,” says Ludovic Giloteaux, a researcher in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University.

Why Do I Need to Take a Probiotic?

For people who are reading our blog for the very first time or those needing a refresher course in good gut health habits, you may be wondering why we devote so much space to explaining why you need to take a probiotic.

There are A LOT of reasons for taking probiotics, in addition to promoting good gut health! Fortunately, you don’t have to do the research.

What follows are 10 important reasons why you should be taking probiotics for your good health, based on the latest research.

  1. Many cheap brands of probiotics contain a single strain of beneficial bacteria, which may be good for a specific problem. However, a multi-strain probiotic protects the diversity of your gut and treats common gut health problems like constipation too.
  1. Do you use an over-the-counter medication like loperamide (Imodium) to treat a case of diarrhea? Taking a probiotic is one of the most effective ways, not only to get rid of diarrhea, but to prevent it altogether.
  1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can do great harm to your gut and your emotions, disrupting your body’s gut-brain axis. Taking a probiotic and a prebiotic (EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and Endomune Jr. Probiotics for Kids contains both) may be a good way to treat IBS and depression without a drug.
  1. Are you taking antibiotics more than once a year to treat persistent infections? Antibiotics rapidly deplete the beneficial bacteria and make you more vulnerable to serious diseases such as colon cancer and more serious antibiotic-resistant infections. Taking a daily probiotic gives your body extra protection by replenishing the beneficial bacteria your body needs.

(You’ll also do your health a great deal of good by avoiding contact with antibacterial soaps that contain broad spectrum and synthetic antimicrobial compounds like triclosan too.)

  1. For patients who suffer from migraines, scientists have recently discovered a link between those painful headaches and nitrates, a common food additive. Some gut health experts believe taking a probiotic may become a safer, non-drug answer to treat migraines.
  1. Have problems with your teeth? Taking a probiotic is good treatment, as it may be a one more way to heal chronic periodontitis and reduce inflammation and levels of gingivitis and plaque, in addition to regular dental care.
  1. Hypertension can be a warning sign of serious health problems behind the scenes and even death. Taking a daily probiotic can improve your overall health, lower your blood pressure safely and lessen your dependence on prescription medications.
  1. Do you fly for your job or pleasure on a frequent basis or work a swing shift? The balance of bacteria in your gut is affected your body’s circadian rhythms as you cross time zones — often due to jet lag — but taking a probiotic prevents that yo-yo effect from harming your health.
  1. Protecting your sleep is an important part of restoring your body night after night. Be sure that any probiotic you consider taking also contains a prebiotic that can help you improve your sleep.
  1. Are you a new parent losing sleep over your baby’s prolonged crying due to colic? A number of studies point to probiotics as a safe, healthy way to lessen colic and prevent other common problems for babies like acid reflux and constipation.

Treating IBS-Related Depression With Probiotics

Most symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — gas, cramping, diarrhea and constipation — are very uncomfortable, very embarrassing and very painfully obvious.

Considering the pain and discomfort you may be feeling, however, you may not be paying as much attention to one specific symptom — depression — as it really deserves.

Plus, taking drugs like mesalazine may be good for treating some IBS symptoms, but they don’t address the real problem: Restoring a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Not only can taking a probiotic be a safer way to restore and protect that gut bacteria balance, it may also treat the symptoms of depression associated with IBS too, according to a recent study published in Gastroenterology.

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada studied the effect that prescribing a probiotic formulated with a proprietary blend of Bifidobacterium longum (one of the 10 species of beneficial bacteria found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic) has on treating depression.

Over the course of 10 weeks, scientists monitored the health of 44 patients, half of whom took a probiotic while the rest were given a placebo.

After just six weeks, nearly two-thirds of patients in the probiotic group felt greater relief from their depression based on falling scores based on the standard Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), versus just seven in the placebo group.

More evidence that those falling HADS scores were real: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging tests that showed changes in various sectors of the brain related to mood control.

Other good things could be taking place behind-the- scenes that moderate your mood levels, thanks to probiotics. For example, as much as 90 percent of your body’s serotonin, a chemical that works as a neurotransmitter in the brain, is produced in the gut.

Taking a probiotic is one important and safe way to protect and enhance the diversity of beneficial bacteria in your gut naturally, without a drug.

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