obesity

Woman that looks sad while sitting on a couch

Coronavirus and the Gut-Brain Blues

There’s no doubt following social distancing guidelines when you and your family go outside is the smart and safe way to avoid the many health risks associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

But those guidelines don’t take into account the stress you’re feeling, whether you’re hunkered down for long periods of time with work-at-home responsibilities plus family responsibilities or not working at all.

We’ve talked a lot about the gut-brain axis, the connection between your brain, emotions and intestines.

If you’ve been doing a lot of stress eating lately, it could be a sign that your gut-brain axis needs some extra help to stay in balance and keep the weight off too.

Don’t fear, there’s many ways to rebalance your anxious gut-brain axis safely and gently, even in these stressful coronavirus times.

First, let’s take a look at how we got there.

Overeating processed foods

Consuming a typical Western diet full of processed, high-fat foods is a huge problem all by itself, which is often worsened by stress.

The more you eat, the more your gut produces higher levels of gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), a hormone that manages the balance of energy in your body.

Last year, Baylor College of Medicine researchers discovered this extra GIP that the gut produces travels through the bloodstream to the brain where it slows down the impact of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that promotes a feeling of fullness or satiety, in a series of tests on mice.

(Messing up your sleep cycle affects how your body produces leptin too.)

Baylor scientists recognized the gut-brain connection when they took steps to block the production of GIP which reduces the appetites and weights of mice fed high-fat diets.

But that’s not all…

Too much real sugar

You may also recall our warning about foods sweetened with real, refined sugar that can be just as harmful to your health as those containing artificial sweeteners. It doesn’t take much of the real thing to trigger sugar cravings either.

The average American consumes at least 66 pounds of real sugar, if not more, every year, fueling the epidemic of obesity and many more health problems.

Real sugar affects the brain in a unique way by signals traveling from the gut all the way to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a very recent study on mice appearing in Nature.

It was really hard for Columbia University researchers to ignore the connection. When given the option of being fed water with artificial sweeteners or real sugar, mice gravitated to the real thing after only two days.

What’s more, scientists found that the gut-brain connection kicks into gear in the presence of glucose (often added to processed foods as dextrose and extracted from corn starch).

Rebalancing your anxious gut-brain axis

Depending on how the coronavirus outbreak is slowing down in your area (or not), getting back to a normal routine may take a while.

With this in mind, ask yourself these four questions each day to help make sure you’re maintaining your balance, mentally and physically.

  • Are you taking breaks to exercise at home? At the very least, plan short walks outdoors (while practicing safe distancing).
  • Are you reaching out to your family and friends for support? All of us need some extra love and attention right now.
  • Are your sleep habits a real mess? Get back on a regular schedule!
  • Are your eating habits in hibernation mode? You have a golden opportunity right now to clean up your diet and lose some extra pounds.

A very safe and healthy way to relieve those gut-brain blues and boost your immune system without a drug — taking a multi-strain probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria — is one of the best choices you can make.

And, if you need some extra help to lose a few pounds, you may want to consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue with its proven formula of Bifidobacterium lactis and the prebiotic XOS that promotes a greater sense of fullness and healthier blood sugar levels too.

Resources

Journal of Clinical Investigation

Baylor College of Medicine

Nature

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

University of California at San Francisco/sugarscience

Healthline

various liquid medicines in syringes, measurement spoons and cups.

“Helpful” Drugs Expose Your Child’s Gut Health To Obesity

There’s no question obesity rates are growing sharply across all age groups of Americans.

So far, nearly 40 percent of all adults age 20 and older have lost the battle with obesity, based on statistics collected by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

As with many health problems, however, problems with obesity start very early. According to the NCHS, some 14 percent of young children as early as age 2 may already be obese, and the numbers keep climbing to 20.6 percent by the time kids reach young adulthood.

These statistics appear to be pretty close to the mark, if not a little low, according to data collected by Harvard University that we cited recently.

What could trigger that slide to obesity so quickly?

Exposure to antibiotics and heartburn drugs in the gut may be the culprits, according to a recent report appearing the journal Gut.

Too many “helpful” drugs?

Researchers examined the records of more than 330,000 children enrolled in the U.S. Department of Defense’s TRICARE health system, looking specifically for antibiotic and heartburn drugs (H2 blockers and PPIs) prescribed to kids during the first two years of their lives.

Nearly every child in the study had been prescribed at least one round of antibiotics (72.5 percent) or a heartburn drug (15 percent), and nearly 6,000 kids were prescribed at least one round of all three drugs.

Roughly 37,000 of the 47,000 of children who became obese over the eight-year study were prescribed a heartburn drug or antibiotic. A single round of prescribed antibiotics elevated a child’s obesity risks by 26 percent.

Another gut-related factor to childhood obesity discovered by scientists — C-section births — was a difference-maker, too.

The good news about this study: health providers are becoming more aware by the day about the damage common “helpful” drugs like heartburn meds and antibiotics can do to the bodies of our little ones (and their parents too), often through harming their gut health.

My probiotic protocol

There are times your children just can’t avoid taking an antibiotic or heartburn drug.

My best recommendation to protect the health of your kids and yourself safely and effective: Follow my simple protocol for taking a probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

One more thing to remember about taking a probiotic: Give your child’s body at least a two-hour break between taking an antibiotic or heartburn drug and a probiotic to allow those beneficial bacteria to do their work to protect his/her gut.

Just a reminder that EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic contains four key strains of helpful bacteria and a prebiotic (FOS) that helps feed the good bugs in their gut.

For convenience, EndoMune Junior comes in two forms: a powder to sprinkle on your toddler’s soft foods (for children up to age 3) and a chewable, berry-flavored tablet (for children ages 3-8).

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.

Children laughing and playing tug-of-war

The Gut Facts About Childhood Obesity

A Harvard study came to the sobering conclusion nearly two years ago that a majority of today’s children (57 percent) are projected to become obese by the time they reach age 35. Would you feel a little better about your child’s future knowing you could take steps to protect her/him from becoming an obesity statistic? Medical science may be able to predict if a child is at risk for becoming overweight or obese by checking his/her microbiome at age 2.

Body mass index (BMI) was the key takeaway from an analysis of gut health data collected from the Norwegian Microbiota (NoMIC) study of children born between 2002-08 in a southern Norway hospital who are close to or already in their teen years (the findings were published in the journal, mBio). Researchers from Norway and the U.S. examined gut health information collected on 165 children six times during their first two years of life — day 4, day 10, 1 month, 4 months, 1 year and 2 years — then compared it to their body mass index (BMI) at age 12. Based on gene sequencing, scientists found noticeable differences in a child’s gut bacteria at two distinct times — day 10 and age 2 — that were associated with an accurate BMI prediction at age 12.

“At the early time points, there was somewhat of a relationship between the gut microbiota taxa and later BMI, but the relationship was much stronger as the kids got older,” says Dr. Maggie Stanislawski, the first author for the study who works at the LEAD Center, affiliated with the Colorado School of Public Health. “At 2 years, it was the strongest.” Moreover, this gut health profile existed before any outward signs of extra weight or obesity, leading scientists to speculate poor dietary choices could be the culprit.

These findings also mirror ones from a recent report about the overuse of antibacterial cleaners depleting a baby’s gut of just enough health-promoting bacteria that it elevated her/his obesity risks by age 3.

What you can do about it

Giving your child a gut-healthy start is critical to their health, even into their active teen years. Breastfeeding coupled with natural childbirth can make a HUGE difference in your baby’s gut health, along with feeding them good foods rich in dietary fiber.

Also, you want to be aware limit your child’s exposure to antibiotics as much as you safely can. The more you expose your young child to antibiotics, the greater his/her risk of obesity. One more safe and healthy way to boost the gut health of your son or daughter and protect him/her from the many health risks associated with childhood obesity is also an easy one.

If you’ve been looking for probiotics for children, EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic contains four key building blocks of beneficial bacteria plus a prebiotic that feeds the good bugs in your child’s gut. Moreover, EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic comes in a powder you can sprinkle on soft foods (for children up to age 3) and a chewable berry-flavored tablet (for children ages 3-8).

Real Sugar Disrupts Your Gut Health

We’ve warned you in the past about the growing number of ways too-sweet-for-their-own-good artificial sweeteners can harm your gut health.

These outcomes may have been surprising to some in the scientific community not so long ago based on an incorrect belief that sugar was absorbed into the intestine and never made it the gut.

Considering the amount of artificial and refined sugars many people eat in the typical Western diet full of processed foods, however, it’s hard to imagine human health, not to mention the gut, not being harmed in some way.

Now, we’re learning consuming refined sugar can be a problem for your gut too, especially if your goal is to stay lean and fit, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Based on their research with mice, scientists at the Yale School of Medicine discovered how large amounts of fructose and glucose (the main components of table sugar) immediately blocked the production of an important protein (Roc).

This protein allows a specific species of gut bacteria — Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron — to process vegetables and other fiber-rich foods efficiently and help your body maintain a healthy weight.

Maintaining and protecting the various species of Bacteroides in your gut is critical to good health and keeping those extra pounds off, as this bacteria can be pretty scarce in people who are obese or overweight.

“The role of diet in the gut microbiome goes farther than just providing nutrients. It appears that carbohydrates like sugar can act as signaling molecules as well,” says Dr. Eduardo Groisman, senior author of the study and professor of microbial pathogenesis, according to Yale News.

For this study, scientists tested several sugars, both simple and complex ones, but only mixtures with fructose or glucose triggered the blockage of proteins in the gut.

The good news here is that you have plenty of reliable resources at hand to help you lose weight, starting with eating a better diet focused on fewer carbs and more whole foods.

You can also give your weight-loss journey a gut-healthy boost with EndoMune Metabolic Rescue’s unique blend of Bifidobacteria lactis and the prebiotic XOS that protects your gut health and promotes natural, effective weight loss.

window cleaner next to paper towels

Why a “too clean” home may harm your child

Keeping your home a bit “too clean” by using common multi-surface disinfectants could be changing and harming your child’s gut bacteria by making them more susceptible to obesity.

That’s the chief finding from data culled from an examination of fecal samples collected from 757 Canadian babies, along with their exposure to various cleaning products, according to a recent report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Babies living in homes where disinfectants were used every week were twice as likely to have increased levels of one bacteria (Lachnospiraceae), according to researchers.

That difference in one strain of bacteria was enough to elevate the chances of young children being overweight by age 3, compared to kids who weren’t exposed to disinfectants as infants, says Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, the principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project that examines how altering the gut health of infants impacts their health.

Canadian scientists could see the connection, especially as they discovered babies living in households with greater use of more eco-friendly cleaners had a decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Although this study cited concerns about the use of antibacterial cleaners, researchers didn’t track the kinds of chemicals being used to clean the homes where their participants lived as babies.

Still, these results may be more evidence of the hygiene hypothesis, in which the body’s immune responses are reversed due to continuing exposure to disinfectants, antibacterial chemicals, antibiotics and bottled water, all of them intended to make our lives way too clean.

(The hygiene hypothesis can also work to protect kids from health problems like asthma. For example, Amish children surrounded by nature, farm animals and common house dust — a less hygienic environment than most homes — were less likely to suffer from asthma, according to a New England Journal of Medicine report.)

Fortunately, there’s a simple and healthy solution to protect the delicate balance of bacteria in your baby’s gut and reduce his/her risks of obesity at the same time (especially for moms who can’t breastfeed for very long or at all).

A quarter-teaspoon of EndoMune Jr. Powder, recommended for children up to age 3, contains four strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria families along with a prebiotic (FOS) that keeps their gut health in balance.

two women locking hands during workout

The Gut-Brain Link to Depression and Obesity

It wasn’t long ago that conventional medicine debated the existence of the gut-brain axis, the connection that links your emotions, intestines and brain.

The medical community couldn’t dispute it for long, however, given that about 90 percent of serotonin, a chemical that sends messages from one side of the brain to the other, is produced in the human gut.

Obesity and diabetes are serious conditions that harm many parts of your health, including your gut. (Remember, gut health problems could be a warning sign of type 1 diabetes?)

Eating a high-fat diet, a direct contributor to obesity and diabetes, creates greater emotional problems and direct shifts in the makeup of bacteria in the gut too, according to findings from the Joslin Research Center (affiliated with Harvard Medical School).

In their work with mice, Joslin researchers had long studied the damage done by diabetes, obesity and other metabolic health problems in their work with mice fed high-fat diets.

One variable stood out in their previous research: Obese mice that had been fed high-fat diets showed far more signs of emotional problems (depression, anxiety and obsessive behaviors) than animals fed healthier diets.

For their newest study, researchers took a different approach by giving mice behavioral tests commonly used to screen drugs for depression and anxiety. They learned mice that were fed high-fat diets experienced greater amounts of depression and anxiety.

However, when scientists took steps to change the gut health makeup of obese mice by giving them antibiotics their emotional health improved.

Taking that gut bacteria shift one step further, Joslin research also discovered the gut microbiomes of obese mice triggered emotional problems when they were transplanted in germ-free mice. And other germ-free mice that received gut bacteria from obese mice given antibiotics showed no signs of emotional problems either.

Where the gut-brain link really came into play was when researchers examined parts of the brain that govern metabolism and emotions, according to Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, Chief Academic Officer who leads the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at Joslin.

Like other tissues, these areas of the brain became insulin-resistant in test animals fed high-fat diets and this resistance was mediated partly by their microbiomes, Dr. Kahn said.

The Joslin team also found alterations in the gut health of mice were linked to the production of some chemicals that send signals across the brain too.

Now, scientists are studying specific populations of bacteria involved in the gut-brain axis that may govern this process, with an eye on creating healthier metabolic profiles in the brain.

Interestingly, Dr. Kahn points out the problems of using antibiotics as “blunt tools that change many bacteria in very dramatic ways.”

“Going forward, we want to get a more sophisticated understanding about which bacteria contribute to insulin resistance in the brain and other tissues. If we could modify those bacteria, either by putting in more beneficial bacteria or reducing the number of harmful bacteria, that might be a way to see improved behavior.”

Fortunately, there’s a growing body of evidence that shows probiotics like EndoMune Advance Probiotic may be a safe and proven tool for treating behavioral issues among mice and humans and provide some extra help to fight obesity too.

Your Gut Bacteria Have a 24-Hour Routine

Messing up your body’s circadian rhythms — the behavioral, mental and physical changes that follow a 24-hour cycle — can have a huge effect on your health and gut.

Merely traveling on an airplane across multiple time zones can trigger jet lag, a temporary sleep problem when your body’s internal rhythms and biological clock are out of sync.

Apparently, your gut bacteria have a circadian schedule too, and a pair of studies shows how they affect your health for better and worse.

Following a schedule

Research by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science on mice in a study appearing in Cell demonstrated how gut bacteria follow a schedule, adapting to changes in light and dark, metabolic fluctuations and even the timing of our meals, says Dr. Eran Segel.

In fact, your microbiome moves around within the gut and are exposed to different species and varying numbers of species over the course of a 24-hour day.

Moreover, those changes brought on by circadian rhythms affect not only the physiology of the body but tissues and organs like the liver. Those rhythms can even govern how your body may metabolize and detoxify a drug as basic as acetaminophen.

Scientists also learned how the circadian rhythms of the bodies of little mice (and perhaps humans too) are very dependent on the workings of the microbiome. Surprisingly, genes that show no signs of circadian rhythms take over when these microbial rhythms are disrupted too.

These findings were observed when researchers gave mice antibiotics that removed much of their gut bacteria and even when their feeding times were changed.

Circadian rhythms and obesity

This inter-dependence between the gut and the body’s circadian rhythms could play a role behind the scenes in promoting the accumulation of body fat that leads to obesity, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern and published in the journal, Science.

Based on tests that compared the health of germ-free, conventionally raised and genetically modified mice, scientists learned how the microbiome controls fat uptake and storage by “hacking into” and altering the functions of the circadian clocks within cells that line the gut.

They identified the mechanism by which gut bacteria regulate the composition of body fat and use a chemical (circadian transcription factor NFIL3) to establish a critical molecular link between the microbiota, circadian clock and metabolism, says Dr. Lora Hooper, lead author of the study, according to a press release.

So how does the microbiota hack into the lining of the gut?

A body’s circadian clock senses those day and night cycles, which are linked closely to feeding times, and transmits that information to the gut to turn on and off the metabolism (the uptake of lipids) when necessary.

More specifically, the circadian rhythms of the gut control the expression of NFIL3 and the production of lipids that are governed by this chemical in the intestinal lining.

“So what you have is a really fascinating system where two signals from the environment come in – the microbiome and the day-night changes in light – and converge on the gut lining to regulate how much lipid you take up from your diet and store as fat,” says Dr. Hooper.

How does this affect you?

Our go-go-GO! lifestyles create all sorts of havoc with our sleep schedules and often distract us from eating healthy meals on a timely basis, creating an environment for all sorts of health problems down the line.

Eating a balanced diet and getting the right amount of sleep your body needs every night really matters. And, we’ve learned in these studies, so does the health of the human gut, especially if you do a lot of traveling or work a crazy schedule that mixes daytime and nighttime hours.

That’s why it’s so important to give the health of your gut an added boost by taking a multi-species probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, that features 10 proven and protective strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that feeds the good bugs and may improve your sleep too!

Mangos may protect your gut from high-fat diets

Not only do high-fat diets chock full of high-calorie fast foods and short on fiber expand your waistline, trigger blood sugar spikes and harm your heart, they disrupt the gut-brain axis that increases your risks for depression and other related health problems.

Fortunately, there’s very healthy and delicious foods you can eat that do double-duty to promote a healthy gut and protect your body from disease, like almonds and dark chocolate.

Add the flavorful, low-fat/high-fiber mango to that list of gut-healthy foods, based on a recent Journal of Nutrition study.

Beating the obesity epidemic sweetly

You may recall how researchers have concluded more diversity in the gut lowers your chances of obesity. Conversely, previous studies have also found lower levels of Bifidobacteria in people fighting obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.

Scientists at Oklahoma State University and North Carolina State University compared the health of 60 male mice, based on feeding them high-fat diets supplemented with or without mangos and in varying amounts (1 or 10 percent).

Animals fed a high-fat diet plus 10 percent in mangos — equal to humans eating 1.5 cups of this delicious fruit — retained more of their gut bacteria than those fed lower amounts.

Also, the addition of mangos to the diets of mice resulted in their guts containing more gut bacteria, specifically Bifidobacteria and Akkermansia (bacteria found in lower amounts in obese animals), and improved production of short-chain fatty acids (SFCAs), beneficial compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.

“Fiber and other bioactive compounds in plant-based foods are suggested to prevent gut dysbiosis caused by a high-fat diet,” said Edralin A. Lucas, Ph.D., professor of nutritional sciences at Oklahoma State and lead researcher of the study, according to a press release.

“The results of this animal study showed that adding mango to the diet may help maintain and regulate gut health and levels of beneficial bacteria levels.”

What’s ahead

Researchers caution more work needs to be done to confirm the benefits of eating mangos on the human gut once and for all, especially for those whose diets aren’t the healthiest.

Despite their nutritional benefits — the average serving (one cup) of mangos contains about 100 percent of Vitamin C and 35 percent of Vitamin A — this juicy stone fruit has 23 grams of sugar and 25 grams of carbohydrates, not small amounts for people who are trying to kick the sugar habit. (So, if you enjoy mangos, be sure to eat them in moderation.)

No matter how nutritious, fatty or sugary your diet may be, taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is a safe, proven way to protect your health and your gut.

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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