We’re well into the new year, and many of us set new goals and resolutions to focus our attention on making lifestyle changes that we (hope) will improve our lives.
At the top of the list for many Americans is weight loss. In an attempt to shed those extra pounds, people do a lot of smart things, like moving more, joining a gym, getting more rest, eating more whole foods (full of fiber, less fat and natural sugars), and spending less time at the fast-food drive-thru grabbing processed foods on the run.
Sadly, however, many people prefer to take the fast lane to better health. We turn to detox diets or the bewildering number of weight-loss products on the market, many of which come with dangerous side effects.
If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight too many times and you’re willing to risk your health on products that could harm you in the process, maybe it’s time to take the word “loss” completely out of the equation.
Gaining instead of losing
Rather than looking at this challenge as a “losing” one, rethink your strategy and replace it with a gain, but not on the scale or your waistline.
Losing weight and keeping it off requires a different lifestyle approach, but not one of deprivation either. Your best and healthiest strategy starts with taking charge of your health.
Maybe you’ve started that process on the right foot by doing those smart things I mentioned earlier, but you’re still unable to lose those stubborn inches, especially if you’re older.
As the human body ages, the amount of beneficial bacteria in our guts decline. So, what does your gut have to do with your weight?
The human microbiome ─ the trillions of microorganisms that live in our intestines ─ plays a significant role in our overall health in so many ways, specifically protecting the integrity of the lining of the gut from intestinal toxins.
The microbiome, when kept in proper balance, can also help regulate metabolism and support weight loss.
When our body’s healthy balance of gut bacteria becomes compromised by eating a diet full of too many nutrient-poor, highly processed foods, not handling stress as it comes and relying too often on antibiotics, we become more susceptible to metabolic syndrome.
If you’re not familiar with metabolic syndrome, it’s the cluster of symptoms — high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels and extra body fat around your waist — that elevate your risks of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Your gut and weight gain
An imbalance of gut flora can actually contribute to weight gain by causing inflammation, stimulating fat production and decreasing brain signaling via the gut-brain axis that controls hunger.
So, it’s very possible you could be doing all of the right things — exercising, destressing and eating your vegetables — and still be struggling with weight loss and metabolic inefficiency.
In addition to making lifestyle changes, achieving a healthy weight often comes down to listening to our gut. Research continues to unfold about the benefits of probiotics that help us maintain an optimal gut bacteria balance and regulate metabolic function.
Several specific strains of beneficial bacteria are more effective at helping with weight loss. Bifidobacterium lactis, for example, aids in fermenting resistant starches, which results in improving the health of the intestinal lining and lessening the risk of leaky gut.
Leaky gut is a disorder in which a breakdown in the intestinal wall allows unintended substances (toxic bacteria and waste products) to seep through the intestinal barrier and into your bloodstream.
The prebiotic difference
Supplements that combine a prebiotic ─ non-digestible starches that feed the good bacteria already living in your gut ─ with probiotic strains in relevant proportions have shown to be even more effective.
How? Those well-fed bacteria in your gut stimulate the release of hormones that decrease satiety, thus reducing hunger. In addition, this release of hormones slows the emptying of the stomach, which can result eating smaller meals.
More recently, the natural prebiotic Xlylooligosaccharides (XOS) has demonstrated great benefits on the microbiome in small doses, and even helped in avoiding the development of pre-diabetes.
If you follow gut health issues like I do, you’ve probably heard about GLP-1, better known as glucacon-like peptide-1, a hormone produced by the gut that can decrease blood sugar levels by enhancing the secretion of insulin.
Most probiotics don’t contain a prebiotic, which is critical in maintaining intestinal health. Prebiotics create short-term fatty acids, thus releasing butyrate, a critical component in providing nourishment to the colon.
If you want to lessen your risks of metabolic syndrome, improve your cholesterol and hypertension levels and give your weight-loss journey a fresh start, you may want to consider trying EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, which contains 1 billion CFUs of beneficial Bifidobacterium lactis along with 600 mg of XOS.
Combining a nutritious diet, exercise and all-natural probiotic/prebiotic supplementation can help you gain the benefits of losing weight and staying healthy.
Board-certified gastroenterologist Lawrence Hoberman, M.D., is the creator of EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and founder of Medical Care Innovations.
During his 40-plus years practicing internal medicine and gastroenterology, Dr. Hoberman has worked with microbiologists to identify beneficial bacteria, resulting in the development of his own supplements for adults and children.
To learn more about how your gut affects your health in so many ways and how probiotics can help, visit www.endomune.com.