prebiotic

a woman jogging down the beach

Lose Weight the Healthy Way: Follow Your Gut

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.

Here’s how.

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.

What now?

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.

baby looking up at a baloon

Give Your Baby a Gut-Healthy Start

As you know, infants receive many health benefits when their Moms are able to make some simple gut-smart health choices via breastfeeding and vaginal delivery.

But how does natural childbirth and breastfeeding really benefit an infant and why?

It’s very possible those beneficial bacteria introduced first into the gut have a head start and make a lasting and healthy impression, according to new research from a group of American and Canadian scientists featured in the journal eLife.

Scientists came to this conclusion by transplanting four different species of gut bacteria from older mice into the gastrointestinal tracts of young, genetically identical mice raised in a germ-free environment.

The primary takeaway: The gut bacterial diversity of younger mice over several months eventually resembled or was often dominated by the species that was transplanted in them first in repeated experiments.

That’s an intriguing outcome, considering genetics, environment, diet, physiology and lifestyle — all important factors to human health on their own — only account for less than 30 percent of any variations of the gut microbiome, says Dr. Jens Walter of the University of Alberta.

“Each of us harbors a microbiome that is vastly distinct, even for identical twins. Microbiomes are important for our health, but they appear to be shaped by many unknown factors, so it’s hugely important to understand why we are all different.”

Not only does this research show how the introduction and timing of bacteria in newborns could grow and dominate, it may also provide a bridge to better understand how the microbiome may be disrupted and harmed due to the use of antibiotics or C-section deliveries.

Dr. Walter believes science will figure out ways that infants can be colonized with specific bacteria that will steer their health in beneficial ways, but even he speculates that’s a 30-40-year journey.

Until that time comes (if ever), there are steps new Moms can take to protect the gut health of their babies right now, even if natural childbirth isn’t possible.

Breastfeeding is a great first step, as it provides the right mix of fats, protein and vitamins for newborns along with antibodies that boost their growing immune systems.

Unfortunately, some new Moms may not be able to breastfeed for as long as they planned or can’t due to health problems. Plus, their babies may be missing out human milk oligosaccharides (HMO), the largest solid component of breast milk apart from fat and carbohydrates and a natural prebiotic component of breast milk.

In these cases, new Moms may want to consider giving their babies a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Jr. Powder (recommended for young children up to age 3) that contains four strains of beneficial bacteria along with a natural prebiotic (FOS) that feeds their growing gut microbiomes.

Before you consider giving your newborn a probiotic, always talk to your pediatrician or doctor first.

A gut health boost is just one benefit among 18 that breastfeeding provides for you and your baby as you’ll learn in this extensive article.

a spoon next to a mug of yogurt

Do Fermented Foods Really Help Your Gut?

You’ve probably read the same stories I have online and in other places promoting the value of fermented foods, from the familiar (yogurt, kombucha tea, pickles, cottage cheese, sourdough bread, soy sauce and sauerkraut) to the more exotic (tempeh and miso) to give your gut health an extra boost.

Does this mean eating fermented foods delivers the same dependable gut health benefits you’d receive by taking a probiotic?

The short answer: Probably not. In most cases, there’s no harm in eating fermented foods, but the benefits are debatable and your overall health may get worse if you’re not careful, for several reasons.

  1. Some of the more familiar fermented foods you see at many grocery stores like yogurt may be produced in high heat environments and are probably pasteurized, so there’s little chance of any active bacteria surviving those processes.
  2. Don’t assume any foods are fermented, unless they say so on food labels. For example, it’s easy to assume that any jar of pickles you buy at the grocery store is fermented. But, if those pickles were processed with vinegar, they won’t contain beneficial bacteria.
  3. Monitoring the amount of salt you eat? Popular fermented foods — kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and pickles — contain lots of sodium.
  4. Are you watching your sugar intake too? The sugar content of many yogurts and kombucha tea you’ll find at local grocery stores may be high, and the amounts contained in organic brands of yogurt can be excessive.
  5. There’s lots of online resources that provide guidance in making fermented foods at home cheaply. But, the process is labor-intensive, and you have to keep everything sanitary so no extra bugs spoil your fermented foods.
  6. Adding fermented foods to your diet may trigger problems with gas and bloating in the beginning if you overdo it. And, to make a real difference, experts say you’ll need to eat them every day too.

The $64,000 question even the experts can’t answer is how much or what kinds of beneficial bacteria you’ll actually consume when eating fermented foods.

That’s why taking a product like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic ensures you’re receiving multiple strains of beneficial bacteria your body needs. Plus, our line of EndoMune products features a natural prebiotic that feeds the good bugs in your gut, another feature fermented foods don’t have.

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