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Cute vector graphic of a smiling gut. Large intestine shapes the head of character with a smiling face in the center. Text reads "Prebiotics 101: Why prebiotics are important

Prebiotics 101

Prebiotics: Food For Your Gut and More

We talk so much about the benefits of probiotics that it’s worth reminding you how important prebiotics — the unsung heroes of good gut health — really are.

Made of non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates, prebiotics are known best for being the food that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.

But that’s not all they do…

We’ve shared previous reports about the importance of prebiotics in protecting your bones, getting a good night’s sleep and even fighting cancer.

Prebiotics may do even more good behind the scenes than we ever imagined, thanks to an international research team who recently developed a non-invasive diagnostic imaging tool using bioluminescence, a chemical reaction that produces light inside the body.

 

See What They Found!

That research team, led by scientists at the University of Missouri, tested the tool (an easy-to-swallow capsule) that measures levels of bile salt hydrolase, a naturally occurring enzyme in the gut, in fecal samples from mice and humans.

This is critical because higher bile salt hydrolase levels have been shown to be indicators of excellent gut health and low levels of inflammation, according to previous studies.

The good news: “We show for the first time that certain types of prebiotics alone are capable of increasing bile salt hydrolase activity of the gut microbiome,” says Dr. Elena Goun, an associate professor at the University of Missouri.

Among the prebiotics monitored with this new tool, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) was responsible for noticeable increases in Bifidobacterium species and bile salt hydrolase levels in mice compared to inulin, another prebiotic derived from chicory root and other sources.

FOS are chains of plant sugars derived from whole foods like bananas, blue agave, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus, and you don’t need to consume a lot of it to make a gut healthy difference.

Thanks to FOS, you can make a prebiotic difference and maintain the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut by taking a prebiotic-probiotic combo with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

 

References

Nebraska Medicine

Science Advances

University of Missouri

Healthline

Man laying face down sleeping in bed. Text reads "Sleep 101: Your Gut Heath Matters

Sleep 101: Your Gut Health Matters

Sleep 101: Your Gut Health Matters

Whether it’s working longer hours, traveling across time zones, catching up on your favorite book or late-night doom-scrolling on your phone, getting a good night’s sleep remains a serious challenge for many people.

Any one of these aforementioned variables can disrupt your circadian clock (the human body’s natural sleep-wake schedule), stealing precious time your body needs to “reboot” and repair itself from the rigors of daily living.

Over time, these disruptions to your sleep may create vulnerabilities to serious health problems like the cluster of symptoms that lead to stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease better known as metabolic syndrome.

Did you know your gut health plays an important role in helping you get the sleep you need too?

 

The Prebiotic Solution

Previously, we’ve shared the results of a report from the University of Colorado about the benefits of prebiotics, the unsung heroes of gut health, related to sleep.

Made of non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates, prebiotics do a lot of work behind the scenes to feed the bacteria living in your gut.

Researchers at the University of Colorado were tasked by the Office of Naval Research to learn how prebiotics could ease disruptions in the body-clock from irregular work schedules, jet lag, and a lack of daily exposure to sunlight.

These challenges are a daily reality for military personnel, especially those who work on submarines for months at a time, says lead study author Dr. Robert Thompson.

First, scientists fed two groups of rats regular food or chow enhanced with two prebiotics, then manipulated their light-dark cycles (creating the stressful effect of traveling to a new time zone 12 hours ahead) each week over two months.

No surprise, the addition of prebiotics made a healthy difference, helping test animals more quickly adjust their sleep-wake cycles and core body temperatures (a problem when the body’s internal clock is disrupted).

What’s more, the gut health of animals fed prebiotics generated an abundance of health-promoting bacteria and resisted changes in gut flora related to stress and jet lag.

 

Gut Health and Good Sleep Hygiene

There’s lots of ways to improve your rest through good sleep hygiene. Here’s a few common-sense suggestions from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Turn off any tablets or phones at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature.

Adding a prebiotic to your diet may seem simple, given that a lot of vegetables (leeks, asparagus, garlic, onion, corn and bananas) contain rich amounts of them, but doing it consistently and daily can be challenging.

Fortunately, you can give your sleep a healthy and natural prebiotic advantage — along with the health of your gut — by taking a proven probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria and the proven prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

 

Resources

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

CU Boulder Today

Healthline

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

CDC

The basics of taking a probiotic

How to Take a Probiotic: The Basics

You’ve done your research. You’ve talked to your physician (or nurse practitioner) and confirmed that it’s a good idea for you and your family to take a probiotic.

Assuming you’ve chosen the right probiotic — ideally one with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria — your next decision is a critical one.

How do you take a probiotic to get the most out of it?

If you’re a healthy adult

Adults receive that gut health boost if they take a probiotic about 30 minutes before eating their first meal of the day (probably a morning meal) or on an empty stomach, ideally with water.

The goal is to give the beneficial bacteria in a probiotic some extra time to travel from the bottle to your gut without food getting in the way.

An often-cited study in the health journal Beneficial Microbes concluded probiotics containing multiple strains of key bacterial strains survived when taken before a meal (including two of the 10 important strains in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic).

On the other hand, taking a probiotic after a meal, when stomach acid is at its highest, was the worst time as beneficial bacteria survive in far fewer numbers.

If you’re raising a healthy kid

Young children may need some extra help, especially if their developing gut health may have been compromised or they’re having problems like constipation.

For children under age 3, parents can help to protect their developing immune systems and potentially reduce problems with colic by sprinkling a multi-species probiotic in powdered form (like EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder) in a liquid or noncarbonated formula or on soft foods before or with their meal once a day.

Once your child moves past her/his toddler times, he/she graduates to a probiotic of their own, for example, the chewy, fruity EndoMune Junior Advanced Chewable Probiotic.

On that sick day

We’ve been relieved to hear that it’s become much more common to see patients taking a probiotic when they’ve been prescribed an antibiotic.

Antibiotics are very effective so long as they’re prescribed when they’re really needed. Unfortunately, they can also become a real problem by wiping out the good bacteria in your gut while letting the bad bugs hang around and create more problems like those related to superbug infections.

That’s where taking a probiotic can limit the problems. Just be sure to give yourself a two-hour break between taking an antibiotic and probiotic. That extra gap gives those beneficial bacteria some extra time to do their work.

The prebiotic boost

When you’re taking a probiotic, be sure that it includes prebiotics, the unsung heroes of gut health.

Made of non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates, prebiotics do a lot of the important work behind the scenes to feed the bacteria living in your gut, thus stimulate their growth.

For example, EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, EndoMune Advanced Junior Chewable Probiotic, and EndoMune Advanced Probiotic Powder contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS) that are contained in many plant foods like garlic, leeks, asparagus, and bananas.

One more thing

We encourage you to talk to your doctor before starting a probiotic. It’s really important to address any concerns either of you have, particularly if you’re taking a drug for a specific health issue, like an immunosuppressant or antifungal.

Resources

Beneficial Microbes

Medscape

Healthline

 

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

EndoMune Advanced Adult Probiotic passed the test! Image of bottles.

We Passed the Test!

Hi Everyone!

As part of our quality control best practices, we frequently test EndoMune Advanced Probiotic to ensure our quality and label matches exactly what’s in each capsule.

Well, we got our latest test results and we’re very proud to share that they’re fantastic!

We’ve just learned each capsule of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 50 percent more of the beneficial bacteria you’ve come to rely on for more than a decade!

That awesome news came to us despite absolutely no changes in our proven formula or our ongoing testing schedules.

Along with the prebiotic FOS that feed the bugs in your gut, each capsule of EndoMune contains 30 billion CFUs of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families up to the expiration date found on the bottom of each bottle.

If you’re thinking that we’re sharing this awesome news just as an excuse to increase our prices, forget it!

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic offers 50 percent more of the beneficial gut bugs at the same price as always!

To you and yours in good gut health!

Dr. Lawrence Hoberman

P.S. For each bottle of EndoMune you purchase, we will donate $2 to the Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund that helps stock food banks that support our communities being affected all across America by this pandemic!

cancer awareness ribbons lined up.

Fighting Cancer With Prebiotics

Prebiotics are the unsung heroes of gut health.

Made of non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates, prebiotics do much of the dirty work behind the scenes by feeding the good bacteria living in your gut and stimulating their growth.

But that’s not all they do…

More recently, science has discovered new benefits of prebiotics related to protecting your bones from osteoarthritis and promoting better sleep.

A new role may be emerging for prebiotics as a natural cancer-fighting agent.

Prebiotics vs. Cancer

Among the therapies used by physicians to fight melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, are drugs that target mutated groups of genes (BRAF and MEK inhibitors).

Unfortunately, some of these therapies don’t help everyone and, in other cases, patients can develop a resistance to these treatments.

Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego had observed how the addition of prebiotics to therapy regimens had helped in fighting cancer in previous studies but were unsure how those mechanisms worked.

They observed how the action of two prebiotics (inulin, a starch-like substance found in herbs, vegetables and fruits like onions, asparagus, bananas and leeks, or mucin, an intestinal protein) shaped the gut microbiotas of mice to boost their tiny immune systems and aid in the effectiveness of the medicines they were given.

Scientists fed these animals water and food containing inulin or mucin, then transplanted either melanoma or colon cancer cells into their tiny bodies.

The winner is…

The addition of prebiotics made a great deal of difference in a number of ways:

  • Stimulating the number of immune cells that fight tumors.
  • Helping mice develop more distinct gut health signatures, thus generating more anti-tumor immunity.
  • Slowing the growth of melanoma.
  • Improving the response to the presence of mutated cancer genes.

“Prebiotics represent a powerful tool to restructure gut microbiomes and identify bacteria that contribute to anti-cancer immunity,” says Dr. Scott Peterson, co-author of the study.

Certainly, prebiotics do a lot of the work to keep your good guys in your gut fed and healthy, but not all of it.

You may recall a small study I wrote about in which multi-strain probiotics played a critical role in improving the health of colon cancer patients by protecting their gut bacteria diversity.

Medical researchers are taking a very cautious approach about the use of probiotics and prebiotics when treating serious diseases like cancer, as they should be.

However, there’s little doubt that it takes a community of beneficial bacteria in a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic — that contains the natural prebiotic fructooligosaccharide (FOS) — to make a daily difference in your gut health and so many parts of your overall health too.

Resources

Cell Reports

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Mayo Clinic

American Cancer Society

WebMD

woman holding white pill tablets in hand with glass of water

How Drugs Interact With Your Gut

The gut microbiome is a vital and important part of human health that touches so many aspects of our daily lives, yet it works in very unpredictable ways.

For example, consider how certain drugs interact with the human gut. Sometimes, they do work but not so well at other times, as we learned about statin drugs.

The very same thing may be true about metformin, the go-to drug prescribed for type 2 diabetic patients to control high blood sugar, according to a study appearing in EBiomedicine.

“For example, certain drugs work fine when given intravenously and go directly to the [blood] circulation, but when they are taken orally and pass through the gut, they don’t work,” says senior study author Dr. Hariom Yadav, a researcher at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

As we’ve seen previously, metformin works well with the gut, although some patients who take it tend to experience more side effects (nausea, diarrhea and flatulence).

Based on their review of studies, Wake Forest researchers determined the metabolic capacity of a patient’s microbiome may influence how various drugs aimed at treating type 2 diabetes are absorbed and function in effective, inactive or even toxic ways.

“We believe that differences in an individual’s microbiome help explain why drugs will show a 90 or 50 percent optimum efficacy, but never 100 percent,” Dr. Yadav said.

Now, Wake Forest researchers are taking the next important gut-friendly step by testing prebiotics, a natural component of non-digestible plant fiber that feeds the good bacteria living in your gut, and probiotics that may help diabetes drugs work more effectively.

Could a multi-species probiotic containing 10 kinds of beneficial bacteria plus a handy prebiotic (FOS) like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic make gut-friendly difference in the way patients take their drugs?

The evidence is growing!

a pair of glasses sitting on top of a computer

Question What You Read Everywhere!

If you follow my blog and keep up with the news, you’ve heard about a pair of recent studies published in the medical journal, Cell, that found probiotics may have very limited value.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media — seemingly everyone from CBS News to Forbes — jumped on the bandwagon to dispute the value of probiotics without looking at their considerable and proven benefits over time, many of which we’ve discussed here.

Since you have some questions and concerns about these reports, we have some answers.

What do the studies say?

Study one examined how well a generic probiotic with 11 strains of bacteria could colonize the intestinal lining when given to 25 healthy adults, as determined with a colonoscope taking specimens from the mucosa, versus a placebo.

This approach differs from most previous studies in which probiotics were measured in stools. Their justification was to determine if the generic probiotics you find at most supermarkets “colonize the gastrointestinal tract like they’re supposed to, and then whether these probiotics are having any impact on the human host.”

Study two investigated whether patients should be taking a probiotic when they were prescribed an antibiotic to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Twenty-one healthy patients were divided into three groups: Seven took an antibiotic, six more were given an antibiotic and the same generic probiotic from the first study and the rest received an antibiotic and pills containing fecal samples from their own microbiome.

What were the results?

In study one, the generic probiotic bacteria were found in the stools of each patient, and only in the lining of the colon of a few patients. This finding led scientists to conclude that, if probiotic bacteria weren’t found in the colon, they’re not beneficial. It also explains why many stories reported probiotics were ‘’useless.”

The results of study two were a bit more complicated:

  • The microbiomes of patients who received just an antibiotic returned to their healthy composition after 21 days.
  • Patients given fecal transplants experienced a normal intestinal microbiome within days after stopping the antibiotic.
  • Among patients treated with a generic probiotic, their microbiomes did not return to their original composition even five months later.

Problems with both studies

Now that you’ve had a chance to review both studies, it’s easier to see why taking these results at face value is tricky.

The problem with study one that examined the use of a generic probiotic was pretty straight-forward. These generic probiotics were given to healthy people with normal microbiomes, so the beneficial bacteria wouldn’t find a place in the lining of the colon to colonize.

In fact, the immune system of the intestines and existing microbiome would prevent it!

Studies have shown when patients struggle with gut health problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), taking a good probiotic can treat their symptoms and rebalance their microbiomes. So, probiotics aren’t “useless!”

In study two, because patients treated with a generic probiotic after receiving an antibiotic didn’t return to normal right away, researchers assumed the probiotic might cause ”harm” by increasing their risk of intestinal disorders. Moreover, researchers suggested patients “personalized probiotics” in the form of fecal transplants might lessen any risks.

Unfortunately, this phase of the study set up patients for more health problems like diarrhea down the road, merely by giving them antibiotics.

Plus, antibiotics change the composition and balance of bacteria in the gut, which may increase the activity of enzymes that trigger a faster absorption of carbohydrates, leaving you more vulnerable to obesity and diabetes.

Remember those extra carbs and fats feed poor dietary habits that disrupt your gut-brain axis, the biological connection that links your intestines, brain and emotions.

One more variable this research team didn’t consider in either study: The contribution of prebiotics, the non-digestible starches that feed the bacteria in your gut contained in a lot of probiotics, including EndoMune Advanced ProbioticEndoMune Junior Probiotic and EndoMune Metabolic Rescue.

Prebiotics have been shown to offer a number of health benefits connected with probiotics, like improving your sleep and giving your body some extra protection from type 2 diabetes.

Also, I have to take issue with the use of fecal transplants to engineer the results of this study. Fecal transplants may have performed better among three options in this second study, but going this route isn’t without its risks, especially if you’re receiving fecal matter from another donor.

In one 2015 report, a patient was successfully treated for a recurring C. diff infection with a fecal transplant from an overweight donor (her daughter) only to gain 34 pounds in just 16 months.

In other cases, people who have tried “do-it-yourself” fecal transplants from donors have suffered brand new health problems they never expected from people who seemed to be very healthy, but were carriers of germs they could pass on to others.

I cannot stress enough that using these results from both studies to imply that probiotics in many cases are “useless” or “harmful” just isn’t accurate.

As a physician specializing in gastroenterology, I’ve seen firsthand how the use of probiotics has changed the lives of patients suffering from simple problems like constipation and hard-to-treat ones like IBS. Also, patients who are on a strong course of antibiotics may avoid the risks of experiencing life-threating infections just by taking a probiotic too.

two men running in the sunset

Prebiotics May Help Treat Osteoarthritis

If your joints begin to stiffen and feel painful — especially when you wake up in the morning or as swelling becomes more common — your body could be telling you that osteoarthritis may be just around the corner.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions that harms the joints, often affecting the lower backs, necks, small joints of fingers and the knees of nearly 10 percent of all Americans.

A deterioration of cartilage is the common culprit in osteoarthritis, leading to breakdowns that spur inflammation, pain and joint damage. Because this discomfort makes it harder to move around, you may be dealing with other health problems related to a sedentary lifestyle that lead to obesity and cardiovascular problems like heart disease or diabetes.

Osteoarthritis also increases your chances of experiencing more falls (30 percent) and debilitating fractures (20 percent) than someone in good health.

You may be very surprised to learn the health of your gut could be a driving force behind osteoarthritis and that prebiotics — non-digestible carbohydrates/plant fiber that feeds the good bacteria living in your gut — may play an important role in treating this condition, according to a study appearing in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Prebiotics to the rescue!

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered how prebiotics could help in treating osteoarthritis while studying mice fed high-fat foods, not unlike the cheeseburgers and shakes humans eat in a Western diet.

After 12 weeks on a high-fat diet, mice experienced all of the telltale signs of eating a poor diet (obesity, diabetes) and their gut health showed it.

Not only were their microbiomes dominated by bacteria that triggered inflammation, they were nearly depleted of beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacteria.

(These symptoms are also linked very strongly with leaky gut, a serious health condition that occurs when unintended substances seep through the intestinal barrier to the bloodstream.)

These internal changes were evident with signs of inflammation prevalent all over the tiny bodies of obese mice, along with a faster progression of osteoarthritis (nearly a total loss of knee cartilage within 12 weeks after a meniscal tear) compared to leaner mice.

However, the damage done by obesity was prevented almost completely when obese mice were fed a prebiotic (oligofructose). Although their body weight remained the same, the effects of osteoarthritis lessened greatly.

In fact, obese mice that were fed prebiotics had healthy knee cartilage indistinguishable to those of leaner mice and signs of diabetes diminished too.

“This reinforces the idea that osteoarthritis is another second complication of obesity, just like diabetes, heart disease and stroke, which all have inflammation as part of their root cause,” says Dr. Robert Mooney, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, according to the URMC Newsroom.

These positive results of the mice study have set the stage for a follow-up study with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs using probiotics and prebiotics to help vets suffering from obesity-related osteoarthritis.

Just a reminder that EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Jr. (Chewable and Powder) contain multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, and the prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides). Both are proven weapons for fighting obesity that could also protect your body from the damage done by osteoarthritis.

downtown san antonio by the riverwalk

Dr. Hoberman Features EMR on Daytime at 9

Dr. Hoberman created EndoMune Probiotics when he discovered the need for a supplement that could help with stomach issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, Irritable Bowl Syndrome, and constipation. Watch Dr. Hoberman speak about the benefits of adding a probiotic in your daily routine during San Antonio’s TV segment, Daytime at Nine. Dr. Hoberman discusses his latest addition to the EndoMune family, Metabolic Rescue. EMR is a unique blend of prebiotics and probiotics that supports natural effective weight loss by boosting your metabolism and helping curb your appetite. Watch the Daytime at Nine segment to learn more.

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