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sleep

Woman laying in bed with sleeping mask on. Overlayed text reads: A Sleepy Problem, Taking Too Much Melatonin

Taking Too Much Melatonin

A Sleepy Problem: Taking Too Much Melatonin

There’s no doubt that getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best, easiest and most restorative things you can do for your body.

Some health experts have even compared your body’s need for sleep to a computer that needs to “reboot” from time to time so it runs better.

When people have problems getting the right amount of sleep due to shift work, jet lag, or insomnia, many take the easy way out by turning to an over-the-counter sleep aid like melatonin for help.

Unfortunately, taking what most people assume is a “safe” sleep aid creates its own set of problems, especially for kids, according to a recent study from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that details a dramatic increase in poisonings involving melatonin.

 

By The Numbers

Between 2012-2021, the number of children who had ingested too much melatonin ballooned by a staggering 530 percent to more than 52,000, according to data collected by the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System.

During that decade. the number of calls to poison control exploded from 2012 (0.6 percent) to 2021 (4.9 percent). Nearly 28,000 children received care for a melatonin overdose, more than 4,000 children were hospitalized (mostly teenagers) and two babies (under age 2) died. Melatonin overdosing hit its peak prior to the coronavirus pandemic (a 38 percent jump from 2019 to 2020).

These rising numbers may have also shed light on an even deeper and known problem: A significant variance in the amount of melatonin contained in supplements based on their labelling.

The amounts of melatonin in a tablet may deviate from a decrease of 83 percent to an increase as high as 478 percent (based on its labelled content), according to a 2017 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Although most of you recognize melatonin as a supplement, it’s also a hormone produced and released by the pineal gland in the brain. The production of melatonin is light-sensitive too, meaning the pineal gland produces more melatonin at night to help us get to sleep and much less during the day.

What’s more, some foods produce melatonin naturally (flaxseeds, walnuts, yellow bell peppers, almonds and goji berries) but not enough to make a real difference in your sleep.

So, if melatonin can be problematic, what do you do to get more sleep that doesn’t involve a drug?

 

Safer, More Effective Sleep Solutions

If you’re looking for ways to improve your rest, there’s plenty of safe and easy ways to do it as we described in our recent Sleep 101 blog.

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and routine, shutting down the tablet and keeping your bedroom cool and comfortable can go a long way toward helping you get the shuteye your body needs.

Your gut also plays a role in your quest for more sleep too, as studies have shown how consuming prebiotics, the parts of vegetables made of non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates, can be just as helpful.

But it can be challenging to eat enough vegetables every day to make a real difference in your sleep.

However, you can ensure your family and your kids get the prebiotics they need by taking a probiotic like EndoMune Junior and EndoMune Advanced Probiotic that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families and a prebiotic (FOS) derived from plant fibers.

 

Resources

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

Slate

NPR

McGill Office for Science and Society

Mayo Clinic

Clock with a moon and sun on either sides. Text: "The Best Way to Take a Probiotic"

The Best Way to Take a Probiotic

The Best Way to Take a Probiotic

Thanks to the wonderful feedback we receive on our website, a growing number of you are learning why a probiotic-prebiotic combination is such a critical and valuable tool in protecting your body’s immune system from disease.

Believe me, we recognize how challenging it can be to do everything you can to ensure your gut gets the help it needs — eating nutritious, fiber-rich meals, getting the right amount of exercise and setting aside enough time for good sleep — over the course of a day to stay healthy and strong.

That’s why taking a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of live beneficial bacteria can be a critical and necessary step that gives your gut the extra help it needs to maintain that healthy balance.

Now that you have a better understanding of good gut health, you’re ready to take the next step: Learning the best way to take a probiotic.

For Adults In Good Health

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

It’s important 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.

A go-to study in the health journal Beneficial Microbes concluded probiotics with multiple strains of key bacterial strains survived when taken before a meal (including strains contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic).

On the other hand, taking a probiotic after a meal — when your stomach acid is at its highest — is the worst time to take a probiotic because far fewer beneficial bacteria make it to your gut.

A tip: If you eat breakfast on the run, you may want to take a probiotic before you go to sleep to ensure those beneficial bacteria have the necessary time to do their work.

Whether you take a probiotic first thing in the morning or before you turn in for the night, just be consistent and take your probiotic supplement every day.

For Your Healthy Child

Young children may need some extra help, especially if their developing gut health is 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.

As your child grows up and out of those toddler times, she/he will graduate to a probiotic of their own. You can make it fun for your young child with the chewy, fruity EndoMune Junior Advanced Chewable Probiotic.

For Those Sick Days

Taking a probiotic every day is really important, especially when you’re sick and taking medications like antibiotics that can upset the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut and sometimes create more problems like superbugs.

When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, don’t be surprised if he/she suggests you take a probiotic as a way to lessen the chances of any extra problems like extra gas and bloating or diarrhea.

Be sure to give yourself a two-hour break between taking an antibiotic and probiotic. That extra gap gives those beneficial bacteria extra time to do their work.

Check in With Your Doctor

If you’re ready to begin taking a probiotic, you have one last assignment to complete: Make an appointment to see your primary care physician.

Consulting with your doctor is really important, especially if you’re taking medications (antifungals or immunosuppressants) for specific conditions every day, to ensure your body can handle a probiotic.

References

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

Illustration of woman holding her hands in the shape of a heart over her gut while arrows point in cyclical directions from her gut to her brain. TEXT: Gut-Brain Axis 101 A gutsy link to your emotions.

Gut-Brain Axis 101

Gut-Brain Axis 101: The Gutsy Link to Your Emotions

How often do you make decisions based on a gut feeling during the day? And, do you notice butterflies in your stomach when you do make them?

We’re not exactly sure about the origins of those sayings but it seems as if we have known about the gut-brain axis — the connection that links the brain, intestines and emotions — for a very long time.

Although its existence had been debated in the past, that became impossible once modern medicine proved some 90 percent of serotonin (a neurotransmitter chemical that governs mood) in the body originates in the human gut, and specific bacteria play important roles in producing it.

The gut and brain are linked by the enteric nervous system (ENS), a network of 100 million nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus down to the rectum. Although the ENS doesn’t “think,” it transmits signals between the gut and brain.

Unfortunately, we begin to notice the gut-brain axis in our lives when these two-way signals become scrambled due to disruptions in the healthy balance of gut bacteria due to variables like a poor diet that lead to more stress and less restful sleep.

The good news: There are safe and effective tools you can use to bring balance to your gut and calm your brain.

 

Protecting Your Gut-Brain Axis At Work

The world of information technology (IT) — encompassing everything from information processing to building computers and websites like this one — is known for the high-pressure, 24/7 demands it places on its workforce.

Given those many stressors, a team of Chinese scientists investigated how to create more emotional stability to IT workers via the gut-brain axis with the help of a daily probiotic.

Out of 90 recruits, 36 IT workers (ages 20-60) met the criteria to participate in an eight-week trial, largely based on high initial stress test scores.

During the trial, workers took a probiotic containing a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus plantarum (one of the 10 strains of beneficial bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic).

After the testing period, stress test scores dropped significantly in terms of self-perceived stress, depression and overall negative emotions as well as gastrointestinal problems.

Additionally, scientists also noted a decrease in cortisol (the body’s primary stress hormone) with a coordinated increase in positive emotions with IT workers taking a probiotic.

 

The Gut-Brain Health Solution

You can tell the popularity of the gut-brain axis has grown by leaps and bounds given all of the new attention by medical experts looking for alternatives for the alarming rise of prescription drugs to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia just during the coronavirus pandemic.

Making lifestyle changes in the form of eating healthier diets full of nutrient-dense foods rich in dietary fiber and getting more sleep really do matter, but those aren’t the only tools at your disposal if you want to keep your gut-brain axis working as it should.

Taking one more precaution — a probiotic — gives your gut-brain axis the extra protection you need, especially on those extra-long workdays from home or at the office.

Make sure that any probiotic you select contains proven, lab-tested strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic, made from non-digestible plant fibers and carbohydrates that feed the good guys in your gut (they may help you fight cancer too).

It really takes a community of beneficial bacteria and prebiotics to protect your gut-brain axis. That why EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is formulated with 10 strains and 30 BILLION CFUs of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus the prebiotic FOS.

 

Resources

Frontiers in Nutrition

Healthline

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Caltech

Neuroendocrinology

Mayo Clinic

University Hospitals/Cleveland Medical Center

photo of woman sleeping. Text on image: Healthy Sleep, Healthy Gut

Healthy Sleep, Healthy Gut

A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. In fact, many health experts view sleep as a way your body “reboots,” much like a computer, to repair and restore itself from the stresses of the day.

Previously, we’ve talked about how disrupting your sleep-wake schedule — better known as your body’s circadian clock — not only steals time your body needs to replenish and restore its resources, it harms the health of your gut microbiome too.

But how?

Good Sleep, Good Gut Diversity

Researchers from Nova Southeastern University and Middle Tennessee State took on the job of finding gut health connections to sleep with the help of 26 healthy patients.

Over 30 days, patients were monitored 24/7 for their sleep-wake activity (by wearing smart watches), took tests to measure their cognitive skills in eight areas and provided saliva and fecal samples.

No surprise, sleep quality and total sleep time yielded significant benefits for patients related to the diversity of species and richness of their microbiomes, while fragmented sleep patterns affected overall sleep quality and gut health adversely.

On the cognitive side, the gut health/good sleep connection stood out in a few measures including abstract matching, while a lack of richness was linked to poorer risk decision-making.

Scientists also found increased levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) that were linked to total sleep time and positive impacts on diversity and richness of the gut microbiome.

The Take-Home Message

On the surface, getting more sleep along with the quality and time you devote to it goes a long way towards the health of your gut, and thus, your overall health.

Also, following good hygiene before you go to sleep by taking simple steps — maintaining a consistent sleep routine and turning off your phone, laptop computer or tablet about an hour before you turn off the lights — can help.

Health experts also believe taking a probiotic along with a prebiotic may do lots of good, not only to promote better more restful sleep, but to protect the rich diversity of bacteria in your gut as well. But not just any probiotic will do…

Be sure to look for a probiotic formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families that mirror the diversity of bacteria in your gut, plus a prebiotic that feeds the “good guys” in your gut, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

References

 

Man sleeping with text on photo "Sleep Apnea and Your Gut Health"

Sleep Apnea and Your Gut Health

Have you heard complaints from your loved ones about not getting enough sleep due to the sound of your snoring? Anywhere from 50-70 million Americans deal with a sleep disorder, and nearly a third of them struggle with some form of sleep apnea, a condition in which your breathing starts and stops repeatedly and involuntarily throughout the night.

Different forms of sleep apnea have unique symptoms but some crossover, like insomnia, headaches and excessive daytime sleepiness.

When the natural circadian rhythms that govern your body’s sleep-wake cycles get disturbed by something as minor and temporary as jet lag, your gut feels it. Mess those rhythms up and you run the risk of more health problems, and serious ones too.

New evidence shows sleep apnea — a more serious health problem — may also affect your gut.

I can hear you snoring!

Curious about the effects of sleep apnea on gut health, scientists at the University of Missouri launched an experiment using three sets of mice to examine how the gut microbiome reacts.

Researchers exposed male mice to two environments — one with normal room air or the other restricting their airflow (designed to mimic sleep apnea) — for six weeks.

Then, scientists took those fecal samples from both animal groups, and evenly transplanted them into the third group of young mice, then monitored their sleep for three days.

No surprise, the mice that received transplants from male mice with restricted airflow experienced a common symptom of sleep apnea: Increased sleepiness during regular times of the day when they should be wide awake.

“By manipulating the gut microbiome, or the byproducts of the gut microbiota, we would be in a position to prevent or at least [treat] some of the consequences of sleep apnea,” said Dr. David Gozal, the lead author on this study.

In fact. Dr. Gozal suggested the combination of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and a probiotic could offer patients some important benefits.

The human side of things

Not only could probiotics and a CPAP device eliminate much of the daytime fatigue due to a lack of sleep, but both could also reduce the likelihood of other health issues linked to sleep apnea.

The most serious problem: The cluster of symptoms that increase your risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease known as metabolic syndrome.

If you’re on the lookout for an excellent probiotic, be sure that it contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria that protect the balance of bacteria in your gut.

Also, check product labels to ensure any product you consider contains prebiotics, the unsung heroes that do the dirty work behind the scenes of feeding the good bacteria in your gut and stimulating their growth.

Plus, taking a prebiotic every day has been shown to improve the quality of sleep too!

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is uniquely fortified with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria plus a proven prebiotic(FOS) so you can work on improving your sleep.

 

References

 

 

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

Image of Text: "5 reasons why you need to take a probiotic!"

5 Reasons Why You Need to Take a Probiotic

If you’re seeing our blog for the first time — or the tenth time — you may be wondering why we share tips and news about the ever-changing, ever-shifting, ever-growing world of gut health many times each month in this space.

Our lives — full of work, life responsibilities and stress — leave us so little free time just to be…

Many of us fail to take even the very simple and necessary step of protecting our gut health by taking a probiotic every day.

Gut health affects so many parts of our own health and well-being, that a natural boost with a probiotic can make a world of difference to keep our bodies working just as they should.

Need some solid evidence that probiotics can make a world of difference to your health? Consider these five questions when you’re considering why you need to take a probiotic for your health, based on the latest research.

Have you taken a lot of antibiotics?

People rely so much and so often on antibiotics as a quick fix to solve all sorts of health problems — even minor ones like colds and sore throats — that doctors tend to over-prescribe them.

This excessive use has created an antibiotic-resistant world in which these drugs are quickly losing their ability to do the healing work they were meant to do.

The problems have become so acute that more people than ever are being sickened from exposure to superbug infections like Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) and some will die from them.

Antibiotics deplete the beneficial bacteria in your gut that keep your immune system strong. If you really need an antibiotic to solve a health problem, to take a probiotic two hours before taking an antibiotic to give those beneficial bacteria some extra time to reach and protect your gut.

Have you felt constipated lately?

Even a common gut-related health problem like constipation can be a sign of more serious health problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and kidney disease. Taking a probiotic restores the healthy balance of bacteria in your gut and lessens the need for harsher medications like mesalazine.

How are your emotions?

Disruptions in your gut-brain axis — the vital link that connects your gut, emotions and intestines — can add to challenges you may have with your sleep, mental health and mood. Taking a multi-species probiotic every day protects your gut’s ability to produce neurotransmitter chemicals like serotonin.

Could eating fermented foods help or hurt your gut?

Depending on how they’re prepared, fermented foods — such as pickles, yogurt, kombucha tea, pickles and miso — don’t provide the dependable gut health benefits that probiotics do and, in some cases, create more problems for your health than they’re worth.

Are you having trouble sleeping?

Shifts in your body’s circadian clock (the biological levers that control your wake-sleep schedule) due to work schedules or traveling long distances affect your gut health. Taking a quality probiotic that also contains a prebiotic (food for the good bugs in your gut) can help you get your sleep schedule back on track.

When evaluating a quality probiotic, you’ll want to consider a product that contains multiple strains of proven and beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic.

BONUS QUESTION: How is your bone health?

If you’re having trouble maintaining your bone health, probiotics aid the production of butyrate (short-chain fatty acids created when your gut processes soluble fiber) that may increase bone mass.

European Journal of Public Health

Frontiers in Psychiatry

Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

BioMed Research International

Sleep Medicine

Microorganisms

Immunity

Mayo Clinic

Illustration of probiotics at a cellular level.

The Multi-Species Advantage For Your Brain and Mood

The human gut is one very diverse sector of the human body.

More than 1,000 unique species of gut bacteria have been identified by medical investigators so far. That doesn’t include 2,000 more species recently discovered in populations of people living in Asia, Africa and South America.

What we do know (for the moment): Experts believe about 150-170 species live in the human gut at any time.

So, when we talk about the value of treating health problems like constipation, C. diff infections and even colon cancer, probiotics that contain multiple species of beneficial bacteria have been proven to do much more good than single-species products or even “probiotic” foods.

The gut-brain axis difference

The very same can be said for your gut-brain axis, the vital connection that links your brain, emotions and intestines, according to recent research appearing in the medical journal, Frontiers in Psychiatry.

For this study, researchers at the University of Verona (Italy) tracked the progress of 38 healthy volunteers (ages 18-35) who took either a placebo or multi-species probiotic including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium longum for six weeks.

(This trio is part of the 10 species of beneficial bacteria contained in every bottle of EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.)

Scientists monitored the mood, mental health and sleep quality of patients before the study began, then in three-week intervals during and after the study concluded.

The group who took probiotics reported significant improvements in fatigue, mood and anger, better acceptance (a marker of decreased depression) and enhanced sleep quality.

In fact, scientists were surprised to find benefits from taking multi-species probiotics lingered at least three weeks after the test subjects stopped taking them.

Those positive results for multi-strain probiotics aren’t surprising at all, given that the gut produces neurotransmitter chemicals like serotonin (governing your mood) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (controlling anxiety and fear).

Getting good sleep matters too

A healthy gut helps you get the right amount of sleep too. Not only does it promote better sleep, good gut health eases disruptions in your body’s circadian rhythms — governing your 24-hour biological clock — particularly when jet lag can be a factor due to traveling across multiple time zones in short periods of time.

Another gut-healthy way to promote restful sleep: Be sure you’re eating enough prebiotics, the natural, non-digestible carbohydrates/plant fiber contained in whole foods like almonds, jicama, artichokes, onions, leeks, apples and bananas.

If you’re not getting enough whole foods, that’s just one more important reason to take a daily probiotic like Endomune, that features fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), a natural prebiotic made from plant sugars.

a woman taking a nap on her couch

How Gut Health Affects Your Sleep, Your Brain

You’ve probably heard a lot in the news about sleep hygiene, the behaviors and practices that you can do to protect and enhance your slumber time, and why that’s so important for your health.

However, one of those benefits – a healthier brain – can be at risk if you aren’t sleeping well, and changes in your gut may be the tell-tale sign, according to a study appearing in Sleep Medicine.

Over the course of the study, researchers monitored the sleep habits and gut health of 37 healthy patients (ages 50-85) who provided fecal samples and completed assessments for sleep, mental acuity, diet and overall health.

The interesting findings here were positive connections with two specific phylum of bacteria in the gut: Verrucomicrobia and Lentisphaerae.

Higher amounts of both bacteria were associated to positive results – better sleep quality and good cognitive flexibility (your brain’s ability to switch between two different concepts or consider many concepts at the same time).

It certainly makes sense that sleep and our brains can be affected by these disruptions, given the growing amount of research that has shown how our gut bacteria follow a 24-hour circadian, wake/sleep schedule.

This inter-dependence between the gut and your circadian rhythms could also make your body more vulnerable to changes that promote obesity. Not to mention, we’ve also discussed how your circadian rhythms can get disrupted more easily due to jet lag, particularly when you travel long distances.

A growing number of experts believe gut health is linked to healthy sleep. “Scientists investigating the relationship between sleep and the microbiome are finding that the microbial ecosystem may affect sleep and sleep-related physiological functions in a number of different ways: shifting circadian rhythms, altering the body’s sleep-wake cycle, affecting hormones that regulate sleep and wakefulness,” says Dr. Michael Breus, a fellow at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, according to The Guardian.

As research continues on the gut-sleep connection, Dr. Breus suggests taking a probiotic along with a prebiotic in the meantime to feed your gut.

Separate from ensuring you follow good sleep hygiene and eat the right foods, keeping your gut and brain in alignment is as simple as taking a high-quality probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, that contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria and Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a prebiotic that feeds the microbes in your gut and may help you sleep better too.

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