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Senior woman gripping wrist. Overlayed text on image reads: "Reduce inflammation with multi-strain probiotics

Reduce Inflammation With Multi-Strain Probiotics

Reduce Inflammation With Multi-Strain Probiotics

If you’ve experienced a cut, low-grade fever or a broken toe, you know what inflammation feels like.

Inflammation is a very necessary signal from your body’s immune system in the form of pain, warmth, swelling or redness that lets you know healing is on the way. Fortunately, much of the inflammation our bodies experience is acute and gets resolved pretty quickly.

However, chronic inflammation is a much more serious problem that can be triggered in the very same ways, but it often doesn’t go away, even after the initial problem gets resolved.

The real challenge, especially for seniors, is preventing chronic inflammation, and there’s many lifestyle modifications you can make to lower your risks.

Adding a multi-strain probiotic and an omega-3 supplement (with vitamin D) every day to your anti-inflammatory to-do list may help too, according to a recent study appearing in Nutrients.

 

Curbing Chronic Inflammation

A team of European scientists were eager to study simple, non-drug ways to curb the effects of inflammaging, a chronic, low-grade form of inflammation that develops as seniors age, increasing their risks of health problems.

Over the course of eight weeks, researchers tracked the health of 76 elderly patients (ages 65-80) who took placebos or a multi-strain probiotic containing Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus, along with an omega-3 supplement (consisting of fish oils and vitamin D).

(These probiotic strains tested in this trial are among the 10 featured in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic for adults.)

The benefit for seniors battling inflammation came from an upward trend in levels of the anti-inflammatory chemical cytokine IL-10 and a big increase in beneficial short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) among patients taking the multi-strain probiotic/omega-3 combo.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about the benefits of fish oil when taken with a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune, fortified to maintain and protect your immune system by increasing the good bacteria in your gut.

 

Resources

Nutrients

Nutra Ingredients.com

WebMD

Cleveland Clinic

Harvard Health Publishing

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

EndoMune capsules displayed on blue background

Help Ease Your Anxiety with Probiotics

As our country watches the COVID-19 pandemic with apprehension, it’s no surprise that mental health specialists report a sharp increase in the number of anxiety and depression cases. A recent poll taken by the American Psychiatric Association indicates 36% ofAmericans said COVID-19 has made a serious impact on their mental health. If the physical isolation isn’t enough, the pandemic has escalated fears over potential job losses, bankruptcy, acute illness, and death.

Probiotic consumption has been a hot topic for research concerning the gut-brain axis in the past few years. The gut-brain axis (GBA) is the connection between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS.) That connection links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with our body’s intestinal functions. Recent research describes the important role gut microbiota play in these functions.

Probiotics protect against stress

That evidence suggests that probiotics can protect the body against the harmful physical and mental effects of stress. Conversely, it also suggests that probiotics can help regulate mood by keeping the gut microbiome balanced and performing optimally. That means if we want better mood and mental health, we need to take care of our guts.

However, gut bacteria can also be altered by stress, leading to suboptimal gut health. Moreover, other things can reduce the efficiency of our gut function such as antibiotics, intestinal infections, and poor diet – all of which can kill off beneficial or “good” bacteria. A lack of good bacteria in the gut has also been associated with other health problems such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Clearly, this evidence indicates we can’t achieve optimum health unless our guts are maintained at peak efficiency and fortifying our microbiota with probiotics may be a way to both fight and prevent anxiety and mood disorders.

How it works

The bacteria in our gut enhance our resilience to stressful situations by helping seal the gut barrier. When our microbiome is not balanced, its compromised, inefficient gut function can have a negative impact on our overall health (including mental health), due to leakage of hormones and intestinal inflammation.

If the gut lining stays porous for too long, it can allow toxins and toxic bacteria into our body, where some of those toxins can pass through the blood-brain barriers that protect the brain from these types of pathogens.

That’s how a balanced gut microbiome strengthens the gut lining, protects us against leaky gut, and reduces gut inflammation, which in turn plays a role in our mental well-being.

Inflammation also affects the central nervous system and can cause symptoms of depression; but conversely, depression can cause inflammation itself. That’s why having a robust, diverse microbiome is necessary to help control inflammation by strengthening the gut lining, and preventing unwanted toxins from entering the body.

Researchers report that people who suffer from anxiety often have symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as IBS, gas, and diarrhea. These ‘co-occurring disorders’ help cement the conclusions over the importance of the gut-brain axis and its role in many common illnesses.

The link between the gut-brain axis plays a critical role in how healthy we are, and an ever-increasing body of evidence strongly suggests that the microbiota in your gut influences every other aspect of your overall health – including our mental health. Simply put, it seems that now, more than ever, it’s impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle unless our guts are happy and thriving, and everyone’s first step to better health should be to repair our guts. Consequently, dietary changes and probiotics are some of the methods researchers use to alter the microbiota in patients to help treat anxiety and depression.

Since microbiota has such an important impact on your entire body, it’s not surprising that taking probiotics for your mood doesn’t just benefit our mental health in one way. Probiotics may also help other precursors associated with an increased risk of anxiety:

  1. Helps reduce inflammation, and research suggests that depression may be an inflammatory disease
  2. Increases tryptophan, the happiness hormone, which stimulates natural serotonin production.
  3. Certain probiotic strains, like L. Rhamnosus, help reduce levels of the stress hormone corticosterone.
  4. Some strains of probiotics may possess inherent anti-depressant qualities.

Research on probiotics and the brain-gut connection continues, but the importance of this connection seems clear. Incorporating more probiotic foods in your diet, is a great step to achieving robust overall health. Unfortunately, our fast-paced lifestyles and the ever-present temptations of industrialized food make eating well-balanced, healthy meals hard. The easy answer to that is to help our guts with a probiotic supplement like an EndoMune Probiotic.  Try one today – your body and your mental health will thank you.

Pregnant woman looking out a window while holding her belly.

Coronavirus and Pregnancy

Coronavirus Adds New Anxieties for Pregnant Women 

Recently, the World Health Organization labeled coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. Many pregnant women have expressed concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on their health and the health of their unborn babies. Not much is known about pregnancy and the new Coronavirus as more research is being done.

As you might already know, the virus spreads through respiratory droplets sent into the air when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes. It might also spread when someone touches a surface infected by a person who has the virus.

Health officials are urging pregnant women, along with the elderly and others with weakened immune systems, to do their best to avoid exposure to the Coronavirus. Doctors suggest staying home as much as possible, avoiding crowds — including long lines at the supermarkets and other stores — and staying away from emergency rooms if possible.

New information is being discovered daily, but today we answered some of the most common questions surrounding pregnancy and COVID-19.

What can pregnant women do to protect themselves against the novel Coronavirus? 

While there is further research underway across the world, it is currently not known if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public or if they are more likely to have a serious illness as a result of it.

Women experience physiological changes during pregnancy that can weaken their immune systems and place them at higher risk for severe complications if exposed to viruses, especially if they have underlying health conditions. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness in the past.

With little knowledge of how COVID-19 affects pregnant women and their unborn children, it is pertinent they protect themselves from illnesses and use all the precautions to reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19.

Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to void infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes – using a tissue is best, but your elbow is a good alternative
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables from the store
  • Avoid public spaces (social distancing is important to limit the spread of the virus)
  • Avoid people who are sick – even in your own home
  • Hydrate and rest often
  • Take a high-quality probiotic to promote healthy digestion and immune health
  • Maintain a healthy diet, high in antioxidant-rich foods

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn? 

It is not currently known if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

In a recent study published in ​The Lancet​, researchers followed nine pregnant women who had tested positive for the Coronavirus in Wuhan, China— the epicenter of the outbreak— during their third trimester. “Researchers found that none of the infants, all delivered cesarean, had the virus at birth. The virus was not found in samples of the mothers’ breast milk, cord blood, babies throats or amniotic fluid.”

“The risk of passing the infection to the fetus appears to be low, and there is no evidence of any fetal malformations or effects due to maternal infection with COVID-19,” according to the study.

Can you breastfeed if you tested positive for COVID-19? 

While there is no ​evidence​ of the virus in breastmilk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s still not clear whether the virus can be transmitted to infants during feedings.

“Given that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets, mothers should wash their hands before feeding their babies, consider wearing a face mask to minimize the infant’s exposure and properly clean their breast pumps.”

Stay Positive and Take Your Probiotics

It’s important to keep it all in perspective! Create a new daily routine at home to help maintain a sense of normalcy until the baby arrives and take your daily probiotics to help build the best defense.

Resources

US National Library of Medicine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Lancet

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist

 

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.

a leaky pipe being fixed with several wrenches

Could Marital Problems Lead to Leaky Gut?

Strong emotions can have a negative effect on your body. Add a diet full of high-fat foods to the mix and your gut becomes vulnerable too.

Emotional fights between married couples have been linked to symptoms of leaky gut, according to a report from Ohio State University that appeared in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Leaky gut is a condition created by breakdowns in the intestinal wall that allow undigested food, toxic waste products and other nasties to seep through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream to create a number of different health problems.

“We think every day marital distress, at least for some people, is causing changes in the gut that lead to inflammation and, potentially, illness,” says lead author Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the OSU’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

Forty-three married and healthy couples ranging in age from 24-61 participated in the study that involved talking to researchers about their relationships, then alone with each other for 20 minutes to resolve conflicts that were likely to provoke disagreements.

To give necessary context to this study, blood samples were taken from couples before and after their conversations without a researcher and those talks were filmed for later review.

Not surprisingly, patients who displayed more hostility during their one-on-one talks with their marital partners had greater levels of LPS-binding protein, a biomarker for leaky gut.

Signs of leaky gut was even more pronounced among spouses with histories of emotional problems and depression whose interactions were hostile.

What’s more, researchers identified specific biomarkers in blood samples (LBP and CD14) linked to signs of inflammation. Patients whose blood contained the highest levels of LBP had dramatically higher amounts of the primary inflammatory biomarker, C-reactive protein.

These biomarkers were far more prevalent among those whose medical histories included depression too.

In fact, scientists believe the presence of these inflammatory biomarkers that drive leaky gut may also be responsible for mental health problems, creating a “troubling loop.”

“With leaky gut, the structures that are usually really good at keeping the gunk in our gut — the partially digested food, bacteria and other products — degrade and that barrier becomes less effective,” says study co-author Dr. Michael Bailey.

To reduce the amount of inflammation from leaky gut, Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser suggests eating a more gut-friendly Mediterranean diet along with taking a probiotic.

Fortunately, protecting the health of your gut is so much easier when you take a probiotic that contains multiple species of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

fruits and nuts organized into separate bowls

Mind your gut for a beautiful mind

There is a strong connection between the brain and the gut. Researchers claim there lies a brain in the gut with its own neural network.

The Enteric Nervous System ( ENS ) has a robust system that manages the hormones, emotions, and neurotransmitters, which communicate with the brain. Serotonin, dopamine and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) are all neurotransmitters that play a role in the intestines and the central nervous system. They can be transmitted to the brain through the blood or the vagus nerve.

There are trillions of gut microbiota residing in the gut that can directly impact our mental state. Sometimes when we are anxious or depressed it can in part be due to an unhealthy balance of the intestinal bacteria (dysbiosis).  Among women who suffer from depression, anxiety and GI difficulties, study results suggest a link to the gut rather than the brain.

5 Ways to Manage a Better Gut for a Better Mind

Managing the gut can result in benefits for the mind, including a better harmony between the gut and mind. Here are five ways that can create that powerful force within your body.

1. Diet

Diet is the core of every change in the body. The proverbial you are what you eat stands true in this case. The fuel you use to energize your body provides the essential nutrients and has a strong effect on every activity in the body.

Certain diets elicit a healthier bacterial balance. A diet rich in whole, unprocessed, unadulterated, and non-genetically modified foods helps to maintain a proper balance of the gut bacteria. Eliminating foods that are processed and choosing fresh and real foods is the key to providing the gut with healthy bacteria.

2. Lower Your Sugar Intake

Sugar brings about a lull in the body. It slows down the body. Sugar and carbohydrates affect the system by nurturing the pathogenic bacteria.

In a recent study, researchers fed a group of mice a diet high in sugar and then tested their mental and physical function. The sugar diet negatively impacted the mice’s gut microbiota, impaired their cognitive flexibility, and ability to efficiently adapt to changing situations. The change in gut bacteria also adversely affected the mice’s long-term and short-term memory.

Sugar affects adaptability. The sugar spike in blood levels makes the body work harder. It also leads to gut inflammation. Consuming less sugar can be beneficial for the gut and the brain.

3. Add a Probiotic

Healthy foods such as lacto fermented kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and other traditional vegetables have microbes that have a positive effect on our gut. A common ancestral practice to consume fermented foods rich in probiotics is quite interesting. Healthy fermented foods are filled with probiotics that allow all the healthy fauna to settle in the gut and flourish.

In a 2013 study in Gastroenterology, 12 out of the 25 healthy women ate a cup of yogurt twice a day for four weeks. The rest of the women ingested no yogurt. All women had pre and post brain scans while being asked to respond to a series of images depicting different facial expressions. Results indicated that the women who ate yogurt were calmer when shown various emotions than the control group. The results revealed that the yogurt changed the subjects’ gut microbiota, which also modified their brain chemistry.

Consuming good probiotics are one great way to keep the gut healthy. Alive organisms when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness.”  A review by Dinan et al encompasses the clinical basis for the use of probiotics in mental health with reference to animal studies in which behavioral changes resulted from exposure to bacterial strains such as  Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. In placebo-controlled trials in humans, measures of anxiety, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety are associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is felt to be due to an imbalance or dysbiosis of the gut microbiota.

Besides foods, a good probiotic supplement with a number of strains can be very helpful for the gut.

4. Exercise Regularly

Exercise releases the good hormones in our bodies. These hormones help to stimulate growth and make us feel happy. All the chemicals and hormones released during exercise benefit the body, and eventually the gut. Regular exercise stimulates better bowel movements and leads to more water consumption. All these affect the gut, keeping it healthy and strong.

Exercise can be the best therapy for a weak gut. So whenever you feel low, experience anxiety or have a stressful meeting coming up, go for a run, hit the gym and take a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced.

5.  Relax and De-stress

A stressful mind releases harmful hormones like cortisol. A rise in cortisol affects the gut making the cholesterol level higher, and even triggers depression.

A relaxed mind can induce hormones that promote relaxation, which also affect the gut. Studies have shown stress puts us at risk for dysbiosis, a shift away from healthy gut diversity.

In a 2015 study from Harvard University affiliates, forty-eight patients with either IBS or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) took a 9-week session that included meditation training. The results showed reduced pain, improved symptoms, stress reduction, and a decrease in inflammatory processes.

Practicing mindful techniques of relaxing the mind, and breathing more deeply to oxygenate the body lead to a less distressed mind and gut. The best way to develop a beautiful mind is to cultivate a healthy and happy gut.

To learn more about your gut/brain connection, talk to your health care provider and ask if adding a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Capsules to your daily regimen will help issues likes anxiety and depression.

Moms: Stressing out may affect your new baby’s brain, gut health

A number of variables affect the health of newborn babies, from preeclampsia to caesarean (C-section) births, which have a direct connection to a mother’s gut health.

The vaginal microbiota of an expectant mom experiencing stress may be affected during her first trimester. Some emotions could trigger changes in the way her baby’s gut health and brain develop, according to a recent study appearing in the medical journal Endocrinology.

“As the [newborn’s] gut is initially populated by the maternal vaginal microbiota, changes produced by maternal stress can alter this initial microbial population as well as determine many aspects of the host’s immune system that are also established during this early period,” says Dr. Tracy Bale, senior author of the study and a professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and its School of Veterinary Medicine, via a press release.

Researchers tested their theory by exposing pregnant mice to various stressors, including unique noises, odors of established predators and restraints, during the animal’s equivalent of their first trimester.

Shortly after giving birth, scientists examined the vaginal microbiota of the mothers along with the gut microbiota from their offspring. Additionally, they examined how amino acids travel in the brains of pups to measure development and metabolism.

Exposure to stressors had lasting effects on the vaginal microbiota of pregnant mice that were observed, not only in the gut microbiota, but in the metabolism and neurodevelopment of their babies too.

Neurodevelopment issues were most pronounced among males, a finding Dr. Bale and her colleagues discovered in a prior study. These alterations could be a sign of serious neurological disorders to come like schizophrenia and autism, conditions that affect males far more often.

Scientists also conducted a supplemental experiment that showed how important it is for moms to deliver their babies vaginally. Baby mice born via C-section had their gut microbiomes restored to those of vaginally-delivered offspring only after receiving transplants from the vaginal microbiomes of female mice.

Despite the challenges new moms face by delivering their babies via C-section, there’s growing evidence that giving newborns a probiotic could enhance their developing gut health and lessen problems with colic.

When shopping for the right probiotic for your young child, consider EndoMune Junior, which contains important building blocks such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Poor gut health may be responsible for the terrible toddler twos

Your toddler’s unique gut microbiome may contribute to those mood swings associated with the “terrible twos.”

There may be more going on besides fussy behavior, according to researchers at Ohio State University’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Those mood swings may provide indicators for early stages of chronic diseases, like allergies, asthma, bowel disease and even obesity, according to a recent study appearing in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Evidence has shown that intestinal bacteria interact with stress hormones, the very same ones linked to chronic illnesses like obesity and asthma, says Dr. Lisa Christian, a researcher with Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

“A toddler’s temperament gives us a good idea of how they react to stress. This information combined with an analysis of their gut microbiome could ultimately help us identify opportunities to prevent chronic health issues earlier,” Dr. Christian explained.

Based on an analysis of 77 stool samples taken from young boys and girls ages 18-27 months old, there were signs of activity in the gut-brain axis, says Dr. Michael Bailey, study co-author, microbiologist and member of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

“There is definitely communication between the bacteria in the gut and the brain, but we don’t know which one starts the conversation.”

No matter which side “started the conversation,” evidence appears to link young temperaments to the amount and diversity of gut bacteria, even after taking into account their diets, the mother’s birthing method and whether or not they were breast fed.

Matching gut bacteria to behaviors

Mothers were asked to assess their child’s behaviors using questionnaires that gauged 18 specific traits that fed into specific scales of emotional reactivity.

Based on those reports, researchers analyzed the different genetic types and quantities of gut bacteria in those stool samples (along with diets).

With improvements in DNA testing, which enable scientists to spot individual bacteria and concentrations in stool samples, “All of the predominant bacteria we found in our study have been previously linked to either changes in behavior or immune responses,” says Dr. Bailey, according to a press release.

Girls vs. boys

Generally, children who had the most genetically diverse gut bacteria more often displayed the behaviors connected with positive mood, impulsivity, sociability and curiosity.

Scientists have also been able to link extroverted personality traits in boys to an abundance of gut microbes from specific families (Ruminococcaceae and Rikenellaceae) and genera (Parabacteroides and Dialister).

“It’s possible that more outgoing kids could experience less trouble due to fewer stress hormones in their guts than those who are shy. Healthy guts regulate the production of stress hormones better or it could be a bit of both,” Dr. Bailey says.

The links between gut bacteria and temperament were less consistent in girls according to the study. Still, scientists linked some traits in girls — focused attention, self-restraint and cuddliness — to a less diverse microbiome.

Also, girls who had more of one particular family of gut bacteria (Rikenellaceae) experienced more fear than others with better balance in their gut health.

What makes a real difference?

Although researchers concluded diets didn’t make a difference in the behaviors and gut health of the toddlers they examined, they left room for the possibility that they could.

“It is certainly possible that the types or quantities of food that children with different temperaments choose to eat affect their microbiome,” says Dr. Christian.

Despite the findings in this study, evidence points to the method of birth — vaginal delivery versus caesarean — being a huge factor. Babies born via C-section had less gut diversity than those who were born naturally.

What’s more, the growing immune systems of small children aren’t nearly as prepared for challenges to come if they don’t have the right balance of gut bacteria. That’s where probiotics can help your child, whether he or she is a newborn, toddler or school age child.

That’s why EndoMune Junior now comes into two varieties: a powdered formula, ideal for mixing into food or drinks and a delicious chewable berry-flavored tablet that will leave them wanting more.

Each dose of EndoMune Junior contains 10 billion CFUs, including four species of proven health-promoting bacteria, and a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria already in your child’s gut.

What is IBS?

What is IBS? Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be an uncomfortable condition, but it is nowhere near as serious a health problem as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

However, IBS is still far more common, affecting up to 20 percent of the Western world. Symptoms include gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain.

Understanding the combination of conditions that trigger this unpredictable health problem can be a mystery due to multiple contributing factors. Among the causes, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House (NDDIC):

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Food sensitivities
  • Hypersensitivity to pain
  • Motor problems that cause irregular movement in the bowels
  • Altered levels of gastrointestinal hormones and body chemicals that transmit nerve signals

The genetic effect

Near the bottom of the list of causes, the NDDIC cites genetics as a common source among family members with a shared history of IBS problems, but is noncommittal about its overall effect. A recent Mayo Clinic study may shed some new light on the genetics of IBS.

Researchers have identified a genetic defect, a mutation of the SCN5A gene that affects the absorption of water and electrolytes. Disruption of this sodium ion channel can lead to constipation or diarrhea.

After comparing the tissues of 584 IBS patients to nearly 1,400 healthy patients, scientists discovered the genetic defect in 2.2 percent of IBS patients.

Is a drug always the best, safest treatment?

Mayo Clinic researchers treated patients with genetic-based IBS successfully by using mexiletine, a drug that improved the sodium ion transport and eased the symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation for this small group of patients.

Mexiletine is part of the antiarrhythmic class of drugs that works by blocking some electrical signals in the heart to stabilize heart rhythms. (It has also been prescribed to treat nerve damage caused by diabetes.)

Unfortunately, medications may come with adverse effects. Antiarrhythmic drugs like mexiletine have been linked to reports of increased risk of heart attack and death, according to MedlinePlus. Those risks are especially elevated among patients who have suffered a heart attack over the past two years.

Taking mexiletine may also increase the chance of experiencing an irregular heartbeat and hasn’t helped people who don’t experience life-threatening arrhythmias to live longer. MedlinePlus warns against using mexiletine unless a patient has suffered life-harming arrhythmias.

Probiotics: The safer, better treatment option

The real problem with taking prescription medications like mexiletine: Too many of them only treat superficial symptoms but neglect to correct the real health problem. However, there is a safer IBS Treatment option that treats the “whole” patient holistically.

Taking a probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic every day not only alleviates symptoms for many IBS sufferers, but corrects the underlying disorder and does it without the risk of any adverse side effects.

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