Women’s Health

Women’s Health issues can generally be helped by including probiotics in their diets to restore and maintain better gut health leading to overall better health.

Woman wearing mask with text on photo "Got maskne? Here's the Gut-Skin-Brain axis solution"

The Gut-Skin-Brain Axis Solution For Maskne

More than ever before, people are experiencing skin problems related to acne, especially around their faces, due to wearing masks, sometimes for extended periods throughout the day. This issue has become so common and chronic, people refer to it as maskne — mask + acne — and dermatologists take this problem just as seriously as their patients.

Living in the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been easy, but you’ve been making the best of it by following the healthy steps to stay out of harm’s way and protecting your immune system.

Wearing a mask outdoors when running simple errands — going to the grocery store, taking a walk around your neighborhood or navigating situations where social distancing is not feasible — has become our new normal, and it’s likely to stay that way for a little while longer.

It’s nothing new

Maskne isn’t new. Way before the coronavirus pandemic, this issue arose more than you think, mostly with sweaty athletes who wear helmets with straps.

However, maskne has become such a thing that medical experts from Yale Medicine and John Hopkins Medicine to the American Academy of Dermatology have weighed in on treating it.

Most of the steps these institutions recommend are based on common sense.

  1. Keep your face clean with mild soaps (definitely no antibacterial soaps).
  2. Easy on the makeup and skincare products if you use them.
  3. On masks, be sure you’re using ones made from materials that don’t irritate your skin and wash fabric masks you’re regularly wearing.
  4. Men with facial hair or fair skin and extra hair follicles, pay attention to excess irritation and ingrown hairs.

Some professionals even believe probiotic cosmetic creams can be a good way to treat acne. Certainly, some creams may help but do they get to the heart of the problem?

Your gut’s role

When it comes to acne, the health of your gut really matters in several ways, demonstrating that the gut-skin-brain axis connection is a real thing.

For one, doctors prescribe lots of medications to treat acne. In moderate to severe cases, antibiotics are the go-to drugs that create all kinds of problems we’ve discussed a lot in this space.

Unmanaged stress is another concern that triggers acne. There’s certainly plenty of that to go around with having to deal with the coronavirus every day, not to mention poor Western diets full of sugar and a lack of exercise.

These challenges disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, triggering inflammation that shows up on your body as acne or, in this case, maskne.

So what can you do about it?

An extensive report detailed in Frontiers in Microbiology points to a simple solution: Successful treatments of acne with varieties of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families in the form of probiotics.

What’s more, we’ve seen over and over how probiotics formulated with multiple strains of beneficial bacteriathat promote a diverse, healthy gut microbiome make a big difference in the health of your gut which happens to be connected to your brain and skin too.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic features a proprietary blend of 10 beneficial strains of bacteria, along with a very important prebiotic (FOS), to protect your gut-brain-skin axis and help ease the effects of maskne.

 

References

 

Text: How can probiotics help you

Could a Probiotic Help You?

Probiotics seem to be everywhere right now; in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, lining the supplement shelves, we’re even seeing them in the beauty and skincare section! Hearing about all the benefits of probiotics may have you wondering, “Do I need to take one?”

Defined by the ​World Health Organization​, probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” They are not chemicals like antibiotics, but cultures of live bacteria or yeasts that help to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome. When your gut becomes unbalanced it can cause many health issues, such as gas, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and obesity. Probiotics have been shown to help “restore the healthy composition and function of the ​gut microbiome​” and thus, help combat many of these troublesome issues.

Think taking a probiotic supplement could benefit you? Below we’ll discuss a handful of reasons why people may be adding a probiotic supplement to their daily routine.

When you need immune system support

Do you feel like you get sick every flu or cold season? If yes, then you may need to strengthen your immune system. 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut and the health of your microbiome directly impacts the overall health of your immune system. Probiotics are a great way to help ​support your immune system​ and protect your body against harmful viruses.

When you’re taking antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to kill disease-causing bacteria in the body. This is good, but sometimes taking an antibiotic can trigger diarrhea. That’s because these strong antibiotics can kill our good bacteria while targeting the bad bacteria resulting in an ​unbalanced microbiome​. Taking a probiotic while on antibiotics is a great way to help your body stay in balance and prevent a case of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

It’s important to remember to take your probiotic supplements at least two hours after taking your antibiotics to ensure the antibiotics do not kill the good bacteria in your probiotics!

When you’re having digestive problems (and when you’re not!)

If you constantly suffer from stomach problems such as gas, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea, your microbiome may be unbalanced. Taking a ​probiotic ​has been ​shown​ to help restore the balance of your gut microbiome and improve the functioning of your GI tract.

When you have allergies

Up to 30% of the general population suffers from one or more atopic diseases including allergies, asthma, and eczema. These are usually caused by heightened immune responses to common allergens, especially inhaled or food allergens. Probiotics have been ​shown​ to help alleviate allergic inflammation and food allergy symptoms. Another ​published study demonstrated that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei decreased the number of days preschool children with allergic rhinitis were sick over 12 months. If you tend to lock yourself inside during allergy season, then a probiotic may be what you need!

When you experience frequent yeast infections

If you suffer from frequent yeast infections, it could be a sign that there is a disturbance of the beneficial bacteria in your body. ​Studies ​have shown that supplementing with probiotics can improve symptoms of yeast infections and may also be able to prevent potential infections. Vaginal yeast infections are surprisingly common, as ​75% of all women ​are likely to have a yeast infection at least once in their lives. While there are many treatment options, beginning to take a probiotic supplement is one of the easiest, all-natural ways to correct the loss of good bacteria and bring your body back into balance.

Convinced yet?

It can be difficult to maintain the balance of bacteria in your microbiome when things like diet, travel, and stress can throw it off. In some circumstances, eating plenty of probiotic-rich foods may not be enough, and a probiotic supplement may be able to help keep everything in line. If you find yourself experiencing any of these health concerns consider taking a ​probiotic supplement ​to help achieve a healthy microbiome, strong immune system, and an overall healthy body.

 

 

Parent Holding Preemie Baby's Foot

How Probiotics May Protect Your Preemie Baby

Premature babies have a lot of obstacles to overcome. One of the most serious health challenges they face is necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a condition that affects their intestines.

This problem occurs when bacteria attack the intestinal wall which causes inflammation, then cracks that can allow these invaders to leak into the abdomen. Without treatment, babies face serious infections and an increased risk of death very early in their lives.

Although scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes NEC, apart from being born prematurely, babies who are fed formula rather than human breast milk via breastfeeding (that’s easier to digest and full of the nutrients they need to boost their tiny immune systems) are at a greater risk for this serious disease.

Fortunately, doctors have had success treating preemie babies with probiotics to prevent risks of NEC, but how well do they really work?

The multi-strain probiotic difference

A group of European researchers compared the effect of treating three groups of preemie babies with two different mixes of probiotics from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families to infants who received no probiotics in a recent study appearing in Gut Microbes.

(Two strains of beneficial bacteria used in this study are the foundation of EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder.)

Infants who were delivered mostly via C-section and up to 10 weeks early received a multi-strain probiotic or a placebo until 36 weeks. No surprise, the probiotic preemie groups experienced improved gut health (greater consistency, fewer variations) in their tiny microbiomes.

Even more promising, an analysis of fecal samples discovered reduced amounts of bacteria linked to NEC among infants given probiotics.

And, there’s even more good news!

Probiotic guidance for doctors

Many neonatal doctors struggle with making the best choices to help their preemie patients avoid NEC, but a very recent analysis of 45 trials and more than 12,000 infants published in Pediatrics gave the nod to the one-two power of probiotics and prebiotics.

Formulations of probiotics containing Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus blends plus a prebiotic significantly reduced the odds that an infant faces NEC, compared to a placebo, by 68 and 94 percent, respectively.

What’s more, treating infants with beneficial strains of Lactobacillus and a prebiotic decreased an infant’s risks of sepsis, another potentially life-threatening problem triggered by the body due to an infection, by an amazing 82 percent.

The probiotic advantage for your baby

Are you a Mom who may need to deliver your newborn via C-section? Breastfeeding is a great way to give your baby that gut-friendly head start. Should problems arise, you may want to take that extra step — with guidance from your pediatricians — to give your baby a probiotic tailored to his/her needs.

Protecting your baby’s developing immune system can be as easy as sprinkling a multi-species probiotic powder like EndoMune Junior in a liquid or noncarbonated formula or on soft foods once a day.

EndoMune Junior Infant Probiotic Powder features four beneficial strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus a prebiotic (FOS), that’s formulated to help reduce your newborn’s risks of NEC.

 

Resources

 

 

photo of sleeping preemie baby

How Multi-Strain Probiotics May Help Preemie Babies

There’s plenty of steps that moms can take to protect the health of their newborn babies. Most experts agree breastfeeding and natural childbirth — both providing great gut health benefits too — sit at the top of that to-do list.

But, even the best-laid plans of moms and pediatricians can fall by the wayside when a newborn arrives prematurely (before the 37th week of gestation).

After a period of decline, preemie births have rebounded upward to nearly 10 percent of all births in the U.S. This creates opportunities for many more health problems among infants, according to the CDC.

Fortunately, moms and pediatricians may have a new weapon to help preemies, according to Cell Reports Medicine: Multi-strain probiotics.

The probiotics-breastfeeding combo

Few hospitals treat preemie babies with probiotics out of caution. Some health experts believe probiotics aren’t used because there’s been little evidence to demonstrate their benefits.

However, a sizeable number of preemies are delivered via C-section, creating many more health obstacles for infants and their developing immune systems in the gut.

That’s where multi-strain probiotics come in. A group of British researchers studied the benefits of probiotics via fecal samples collected from a group of 234 infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) over their first 100 days of life.

All infants in this trial were fed human breast milk. In addition, 101 babies received a probiotic containing Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus. (Both are among the four featured strains in EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder recommended for children up to age 3.)

The probiotic difference

The combination of breast milk and multi-strain probiotics was a difference-maker for that group of infants due to the addition of Bifidobacterium bifidum to their tiny bodies, according to researchers.

This strain of Bifidobacterium allowed infants to better digest breast milk, giving their developing immune systems a gentle boost in two important ways:

  1. Bifidobacterium bifidum contains genes that enable babies to better digest specific sugars in breast milk for use as prebiotics. (Prebiotics function as food for the good bugs in their guts.)
  2. pH levels dropped in stool samples, a good sign that health-harming bacteria won’t thrive.

“We hope that our findings will help direct future clinical trials and practice and help clinicians and healthcare professionals make a rational choice when it comes to diet-microbe combinations and ultimately help these at-risk preterm babies,” says Dr. Lindsay Hall, study co-author and a researcher at the Quadram Institute.

Despite the best of plans, however, many moms don’t have a choice whether to deliver their babies prematurely or via C-section. However, EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder makes it easy to support the healthy immune development of young infants.

Sprinkling a tiny scoop of EndoMune Junior in your baby’s food or formula once a day can make a big difference!

(Please consult with your pediatrician before starting your baby on EndoMune Junior or any probiotic.)

 

References

University of East Anglia

Cell Reports Medicine

Penn Medicine News

Nature

CDC

 

 

 

 

female reproductive system made out of paper flowers

Bad Gut Health Worsens PCOS Risks For Young Women

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a seriously frustrating condition that affects nearly 20 percent of women who want to conceive or experience hormonal challenges during their reproductive years.

Although the root cause of PCOS remains unknown, some experts believe an overproduction of insulin may be a prime suspect. (Up to 40 percent of women with PCOS have also been diagnosed with insulin resistance.)

Too much insulin can increase the production of androgens, leading to acne, irregular ovulation, depression, excessive body hair growth and weight gains.

More evidence is pointing to another telltale sign of PCOS: A gut bacteria imbalance.

An unhealthy imbalance

Scientists established a connection between gut bacteria imbalances and PCOS while examining the health of young girls for a study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

University of Colorado researchers tracked the gut health of obese and sedentary teens, including 37 patients with PCOS and 21 patients with regular menstrual cycles.

An analysis of fecal samples among teens with PCOS found telltale signs of problems related to imbalances of more bad gut bacteria: Higher levels of testosterone and markers of metabolic syndrome (liver inflammation, the appearance of plasma triglycerides and higher blood pressure numbers)

The good news: Previous research on reducing PCOS symptoms uncovered a simple, healthy solution that can rebalance the gut health of women early in their reproductive years: multi-strain probiotics.

This simple intervention improved issues with depression, lowered testosterone levels and reduced the incidence of extra body hair.

In fact, two of the beneficial bacterial strains used in this previous study from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families are among the 10 gut-healthy ingredients found in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 30 BILLION bacterial allies that protect your gut every day, plus a prebiotic (FOS) that keeps the beneficial bacteria in your gut fed and happy.

References

 

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

 

Photo of pregnant woman and text "probiotics and pregnancy"

Why You Should Consider Taking A Probiotic While Pregnant

There are many things you have to consider and prepare for when pregnant, and your gut should be one of them. A strong and healthy gut is vital for both mom and baby. If you have a poor diet, drink soda, take antibiotics, or have high-stress levels while pregnant, it can take a toll on your gut and your baby’s immunity. If you are taking a probiotic while pregnant, it could be essential to the health of you and your baby.

Probiotics have several health benefits for pregnant and nursing women. Studies have shown that what a woman consumes during pregnancy can have numerous effects on her and her baby, ranging from gestational diabetes and hypertension to asthma and depression.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of taking probiotics during pregnancy.

Improved digestion

One of the most common conditions that can cause discomfort for pregnant women is constipation. It’s often the result of hormones that cause the smooth muscle in the GI tract to relax. Dietary manipulation that includes increasing fiber and fluids can help reduce constipation. Probiotics with a prebiotic (symbiotics) can be an excellent additional nutrition therapy, too.

Because probiotics help with digestion, healthcare professionals believe that they can be beneficial for pregnant women who could be more prone to constipation or diarrhea.

Better nutrient absorption 

A healthy gut also ensures that nutrients are absorbed efficiently. If the mother gets more nourishment, the baby will, too.

In 2016, a study evaluated the effect of high-dose probiotics in women during late pregnancy and their breast milk composition and if differences in breast milk can affect stool samples in newborns.

It was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial where 66 women took either the probiotic or a placebo daily. There were decreased incidences of infantile colic and regurgitation and improved gastrointestinal function in the infants whose mother received the probiotics.

Reduce the risk of Infant atopic eczema and food allergies

Eczema, recognized by red, itchy patches of skin, is a precursor to a variety of other conditions such as food allergies and asthma, so reducing or preventing it is very important.

We know that differences in a baby’s microbiome link to increased allergy risks, and research is supporting the use of probiotics to prevent eczema.

A large Meta-analysis reported that pregnant women given probiotics during as well as the initial postpartum period reduced eczema by 22%.

Protect against Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)

High blood sugar is never good, and it’s especially harmful during pregnancy. When glucose intolerance appears for the first time in pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes mellitus.

During pregnancy, an imbalance in gut flora resembles metabolic dysfunction with increased inflammation and decreased insulin sensitivity.

A 2019 Meta-analysis using ten studies with a combined total of 1,139 participants, found that probiotics supplementation was effective at reducing GDM; it reduced the fasting blood glucose serum insulin levels and insulin resistance. It also shows that multi-strain probiotics are more effective than single-strain probiotics.

Did you know EndoMune Probiotics is multi-strain and multi-species? With ten different strains and 20 billion bacteria, you and your baby can rest assured you're getting the beneficial bacteria you need!

Reduced risk of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure, is the number one cause of maternal death in the United States. Symptoms include high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, and protein in urine. A study featured in the BMJ Open found a reduced risk of preeclampsia and preterm delivery when taking a probiotic supplement.

Healthy mom, healthy baby

We are all looking for ways to ensure pregnant moms and babies have all the possible advantages to a healthy and happy life.

The research shows probiotics may prevent pregnancy complications for mom and reduce baby’s risk of infant atopic eczema and food allergies.

While further studies continue, pregnant women should eat healthfully, exercise diligently, and consider taking a multi-species probiotic and prebiotic supplement.

Shop EndoMune Probiotics

Soda can pouring out sugar

Are Artificial Sweeteners Harming Your Unborn Child?

There is a lot of focus put on your diet and nutrition during pregnancy. Doctors tell you to eat a wholesome, well rounded diet and to cut back on processed carbs and refined sugars. Many women will largely cut back on sugar while pregnant, only to replace it with foods and drinks that are artificially sweetened. Which makes people wonder; are artificial sweeteners harming your unborn child?

First, let’s answer the question:

What are artificial sweeteners and where are they hiding?

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. They add sweetness to food and are many times sweeter than regular sugar while adding virtually no calories to your diet.

You can find artificial sweeteners in a variety of food and beverages marketed as “sugar-free” or “diet” and they are widely used in processed foods, including:

  • Soft drinks
  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Pudding
  • Canned foods
  • Jams and jellies
  • Dairy products

If you find yourself consuming a number of these items, you’re not alone. In a Study by the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, “[artificial sweetener consumption] numbers represent a 200 percent increase in LCS (low-calorie sweeteners) consumption for children and a 54 percent jump for adults from 1999 to 2012” and the numbers are only going up.

Those are some significant statistics to digest!

Artificial sweeteners can look like an attractive alternative because you only need a fraction of the amount you would use with normal sugar, but they can be a double-edged sword, depending on your current health.

A handful of artificial sweeteners have been approved by The FDA as sugar substitutes that people often use to help them lose weight, which is a good thing for sure.

However, the use of artificial sweeteners comes with risks.

Some studies have found that artificial sweeteners may even have the opposite effect of increasing a patient’s risk of developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

A newer risk emerged recently when we reported on how consuming the same amounts of two specific artificialsweeteners contained in 1.5 liters of diet soda over just a two-week period was enough to harm the balance of bacteria in the human gut.

These same artificial sweeteners — sucralose and acesulfame-potassium — from this previous study — wereexamined in a new report about exposure in the womb and after childbirth via breast milk in mice.

Scientists exposed more than 200 pregnant and lactating mice to one of the following: (1) the maximum acceptable daily amounts (ADI) of sweeteners, (2) double the ADI or (3) water, according to this new report appearing in Frontiers in Microbiology.

Some amounts of sweeteners are passed on through the placenta and breast milk, but researchers weren’t sure how their bodies would adapt metabolically.

The Real Problem

No surprise, the metabolic and gut health changes that followed in both animal groups exposed to sweeteners were very obvious and should be a concern if you use them regularly.

For one, the benefits of using artificial sweeteners — losing weight and lower blood glucose levels — was only seen in mice fed twice the maximum amounts.

Plus, researchers detected drastic shifts in the gut microbiomes of animals exposed to artificial sweeteners even the smaller typical daily dose.

Currently, future moms are advised to use artificial sweeteners only in moderation, and avoid saccharine altogether.

Yet, with artificial sweeteners turning up in increasing numbers of products apart from foods (toothpaste and mouthwash), it’s hard to keep track of how much your body is being exposed to these substances every day.

Some Solutions

Here are some simple steps you can take right away to protect your health.

  1. Protect your gut by taking EndoMune probiotics everyday. EndoMune Advanced Probiotic safeguards andfortifies the balance of bacteria in your gut with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that keeps your good bacteria
  2. Avoid artificial sweeteners as often as possible and be more mindful about cutting back on that extra diet
  3. Do your homework by reading Nutrition Facts Labeling.

If you want to lose weight safely and need a jumpstart to do it, you may want to consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue. It’s a unique blend of the prebiotic, XOS, that promotes a feeling of fullness and a probiotic, Bifidobacterium Lactis, which supports a healthier gut Microbiome.

woman laying on couch holding stomach in pain from fibromyalgia and IBS

The Gut Health Link to Fibromyalgia

The medical condition known as fibromyalgia — punctuated by widespread and intense musculoskeletal pain, debilitating fatigue and cognitive problems — has been one of the most challenging medical conditions for a very long time.

It’s been a real struggle until recently to convince medical professionals and laypeople that fibromyalgia is a very real thing (it is!), largely because the root causes of this condition remain very much unknown. Plus, diagnosing fibromyalgia can take a long time.

What we do know: Fibromyalgia goes hand-in-hand with gut problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As many as 70 percent of the fibromyalgia patients experience IBS symptoms, according to a paper written by UCLA’s Dr. Lin Chang for the University of North Carolina Center For Functional GI and Motility Disorders.

Like fibromyalgia, the exact causes of IBS are a mystery too. However, among the factors related to an IBS diagnosis is an imbalance of gut bacteria.

It just makes sense that a gut health link must exist and a group of Canadian researchers from the McGill University and the University of Montreal recently discovered it, in a hot-off-the-presses study appearing in the journal Pain.

Big differences

Scientists discovered very distinct differences in the mix of gut bacteria between healthy people and those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Using computational techniques including artificial intelligence, they compared the urine, blood, saliva and stool samples taken from 156 patients, including 77 female fibromyalgia patients, between ages 30-60.

Researchers identified 19 variances in species of gut bacteria — in abnormally higher and lower amounts — in fibromyalgia patients.

Moreover, these techniques allowed scientists to diagnose fibromyalgia in patients using only a patient’s microbiome with an amazing accuracy of 87 percent.

“The changes we saw in the microbiomes of fibromyalgia patients were not caused by factors such as diet, medication, physical activity, age, and so on, which are known to affect the microbiome,” says Dr. Amir Minerbi, lead author of the study.

Some imbalances in gut bacteria species have been linked to several intestinal diseases in lower amounts or inflammatory arthritis in higher numbers.

This news has some pain management experts intrigued about addressing fibromyalgia in a much broader way as part of the gut-brain axis.

“Having a microbiome signature could allow clinicians to understand to what extent the gut is promoting the condition as well as how planned interventions that may alter the microbiome — such as diet, prebiotics and probiotics — could be promising tools,” as pointed out by noted pain management expert Dr. Robert Bonakdar to Medscape.

Probiotics do a great deal of good, and not only as an IBS treatment. According to a recent review of studies, probiotics may be an effective tool in treating, not only fibromyalgia but chronic fatigue syndrome too.

To achieve the best outcome for your gut health, whether you suffer from fibromyalgia or IBS, your best bet is to take a probiotic created with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.

EndoMune Advanced Probiotic contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria amounting to 20 billion CFU, not to mention a prebiotic (FOS) that provides food for the good guys in your gut.

Woman in white shirt and jeans holding her upset stomach

How Gut Diversity Affects PCOS

For women experiencing hormonal issues or having trouble conceiving a child, a possible culprit could be polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

This condition, affecting as many as 10 percent of all women from ages 15-44, is defined by a number of tell-tale signs:

  • Increased levels of male hormones that create more body or facial hair.
  • Excess weight or having a harder time losing it.
  • Menstrual cycles that last longer and are more infrequent or irregular.
  • Enlarged ovaries.
  • Skin changes including darkening around creases and the appearance of more skin tags.
  • Problems with rest due to sleep apnea.

The presence of PCOS may also mean a greater risk of metabolic health problems, including elevated levels of insulin which could lead to type 2 diabetes. In fact, many women who are diagnosed with PCOS eventually become diabetic.

There’s a growing amount of evidence a woman’s gut health — specifically its diversity — could play a larger role in PCOS.

Could a probiotic advantage make a healthy difference? Let’s take a look…

Gut diversity issues

Some of the more recent studies from research teams in Poland, San Diego State University and the University of San Diego have discovered a gut health connection in their work with human and animal subjects.

For example, one study appearing in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism compared fecal samples from 73 PCOS patients with 43 women who had polycystic ovaries but no other signs of PCOS and 48 healthy women without this condition.

The comparisons fell the way you’d probably expect. Out of the three groups, PCOS patients had the least diverse gut health, while those with polycystic ovaries but no PCOS had better gut diversity, but less compared to healthy test subjects.

One of the previous studies involving mice from 2016 published in PLOS ONE suggested the possibility of probiotics being a treatment, and it’s certainly a more direct and less problematic one compared with insulin sensitizers and estrogens.

You don’t have look very hard to find evidence that a good probiotic can make a difference in treating PCOS, based on evidence in a double-blind clinical trial on 60 patients reported in the Journal of Ovarian Research.

During a 12-week trial, patients took a placebo or probiotics containing multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria and a 200-mg selenium supplement.

The use of probiotics and selenium by PCOS patients lowered testosterone levels, and made significant improvements in mental health problems including depression and reduced extra body hair.

Among the bacteria used in this study — Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum — are two of the 10 beneficial strains contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Taking a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic may be a safer, better approach for women wanting to ease the symptoms of PCOS.

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