Is a Healthy Microbiome the Link to a Healthy Weight?

HealthMicrobiomeJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Established early in life, a healthy, balanced microbiome is associated with a strong immune system, a well-functioning digestive tract and properly regulated metabolism. Influenced by age, genetics, and medications, as well as dietary, environmental and geographic factors, disruptions in the body’s ecology contributes to dysbiosis, disease and, quite possibly, obesity. As the study of the microbiome continues to evolve, researchers are working to determine the precise roles of gut microflora, as it relates to leanness and obesity. It appears that the diversity of the microbiome may be the key to a healthy weight, as well as overall health.

Perhaps, along with a fiber-filled nutritious diet and proper amounts of exercise, enlisting or manipulating our “inner microbial army” may be the key to winning the fight against obesity. In response to the obesity epidemic, researchers have established a link between gut microbiota and body weight. While research is still in its early stages, studies have shown that the microbiota of obese individuals tends to be less diverse than those who are lean. Science has also shown that the composition of microbiota shifts with weight loss or weight gain, the significance of which may be considerable. Studies have found that when an obese person loses weight, their gut flora changes to a composition similar to the microbiome of leaner people.

Recent studies have focused on the link between gut microbes and conditions associated with obesity, such as inflammation and insulin resistance. This may lead to identification of the precise strains of bacteria associated with leanness, and a better understanding of which microbes may be targeted for interventions intended to aid weight loss or prevent weight gain. No easy task to be sure, however, we do know that administering antibiotics, which greatly disrupt microbial balance, can cause weight gain and increase appetite, as witnessed by the hefty amounts of antibiotics administered to farm animals to promote growth. The idea that this may have a similar and substantial effect on humans appears highly significant.

While beneficial bacteria alone may not win the battle against obesity, enriching the diet with pre- and probiotics aids colonization of beneficial organisms, which may create a healthy synergy between wellness and weight. A fundamental role of gut microbes is maintaining symbiosis to support immunity, physiological health, and the digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Additionally, probiotic support for a healthy, balanced microbiome may have implications for healthy aging, as bacteria in the gut decrease with age, negatively affecting immune strength and overall wellness. Certain neurochemicals produced in the gut affect not only digestion and elimination, but mood, anxiety, behavior, and emotions. Probiotics that support the microbiome, may positively influence psychological health and brain function, as well as physiological functions.

  • As there are many different strains of bacteria, it makes good sense to take a multi-species probiotic.
  • Some probiotics need refrigeration to maintain viability, others do not. Probiotics that do not need refrigeration are perfect for traveling or keeping on hand at work or school, or even by the bedside table. Taking probiotics in the evening is recommended.
  • Look for an acid protected probiotic to ensure bacteria survive the harsh stomach environment, as they make their way to colonize in the intestines.
  • Some probiotic supplements include a prebiotic that nourishes the bacteria and helps them survive.
  • Check labels for the list of all the strains included with the probiotic supplement and the number of colony forming units (cfu) they contain.
  • Check for storage requirements and a suggested use by date.
  • If you are having serious digestive health issues, speak with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement program.

Professional Supplement Center carries and many other high quality probiotic supplements to support your health and wellness goals:

ProBio SAP-90 (HEAT...ProBio SAP-90 by Nutritional Fundamentals for Health – ProBio SAP provides a compatible and complementary blend of 10 probiotic strains to address a wide spectrum of gastrointestinal health benefits. The enteric coated vegetable capsule is acid and bile resistant to ensure delivery of live flora to the intestines. One capsule supplies science-based, high dose multi-strain probiotics, plus prebiotics, to support a good balance of beneficial bacteria. Gluten, yeast and preservative free, Non-GMO formulation. Third party tested for impurities. Refrigeration required.

Broad Spectrum...Broad Spectrum Probiotic & Prebiotic by Prescript-Assist™ – This broad spectrum professional grade pre- and probiotic delivers a proprietary blend of 29 separate strains of beneficial bacteria in support of optimal gut health and normal microflora balance. No refrigeration necessary. Gluten and dairy free, vegan formulation.

Colon Support...Colon Support Probiotic by Probulin® – This shelf stable probiotic and prebiotic supplement provides 20 billion cfu of 12 highly concentrated probiotic strains, plus the prebiotic inulin, in support of microbial balance along with optimized digestive and colon health. Gluten, dairy and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Just Thrive...Just Thrive® Probiotic & Antioxidant by Just Thrive® – This one-of-a-kind proprietary probiotic blend provides strains naturally designed to survive the stomach and colonize the digestive tract, supporting favorable microbial balance. Additionally, the strain Bacillus indicus (HU36), has the ability to produce antioxidants, including CoQ10, alpha and beta carotenes, astaxanthin and zeaxanthin, upon colonization in the intestines. Gluten, dairy and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

References:
How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-gut-bacteria-help-make-us-fat-and-thin/
Obesity and the Human Microbiome. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/714569_3
Are Antibiotics Making People Larger? http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/12/obesity-antibiotics-microbiome/421344/
Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/
Shekhar K. Challa, MD. Probiotics for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012.
When Gut Bacteria Changes Brain Function. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/gut-bacteria-on-the-brain/395918/

 

 

2017 Nutrition, Health and Lifestyle Trends

2017TrendsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

At the beginning of the new year, some subscribe to the philosophy, “Out with the old and in with the new!” Of the endless possibilities, perhaps, you’d like to lose weight, exercise more, stress less, get to bed earlier, declutter your home, arrive on time, or devote more time to family or personal pursuits. Whatever your goals, it’s interesting to look back on 2016 to see what worked for you, as well as what didn’t, and peek at some wellness and lifestyle predictions for 2017. From fitness trackers, to exercise as medicine, to workplace wellness, to detoxifying yoga poses, 2017 is sure to be an interesting year.

A trend is a developing movement that creates behavioral change. One such trend, influenced by progressive health conscious consumers, is redefining and creating an enthusiasm for real whole food. As health, wellness, and sustainability converge, people are proactively seeking out locally grown, sustainably harvested, humanely raised, and crafted foods, and are shying away from fat-free, highly sweetened, and industrially produced processed foods.

Plant based diets – Interest in flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets is growing in popularity, not only for health reasons, but for ethical and environmental concerns as well. A plant-based approach to nutrition is one of the best for disease prevention, weight control and optimal health. Plant based proteins made from peas, chickpeas and lentils are expected to rise in popularity, along with fermented foods that support a healthy microbiome. Generally, people are reducing their consumption of animal products by adding vegan or vegetarian meals to their weekly menu planning.

Eating ethically – Sustainability may be one of the most important trends to watch. Consumers are demanding healthy, nutritious organically grown foods, grass-fed meats and free range eggs and poultry. Despite efforts to squelch labeling of GMO foods, producers are responding to public demand. Expect to see this trend continue in 2017 and beyond.

Food waste is out – A growing movement to end food waste will continue, as the realization that almost 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste and 97% of that ends up in the landfill, contributing to greenhouse gases and global warming. Reducing your own food waste is beneficial to both your wallet and the environment. To reduce food waste, shop with a list and purchase only what you need.

Supplements are in – Consumers have embraced the value of dietary supplements to support health and nutrition. Omega-3 fish oils, probiotics, superfood smoothies, collagen powders and multivitamin gummies are rising in popularity as easy ways to supplement a nutrient dense eating plan.

Energy management – Energy is becoming a buzz word in terms of health and wellness. As more realize the very important connection between consumption, energy production and the inflammatory response, understanding the correlation between nutrition and wellness may become more mainstream.

Physical activity for healthy aging – Beyond weight management, physical activity for every age group helps to maintain good health, fitness and independence. Staying active throughout life helps to decrease the risk of chronic debilitating diseases and allows for the maintenance of flexibility and balance. People of all ages now recognize that taking a personal interest in daily activity supports both cognitive and physical health.

High intensity interval training – Sixty minute runs and bike rides are out, while shorter, more effective high intensity workouts are in. Think ten minutes of interval training comprising short bursts of exercise followed by ten seconds of rest. Start slowly and intensify as your limits increase.

Boutique studios are in – Specialty studios, that offer a concentration in specific areas of interest, such as cycling, yoga or Pilates, often provide a more personal touch through highly trained instructors.

Fitness trackersPer its annual survey, the American College of Sports Medicine predicted that wearable technology will continue to be a top fitness trend in 2017. Everyone, it seems, is wearing a fitness tracker to help keep them goal oriented and accountable.

Time to declutter – Donating items that are no longer useful is freeing and brings energy into your home and life. According to Marie Kondo, author of the bestselling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, if an item no longer brings you joy, it has become a burden and it’s time to let it go.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and many other high quality products to support your health, wellness and nutrition goals:

Bone Broth Protein...ON SALE   Bone Broth Protein™ Banana Crème by Ancient Nutrition – Rich in protein, collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin and minerals, this carefully crafted, gut friendly powdered formula supports immune, joint, skin and muscle health. Soy, dairy and common allergen free, Non-GMO formulation.

Blue Green SuperfoodBlue Green Superfood by Fortifeye® Vitamins – This paleo and IBS friendly powdered superfood mix provides American sourced organic berries, green superfoods and cinnamon with no binders, fillers or added fiber. Designed for overall wellness, Blue Green Superfood is Non-GMO, vegan, and gluten, dairy, corn and soy free.

Sport Oxylent...ON SALE   Sport Oxylent Blueberry Burst by Oxylent – This science-backed supplement drink mix is formulated to support sustained energy, enhanced muscle strength, and reduced recovery time. As an all in one solution for pre-, during, and post-workout support, Sport Oxylent provides amino acids, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and other select nutrients for athletes, exercise enthusiasts and the physically active. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Collagen PeptidesCollagen Peptides by Vital Proteins – Sustainably sourced from pasture-raised cattle, this natural anti-aging protein supports healthy skin, bones and joints with highly bioavailable collagen peptides. Highly digestible and minimally processed, Collagen Peptides may be mixed with warm or cold foods or drinks. Gluten and rBGH free, Non-GMO kosher formulation.

Adult CompleteAdult Complete by SmartyPants Vitamins – This adult chewable provides bioavailable vitamins, minerals and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Third party tested to ensure purity, these naturally flavored gummies are gluten, dairy and shellfish free, Non-GMO and sweetened with organic cane sugar.

Vegan Garden Gummy...ON SALE  Vegan Garden Gummy Adult Organic Multivitamin by Nature’s Dynamics – This 100% plant-based gummy contains vitamins and minerals sourced from whole organic foods as well as co-nutrients and cofactors that aid in the digestion and utilization of the nutrients. Easily absorbable, these high quality, Non-GMO, great tasting chewables are gluten, soy, and dairy free.

References:
Consumer Trends in Health and Wellness. http://www.forbes.com/sites/thehartmangroup/2015/11/19/consumer-trends-in-health-and-wellness/#4c09f544be7e
Health Buzz: These Fitness Trends Will Rule 2017. http://health.usnews.com/wellness/health-buzz/articles/2016-10-26/these-fitness-trends-will-rule-2017-the-american-college-of-sports-medicine-says
Fad or Trend. http://uncwellness.com/2013/02/fad-or-trend/
11 Health and Wellness Trends That Are In (and What’s Out). http://www.mydomaine.com/wellness-trends/slide15
End Food Waste Now. http://www.endfoodwastenow.org/index.php/issues/consumer-1
Millennials Are Seeking The Fountain of Youth Through Healthy Aging. http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/millennials-are-seeking-the-fountain-of-youth-through-healthy-aging.html

The 1 Resolution To Keep

resolution_eatbetterJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

In the New Year, some will make several resolutions, some will make none, and most will not keep their resolve past March. However, if you are going to make just one resolution to support good health in 2017, resolve to eat better. There’s just no getting around it, good nutrition is key to long-term wellness. Many chronic diseases are preventable and related to nutrition. And, while you are at it, if the word diet implies deprivation to you, and the word willpower causes you stress, resolve to eliminate those words from your vocabulary. If your goal is simply to improve your health, or you chose a loftier goal to achieve and maintain your ideal weight, replace diet and willpower with one meaningful and important word, commitment, as in commitment to a healthier lifestyle and all that implies.

Most of us understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods, and that some amount of daily exercise helps maintain health. Yet, many us struggle to meet our goals. So yes, getting from Point A–setting a goal–to Point B– achieving that goal–takes commitment. The only way to reach your goals is through your own accountability. According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, it’s adherence to healthy behaviors that supports both long-term health and ideal weight. True commitment to behavior modifications ensures that you follow through on your intentions. Further, focusing on consistency in small daily actions can help you to reach your behavioral goals.

Setting short-term unreachable goals is a recipe for frustration and failure. The key to long-term success is to set small achievable goals, reward yourself when you reach them, and then set new goals to help you reach the next level. If you choose to eat healthier, be specific about your intentions and be mindful about meal planning. Rather than set a general goal to consume more fruits and veggies, simplify by adding a piece of fruit to your morning meal, having a salad for lunch and filling half of your dinner plate with a variety of vegetables each night. If you are not a fan of veggies, try roasting them with a bit of olive oil and some spices and you may be pleasantly surprised, as roasting caramelizes the veggies and brings out their natural sweetness.

Simple nutritional changes that support overall health could include:

  • Eat less sugar. Overconsumption of sugar is behind the rise of obesity, diabetes, type 2, cardiovascular disease and impaired cognitive function. Eliminate or at least reduce consumption of liquid sugar, such as soda and fruit juice. Watch for hidden sugars in processed foods, flavored yogurts and condiments.
  • Whether you are hungry or craving something salty or sweet, most people will eat whatever is in front of them, whether healthy or unhealthy. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy food and snacks to reduce temptation and help you stay on track.
  • Pay attention to nutritious foods that provide energy, including almonds, eggs, and dark leafy greens, and eliminate unhealthy foods that drain your energy, such as sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.
  • Eat less meat. Start by making meatless meals one or two nights each week. Try vegetarian chili or whole wheat tortillas filled with beans, avocado and veggies. Studies show that a plant-based diet is ideal for preventing and reversing disease.
  • Increase your fiber intake, not only by consuming more fruits and vegetables, but by adding some interesting whole grains such as quinoa, bulgur or farrow.
  • Don’t forget about healthy fats. Beware of processed low-fat foods that are high in sugar content and avoid processed oils high in omega-6 fats. Avocados, olive oil, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds are all good sources of healthy fats, as well as fiber.
  • Focus on quality and eat real food. Real food comes without packaging and additional ingredients, which are often artificial and health damaging. If you are worried about expenses, purchasing real food doesn’t need to break the budget. Shop local sales and farmer’s markets when possible. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season, and equally nutritious frozen products out of season.
  • Add in some fermented foods to keep your intestinal system functioning optimally. Foods like sauerkraut, pickles, plain yogurt and kimchi are all readily available. Fermented foods help to restore and support the intestinal microbiome, which aids good digestion and elimination.
  • Drink more non-caloric beverages, such as water or unsweetened tea. Often, hunger can be confused with thirst. Rather than conform to the eight glasses of water a day rule, just be sure to drink enough water to satisfy your thirst, especially during exercise.
  • Don’t forget about vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Both macro and micronutrients are necessary for peak function. A high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can help to support optimal health.

Healthy nutrition is not a fad or a diet, it’s a commitment that can lead to a longer, healthier lifespan. If you are looking to lose weight while improving your nutrition, remember weight loss is a long and steady process. When you eat healthy foods most the time, and get some exercise that you enjoy at least three times each week, you may find that you lose weight naturally. Consistency is the key that opens the door to the greatest wellness benefits.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements to help support your improved nutritional goals and optimal function:

Sweet Defense™Sweet Defense™ by Enzymatic Therapy  – Along with a healthy diet and exercise, Sweet Defense™ has been shown to help reduce sugar cravings and provide the necessary nutrients for blood glucose, carbohydrate and energy metabolism. Gluten, soy, sugar and dairy free.

PGX DailyPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – PGX® is a clinically studied polysaccharide complex that provides viscous soluble fiber associated with increased satiety and reduced appetite. PGX® helps to lower the glycemic index of meals, contributing to healthy glucose metabolism. Gluten, dairy and yeast free.

MetaFiber®MetaFiber® by Metagenics  – MetaFiber® provides a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers to support the structural integrity of the intestinal wall, healthy intestinal transit time, and bowel regularity. Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.

 

New Greens The...New Greens The Original by Iagen Naturals – This complete superfood drink mix provides 10+ portions of fruits and vegetables per serving. Synergistic ingredients include digestive enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, detoxifying herbs and fiber. Natural mint flavor, stevia sweetened.

Greens First Berry...Greens First Berry Pro by Greens First – This proprietary powdered drink formula contains 54 different super foods, extracts and concentrates, and provides antioxidants, probiotics, soluble fiber, natural flavonoids and 15+ portions of fruits and vegetables per serving. Produced without solvents at low temperature to preserve nutrient content. Naturally fruit flavored. Gluten, soy, dairy, egg free, Non-GMO formulation.

References:
10 High-Fat Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy. https://authoritynutrition.com/10-super-healthy-high-fat-foods/
The 9 Best Fermented Foods for Your Gut. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/the-9-best-fermented-foods-for-your-gut/
12 Baby Steps to Optimal Nutrition. https://authoritynutrition.com/12-baby-steps-optimal-nutrition/
10 Small Diet Changes to Start Making Now. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/11/16/10-small-diet-changes-to-start-making-now