Daily Archives: August 10, 2018

The Microbiome’s Effects on Weight

MicrobiomeWeightJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), growing evidence suggests that one’s gut microbes effect an individual’s ability to extract nutrients and energy from the diet. Researchers who focus on determining how the microbial makeup influences health and disease have found that diet plays an important role in shaping the ecology and function of the microbiome. Ongoing studies continue to investigate the role of the microbiome in overall health, as well as in the context of metabolic disorders such as obesity. Co-author of a small Danish study, Professor Anew Astrup of the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark explained, “Human intestinal bacteria have been linked to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, but it is only now that we have a breakthrough demonstrating that certain bacterial species play a decisive role in weight regulation and weight loss.”

The study involving 84 obese adults was recently published in the International Journal of Obesity. It looked at how a person’s intestinal flora influenced weight reduction. Some participants followed Danish national dietary guidelines believed to promote the maintenance of a healthy body mass index. Their diet emphasized fruits, vegetables, fiber and whole grains. Others followed the average Danish diet, which typically contains more meat and processed foods. The researchers found that one size does not fit all when it comes to dietary guidance and recommendations for weight loss. The study revealed that the types and proportions of certain gut bacteria may be responsible for how much weight individuals were able to lose, and under what circumstances, including following particular dietary guidelines.

After 24 weeks, the study concluded that about half of the participants following the dietary guidelines lost some weight, while others remained unaffected. Those who did lose weight had a higher ratio of Prevotella (beneficial organisms) to Bacteroides (pathogens) residing in their gut. Microbiologists have reported that humanity can be roughly divided into three enterotypes, or classifications based on which living organisms dominate the bacteriological ecosystem in the gut microbiome: Bacteroides, Ruminococcus, or Prevotella. Researchers have found that dietary intake of meat, fats, carbohydrates and alcohol appears to influence the type of bacteria colonizing the intestines. People who eat a lot of meat and saturated fat tended to have more Bacteroides in their flora; Ruminococcus prevailed in people who consumed lots of alcohol and polyunsaturated fats; whereas Prevotella favored a diet rich in carbohydrates.

Changing the diet to shift the species of the microbiome looks promising, but it may take long-term dietary intervention. The role of microbial manipulation in disease and obesity management continues to evolve, as scientists review the role of gut microbiota alterations/maintenance as a significant factor in determining health or disease states. The microbiome encompasses a wide variety of bacteria that have a vital role in digestion, fermentation of unused energy substrates, and immune system maintenance, as well as vitamin and enzyme synthesis. Our metabolically active gut microbes are influenced not only by diet but also by the environment, genetics, stress, medications and exercise.

If you have successfully made the switch from an unhealthy western diet to a healthier more plant-based diet and are not seeing the changes you had hoped for, it could be that the gut microbiome is preventing weight loss. Still, a plant-based diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, and low in animal products and refined carbohydrates is considered one of the best options for weight maintenance and disease risk reduction. If you are dieting unsuccessfully or have reached a weight loss plateau, it could be that the microbiota is slowly shifting and becoming accustomed to a plant-based diet. In the future, weight loss plans may be based on an individuals own gut bacteria, using a targeted approach, such as probiotics, to change the makeup of the microbiome.

Tips to improve gut flora for more optimal health and function:

  • Include prebiotic fiber in the diet to feed, stimulate and promote the colonization of friendly bacteria. Prebiotic-rich food sources include bananas, garlic, onions, asparagus, apples, flax seeds and many more.
  • Add probiotic foods and supplements into the diet to support and restore the natural balance of gut flora especially after disruption by illness, treatment, poor diet, or travel. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut and kefir.
  • Reduce stress that may negatively impact gastrointestinal health both short and long-term. Chronic stress can lead to inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, acid reflux and other unhealthy gut conditions.
  • The why and how are not fully understood, yet exercising regularly is believed to increase bacterial diversity, while improving overall health and body composition.
  • Improve and diversify the diet, preferably by getting plenty of whole foods daily to positively impact beneficial bacteria and reduce the growth of harmful microbes.
  • Spend time in nature and let fresh air into your home to take advantage of healthy environmental impact on microbiota.

Professional Supplement Center carries many fine quality products for support of overall health and a healthy microbiome:

Prebiotic Superfoods...Prebiotic Superfoods Drink Mix by Enzymedica®: This powdered formula provides a superfood blend of fruits, vegetables and botanicals to nourish the microbiome, aid digestion and energy production, and optimally support the digestive system. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Prebiotin Prebiotic...Prebiotin Prebiotic Fiber by Prebiotin™: This medically researched prebiotic powdered fiber supplement supports health and immunity by nourishing beneficial bacteria.  All natural and gluten free, Prebiotin supports calcium absorption, healthy colon microflora, cardiovascular health and weight management. 100% natural oligofructose enriched inulin. No additional ingredients. Vegetarian formulation.

Actiflora plus...Actiflora+ Prebiotic and Probiotic by Kendy Nutraceuticals: This proprietary patented blend provides a minimum of 45 billion viable probiotic cells, as well as inulin prebiotic, in support of an optimally functioning digestive tract. Gluten free, vegetarian formulation.

Proflora ProbioticProflora™ Probiotic by Guna Biotherapies: These premium pre- and probiotic sachets are formulated with 6 probiotic strains providing a minimum of 2 billion living cells per serving. This product supports healthy intestinal flora balance for a well-functioning digestive tract. Allergen free formulation.

References:
The Influence of the Gut Microbiome on Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and Gastrointestinal Disease. https://www.nature.com/articles/ctg201516
Influence of the Microbiome on the Metabolism of Diet and Dietary Components. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK154098/
Gut flora dictates how much weight we can lose. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319411.php
How Your Gut Bacteria Can Influence Your Weight. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-bacteria-and-weight
Your Gut Bacteria May Make It Harder to Lose Weight. https://www.livescience.com/63232-your-gut-bacteria-weight-loss.html
Prevotella-to-Bacteroides ratio predicts body weight and fat loss success on 24-week diets varying in macronutrient composition and dietary fiber: results from a post-hoc analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29777234
Your Gut Bacteria Are What You Eat. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/09/your-gut-bacteria-are-what-you-eat

Silencing Inflammation

SilencingInflammationJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

By now, many recognize the difference between a healthy acute inflammatory response versus an unhealthy persistent one. Acute inflammation is a necessary and vital short-term immune response to an injury, pathogenic invasion, damaged tissue, or toxic chemical effects. Systemic low-grade chronic inflammation is a long-term health damaging and unnecessary inflammatory response that can continue unnoticed and unabated for years. This prolonged state of emergency keeps the immune system’s first responders on high alert, eventually triggering disease processes that can cause lasting damage to the heart, brain, blood vessels, joint, cells and other organs.

Researchers continue to study the effects of chronic inflammation to seek an understanding of triggers that in some cases cause the body to attack its own healthy tissues. More than eighty autoimmune diseases have been identified, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Genetics may play a role, as autoimmune diseases tend to run in families, and women, in particular, have a higher risk for developing certain autoimmune conditions. Depending upon the disease, flare ups may be followed by periods of time when uncomfortable symptoms may temporarily subside. The ultimate goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms, control the autoimmune process and maintain the body’s ability to fight disease, as when the immune system is overwhelmed, it will prioritize defense over repair.

Culprits that can contribute to inflammation:

Visceral fat: Deep belly fat is thought to be a major cause of inflammation, as metabolically active fat cells release numerous hormones and chemical messengers that can lead to leptin and insulin resistance. These factors also ultimately contribute to increased appetite and fat accumulation, and consequently even higher levels of inflammation.

Gluten: Foods that contain wheat, including durum, rye, barley and ancient grains, as well as beer and malt beverages, can cause an immune response in those with sensitivities, allergies or celiac disease. This includes bakery goods, pasta, cereal, soy sauce, pretzels, tortillas, salad dressings, veggie burgers and many other products and condiments. Eliminating gluten from the diet helps to calm inflammation in many people.

Dairy and casein: As numerous food allergies result from specific types of proteins, those who are  sensitive to casein proteins found in dairy, or who are lactose (milk sugar) intolerant should eliminate dairy from their diets. Casein allergies or intolerances can result in gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, fatigue and behavioral changes. Eliminating dairy/casein from the diet also means eliminating a top source of calcium. Green leafy vegetables, bone broth, and dried fruits all provide a rich source of absorbable calcium for those excluding dairy. Be sure to include foods rich in vitamins K1 and K2, which are essential for calcium utilization, such as fermented foods and greens.

Sugar: Research has confirmed the link between added sugar and higher inflammatory markers, like C-reactive protein. A diet high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, increased gut permeability, oxidative stress, and chronic low-grade inflammation. Additionally, the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, mental decline, and other chronic diseases increases with excess sugar consumption. Natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables have not been linked to inflammation, and many, in fact, may be anti-inflammatory.

Good lifestyle habits can help reduce inflammation:

Read food labels. Look for hidden sources of added sugar in processed foods, flavored yogurts, and cereals, as well as more obscure sources of gluten, such as brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, sausages and candy.

Eat more vegetables and fruits that contain fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to combat and reduce inflammation. Regularly consume anti-inflammatory spices, including turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, to help reduce symptoms of pain and inflammation. Used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric helps control inflammation, and has shown some potential against inflammation linked diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

Regularly consume antioxidant-rich foods such as nuts, beets, cruciferous vegetables, berries, leafy greens, cherries, and artichokes. Numerous plant bioactive components have been shown to have pharmacological properties that counteract various acute and chronic diseases. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the impact of oxidative stress and resulting free radical production can lead to imbalances of enzymatic processes, resulting in cell damage and health issues. Insufficient antioxidant compounds in the daily diet can lead to the development of degenerative diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, neurogenerative diseases and inflammatory conditions.

Exercising regularly and effectively managing stress levels can also help fight inflammation. Stress can be particularly harmful when it comes to inflammation, as it can alter gene expression in immune cells, making them more likely to attack the body’s own tissues.

Maintain a healthy weight, as obesity triggers a cascade of cellular inflammation that leads to metabolic conditions including insulin resistance. Losing excess body fat helps to normalize blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation and, in some cases, results in type 2 diabetes reversal.

Be moderate in alcohol consumption, as alcohol is a known contributor to many diseases and disorders some of which are linked to inflammation. Heavy drinking can lead to a condition known as “leaky gut” that can drive widespread inflammation and lead to organ damage.

Make an all out effort to cease smoking. In addition to causing morbidity and mortality, cigarette smoke causes diverse changes in immunity that lead to increased inflammation, impaired immune response to pathogens, and suppressed anti-tumor immune cell functions.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality products to help reduce inflammation and support overall health:

Zyflamend Whole BodyZyflamend™ Whole Body by New Chapter®: This 100% botanical full spectrum formula delivers turmeric, ginger, rosemary and other plant extracts in support of the body’s natural healthy inflammatory response, as well as the relief of minor pain or soreness associated with exercise. Naturally gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Boswellia-Turmeric...Boswellia-Turmeric Complex by Douglas Laboratories®: This product provides a synergistic blend of three standardized botanical extracts in support of a healthy inflammatory response and free radical protection. Includes boswellia, turmeric, and devil’s claw, which are beneficial for connective tissues, including joints, ligaments and cartilage. Free of yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk/dairy, corn, sugar, starch, artificial coloring, artificial preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.

Vital ClearVital Clear® by Vital Nutrients: This powdered formula provides 29 grams of non-GMO rice protein and pea protein isolate, as well as a full range of high quality naturally pure macro-and micro-nutrients. Vital Clear® supports healthy blood sugar maintenance, detoxification, and suppressed  inflammation. Free of binders, gluten (wheat, rye, barley), milk/dairy (casein, whey), soy protein, egg protein, and sugar. Natural pineapple flavor.

Homocysteine...Homocysteine Response™ by Innate® Response Formulas: Skillfully crafted with organic whole food ingredients, this formula helps maintain healthy levels of homocysteine in the body. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with fat accumulation, as well as tissue and organ damage. Provides specific vitamins, bioactive enzymes, trace minerals and branch chain amino acids. Gluten, wheat, soy, preservative and artificial ingredient free. Assayed for purity and potency.

References:
Why You Should Pay Attention to Chronic Inflammation. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/
5 Ways to Reduce Inflammation. https://chopra.com/articles/5-ways-to-reduce-inflammation
11 Food Rules For The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Diet. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-22607/11-food-rules-for-the-ultimate-antiinflammatory-diet.html
Sources of Gluten. https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/sources-of-gluten/
Casein Protein Intolerance: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/casein-protein-intolerance-2028.html
Does Sugar Cause Inflammation in the Body? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sugar-and-inflammation
Cigarette Smoking and Inflammation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261116/
12 Healthy Foods High in Antioxidants.
Hidden in Plain Sight. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/
Autoimmune disorders. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000816.htm
Best Spices for Arthritis. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/best-spices-for-arthritis.php
The Role of Antioxidants and Natural Products in Inflammation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5075620/