Posts Tagged ‘Probiotics’
The importance of gut bacteria has become a red hot topic over the last several years. Best-selling books by the likes of Drs. David Perlmutter (“Brain Maker” ), Gerard Mullin (“The Gut Balance Revolution”) and Raphael Kellman (“The Microbiome Diet”) have ushered in a new era of “probiotic-medicine”. In previous decades, research on gut microbiota primarily focused on bacterial imbalance (aka dysbiosis) and its role in digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These days, specialists in the field are closely examining diversity and quantities of gut bacteria in relation to diseases ranging from depression to obesity. However, along with these exciting new findings comes many questions about how to practically manipulate gut microbiota.
Tags: Berries, Prebiotics, Probiotics
Posted in Food and Drink, Mental Health, Nutrition | 17 Comments & Updates
Chronic gastrointestinal symptoms can be caused or worsened by a long list of suspects. Common culprits include food allergies or sensitivities, H. pylori infection, intestinal permeability, microbiome (gut bacteria) imbalance and ulcers. Furthermore, in some instances, the exact cause or contributing factors is not easily identifiable. When this occurs, medications are frequently prescribed based on the specific symptoms that present themselves. Two popular examples include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to minimize gastric acid and tricyclic antidepressants to reduce abdominal pain. Physicians who veer towards the integrative side of medicine may also suggest certain dietary changes such avoiding dairy, FODMAPs, grains and/or heavily refined foods. Some doctors will even go so far as to encourage an “elimination diet” to methodically rule out any likely food-based troublemaker.
Tags: Digestion, IBS, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 17 Comments & Updates
It’s estimated that approximately 30%-50% of the population is affected by chronic halitosis or oral malodor, the technical terms for ongoing bad breath. In most instances, the cause originates in the oral cavity. Improving dental hygiene is sometimes enough to remedy the situation. In practice, this means brushing at least twice-daily and flossing prior to retiring at night. However, if proper oral care is already in place, then odiferous foods and substances (alcoholic beverages, cruciferous vegetables, garlic and onions, tobacco, etc.) and/or other factors, including diabetes, gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD), medication side-effects and metabolic disorders may be involved. When in doubt, it’s best to identify the cause with the assistance of a health care professional as any underlying medical condition should be addressed and not masked.
Tags: Cinnamon, Green Tea, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Dental Health, Food and Drink | 8 Comments & Updates
My third and final installment of news from the Natural Products Expo West focuses on a category of products known as “functional foods”. Basically, these are beverages, ingredients or packaged foods that are fortified with nutrients, phytochemicals and pre- or probiotics. In essence, they’re a hybrid of dietary supplements and healthy foods. The idea is to take an already wholesome food and increase its therapeutic potential by adding ingredients that aren’t normally present.
Tags: Chocolate, Gluten, Probiotics
Posted in Food and Drink, Memory, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;
If you walk into your doctor’s office with symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, frequent burping and heartburn you will likely be evaluated for a potential H. pylori infection. This common bacterium can, but does not always, cause unpleasant symptoms. However, if symptoms do arise, it’s important to address the infection in order to protect against chronic stomach inflammation, ulcers , increased risk of stomach cancer and beyond. The most common treatment for Helicobacter pylori is a combination of three medications – two antibiotics and an acid suppressing drug.
Tags: Kefir, Probiotics, Yogurt
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates
What if I told you that many seemingly healthy foods including apples, avocado, cauliflower and yogurt may be causing gastrointestinal problems in a sizable percentage of the population? If your reaction is one of disbelief, I don’t blame you. After all, these wholesome foods are a good source of dietary components (fiber, healthy fats, nutrients and probiotics) which are typically thought to benefit the digestive system and its function. However, in recent years, a group of researchers have come up with an unconventional theory that has been increasingly supported in the scientific literature. It now appears that otherwise healthful foods, which contain specific types of carbohydrates, may be largely responsible for digestive complaints that are often attributed or classified as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Specifically, I’m referring to foods rich in Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols or FODMAPs.
Tags: Digestion, IBS, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 10 Comments & Updates
As a general rule, I avoid writing columns solely inspired by anecdotal evidence. After all, one of the objectives of my work on this site is to present information that is supported by verifiable, scientific evidence. So, when a client of mine reported success using sauerkraut for his heartburn symptoms, I acknowledged it with interest, but had no plan to write about it. On that same day, while updating my database on probiotics, I happened upon some intriguing research on … You guessed it – sauerkraut. Whether a coincidence or not, I took it as an opportunity to look into fermented cabbage aka sauerkraut, an important and underutilized “super food”.
Tags: Cholesterol, Indigestion, Probiotics
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 4 Comments & Updates
The common cold is back with a vengeance this year, at least in my neck of the woods. And, while “it” never really goes away, the common cold certainly becomes more prevalent during the winter months and is as dependable as clockwork or rush hour traffic. Researchers are continually on the lookout for natural and safe ways of managing and preventing symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections (URIs). As a result, each year there are more and more holistic and integrative options to consider if you hope to avoid the seemingly inevitable coughing, runny nose and sneezing that comes with the season.
Tags: Cold, Garlic, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 10 Comments & Updates
A new study appearing in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine has the potential to change the way urinary tract infections are treated from this point forward. In the 12 month trial, specific probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14) were compared with antibiotic therapy for the prevention of recurrent urinary infections. The test subjects in the experiment were a group of 252 postmenopausal women. The results of the research determined that supplemental probiotics were almost as effective as prescription antibiotics. By “almost”, I mean about -13.8% less effective. However, probiotic therapy features a significant advantage over antibiotic treatment – it doesn’t lead to antibiotic resistance. With antibiotic resistance, patients and physicians encounter difficulties managing both minor and serious infections. This is why preserving antibiotics for truly essential purposes is of the utmost importance.
Tags: Cranberries, Probiotics, Vitamin C
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 7 Comments & Updates
The last thing you want to contend with while on a business trip or vacation is TD or traveler’s diarrhea. And, while many people assume TD only affects those visiting exotic or remote locales, I can assure you this isn’t always the case. In fact, I was quite surprised to find that my digestive system was in a bad way for about a week following a recent trip to New York. There, we stayed at a pretty high end hotel and ate mostly at top-notch restaurants. Nevertheless, some troublemaking bacteria, protozoa or virus temporarily camped out in my body and made me quite miserable in the process.
Tags: Antibiotics, Probiotics, Thyme
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments & Updates
When I consider the concept of holistic health care, a hierarchy comes to mind. If you imagine it as a ranking system based on importance, here’s what it would look like: diet, regular exercise/physical activity, mind-body techniques or stress management practices and the judicious use of dietary supplements. The food we eat, the movements we make and supplements we take to “fill in the gaps” present a scenario much like taking care of a valuable piece of machinery. How you care for your car is a good analogy. Without driving it from time to time, gas and the addition of various fluids, sooner or later it will stop working in peak form. However, unlike machines, the human existence is complicated by the influence of emotions and the stress response.
Tags: Chia Seeds, Low Carb, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Exercise | No Comments;
Seasonal allergies can be quite confounding. The word “seasonal” infers a predictable time frame during which you can expect your eyes to water, your nose to run and probably a fair share of sneezing to boot. But, in reality, allergies are notorious for keeping their own time table. Then there’s the word “allergies”. It suggests that there’s something identifiable and specific that triggers an immune response. However, there’s nothing in the air that the naked eye can perceive. Ironies aside, this leaves countless people with no other option than to keep a steady supply of antihistamines, decongestants and steroid medications on hand.
Tags: Allergies, Probiotics, Yogurt
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 2 Comments & Updates
The exact number of supplements you take should be predicated upon a variety of personal issues. Finances, diet and lifestyle and the ability to swallow pills are important considerations. In addition, genetic factors, pre-existing health conditions and the potential for drug-supplement interactions ought to be evaluated as well. The following list of supplements is what I consider valuable “add-ons” to my core list of recommendations. These are not essential for everyone. However, the health benefits they impart appeal to a broad cross-section of the population at large. They also adhere to my personal standards with regard to efficacy and safety.
Tags: Blueberries, CoQ10, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Nutritional Supplements | 14 Comments & Updates
The current issue of The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, features a meta-analysis assessing the efficacy of influenza vaccines. The review evaluated 14 observational studies and 17 randomized controlled trials. The conclusions of the summary brought forth several key findings. Among them, the researchers noted that the effectiveness of the vaccines was not consistent across all age groups and varied from season to season. For instance, live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) were found most protective among young children aged 6 months to 7 years. On the other hand, the authors commented that, “Evidence for protection in adults aged 65 or older is lacking”. Ultimately, a call for new and improved vaccines is trumpeted as a necessity in order to reduce “influenza-related morbidity and mortality”.
Tags: Flu, Green Tea, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates
Yogurt is a historically revered food that I recommend to virtually all of my clients, family and friends. The primary reason is that the scientific literature consistently reveals varied health benefits associated with the use of this cultured, probiotic-rich product. In the past several months alone, peer-reviewed studies report that the regular use of yogurt reduces: a) the levels of harmful bacteria that promote dental decay and periodontal disease in the mouths of children; b) the risk of premature birth in women with bacterial vaginosis and preeclampsia (high blood pressure) in first time mothers; c) the likelihood of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal complaints relating to antibiotic use; d) the incidence of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome according to intervention trials and large population studies.
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Tags: Dental Health, Probiotics, Women's Health
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 7 Comments & Updates
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a commendable thing to do. Getting sick because you do seems just plain wrong. But it does happen on rare occasions and it should serve as a reminder that we’re not the only organisms running the show. A microscopic bacterium known as Escherichia coli is naturally present in our intestines and in some of the food we eat. In most cases, it doesn’t cause a problem. It’s kind of like background noise that is below a level of detection. However, every once in a while a particularly virulent strain of E. coli drops by to wreak havoc. Read more »
Tags: Cranberries, Fiber, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health, General Health | 10 Comments & Updates