Play hard & Stay healthy

shutterstock_290576897 it takes guts family at play

Today’s lifestyle keeps the entire family active from youngsters to their hard-working parents. A strong immune system helps us fight off seasonal illness and maintain healthy energy levels. Like your mother’s advice, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the best way to deal with the common cold is to avoid it entirely!

It is not just germs that cause kids and grown-ups to get sick. A big factor is the strength of their immune response that, believe it or not, starts in the digestive tract where over 70-80 percent of immune system cells reside. Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, help support the function of these crucial immune cells.

An important aspect of health is how successfully your immune system recognizes and destroys bad bacteria and other pathogens. According to Ross Pelton, pharmacist, author and holistic health expert, one study indicated that people who ingested probiotics for three weeks were shown to have immune cells that were twice as effective as those who did not.

The friendly bacteria help support the function of immune system cells by, among other things, crowding out unfriendly guests like bad bacteria. Probiotics also enhance digestion, which means the body better absorbs all the nutrients it needs from food and supplements. That alone equips the body to stay healthy and more efficiently fight off any bad bugs that come along.

“Unfortunately, due to overuse of antibiotics, stress, and other modern environmental and dietary issues, most people of all ages have a compromised probiotic population,” Dr. Fred Pescatore, author of the best seller Feed Your Kids Well, said. To maintain good health, the ratio of good to bad bacteria needs to stay at 85 to 15. This ratio is almost impossible to maintain without supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. Dr. Pescatore encourages his patients to look for a supplement that encapsulates both the probiotic and its nutritious culture medium.

“A probiotic alone will not necessarily be successful. The friendly bacteria need what is called prebiotic support,” explained Dr. Pescatore who noted that a certain Japanese probiotic, available in the U.S. as Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®, fits the bill. The probiotic formula is encapsulated with its culture medium. The culture medium provides nutritious vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and pH-balancing organic acids and postbiotics. “This prebiotic support ensures that the probiotics take root and thrive in the digestive tract,” said Dr. Pescatore.

With both prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic supplementation in place, the body’s immune system can see some real benefit, which translates into fewer sick days. That’s great news for the whole family.

When relying on probiotics to help support immune response, it is vital to pick the right supplement. There are products that claim to contain “billions and billions” of bacteria. That’s not always a good thing though. Providing too much of a single bacteria strain can actually trigger an immune response; the body treats the supplemented bacteria as a threat. Consumers should also look out for probiotic products that may have undergone manufacturing processes or shipping conditions that render them useless. Avoid some of these pitfalls by finding a brand that has had studies conducted on its own finished product.

Yes, it’s not just germs that make people sick. Poor digestive tract balance can lead to a compromised immune response, making the body especially vulnerable to daily germ exposure. A high-quality probiotic supplement can be a big step toward sound health for the whole family throughout the year.

As healthy micro-ecology is restored, digestion improves and all the body’s organs and cells are able to receive nutrition more efficiently. That can have an incredible effect on whole health and energy helping the entire family to manage a demanding lifestyle.

It Takes Guts… to play hard!

 

6 Ways To Lose Weight When You’ve Tried Everything

The following article was written by Dana James, a member of Essential Formulas’ Scientific Advisory Board, for MindBodyGreen. Enjoy!

Is your gut bacteria to blame for your excess fat? Likely it is. We’ve known since the 1950s that giving livestock low doses of antibiotics fattens them up fast. The younger the animals are, the stronger the effect. A boom for the livestock industry! Then, in December 2013, with concerns over superbugs and antibiotic resistance, the FDA discouraged the use of antibiotics for the sole purpose of increasing the animal’s weight. (This restriction is to be phased in over the next three years. Livestock, however, can still be given antibiotics for prevention and treatment of disease.)

It would be ignorant of us to think that giving humans antibiotics wouldn’t also impact our weight. Dr. Martin Blaser MD, the director of NYU’s Human Microbiome Program and a former chairmen at its medical school, has postulated that the widespread treatment of young children with antibiotics has caused changes in our gut bacteria (called microbiota) and this may be contributing to the rapid increase in childhood obesity.

While obesity has increased three-fold over the past 15 years, more disconcerting is that the higher the body mass index (BMI) range, the more magnified the increase. Since 1989, obese individuals with with a BMI of greater than 30 have doubled, the number of individuals with a BMI of greater than 40 has increased five-fold and the number of those with a BMI greater than 50 has increased ten-fold. Clearly, something more is at play than that just gluttony, slothfulness and processed foods.

Research now suggests that our microbiota can make us fat or skinny. Obese people have a different gut microbial compositionthan lean people. They have a higher ratio of Firmicutes to BacteroidetesOne study even found that individuals who had undergone gastric bypass surgery have very different microbe composition from obese people. Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes are bacterial groups not strains. As yet we don’t know exactly which strains do what, but we know what happens when the ratio of these to groups increase: more fat!

Researchers now suspect there are a few ways these obesogenic bacteria fatten you up:

  • They extract more calories from food.
  • They decrease the ability to burn fat by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down fat.
  • They alter the hormones that regulate appetite.
  • They convert normally indigestible fiber into glucose which can be stored as fat.

Additionally, pathogenic gut bacteria produce inflammation. This inflammation can contribute to insulin resistance, leaky gut, autoimmune conditions and obesity. One of the most compelling studies confirming the gut bacteria obesity link was conducted in China in 2012. The researchers prescribed a prebiotic-rich diet of whole foods, an exercise program, and Chinese herbs, including berberine, to a morbidly obese man. In 23 weeks, the man had lost 51.4 kg of 174.8 kg initial weight and had reversed his hyperglycemia and hypertension. The inflammation-producing bacteria decreased from 35% to non-detectable.

Given all of this research linking the microbiota and obesity, why would we be so foolish to continue with the calories in-calories out mantra? Obesity is complex, and a big part of this picture is our microbiota. Let’s clean it up! Here’s how:

1. Identify and eliminate pathogenic microbes such as parasites, yeast and bacteria.

I use stool testing for this but some energy workers and colonic hydrotherapists can also identify this. Follow their elimination protocols.

2. Clean up your diet.

Eat mostly plants, no gluten, no sugar and organic protein only.

3. Heal your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and improve your immunity.

I use glutamine power, slippery elm bark, okra and marshmallow root to help heal the lining of my gut.

4. Replenish the gut microflora with living probiotics.

I use Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics which is 100% raw fermented food with probiotics. Sometimes I add in a 12-strain probiotic and will use anywhere from 25-100 billion colony forming units (CFUs).fb

5. Use antibiotics intelligently.

If you have a sore throat, let it be. You’ll resolve it just as quickly by taking anti-fungals such as oregano oil and boosting your immune system with vitamin C and zinc.

6. Make it a cheat meal instead of a cheat day.

A high-fat, high-carb diet changes your microbiota within a day (for the worse)!

 

It takes guts ® to lose weight!

Don’t Leave Home Without ‘Em!

You’ve planned, you’ve packed, and you’ve paid. Now it’s time for your much anticipated vacation. But don’t forget that trying new foods, being in new places at off-schedule times, and bouncing around in planes, trains, and automobiles can cause havoc in your stomach and lead to digestive distress.

Dr. Natalie Engelbart, medical doctor of Alternative Health Solutions, says that, “Around 10 million people a year experience digestive distress while on vacation that can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, bloating and fever. According to the CDC, digestive distress is the most common illness travelers suffer from, and it can ruin a well-earned vacation!”

Dr. Engelbart recommends packing a high-quality probiotic as a part of your vacation preparation. “We spend so much time coordinating the details of our vacations that we often overlook planning for the prevention of any illness. And you can do this by taking a high quality probiotic like Dr. Ohhira’s ® a week before you leave and continuing to take them throughout the course of your trip. Research has shown that probiotics can help boost your immunity, prevent traveler’s diarrhea caused by food-borne bacteria, and lessen the symptoms of your digestive issues.”

Travelers don’t realize that 80 percent of gastrointestinal illnesses are caused by a bacterial infection, and they can often be avoided with proper supplements. Environmental stress and traveler’s bugs can lower the number of friendly bacteria, disrupting the balance and thus causing digestive distress.

Probiotics can provide a myriad of benefits to the body while replenishing the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Especially important to travelers, they can enhance immune function, improve digestion, reduce instances of traveler’s diarrhea, and inhibit food poisoning. And what makes Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ® perfect for traveling is that they are in blister packs and never need to be refrigerated so you can throw them in your suitcase or purse and go!

“I recommend taking 4-6 a day for a week before the trip, and then 2-3 a day during vacation and packing extra in your suitcase in case you do ave any stomach issues.”

Everyone can benefit from taking probiotics on a daily basis, but especially so when traveling. Still, it doesn’t mean you can eat or drink whatever you want and not get sick. Taking the usual precautions while traveling continues to be the best preventive measure.

 

It takes guts®… to enjoy your vacation!!fb

Is Your Gut Making You Depressed?

Sometimes my gut makes me depressed, for example, when I look in the mirror after a weekend of consuming junk food and see the bulging result. However, this is not the kind of gut depression we are talking about. Your gut is believed to be your second brain, and the interactions between the two can greatly effect how you are feeling. The following article is by Ross Pelton, a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, and he discusses the vital connection between our gut health and our brain/emotional health.

 

rossDid You Know Probiotics Affect Brain Function? An article in the April 2014 issue of Psychology Today coined the term The Psychobiotic Revolution announcing how intestinal bacteria/probiotics communicate with your brain to influence your emotions and your behavior. Psychobiotics are defined as live organisms that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produce a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness. This understanding could create a revolution in psychiatry.

In one study, mice were infected with very small doses of a bad bacteria called Campylobacter. However, the doses were so small that it did not cause an immune reaction (the mice did not get sick). Although the doses were extremely small, several tests revealed that the mice exhibited greater levels of depression and anxiety-like behaviors. The lead scientist conducting this research stated, “This could be an exciting new approach to treating patients with psychological problems.”

In a human trial, Kirsten Tillisch, MD gave women who had no history of gastrointestinal or psychiatric symptoms oral doses of probiotics twice daily for two weeks.  Dr. Tillisch conducted functional MRI brain scans (fMRI) which revealed that consumption of probiotics produced changes in regions of the brain that regulate processing of emotions and sensation.

Your gut communicates with your brain. Research like the studies above are opening up a whole new frontier in the treatment of mental & emotional disorders. Other studies suggest that gut bacteria could also influence conditions like autism and ADHD.

Did you know that the GUT is your SECOND BRAIN? The vagus nerve facilitates direct communication between the gut and the brain. The human intestinal tract contains approximately 100 trillion bacteria. Recent research now reveals that bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract generate signals that influence the brain, especially our mood and emotional states.

In this post, I am going to report on fascinating research conducted by Stephen Collins at McMaster University in Canada. Collins used two different strains of mice for this experiment. For simplicity I will call call them Strain A and Strain B. Strain A have been bred to have high levels of anxiety. They are very timid and anxious. Strain B are bred to be very courageous, bold and exploratory.

Collins and his colleagues took bacterial samples from the intestinal tract of each strain of mice and implanted the samples into the opposite strain. This caused a complete reversal of the behaviors of both strains of mice! The mice with high levels of anxiety become bold, courageous and exploratory. Conversely, the mice that were formerly bold and courageous became very timid and anxious.

Changing gut bacteria totally altered behavior. This research suggests the following: Your Anxiety May Originate In Your Gut, Not In Your Head. Collin’s study was published in Current Opinion in Microbiology, Vol. 16(3), June 2013. – See more at: http://www.naturalpharmacist.net/index.php?id=4552568624635688014#sthash.F8G9yZ4i.dpuf

 

It takes guts ® to have a healthy brain!fb

DIY Fermentation

Due to the high-stress, fast-food, antibiotic-happy modern culture, we have done quite a number on our probiotic population. In fact, whether its antibiotics or pasteurization, many people try to put up a shield against any and all kinds of bacteria, good and bad. While guarding against unfriendly bacteria isn’t a bad thing, it is vital to replenish the good bacteria in your system, both in your gut and on your skin.

One of the easiest ways to achieve this balance is to add fermented foods and/or supplements to your diet. Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® are fermented for 3 years, allowing the strongest strains of good bacteria to survive and thrive in your system. The enzymes and organic acids from the probiotics have been known to improve digestion, which in turn helps your body absorb the other nutrients you are consuming.

Aside from taking a fermented probiotic supplement like Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®, you can also make delicious fermented foods right in your own kitchen. The following fermented food recipes are taken from chef Nick Lacasse of Pure Kitchen Catering.

 

KOMBUCHA

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoby from previous batch of Kombucha, or purchase one ahead of time kombucha2
  • 3 1/2 quarts  water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 8 bags unflavored black or green tea
  • 1 cup starter tea from previous batch of Kombucha or unflavored unpasteurized store-bought Kombucha

Equipment:

  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • Funnel
  • 4-8 swing top bottles
  • Cheesecloth
  • Twine

kombucha

  1. Bring water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until it dissolves completely. Add tea bags and steep until water is completely cool. Remove tea bags and transfer to a glass jar.
  2. Using a wooden or other non-metal spoon, stir in the starter tea. Gently transfer the scoby into the jar.
  3. Cover the jar mouth with cheesecloth and secure with twine.
  4. Store the jar in a dark place at room temperature for 7-10 days to allow it to ferment. Starting on day 7, try it daily until it reaches the balance of acidity that you prefer.
  5. Once your Kombucha has reached the balance of tart and sweet that you like, remove the scoby and one cup of Kombucha and transfer to a container. You can either make another batch, or store it in the refrigerator to stall fermentation for a future batch.
  6. Pour remaining Kombucha into swing top bottles, adding chopped fruit, fruit juice, flavored tea, honey, herbs, or spices to flavor if desired. Try experimenting with lychee, blood orange, and mint. Be sure to leave a few inches of room at the top of  your bottles, as it will expand as it carbonates.
  7. Store bottled Kombucha for 1-3 days in a dark place at room temperature to allow Kombucha to carbonate. Check daily to determine whether it has reached your desired level of carbonation.

 

KIMICHI

Ingredients:kimichee 2

  • 2 heads napa cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 2 qts water
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 6 scallions, roots trimmed off, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 piece daikon radish, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 3 tbs shrimp paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt

 

  1. kimichiRub the cabbage with the salt until fully coated and cover with water.
  2. Wrap tightly with plastic and let sit out at room temperature for 10-18 hours to soften the cabbage.
  3. Rinse the cabbage under cold water and strain, squeezing out excess moisture. Dress the cabbage with the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Separate the Kimichi into clean glass jars, and close the lids tightly. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Unscrews lids to release gasses, then re-close and refrigerate. The Kimichi will develop more flavor over the course of the week, but can be eaten as soon as the first day of refrigeration.

 

 

CREME FRAICHE

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz buttermilk
  • 16 oz heavy cream

cremefraiche

  1. Whisk together cream and buttermilk and transfer to an airtight container. Leave at room temperature for 36-48 hours, depending on desired consistency. Letting go for 36-hours will provide a softer consistency similar to sour cream, whereas 48-hours will produce a firmer consistency comparable to mascarpone. Once desired texture is reached, transfer to a refrigerator to chill.
  2. Once chilled, season with salt, pepper, and your preferred flavorings. Try a pinch of fennel pollen, chopped fresh herbs, or minced preserved lemon.
  3. Serve with smoke salmon and a little fresh fruit preserves

 

While all of these recipes look delicious and I am telling myself I will try them, I will probably stick to fermented probiotic supplements for now, since cooking boxed macaroni and cheese is an accomplishment for me these days!

 

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Got Strong Bones?

It has been a mystery in the United States for years. With our high consumption of diary products, why is it that we still have an incredibly high incidence of osteoporosis? Scientists in Asia, where both osteoporosis and diary consumption have historically been quite low, may have found a major clue.

It turns out that the calcium we consume through milk and supplements is not always absorbed or used to build bone. In fact, without a healthy probiotic population in the gut and the presence of other bone-building co-factors like Vitamins D and K2, magnesium, zinc, and essential fatty acids, calcium can pass right through the body undigested. Even worse, excess calcium turns into unhealthy deposits in the soft tissues and arteries. Turns out, parents bargaining with their kids to get them to drink large amounts of milk may not have always been in the child’s best interest.

However, this does not mean that we should stop consuming calcium all together, because there are many benefits to having healthy levels of calcium in the body. There are simple dietary adjustments that can alter the body’s internal chemistry in favor of building strong bones. Recent research done exclusively on Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® found that when women ages 48 and older took this probiotic supplement for at least eight weeks, their bone density was 36% higher when compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.

“Scientists suspect that probiotics help the body properly digest calcium,” said William Schoor, Vice President of Essential Formulas, the US distributor of the probiotic supplement used in the study. “The friendly bacteria also manufacture some of the vitamin co-factors needed for bone-building including B6, B12, K, and folic acid.”

It’s a surprising side benefit of probiotics, which are frequently touted for supporting digestive health and immune response. Derived from a fermented vegetarian blend, it is actually a whole food that contains probiotics, prebiotics (substances that feed probiotics), and organic acids. Scientists have noted that it is important to provide both probiotic and prebiotic components for the GI tract to enhance calcium uptake. Such dramatic results might not occur when using freeze-dried probiotic supplements.

In addition to probiotic and prebiotic supplementation, Dr. Natalie Engelbart, founder of Your Top Life and Alternative Health Solutions in Flower Mound, Texas, encourages women to consider increasing magnesium intake for better bone health. magnesium-food-sources-of“Magnesium regulates calcium absorption into our bones, and ensures that calcium deposits don’t wind up in the soft tissue. The proper balance for our body is a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium. But if you have been deficient in magnesium due to high stress, or from taking calcium rich supplements or foods, you may want to increase your magnesium intake even more.”

These dietary tips are encouraging to the 8 million American women who are diagnosed with osteoporosis and the approximately 24 million others who have a high risk of developing it. Once again, prevention is key. Not only should mature adults make sure they keep up on probiotic and vitamin supplementation for bone health, they need to pass those habits along to the next generation!

 

 

 

It takes guts®… to have strong bones!fb

 

Can Bacteria Fight Obesity?

Why are some people fat? It’s not just a question that fat people ask themselves, but also one that drives much medical research because obesity increases the risk of serious illnesses including heart disease and diabetes.

A study recently published in Science adds gut bacteria to the list of possible causes of obesity.

The intestine is home to trillions of microbes that help the body break down and use food. The particulars of the mix have been found to vary significantly from person to person, even among identical twins.

In an effort to isolate the contribution of gut bacteria to weight, researchers led byJeffrey Gordon, of Washington University in St. Louis took the bacteria from pairs of identical and fraternal twins, each with one obese twin and one lean, and put it in previously germ-free cloned mice. (We glossed tastefully over the matter of the fecal transplant.)

The results indicate that bacteria does in fact play a powerful role: The mouse that got the obese twin’s bacteria grew fat and developed metabolic problems linked to insulin resistance, even when fed only low-fat mouse chow.

The researchers then housed the fat and thin mice together, allowing their gut bacteria to mix. (Mice housed in the same cage typically eat each other’s droppings.) The thin bacteria beat out the fat bacteria in the obese mice, and they became thin again.

So is obesity purely a question of gut bacteria? No such luck. The “thin” bacteria, specifically a group called Bacteroidetes, was only able to triumph when the fat mice were eating low-fat mouse chow. When they were fed a higher-fat food meant to mimic a typical American diet, obese mice kept the obese twin’s gut bacteria — and the excess weight.

“Eating a healthy diet encourages microbes associated with leanness to quickly become incorporated into the gut. But a diet high in saturated fat and low in fruits and vegetables thwarts the invasion of microbes associated with leanness. This is important as we look to develop next-generation probiotics as a treatment for obesity,” said Gordon.

It can’t be long before we see Bacteroidetes and other potentially thinning “probiotics” for sale in the supermarket next to green tea.

But, buyer beware, the mouse studies are far from conclusive. The next step for Gordon and his team will be growing microbes in the lab and mixing them to nail down which combinations have which metabolic effects.

“There’s intense interest in identifying microbes that could be used to treat diseases,” he said.

Especially diseases that make us fat.

 

This is an article taken from Longevity and Health. To view the original article click here.