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Prebiotic and probiotic supplements may improve depression symptoms; a June 2020 review study shows. Scientists analyzed 7 of the highest quality studies conducted in the last 15 years assessing the effectiveness of single and multi-strain pre- and probiotics in improving depressive symptoms in patients with a clinical diagnosis of depression. Researchers included only those studies that used quantitative measurements to categorize symptoms. BMJ Takeaway: Results of all 7 studies (using a combination of prebiotics alone, probiotics alone, and prebiotics and probiotics together) showed statistically significant improvements in depression symptoms and/or clinically significant improvements in biochemical measurements for depression. While this study sheds light on depressive disorders, it doesn’t tell us whether anxiety disorders would respond similarly. The verdict is still out and more studies are needed. The other important point to keep in mind is that just like with digestive disorders, simply popping a prebiotic/probiotic pill won’t improve your symptoms.…

Fasting plasma blood glucose levels (FPG) at hospital admission independently predicts COVID-19 complications and death in those without diabetes. Scientists looked back at the FPG levels at hospital admission in 605 COVID-19 patients in Wuhan. Those with a FPG of 126 mg/dL or higher were nearly 4 times more likely to experience COVID-19 complications compared to those with a FPG less than 110 mg/dL. Annals of Internal Medicine Takeaway: Because FPG proves to be such a strong, independent predictor of COVID-19 complications and mortality, researchers who conducted the study recommend glycemic testing and control at hospital admission for all COVID-19 patients, even for those who don’t have a previous diabetes diagnosis. Testing and controlling blood sugar can help in assessing COVID-19 severity and mortality risk, as well as improve survival outcomes. Are you concerned about your risk for developing high blood glucose levels and diabetes? If so, a study published…

Scientific evidence links COVID-19 transmission with fecal aerosols. A recent study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, explored an outbreak in a high-rise apartment building in Guangzhou, China. The outbreak infected 9 individuals living in different units throughout the building. Through patient interviews, throat swabs, and an in-depth environmental investigation, researchers found that transmission most likely occurred in the master bathrooms of the apartments, which were connected through drainage vents. Fecal bio-aerosols most likely leaked, travelling from one apartment to another through the bathroom drainage pipes. Annals of Internal Medicine Takeaway: To prevent future outbreaks of this kind, scientists who conducted the study recommend immediately resolving any leaks that exist within sewage drainage systems. This will prevent bio-aerosols from escaping and becoming a hazard. The findings in this study add to the growing evidence that COVID-19 and other infectious diseases can be spread through wastewater plumbing systems, especially those in…

This is a confusing time for those of us who are cautious of over-sanitizing our bodies. How do we live a “dirty” lifestyle to promote microbial and immune health, while protecting ourselves from infection, and more specifically, from the coronavirus? At Gutbliss, “live dirty” is still our motto, even during the pandemic. Here’s why… and how to do it. As James Hamblin points out in his latest article published in the July/August issue of The Atlantic, You’re Showering Too Much, we have never been more obsessed with cleanliness, yet autoimmune-associated skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, and even acne, are on the rise and more unsolvable than ever with modern medicine. So, what’s the deal? Could it be that over-washing is causing a bacterial imbalance (or dysbiosis) on the skin, triggering these conditions to take hold? Skin health, as with gut health, is all about microbial balance –…

Ingredients For the chickpeas: 1 ¾ cups cooked chickpeas (equivalent to a 15 ounce can)2 T olive oil1 tsp smoked paprika1 tsp cumin1 pinch cayenne pepper½ tsp chili powder For the broccoli: Broccoli¼ cup vegetable brothSalt and pepper For serving: 1 cup raw long grain brown rice, or quinoa1 avocadoDiced purple cabbageBBQ sauce for serving Method Chickpeas: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, olive oil, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne until evenly coated. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for 20 minutes. Shake the pan halfway through to ensure the chickpeas are evenly roasted. Rice/quinoa: While the chickpeas cook, make the rice or quinoa on your stovetop as directed on the package. Broccoli: Place ¼ cup of broth in a sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium. Cut your broccoli into bite-size florets and sauté until desired…

Stress levels may be a key factor in determining who suffers from severe COVID-19 and could potentially help measure who is at an increased risk of mortality. In a study conducted in London, researchers took the cortisol levels within 48 hours of hospital admittance in suspected COVID patients. Those who did not have COVID became the control group. Of the suspected patients admitted, 403 patients were found to have COVID. After analyzing the results, researchers found that the mean cortisol levels in COVID patients was 619 nmol/L versus 519 nmol/L in non-COVID patients. In addition, in patients with higher cortisol levels, a 43% increase in mortality was observed. Those with cortisol levels greater than 744 nmol/L had a median survival of 15 days versus 36 days in those with cortisol levels less than 744 nmol/L. MedRxIV Takeaway: Researchers noted that stress levels observed in some COVID patients were higher than…

Eating more of your calories during the first half of your day could mean a lower risk of mortality from diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). A recent study found that if those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease make a small adjustment to the amount of food they eat in the second half of the day – moving just 5% of total calorie intake from dinner to breakfast – mortality risk from their disease significantly decreases. Researchers conducted an observational study in approximately 4,700 adults with diabetes and looked at energy and macronutrient intake using a 24-hour dietary recall over 2 back-to-back days. When looking at the relationship between mortality (including mortality from diabetes, CVD, and all causes) and energy consumption throughout the day, the scientists found that those who consumed the highest amount of their calories for dinner were almost twice as likely to die from diabetes and 69% more…

What causes animals (or humans) with identical genetic codes, gut microbes, and germ exposure to survive the same pathogen (and pathogen dosage), while another dies? Could the answer lie in manipulating the body to tolerate disease as opposed to fighting it? This is a theme that has received lots of attention in the last five years, and one worth discussing, especially in the midst of the pandemic. An article published in The Scientist in June 2019 highlighted a series of rodent studies that investigated this phenomenon. One study in particular showed that providing nutrients for the host when pathogens invade the body could help in maximizing host health and survival. Researchers infected a group of mice (all were identical in terms of genetic code, microbial makeup, diet, and environment) with a pathogenic bacterium, Citrobacter rodentium. Exposure was kept constant across all mice, and pathogenic bacteria levels were identical in the gut…