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Probiotics significantly improve chemotherapy-induced diarrhea, a common and often severe side effect of chemotherapy drugs, which can threaten the effectiveness of treatment. The study included 291 patients undergoing chemotherapy (Fluropyrimidines and/or Irinotecan specifically) -145 participants received a twice-daily dose of a high potency probiotic powder and 146 participants received a placebo powder twice daily. Treatment began 14 days before chemotherapy and continued 2 weeks following the third cycle of chemo. Results showed successful reduction in incidence of diarrhea (mild to moderate) and in patient inflammatory patterns. European Society for Medical Oncology  Takeaway: This study shows promising results from a high potency, multi-strain probiotic in reducing diarrhea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Hopefully this will result in a better quality of life, a more balanced microbiome, reduction in sickness and death related to diarrhea, and more effective cancer treatment. However, probiotics are living organisms and can be problematic in immunocompromised patients, including some cancer…

Antibiotic therapy disrupts the gut microbiome and results in a pro-inflammatory response that negatively affects bone health. Previous studies have uncovered the direct relationship between a balanced microbiome and healthy bone development. A February 2019 study took this relationship further and investigated the use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic in mice to determine if there were any microbiome-mediated alterations in skeletal formation on a cellular level. After administering antibiotic therapy during the post-puberty phase (this phase is responsible for 40% of our bone accumulation), researchers found that the antibiotics led to significant disruptions in gut bacteria that altered the communication between immune cells and bone cells. These alterations led to substantial changes to trabecular bone – the bone type that experiences high rates of bone metabolism. The American Journal of Pathology  Takeaway: Antibiotics, especially broad-spectrum ones, significantly alter the gut microbiome, which may have negative and lasting effects on skeletal health. Researchers hope to conduct…

While we are never quick to recommend antibiotics at Gutbliss, they can definitely be life saving in certain situations – and when deadly bacteria don’t respond to antibiotics, there can be grave consequences. Antibiotic resistance is a growing issue in the medical field; research that sheds light on how some bacteria evade antibiotics can’t come quickly enough. Luckily, scientists at the University of California San Diego conducted a study that helps us answer the question of how some bacteria survive antibiotic treatment. UCSD researchers found that bacteria can regulate the uptake of alkaline metal (magnesium specifically) ions to stabalize their ribosomes – the very foundations of survival on a cellular level, which transform genes into proteins – to survive antibiotic attacks. With this new and surprising finding, scientists hope to alter current antibiotic drugs and increase their potency by controlling how bacteria take up magnesium, to fight against this unique bacterial…

Stool transplantation proves effective in reducing autism symptoms by nearly 50% two years post transplant. A recent study conducted a special type of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) known as Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT – a 10-week treatment process in which a stool transplant is performed daily for 7 to 8 weeks) and found that initial gut improvements (58% reduction in GI symptoms) as well as slow and steady positive changes in autism-related symptoms (language, social interaction, and behavior – quantified at a 45% reduction in overall symptoms) are lasting, even two years after the date of transplantation. Improvements in positive microbial markers, as well as increases in favorable species and diversity, also remained for the two years post transplant. Scientific Reports Takeaway: Today, approximately 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), an exponential increase from 1 in every 150 in 2000. Despite such a weighty percentage of…

Weight control could be more genetic than previously thought.New studies confirm a genetic mutation that makes people feel full all the time, which may explain why some people are less interested in food and naturally thin. The first study included half a million participants between the ages of 40 and 69. Through DNA samples, medical records, and years of health tracking, scientists identified a genetic alteration in about 6% of the population that mutes appetite and protects against cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The single gene, MC4R, plays a key role in hunger and satiety (the feeling of fullness). During a meal, the gene is turned on to send signals of fullness, and then turns off. The mutation involved in this study occurs when the gene is turned on all the time, therefore the person always feels full. The gene can also play a role in obesity in those who have…

Should I avoid gluten is probably a question many of us have asked ourselves over the last few years. Here is some useful information that may help you get to the right answer. As you may know, gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) can trigger an immune response in some individuals, causing damage to the small intestinal lining as well as other symptoms related to fertility, bone health, nutrient absorption, and neurological pathways, to name a few. Other people don’t feel so well when they eat gluten but don’t have any sort of immune reaction. Gluten intolerance can be classified into 3 main buckets: · Celiac disease- a condition in which gluten triggers an immune response that damages the intestinal lining. This condition affects approximately 1% of the population. · Wheat allergy– an allergic reaction to proteins found in wheat, most common in children. Symptoms include nausea and anaphylaxis. · Non-celiac gluten…

Avoiding gluten is the number one therapy for treating celiac disease, yet a new study finds that GF labels are overwhelmingly unreliable. Using a portable device designed to detect gluten (Nima), crowd-sourced data was collected measuring the risk factors for and rates of gluten contamination in restaurant foods labeled GF. Results found that out of the 5,624 tests performed, 32% of restaurant foods labeled GF actually contained gluten, with dinner foods being the most likely to be contaminated. The most problematic foods were pizza and pasta with a contamination percentage of 53.2% and 50.8% respectively. There was also a geographic significance to gluten contamination: GF labeled foods were more likley to contain gluten in the Northeast U.S. as opposed to the West. American Journal of Gastroenterology Takeaway: While restaurant gluten contamination rates have not yet been investigated for clinical significance (for example, how the sometimes vey low levels of contamination the device…

Did you know since laparoscopic technique was introduced into popular practice in the 1990s, the number of cholecystectomies (surgery for gallbladder removal) in the US has almost doubled? Laparoscopic cholecystectomy minimized what was a large incision to a few tiny punctures, reduced infection rates, scar tissue, hospital stay, and surgery time, and sped up healing and recovery. But is it an incredible coincidence that just as the surgery got easier, so many more people developed gallbladder problems—or are there additional reasons to explain why people are losing their gallbladders in record numbers? Technological advances in medicine always generate excitement, and doctors don’t always follow guidelines designed to prevent unnecessary procedures. Plus, some doctors believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and so have a low threshold for whipping out your gallbladder, even when the indication for surgery may be murky. If you aren’t asking lots of…

Did you know the recommended age for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is now 45 for the general population (or those at average risk)? The age recommendation (previously 50) changed in May 2018 after researchers analyzed data and found that the rate of new CRC cases is increasing in younger adult populations. This new age recommendation will result in earlier CRC detection and will save more lives. While colonoscopy is the gold standard test for CRC screening and recommended every 10 years between ages 45 and 75 for those at average risk, stool-based tests can also be used, as long as immediate follow-up with a colonoscopy is performed in the presence of an abnormal test. These tests include an annual highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT), an annual highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), and a multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years. For some, screening is recommended…

Drinking at least a couple liters of water every day is important for regular bowel movements and overall gut health, but it’s not just the amount of water you’re drinking – the quality of your water matters too, especially when it comes to the health of your gut bacteria. Modern water systems are treated with chlorine, a disinfectant that protects us from illnesses like cholera and typhoid fever. While arguably one of the most important public health interventions of the 20th century, unfortunately chlorine-based disinfectants have a significant downside too – they can be harmful to our microbiome. Preliminary studies suggest that chlorine derived disinfectants like chloramine and sodium hypochlorite can lower microbial diversity, and may increase our risk for disease. If you’ve ever accidentally killed a goldfish or houseplant with tap water you might have wondered how safe it is for you! So what’s the solution? While it’s premature (and currently not advisable) to…