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Leslie Ann Berg, MSPH

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Could your medication be the cause of your weight gain or inability to lose weight? A recent study presented at the United European Gastroenterology week this year found that commonly prescribed medications significantly alter the gut microbiome, increasing the risk of infection, weight gain, obesity, and a host of other diseases and conditions related to gut bacteria imbalance (or dysbiosis). The study looked at stool samples from 1,883 individuals, some healthy and some with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and assessed the impact of single drug use as well as multiple drug use on the gut microbiome. Out of 41 drug categories analyzed, 18 were associated with significant alterations in the microbiome. These alterations varied depending on the medication, and included microbial changes such as bacterial overgrowth in the upper GI tract, alterations in fatty acid production, increased levels of E. coli and Eubacterium ramulus, and heightened antibiotic resistance within the…

Introduction Looking for the right path to a healthier, more vibrant you? The answer could lie in one simple act – EAT MORE PLANTS. We’re often attracted to complicated diets and workout routines that keep our wheels spinning, but many times our waistlines remain the same. Eating more plants is an easy way to drastically increase your micronutrient intake as well as the number of beneficial microbes in your gut, while displacing some of the more undesirable foods in your diet. But is all the hype about a plant-based diet and its correlation to a better you really true? And even if it is, are there risks associated with plant-based eating? Let’s take a look. Benefits A September 2019 study published in Translational Psychiatry reviewed 32 studies looking at plant-based diet causal effects on the body and brain. Dietary intervention timeframes ranged from short to medium term (less than or…

Are exercise classes really worth it? They cost money, require travel time to and from the gym or studio, and are oftentimes a full hour when thirty minutes is all you really need. Many of us these days are opting out of group exercise classes and are instead opening up the latest exercise app on our phones and going it alone in the comfort of our homes. But is this really the way to go? While working out alone is often easier on your schedule and wallet, you might be missing out on the huge health benefits that come from in-person, social interaction and community. Studies show that social connectedness ranks right up there with what you eat and how often you exercise when assessing lifestyle practices for a healthier and longer life. Social interaction is in fact one of the characteristics that centurion populations are built upon, and is…

Figuring out whether or not you have a sensitivity to gluten unrelated to celiac disease (CD) or wheat allergy can be a confusing and frustrating process. The scientific evidence is there supporting the fact that non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) does in fact exist, yet arriving at a definitive diagnosis isn’t always easy, and for most it’s a down right challenge. Read on to find out how to navigate a NCGS diagnosis and how to overcome the challenges you might face during the process. What Is NCGS? NCGS refers to an intolerance to gluten that results in intestinal symptoms, most commonly bloating and gas, and sometimes extra-intestinal symptoms like anxiety, behavioral changes, brain fog, depression, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, rashes, and tingling in the extremities – all of which subside when gluten is eliminated from the diet. To date, it’s estimated that between 0.6 and 6% of the population have NCGS.…

When we want to lose weight, most of us immediately start counting calories as our go-to method. But did you know it’s not the calories themselves that primarily cause weight gain? It’s much more about what kind of food you eat, not how much you eat. And one of the most harmful foods for an expanding waistline is added sugar. Why? Foods and diets high in processed and added sugar: are strongly associated with leptin-resistance (leptin plays a key role in regulating appetite and fat storage)increase sugar in the blood as well as the amount of time blood sugar remains elevated, creating insulin-resistanceencourage the growth of pathogenic gut bacteria that send signals to the brain via the gut-brain axis, making it more likely to crave and consume sweet foodsare low in fiber and nutrients, therefore they’re less filling and displace other nutrient- and fiber-rich foods in the diet that encourage…

At Gutbliss we consider the gut to be the innermost lining of your skin. Research supports the strong association between gut health and skin health, so it’s only natural that something we know to be unhealthy for the gut, most likely also negatively impacts the skin. Sugar, one of the most beloved food groups of the Western diet, is no exception. Many of us struggle with excessive sugar consumption, or even sugar addiction. When trying to give up a vice, it can be helpful to know exactly why it’s so bad for us. With that in mind, let’s dive into sugar’s impact on the gut and other biological functions in the body… and in turn, the skin. (The USDA recommends that no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from added sugar. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, this would be anything over 200 calories, or about 50 grams…

Based on the article published in last edition’s Weight Loss column, we know there’s a strong link between weight management and our gut bacteria. We also know that probiotics have been associated with positively altering the gut microbiome. So, is it safe to say that supplementing with a probiotic can help us lose weight? Let’s take a look at the research. In 2015, a systemic review and meta-analysis published in Nutrition Research identified 4 of 368 studies that were randomized controlled trials with adequate data assessing the efficacy of probiotic supplementation as a weight loss treatment. Results found no significant effects of probiotics on body weight or body mass index (BMI) when compared to placebo. Yet, researchers called for more “rigorously designed” randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes to draw more accurate conclusions. Fast forward three years to a review and meta-analysis study published in Obesity Reviews. The study…

Bloating is generally caused by gas (and sometimes fluid), and it usually ebbs and flows—you may have a flat abdomen in the morning but by evening, you look and feel 6 months pregnant. Bloating has become a rapidly increasing epidemic. For many, the symptoms are daily and relentless, but even when symptoms aren’t severe, they can still be extremely bothersome. There are lots of different causes of bloating, and one of the commonest is excessive sodium intake, which causes you to retain water not just in your abdomen but throughout your body. A study published last month in the American Journal of Gastroenterology looked at data from the DASH-Sodium trial. 412 participants consumed three levels of sodium intake – 50, 100, and 150 mmol/day. Each intake was consumed over a 30-day period with 5 days of rest between each period. Presence of bloating was recorded at baseline and after each…

The gut microbiome & its relation to weight loss There’s lots of hype surrounding the gut microbiome and weight loss. Studies show that when transferring microbial samples from obese individuals to germ-free mice, the mice gain weight, illustrating that the gut microbiome can play a role in determining weight. In fact, the more we study the microbiome, the more we realize that our gut bacteria hold the key to many functions and metabolic pathways associated with weight management. Gut bacteria: Influence how much dietary fat is absorbed by the intestines, affecting fat storage.Play a key role in inflammation, producing lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Mouse studies show that when mice are given LPS, they gain weight equivalent to the weight gain from a high fat diet.Protect against inflammation by helping to maintain a strong gut barrier. The specific species involved in gut barrier function include Bifidobacteria and Akkermansia. Increasing the integrity of the…