Author

Leslie Ann Berg, MSPH

Browsing

With the increasing need for reliable GI information, we’re launching free webinars on gut health topics. This first series is focused on coronavirus and the gut. We’ll go deep into topics like whether antibiotics may actually increase your chances of contracting COVID-19, what to do if you’re taking an immunosuppressive medication, how autoimmune diseases like IBD influence risk, and lots more. Sign up below. If you have questions you’d like answered, or suggestions for future webinar topics, email us with your questions and ideas. Don’t miss out on invaluable gut health information – sign up today! Coronavirus & the GI tract: what you need to knowThursday, April 2nd @ 8:30pm EDTA 30-minute deep dive with Dr. Chutkan as she discusses symptoms & what to look for, underlying conditions, & when to seek medical attention. FULL Coronavirus & the GI tract: what you need to knowMonday, April 6th @ 8:30pm EDTA…

A January 2020 study, published in Nature, found that stress does actually cause hair to gray. While scientists have known this for hundreds of years, the physiological mechanisms weren’t discovered until now. When experiencing stress, the nervous system switches on its fight-or-flight response – a “hyperactivation of the sympathetic nerves” – which depletes the cells responsible for pigmentation (melanocyte stem cells) in hair follicles. To induce a stress response, scientists injected capsaicin (an active ingredient in chili peppers) into mice and found that in 5 days their hair turned white. After digging deep into what caused the change, scientists discovered that the nervous system was responsible. The fight-or-flight response triggers the release of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, which jump starts the process of melanocyte stem cell depletion. Takeaway: The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for us all, from the challenges that come with social distancing to the fears associated with…

You work out daily at your local gym, get plenty of sleep, and eat mostly plant-based. You’re doing everything right. But could there be one area we could all improve on that will help us live happier, healthier, and longer lives? In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that spending time in green spaces can prevent premature death. While many of us live in urban environments and go days without spending an extended amount of time outside, much less in “green spaces”, this is something we should all put on our bucket list for 2020 – spend time outdoors, surrounded by greenery… every single day. The November 2019 study looked at 9 longitudinal studies (studies that follow large groups of people over a period of time) across 7 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States) and included 8 million people. Researchers analyzed access to…

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.…