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New research helps us better understand the causes and trends in the obesity epidemic – and what you can do within your own family to help manage weight. Approximately 42% of the adult population in the U.S. is obese, and obesity triples the risk of being hospitalized for COVID, so understanding the risk factors and treatments for obesity are important. Here are some of the latest studies on important, actionable themes in preventing and treating obesity. Probiotics may help manage childhood obesity. Over 340 million children are obese worldwide, and almost 20% (or one fifth!) of children in the United States are obese. Obesity in early life puts children at an increased risk for obesity in adulthood, as well as a whole host of diseases later in life. A recent study found that the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium breve (a beneficial gut bacteria strain that produces short chain fatty acids and…

A study published in JAMA Network Open looked at survey answers from approximately 1,500 American adults (aged 30 to 59) and found that alcohol consumption has significantly increased during the pandemic. Compared to a year ago, adult men are consuming 14% more alcohol and women, 17% more. The study also showed that heavy drinking in women, categorized as 4 or more drinks within a 2-hour period or less, has increased 41%. In April of this year, the World Health Organization released a statement warning that alcohol intake can increase a person’s risk of contracting COVID and experiencing complications, as it weakens the immune system. If you’re struggling with alcohol during the pandemic, or otherwise, we’d like to extend an invaluable expert and resource on alcohol use: Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment. Here she offers some great tips on Sober October and beyond: Sober October. Like Dry January and Dry…

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 –…

Fresh air and sunlight could be important factors in combating the Coronavirus. Past studies have highlighted the phenomenon called the “open-air factor” (OAF), defined as the “germicidal constituent in outdoor air that reduces the survival and infectivity of pathogens”, which has been proven to reduce the survival and infectivity of harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus epidermidis, group C streptococcus, and the influenza virus. In fact, open-air therapy was the standard treatment for infectious diseases before antibiotics were introduced. Sunlight levels also provide some protection against pathogens: A 2019 study showed that sunlight levels are inversely correlated with influenza transmission. Not only does spending time outside protect against viral transmission and reduce the survival of pathogenic microbes, but it also helps support the immune system. Sunlight is our main source of vitamin-D, a vitamin that plays a key role in optimizing our immunity. Additionally, a 2016 study found that…

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…

Maternal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) mixtures are associated with lower IQ at the age of 7 in offspring. Previous studies have looked at the effects of single EDCs in children, and they have been linked to negative neurodevelopment outcomes. This latest study, published in the January of this year, looked at the impact of exposure to a mixture of EDCs (we are most often exposed to multiple EDCs at a time). The study included 718 mother-child pairs and measured 26 EDCs in the first trimester using blood and urine samples, then assessed IQ scores in offspring at age 7. Results showed that EDCs had the greatest impact on boys and resulted in significantly lower IQ scores at the age of 7. Probably one of the most concerning findings was that bisphenol F, the thought-to-be safe replacement for BPA, may not be any safer for children. Researchers plan to…

Summer is almost over and we’d like to offer you a simple, microbe-boosting plan to rejuvenate your inner (think gut!) and outer beauty. Below you’ll find our simple, Gutbliss 3-Day Beauty Boost, which includes: A 3-day meal planRecipesLive Dirty lifestyle tips This plan will give you a glow and a feeling of lightness to carry you through the rest of summer.  For even more details on how to cultivate a flourishing gut garden, read Dr. Chutkan’s book, The Microbiome Solution, and you’ll be well on your way to microbial balance and a happier, healthier you. Let’s get started! Lifestyle Tips As you embark on this journey, it’s paramount that you focus on incorporating the following lifestyle recommendations (along with the meal plan) for all three days: Drink eleven 8-ounce cups of water per day for women, and sixteen cups for menReset your circadian rhythm; get in bed when the sun…

This all-natural household cleaner is a staple for those practicing the Live Dirty Lifestyle. A natural disinfectant and harmless to the microbiome, mix this cleaner and use for all purposes and in every room in the house! Ingredients ½ cup white vinegar 4 cups of water 12 drops of tea tree oil 12 drops of lavender essential oil Method Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before using. Recipe by Dr. Robynne Chutkan. First appeared in The Microbiome Solution (Penguin 2015).