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Medication

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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…

Those who use antidepressants are significantly more likely to experience severe gastrointestinal bleeding, and the risk is increased in those who take over-the-counter pain relievers (such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Coumadin, aspirin, and Plavix). The 2019 review study looked at selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), prescribed to 13% of Americans 12 years and older and the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States. After a complete review of the literature, scientists found that those on SSRIs are 40% more likely to experience severe gastrointestinal bleeding and are at a higher risk of life threatening intracranial bleeding. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association →Takeaway: If you’re taking antidepressants and are wondering if you’re experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding, bright red blood in the stool or tarry stools are signs you can look for. If you experience either of these symptoms, contact you’re healthcare provider immediately. No matter how safe or harmless a medication seems, all…

Are cholesterol-lowering drugs necessary? Essential oils may be just as effective. A recent study fed rats a high fat diet for 6 weeks that resulted in high cholesterol. Over the subsequent 6 weeks the rats maintained their high fat diets but were given oral doses of ginger and rosemary oils, alone and in combination. Oil administration of ginger and rosemary together resulted in weight loss, lower triglyceride and glucose levels, and liver structure preservation. African Journal of Traditional Complimentary Alternative Medicine →Takeaway: Statins (or cholesterol-lowering drugs) come with a long list of side effects including headaches, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and much more. While human studies are needed to justify replacing cholesterol-lowering medications with essential oils, this study is a reminder of how powerful natural methods for healing the body can be – and minus the side effects! There is a strong link between heart health and the gut microbiome. If you…

General anesthesia negatively alters the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. A 4-hour exposure to anesthesia (Isoflurane) in mice resulted in a significant decrease in microbial diversity and depletion of several commensal bacteria including Clostridiales. Anesthesia & Analgesia →Takeaway: Researchers conclude that anesthesia may lead to dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) in patients following an operation. If you have an operation coming up or have recently undergone general anesthesia, eating a microbiome-friendly diet can have huge benefits on gut bacteria diversity and composition, as well as the healing process post surgery. At Gutbliss we recommend following the Live Dirty Eat Clean diet laid out in The Microbiome Solution, and supplementing with daily green smoothies.

Are you a victim of “legacy prescribing”? As 2018 concludes, it could be time to check your medicine cabinet! A McMaster University study looked at 50,813 patients older than 18 years of age and found that 46% of patients receiving antidepressants, 45% receiving proton pump inhibitors, and 14% receiving bisphosphonates had a legacy prescription (a prescription that prescribes a drug past its effective or recommended period) between 2010 and 2016. Researchers hypothesize that legacy prescriptions are also common for medications used for pain, anti-anxiety, and ADHD. Annals of Family Medicine →Takeaway: The study’s lead researcher recommends taking control of indefinite prescription writing by asking the appropriate questions to your healthcare provider when the medication is first prescribed. Be sure you understand what the usual course length is for the specific medication, and when, why, and how you should stop taking the medication. Also be sure there is good communication between your specialists (who often…

Lifestyle changes reduced the need for blood pressure medication in just 16 weeks. 129 men and women with high blood pressure engaged in 1 of the following programs: 1) diet plus a weight loss program including 3 exercise sessions per week, 2) diet only, and 3) no changes in diet or lifestyle. After 16 weeks, researchers found that the first group lost an average of 19 pounds and reduced their blood pressure so that 85% of them no longer needed blood pressure medication. In the second group, 77% of participants no longer needed blood pressure medication. The third group experienced only a minimal improvement in blood pressure. The American Heart Association’s Joint Hypertension Scientific Sessions →Takeaway: It’s important to remember that all medications pose risk. In the case of high blood pressure medicines, common side effects include cough, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, erection problems, feeling nervous, feeling tired and weak, headache, nausea or…

Early life antibiotic exposure shows no association with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A recent study including all live births in Manitoba, Canada between 1998 and 2016 looked at antibiotic exposure (defined as having filled one or more antibiotic prescriptions in the first year of life) and ASD diagnosis. The study found that antibiotic exposure (both number of treatment courses and cumulative duration of antibiotic exposure) was not associated with ASD, and researchers concluded that the lack of a significant association between antibiotics and ASD “should provide reassurance to concerned prescribers and parents”. International Journal of Epidemiology →Takeaway: While this study aims to answer the question, is exposure to antibiotics in the first year of life a risk factor for developing ASD, it fails to take into account some important factors. First, while the researchers looked at the number of antibiotic prescriptions filled in the first year of life, we all know that a…

A study using the Chinese baby birth cohort found that women who took progesterone before 14 weeks of gestation are at a higher risk of C-section and developing post-partum depression, with no actual reduction in preterm birth risk. Progesterone is a hormone used to reduce the risk of preterm birth, support the fertilization process, or to increase babies’ birth weight. In the study, progesterone was prescribed before 14 weeks gestation in 40% of those receiving the drug. Nature →Takeaway: Interestingly, a 2017 study also found that prenatal progesterone exposure may affect sexual orientation, resulting in higher rates of bisexuality. If you are looking to boost your progesterone levels during pregnancy choose these natural methods: maintain a healthy body weight, don’t over-exercise, reduce stress levels, incorporate acupuncture, consider taking chasteberry, and most importantly, consume fermented foods daily and a variety of vibrantly colored vegetables and fruits.

Oral antibiotics may raise the risk of kidney stones, and for children the risk is significantly higher. A recent study tracked antibiotic exposure 3 to 12 months before diagnosis in about 26,000 people with kidney stones. Results showed that oral exposure to any of the 5 classes of antibiotics significantly raised the risk of kidney stones. While the mechanism behind the association is unknown, researchers hypothesize that the effects of antibiotics on the gut and/or urinary microbiome is to blame. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology →Takeaway: This association reiterates the risk-benefit analysis that must take place when deciding to take an antibiotic. For a list of questions to ask your doctor when being prescribed an antibiotic, as well as what to do if you are taking an antibiotic, read The Microbiome Solution.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) increase the risk of pneumonia in older adults (60+ years). Researchers analyzed data from over 75,000 adults who used PPIs for 1 or more years. They then looked at the incidents of pneumonia in year 2 of treatment and compared these rates to a control group (age and sex-matched) not taking PPIs. The study found that for every 420 people treated with a proton pump inhibitor, there was 1 additional case of pneumonia. Journal of The American Geriatrics Society →Takeaway: The detrimental effects PPIs have on the gut microbiome could be to blame for the increased risk of pneumonia. Approximately 40% of older adults are prescribed PPIs, yet a 2013 studyfound that roughly 85% of them might not need them. In Dr. Chutkan’s practice, The Digestive Center for Wellness, she is finding that proton pump inhibitors may have an even more negative impact on the gut microbiome and overall health than…