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Introduction Fermented foods are projected to be one of the leading weight loss trends throughout 2019, but they’ve actually been around for a long time. The fermentation process is one of the oldest examples of food preservation, and fermented foods have been a foundational staple of the human diet throughout history. Unfortunately our modern ways of eating – processed, high fat, high salt, and high sugar foods – have taken the place of more traditional and healthful ways of eating. Fermented foods are now one of the least consumed foods in the U.S., despite the fact that they are one of the most important for gut health, specifically for your gut microbiome. Studies show that daily and long-term consumption of fermented foods can lead to improved weight loss. What are fermented foods & why are they beneficial for weight loss? The fermentation process transforms the food into a substance that’s…

Eating dirt has become a recent health fad amongst some people who are concerned about improving their gut microbiome. Dirt? Yes, dirt! But does it really confer benefits for the gut and overall health? And should we literally be eating spoonfuls of the stuff? Let’s dig a bit deeper (into the dirt!) to learn more. While eating dirt (or geophagia) is considered by some to be a new and maybe even ridiculous “fad”, it’s a practice that has actually been around for thousands of years and has possibly helped the human race survive throughout millennia. Just about every culture has put eating dirt into practice, and while the motivations may vary, the benefits are universal: healthier people. Hippocrates writes of geophagia in his medical textbook linking “earth eating” and anemia. A few hundred years later, alica, a porridge that contained red clay was used as a remedy for mouth ulcers,…

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…

Candida auris is resistant to many anti-fungals and has recently been making its way around the world. If it makes its way into your bloodstream, it can cause a life threatening infection. Mostly found in hospitals and nursing homes, once Candida auris is present, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of. What you need to know about Candida auris: 587 cases have been reported in the U.S., mostly in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois 90% of infections are resistant to at least one anti-fungal medication, and 30% are resistant to two or moreRemoving floors and ceilings is often necessary to rid facilities of the yeastImmune compromised patients are most at risk for contracting C. auris, including the elderly, infants, pregnant women, and those who are chronically ill or on a medication that weakens the immune systemIf you are healthy and spend little or no time in hospitals or nursing homes, you probably have nothing to worry about. If…

Do you struggle to lose weight? Your microbiome could have something to do with it. A recent study implemented a 3-month lifestyle intervention in 26 overweight and obese adults (aged 18 to 65) and compared weight loss success (defined as losing 5% or more of baseline body weight) with microbial composition. Results showed an association between weight loss success and an increased abundance in Phascolarctobacterium, while weight loss failure (unable to lose 5% of body weight in the 3-month period) was associated with an increased abundance of Dialister and a gut microbiome that is genetically efficient in metabolizing carbohydrates. Mayo Clinic Proceedings →Takeaway: Microbial health plays a key role in our ability to reach and maintain a healthy weight. If you struggle with weight loss, focusing on balancing your microbiome (or rewilding!) could be an important first step. For a comprehensive plan to optimize microbial health in your everyday life, check out Dr. Robynne Chutkan’s book The…

The secret behind Clostridium difficile strength is uncovered. C. Diff, a harmful bacterial infection that often takes hold after antibiotic exposure and is more common in hospitals, was found to release para-cresol, a special compound that prevents other bacteria from growing. This compound gives C. Diff a competitive advantage and dominance over the intestinal microbiota. PLOS C. Diff affects half a million Americans annually, and is the cause of 15,000 deaths each year, and these numbers are climbing. Researchers are hopeful that this study finding will lead to the development of a drug that targets C. Diff infection more effectively.

Scientists have discovered a key factor in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) prevention: reducing meat consumption. A recent study looked at the daily dietary habits of 3,882 seventy-year old adults and their liver scans. Scans showed that 34% of study subjects had NAFLD, despite many of them being a healthy weight. Those who were overweight and ate the most animal protein were 54% more likely to have NAFLD than those who consumed less meat. Calorie and vegetable consumption were similar in both diseased and healthy groups. Hepatology →Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study point out that dietary factors can help in preventing the disease, even in those who have a genetic risk. Processed meats and red meats pose the greatest risk for developing NAFLD and reducing overall meat consumption and replacing animal protein with plant-based options is the way to go!

A new study uncovers evidence that a single course of antibiotics may irreversibly damage important beneficial gut bacteria. Using a computer model based on past studies that looked at how antibiotics affect the microbiome, scientists found that even after 1 year of taking a single antibiotic prescription, overall gut bacteria was less diverse with fewer species. This is important because gut bacterial diversity is an important marker of health and a decrease in diversity is associated with diseases like obesity, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autism, cancer, and more. These effects were most pronounced in those who had taken the antibiotics Ciprofloxacin and Clindamycin for urinary tract, skin, and respiratory infections. ISME →Takeaway: The primary author describes the microbial damage observed in the study: “If you picture the state of the microbiome as a ball resting in a valley, antibiotics can ‘kick’ the ball up and out of…

Have arthritis or at risk for developing arthritis? A new study found that both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) have specific oral microbial footprints that could be used in screening and early detection of the disease. Scientists analyzed saliva from 110 RA patients and 68 OA patients and compared these to 155 healthy subjects. Scientific Reports →Takeaway: 8 oral bacteria biomarkers were discovered that differentiate RA from OA, making the oral microbiome a viable tool in detecting arthritis and distinguishing arthritis type.