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“As researchers continue to study the microbiome, it’s clear that our gut is a powerful tool in disease prevention and treatment. How can understanding the microbiome influence the way we eat and nourish our bodies? Is our gut the missing link to using food as medicine? This panel features preeminent researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs who are leading this breakthrough area of science.” (Milken Institute: Future of Health Summit) Watch Dr. Chutkan, as she acts as moderator for the panel, Gut Feeling: Food, Microbiome, & Disease Prevention, that took place at this year’s Milken Institute: Future of Health Summit. Speakers include: Mark Hyman Head of Strategy and Innovation, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine Rob Knight Professor, Departments of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and Computer Science & Engineering, University of California, San Diego David Perlmutter Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean, Washington University School of Medicine Karen Sandell Sfanos Associate Professor,…

Annette is a patient born in Argentina who I saw in consultation for Crohn’s disease. Like most people from that part of the world, she received the bacillus Calmette–Guérin, or BCG, vaccine against tuberculosis as a child. Since the vaccine is prepared from a strain of live tuberculosis that has lost its virulence in humans, one of the possible side effects is a false positive skin test for tuberculosis, which is exactly what happened to Annette when she was screened for tuberculosis in middle school. As a result of the positive test, she was treated for active tuberculosis infection with three antibiotics for a total of nine months, even though she never had any signs or symptoms of tuberculosis, and an X-ray of her lungs failed to show any evidence of the disease. In her senior year of high school Annette developed abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. She was…

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…

Some populations have a heightened risk of celiac disease based on the amount of gluten they eat before the age of 5. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed gluten intake in 6,600 children who possessed celiac disease-related genes (deeming these children genetically “at-risk” for celiac disease). Gluten intake was measured using parent-recorded food diaries. Researchers found that children who ate more than 2 grams of gluten per day around the age of 2 had a significant increase in their risk of developing celiac disease. In addition, for every 1 gram of gluten consumed (equivalent to a ½ slice of bread or a ½ cup of cooked pasta) daily beyond the 2 grams, the chance of developing celiac disease increased by 7%. Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study concluded that those children who have a first-degree relative with celiac disease should limit the amount…

The link between diet and depression is meaningful in an at-risk population. In only the second study ever conducted in young adults looking at the therapeutic impact of diet on depression, researchers found that a short 3-week dietary intervention, utilizing a diet comprised of vegetables, fruits, other whole plant foods, fish and lean meats, resulted in significantly lower self-reported depression symptoms. The randomized controlled trial consisted of 38 study participants in each group – the diet and the control groups – and reduced depression scores remained significantly lower in follow-up calls three months post study. PLoS One Takeaway: Approximately one fifth of the adult population suffers from depression symptoms with only a little over one third of these individuals seeking treatment. The findings from this study, and the fact that participants in the diet group had high rates of compliance, show that diet can be a viable and effective treatment…

Green smoothies are Dr. Chutkan’s number one prescribed “medication” in her practice… and there’s lots of reasons why. Watch Dr. Chutkan as she explains the benefits of leafy greens and the importance of consuming them daily for optimal gut health. Be sure to write down the green smoothie recipe at the end and begin incorporating it into your daily life for Gutbliss!

Scientists are studying how a plant-based diet affects gastroparesis, an underdiagnosed condition in which emptying of the stomach is delayed. Symptoms include bloating, nausea, feeling abnormally full after eating, and in severe cases, vomiting and weight loss. The most common treatment for severe gastroparesis is administering food through a feeding tube using a liquid formula high in sugar and processed nutrients. Although patients are not consuming actual food, they can still experience symptoms, including bloating, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. The plant-based pilot study, currently underway, includes a plant-based formula lower in sugar and processed components. Researchers will look at how going plant-based affects microbial and inflammatory markers, with the hope that patients will experience less symptoms. Stanford University Takeaway: While some severe cases of gastroparesis require more aggressive treatments as described above, there are lots of lifestyle changes that can help treat gastroparesis-related symptoms. These modifications include: Shift most of…

The supplement industry is already huge, and now they’re expanding even more by utilizing “personalized nutrient programs”. What does that even mean? These are programs where you fill out an online questionnaire regarding your food intake and goals, and then receive a personalized supplement, or an entire pack of supplements, to your front door – often on a monthly basis. As we’ve said many times before, there’s no pill that can take the place of a plant-based, whole food, fiber-rich diet. In certain specific conditions, supplements can be extremely helpful (think low B12 in a patient with Crohn’s disease), but for most of us, food is still the best way to regain health. For the vast majority of the population, supplements fail to move the needle in the direction towards better health, and most are not tested for safety either. Our advice? Instead of spending money on supplements, use that…

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.…