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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,…

Sam: I suffer with numerous digestive issues – bloating, constipation, abdominal pain. However, I note that you recommend a plant-based diet. One of the main triggers of my pain are certain vegetable, legumes, nuts and seeds. Protein in the form of white fish and eggs is the easiest on my digestive system. I tried a vegan diet for months and didn’t see any improvement in my reaction to these foods. Do you have any suggestions? Dr. Chutkan: Sam, first, it’s important to get to the bottom of your GI distress. If you haven’t already, taking a close look at your lifestyle and medical history, and working with a healthcare practitioner that values the food as medicine approach, may be helpful. Second, while I don’t have a definitive diagnosis for your distress, I can speak to the symptoms you’re experiencing. As you’ve discovered, the foods that are most beneficial for gut…

A 6-month randomized controlled trial investigated various dietary fat levels and their impacts on the gut microbiome. The study included 217 young, healthy adults, aged 18 to 35, and provided all of the food participants ate during the 6-month period. Fat consumption was split up among three groups – a low-fat diet (calories from fat 20% of energy consumed), a medium-fat diet (calories from fat 30% of energy consumed), and a high fat diet (calories from fat 40% of energy consumed). Effects of dietary fats on the gut microbiome were assessed using stool samples and plasma inflammatory markers. Study results showed that short chain fatty acid production was significantly lower in the higher fat group, while plasma inflammatory markers were elevated. The lower fat diet was associated with increased microbial diversity and other positive microbial markers. BMJ Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study conclude that a high fat diet in…

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!