Asthma – An Epidemic Explained

Asthma – An Epidemic Explained

So much has been written in scientific journals recently about how the loss of microbes in the gut, especially earlier in life, affects the immune system. For example, researcher Marsha Wills-Karp, at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, recently revealed how early life exposure to antibiotics is associated with a substantial increased risk for the development of asthma.

Asthma has become an epidemic in America, affecting 1 in 12 Americans and totaling around $60 billion in direct medical costs, as well as lost work and school days, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

When we are exposed to antibiotics, which may well be a necessary medical treatment, the intervention isn’t really a targeted assault on a particular offending organism. Rather, these days doctors prescribe “broad spectrum” antibiotics that are effective in wiping out a vast array of organisms, well beyond the offending agent, and this may include some of the good guys as well.

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Making the Mediterranean Diet Even Better!

Making the Mediterranean Diet Even Better!

We are certainly hearing a lot these days about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and with good reason. There is so much being written how effective this diet is in terms of being associated with reduced risk for a vast panorama of diseases. From diabetes to obesity to coronary artery disease, the foods that constitute this diet are really gaining the attention of scientists and consumers around the world.

When you analyze the Mediterranean diet you learn that it differs from what most Americans seem to be eating in that it’s remarkably lower in added sugars and processed fats. It also includes foods that are nutrient-dense and help boost the amount of fiber a person consumes. As it turns out, the fact that many of the fiber-rich foods that you’ll find on this diet are high in prebiotic fiber may well explain why we’re seeing such health benefits with this way of eating.

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Probiotic Intervention Affects Mood

Probiotic Intervention Affects Mood

New and exciting research is revealing a strong connection between our mood and the various bacteria that live within our intestines. This is certainly a sobering notion. Think of it: the bacteria living within the digestive system are, to some degree, involved in determining whether we are happy, sad, anxious or even depressed.

In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, researchers in the Netherlands explored the idea that changing the array of bacteria in the gut by giving a multispecies probiotic supplement could have an effect on mood. The study provided the probiotic to 20 healthy individuals, none of whom had a mood disorder, over a four week period. A similar group of 20 individuals received a placebo over the same period. At the conclusion of the study, both groups underwent an evaluation to determine their reactivity, in terms of cognitive function, to sad mood. This is a fairly standard research tool that assesses depression. Continue reading

Kombucha: Why All The Fuss?

Kombucha: Why All The Fuss?

Have you heard about kombucha? It seems like the drink of the moment right now, and deservedly so. A powerful fermented food that brings important probiotic strains to your gut, kombucha should absolutely have a place at your table.

And if you’re concerned about the sugar content in kombucha, you shouldn’t be. Watch today’s video to find out why, and to learn more about this important drink.

Finding the Right Probiotic

Finding the Right Probiotic

Visit a grocery store or vitamin shoppe today, and you’ll instantly be overwhelmed by the myriad probiotic supplements available to you. With so many different types of probiotic strains and different brands, it may be hard to determine which is best for you.

My advice: focus on the five key Lactobaccilus and Bifidobacterium strains I identify as key in Brain Maker, and look for a supplement that has anywhere from 10-50 billion units/capsule.

Watch this video for more advice on probiotics, including the best conditions for consumption.

Countering Your Antibiotics with Probiotics

Countering Your Antibiotics with Probiotics

Frequently, I see members of this community write in with concerns on how taking an antibiotic may be disrupting the balance of their gut microbiome. Certainly, this is a valid concern, as even the word’s root definition troublingly means “against life.” In today’s video, find my advice for how protect the delicate balance of your microbiome while on antibiotic, the very same strategies I use when I find myself on one.

Fermented Foods: A Healthful Choice

Fermented Foods: A Healthful Choice

If you’ve read Brain Maker, than you understand how important probiotics are for your health. They play a key role in helping you build the balanced gut microbiome that facilitates optimal health. Beyond just a probiotic supplement though, fermented foods are a natural way for your to work probiotics into your diet, and the options are both plentiful and enjoyable. From kimchi to sauerkraut to, in fact, pickles, fermented foods are a nutritional powerhouse that should work their way onto your plate at your next meal.

Dr. Perlmutter’s Periscope Q&A

Dr. Perlmutter’s Periscope Q&A

On the day we launched Brain Maker, I thought it would be fun to get to speak to you all in real-time and be able to answer some of your questions on the book, the microbiome, gut health, and more. Utilizing the tool Periscope, we were able to having a dynamic discussion on a number of topics, but important to me is that these were the topics you all wanted to know about. We saw lots of questions on subjects such as probiotics, coffee/wine consumption and C. diff.

You can watch the recording of my Periscope here now, and I encourage you to leave your thoughts. Should we do this again?

Research – Probiotic Intervention Affects Mood

Research – Probiotic Intervention Affects Mood

New and exciting research is revealing a strong connection between our mood and the various bacteria that live within our intestines. This is certainly a sobering notion. Think of it: the bacteria living within the digestive system are, to some degree, involved in determining whether we are happy, sad, anxious or even depressed.

In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Brain, Behavior and Immunity, researchers in the Netherlands explored the idea that changing the array of gut bacteria by giving a multispecies probiotic supplement could have an effect on mood. The study provided the probiotic for a 4-week period to 20 healthy individuals, none of whom had a mood disorder. A similar group of 20 individuals received a placebo over the same period. At the conclusion of the study, both groups underwent an evaluation to determine their reactivity in terms of cognitive function to sad mood. This is a fairly standard research tool that assesses depression. Continue reading