Category: Immunity

How to Use Star Anise

We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to support gut health. However, as we move forward, we keep finding that the answers to our GI problems are remedies from the past. Our ancestors turned to star anise to help prevent illness and to provide relief for gastrointestinal distress. Today, you can use star anise in a variety of ways. Let’s discuss how.

 

What is Star Anise?

 
Star anise (Illicium verum) is an evergreen tree that originated in Vietnam, Laos, and China. Origin is an important distinction because Japanese star anise is highly toxic!
 
This member of the magnolia family produces a nutrient-dense fruit that we know as star anise. Typically, star anise is ground into a powder. It’s one of the five spices used in traditional Chinese cooking.
 
star anise tea for leaky gut
Star anise and cinnamon are a great team!
Chinese five-spice includes:
• Cinnamon
• Cloves
• Fennel
• Szechwan Peppercorns
• Star Anise
 
While Chinese five-spice is an excellent way to use star anise, it’s not the most efficient. The further from the manufacturing date, the less potent the spice will be. You don’t know when the spice was created (and under what conditions). So, make sure to buy whole star anise for these recipes.

 

Benefits of Star Anise

 
Prior to this article on how to use star anise, we wrote an entry about the benefits of star anise. You can read about each holistic use of star anise. Here we will briefly touch on these positive effects.
 
Benefits you may experience from star anise include:
• Antibacterial Properties [1]
• Antioxidants to Boost Immune System [2]
• Antimicrobial Activity (including against Candida) [3]
• Flu Vaccines [4]
 
That’s right! Star anise fights off influenza. In fact, star anise is an active ingredient in Theraflu.
 
Much of these benefits of star anise are thanks to its unique compounds:
 
• Linalool – Promotes Calming, Anti-inflammatory Properties [5]
• Shikimic Acid – Antibacterial that Fights Flu [6]
• Anethole – Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Diabetic Traits [7]
 
While linalool is in many essential oils, shikimic acid and anethole are rather rare. Star anise has an abundance of these molecules, anethole in particular. That’s why many people use star anise for Leaky Gut Syndrome, IBS, and other GI disorders.

 

How to Grind Star Anise Powder

 
Star anise is a pungent spice. It has a bitter, almost black licorice-like flavor. It has a hint of peppery notes with a fruity bite and a touch of spice. For many, star anise is an acquired taste, while others love it off the bat. We are going to tell you some ways to use star anise. You’re bound to find something that works for you!
 
ground herbs star anise
Get pestling!
The best way to add star anise to your meal cuisine is freshly ground. Just grab the fruit as-is, and go town, seeds and all.
 
A spice grinder or a mortar and pestle will do the trick.
 
Add it to a soup stock, pasta sauce, or marinade. It also pairs nicely with oils for salad dressings and sprinkled on a latte.
 
Remember, start slowly when dressing your food with star anise. It’s pungent!

 

How to Store Fresh Star Anise

 
how to store star anise
Glass jars are the way to go for all food storage
In many cases, it’ll be cheaper to buy star anise in bulk. With this spice, a little bit goes a long way. Therefore, you might not need to use your star anise yet. Due to its potent antibacterial traits, you can store whole star anise into a glass container for up to two years.
 
Fresh ground star anise lasts half the amount of time. Once you cut open a whole food, it begins to oxidize. So, be sure to place the ground star anise in an air-tight glass container and use star anise within a year.

 

Ways to Use Star Anise

 
Star anise is more versatile than it looks
 
Due to its unique flavor, you can use star anise in a variety of ways.
 
In some instances, you can use the whole star anise, while others will call for freshly ground powder.
 
The shape of star anise presents as a choking hazard.
 
It should be treated like a bay leaf or clove. If you use the whole star anise, be sure to remove it from the final products before eating.

 

Replacement for Sugar

 
As a society, we are addicted to sugar. Every generation consumes more and more of this nutrient-deficient substance. Meanwhile, obesity rates and cases of cardiovascular disease continues to grow.
 
One analysis from the New Hampshire Division of Public Health and Safety found,
 

“Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. In 1970, we ate 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year. This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in one week! [8]”

New Hampshire Division of Public Health and Safety
The only way to survive this epidemic is to perform a sugar detox. So, how do we make the mundane taste as delicious as table sugar used to? By creating a suitable substitute.

 

Star Anise Sugar Recipe

 
You can mix 1/2 of a freshly ground star anise with either:
• 1 Cinnamon Stick
• Half a Lemon Peel Zest
• Half an Orange Peel Zest
• Vanilla Beans
• Nutmeg
• 1 Clove
 
Mix and match with different combinations. Sure, they’re not sugar. However, they bring so much flavor; you probably won’t miss the sugar!

 

Gut Healthy Thai Iced Tea With Star Anise

 
There are many benefits of tea in a healthy gut diet plan. Adding star anise to the mix will only strengthen these positive effects.
 
Here is a take on traditional Thai iced tea. Typically, Thai iced tea uses sweetened condensed milk. In this recipe, we opt for coconut milk.
 
Below is a recipe for two glasses. If you make a bigger batch, save the tea in the refrigerator. Wait to add coconut milk until drinking.
 

Ingredients:

• 2 cups Water
• 2 Black Tea Bags
• 2 Star Anise
• 1 Cardamom Pod, Smashed
• 1 Whole Clove
• 1 Cinnamon Stick
• 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
 

Directions:

1. Boil water.
2. Add tea bags and spices.
3. Boil gently for three to five minutes.
4. Steep the tea for a half-hour to two hours.
5. Remove the spices and tea bags and pour in coconut milk.

 

Star Anise Braised Chicken

 
One of the best ways to receive the most nutrients when you use star anise is to combine the spice with healthy fats. Not only does the licorice-like flavor complement the meat, but the fats help you absorb the beneficial antioxidants from the fruit.
 

Ingredients:

• 1 T Avocado Oil
• 1 1/2 pounds Free-Range Chicken Breast
• Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
• 1/2 Onion, Chopped
• 1-inch Ginger, Cut in Strips
• 4 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
• 1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
• 1/2 cup Stock (or Bone Broth)
• 1 T Honey
• 1 Whole Star Anise
• 1/4 cup Liquid Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
• 2 Scallions
 

Directions:

1. Heat avocado oil over medium-high heat.
2. Place the chicken skin-side down in the oil, and allow to brown, three to five minutes on each side.
3. Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with a paper towel and add sea salt.
4. Add the onion to the pan and allow to cook for about two minutes.
5. Add in the ginger and cook for one minute, before adding the garlic cloves and cooking for one more.
6. Add in the rice vinegar and stock.
7. Bring to a boil.
8. Pour in the honey, star anise, and liquid aminos.
9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover for 20 minutes, flipping the chicken once after 15.
10. Remove chicken from heat and garnish with scallions.
 

Cinnamon Spice Star Anise Green Tea

 
One of the best homeopathic remedies is drinking tea for Leaky Gut Syndrome.  Green tea is rich in phenols that help support your immune system. In turn, it makes chronic inflammation in the gut biome more manageable. Here’s an easy way to use star anise that will protect your gut lining.
 

Ingredients:

• 2 T Loose Green Tea Leaves
• 4 cups Water
• 1 Cinnamon Stick
• 2 T Star Anise, Broken in Pieces
• Orange or Lemon Zest
 

Directions:

1. Put tea leaves in a teapot.
2. Boil water in a saucepan.
3. Throw in the cinnamon stick and star anise.
4. Allow infusing for two to three minutes.
5. Pour into a measuring cup.
6. Use a sieve and pour the star anise-cinnamon water into the teapot.
7. Allow sitting for two to three minutes before straining into a mug.
8. Grate some citrus zest on top for a refreshing drink!

 

Chickpea Star Anise Masala

 
If you are a vegan, you can also use star anise to flavor a protein-packed dish. This dish takes traditional Indian flavors and infuses it with the antioxidant-rich star anise. Trust us; you won’t even miss the chicken in this one!
 
Just as a heads up, you should soak fresh chickpeas in water overnight and then boil them before using. In a pinch, you can use canned chickpeas. However, beware of BPA-lined cans and other forms of plastic in your food. These will leach into the water and cause more ruckus in your GI tract.

 

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cup Chickpeas (or 2 Cans), Boiled
• 1 cup Jasmine Rice
• 1/3 cup Peanut Oil
• 1 cup Onion, chopped
• 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
• 4 T Curry Paste
• 6 Medjool Dates, pitted and chopped
• 4 Cardamom Pods, Ground
• 1 Cinnamon Stick, Ground
• 1 T Ground Cumin
• 1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
• 1 tsp Black Pepper
• 1/3 tsp Ground Star Anise (2 Whole Star Anise)
• 1/2 cup Water
• Cilantro
 

Directions:

1. Heat peanut oil in a pot on medium-high for one minute.
2. Start making the rice.
3. Add in onion and cook for five to seven minutes.
4. Add in the garlic cloves and cook for two more minutes.
5. Reduce the heat down to medium and add in the curry paste, working it around the pot.
6. Pour in the dates, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, and star anise.
7. Cook for three minutes before stirring in chickpeas and water.
8. Allow to cook for five minutes.
9. Drain rice and plate it.
10. Pour masala on top of rice and garnish with cilantro. If using whole star anise instead of powder, remove from the masala before pouring.

 

Need Help to Use Star Anise for Gut Health?

 
Adding new foods to our diet and changing up our wellness game can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, we are here to help you. Take the time to Thryve Inside today by joining our Gut Health Program.
 
thryve gut health food recommendations
Get in-depth food recommendations with the Thryve Inside Gut Health Program
 
As a member of our gut health program, we will use an at-home gut test to find our which stomach bacteria are in your system. Based on those results, we make probiotic recommendations that you can purchase to bring balance to your intestinal flora.
 
Furthermore, we have a healthy gut diet plan tailored to your needs. Our database has over 1,500 ingredients. You will find many ways to use star anise. Get your gut health on track and Thryve Inside!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Parasa LS, Rao ST, Srinivasa-Prasad CH, et al. In vitro antibacterial activity of culinary spices aniseed, star anise and cinnamon against bacterial pathogens of fish. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2012;4:667–670.
 
[2] Aly, Soher E., et al. “Assessment of Antimycotoxigenic and Antioxidant Activity of Star Anise (Illicium Verum) in Vitro.” Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences, Elsevier, 29 May 2014, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1658077X14000368.
 
[3] Shojaii, A., & Abdollahi Fard, M. (2012). Review of Pharmacological Properties and Chemical Constituents of Pimpinella anisum. ISRN pharmaceutics, 2012, 510795. doi:10.5402/2012/510795.
 
[4] Lim, Louisa. “Swine Flu Bumps Up Price Of Chinese Spice.” NPR, NPR, 18 May 2009, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104191227.
 
[5] Peana, A T, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Linalool and Linalyl Acetate Constituents of Essential Oils.” Phytomedicine : International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12587692.
 
[6] Tripathi, P, et al. “Shikimic Acid, a Base Compound for the Formulation of Swine/Avian Flu Drug: Statistical Optimization, Fed-Batch and Scale up Studies along with Its Application as an Antibacterial Agent.” Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25563634.
 
[7] Sheikh, Bashir Ahmad, et al. “Trans-Anethole, a Terpenoid Ameliorates Hyperglycemia by Regulating Key Enzymes of Carbohydrate Metabolism in Streptozotocin Induced Diabetic Rats.” Biochimie, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25708856.
 
[8] “How Much Sugar Do You Eat? You May Be Surprised! .” New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Aug. 2014, www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/documents/sugar.pdf.
 

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Leaky Gut and HIV: Which Bacteria Strain May Help Patients?

Leaky Gut Syndrome affects millions of people around the world and is associated with a litany of medical conditions. Perhaps no illness is closely tied to leaky gut more than Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Thankfully, a recent study found a promising hope to create a disassociation between leaky gut and HIV patients. Let’s take a look at the relationship between leaky gut and HIV and which stomach bacteria might repair your gut lining.

 

What is HIV?

 
HIV is the precursor to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). While we’ve made many great strides in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, we still had over 1 million AIDS-related deaths last year.
 
HIV and leaky gut
It’s important to stay on top of your labs
It all begins when HIV infiltrates CD4 (or T) cells [2]. Tracking the progression from HIV to AIDS is usually measured by the number of T-cells in the system.
 
These are white blood cells that stimulate other immune cells to create a response.
 
As HIV is inside the cell, the virus duplicates itself. This action ruins the mitochondria membrane, essentially rendering the cell useless. Consequently, the CD4 cell gets destroyed from within and dies off.
 
The body will replenish these cells. However, the immune system will start to take a beating. In turn, those who have HIV are more susceptible to getting sick.
 
These illnesses will further deplete CD4 cells. Over time, the host will develop more medical conditions. Inevitably, one of these diagnoses will claim a person’s life.

 

What is the Link Between Leaky Gut and HIV?

 
Approximately 70% of your immune cells come from your gut [3]. So, naturally, that’s where HIV wants to start its damage. As a result, many of cells that comprise your gut barrier become compromised.

 

Villous Atrophy

 
Research shows that people with HIV tend to suffer from villous atrophy [4]. Villi are little finger-like structures that surround the small intestine. They’re responsible for nutrient absorption and in aiding the digestion of food.
 
leaky gut and hiv
You may feel like you have no control
Common symptoms of villous atrophy are typical in HIV patients, such as:
• Diarrhea
• Constipation
• Vomiting
• Nausea
• Anorexia
Depression
 
When villi get weaker, we miss out on the nutrients necessary to keep our immune system robust.

 

Inflammation

 
Not only is the small intestine villi taking a beating from HIV, but so are the cells that comprise your gut lining. That’s because HIV elicits chronic inflammation throughout the system.

 

CD4 Cells Inflammatory Biomarkers

 
CD4 cells trying to put out the flames
When CD4 cells are under attack, it causes the immune system to do what it does best–fight fire with fire. Our immune system cells create inflammation to destroy invaders. These firefighters include CD4 cells.
 
Now, remember we mentioned that HIV likes to duplicate in CD4 cells? Well, bringing more to the dance only makes the virus more aggressive.
 
One analysis on HIV and leaky gut found,
 

“HIV prefers to infect activated CD4 T cells, a crucial consequence of induction of local inflammation by any means that also involves CD4 T-cell activation may serve to provide additional targets for the virus, thus augmenting its replication [5].”

Mucosal Immunol.
Therefore, our immune response is actually helping HIV grow stronger. In turn, more inflammation forms. Ultimately, this chronic inflammation will destroy the tight junctions that secure our gut barrier.
 
As a result, solid food particles and toxins can permeate from the intestine to the bloodstream. This is why HIV and leaky gut go hand-in-hand. Now, a study shows that probiotics may be the solution to the HIV and leaky gut problem.

 

Probiotics for HIV and Leaky Gut

 
A recent analysis found that probiotics may repair the gut lining of HIV patients. A study conducted by UC Davis noted that this gut bacteria activated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPARα) signaling [6].
 
leaky gut and hiv
New studies on HIV and probiotics show promise
This signaling system is responsible for energy storage, fat distribution, and metabolic functions. Along PPARα , fatty acids are broken down to provide energy to cells necessary for repairing the gut lining.
 
When HIV destroys mitochondria, it alters PPARα signaling. That’s why a lack of PPARα activation has been closely associated with several gastro disorders. Therefore, scientists wanted to see if probiotic intervention would be helpful for a group of people who have continuously compromised mitochondria.

 

Lactobacillus plantarum for HIV Gut Health

 
In the past, doctors tried anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to help repair the gut lining of HIV patients. Results were inconsistent. However, this practice was the most plausible option for decades. Now, probiotic intervention might be the best.
 
The scientists administered Lactobacillus plantarum in vitro and found,
 

“Within 5 h of L. plantarum administration, intestinal barrier integrity was rapidly restored by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPARα), and enhancing mitochondrial morphology and function and reduced IL-1β production.”

PNAS
Even more amazing, these results came without the use of ART. So, probiotics are pulling more than their fair share of weight.

 

No Change in CD4 Cells

 
leaky gut and hiv
Less inflammation = less disease
Furthermore, the results showed that CD4 cells remained low. Therefore, with probiotic intervention, the immune system doesn’t call on CD4 to promote inflammation. These results further lend credence to the anti-inflammatory capabilities of probiotics.
 
Secondly, your body won’t need to produce CD4 as rapidly. In turn, this could slow down the progression of HIV due to a lack of targets for the virus to attack.


Butyrate for Gut Lining

 
Lastly, Lactobacillus plantarum also creates short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate. Butyrate makes up around 70% of the calories colon cells need to duplicate. So, adding Lactobacillus plantarum to their routine can make someone with HIV and leaky gut live a more comfortable life.
 
Find out if your body is equipped with the stomach bacteria necessary to fight off the development of leaky gut. In turn, boost your immune system and give your body a fighting chance against illness. Take the time to Thryve Inside by testing your gut biome today.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] “Global HIV & AIDS Statistics – 2019 Fact Sheet.” UNAIDS, www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet.
 
[2] “HIV: The Basics .” New York Department of Health, Sept. 2003, www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/general/resources/child/docs/chapter_1.pdf.
 
[3] Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and experimental immunology, 153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–6. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x.
 
[4] Chapter 8 – Blood and Tissue Protozoa III: Other Protists. Human Parasitology. Burton, J., et al. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-415915-0.00008-X.
 
[5] Brenchley, J. M., & Douek, D. C. (2008). HIV infection and the gastrointestinal immune system. Mucosal immunology, 1(1), 23–30. doi:10.1038/mi.2007.1.
 
[6] PPARα-targeted mitochondrial bioenergetics mediate repair of intestinal barriers at the host–microbe intersection during SIV infection.
Katti R. Crakes, et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dec 2019, 116 (49) 24819-24829; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1908977116.
 

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The Microbiome-Hormone Axis

Your microbiome plays a critical role in keeping you healthy. Microbes in your gut act on multiple facets of your gut health, such as appetite control, nutrient absorption, and immune system function [1]. Stomach bacteria hold so much control over these vital functions through their ability to influence hormones. They gain this power through the microbiome-hormone axis.

 

What are Hormones?

 
We all think we know what hormones are, but how many really understand what they do? Hormones are a vital part of our endocrine system and are some of the most essential signaling tools that our bodies have. These communication devices control functions in our bodies, affecting everything from growth and development to storing energy [2]. 
 
While hormones are influential, they are also quite sensitive. Hormone production can become altered significantly by any changes within the body. Let’s take a closer look at the connection between hormones and gut health.

 

Hormones and Gut Health

 
Hormones play an integral role in our digestive system. When hormones get thrown off, it can have disastrous consequences for many aspects of our health.
 
One analysis on the microbiome-hormone axis found,
 

“The gut microbiota is able to affect GI motility via gut hormones…Both the gut microbiota and gut hormones also play pivotal roles in metabolism, the brain-gut axis, and systemic immunity…
The research field focusing on interactions between gut microbiota and gut hormones may be referred to as ‘microbial endocrinology,’ and is expected to become a focus of intense interest in the near future [3].”  

J Neurogastroenterol Motil
microbiome-hormone axis
Hormonal imbalance
is a pain


Dysfunctional hormones have a significant impact on the development of gastro diseases.
 
Common GI conditions caused by an out-of-whack microbiome-hormone axis include:
 
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Bloating
• Dysmenorrhea
• Constipation
• Functional Dyspepsia
 
With hormones out of control, the gut biome becomes compromised. Through the microbiome-hormone axis, this becomes a never-ending cycle. That’s because your gut biome also regulates hormone production.

 

Short-Chain Fatty Acids and Hormones

 
One of the beneficial byproducts of a healthy microbiome is an abundance of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) [4]. The most common short-chain fatty acids produced by your gut microbiome are acetate, propionate, and butyrate. These short-chain fatty acids are essential in preventative care. 
 
An analysis of short-chain fatty acids and heart disease found,
 

“SCFAs from gut microbiota have been shown to affect insulin sensitivity and suppress insulin-mediated fat accumulation [12]. SCFAs also regulate energy intake by stimulating the secretion of satiety hormones GLP1 and PPY. Administration of SCFAs without changing food intake or exercise lowered body weight and increased insulin sensitivity in mice on a high-fat diet [5].”

Gut Microbes.
microbiome-hormone axis
SCFAs can make you look and feel good
In addition, these powerful fatty acids act as messengers. SCFAs aid in the production of many different gut hormones.
 
Without these critical compounds produced by your stomach bacteria, your gut cannot signal hormone production.
 
This hiccup in communication can lead to the many gastroenterology diseases we discussed above.

 

 

 

Microbiome-Hormone Axis and Mental Health

 
In addition to the production of short-chain fatty acids, your gut is responsible for the production of 90 percent of the body’s serotonin [6]. Serotonin is a critically important hormone that influences a number of essential functions.
 
microbiome-hormone axis
Drained

This neurotransmitter regulates:
• Sleep-Wake Cycle
• Muscle Function
• Emotions
• Mood
• Appetite
• Sexual Desire
• Body Temperature
• Memory
• Social Interactions
 
With so many essential facets of human existence thrown off, it’s no wonder that low levels of serotonin have been linked to mental health disorders [7]. The microbiome-hormone axis only get further entwined from here.

 

Microbiome-Hormone Axis and Immune System

 
When our gut health is out of whack, the ensuing hormonal imbalances also compromise the immune system. As hormones get out of whack, it sparks inflammation. Inflammation is a key player in a dysfunctional gut.
 
Hormonal imbalancesparks inflammation
An inflamed gut has been linked to a wide range of gastrointestinal diseases [8]. However, chronic inflammation has also exhibited adverse effects on hormone production as well [9]. 
 
Inflammation occurs because of the immune system. Sometimes inflammation is necessary for fighting off infection.
 
However, when the immune system is constantly in overdrive, inflammation becomes chronic. That is when problems arise.

 

 

 

Gut Health and Inflammatory Response

 
Serotonin produced in the gut has been shown to facilitate a healthy immune response that allows for a decrease in unnecessary inflammation.
 
One analysis of this pivotal neurotransmitter of the microbiome-hormone axis stated,
 

“Besides its role as a neurotransmitter, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5HT) regulates inflammation and tissue repair via a set of receptors (5HT(1-7)) whose pattern of expression varies among cell lineages…
5HT inhibited the LPS-induced release of proinflammatory cytokines without affecting IL-10 production, upregulated the expression of M2 polarization-associated genes (SERPINB2, THBS1, STAB1, COL23A1), and reduced the expression of M1-associated genes [10].”

J Immunol. 
This data shows that the gut biome allows for a healthy immune response with low-grade inflammation. It promotes these favorable conditions by helping to maintain healthy serotonin levels that keep inflammation low.

 

Understanding the Microbiome-Hormone Axis

 
The microbiome affects many aspects of our health, including hormonal regulation. Since hormones are so important in our health, it is essential to take care of your microbiome and gut health. When you get your gut health in check, hormonal balance will follow.
 
Here at Thryve, we offer personalized probiotic supplements that help you to achieve optimal gut health. We can help you create a more balanced microbiome, which will lead to more balanced hormones.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Fukui, H., Xu, X., & Miwa, H. (2018). Role of Gut Microbiota-Gut Hormone Axis in the Pathophysiology of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility, 24(3), 367–386. doi:10.5056/jnm18071.
 
[2] “Your Health and Hormones.” Hormone Health Network, www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones.
 
[3] Fukui, H., Xu, X., & Miwa, H. (2018). Role of Gut Microbiota-Gut Hormone Axis in the Pathophysiology of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility, 24(3), 367–386. doi:10.5056/jnm18071.
 
[4] den Besten, Gijs, et al. “The Role of Short-Chain Fatty Acids in the Interplay between Diet, Gut Microbiota, and Host Energy Metabolism.” Journal of Lipid Research, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Sept. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23821742.
 
[5] Morrison, D. J., & Preston, T. (2016). Formation of short chain fatty acids by the gut microbiota and their impact on human metabolism. Gut microbes, 7(3), 189–200. doi:10.1080/19490976.2015.1134082.
 
[6] “Microbes Help Produce Serotonin in Gut.” Home, www.caltech.edu/about/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495.
 
[7] McIntosh, James. “Serotonin: Facts, Uses, SSRIs, and Sources.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 2 Feb. 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php#treatment_SSRIs.
 
[8] Boulangé1, Claire L., et al. “Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Inflammation, Obesity, and Metabolic Disease.” Genome Medicine, BioMed Central, 20 Apr. 2016, genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-016-0303-2.
 
[9] MacDonald, Thomas T., and Giovanni Monteleone. “Immunity, Inflammation, and Allergy in the Gut.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 25 Mar. 2005, science.sciencemag.org/content/307/5717/1920.
 
[10] de las Casas-Engel, Mateo, et al. “Serotonin Skews Human Macrophage Polarization through HTR2B and HTR7.” Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Mar. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23355731.
 

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What Are the Best Drinks for Prostate Health?

As men age, they’re at risk of developing prostate-related problems. When men grow older, the size of the prostate increases. This growth can squeeze their urethra, causing problems in the process. One of the most effective ways for preventative health care is through dietary choices. Drinking liquids rich in vitamins and minerals can promote a healthy prostate as you age. Here are some of the best drinks for prostate health.

 

When Do Prostate Problems Begin?

 
drinks for prostate health
Be proactive with your health for their sake
There are some men out there who’ll exhibit prostate problems by the time they’re in their 30s and 40s. When this happens, they need to seek immediate medical attention. However, other symptoms might not manifest until men are in the later stages of their lives.
 
One analysis looked at the transition zone of the prostate of men at different stages in their lives [1].
 
The volunteers fell into the following age ranges:
• 40–49 Years
• 50–59 Years
• 60–69 Years
 
Results found that height and width of the prostate increased gradually over time. However, it would peak as men became senior citizens.
 
This analysis concluded,
 

“Prostate width and height had a relatively stable rate of increase and changed little among men aged 40–49 and 50–59 years. However, after 60 years old, the rate of increase in prostate length increased, creating an increase in prostate diameter. This shows that before the age of 60 years, the prostate grows slowly, while after the age of 60 years, the length becomes the main growth line.”

Asian J Androl
The most efficient way to prolong this growth is to be proactive with your wellness. That’s why you should consume this list of drinks for prostate health. Otherwise, you might run the risk of developing a life-altering condition. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Why You Should Consume Drinks for Prostate Health

 
Men must be wary of the top prostate diseases that can develop over time. After 40, you should schedule regular checkups with your doctor. As you age, you risk of developing health-related conditions rapidly increases.
 
elderly male health
Prostate growthaccelerates after 60
The three most common prostate diseases include:
Inflammation of the Prostate (Prostatitis)
• Non-cancerous Enlargement of the Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH)
• Prostate Cancer
 
Prostate issues are uncomfortable and impede on your quality of life. While these conditions develop over time, there are some preventative measures you can take.

 

How To Improve Prostate Health

 
Improving your prostate health is much like boosting your gut health. It comes down to choices we make. Namely, diet and exercise plays a monumental role in the development of prostate-related issues.
 
One analysis looked deep into preventative prostate cancer care [2].
 
Results concluded,
 

“Increased vegetable and fruit intakes, decreased red meat and saturated fat intakes, and increased exercise are potentially associated with decreased risk of incident disease and increased progression-free, prostate cancer-specific, and overall survival.”

Curr Opin Urol. 
Make the right choices
Maintaining a diet that’s good for the prostate is not as difficult as one would think.
 
When you are committed and dedicated to getting the essential nutrients, then it can make a difference.
 
Men can also include an oral dietary supplement, such as Prostagenix, to improve the health of their prostate.
 
In addition, they can try these drinks for prostate health. Let’s take a look!

 

Best Drinks for Prostate Health

 
Your prostate health is important. Therefore, you must be diligent and proactive with your help. A simple way to accomplish this goal is through dietary choices. Here are some of the best drinks for prostate health.

 

Tomato Juice

 
Lycopene, the antioxidant found in tomatoes, is said to help prevent the development of prostate cancer [3]. It’s also believed to reduce the growth of tumors in men living with prostate cancer. This potent antioxidant is capable of slowing down the production of cancer cells and decreasing cell damage caused by free radicals.
 
tomato juice drinks for prostate health
Basil can be a tomato juice game-changer

As mentioned, one of the best sources of lycopene is tomato juice. If you’re opting to get the store-bought variety, make sure it’s low in sodium and organically sourced.
 
Otherwise, you can also make your own tomato juice at home. If you have a blender or a juicer, then this would be easy for you to do. The taste of your DIY juice depends on the variety and sweetness level of the tomatoes used.
 
As a tip, you can add other healthy ingredients to make them taste even more delicious and unique. Add celery to produce more water and black pepper to give your juice a bit of spice.

 

Green Tea

 
Get your tea on!
Consuming green tea can help protect men from developing prostate cancer.
 
It contains antioxidants that are anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic. These traits go a long way in ensuring that harmful cells don’t take over the system.
 
A meta-analysis about the health benefits of green tea noted its many benefits, stating, 

 

 

“Green tea modulates signaling pathway including NFκB and ERK pathways, preserves mitochondrial membrane potential, inhibits caspase-3 activity, down-regulates pro-apoptotic proteins, and induces the phase II detoxifying pathway [4].”

J Nutr Biochem
These results explain why prostate cancer rates were much lower in East Asia. This part of the globe regularly consumes green tea [5].
 
There are various ways you can enjoy drinking green tea. The most traditional one involved brewing green tea leaves, but you’re free to try other recipes. For instance, Matcha powder spirulina smoothies excellent drinks for prostate cancer. Want something a little more simple? Brew iced green tea. The possibilities are endless!

 

Berry Juice

 
Different kinds of berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are known to contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C can aid in easing the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
 
An analysis on Vitamin C and BPH noted,
 

“Recently, HIF-1alpha has attracted attention in this context, because it is highly expressed in hyperplasic prostates and prevents prostate cell death. Thus, given that vitamin C inhibits HIF-1alpha expression in several malignant tumors, we examined its therapeutic potential in BPH. HIF-1alpha was noticeably induced by testosterone in prostate cells, and this HIF-1alpha induction was abolished by vitamin C [6].”

J Nutr Biochem. 
fruits
Yes please!
 
Antioxidants are vital in preventing the damages caused by free radicals. These rogue molecules are known to attack the healthy cells in the body and increases the risk of developing cancer.
 
Depending on what you feel like doing, you can either combine different kinds of berries to make a smoothie or stick with just one variety. You can mix these up with other ingredients, such as protein powder and vegetables.

 

Coffee

 
best drinks for prostate health
I mean, do we even function without it?
If you’re a coffee-lover, you would probably be pleased to know that drinking this beverage is actually good for your prostate. Indulging in a couple of cups of coffee a day can lower your chances of developing high-grade prostate cancer.
 
For every three cups of coffee you drink, you decrease your risk of prostate cancer by about 11% [7].
 
Just make sure you don’t overdo it by consuming more than 400 milligrams of caffeine daily.

 

 

Kombucha

 
Stomach bacteria play a pivotal role in preventing the growth of cancer cells. For one, they help maintain your gut barrier. These microbes help stop the development of Leaky Gut Syndrome that may induce cancerous growth.
 
One analysis on the gut biome and prostate cancer noted,
 

“The microbiome’s ability to affect systemic hormone levels may also be important, particularly in a disease such as prostate cancer that is dually affected by estrogen and androgen levels [8].”

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis.
 
One of the tastiest ways to increase your intestinal flora biodiversity is by drinking kombucha. In fact, studies show that this fermented beverage can do wonders for keeping prostate cancer cells from duplicating.
 
A study on kombucha effects on prostate cancer found,
 

“Our study demonstrates that kombucha significantly decreases the survival of prostate cancer cells by downregulating the expression of angiogenesis stimulators [9].”

Science Direct
kombucha for gut
It’s boochin’
The study claimed kombucha helped downregulate potential prostate cancer cell catalysts:
 
• Human Inducible Factor-1α
• Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
• Interleukin-8
• Cyclooxygenase-2
• Matrix Metalloproteinases
 
Not only is kombucha part of a healthy gut diet plan, but can also aid in men’s wellness as they age. That’s why this brew is a must on our list of drinks for prostate health.

 

Have Drinks for Prostate Health and Promote Wellness

 
Your prostate health matters. Just like other organs in the body, you need to take care of it in many ways. 
 
Lead by example
If you want to ensure that you lower your risk of developing prostate-related conditions and other health concerns, make sure you find a great balance between living your life, eating well, and working out regularly. Avoid drinking beverages, like alcohol, that could increase your risk of developing prostate problems. Don’t forget to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day as well. 
 
The drinks that are said to be best for your prostate are very easy to find and make. These are readily accessible, and you can consume them anytime you want. Make them a part of your everyday diet. Given that there are different options for you, you can never go wrong with any of these drinks for prostate health.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Zhang, S. J., Qian, H. N., Zhao, Y., Sun, K., Wang, H. Q., Liang, G. Q., … Li, Z. (2013). Relationship between age and prostate size. Asian journal of andrology, 15(1), 116–120. doi:10.1038/aja.2012.127.
 
[2] Ballon-Landa, Eric, and J Kellogg Parsons. “Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Lifestyle Factors in Prostate Cancer Prevention.” Current Opinion in Urology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29049045.
 
[3] Chen, Jinyao, et al. “Lycopene/Tomato Consumption and the Risk of Prostate Cancer: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23883692.
 
[4] Chen, L., Mo, H., Zhao, L., Gao, W., Wang, S., Cromie, M. M., … Shen, C. L. (2017). Therapeutic properties of green tea against environmental insults. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 40, 1–13. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2016.05.005.
 
[5] Kimura T. (2012). East meets West: ethnic differences in prostate cancer epidemiology between East Asians and Caucasians. Chinese journal of cancer, 31(9), 421–429. doi:10.5732/cjc.011.10324.
 
[6] Li, Shan-Hua, et al. “Vitamin C Supplementation Prevents Testosterone-Induced Hyperplasia of Rat Prostate by down-Regulating HIF-1alpha.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19716283.
 
[7] A. Discacciati, N. Orsini, A. Wolk, Coffee consumption and risk of nonaggressive, aggressive and fatal prostate cancer—a dose–response meta-analysis, Annals of Oncology, Volume 25, Issue 3, March 2014, Pages 584–591, https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdt420.
 
[8] Porter, Corey M, et al. “The Microbiome in Prostate Inflammation and Prostate Cancer.” Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29795140.
 
[9] Thummala Sriharia, Ramachandran, Arunkumarb, et al. “Downregulation of signalling molecules involved in angiogenesis of prostate cancer cell line (PC-3) by kombucha (lyophilized).” Biomedicine & Preventive Nutrition, Volume 3, Issue 1, January–March 2013, Pages 53-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bionut.2012.08.001.
 

 

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Gut – The Sensory Organ for all Wellness

Your gut does so much more than just digest food. Did you know your gut is the largest sensitive surface in your body to comes in contact with the external environment [1]? That makes your gut a sensory organ that impacts everything from immune system function to mood, and of course, digesting and taking in nutrients from food. 
 
What you eat and how you take care of your gut has a significant impact on your overall health. There are three ways that your gut processes and reacts to signals from the outside world, neurons, hormones, and immune cells. Let’s take a look at how each of these critical signaling centers operates and what impact they have on your health.

 

Gut as a Sensory Organ: The Enteric Nervous System

 
The first way your gut communicates with the rest of your body is through neurons. The network of neurons in your gut is so extensive, it’s been given dubbed the second brain [2]. 
 
sensory organ
Waiting for your gut to communicate?
Not too long ago, scientists discovered how important neurons are in gut health and signaling [3]. These biological superhighways are like the instant messaging system of your body [4]. The more formal name for this neural network is the enteric nervous system. 
 
The enteric nervous system regulates the gastrointestinal tract. It relies heavily on neurons to perform its duties. Neurons in the gut trigger a reflex response that begins the process of digestion when there is food or water in the gut.
 
The neurons sense this by monitoring chemical and physical changes, such as what food you eat and distension of the stomach [5]. These actions trigger our sensory organ.
 
As explained in an analysis on the enteric nervous system,
 

“GI peptides in the blood can broadcast a signal to any tissue with a matching receptor, including tissues in GI organs where the peptides help coordinate digestive function. Early during the digestive process, they contribute to slowing gastric emptying and stimulating pancreatic secretion of enzymes and bicarbonate. Later they facilitate secretion of insulin and the postabsorptive assimilation of nutrients.”

Relationships Among the Brain, the Digestive System, and Eating Behavior: Workshop Summary.
 
When these responses are elicited, it tells the gut to begin the digestion of food. Other times, neurons of the enteric nervous system tell us when we’re full or hungry.
 
Meanwhile, other neurons report the state of the gut to the central nervous system. These neurons sense when something is wrong. Based on these interactions, neurons can trigger physical discomfort or nausea. For example, these neurons are responsible for pain in stomach when you have an inflamed gut lining [6]. 

 

Gut as a Sensory Organ: Endocrine System

 
The next way that your gut processes outside signals are through the endocrine system. This network in our body produces hormones that are influenced by your gut biome [7].
 
Eating sets off hormones from the gut

Within your gut, there are hundreds of thousands of endocrine cells. These endocrine cells produce many different hormones that are dispersed throughout your body. 
 
Hormones are released within the gut after you eat or drink. They send a signal to your body to begin breaking down food by releasing digestive enzymes [8]. In addition, hormones can spread a message throughout the circulatory system. Therefore, hormones can act on multiple body parts at once. 
 
While they affect different systems, neurons and hormones do not work separately. In fact, hormones often work to trigger a response from a neuron [9]. When hormones and neurons work together, your gut can digest food seamlessly. As a result, this sensory organ can keep gut-related disorders are kept at bay.

 

Gut as a Sensory Organ: Immune System

 
Last but certainly not least is your gut immune system. The gut biome is home to 70-80% of the body’s immune cells [10]. We need a majority of them there to protect our sensory organ from damage perpetrated by our dietary choices.
 
Need an immune booster?
Our immune system has to continually battle pathogens found in what we eat and drink every day. Some immune cells in the gut help to create antibodies to foreign pathogens that come into the digestive tract. Thanks to the adaptive immune system, our gut biome can better respond to these opportunistic stomach bacteria. 
 
The immune system is responsible for creating inflammation in the gut, which, when necessary, can be crucial in fighting off pathogenic growth [11]. Consequently, this inflammation can have negative consequences when it becomes chronic [12]. Dysfunction in the gut immune system plays a role in diseases from IBS to allergies and even leaky gut. 

 

Why Gut Health Matters for Optimal Wellness

 
When the gut immune cells, endocrine system, and gut neurons all work together, your gut can accomplish more. This sensory organ can digest your food as well as protect you from pathogens. When this intricate signaling system falls out of balance, it can lead to all sorts of diseases.
Probiotic
Time to take control of your gut health
 
It’s essential to make sure that you are taking the proper steps to maintain optimal gut health. Your gut responds to the food you eat, so it is important to eat unprocessed whole foods as much as possible, Healthy dietary choices trigger the proper signaling responses from your body and decrease unnecessary inflammation [13]. 
 
Additionally, maintaining a healthy microbiome is critical in regulating hormonal signaling and keeping your immune system healthy. On top of eating foods in a healthy gut diet plan, taking probiotic supplements is another way to boost your gut health [14]. 
 
Here at Thryve, we offer probiotics based on your unique gut biome and health goals. By personalizing our probiotics, we can help you take care of the most significant sensory organ in your body!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Furness, John B., et al. “II. The Intestine as a Sensory Organ: Neural, Endocrine, and Immune Responses.” American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 1 Nov. 1999, www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpgi.1999.277.5.G922.
 
[2] Hadhazy, Adam. “Think Twice: How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-Being.” Scientific American, 12 Feb. 2010, www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/.
 
[3] Furness, J B, et al. “Intrinsic Primary Afferent Neurons of the Intestine.” Progress in Neurobiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 1998, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9460790.
 
[4] Kirchgessner, A L, et al. “In Situ Identification and Visualization of Neurons That Mediate Enteric and Enteropancreatic Reflexes.” The Journal of Comparative Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 22 July 1996, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8835732.
 
[5] Forum, Food. “Interaction Between the Brain and the Digestive System.” Relationships Among the Brain, the Digestive System, and Eating Behavior: Workshop Summary., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Feb. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279994/.
 
[6] Sengupta J. N. (2009). Visceral pain: the neurophysiological mechanism. Handbook of experimental pharmacology, (194), 31–74. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-79090-7_2.
 
[7] Martin, A. M., Sun, E. W., Rogers, G. B., & Keating, D. J. (2019). The Influence of the Gut Microbiome on Host Metabolism Through the Regulation of Gut Hormone Release. Frontiers in physiology, 10, 428. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00428.
 
[8] Rao JN, Wang JY. Regulation of Gastrointestinal Mucosal Growth. San Rafael (CA): Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences; 2010. Role of GI Hormones on Gut Mucosal Growth. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK54093/.
 
[9] Ye, L., & Liddle, R. A. (2017). Gastrointestinal hormones and the gut connectome. Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity, 24(1), 9–14. doi:10.1097/MED.0000000000000299.
 
[10] Castro, G A, and C J Arntzen. “Immunophysiology of the Gut: a Research Frontier for Integrative Studies of the Common Mucosal Immune System.” The American Journal of Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 1993, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8238344.
 
[11] Hakansson, A., & Molin, G. (2011). Gut microbiota and inflammation. Nutrients, 3(6), 637–682. doi:10.3390/nu3060637.
 
[12] Collins, S M. “The Immunomodulation of Enteric Neuromuscular Function: Implications for Motility and Inflammatory Disorders.” Gastroenterology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 1996, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8942751.
 
[13] Olendzki, B.C., Silverstein, T.D., Persuitte, G.M. et al. An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report. Nutr J13, 5 (2014) doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-5.
 
[14] Probiotics promote gut health through stimulation of epithelial innate immunity. Cristiano Pagnini, Rubina Saeed, Giorgos Bamias, Kristen O. Arseneau, Theresa T. Pizarro, Fabio Cominelli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jan 2010, 107 (1) 454-459; DOI: 0.1073/pnas.0910307107.
 

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Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

It’s common knowledge to most people that long-term inflammation is the primary cause of the majority of diseases we develop. We want to put an emphasis on “long-term.” Inflammation gets a bad rap. In fact, we need inflammation to keep us safe from opportunistic stomach bacteria. However, chronic inflammation is an issue. That’s why you need a diet in the top anti-inflammatory foods.
 
In a rapidly changing world, there is always one thing that is constant. Eating. Sure, we need to sleep and exercise for basic human functioning. However, the hours we must fulfill to meet these requirements can be quite fleeting. Yet, human beings always find time for food. Unfortunately, most of these foods aren’t doing our health any favors.
 
Let’s take a look at our connection between diet and inflammation. Then we’ll help you find the top anti-inflammatory foods you need for your healthy gut diet plan.

 

Why You Should Eat Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

 

We live in a society dictated by a number on the scale or how many calories on a package. While these can be useful tools to analyze your health goals and decisions, they’re not the be-all, end-all.

 

Misconceptions About Nutrition

 
After all, muscle is more dense than fat. So, two different people can carry 300 pounds on their frame. However, one might look chiseled out of stone, while the other would be deemed by society as overweight.
 

 

Many fixate on counting calories rather than the quality of calories

Plus, it’s not the number of calories that matter as much as the content of those calories. For instance, you can eat 1,000 calories per day. Sounds like the perfect diet, right?
 
If those calories are just steak with no vegetables, over time, you will probably increase your chances of developing clogged arteries [1]. A diet that isn’t well-rounded may enhance problems in other areas of your life. So, you need to find foods that will even out that balance.
 
On the flip side, vegans need to make sure that those 1,000 calories have omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12. Otherwise, they can potentially develop serious nutritional deficiencies [2].
 
Then there’s the obvious. Say you just eat 1,000 calories of junk food. You’d probably end up with some gnarly gastrointestinal disease…and need to go on a sugar detox.

 

What Causes Inflammation

 
In the middle of the diehard carnivores, vegans, and junk food aficionados are the majority of the world. At least 60% of the population has a chronic inflammation condition [3].
 
That’s because even those of us who restrict our calories are filling it with things we perceive as healthy. Unfortunately, these foods don’t agree with everyone’s particular system.

 

Gluten and Lactose

 

pizza

 

We know. Pizza is life.

Many of us eat inflammatory foods rich in gluten and lactose. After all, who doesn’t love a sandwich with cheese? A deep-fried beef and cheese enchilada? How about pepperoni pizza? Yeah, gluten and lactose are our guiltiest pleasure, yet no one feels guilty.
 
Unfortunately, those who do feel guilty are also in the dark. We’re unaware of some of the foods and everyday items that are laden with these inflammatory fibers. You can find gluten in everything from licorice to medications to salad dressing!
 

Lectins

 
While gluten and lactose have been heavily vilified, there are other compounds out there that may cause people gastrointestinal distress. For instance, plenty are sensitive to lectins in legumes or the seeds in nightshades. So, for someone to eat the top anti-inflammatory foods, they need to stay away from these healthy options.

 

Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

 
Eating the top anti-inflammatory foods may sound limited on the surface. However, as we unpeel the onion layers on this healthy gut diet plan, you will see there are many options. Here are some of the top anti-inflammatory foods you must incorporate into your diet for optimal gut health.

 

Turmeric

 
curcumin top anti-inflammatory foods

 

The root of anti-inflammatory health!

Turmeric is a root that is a favorite amongst Indian cuisine enthusiasts. However, it’s also a well-touted supplement for battling chronic inflammation. Research shows that turmeric is rich in a compound known as curcumin [4].
 

 

 

 

A meta-analysis on this curcuminoid found that it inhibited the growth of several inflammatory biomarkers, including:

 
• Phospholipase
• Lipooxygenase
• Cyclooxygenase 2
• Leukotrienes
• Thromboxane
• Prostaglandins
• Nitric Oxide
• Collagenase
• Elastase
• Hyaluronidase
• Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 (MCP-1)
• Interferon-Inducible Protein
• Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)
• Interleukin-12 (IL-12)

 

Curcumin and Black Pepper

 
Black pepper has an abundance of the molecule, Bioperine. This aromatic compound is what gives black pepper its zingy scent. That’s why many actually use it as an essential oil.
 
However, it also helps the body absorb nutrients, especially curcumin. In fact, it increases the absorption rate of curcumin by a whopping 2,000% [5].

 

Bone Broth

 
Chronic inflammation is never-ending like the water cycle. Sadly, inflammation ignites the cells along the gut barrier. Therefore, long-term inflammation causes people to develop Leaky Gut Syndrome.
 

Thryve Inside Bone Broth recipe

Making bone broth is easy and delicious

When you have a leaky gut, pathogenic bacteria from your small intestine can infest the gut biome. As a result, your immune system sparks inflammation. So, eating inflammatory foods is like insanity. It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a new result.
 
Change the results by sealing the leak. The most effective way to accomplish this is with collagen and elastin. You can get an abundance of these proteins in bone broth.
 
When you make a bone broth, these essential minerals seep out from the bones and into the stock. You can up the gut health benefits by adding more turmeric and black pepper into the mix.

 

Salmon

 

We need protein-rich with amino acids to build muscles and cells. Wild-caught salmon is one of the richest and leanest resources of these essential omegas.
 
Research on omega-3 fatty acids finds they are effective in preventing the development of many diseases caused by an influx of omega-6 fatty acids. These are found in fattier foods like beef and pork.
 
One analysis on omega-3s and inflammation stated,
 

“Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, might be useful in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Coronary heart disease, major depression, aging and cancer are characterized by an increased level of interleukin 1 (IL-1), a proinflammatory cytokine. Similarly, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and lupus erythematosis are autoimmune diseases characterized by a high level of IL-1 and the proinflammatory leukotriene LTB(4) produced by omega-6 fatty acids [6]. 

J Am Coll Nutr. 

So, find more balance in your protein sources. Include more plant-based options such as nuts and seeds. For meals, make sure you are consuming wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, and eggs.

 

Spirulina

 
If you are a vegan in need of omega-3s, check out the superfood, spirulina. This cyanobacterium is also known as blue algae.
 

top anti-inflammatory foods spirulina

Pretty healthy!

While salmon are carnivores, they do inhale, drink, and live in water.
 
Molecules are known to leach into water.
 
So, if blue algae are in the water, its nutrients must penetrate the scales of a salmon. Plus, zooplankton that salmon eat feed on this algae. So, they absorb it through diet, too. That’s why many believe wild salmon have such a high level of essential omega fatty acids.
 
Furthermore, many farm salmon companies started adding spirulina to their feed. Once again, we recommend opting for wild-caught to avoid any hormones or inferior quality meat. However, this is a step towards improving the process.

 

Avocados

 

We need fat. It is essential for nutrient absorption and cell creation. These aspects are essential for repairing your gut lining. Avocados are one of the cleanest sources of healthy fats you are going to find.
 

top anti-inflammatory foods

 

Avocado, hold the toast!

These fruits are rich in long-chain fatty acids. These are energy sources stored in our adipose fat cells. We draw on it for energy throughout the day.
 
While medium-chain triglycerides are ideal, avocados have a litany of nutrients. So, we can stand to have that extra fat, because it will be offset or enriched by loads of minerals in this brunch fave.

 

Greens

 
Sorry, folks. Gotta eat your greens. If you have inflammation, you need to get rid of what’s causing it. That means you’re going to need fiber.
 
While many of us turn to grains for fiber, these sources can be cross-contaminated by manufacturers who also produce gluten items. So, your safest bet is leafy greens.
 

kale

Kale it!

Now, lettuce may be hydrating, but a package of iceberg isn’t going to suffice. You need greens that can feed your good stomach bacteria. However, they need the fiber necessary to flush the bad guys out.
 
Eat greens, such as:
• Kale
• Spinach
• Swiss or Rainbow Chard
• Collards
• Brussels Sprouts
 
Also, ditch the salad dressing. Use red wine or apple cider vinegar. These fermented dressings are excellent for gut health. Top it off with some extra virgin olive oil. Like avocados, plant-based oils are rich in fats that can improve your inflammation problems.

 

Berries

 

Can’t go wrong with nature’s dessert. Berries are abundant in antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off the growth of free radicals.
 
When we have free radicals in the system, they set off all sorts of bells and whistles. Therefore, the immune system works in overdrive to expel these invaders.
 
If a free radical wins in the fight, it can develop into something much worse. The way it does this is that it uses your immune system’s inflammatory as a shield. That way, it can leach onto other peptides and develop a debilitating condition.

 

How to Eat Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

 
It’s one thing to pick out the top anti-inflammatory foods. It’s another to implement them into a healthy gut diet plan. Swiss chard sounds wonderful, but how on earth do you use it? Well, there are many ways…and we’d love to assist you! Join the Thryve Gut Health Program.
 

Thryve Gut Health Program

Personalized gut health

We test your stomach bacteria to see what might be causing inflammation.
 
Then, we work to formulate a personalized probiotic for your gut biome.
 
With that information, we can tailor a healthy gut diet plan featuring the top anti-inflammatory foods. Our program has easy-to-follow recipes that you are sure to love. Give us a try today!

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] Kerley C. P. (2018). A Review of Plant-based Diets to Prevent and Treat Heart Failure. Cardiac failure review, 4(1), 54–61. doi:10.15420/cfr.2018:1:1.
 
[2] “Vegans May Lack Essential Nutrient Intake, Study Reports.” ScienceDaily, Mayo Clinic, 16 Mar. 2016, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160316194551.htm.
 
[3] Pahwa R, Jialal I. Chronic Inflammation. [Updated 2019 Jun 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/.
 
[4] Chainani-Wu, Nita. “Safety and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Curcumin: a Component of Tumeric (Curcuma Longa).” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12676044.
 
[5] Shoba, G, et al. “Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers.” Planta Medica, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 1998, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9619120.
 
[6] Simopoulos, Artemis P. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12480795.
 

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20 Types of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are essential for gut health because they keep free radicals at bay. While our body creates different types of antioxidants internally, our system needs a little extra help. Therefore, we can find many antioxidants in our food sources. However, not all antioxidants work the same, nor are they present within the same foods. So, it’s essential to know your types of antioxidants, and which foods in the Thryve Inside healthy gut diet plan have them.

 

Why Are Antioxidants Important?

 
Antioxidants are our body’s greatest defense against free radicals [1]. Free radicals are loose compounds in the system that looks to pair with any molecule, electron, or ion for they can find. These unplanned reactions cause what science calls “oxidative stress.
 
Oxidative stress can be a ticket to chemotherapy
Oxidative stress destroys protein, DNA, and cells. If oxidative stress persists, it can become a leading cause of several long-term problems, including gastroenterology diseases and stomach cancer.
 
A free radical typically has a short life span. That’s because antioxidants stop them from causing oxidative stress on the system. However, the Standard American Diet (SAD) doesn’t supply enough antioxidant-rich foods to prevent this occurrence.
 
A recent article by Time Magazine looked at the lack of antioxidants in a typical American diet [2]. They interviewed Jeffrey Blumberg of Tufts University. He is the Director of Antioxidants Research in their Nutrition Program.
 
Jeffrey Blumberg told the magazine,
 

“The average adult should be consuming 15 mg of vitamin E daily, but more than 90% of people fail to eat that amount, and most people only get about half the recommended dose from their diet.”

– Jeffrey Blumberg
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are just two of thousands of antioxidants. Here are 20 types of antioxidants you should know about, and how to include them in your diet.

 

Categories of Types of Antioxidants

 
Optimal wellness hinges on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods. Rule of thumb, opt for foods of various colors. Chances are that specific antioxidant-rich minerals dictate the colors.
 
types of antioxidants
Eat a variety of food colors to get the most types of antioxidants
Before we get into the types of antioxidants you should get in your diet; we should point out that antioxidants are broken down into categories that can be rather complex.
 
We might get into these in a future article, but that’s another rabbit hole for another day.
 
So, we’re not going to get deeply into classifications. Instead, we’re just going to discuss types of antioxidants and where you can find them!

 

Types of Antioxidants

 
While there are thousands of antioxidants out there, you can still get enough to fight off free radicals through diet. All you need to do is followed a balanced healthy gut diet plan all week long, picking foods from each of the 20 types of antioxidants.

 

Allium Sulfur Compounds

 
These compounds are responsible for that tangy-yet-bitter taste and pungent aroma we love and hate in onions and garlic. Research indicates that these fragrant compounds help stop the growth of opportunistic bacteria. In fact, they went as far as to suggest allium leaves as an all-natural preservative [3].
 
Sources of allium sulfur compounds include:
• Onions
• Garlic
• Leeks
• Chives
 
If you have Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO), excessive intake of alliums may upset GI problems. Learn how to navigate these waters by reading up on having SIBO while following a vegan diet.

 

Anthocyanins

 
These are colorful antioxidants. You know a food is rich in anthocyanins if they have hues that range from dark red to vibrant purple to black.
 
types of antioxidants
Excellent sources of anthocyanins and allium sulfur
Anthocyanins-rich foods include:
• Eggplant
• Black Rice
• Raspberries
• Blackberries
• Blueberries
• Grapes
 
These pigments are essential for strengthening gut-brain-axis. One study involving subjects with a spinal injury saw a 16.7% improvement in their blood-brain barrier with a treatment of anthocyanins [4].

 

Beta-Carotene

 
This organic compound is the precursor to Vitamin A. Therefore, beta-carotene is helpful in everything from skincare to eye health.
 
Foods rich in beta-carotene include:
• Mangoes
• Carrots
• Apricots
• Parsley
• Sweet Potatoes
 
Getting more beta-carotene in your diet will also help boost your immune system. So, eating these types of antioxidants will have you looking good and feeling great.

 

Catechins

 
These are the antioxidants that everyone likes to drink. You can find catechins in many plant-based beverages.
 
red wine types of antioxidants
Drink in moderation, of course!

Some catechin-rich food choices include:
• Cocoa
• Wine
• Green Tea
 
The most effective way to get catechins is through green tea. By heating up the leaves, it releases tannic juice from catechins [5]. These juices help with digestion. That’s why we suggest drinking tea for Leaky Gut Syndrome and other GI problems.

 

Copper

 
Copper is essential for the body because it helps your system produce red blood cells. These are the pawns in our system that clear our debris such as dead cells and free radicals. Thanks to copper, we have the blood cells needed to keep our heart and skin healthy and strong.
 
Foods rich in copper include:
• Liver
Spirulina
• Lobster
• Dark Chocolate
• Shiitake Mushrooms
• Oysters
 
While using copper mugs may seem like a good solution, you might want to be careful of what you put in the cup. Research shows that high pH beverages, such as some alcoholic drinks, can cause copper to leach into the liquid [6]. This reaction may cause food poisoning.

 

Cryptoxanthins

 
Cryptoxanthins aren’t as scary as the name sounds. That is, unless you are free radicals! These types of antioxidants have shown great promise in helping with nutrient absorption and metabolism [7]. Therefore, your body is primed to take on invaders.
 

Get slicin’!

You can get a hefty dose of cryptoxanthins in:
• Mandarin Oranges
• Red Bell Peppers
• Pumpkins
• Papaya
• Egg Yolk
• Butter
 
As you may have noticed, many of these foods fall within the red-orange hues. You can thank cryptoxanthins for that pretty pigmentation.

 

Flavonoids

 
These are the largest groups of phytonutrients. There are at least 6,000 different flavonoids known to humankind. Other types of antioxidants on this list may classify as a flavonoid, such as anthocyanins and isoflavonoids. However, we promised not to go down that rabbit hole today!
 
types of antioxidants
Pop a sprout!
You can receive a wide range of flavonoids in:
• Onions
• Kale
• Brussels Sprouts
• Strawberries
• Parsley
• Tea
 
You want to be sure to get plenty of flavonoids in your diet. Research indicates they have strong neuroprotective abilities. One study indicated those who consumed flavonoids had a 50% lesser chance of developing dementia [8].

 

Indoles

 
This antioxidant is widely found in nature. It can even be created by bacteria. Therefore, getting indoles in your diet should be easy.
 
Sources of indoles include:
• Broccoli
• Cabbage (Bump Up the Benefits and Ferment to Make Kraut)
• Cauliflower
• Turnips
• Mustard Seed
 
Indoles are linked to cancer prevention. This plant hormone has shown to prohibit the growth of prostate cancer cells [9]. So, be sure to eat your leafy greens!

 

Isoflavonoids

 
You may have noticed that we name-dropped these types of antioxidants earlier. These compounds are also known as phytoestrogens. Therefore, these food sources may be great for people with hormonal imbalances, including women going through menopause.
 
Great Meal Swap for
Taco Tuesdays!


Phytoestrogen foods include:
Soybeans (Tofu, Edamame, Tempeh)
• Chickpeas
• Pistachios
• Peanuts
 
If you are a man dealing with infertility issues, you may want to eat a little less of these products. However, don’t cut them off completely. You still need isoflavonoids for a robust immune system.

 

Lignans

 
These antioxidants serve dual purposes. Not only are they antioxidant-rich, but lignans are great sources of prebiotics. Beneficial stomach bacteria consume polysaccharides (sugars) in these plant-based foods.
 
You can find lignans in:
• Barley
• Sesame Seeds
• Rye
• Flaxseed
• Cashews
 
In addition, lignans have an abundance of the essential fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). An analysis of this amino acid looked at several studies spanning 250,00 people. Researchers discovered that increased intake of ALA saw a 14% decreased risk of heart disease [10].

 

Lutein

 
Lutein is well-known for assisting our body in maintaining eye health. That’s because this antioxidant helps filter out harmful blue light rays emitted from the sun [11]. This blue light can destroy cells and even throw off your sleep cycles.
 
lutein types of antioxidants
Loads of lutein!
Find lutein in food sources such as:
• Kale
• Parsley
• Spinach
• Tomatoes
• Peas

You can also find this antioxidant in many eye supplements. So, if you are looking for types of antioxidants to add to your eye vitamin regimen, be sure to add lutein to the list.

 

Lycopene

 
These types of antioxidants are responsible for the reddish hue of tomatoes. In fact, tomatoes account for 80% of the average human lycopene consumption [12].
 
However, you can also find lycopene in:
• Watermelon
• Papaya
• Grapefruit
Lycopene is excellent for protecting the skin and rejuvenating sun-damaged cells. However, you should watch your lycopene levels if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

Manganese

 
This element is derived from an antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD). Manganese plays a pivotal role in how SOD helped fight the development of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis [13].
 
Get your manganese on!
You can find this trace mineral in foods, including:
• Pecans
• Almonds
• Acai Berries
• Pineapples
• Brown Rice
• Pinto Beans
• Whole Wheat Bread
 
Getting your manganese intake shouldn’t be hard. Our body doesn’t require much of it. So, be sure to eat up on these foods once or twice per week.

 

Polyphenols

 
These are some of the most common antioxidants. Polyphenols have shown they help boost cells that have been damaged by radiation or destroyed by pathogens, such as harmful intestinal flora [14]. There are so many types of antioxidants under the polyphenol classification. So, we won’t focus on only one.
 
Get an abundance and variety of these antioxidants in:
• Oregano
• Thyme
• Cherries
• Red Grapes
• Artichokes
• Coffee
 
So, brew some coffee, add some spices to your dishes, and eat your dark red fruits. These little changes will ensure you are getting a bevy of polyphenols in your diet.

 

Selenium

 
Selenium is another trace element with antioxidant capabilities. Research shows that this essential mineral helps fight off excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (NOS) [15]. These are two catalysts for free radical growth.
 
Can up some selenium
Get selenium from foods, such as:
• Brazil Nuts
• Eggs
• Mushrooms
• Pork
• Lentils
Sardines
• Cottage Cheese
 
As you can see, selenium is found in a wide variety of foods. However, selenium supplements are an excellent way of getting this trace mineral into your system regularly.

 

Vitamin A

 
The benefit of Vitamin A isn’t that far from beta-carotene. This essential vitamin has become a regular addition to many skin and eye care supplements. It also goes a long way in strengthening hair follicles.
 
Get plenty of Vitamin A by eating:
• Carrots
• Sweet Potatoes
• Liver
• Egg Yolk
 
You can also up your Vitamin A intake by applying it topically. There are plenty of Vitamin A oils out there that help clear out the sebaceous glands. When these get clogged up with dirt and oil, we end up with irritated and puffy skin. By eating Vitamin A, you nourish the gut-skin-axis, making for a healthier glow.

 

Vitamin E

 
Of the types of antioxidants, perhaps none is more synonymous with wound repairs than Vitamin E. Vitamin E is popular in the cosmetic industry as it helps strengthen the skin barrier. It also speeds up the healing process. That’s why many use Vitamin E oil for scar therapy.
 
A great Vitamin E-rich app
Get Vitamin E from foods, such as:
• Shrimp
• Kiwi
• Avocados
• Extra Virgin Live Oil
• Squash
 
As you may have noticed, many of these colors have an olive green-like color. If you stick to food with nature-esque hues, you can probably score a good amount of Vitamin E.

 

Vitamin C

 
Perhaps this is the most well-known antioxidant. Vitamin C is the mascot for the cough and cold aisle. You’ll find it in everything from throat lozenges to seltzers to cough syrups.
 
Foods abundant in Vitamin C include:
• Oranges
• Black Currants
• Mangoes
• Spinach
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Kale
 
You can get Vitamin C in a lot of fruits and vegetables. Save money on over-the-counter meds. Instead, be sure to stock up on produce when cold or flu season is upon us.

 

Zinc

 
This element is the best friend of Vitamin C in that cold aisle we talked about. We depend on this compound to help boost our immune system, DNA synthesis, and to promote cell growth [16].
 
types of antioxidants
It’s okay to be full of shiitake
Zinc is readily available in foods, such as:
• Pork
• Oatmeal
• Shiitake Mushrooms
• Avocados
• Chicken
 
Additionally, low zinc levels have been linked to decreased sperm counts [17]. If you are a man who has trouble with infertility, make sure you are getting enough zinc-rich foods in your diet.

 

Zoochemicals

 
These types of antioxidants are actually all animal-based. They reflect many of the phytochemicals that we discussed before.
 
Healthy sources of zoochemicals include:
• Wild-caught Salmon
• Free-range Chicken
• Grass-fed Beef
• Liver
• Sardines
 
Zoochemicals contain a litany of essential fatty acids. Therefore, many eat zoochemicals for heart health and to boost their brainpower.

 

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Resources

 

[1] Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., & Chandra, N. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy reviews, 4(8), 118–126. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.70902.
 
[2] Alexandra Sifferlin. “The Truth About Antioxidants.” Time, Time, 6 Aug. 2013, healthland.time.com/2013/08/06/the-truth-about-antioxidants/.
 
[3] LilianaGîtina. “Sulfur Compounds Identification and Quantification from Allium Spp. Fresh Leaves.” Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, Elsevier, 20 May 2014, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949814000544.
 
[4] Khoo, H. E., Azlan, A., Tang, S. T., & Lim, S. M. (2017). Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. Food & nutrition research, 61(1), 1361779. doi:10.1080/16546628.2017.1361779.
 
[5] Chung, K T, et al. “Tannins and Human Health: a Review.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 1998, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9759559.
 
[6] Kumer, Emma. “The Hidden Danger Behind Moscow Mule Copper Mugs.” Taste of Home, 14 Apr. 2018, www.tasteofhome.com/article/the-hidden-danger-behind-copper-moscow-mule-mugs/.
 
[7] Burri, B. J., La Frano, M. R., & Zhu, C. (2016). Absorption, metabolism, and functions of β-cryptoxanthin. Nutrition reviews, 74(2), 69–82. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv064.
 
[8] Commenges, D, et al. “Intake of Flavonoids and Risk of Dementia.” European Journal of Epidemiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2000, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10959944.
 
[9] Katz, E., Nisani, S., & Chamovitz, D. A. (2018). Indole-3-carbinol: a plant hormone combatting cancer. F1000Research, 7, F1000 Faculty Rev-689. doi:10.12688/f1000research.14127.1.
 
[10] Pan, An, et al. “α-Linolenic Acid and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Society for Nutrition, Dec. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23076616.
 
[11] “Lutein & Zeaxanthin.” American Optometric Association, www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/lutein.
 
[12] May, Mary Elizabeth. “What’s Lycopene?” What Is Lycopene?, National Capital Poison Center, 31 July 2019, www.poison.org/articles/lycopene-171.
 
[13] Bae, Sang-Cheol, et al. “Inadequate Antioxidant Nutrient Intake and Altered Plasma Antioxidant Status of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12897046.
 
[14]Pandey, K. B., & Rizvi, S. I. (2009). Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2(5), 270–278. doi:10.4161/oxim.2.5.9498.
 
[15] Tinggi U. (2008). Selenium: its role as antioxidant in human health. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 13(2), 102–108. doi:10.1007/s12199-007-0019-4.
 
[16] Roohani, N., Hurrell, R., Kelishadi, R., & Schulin, R. (2013). Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 18(2), 144–157.
 

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How Sleep Deprivation Alters Your Intestinal Flora

We all need our beauty rest. Otherwise, things get ugly. That’s not just the case for our looks and mood. Sleep deprivation also disrupts the life of your intestinal flora. Stomach bacteria and immune cells depend on us getting shut-eye. That way, they can actually get some work done. However, research shows these microbes also rely on the light for their own functioning.
 
It’s been common scientific knowledge that night-shift workers or time zone travelers are prone to obesity [1]. This realization propelled a group of scientists to research how our body’s circadian rhythm may play a role in weight gain [2]. Let’s take a closer look at what these researchers discovered when it comes to the gut biome, immune system, weight gain, and sleep cycles.

 

What is the Circadian Rhythm?

 
Before we discuss the implications sleep deprivation has on gut health, you should have a firm understanding of our circadian rhythm. Essentially, the circadian rhythm is our body’s built-in biological clock. It is regulated by the nut-sized pineal gland.
 
circadian rhythm
We all have an internal clock
Our pineal gland is situated at a convergence point directly behind our two eyes. The pineal gland is the gatekeeper of our sleep hormone, melatonin. As light enters our eyes, its energy stimulates the pineal gland [3]. Light stimulation ceases melatonin production, so we remain productive during daytime hours.
 
As the sun goes down, the amount of light entering our eyes decreases. Slowly, the pineal gland secretes melatonin. Throughout the night, the body produces more of this hormone so we can enter our various sleep cycles seamlessly.
 
Once the sun begins to rise, its rays will permeate through your window. This light will penetrate through the thin flap of skin that comprises our eyelids.
Just as slowly as the pineal gland secretes melatonin, it also weans off of it. That way, we don’t thrash awake. Instead, we rise peacefully and well-rested. This process is our circadian rhythm. Unfortunately for those with sleep deprivation, this process isn’t so smooth.

 

Why Do We Have Sleep Deprivation?

 
There are several factors big and small that may cause us to experience sleep deprivation. Let’s quickly touch upon each of these. That way, you can see how it all adds up to compromising our gut health.

 

Too Much Screen Time

 
As we mentioned, the pineal gland is regulated by light. Therefore, indoor lights, computer monitors, and television screens can all throw off our circadian rhythm. This sentiment is especially true for smart devices.
 
sleep deprivation
Make a “no screen in bed” rule!
Smartphone screens are made of LED lights. LED lights have a natural blue tint. This blue tint is akin to that first break in the darkness you see in your room if you were to wake up around 4:00 AM. Therefore, LEDs in our light fixtures, tablets, and car headlights are playing tricks with our pineal gland.

 

Fluoride

 
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that fluoridating water has led to a decrease in dental problems [4]. Yet, can we ignore the fact that sleep deprivation is on a steady rise that coincides with the timeline of these practices?
 
Forbes looked at the rise of sleep deprivation in America, and noted,
 

“Americans aren’t spending enough time snoozing. In 2013 (the last year measured by Gallup), the average American slept 6.8 hours a night—with 40 percent banking less than six hours. The nation hasn’t always been this sleep-deprived: Back in 1910, people slept an average of nine hours per night [5].”

Forbes
While small doses of fluoride are deemed safe, we brush our teeth with fluoride, going as far as to scrub our porous tongue. We breathe fluoride in the air. Then, we drink this compound in our water.
 
Sadly, studies show that fluoride causes our pineal gland to calcify, thus making it difficult for it to release melatonin.
 
One analysis stated,
 

“F readily accumulates in the human pineal gland. In her study, intrapineal calcifications in the brains of persons aged about 80 contained on average 9,000 mg F/kg, and the average concentration in the pineal gland was 297 ± 257 (14–875) mg F/kg wm, so about 1,485 ± 1,285 mg F/kg dm. Compared with humans, the pineal gland of the adult goosander had an almost 40 % lower concentration [6].”


Environ Geochem Health
Additional evidence is starting to show that fluoride also draws heavy metals from water pipes [7]. Therefore, fluoride can help us absorb more harmful chemicals that may alter our gut biome and cause sleep deprivation.

 

Stress

 
Sleep deprivation and stress go hand-in-hand. Not only do you lay in bed thinking about all things stressing you out, but there’s a hormonal shift going on, as well.

 

This bottle hit its cortisol quota
When we are under stress, our body secretes the hormone, cortisol. Unfortunately, many of us live with chronic stress. It’s like turning on the cortisol sink and walking away.
 
Imagine putting a one-liter bottle under the spout. It will only hold one liter of liquid. Now, let’s exchange the word “water” for “hormones.” We need many hormones to function, not just cortisol. So, when stress takes over, it makes less room in the bottle for other hormones, such as melatonin.

 

Sleep Disorder or Chronic Illness

 
Up to 70 million people suffer from a sleep disorder [8]. There are 90 different sleep disorders out there, so we aren’t going too far into detail. If you believe you have a sleep disorder or chronic illness, please contact a physician.

 

Sleep Deprivation and Gut Health

 
We are a complex system. So many different networks in our body have an impact on one another. The more we research the gut biome, the more intertwined each facet gets. The study we noted at the beginning of this article has really blown this realization off its hinges [2].
 
sleep deprivation
Up and down all night?
Scientists found that our circadian rhythm influences immune cells that play a critical role in our gut health. It turns out that our cells have a clock gene encoded in them. Like us, they are regulated by light.
 
Science suggests all living beings use light as a milestone for their day-to-day tasks. That notion includes our cells. Our body as a whole sees light, and the absence of it, as moments for every organism to get on the same page.
 
Researchers hypothesize humans have evolved to rely on light for environmental protection. Our cells have learned to go along with us for the ride since our physical body kind of dictates the whole show. When the light goes down, the body knows it’s time to rest. Therefore, certain systems will slow activity, while others use this time to make crucial hormones.

 

Sleep Deprivation and Immune System

 

As researchers dug down the rabbit hole, they found a crucial link between sleep deprivation and poor gut health. Many immune cells in the GI tract were unphased by shifts in circadian rhythm. As you can imagine, it’s pretty dark in there anyway. However, one set of immune cells seemed to have an adverse reaction to changes in our circadian rhythm and light intake.
 
Type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) are immune cells that are predominant in our gastrointestinal tract. They are known to serve many important functions in helping us achieve optimal wellness.
 
Primary functions of ILC3s include:
• Fighting off Infections
• Repairing Gut Lining
• Absorbing Fat and Protein
 
Furthermore, ILC3s interact with neuronal cells. Therefore, distress experienced by the mind, such as sleep deprivation, may cause these immune system cells to trigger inflammation. Therefore, scientists theorize that ILC3s play a significant role in the gut-brain-axis.

 

Circadian Rhythm and ILC3s

 
ILC3s are regulated by light. During daytime hours, the ILC3s are on higher alert. That’s because this is the time of the day when we eat. These immune cells work to metabolize fats. That way, they can burn them off to provide us energy during the working hours.
 
sleep deprivation
Light controls everything
However, ILC3s pull double duty. After all, they are immune cells. So, they must move back to the gut when we are done eating. That way, these cells can fight off any harmful bacteria we may have ingested from our food.
 
As we mentioned earlier, the gut can be quite dark. That’s why ILC3s are equipped with “postcode receptors [9].” These cells express these receptors so they can guide them to an area of the gut where they can localize.
 
When the circadian rhythm of a person shifts, it throws off this line of communication. ILC3s miss the cue to express the gene. Consequently, these cells have trouble localizing. They don’t know where to go! Therefore, sleep deprivation can suppress a pivotal cell within our immune system.
 
Want to get your gut health in check? Get some sleep. Improve the odds by getting your gut tested. Join the Thryve Inside Gut Health Program to naturally support your sleep cycles.

 

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Resources

 

[1] Sun, M., Feng, W., Wang, F., Zhang, L., Wu, Z., Li, Z., … Tse, L. A. (2018). Night shift work exposure profile and obesity: Baseline results from a Chinese night shift worker cohort. PloS one, 13(5), e0196989. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0196989.
 
[2] “Disruption of Circadian Cycle Impacts Immune Cell Clock Genes, Gut Health.” Clinical OMICs – Molecular Diagnostics in Personalized Medicine, 23 Sept. 2019, www.clinicalomics.com/topics/molecular-dx-topic/microbiome/disruption-of-circadian-cycle-impacts-immune-cell-clock-genes-gut-health/.
 
[3] Brown G. M. (1994). Light, melatonin and the sleep-wake cycle. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN, 19(5), 345–353.
 
[4] Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Health Claim Notification Fluoridated Water and Reduced Dental Caries.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/health-claim-notification-fluoridated-water-and-reduced-risk-dental-caries.
 
[5] Howe, Neil. “America The Sleep-Deprived.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Aug. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2017/08/18/america-the-sleep-deprived/#51ca9a931a38.
 
[6] Kalisinska, E., Bosiacka-Baranowska, I., Lanocha, N., Kosik-Bogacka, D., Krolaczyk, K., Wilk, A., … Chlubek, D. (2014). Fluoride concentrations in the pineal gland, brain and bone of goosander (Mergus merganser) and its prey in Odra River estuary in Poland. Environmental geochemistry and health, 36(6), 1063–1077. doi:10.1007/s10653-014-9615-6.
 
[7] Mullenix P. J. (2014). A new perspective on metals and other contaminants in fluoridation chemicals. International journal of occupational and environmental health, 20(2), 157–166. doi:10.1179/2049396714Y.0000000062.
 
[8] “Sleep Studies: Tests & Results.” National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-studies.
 
[9] Godinho-Silva, Cristina, et al. “Light-Entrained and Brain-Tuned Circadian Circuits Regulate ILC3s and Gut Homeostasis.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31534216.
 

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Innate vs. Adaptive Immune System. What’s the Difference?

Our body is such a complex system. Two main components have an impact on how this system works. In historical, scientific references, these all-powerful forces might be described as nature vs. nurture. Nothing is a better example of nature vs. nurture than our immune system. Most notably, we’re talking about the innate and adaptive immune system.
 
The human immune system is designed to protect us from the threat of foreign invaders. Unfortunately, the immune system we developed can only do so much. Our current lifestyle sets our immune system up to endure constant attack. Thankfully, our immune system can evolve to handle these situations. Let’s get to know both systems a little better.

 

How Do We Develop an Immune System?

 
We want to think that our parents, doctors, and nurses were the first living beings we’ve encountered in our lifetime. However, we met trillions of microbes inside of our mother’s womb as a zygote.
 
As a matter of fact, our mother’s microbes helped develop a fetus into an actual body. Their first line of action? Create our immune system!

 

Immunology of the Fetus

 
After around five weeks, a zygote develops a spleen [1]. The spleen will be the first part of the body to secrete immune cells once the mother enters her second trimester.
 
immune system and mother
There’s an immune system brewin’ in there!


In preparation of this event, the zygote will develop the thymus. This gland is responsible for regulating hormones and immune cells.
 
Next up, the zygote will become an embryo. At this point, they will develop lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are essential for a properly functioning immune system. Fluids within these pathways help trap pathogens. That way, immune cells can come and wipe out the enemy.
 
Finally, the GI tract of the fetus is developed. This milestone will take place around the thirteen-week mark. Simultaneously, the first immune cells of the fetus start to form.

 

IgG Immune Cells in Utero

 
As you can tell, setting up an immune system is of the utmost importance for a fetus. It’s ingrained in our DNA to protect ourselves from potential threats. Our mother’s cells help make that happen.
 
A little after thirteen weeks, Immunoglobulin G (IgG) will pass the placenta and into the embryo.
 
One analysis found,
 

“Placental transfer of maternal IgG antibodies to the fetus is an important mechanism that provides protection to the infant while his/her humoral response is inefficient. IgG is the only antibody class that significantly crosses the human placenta [2].”

– Journal of Immunology Research
Yeah, we should be thanking our mom. This immune cell will eventually make up 75% of the antibodies in our body [3]. It’s also the first steps in our development of the innate immune system.

 

Immune Cells in Breast Milk

 
When we are born, we are entering a whole new world. Life is not as cushy as it was in our mom’s womb.
 
newborn baby
It’s important for
parent and baby to share germs
In there, we just had to deal with the pathogens that were trying to ruin her intestinal flora.
 
Now, we have to deal with everyone else’s.
 
Babies are not as helpless as we like to believe. Their immune system is already in place.
 
However, they’re not fully developed. In fact, that’s going to be an ongoing process until they reach puberty.

 

Post-Birth Immune System Growth

 
An in-depth analysis looking at the development of the immune system from fetus to adulthood states,
 

“The young human child, even as the innate and adaptive immune systems start to mature, is at risk from many pathogenic viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites [4]. “

Proc Biol Sci.
Their lacking immune system is why so many elementary school students have sick days. They’re only accustomed to the pathogens they met in womb and just have the immune cells their mother passed on to them.
 
As the analysis explained further,
 

“The immune system gradually matures during infancy. Critical early protection against many infectious diseases previously experienced by the mother is given by the passive IgG antibody transferred from the mother transplacentally and in milk. Once that fades away, young children become more vulnerable to infections, though by then better armed with the maturing innate and adaptive immune systems.”

Proc Biol Sci.
Like they say; sometimes you have to get a bit dirty. Your child’s immune system must grow over time. However, it needs backup from familiar immune cells. That’s why breastfeeding can be so beneficial.
 
Immune cells and probiotics in breast milk help strengthen the child’s gut biome. In turn, they produce more immune cells. If you decide not to breastfeed, please consult a physician about ways to boost your child’s immune system naturally. This crucial time in their life is where your child relies on the innate immune system more than ever.

 

What is the Innate Immune System?

 
Our innate immune system is the “nurture” aspect of our immune system. These are the cells that act as our first line of defense. When you get a cold, these cells create the mucus to blow the germs out. If you get a cut, these cells cause that hot sensation at the site of the laceration.
 
You know your innate system is at work when you experience:
innate immune system reaction
Getting a tattoo can cause an innate immune system response with



red, hot, swelling, and pained skin.


Redness – This is red blood cells coming to the site of the injury. Red blood cells promote healing and can rejuvenate damaged cells.
 
Hotness – We ware warm-blooded. So, when red blood cells gather, you are bound to feel heat. Plus, the immune system sparks inflammations to kill off intruders.
 
Swelling – This is when the immune system calls on Natural Killer (NK) Cells. Fluids containing these immune cells are pooling at the site of the damage.
 
Pain – Sometimes, it has to get worse before it gets better. Pain means your body is at work fighting the intruder. What’s so unique about the innate immune system is that it has no memory. These defense mechanisms are deeply engrained values that encoded in our DNA.
 
The initial reaction to an intruder from the innate immune system is to spark inflammation. Our immune cells try to kill off the foreign substance quickly with inflammation. Then, more immune cells put out the inflammation.
 
Common immune cells in our innate immune system include:
• Natural Killer Cells
• Mast Cells
• Eosinophils
• Basophils
• Phagocytic Cells (Macrophage, Neutrophils, Dendritic Cell)
 
When the innate immune system fails, inflammations continue. Long-term inflammation from immune cells may lead to autoimmune disease [5]. In these moments, the adaptive immune system jumps into the thick of things.

 

What is the Adaptive Immune System?

 
Our adaptive immune system is more methodical than our innate immune system. The adaptive immune system takes note of long-term unwanted residents. From there, it constructs a battleplan to destroy these pathogens.
 
This “big picture” ideology is the “nature” aspect of our immune system. As the name implies, our adaptive immune system adapts. It alters for the ever-changing environments we enter and the revolving door of pathogens that end up in our system.
 
What’s excellent about adaptive immune systems are that they can eradicate the threat of disease forever. Let’s take chickenpox, for example.
 
As explained by the Mayo Clinic,
 

“Most people who have had chickenpox or have been vaccinated against chickenpox are immune to chickenpox. If you’ve been vaccinated and still get chickenpox, symptoms are often milder, with fewer blisters and mild or no fever. A few people can get chickenpox more than once, but this is rare [6].

Mayo Clinic
The reason people tend not to get chickenpox twice is that our adaptive immune system creates antibodies. These antibodies are sort of like vaccines. Thanks to antibodies, the varicella virus (chickenpox) can’t survive in our system.

 

What Are Antibodies?

 
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins that latches onto intruders, inhibiting them from taking over the system. They are formulated to target specific pathogens. These defense mechanisms are secreted from B-cells of our adaptive immune system.
 
B-cells study the target for a while. Then, they call on inflammatory cells to eradicate the problem. However, each intruder needs a specific formula to destroy them. So, the adaptive immune system works to crack that code. Once they do, they create the perfect elixir to get rid of the threat for good. That plan of attack is antibodies.
 
Want to know what else is an antibody? The IgG cell we talked about before. That’s right, your mother’s immune system equipped you with antibodies to start you on this journey. Now we’ve come full circle. Thanks for exploring your innate and adaptive immune system with us!
 
Give your immune system a break. Help them out with probiotics. Join the Thryve Gut Health Program today and rebuild intestinal flora that produce immune cells.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] “Immune System Development.” Embryology, 19 Sept. 2019, embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Immune_System_Development.
 
[2] Palmeira, Patricia, et al. “IgG Placental Transfer in Healthy and Pathological Pregnancies.” Journal of Immunology Research, Hindawi, 1 Oct. 2011, www.hindawi.com/journals/jir/2012/985646/.
 
[3] Gocki, J., & Bartuzi, Z. (2016). Role of immunoglobulin G antibodies in diagnosis of food allergy. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii, 33(4), 253–256. doi:10.5114/ada.2016.61600.
 
[4] Simon, A. K., Hollander, G. A., & McMichael, A. (2015). Evolution of the immune system in humans from infancy to old age. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 282(1821), 20143085. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.3085.
 
[5] Duan, L., Rao, X., & Sigdel, K. R. (2019). Regulation of Inflammation in Autoimmune Disease. Journal of immunology research, 2019, 7403796. doi:10.1155/2019/7403796.
 
[6] “Chickenpox.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Feb. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chickenpox/symptoms-causes/syc-20351282.
 

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Antibiotics: The Catch-22 of Gut Health

269 million antibiotic prescriptions are written in a year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), of that number, 47 million people didn’t need antibiotics [1]. As a probiotics company founded by a CEO who was hospitalized by a round of antibiotics destroying his gut biome, we can say antibiotics can be dangerous. However, we’d be ignorant to say they’re not necessary.
 
All we’re saying is that before you and your doctor decide if antibiotics are right for you, maybe check and see what the root causes issues might be first. You might not need antibiotics, after all. If you do, then all the power to you.
 
So, what are antibiotics? How do they affect gut health, specifically? Let’s take a look.

 

What Are Antibiotics?

 
Antibiotics are what they sound like. They are antibacterial drugs, often used to prevent or treat bacterial infections. Pharmacists and scientists formulate antibiotics in laboratories. These medications are made by a mixture of items found in nature and synthetic compounds.
 
antibiotics pills
So many pills, so many other options

Popular types of antibiotics include:
• Penicillins (Penicillin, Amoxicillin)
• Cephalosporins (Cephalexin [Keflex])
• Macrolides (Erythromycin [E-Mycin], Clarithromycin [Biaxin], Azithromycin [Zithromax])
• Fluoroquinolones (Ciprofloxacin [Cipro], Levofloxacin [Levaquin], Ofloxacin [Floxin])
• Sulfonamides (Co-trimoxazole [Bactrim], Trimethoprim (Proloprim)
• Tetracyclines (Tetracycline (Sumycin, Panmycin), Doxycycline (Vibramycin)
• Aminoglycosides (Gentamicin (Garamycin), Tobramycin (Tobrex)
 
Interestingly enough, our microbes create antibiotics on their own. However, there are too many toxins in our food, environment, and cosmetics for these microbes to handle. That’s where antibiotics prescribed by a doctor can really come in handy.

 

Importance of Antibiotics

 
This type of medicine is extremely important in our everyday lives, and without antibiotics, there would be a lot more people dying every year.
 
A meta-analysis looks at how life expectancy for humans after the antibiotic era rose from 47 years old by over 30 years [2]. The research uncovered some impressive numbers that speak to the importance of antibiotic treatments.
It stated,
 

“The antibiotic era revolutionized the treatment of infectious diseases worldwide, although with much success in developed countries. In the US for example, the leading causes of death changed from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke), the average life expectancy at birth rose to 78.8 years, and older population changed from 4% to 13% of the entire US population.”

Ann Ib Postgrad Med.
As humans tend to do, we get carried with the convenience of antibiotics. These powerful doses have caused our stomach bacteria to grow resistant to antibiotics.
 
Due to intestinal flora resistance, we often have to increase the dose of the antibiotics, which can cause issues when it comes to the good stomach bacteria that live inside of us [3].
 
Not only does our gut biome have to contend with antibiotic medications, but these medications have found its way into our food sources.

 

Antibiotics in Food

 
Those who follow a meat-based diet probably consume a lot of antibiotics involuntarily. That’s because many animals used in agriculture are fed antibiotics.
 
animal agriculture

Udderly sad

One of the reasons for this practice is because a majority of these animals are fed high-allergen foods such as gluten. As a result, they get sick with GI issues, weakened immune systems, and poor muscle quality. Therefore, their feed is enriched with antibiotics for prevention purposes.
 
Another reason is that cows’ udders tend to become damaged from constantly being pregnant and milked. Therefore, they are prone to bacterial infections.
As one analysis stated,
 

“16% of all lactating dairy cows in the U.S. receive antibiotic therapy for clinical mastitis each year, but nearly all dairy cows receive intramammary infusions of prophylactic doses of antibiotics following each lactation to prevent and control future mastitis—primarily with penicillins, cephalosporins, or other beta-lactam drugs [4].”

United States Department of Agriculture
Another meta-analysis looked at the many holes in the food industry’s ethics.
 
This article noted,
 

“Forty-two percent of beef calves in feedlots are fed tylosin—a veterinary macrolide drug—to prevent liver abscesses that negatively impact growth, and approximately 88% of growing swine in the U.S. receive antibiotics in their feed for disease prevention and growth promotion purposes, commonly tetracyclines or tylosin [5].”

Public Health Rep.
This practice isn’t for the benefits of animals, but rather the pockets of the animal agriculture industry. So, make sure you read the label of any animal product you purchase to make sure it is the best foods for gut health. Look for packages that claim to be antibiotic-free.

 

Antibiotics in Our Water

 
We as a people are really bad at disposing of our unused medications. As a result, we often dump them down the drain, toss them in the trash, or dispose of them in a variety of otherwise unsafe ways.
 
antibiotics and water
Pills leach to water
This negligent practice has caused a variety of companies, such as Walgreens, to get collection bins that help to dispose of these medications safely.
 
The main issue with medications in our public water is that they are relatively difficult to filter out. Meaning that, the water that comes out of their faucet has a small number of antibiotics and other drugs inside [6].
 
According to one study from 2014:
 

“Although the ideal antibiotic is toxic to bacteria without affecting humans/animals, reality is more complicated, and directly toxic side effects are common for several classes of antibiotics at doses used for therapy. A few, relatively persistent antibiotics have been found in drinking-water at very low ng/L levels. Near manufacturing discharges, ground-water contamination has led to levels up to low µg/L in drinking-water wells [7].”

Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences 
So, when it comes to this overuse of antibiotics, and the fact that it is found in drinking water, what is the worst-case scenario?

 

Growth of Superbugs

 
Superbugs sound cute if you do not have context. You might imagine a tiny fly with a superhero cape or something. That said, what they really are is dangerous.
 
hospital bed
Superbugs can land you here
These mutant bugs are extremely drug-resistant bacteria that have become next to impossible to treat. As humans continue to evolve to adapt to their surroundings, so do stomach bacteria.
 
Since they are growing used to antibiotics, bugs are figuring out ways to fight back. This reaction is because the stomach bacteria have become immune to modern forms of antibiotics, and as a result, have nothing that stops them from running rampant.
 
According to Mayoclinic:
 

“’Superbugs’ is a term used to describe strains of bacteria that are resistant to the majority of antibiotics commonly used today. Resistant bacteria that cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and skin infections are just a few of the dangers we now face. Antibiotic resistance is a naturally occurring phenomenon that can be slowed, but not stopped. Over time, bacteria adapt to the drugs that are designed to kill them and change to ensure their survival. This makes previously standard treatments for bacterial infections less effective, and in some cases, ineffective [8].”

Mayo Clinic
So, this growing issue is something that we have to be concerned about. First, we need to decide if our gut biome really needs antibiotics. Talk with your doctor about other options and go to a specialist for a second opinion before accepting the prescription.
 
Also, we should reconsider before improperly disposing of medications. Don’t flush antibiotics down the toilet or toss them in the trash. Always check and see if there is a place to drop them off or mail them back.

 

Benefits of Probiotics

 
Overuse of antibiotics can not only be bad for all the ways mentioned above, but it can also wreak havoc on your gut health as well. Our gut biome uses stomach bacteria as a way to break down the foods that we eat. After the digestion of food, intestinal flora converts the sugars into nutrients. When the stomach bacteria is out of balance, we get GI problems like SIBO and other digestive issues.
 
Thryve Microbiome Testing for Restoring Gut Flora
Add probiotics to your wellness routine
 
Therefore, if you have to take antibiotics for any reason, it is best to consume probiotics as well. Probiotics supplements help ensure a good gut biome.
 
In fact, according to Harvard:
 

“Probiotics can also help offset the bacterial imbalance caused by taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill good bacteria along with the harmful ones, often leading to gas, cramping or diarrhea. Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of many conditions such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease [9].”

Harvard
Therefore, if you have to go on antibiotics due to chemo or surgery, try to eat as many fermented foods as possible and take probiotics supplements. Reducing your risk of infection by consuming a wide variety of different bacteria in your food is a good way to reduce the effects of antibiotic resistance.

 

Future for Antibiotics and Humans

 
Stomach bacteria can be good or bad, but we as humans are causing all bacteria to be more resistant to antibiotics. This practice can cause severe gastrointestinal issues and dangers to our health over time. So, while we cannot live without them, it would be better to reduce their use as much as possible.
 
In addition, it’s in your best interest to get to the bottom of your gut health. Find out what is in your gut biome by using an at-home microbiome testing kit.
 
From there, we can determine which harmful stomach bacteria may have taken residence due to antibiotics. We can then formulate personalized probiotics supplements to help replenish beneficial intestinal flora.

 

Click Here To View Resources

Resources

 

[1] “Antibiotic Use in Outpatient Settings, 2017 | Antibiotic Use | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/stewardship-report/outpatient.html.
 
[2] Adedeji W. A. (2016). THE TREASURE CALLED ANTIBIOTICS. Annals of Ibadan postgraduate medicine, 14(2), 56–57.
 
[3] Zorzet, A. (2015). Global Importance of Antibiotics and Consequences of Antibiotic Overuse. Retrieved April 29, 2019, from Confex.com website: https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2015/webprogram/Paper14032.html.
 
[4] Department of Agriculture (US) Fort Collins (CO): USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services, National Animal Health Monitoring System; 2008. Sep, [cited 2010 Nov 11]. Dairy 2007 part III: reference of dairy cattle health and management practices in the United States, 2007.
 
[5] Landers, T. F., Cohen, B., Wittum, T. E., & Larson, E. L. (2012). A review of antibiotic use in food animals: perspective, policy, and potential. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974), 127(1), 4–22. doi:10.1177/003335491212700103.
 
[6] Harvard Health Publishing. (2011, June). Drugs in the water – Harvard Health. Retrieved April 29, 2019, from Harvard Health website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/drugs-in-the-water.
 
[7] Larsson, D. G. J. (2014). Antibiotics in the environment. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 119(2), 108–112. https://doi.org/10.3109/03009734.2014.896438.
 
[8] Protect yourself from superbugs. (2018). Retrieved April 29, 2019, from Mayo Clinic website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infectious-diseases/expert-answers/superbugs/faq-20129283.
 
[9] Harvard Health Publishing. (2017, June 7). The benefits of probiotics bacteria – Harvard Health. Retrieved April 29, 2019, from Harvard Health website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-benefits-of-probiotics.
 

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