Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson

Summer vacation, 4th of July – wonderful opportunities for travel and sampling exciting and different foods. Whether you’re visiting family, or jetting to the Far East, the fun ends abruptly when your digestion becomes distressed!

I thought I’d offer some scenarios along with suggestions that may afford relief for gut troubles during your travel – and offer new life to your vacation.

Diarrhea is a common gut reaction when it senses something irritating or a bit too unusual. In many cases, your system simply wants whatever food or drink you’ve chosen out, and quickly! There are also those cases where you may have consumed tainted food or water along your route. Of course, whether camping or simply enjoying a different environment, sanitary conditions can be less than ideal.

When traveling, it’s always a good idea to consume all foods hot and fully cooked to avoid unwelcome food-borne pathogens. And should the hot days entice you to don your bathing suit, avoid swallowing the water that is so refreshing to your body.

Taking your probiotics daily offers you the best insurance against traveller’s diarrhea and peaceful digestion in general. However in case of unpleasant disruption be sure to have a particular probiotic on hand called Saccharomyces boulardii. This probiotic yeast shines in cases of even the toughest diarrhea and doesn’t require refrigeration. You may also want to supplement with goldenseal (constituent berberine) to help additionally curb symptoms and for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Personally, when I travel I tend toward constipation. I’ve read that up to 25% of travelers have reported similar discomfort. For some people, a fiber supplement will be helpful. Truthfully, supplementing on a daily basis with fiber while striving to reach at least 30 – 35 grams daily is a valuable maintenance practice, rather than just using fiber once constipation has set in.

Drink plenty of fluids, especially in this hot summer weather to avoid dehydration and further constipation. I have found consistently that an herbal formula that contains magnesium hydroxide along with aloe, rhubarb, possibly triphala taken with probiotics is a very helpful combination. I never leave home without these.

If you suffer with occasional heartburn, the possibilities while traveling to trigger those unpleasant symptoms are abundant. New foods, hearty portions amid friends and family could produce an unhappy gastric result.

Breathe before you begin eating, chew your food thoroughly, and don’t forget your digestive enzymes! Food is to be enjoyed, and paying attention to what’s on your plate rather than eating without a thought can make a huge difference in your digestion. Do your best to focus on taste rather than quantity.

It’s best not to drink liquids with your meals, as that will dilute your stomach’s natural acids whose job it is to effectively break down your food.

When traveling, wear comfortable clothing. Did you realize that tight waistbands can compress the valve that controls acid flow? And whatever you do, avoid laying down to sleep immediately after you eat, as the acidic stomach contents can easily seep into your esophagus when you’re laying in the bed and create irritation.

As a last resort, should symptoms persist, you can immediately relieve heartburn with one or two teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cold water. Please use this method infrequently. Diminishing your stomach acid using any type of antacid today can often lead to even more issues in the future.

Happy, healthy, and comfortable trails to you and yours!

Constipation, Diarrhea, Enzymes, fiber, GERD, gut distress, Heartburn, Probiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii, vacation travel

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Skinny Gut Your Gumbo

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, our family always starts to plan for picnics and get-togethers. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a simple and delicious gumbo that is always a crowd pleaser! It’s easy to double or triple this recipe and make a delicious offering for a large group!

Seafood Gumbo

(this recipe can be found in my recent book – Heart of Perfect Health)

Only 1.8 teaspoons of sugar per serving!

Prep – 60 minutes (well worth your time!)

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning mix or favorite Creole spice blend
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 – 14.5 ounce can low-sodium chopped tomatoes or similar amount raw/chopped
  • 1 pound medium shrimp (30 count) peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup fresh crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup sliced fresh or frozen okra (optional, but delicious – and in season!)

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottom 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, peppers, garlic, Cajun seasoning, and bay leaves. Sautee for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions and peppers are softened.

Add the stock and tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the shrimp, crabmeat, hot sauce, and okra. Return the mixture to a boil, cover, and remove from the heat; let stand for 10 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink.

Of course, any other seafood you have in your household would be a delicious addition too. More green veggies also only add more nutrients to the fun!

Enjoy!

Fourth of July, Heart of Perfect Health, Recipes, seafood gumbo

Although obesity remains one of our most pressing health problems today I’m hoping that for many Americans as the summer days unfold it may be an easier time to let go of some extra weight. In the heat, heavy foods just don’t seem quite as inviting as they were when it was cold outside. Moving around in humidity is much easier when you’re feeling lighter, and salads and light fruits are much more appealing in steamier weather. Fermented foods become an excellent condiment with most any meal. Have you tried fermented salsa lately?

As always, I’m on the lookout for any new information regarding those great bacteria called probiotics. In addition to being present in fermented foods, the probiotics that we carry around inside of us also seem to impact our tendencies to accumulate weight. I found something I’d like to share with you in this article.

In my recent book Skinny Gut Diet we explored the different bacteria that have been researched thus far that play a part in whether we tend to be more fat or skinny. We actually tested our participants’ microbial ratios throughout our study and noticed that as the Bacteriodetes increased, their weight also decreased! That had also been the findings of many research studies and is mentioned in the article above. Fascinating!

Additionally, when I interviewed Rob Knight of the University of Colorado, it was clear in his studies of the Human Microbiome Project that the greater diversity of bacteria that a person’s gut environment portrayed, the more likely that person was to be healthy and balanced over all. I look forward to sharing that segment along with many more fascinating interviews with you this fall. The upcoming show is called Natural Health Breakthroughs with Brenda Watson. Keep an eye out on your local Public Television Station.

These type of studies are still in their infancy, and I’m certain much more will be learned about the actual benefits or health challenges that are directly associated with specific microbial species. Whether the research reflects obesity issues, cardiac challenges, or mental disorders, it will certainly be exciting!

What I loved reading most was research that is currently going on in Puerto Rico under the guidance of Maria Gloria Domingues-Bello of N.Y.U. It was found in previous studies that when newborns travel down the birth canal, they ingest bacteria that help them digest milk. There is a lot of evidence that babies raised on formula as opposed to breast milk are much more likely to suffer from allergies, skin conditions and even digestive issues and obesity. Babies raised on formula simply do not receive critical substances in breast milk that promote good bacteria and retard the growth of bad bacteria.

Dominguez-Bello’s new clinical trial will monitor the weight and overall health of babies born by cesarean section. These babies will be swabbed immediately with a cloth laced with the mother’s vaginal fluids and resident microbes as they come into the world. How interesting it will be to see the impact that Mom’s natural bacteria have as these children grow and develop.

I love these studies on newborns, as they are most certainly our future. However, no less important to our world is helping you to understand healthy choices that will nourish the good bacteria in your own life! And it’s easy, especially in this season to enjoy large amounts of fresh veggies and fruits along with fantastic fermented goodies. Here’s my bonus gift for you today – one of my favorite recipes! And easy to make. Happy summer probiotics to you!

Human Microbiome Project, Maria Gloria Domingues Bell, newborns, obesity, Probiotics, Public Television, Rob Knight, Skinny Gut Diet

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Brain Invaders!

Today I’d like to share with you some very though-provoking research I came across that was reported in our local paper, the Tampa Bay Times.

A Harvard research team is exploring the idea that Alzheimer’s disease could be the result of the body’s attempt to fight off infection. Their study focus is those plaque balls that are called beta amyloid.

You see, the brain is an area that is absolutely not supposed to be breached by bacteria or foreign substances – at all! For years, scientists believed that the blood-brain barrier was virtually impermeable. Now we know differently.

However should the brain’s defenses be breached, the immune system apparently becomes quite aggressive in walling off the invader, be it a virus, fungi or bacterium.

The groundbreaking evidence thus far seems to show that the defense system of the brain creates a sticky cage out of proteins called beta amyloids, literally trapping an offending microbe until it dies. These cages remain and form the plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The true function of the beta amyloids has been a mystery until now. It appears that in the body’s emergency response to protect the brain, the long-term repercussions may produce Alzheimer’s disease!

Once again these beautiful human bodies that we live in show remarkable abilities to protect us from harmful influences. Although no one would hope for Alzheimer’s disease, one day we may realize that without those cages of beta amyloids trapping all sorts of pathogens within them, people could be overcome by myriad brain infections all the time, suffer miserably, perhaps die quickly. Time will tell. I’m very curious.

For now, I reflect on the importance of maintaining the integrity and health of all our body systems to the best of our ability through appropriate eating habits, exercise, and lifestyle choices.

The question remains – How do we protect the brain from infection in the first place? Perhaps the next Harvard research project might be – how do we strengthen the integrity of that delicate blood-brain barrier against initial infection?

I feel certain those future answers to “Leaky Brain” will align perfectly with creating a healthy intestinal wall, further protecting us from Leaky Gut. As our understanding of the Gut-Brain connection expands, it will positively offer us even more amazing breakthroughs for health far into our futures.

Alzheimer's disease, beta amyloids, Harvard, immune system, Tampa Bay Times

As the days get longer (and in this area of the country, much hotter) thoughts turn to swimming prospects, and inevitably to bathing suits. While it’s easy to ignore weight loss goals while bundled in coats and boots, once again at this time of year, they tend to move up in priority.

So let’s dust off an excellent tool that will help jumpstart your quest to attain your perfect weight for your frame – and this year’s bathing suit. Food journaling.

Please don’t groan. The whole experience can now be much less labor intensive than years ago. In the past you could only write in your daily entries manually and then you had to research the nutrient content in a separate way. I’m so grateful to our original Renew HOPE Foundation clients who tracked their foods carefully during the years we offered those programs. The data we gathered multiplied in value later as we gathered research for Skinny Gut Diet.

Fortunately, with the wonderful apps available to anyone with a computer or cell phone, the information gathered by the participants in our Skinny Gut Diet project was considerably less tedious. Today digital options for recording your daily eats abound, even including photo journaling.

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion of food journaling recently in the Wall Street Journal. While very useful for identifying food allergies and triggers for gut symptoms, far and away food journals are most commonly used for weight loss.

The article points out a number of interesting studies that validate food journaling as a great tool in support of your weight loss goals.

Over the years I have observed those most successful in food journaling are consistent and accurate, carefully logging their foods until the habit is established. Then the accountability factor kicks in. As weeks go by, “aha” moments are joyfully attained and real and lasting change takes place.

So why do a large number of people find the process, whether computerized or handwritten, nothing but a tiresome chore? Truth is, it takes more than a just few days to achieve those “aha!” realizations, and far too often the commitment to journaling ends in the length of time it takes fish to spoil in the refrigerator!

I appreciate the study info provided by My Fitness Pal stating that people who have friends on the app and connect regularly seem to lose twice as much weight as those who don’t connect with friends. Personally I think that interpersonal support is critical for almost everything in life. Another Power Tool – Sharing with Others!

By the way, My Fitness Pal was the app we were able to edit and use in Skinny Gut Diet and we continue to appreciate it in our community today. Because Skinny Gut Diet focuses on counting nutrients rather than calories, it was fortunate that the program allowed changes to be made regarding nutrients tracked.

I also really liked the suggestion in the article to write out what you plan to eat before eating it. It seems the process can be a deterrent to poor choices. Planning ahead has always been the cornerstone of success – for me at least. Great idea!

Some people enjoy merging food journaling with exercise tracking. It seems to help them to maintain interest. Others are best engaged when they can comment on emotional and physical experiences and relate them back to food choices.

In Skinny Gut Diet we used food journaling as one of our Power Tools. Have you had success with journaling in the past? I’d love to hear your experiences!

P.S. My Skinny Gut Diet book in E-Book format is only $1.99 until May 22nd.  Order Yours Today.

food journal, My Fitness Pal, Skinny Gut Diet, Wall Street Journal

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Defeating Anemia

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), iron deficiency is the single most prevalent nutritional deficiency worldwide. Its primary symptom is extreme fatigue. Iron deficiency accounts for anemia in 5% of American women and 2% of American men and impacts nearly 3.5 billion people around the globe. Additionally, children, vegetarians and blood donors are at increased risk.

The most common treatment for this type of anemia is oral supplementation with iron. Unfortunately a program of iron supplementation commonly results in constipation or other types of gastrointestinal discomfort. As you know, gut issues are always an interesting topic for me. With iron therapy, it’s critical to manage the gut since constipation will only increase overall toxicity and magnify the debilitating exhaustion symptoms of anemia.

When I saw the article “Can a Pan Add Iron to Your Diet?” in the Wall Street Journal, it immediately caught my eye.

There has been some thought that cooking with cast iron could potentially add iron to your food. I’m always seeking easy, inexpensive and accessible solutions to any issue. Interestingly, there are a lot of factors that impact how therapeutic your cast iron skillet might be. So let’s take a quick closer look:

  1. If you’re cooking acidic foods like apples or tomatoes in your cast iron, more iron will become soluble and available for absorption, so it’s good to cook with acidic foods. Acid dissolves iron.
  2. If you cook with water (not frying in oil) there will potentially be more iron transfer occurring.
  3. If you love your skillet and over the years you’re thrilled that it’s become covered in oil and offers you a more non-stick surface, your gourmet pan will provide you with wonderful delicacies, but it won’t transfer much iron into your food. The patina-like finish won’t allow the iron to break down.
  4. A nearly new pan will transfer more iron that one that has been used regularly.

With this information in mind, here comes the Lucky Iron Fish! Check this out. This is an iron ingot in the shape of a fish that is recommended for use in soups or boiled with drinking water. It’s also suggested to include acids, such as citrus juice or vinegar along with your fish in your soup pot or dinner pan for the reasons explained above.

A research project followed 304 Cambodian women over the course of a year. The study was reported in the journal Tropical Medicine & Surgery. Regular use of the Lucky Iron Fish increased hemoglobin concentration in the blood (an important marker of anemia), compared with a control group that didn’t use the ingot. Anemia in the 3 villages studied dropped by 46%! That’s darn impressive.

The company has a vision of a Lucky Iron Fish in every pot for those populations where anemia is prevalent. For every fish a person purchases, one is donated to a community in need. There’s something very heartwarming about this.

It’s important to be aware that even when iron is transferred to food, certain conditions don’t allow it to be easily absorbed by the body. FYI – the type of iron in meat, called heme iron, is easiest for our bodies to absorb (now you see why vegetarians are more susceptible to anemia). However it’s reported if you ingest vitamin C at the same time as non-heme iron (the type from the cast iron pans or the Lucky Iron Fish), the iron is much more available to be absorbed by the body.

Of course, this makes total sense. Whether you’re adding vitamin C, vinegar, citrus juice, tomatoes (all are acids) as you cook in an unseasoned cast iron pot or pan or you choose to simply drop in the Lucky Iron Fish ingot – you just may have a recipe for increased energy and a ‘gentle on the gut’ restoration of your iron reserves over time – in addition to a delicious meal.

Keep it in mind. I’ll bet you know someone who is diagnosed anemic. Lucky Iron Fish – maybe this year’s different kind of birthday gift?

cast iron, iron deficiency anemia, Lucky Iron Fish, National Institutes of Health, Wall Street Journal

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Gardening Naked?

Gardening naked. I have to be honest, it never occurred to me. Just the idea of bug bites where you normally would never get them.  I can imagine that you’d definitely want to stock up on natural insect repellent!  I guess that’s what makes life so interesting – people express such different ideas!

I was reading in our local paper that Saturday is World Naked Gardening Day. This celebration marks its 12th year – birthed in 2005 in Seattle by a philosophy teacher named Mark Storey. He taught social justice at Bellevue College and talked about civic activism with his students. Civic activism is mainly noted for the misery it causes in actions like roadblocks and strikes. He was interested in doing something that would make people smile and was curious if doing something good could actually effect change.

After polling people on activities they enjoy, or dream of doing naked (bedroom pursuits notwithstanding), he found that swimming naked came in first. Interestingly, gardening naked came in second. World Naked Gardening Day was born!

Quoting Mark “Anything that makes the world more food-friendly or flower-pretty and helps get people comfortable with their bodies is good. We wanted to make it fun; no one cares how you do it and no one owns it. You can pot plants naked in your Manhattan kitchen or rake leaves in your back yard. Then tell people about it.”

Admit it, you’re smiling, so Mark’s project is a success! As for gardening naked, I really don’t think it’s my style, but to each his or her own.

Here at Vital Planet we are gardening in a much different way. Florida offers sandy soil and lots of insects, along with beautiful beaches and sunshine. Let’s just say we’re not known for ease in gardening. So we’ve decided to give our veggies the best opportunity they can have for nourishment using hydroponics.

With the help of our friends at Urban Oasis Farm we are expanding our garden – to farm proportions! Yesterday we were planting – beans, parsley, lettuces, cucumbers, tomatillos – the list continues (with our clothes on).

It was a beautiful spring Florida day – probably one of the last relatively cool ones we will enjoy. Starting some crops from seeds as well as others from starter plants, we hope soon to be gathering veggies from our garden for lunch and dinner on a daily basis.

Our goal is to offer an example of growing your own food in the community. In the future we may even be able to water the plants using water we filter directly from the pond behind our building! We will be able to provide fresh produce for all our employees, their families and beyond.

As our farm is located along a public bicycle path, like Mark, we too hope to make people smile as they pass by. Gentle, graceful civic activism. Naked or clothed, lets garden together!

civic activism, gardening, hydroponics, Mark Storey, Urban Oasis Farm, Vital Planet, World Naked Gardening Day

Research is near and dear to my heart. Both when I design supplement formulations as well as when I educate through books and talks, I pride myself on making sure that the information I share is as grounded in scientific study as it can be.

I was delighted to read a recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Carrying the Torch for Basic Research” that quotes Elizabeth Blackburn, winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2009 and president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The post shared that Dr. Blackburn is helping to identify which research questions are on the horizon for scientific review.

In my mind, what she’s doing is in the “most critical decisions for the future” category. Many years ago, medical research was done to learn how the world and our bodies functioned, and researchers looked for any way to improve wellbeing. Funding was scarce, and research was expensive. Colleges would receive endowments from philanthropic individuals and organizations. Competition for the money was fierce. Seeming failures, which always precede success, were expensive and depressing.

Then came the era of the pharmaceutical companies. Research monies began to flow. Although on the surface, clinical studies were funded to learn about healing one condition or another, far too soon the financial endowments became directed toward very specific outcomes, engineered to develop yet one more drug that could produce a financial fortune, and perhaps a modicum of relief to a percentage of patients. Rarely were future health repercussions considered seriously.

In the natural products industry, it’s been much more difficult to find research dollars. We have always been interested in looking at the core biological processes that become imbalanced, creating a condition of un-wellness. We are then committed to identifying natural ways to redirect those systems toward health.

Here’s the bummer. There is no money to be made from researching natural ginger, or maybe milk thistle or licorice. Not unless the substance is molecularly changed in some way so a patent can be given to a company for a “new” product. Those slight changes offer yet more foreign substances to our bodies – yet another unique “can of worms”!

Yet modern medicine demands that we in the supplement industry offer proof of the efficacy of our offerings. They are smacking their lips to get their hands on every natural substance to find a way to make it “better”. Fortunately, the National Institutes of Science have funded the Human Microbiome Project and we are now understanding so much more about those amazing probiotics that live within. Additionally, the positive effects of omega-3s have proven health benefits that are irrefutable.

Dr. Blackburn thankfully states “If you want to make a big impact, you have to go all the way through to understanding disease processes, though the impulse is to treat.” She continues to offer an example of looking at a form of diabetes to observe how the immune cells interact with the body in that condition. Her focus throughout the article seemed to be immune system directed, which I believe is where the answers are nestled. And that brings us, as always, back to the gut.

I look forward to Dr. Blackburn’s new projects highlighting neuroscience, genomics, and immunity. Her questions are process oriented, not focused on creating a new drug. This may not be the answer to our country’s twisted medical research, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

It’s heartening to know that such a brilliant thinker like Dr. Blackburn is at the prow of at least one major research facility.

For the time being let’s all continue to enjoy natural, unprocessed foods along with supportive natural supplements like probiotics and omegas. Let’s exercise our bodies with movements that bring us joy along with good circulation. We can live our research, exhibiting the health benefits that humans have enjoyed throughout the ages and around the world – and we’ll enjoy watching the clinical studies catch up with what we already know!

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, exercise, medical research, natural products, Nobel Prize in medicine, Omega-3s, Probiotics, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Supplements

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Are You a Dog-Kisser? 

I really enjoyed sharing information about pet supplementation in a recent episode of Pet Talk on National Geographic Wild. I was featured in a segment on Episode 3 that originally aired March 4th. I believe it’s still available for viewing, and I think you’d really enjoy it, especially if you’re an animal lover like me. Interesting information about many different animal species.

Shortly after the filming I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal named “Burning Question: Can Kissing Your Dog Make You Sick?” I had to laugh because one of the companion segments on the Pet Talk episode addressed exactly the same situation.

Doris and her boyfriend Mark were the guests in the dog-kissing segment along with Doris’ two dogs, Buddy and Miss B. According to Doris, Miss B “is the best kisser in the whole wide world”. I must say I had never considered kissing a dog with the open mouthed intensity that Doris demonstrated. Mark had reached a point where he was no longer interested in kissing Doris (imagine that!). However Doris states that the unconditional love she receives from her canine friends “makes her day worth living”. It was certainly a thought provoking stalemate, and it was also interesting to see the reactions that Doris’ exuberant kissing created on the faces of the hosts of the show and also the audience. It’s probably the same face you have right now.

Bacterial swabs were taken from the throats of both Doris and Mark to determine if there was any harmful bacteria growing there that might have originated from the dogs. Although no disease-causing pathogenic bacteria were detected, Doris’ swab did reveal a type of bacteria that is not normally found in the mouth. Instead that particular bacteria is generally found only in the intestine. Although there was no way to prove it, the general consensus seemed to be that the bacteria was transferred to Doris from one of the dog’s mouths after they licked their own feces (dogs do like to clean all areas!) and then found it’s way into Doris’ mouth from a very affectionate kiss. Eeek!

Another true story was shared with the audience about a roundworm found in a different dog-kissing person. It seems the larvae of the worm traveled up into the lung of the dog, was coughed up into the dog’s mouth and then transferred to the human through a smooch.

I’m thinking perhaps open mouth kissing might be best avoided with our four legged friends! What do you think?

A good awareness point that was made in the WSJ article is to be sure and wash your hands after throwing a ball for your dog, as the saliva could be transferred from your hands onto your face and perhaps contain bacteria best avoided.

Additionally, it’s possible that sleeping with your dog could transfer fleas or other infection. However if you have a healthy dog that is currently maintained on flea and tick meds regularly, your risk is very low.

There is no one who loves dogs more than I do on this planet, so I totally understand the occasional kisses and close contact. Ultimately, simple washing with soap and water after you may have received that affectionate lick will generally eliminate contamination. However, please don’t allow your pet to lick an open wound. The potential there is for a parasite or germ to sneak directly into your bloodstream.

I’m looking forward to filming more segments of Pet Talk in the upcoming year. Please keep an eye out and let me know how you like them!

bacteria, dogs, National Geographic Wild, Pet Talk, Wall Street Journal

Reducing your risk of heart disease may have just become a bit more fun. A new study done by researchers from China explores the actual mechanism of how a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Resveratrol, found in peanuts, grapes, red wine and some berries has been touted as a health promoting substance, which supports cardiovascular health and infers anti-atherosclerotic benefits. However understanding exactly how that takes place has been murky and debated.

This study has uncovered evidence that the protective effect of resveratrol actually closely involves the gut microbiome – the extensive community of microbes that inhabit the digestive system of each of us.

Specifically, it seems resveratrol is able to inhibit gut bacteria from creating a compound called TMA. TMA is required to produce TMAO – an inflammatory compound well known to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. The concept is that the less TMA produced = less atherosclerosis in your blood vessels = better cardiovascular health!

In my book Skinny Gut Diet we actually conducted our own small research project on gut bacteria right here in sunny Florida. We observed that when people in our group increased their ratio of Bacteroidetes (we called these the “Be Skinny” bacteria) to Firmicutes (our nickname was “Fat” bacteria) by shifting their eating habits and using digestive supplementation, weight reduction was the happy result. We used comparative Comprehensive Stool Analysis testing to measure the shifting bacterial ratios over time.

In the recent study I mentioned above, the principal investigator Dr. Man-tian Mi said, and I quote “we found that resveratrol can remodel the gut microbiota including increasing the Bacteroidetes-to-Firmicutes ratios, significantly inhibiting the growth of Prevotella, and increasing the abundance of Bacterioides, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Akkermansia in mice.”

Stay with me here, please. Essentially Dr. Mi is telling us that resveratrol helps to rebalance the ‘good guy-to-bad guy ratio’ of different bacterial species in the gut. The Chinese study was focused on the ratio of different species of bacteria as they related to cardiovascular disease specifically.

In Skinny Gut Diet, we were looking more at bacterial ratios and their impact on obesity and weight loss. Certainly obesity and heart disease sadly go hand in hand. Any food or substance that will lessen obesity is sure to improve cardiovascular health. Bottom line – substances like resveratrol, healthful diet and probiotics that positively impact your microbiome have the greatest potential to protect your health.

I never tire of reading innovative studies from around the world that deepen my understanding of how those helpful probiotics we have in our bellies function. From China to Florida, our research agrees. Heal your gut, heal your body – and in this case, your heart.

atherosclerosis, Bacteriodetes/Firmicutes ratio, cardiovascular health, comprehensive stool analysis, heart disease, microbiome, Probiotics, red wine, resveratrol, Skinny Gut Diet

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