• Gut Health
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    • Heart Health

      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

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    • Skin Health

      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

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    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

  • Diet & Health
    • Diet & Health

      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

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    • Pet Health

      Our dog’s health is precious! They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. A daily probiotic formula is a great way to ensure good health. Make sure you choose one that delivers the recommended potency level and strain count. There is nothing quite like a healthy and happy dog. Happy Dog. Happy Life!

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Chelation Therapy for Heart Disease—Mainstream Medicine is in Denial

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/30/2012

Preliminary results from the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) were presented recently at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions. TACT is by far the largest trial ever performed on chelation therapy for heart disease. The National Institutes of Health spent $31.6 million dollars on the 10-year multicenter study. Many of us, supporters and skeptics alike, have been patiently awaiting results.

The trial determined that chelation therapy did, indeed, reduce the rate of death and cardiovascular events in people who had previously suffered a heart attack when compared to those people who received placebo treatment. “There may be a biological effect and that biological effect should be taken seriously,” and “pursued with additional research,” stated lead researcher Gervasio Lamas, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center at the AHA scientific meeting.

The preliminary results do not tell us the full story, yet the skeptics have taken to the topic with fervor. Many articles have already appeared in newspapers and online highlighting the faults of the study and trying to explain away the positive results. Can’t blame them—what would all those cardiologists do if they had to admit chelation therapy worked? I don’t think they ever will admit it.

Fully 1,708 people over age 50 were included in the study, which took place at 134 research sites across the United States and Canada. They received disodium EDTA chelation therapy once per week for 30 weeks, and then 10 more infusions every two to eight weeks. Although the researchers found a reduction in cardiovascular events and death, the patients did not report a difference in overall quality of life.

The results of this study, although less than ideal, still show a benefit that cannot be ignored. An improvement is an improvement. We’ll know more about the study’s results when the full report is published in a peer-reviewed journal. The manuscript has been submitted, so stay tuned to my blog—I’ll report on it when it’s published. I look forward to hearing the whole story.

I have heard from many doctors about the benefits of chelation therapy, both for heavy metal toxin removal and for treatment of heart disease, which involve two different chelation therapies. In fact, in my new book, Heart of Perfect Health, available through my new PBS show of the same name, I interview Dr. Ernest Cohn about chelation therapy. My PBS show is now airing. Check your local PBS listing for show times. 

Despite the negative response to the chelation trial from mainstream medicine, I see this study as a positive step forward. More steps will be needed, but we’re moving in the right direction.

Is Your Diet AGE-ing You?

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 11/28/2012

The term advanced glycation end products (AGEs) is a mouthful for a group of compounds that are formed both in the body and in food by the reaction between sugars with proteins and lipids (fats). The sugars literally coat proteins and lipids, which causes them to not function well. In addition, these adulterated, now “new to nature” molecules are not easily recognized by the immune system and will cause body-wide attacks by the upregulated (overactive) immune system. Auto-immune conditions have increased markedly over the last decade and I believe our diet is largely to blame.

AGEs are also aptly named glycotoxins and you’ll soon see why. The reaction that produces AGEs is known as the Maillard reaction, or the browning reaction because when foods are heated and browned, AGEs are created. Brenda has blogged recently about AGEs in the diet.

Small amounts of AGEs form naturally in the body through normal metabolism and as a result of the aging process. That’s right, AGEs will gradually age you. On the other hand, high levels of AGEs are commonly found in people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease2 or any condition that involves oxidative stress.3 Whether AGEs are produced in the body or ingested through food, both are thought to have the same physiological effects: they increase inflammation and oxidative stress, which leads to all kinds of damage inside the cells.

It is now known that cells react  to AGEs by creating receptors on their cell surfaces called receptors of AGEs, and you can guess the acronym—RAGES. This means the cells take the AGE message via the receptor into the cell that then sends out protein messengers to ramp up (or upregulate) a pathological immune response, as well as cause intracellular damage in the process.

In a recent review article published in the journal Integrative Medicine, AGEs researcher and professor of medicine at The Mt Sinai Hospital, Jaime Uribarri, MD discussed the human clinical research behind the benefits of a low-AGE diet.4 In general, foods cooked at high heat produce AGEs that are then absorbed though the intestinal lining and into blood circulation, increasing the body’s total AGE burden.5

Both healthy and unhealthy people can harbor high AGE levels. In a study involving 172 young and old healthy individuals, those with high levels of certain AGEs were also found to have high levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction (a condition that leads  to atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries), and other abnormalities associated with chronic disease.6

Uribarri explained, “These findings suggest that healthy persons habitually consuming high AGE diets may have abnormally high levels of serum AGEs that may exceed the capacity of native defenses to remove or neutralize them, leading to high oxidative stress, a common denominator for most chronic diseases.”

A low-AGE diet involves food that, when cooked, is boiled, poached, stewed, or steamed. Foods that are fried, baked, or grilled are avoided. Think of those foods that are browned when cooked—they are high in AGEs, and they will age you. I know, these very foods are often delicious, and I think that to eliminate them completely would only end badly. As I always say, “Everything in moderation.”

You would do well do limit your browned, high-temperature cooked foods. Enjoy them occasionally, but try to work in more foods that are low in AGEs. Raw foods are particularly recommended. Low-AGE diets have been found to lower circulating AGE levels as well as markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.4 In people with diabetes, the diet also lowers insulin resistance. Because inflammation is the common underlying feature of most, if not all, chronic disease, lowering your exposure to AGEs through healthy eating is one way of staying healthy in an increasingly unhealthy world.



  1. B.K. Kilhovd, et al., “Serum levels of advanced glycation end products are increased in patients with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.” Diabetes Care. 1999 Sep;22(9):1543-8.
  2. V. Srikanth, et al., “Advanced glycation endproducts and their receptor RAGE in Alzheimer’s disease.” Neurobiol Aging. 2011 May;32(5):763-77.
  3. H. Vlassara, et al., “Advanced glycation end product homeostasis: exogenous oxidants and innate defenses.” Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Apr;1126:46-52.
  4. J. Uribarri, “Effects of a diet low in advanced glycation end products in humans.” Int Med. Oct 2012. 11(5):46–49.
  5. J. Uribarri, et al., “Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet.” J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Jun;110(6):911-16.e12.
  6.  J. Uribarri, et al., “Circulating glycotoxins and dietary advanced glycation endproducts: two links to inflammatory response, oxidative stress, and aging.” J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2007 Apr;62(4):427-33.

Fish Oil Increases Muscle Strength

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/26/2012

People take omega-3 fish oil for a number of reasons extending far beyond heart health; although heart benefits are the number one reason. Because of the rich diversity of science behind omega-3 fish oils, researchers have uncovered—and continue to uncover almost daily—new uses and applications for this amazing nutrient. I recently blogged about a less-commonly reported benefit: improved muscle function in elderly women.

A recent study presented at the British Science Festival is taking these benefits even further. The pilot study found that people taking fish oil improved muscle strength by 20 percent over 12 weeks when compared to those people taking placebo, who experienced an 11 percent increase.

The pilot study will lead to further research that will look at the effects of fish oil supplementation on muscle strength and other health measures in men and women over age 65. “We will monitor changes in muscle mass, volume, and fat content in the participants using MRI; insulin sensitivity and inflammation in blood samples; and changes in protein synthesis and molecular signaling in muscle biopsies,” noted Stuart Gray, lead researcher.

Muscle loss that comes with age, also known as sarcopenia, can be a significant hindrance to health as people get older. Muscles naturally decrease in size by about 0.5 and 2 percent each year, and it becomes more difficult to increase muscle mass with exercise alone as we age. I’ll report when I hear of more research for muscle health in old age. In the meantime, keep exercising and taking your fish oil.

The Fat and Skinny—There’s More to Consider

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/23/2012

With a national adult obesity rate of over 35 percent and over two-thirds of the country either obese or overweight, there has been a major push toward educating people about the health risks of being overweight with particular focus on the harmful effects of the accumulation of belly fat. Not for nothing, the obesity epidemic certainly calls for increased awareness and change—something’s gotta give (other than waistlines). But we overlook the entirety of the story if we simply vilify people based on their overweight-ness.

Yes, measuring BMI and waist circumference is important, but only if it accompanies other measures of metabolic health, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin, gut function, stress, toxin exposure, and overall fitness (to mention a few). This applies to everyone—fat and skinny alike. We all know that skinny person who seems to be able to eat anything and not gain weight. But it is these very people who may not dig deeper because they assume they are healthy based on outward appearances. Many of these people are normal weight and yet have abnormal blood levels of important health markers that go undetected. This phenomenon is known as skinny fat, and it’s more prevalent—and dangerous—than you think.

On the other hand, we also assume that because a person carries extra weight that they are destined for heart disease, diabetes, etc. While obesity does predispose people to heart disease and related conditions, not all obese people are metabolically doomed. This phenomenon is known as the obesity paradox, and it was recently highlighted in a study published in the European Heart Journal.

The study found that there exists a subset of obese people who are metabolically healthy. That is, these obese people do not have insulin resistance, diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Forty-six percent of obese individuals were found to be metabolically healthy, and had a 38 percent lower risk of death than their metabolically unhealthy obese counterparts.

The explanation? The metabolically healthy obese individuals had greater cardio-respiratory fitness—in short, they exercised. “Based on the data that our group and others have collected over the years, we believe that getting more exercise broadly and positively influences major body systems and organs and consequently contributes to make someone metabolically healthier, including obese people.”

I have a feeling that the estimate of “metabolically healthy” as defined by these researchers is not quite as stringent as some experts would agree on. For example, when you take a closer look at cholesterol levels, healthy total cholesterol levels, or even healthy LDL cholesterol levels may not actually tell the whole story once you take a closer look. So don’t read this article and assume that if you’re overweight and exercise, you’re good to go. What I do want to emphasize is the importance of taking the whole story into account. Look at a range of metabolic measures as well as lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress, toxin exposure, and digestive health for the best determination of your health. It’s got to be a comprehensive approach, or you’ll miss some important details.

"Heart of Perfect Health" PBS special airs this weekend!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/21/2012

I know I’ve mentioned this here and there recently, and today I’m so excited to officially announce the airing of my fifth PBS show, Heart of Perfect Health this month. You’ll find a wealth of surprising and life-changing information on how Americans can live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

For the past 20 years, many of you have been with me as I’ve uncovered the core of optimum health, sharing my personal and in-depth experiences with digestive care, digestive disease, and its many health repercussions. I’m very thankful that my books, health supplements, PBS shows and clinics have been able to reach millions across America. My goal has been to provide the tools to transform your health through a powerfully simple and integrated approach.

Heart of Perfect Health: The Startling Truths About Heart Disease

Heart of Perfect Health debuts late November-early December 2012 on PBS-TV stations nationwide. In this groundbreaking exposé, you’ll watch as I uncover the root of America’s #1 killer, heart disease, in a hidden condition known as silent inflammation.

Silent inflammation is so pervasive—and evasive—that most people have no idea it is happening to them. Yet research now tells us that silent inflammation is directly linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and obesity, which all lead to heart disease and diabetes. This is information that is vital to our nation’s health.

Heart of Perfect Health is not simply about uncovering the problem of silent inflammation, but more importantly, about the real and accessible solutions we all have to stop silent inflammation and improve heart disease health markers—high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

We don’t think of the gut when we think of heart disease, though these two areas of the body are indeed linked. My new PBS show details this connection and what we can do to reverse the vicious cycle of silent inflammation for good, and avoid becoming another health statistic.

I have a feeling you’ll be shocked at what is causing your silent inflammation and then delighted with the power you hold to turn it around, starting in your own kitchen.

Visit this link for more information about the special and visit the station finder  to find local listings in your area.


Early Menstruation Linked to Estrogen-Mimicking Chemical

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/21/2012

Over the past century, the age of menarch—when a girl menstruates for the first time—has changed from an average of 16 to 17 years to the current 12 to 13 years. That means girls are getting their periods four years earlier than they did 100 years ago. Why is that? One possible explanation for this decrease in age is increased exposure to estrogen-mimicking toxins; estrogen being a main hormone that regulates menstruation.

In a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers examined data from 440 girls aged 12 to 16 years. Those girls with the highest levels of dichlorobenzene metabolites in their urine began menstruation an average of eight months before girls who had the lowest levels.

Dichlorobenzene is a solvent used in mothballs and solid blocks of toilet bowl deodorizers and air fresheners. It is classified as a possible known carcinogen and prenatal exposure to it has been linked to low birth weight in boys. The resaerchers also looked at levels of other endocrine disrupting hormones, such as bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and parabens, but those were not found to be associated with earlier menstruation. Previous research has linked flame retardants and the pesticide DDT to early menstruation, however. Further, pesticide exposure has been linked to irregular menstruation.

The researchers state that it is impossible to know from this study alone whether exposure to the chemical is the actual cause—and not just an association—of early menstruation. “While it’s entirely possible that chemicals with endocrine-disrupting properties can influence timing of puberty, it’s unclear whether chemical exposures during certain periods of child development can have a bigger impact than at other times,” noted lead author Danielle Buttke. Further studies will look at chemical exposure in girls of younger ages.

Early menstruation has been linked to an array of health conditions and psychological disorders. More studies will be needed to tease out the chicken-and-egg factor (which came first?), but in the meantime, reducing chemical exposure is always recommended. This week, opt for essential oils to naturally freshen air, toilets, and clothing. Say goodbye to synthetic mothballs, toilet bowl bricks, and fresheners if you happen to use them. The possible risk doesn’t seem worth it.

Omega-3 Fish Oil Slows Markers of Aging

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/19/2012

If there is one thing scientists would love to discover, it’s how to reverse the aging process. It is currently a hot topic of research and discussion, although very few factors have been found to help slow or reverse aging. A recent study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that four months of omega-3 fish oil supplementation—either 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams daily of omega-3s from fish oil—was found to help preserve telomeres in white blood cells of the immune system. Telomeres are tiny segments of DNA that shorten over time as a result of aging. The shorter the telomere, the more you age.

In the study, those people who improved their ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids were most likely to also experience a lengthening of their telomeres as well as an average 15 percent reduction in oxidative stress. “The telomere finding is provocative in that it suggests the possibility that a nutritional supplement might actually make a difference in aging,” stated Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State and lead author of the study.

A previous article about this same study investigated the effects of the omega-3 supplementation on markers of inflammation, and found that omega-3 supplementation reduced inflammation. “Inflammation in particular is at the heart of so many health problems. Anything that reduces inflammation has a lot of potentially good spinoffs among older adults,” explained Glaser, “This finding strongly suggests that inflammation is what’s driving the changes in telomeres.”

Participants in both the high and low-dose groups experienced similar results, with the resulting improvement in omega-6 to omega-3 ratio the deciding factor of benefit. The Standard American Diet (SAD) contains an average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 10:1 to 25:1 (much more omega-6 than omega-3) whereas experts recommend consumption of 1:1 to 2:1 (almost equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3) for maximum benefit.

If you want to know your omega-3 ratio, you can get it checked. The Omega-3 Index measures the level of omega-3, omega-6, and other fatty acids in your red blood cell membranes, and only requires a finger prick that you can do at home. Increasing your intake of omega-3 fats with fish oil supplements is a great way to optimize your Omega-3 Index.

Gut Inflammation – Dysbiosis – Colon Cancer

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/16/2012

Gut inflammation is known to be a risk factor for the development of colon cancer. A recent study published in the journal Science has traced back the steps from colon cancer only to discover that gut inflammation triggers a decrease in gut microbial diversity that allows pathogens to flourish and damage intestinal cells, leading to the development of cancer.

The researchers were able to determine that inflammation in the gut comes first, and is followed by a simplification of the gut microbial communities. This simplification is essentially a reduction of bacterial diversity that then allows pathogens—E. coli and related bacteria—to gain the upper hand in the gut and promote the formation of tumors.

This study used an animal model to help us to understand how gut microbes might lead to cancer in humans. One of the researchers, Anthony Fodor, found higher levels of E. coli and related bacteria in a separate human study that looked at at biopsies from patients with colorectal cancer. “As is usual in human studies, we didn’t have cause and effect,” noted Fodor. “We don’t know if microbes are somehow causing conditions to shift in the gut that would cause cancer or if there are conditions that are associated with cancer that would increase the openness of the gut to particular microbes.”

That’s why they did the animal study. So they could more closely look at the relationship between inflammation, changes in the gut microbiota, and development of cancer. “These are exciting results because they suggest there may be a direct link between changes in the gut microbiota and the progression from inflammation to cancer.”

Gut inflammation is one main contributor to chronic disease, including cancer. This is the topic of my last book and PBS show, The Road to Perfect Health, as well as my new book and PBS show, Heart of Perfect Health (airing nationwide beginning November/December). Truly, optimal digestive function is the foundation upon which total-body health is built.

Antibiotic Use in Children Alters Gut Balance and is Linked to IBD Development

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 11/14/2012

Childhood inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has doubled over the last ten years. That statistic alone clues us in to the fact that environmental factor(s), at least in part, lead to the development of IBD. Genetic defects only account for one-half of IBD cases, so the search for environmental causes of the disease is on.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics investigates an important underlying cause of IBD: dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the gut bacteria.1 From the report, “A leading hypothesis of IBD pathogenesis is that gut bacterial community alterations, with either increases in pathogenic bacteria or decreases in protective bacteria, trigger inflammation.”

The study investigated the link between antibiotic use in children and the subsequent development of inflammatory bowel diseases (of which Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common). The study builds on previous studies that have linked intestinal infections with the development of IBD, and that have found reduced diversity of intestinal bacteria in people with IBD.

Previous research has also linked antibiotic use and IBD onset, but the current Pediatrics study sought to improve on these studies to strengthen the case for a link between antibiotic use and the development of IBD. The population-based study enrolled over one million children, 748 of whom developed IBD over the course of the study, which spanned 6 years. The study did find a link between the development of IBD and the use of anti-anaerobic antibiotics (those antibiotics that target anaerobic bacteria, or bacteria that do not live or grow in the presence of oxygen).

From the report, “Our results suggest that for every 14,300 anti-anaerobic prescriptions given to children annually, one child will develop IBD. An estimated 49 million outpatient pediatric antibiotic prescriptions, approximately one-half for penicillins, occur in the United States annually; our data suggest those prescriptions would be associated with 1700 additional IBD cases yearly.”

The researchers found that the earlier the antibiotic use and the longer the duration of use, the stronger the link to IBD development. Those children receiving antibiotics before one year of age had the highest risk of IBD development, with decreasing risks by 5 years, and again at 15 years.

This report was followed by another recent study finding that those children with a diagnosis of ear infection, or otitis media, by age 5 were almost three times more likely to also have inflammatory bowel disease—2.7 times more likely to have Crohn’s disease and 3.0 times more likely to have ulcerative colitis.2 Both of these studies caution against the overuse of antibiotics during childhood, something Brenda and I have stressed many times. From the Pediatrics study conclusion, “Our study suggests that reduction in childhood anti-anaerobic antibiotic use may have the potential to help curb the rising incidence of childhood IBD.”

Another recent study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy further strengthens this message.3 The researchers found that the diversity of gut flora was reduced even eight weeks after intravenous antibiotic treatment in infants. Not only that, but the potentially pathogenic Proteobacteria had become the dominant bacteria, while the beneficial Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus were diminished.

“This research suggests that the merits of administering broad spectrum antibiotics—those that kill many bacterial species—in infants should be reassessed to examine the potential to use more targeted, narrow-spectrum antibiotics for the shortest period possible,” stated the report, yet again in agreement with the studies I mentioned above.

Antibiotics have their place, but we are rapidly learning that antibiotic use without consideration of the long-term effects on the gut microbiota is not prudent. The needed addition of probiotics to support the replenishment of beneficial gut bacteria in people taking antibiotics—adults and children alike—is now more evident than ever.

Furthermore, probiotics have been used to prevent the major reasons for antibiotic use in the first place in children. From one prominent study published in the journal Pediatrics, “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, [runny nose] and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.”4

Yet again we see that optimal gut balance is a vital part of digestive and total-body health. Hopefully, more pediatricians and family practice doctors will take these two articles seriously and start using probiotics prophylactically and in combination with antibiotics when they are needed, in order to maintain balanced healthy gut flora and prevent IBD.



  1. M.P. Kronmna, et al., “Antibiotic exposure and IBD development among children: a population-based cohort study.” Pediatrics. 2012;130:e794–e803.
  2. S.Y. Shaw, et al., “Association between early childhood otitis media and pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: An exploratory population-based analysis.” J Pediatr. 2012 Oct 17. [epub ahead of print]
  3. F. Fouhy, et al., “High-throughput sequencing reveals the incomplete, short-term recovery of infant gut microbiota following parenteral antibiotic treatment with ampicillin and gentamicin.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Nov;56(11):5811-20.
  4. G.J. Leyer, et al., “Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children.” Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9.

Antibiotic Use Leads to Obesity by Way of the Gut

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/12/2012

In the 1950s began the widespread use of low-dose antibiotics as growth promoters in the agricultural industry. The discovery was much by accident, but ended up quite profitable: Farmers gave cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, and turkeys low doses of antibiotics and watched them grow (along with profits).

Livestock are still given this sub-therapeutic antibiotic therapy (STAT) today, although there is concern that it contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. In a new study published in the journal Nature, researchers studied STAT use with the hypothesis that the resulting weight gain was due to alterations in the composition and function of gut bacteria.

Imagine that! It looks like the scientists are getting on board with those of us in the natural health industry, who have been saying all along that gut function is the foundation of total-body health. Let’s take a look at what they found, shall we?

In the animal model, mice receiving low doses of antibiotics experienced increased fat mass and percent body fat and gained about 10 to 15 percent more fat mass when compared to those mice not given antibiotics. The researchers also found increased bone density and a change in hormones involved in metabolism, all related to changes in the gut.

“By using antibiotics, we found we can actually manipulate the population of bacteria and alter how they metabolize certain nutrients,” noted one of the authors. “This work shows the importance of the early life microbiome in conditions like obesity,” stated another author. “The rise of obesity around the world is coincident with widespread antibiotic use, and our studies provide an experimental linkage. It is possible that early exposure to antibiotics primes children for obesity later in life.”

Studies like these are exciting—yet again we have a great example of the gut connection to total-body health. Who would have thought that what happens in your gut can result in obesity? If you have been following me for a while, I hope you understand the importance of building your gut health. And if you’re new to my site, dig in. I’ve been talking about the gut connection to health for a long time.