Respiratory issues

Bacteria or Virus? Express Yourself!

Bacteria or Virus? Express Yourself!

As this year’s flu and cold season wanes down a bit, I found it heartening to read that science is focusing on a way to distinguish between bacterial and viral infections to help limit over-prescribing of antibiotics. Over the last decades doctors have been far too willing to offer a sad and miserable patient antibiotics, resulting in killing off many…

Prenatal BPA Exposure Linked to Poor Lung Function in Children

Asthma rates in children have been climbing over the last thirty years, and experts have identified a number of environmental pollutants, such as tobacco smoke and airborne pollutants, as risk factors for the disease. Some researchers have added the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) to the list of potential risk factors for the development of asthma. In a recent study…

Prebiotics May Help Reduce Infection in Young Children

On average, children in the United States develop six respiratory tract infections each year. Another infection—gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu—accounts for over 1.5 million outpatients visits, 200,000 hospital visits, and about 300 deaths each year. Together, these infections account for a considerable degree of illness in children. If you are a parent, you are familiar with the frequency…

Probiotics for the Common Cold

Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, have been studied for a number of health conditions, but one of the most exciting benefits of probiotics is their effect on the common cold. A number of studies have looked at probiotic treatment and prevention of upper respiratory tract infections (cold and flu, most notably). A recent systematic review evaluated data from twelve randomized, controlled…

Probiotics Help Allergy Sufferers Feel Better

In some parts of the country (especially here in Florida where I live) allergy season is in full swing. So many people are suffering with congested sinuses, stuffy noses, and feeling like, well, not so great. Over 11 million people in the United States are diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, or hay fever—what most people simply call allergies—each year. I am…

Dietary Fiber Protective against Asthma

A diet high in fiber triggers a chain reaction via the gut bacteria that protects against the inflammatory process involved in asthma, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Medicine. Gut bacteria are known to ferment dietary fiber, a process that produces beneficial compounds, or metabolites. In the current study, the researchers found that the fermentation process…

Antibiotic Resistance—A Call for Global Response

A new report published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal warns that “we are at the dawn of a post-antibiotic era,” with “almost all disease-causing bacteria resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat them.”1 The gravity of the problem was summed up in a commentary on the report: “Rarely has modern medicine faced such a grave threat. Without antibiotics,…

Probiotics for Common Cold in Healthy Adults

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when taken in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host (that’s you). Probiotics are most known for their digestive benefits because the digestive tract is where they work. Not everyone is aware that probiotics also have important immune health benefits, primarily because up to 80 percent of the immune system resides in the…