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Probiotics



UCLA Study Finds Probiotics May Be a Natural Mood Lifter

Does a creamy cup of yogurt make you happy? Do you ever wonder why Jamie Lee Curtis is always smiling in those Activia commercials? It may have something to do with a new UCLA study that claims good bacteria is not only good for the gut, it may also be good for the brain.

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The study, conducted by scientists with the Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, part of the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases, and the Ahmanson–Lovelace Brain Mapping Center at UCLA, appears in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology. For the purpose of the investigation, a small group of women were given the same yogurt containing several types of good bacteria, also known as probiotics, and instructed to eat it twice a day for four weeks.

Before and after the study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were performed on the women. Their brains were examined at rest, and while performing an emotion-recognition task, which asked the women to look at angry and frightened faces. The result was a change in brain activity, as well as other internal “body sensations.” The women who ate the yogurt had less anxiety when looking at the images.

Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, lead author of the UCLA study is encouraged by the early findings. “Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut,” Tillisch said. “Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.”


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Altering Gut Bacteria to Manipulate Weight Could be the Next Big Thing in Obesity Management

By Mary Hartley, RD, MPH for Vidazorb Chewable Probiotics*

You have one big family of 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut. That’s ten times more bacteria than total human cells. So far scientists have identified more than 500 strains, each an independent organism with a unique set of genes and talents. It’s important to keep your big family happy.

The “friendly” bacteria in your gut help to digest your food and regulate your immune system. Most of those friends are members of the Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium genera. We all share certain specific bacterial colonies, but there is wide variation in the overall balance. We each have different proportions of bacterial species in us, and bacterial imbalance may contribute to many diseases including allergies, infections, and autoimmune conditions, and now, obesity.

In studies, gut bacteria seem to influence weight. The mix of bacteria may play a role in the tendency to gain. Early research shows that morbidly obese people have different gut bacteria compared to healthy weight people. Obese people have more of the bacteria called Firmicutes and fewer Bifidobacteria spp and Bacteroidetes, and the reverse is true (1).  Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery shifts the microbe mix. Before surgery and the reduction of food intake, obese people have more Firmicutes, but after surgery, they develop more Bacteroidetes (2).

Mice can be made to gain weight – or not –  by manipulating their gut bacteria. When normal weight mice are colonized with bacteria from genetically obese mice they gain weight, but not so when the microbes come from mice of normal weight (3). Likewise, inoculating mice with Lactobacillus ingluviei changes their intestinal flora and increases their weight (4). The evidence is compelling and we’ve only just begun to look.
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Feed Your Hair With Real Food for Better Hair Days

Have you ever told someone that you don’t wash your hair every day? Their faces snarl, sometimes they even make a noise indicating their disgust. For someone like me with very, very coarse and curly hair, daily washing isn’t a necessity. If anything, it’s doing more damage than good considering how much shampoos can dry out your hair, strip shine, and wear down the general health of each strand.

Shampoo isn’t the only thing wrecking your hair, a greasy fast-food habit can be just as destructive. The health of each strand of hair shows more than just your showering regimen, it’s an indicator of your total wellness.

“The condition of your hair reflects your nutritional status as well as your overall health,” said Dr. Jessica Wu, Daily Glow‘s Skin + Beauty Expert, Los Angeles dermatologist, and author of Feed Your Face. “If you’re feeding your body plenty of protein and other essential nutrients, your hair is more likely to be strong, shiny, and easier to style. On the other hand, certain dietary deficiencies or imbalances can make hair weak, brittle, difficult to style, or even change color. If you’re not eating the right foods, your hair can get dull, dry, and thin.”

Yes, once again, what you’re eating shows up in more places than the mustard stain on your shirt or the bulge around your belly. Your hair is taking a beating every time you opt for fries over a salad or a Coke instead of a water. Your hair is a reflection of what you eat, making it even more important to be mindful at each meal.

Dr. Wu broke out some impressive science to explain why our hair needs specific amino acids to ensure more than an occasional good hair day.
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Yogurt and Turmeric Found to Have Medicinal Properties

A recently aired special on CNN by famous doctor Sanjay Gupta discussed the possibility of using food as medicine. I was intrigued by this idea and thought I would look into the foods and flavor ingredients that have dual purposes mentioned in the special: yogurt and turmeric.

Turmeric is a spice mainly found in Indian and Pakistani dishes often used in making curry with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and possibly anti-cancer properties. Curcumin is a component in turmeric that some studies have found can stop the growth of different kinds of tumors.

It couldn’t hurt to add this spice to some of your cooking, especially if you’re into hot and spicy foods. Some stomachs may not be able to handle turmeric. You’ve probably seen movies spoof people having diarrhea after going to an Indian restaurant- turmeric is spice to blame. Most girls will remember a certain episode of Sex and the City when Miranda goes on a date and udders the phrase “You’re just not that into me” after her dates cuts things short after dining on Indian cuisine.


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20 Reasons Bacteria Does a Body Good

By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com

It may come as a surprise to learn that there are many reasons to love bacteria, but after pouring through medical journals, I found that there are at least 20 reasons to love health-supporting probiotic bacteria. They include:

1. Digestion and Nutrition

Certain types of bacteria help ensure that food is adequately broken down and that the nutri­ents are synthesized and absorbed by the body.

2. Anti-Toxic Effects

Probiotic bacteria help to ensure that toxins are not absorbed into the blood and at the same time, help keep harmful bacteria in check. This aids gut and immune system health.

3. Allergies

Research by scientists at the Osaka University School of Medicine found that certain probiotics were effective in the treatment of nasal and sinus symptoms linked to allergies. Published in International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, the specific strains they found to be effective include: Lactobacilli casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, L. acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.
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