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Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics

There’s been a lot of buzz about probiotics lately, and they seem to be showing up everywhere whether it’s in supplements, yogurt, smoothies or even ice cream! So what’s the big benefit and what do you need to know about them? We put together a question-and-answer guide to give you the 411 on probiotics!

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live organisms, such as bacteria and yeast, most of which are similar to the healthy flora that we naturally have in our guts. Probiotics are naturally found in some foods like yogurt and kefir, along with other foods that are fermented such as miso, tempeh and sauerkraut. You can also buy probiotic supplements.

Why Are Probiotics Helpful?

Although there isn’t a lot of concrete research on this, doctors believe that having the right — or wrong — balance of bacteria in your stomach may play a role in digestive issues, obesity, immunity, eczema, and possibly even help with common childhood ailments such as strep throat, ear infections, colds and diarrhea, along with helping with food allergies.


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Sheet Strips: An Energy Boost at the Tip of Your Tongue

Listerine Strips have been around for a long time: those minty paper-like strips that you place on your tongue when you just don’t have time to use mouthwash. Now the same sort of packaging is being used for an energy boosting product.

Sheets is a brand of energy strips that are individually packaged and dissolve quickly after you place them on your tongue. At this point, there are just two flavors to choose from: Cinnamon Rush and Berry Blast. Makers promise more flavors in the future.

So what is it in Sheets that gives its users a boost of energy? There’s as much caffeine as what is in the average cup of coffee. It’s also loaded with vitamin E, B5, B6, and B12. But let’s make no bones about it, it’s the caffeine that gets you going.
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Supplements Don’t Reduce Anemia for Older Women

Vitamin SupplementsA large study published in the April edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association recently found that nutrient deficiencies increase the risk of anemia in older women.

Anemia occurs when there are fewer than the normal number of red blood cells in the body or when there’s a lack of hemoglobin in the blood. While many know that dietary changes are often recommend to treat anemia, the study found that a deficiency just one of several key nutrients can lead to the condition. Women with who do not consume enough folate, vitamin B12, iron or vitamin C are 21 percent more likely to have anemia. Women with deficiencies in three of these nutrients are 44 percent more likely to have the condition.


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Amylin Obesity Drug Research Halted by FDA

It’s not easy for diet drugs to get approval from the FDA. Orexigen Therapeutics, Vivus and Arena Pharmaceuticals, all had obesity drugs shot down by the government agency. You may have to add Amylin Pharmaceuticals to the list.

The company has halted testing on its combination therapy pramlintide/metreleptin in its phase two study. In a recent press release, Amylin says that it stopped the study voluntarily “to investigate a new antibody-related laboratory finding with metreleptin treatment in two patients who participated in a previously completed clinical study of obesity.”

While the company says that they will work with the FDA and researchers to “to determine the best path forward,” I wouldn’t hold your breath on approval given the track record of obesity-related drugs being approved.
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