Fructose, Fruit juice, and the Microbiome

The microbiome continues to dominate the research front.  That 5 pounds of microbial life that inhabits our digestive tract is far more responsible for our health, most people would ever guess.  It’s composition and how various populations of microbes relate to one’s risk of particular conditions is being intensely studied.  While some of the research surrounding specific microbiome profiles (diversity, presence of larger families of bacteria, or the numbers of potentially pathogenic strains for instance) is preliminary and limited to associations, many microbiologists and microbial experts believe that there is a great deal we can now say with confidence. Continue reading

Bile Acid Metabolism

Bile Acid Metabolism 101 – Why it is important to recycle less and how bile acid transformation by gut microbes can make or break our health.

Bile is an essential component of digestion.  It is basically the body’s detergent that emulsifies dietary fat, making it less hydrophobic so that we can absorb it.  In addition, it likely helps with some aspects of protein digestion as well.  The liver dumps numerous toxins into our bile, hoping that it can serve as an exit route from the body.  If bile is not bound to certain types of fiber and eliminated from the digestive tract, it can be damaging to the gut lining.  Bacteria may help us however, as they have the ability to convert bile acids to less inflammatory and even possibly protective metabolites.  With just these few aspects in mind, it is easy to see why bile and its ultimate fate-either recycled, biotransformation, or elimination-are critical. Continue reading

Liquid Hope Fed Mice Have Significantly Less Inflammation, More Beneficial Bacteria, and Better Outcomes.

A recently completed study at University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital provided significant insight into the protective role of an organic, whole food enteral formula on the GI. Mice with colitis were fed either Liquid Hope or one of two other polymeric enteral formulas for one week.  Each group of mice was fed the same volume of their specific enteral formula for one week.  Upon completion, the mice were weighed, several markers of inflammation were measured, and various microbial populations were assessed, particularly those that research has linked to a higher or lower risk for infection.  In addition, several other biomarkers that influence intestinal inflammation were examined and compared across groups. Continue reading

Purple Sweet Potatoes

Purple Sweet Potatoes, More Great News; Exemplifying the possibilities offered by deeply colored vegetables

The term superfood gets thrown around too much.  Many of the foods are great for one reason or another but they seldom provide enough bulk to our diet (such as starch, other macronutrients, and/or fiber) to go along with their exceptional antioxidant content.  We would be hard-pressed to acquire a significant amount of our daily energy from many of the most popular foods featured on the Dr. Oz show.  Mangosteen, cacao, green coffee beans, blueberries, acai, and green tea are all amazing in one way or another, but they should never constitute a significant percentage of what we eat daily.  True superfoods would be those that offer much more than a unique antioxidant or polyphenol content, but that also provide an additional foundation of nutrients, and that are compatible with human physiology on multiple levels.  The lack of difficult-to-digest anti- nutrients, and possessing low levels of sugar and polyunsaturated fats are critical characteristics.  The superfood should also be highly supportive of our micro biome and foster the growth of beneficial organisms while inhibiting the growth of potentially pathogenic ones. Continue reading

Fermented Foods

Probiotics, Fermented Foods and Metabolic Damage A Low Risk Insurance Plan

Most clinicians have at least a few foods that they are uncertain about with respect to whether or not they are supportive of their patient’s health. Certain whole grains, legumes, red meat, and fruit are all common suspects from one clinician to another. Thankfully, there are some things that can be offered to patients that can significantly increase the likelihood that a food or foods at any meal are metabolized more favorably.  Continue reading