Category Archives: EnzymeExperts

What to look for in a probiotic supplement

To sufficiently repopulate the digestive tract, look for a probiotic supplement with 3 billion or more beneficial organisms.

The best probiotics are enclosed in vegetarian capsules with no added fillers.

There are several strains of probiotics that can contribute to digestive health and wellness.

A synergistic mix of probiotic strains, enclosed in a single supplement, provide specific benefits:

Bifidobacterium bifidum
Found to reduce colon inflammation, strengthen the immune system, improve allergies and inhibit bacterial overgrowth

Bifidobacterium longum
Stimulates the immune system and provides gastrointestinal support during antibiotic use

Lactobacillus acidophilus
Creates a positive environment in which other probiotics thrive and inhibits the growth of invasive bacteria

Lactobacillus casei
Stimulates growth of beneficial organisms, enhances immunity, improves digestion and reduces milk intolerance

Lactobacillus plantarum
Reduces the movement of bacteria from the gut to internal organs and helps with the discomfort associated with malabsorption

Lactobacillus rhamnosis
Colonizes and protects the small intestine, inhibits growth of harmful bacteria and helps with lactose intolerance and diarrhea

Lactobacillus salivarius
Supports bowel health and strengthens the immune system

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Herbs a good alternative to insomnia medications, GERD drugs

Popular sleeping drug Ambien can keep people from waking up during episodes of nocturnal acid reflux, according to Reuters.

Researchers found acid reflux woke people 89 percent of the time when no sleeping drugs were administered. However, when Ambien was used, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) woke people only 40 percent of the time.

The Reuters story notes that nocturnal acid reflux is the top cause of Barrett’s esophagus, blamed for esophageal cancer. The study was published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Good alternative sleep aids include valerian root and passionflower extract. Also, people suffering from acid reflux might benefit from licorice root (DGL), marshmallow root and digestive enzymes.

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Celiac disease associated with autism, restless legs syndrome

A study has found an increased risk for autism in children whose mothers have celiac disease.

Researchers had previously connected autoimmune diseases — type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis — with autism, according to HealthDay. However, this is the first report that links autism and celiac disease.

The risk for children developing autism is three times greater when their mothers have celiac disease, HealthDay reports.

This study seems to confirm that the immune system might play a role in autism. Although the mechanism is not understood, the story emphasized that autism is an inherited disease.

Another study, this one published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences, examines the possibility that the gluten protein could spur Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).

In the study, RLS symptoms improved in 50 percent of participants who for six months were on a gluten-free diet.

People with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, and therefore the study’s authors concluded it might be important to screen RLS patients for celiac disease.

Symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, infertility, premature osteoporosis and other conditions.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. People with celiac disease must avoid these foods completely.

A digestive enzyme that focuses on breaking down the gluten protein is recommended with every meal or snack to protect against accidental gluten consumption.

From the Mayo Clinic, here are some key findings on celiac disease:

  • The disease is four times more common than 50 years ago
  • About 5 percent of those with celiac disease are aware they have it
  • It affects about one in 100 people
  • Death risk was increased fourfold in people with undiagnosed celiac disease
  • The rise in celiac disease could be associated with the “hygiene hypothesis,” which proposes that certain illnesses are a result of less exposure to germs than in the past

(SOURCE: WebMD)

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Probiotics helpful for belly fat, chronic fatigue, restless legs and irritable bowel

After pregnancy, the most commonly used probiotics might help women better control belly fat, according to WebMD.

In a study from Finland, the probiotics lactobacillus and bifidobacterium were found to decrease central obesity — a body mass index of 30 or more and waist size of more than 31.5 inches.

Only 25% of women who received daily probiotic capsules, plus dietary advice, had central obesity following pregnancy, WebMD reports. That compared to 43% of women given dietary counseling alone.

CFS
Another study, from Toronto, connects beneficial bacteria with decreased anxiety levels in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that a strain of Lactobacillus casei significantly decreased anxiety symptoms in 39 chronic fatigue patients.

The researchers noted that, in addition to this study, past research has shown an association between CFS and intestinal flora imbalances.

Results of the study were published in Gut Pathogens.

A virus called XMRV might be to blame for CFS, according to a report from RedOrbit.com. In a study, the virus, also linked to prostate cancer, was detected in 68 out of 101 CFS sufferers.

The study points out that additional research is needed to determine if the virus is a direct cause of CFS.

There is no known cure for the condition, which affects about 17 million people worldwide. However, people with CFS and fibromyalgia might find relief through cognitive behavioral therapy and nutrition.

RLS, IBS
In addition, a story from the Belleville News-Democrat says there is a link between Restless Legs Syndrome and intestinal bacteria.

In a small study, a gastroenterologist from Washington University in St. Louis looked at how an antibiotic, probiotics and zinc might play a role in relieving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and RLS.

The doctor studied 13 people who suffered from IBS and RLS. Following treatment, all of the subjects experienced relief from IBS symptoms, and 10 showed improvement in the leg condition, according to the News-Democrat.

Studies suggest probiotics improve digestion, support gut health and strengthen the immune system. A good probiotic supplement should contain 3 billion or more “friendly bacteria.”

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Alternatives for heart health include nattokinase enzyme

A study from Taiwan highlights the cardiovascular benefits of the enzyme nattokinase.

Researchers concluded that the enzyme was effective in reducing coagulation, or blood clotting, and could possibly decrease incidence of cardiovascular disease, according to nutraingredients.com.

Forty-five participants were given nattokinase for two months. Those at risk for cardiovascular disease and those on dialysis experienced nearly identical results as healthy individuals.

There were no adverse effects from nattokinase supplementation.

Clots and plaque can lead to blockages in blood vessels, and therefore it’s important to improve blood flow to maintain circulatory health. In addition to nattokinase, nutritional ingredients such as garlic bulb and ginkgo leaf are important for vascular maintenance.

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Nearly one-third of people experience IBS symptoms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea, now affects 30 percent of the population, according to a Reuters report in mid-2009.

The disorder has many potential causes, including diet, stress, trapped gas, medications, hormonal changes and genetics.

Other causes might include the following:

  • Gallbladder removal
  • Anxiety and depression
  • An overactive immune response
  • Faulty brain-intestinal tract communication

IBS symptoms range from stomach upset to rectal bleeding. The condition also reveals itself in muscle aches, insomnia, irritability, dizziness and trembling. In addition to bleeding, serious IBS warning signs include anemia and a family history of colon cancer.

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Digestive disorders likely to effect autistic

Research from Vanderbilt University reveals 30 percent of those with autism experience some type of digestive problem, compared with 10 percent of those without the disorder, according to USA Today.

A study from the school suggests that a genetic variation links autism and digestive problems. Study participants had a wide variety of digestive issues, including constipation, diarrhea and ulcers.

Autism is now affecting more children than ever, according to the latest research. An article from USA Today provides these statistics:

  • President Obama wants a 16 percent increase in spending for autism research
  • A study from Pediatrics found one in 91 children ages 3 to 17 has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found one in 100 8-year-olds has ASD
  • A similarly designed study from the CDC found one in 150 children had the condition in 2007

Some alternative health care practitioners believe autism might be connected to gluten intolerance, a condition that exhibits digestive symptoms observed in the Vanderbilt study.

Whether a person is intolerant or sensitive to gluten, the only surefire way to prevent gastrointestinal problems and other symptoms is to avoid the protein. Safe foods include fruits and vegetables, quinoa and rice.

Autistic individuals can support digestive function by taking a digestive enzyme with every meal or snack, as well as a probiotic supplement daily. In a situation where accidental gluten or casein ingestion could occur, it might make sense for intolerant or sensitive individuals to take a digestive enzyme supplement that has DPP IV enzyme activity.

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