What are the best foods to reverse symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Image: What are the best foods to reverse symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating disease that causes the joints, usually in the hands, to become inflamed and painful. It usually affects older individuals, although people as young as 30 can suffer from the disease. Like most autoimmune diseases, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but effectively managing it begins with eating the right food.

There is strong evidence supporting the link between food and the symptoms and effects of rheumatoid arthritis, which can include swollen joints, pain, and disability. In a study published in the journal Frontiers of Nutrition, researchers found that the state of a person’s microflora, the bacteria in the gut, as well as a leaky gut, all contribute to the occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis.

Changes in a person’s diet, they found, can also have pronounced benefits. For instance, fasting produces ketones that help suppress the pro-inflammatory molecules that cause pain in rheumatoid arthritis. Shifting to a plant-based diet has also been found to reduce immune reactivity to antigens found in certain foods.

The Mediterranean diet against rheumatoid arthritis

Because of the close link between rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation, it goes without saying that the best diet for sufferers is one that incorporates a lot of anti-inflammatory foods. When it comes to ingredients that fight inflammation, nothing does it better than the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet places a lot of emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and whole, unrefined carbohydrates. According to experts, this diet is so healthy that it gives over 1,500 mg of polyphenols every day. Polyphenols are natural compounds with anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-allergenic properties.

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The Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. One explanation for this is the liberated use of anti-inflammatory ingredients in almost any dish. Research has proven that many of the staples in this diet can help reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory compounds that may worsen rheumatoid arthritis. (Related: Study finds Mediterranean diet more effective cure for acid reflux than meds.)

Here are some of the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory nutrients found in many of the foods under the Mediterranean diet:

  • Anthocyanins – These plant pigments are found in blueberries, blackberries, and eggplants. They are powerful antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and help prevent inflammation.
  • Reservatrol – This antioxidant is abundant in grapes and red wine. Just like anthocyanins, it is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the joints from inflammation and damage.
  • Mangiferin – Another antioxidant, this time found in mangoes, mangiferin is so powerful that it has been described as having the ability to prevent the destruction of joints.
  • Kaempferol – A compound found in grapefruit, kaempferol reduces the molecules that destroy the bones and the cartilage. The degradation of these parts is one of the main causes of pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Bromelain – This compound from pineapples is known for being a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Studies vouch for its efficacy as a pain reliever that does not cause any adverse effects.
  • Oleic acid – Found in olive oil, this is one of the hallmark ingredients in the Mediterranean diet. This compound is known to provide therapeutic and protective effects from rheumatoid arthritis. When consumed by people without the condition, oleic acid can lower the risk of developing the disease.
  • Curcumin – This compound is found in turmeric and is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies say that turmeric is best combined with ginger, yet another anti-inflammatory food, to maximize its ability to relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain.
  • Probiotics – These “friendly” bacteria help promote digestion and improve the overall health of the gut. They can help prevent the negative effects of leaky gut and offset bad bacteria that may be causing damage to the body. Probiotics are found in fermented foods. Lactobacillus casei, for instance, is found in yogurt.

Learn which foods you need to eat to relieve body pain at Remedies.news.

Sources include:



The Problem With Probiotics

There are potential harms as well as benefits, and a lot of wishful thinking and imprecision in the marketing of products containing them.

A lot of trust has been put into the idea that gut bacteria can be a key to good health.


Even before the microbiome craze — the hope that the bacteria in your gut holds the key to good health — people were ingesting cultures of living micro-organisms to treat a host of conditions. These probiotics have become so popular that they’re being marketed in foods, capsules and even beauty products.

Probiotics have the potential to improve health, including by displacing potentially harmful bugs. The trouble is that the proven benefits involve a very small number of conditions, and probiotics are regulated less tightly than drugs. They don’t need to be proved effective to be marketed, and the quality control can be lax.

In a recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine, Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, urges us to consider the harms as well as the benefits. Among immune-compromised individuals, for instance, probiotics can lead to infections.

Consumers can’t always count on what they’re getting. From 2016 to 2017, the Food and Drug Administration inspected more than 650 facilities that produce dietary supplements, and determined that more than 50 percent of them had violations. These included issues with the purity, strength and even the identity of the promised product.

Probiotic supplements have also been found to be contaminated with organisms that are not supposed to be there. In 2014, such a supplement’s contamination arguably caused the death of an infant.

Given all of this, what are the benefits? The most obvious use of probiotics would be in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, given that they are focused on gut health. There have been many studies in this domain, so many that early this year the journal Nutrition published a systematic review of systematic reviews on the subject.

The takeaway: Certain strains were found useful in preventing diarrhea among children being prescribed antibiotics. A 2013 review showed that after antibiotic use, probiotics help prevent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. A review focused on acute infectious diarrhea found a benefit, again for certain strains of bacteria at controlled doses. There’s also evidence that they may help prevent necrotizing enterocolitis (a serious gastrointestinal condition) and death in preterm infants.

Those somewhat promising results — for very specific uses of very specific strains of bacteria in very specific instances — are just about all the “positive” results you can find.

Many wondered whether probiotics could be therapeutic in other gastrointestinal disorders. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Probiotics didn’t show a significant benefit for chronic diarrhea. Three reviews looked at how probiotics might improve Crohn’s disease, and none could find sufficient evidence to recommend their use. Four more reviews looked at ulcerative colitis, and similarly declared that we don’t have the data to show that they work. The same was true for the treatment of liver disease.

Undaunted, researchers looked into whether probiotics might be beneficial in a host of disorders, even when the connection to gut health and the microbiome was tenuous. Reviews show that there is insufficient evidence to recommend their use to treat or prevent eczema, preterm labor, gestational diabetes, bacterial vaginosis, allergic diseases or urinary tract infections.

Reviews looking at the treatment or prevention of vulvovaginal candidiasis in women, pneumonia in patients hooked up to respirators, and colds in otherwise healthy people show some positive results. But the authors note that the studies are almost all of low quality, small in size, and often funded by companies with significant conflicts of interest.

Individual studies are similarly disappointing for probiotics. One examining obesity found limited effects. Another showed they don’t prevent cavities in teeth. They don’t help prevent infant colic, either.

None of this has prevented probiotics from becoming more popular. In 2012, almost four million Americans used them. In 2014, the global market for probiotics was more than $32 billion.

It’s not clear why. Even in specific diarrhea-focused areas, the case for them isn’t as strong as many think. As with nutrition research, much of this has to do with study design and how proof of efficacy doesn’t translate into real-world applications.

“Sometimes small studies suggest strains work, but when a larger more well-done study is performed, they no longer seem to,” Dr. Cohen said.

When research is done on probiotics, it usually involves a specific organism, defined by genus, species and even strain. When used in studies, they are pure and carefully dosed. But when we buy probiotics off the shelf, especially when they are in food products, we often have no idea what we’re getting.

Yet that’s how probiotics are often offered. They can be distributed in the United States as food, supplements or drugs. The regulations for each are very different. Most people looking for probiotics don’t see the distinctions. Ideally, the ways in which we use and consume probiotics would conform to the data and evidence that back them up. That rarely happens.

Further, there’s still a lot we don’t know. A recent study published in Cell compared how the microbiome of the gut reconstituted itself after antibiotic treatment with and without probiotic administration. The researchers found that probiotics (which might have improved diarrhea symptoms) led to a significant delay in microbiome reconstitution, if it occurred at all. And — again — this study was with purified strains of bacteria, which is not what you’re getting in probiotic-containing food.

Of course, people with no immune deficiencies should feel free to eat yogurt and sauerkraut, which can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. Eat them because they’re delicious, and most likely better for you than many other foods, not because of any health claims.

“It’s important that consumers understand that all those nicely labeled containers on store shelves are not vetted by the F.D.A.,” Dr. Cohen said. “They’re not carefully watching over the probiotic space, leaving consumers to be the guinea pigs for these science experiments.”

For too long we’ve assumed that probiotics are doing some good and little harm. That might be true for some, but it’s not assured in the current environment.

Can Probiotics Help With Gum Disease?

More than 700 kinds of bacteria can live in your mouth — some helpful, and some harmful. Don’t run for your toothbrush or mouthwash just yet. As long as they’re in balance, the “good” kind keep the “bad” ones from hurting you.

But if that balance gets out of whack, the harmful ones can take hold and lead to gum disease.

You might have heard how good bacteria in certain foods and supplements (called probiotics) may help with this kind of imbalance in your gut. Well, scientists are finding that they may help fight gum disease in much the same way.

That might give you and your dentist another tool to use to treat or prevent gum issues along with the standard ones.

How Does the Imbalance Happen?

Researchers are still trying to sort out what lets the harmful bacteria go to work in your mouth. The triggers can include:

  • Not taking care of your teeth and gums. This lets the bad bacteria multiply and shifts the balance.
  • A weak immune system. This can affect the way the bacteria in your mouth relate to one another and give the harmful kind an advantage.
  • Your body’s genetic blueprint. Some people may not have enough of the helpful bacteria, or they may be more likely to have the bad kind.
  • Dry mouth. Your saliva has substances that help fight harmful bacteria. But some medicines, like painkillers and decongestants, can affect how much you have.

How Does That Lead to Gum Disease?

An imbalance of bacteria can affect your body’s defenses and keep your white blood cells from killing harmful bacteria. Those bacteria can inflame your gums. That inflammation, in turn, gives off chemicals that feed bad bacteria, which multiply. More bacteria inflame your gums and start to eat away at the bone that anchors your teeth.

If this goes on long enough, your gums and the bone that supports your teeth can be ruined. You might end up losing teeth.

It also can set you up for tooth decay and bad breath. Researchers think it also may help cause oral cancer.

And if you have too many harmful bacteria in your mouth, they can move to other parts of your body and may be linked to:

Probiotics and Gum Disease

A group of helpful bacteria called lactobacilli can fight several kinds of bad bacteria and may help restore a healthy balance in your mouth.

Researchers put some of this bacteria into chewing gum and asked people with the gum disease gingivitis to use it every day. (With gingivitis, your gums are red and swollen and bleed easily.) After 2 weeks, the teeth of the people in the study had less plaque — the clear, sticky film that can cause cavities or gum disease.

Another study found that lozenges with the same kind of bacteria also helped with inflammation and plaque.

If you have gum disease or are worried about it, talk with your dentist about whether a probiotic like this might be good for you. But remember that the most important things you can do to guard against gum disease are to brush and floss your teeth.

7 Ways Probiotics DETOXIFY Your Body

7 Ways Probiotics Help You To DETOXIFY Your Health

Did you know that probiotic bacteria are capable of helping you detoxify the most noxious chemicals known to humankind? 

You’ve probably heard the buzz already about the many health benefits of probiotics, a word which literally translates to: pro- “for” + biotics “life” — FOR LIFE.  But did you know that these remarkable commensal microorganisms, which outnumber our bodily cells by some estimates up to 10 to 1, and contribute over 99% of our body’s total genetic information, also break down highly toxic manmade chemicals which your body is either incapable, or only partially capable, of defending itself from?

Learn about some of the amazing ways in which ‘good bacteria’ help to detoxify chemicals within our body:

  • Bisphenol A: This ubiquitous toxicant — linked to over 40 diseases — found in anything from thermal printer receipts, paper money, canned food liners, dental composites, and of course plastics, is a powerful endocrine disrupter now found in everyone’s bodies. Remarkably, two common probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, have been found in animal research to help the body detoxify it by reducing the intestinal absorption of bisphenol A through facilitating increased excretion.[i] The animals receiving probiotic treatment were found to have 2.4 times higher excretion of Bisphenol A in their feces, suggesting probiotic supplementation could be of significant benefit to humans as well.
  • Pesticides: Probiotic strains from the traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi have been identified to degrade a variety of organophosphorous pesticides such as chlorpyrifos, coumaphos, diazinon, methylparathion, and parathion.[ii] These nifty organisms actually use these exceedingly hard to break down chemicals as sources of carbon and phosphorous – ‘food’! – and were found to break down the pesticide 83.3% after 3 days and degraded it completely by day 9.[iii]  While this test tube study likely does not reflect exactly what happens in our gut when we ingest both chlorpyrifos and Kimchi, it is provocative, and may indicate there is some protective effects in the gut, and certainly cabbage tainted with organophosphorous pesticide which is subsequently fermented as an ingredient in Kimchi would certainly reduce the burden of this chemical in the diet.
  • Heavy Metals: Lactobacillus bacteria found in food have been looked at as a potential adjunct agent for reducing metal toxicity in humans. According to one study, “This is because they have resistance mechanisms which are effective in preventing damage to their cells and they can bind and sequester heavy metals to their cell surfaces, thus removing them through subsequent defecation.” [iv] The study differentiates between detoxification and detoxication, the former of which is described as “the ability to remove drugs, mutagens, and other harmful agents from the body,” and the latter of which is the mechanism through which ‘good bacteria’ prevent “of damaging compounds into the body.” Because there is a large body of research on probiotics preventing and/or healing up intestinal permeability, this may be another way in which toxic stomach contents are preventing from doing harm to the body as a whole.
  • Cancerous Food Preservatives: Another imchi study found it contained a strain of bacteria capable of breaking down sodium nitrate, a naturally and artificially occurring chemical (used from anything to rocket fuel and gunpowder) linked to a variety of chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer.[v] The study found a depletion of sodium nitrate by up to 90.0% after 5 days. Sodium nitrate becomes toxic when it is converted in food products, and even our intestines via microbiota, to N-nitrosodimethylamine. A recent study found that four lactobacillus strains where capable of breaking this toxic byproduct down by up to 50%.[vi]
  • Perchlorateperchlorate is an ingredient in jet fuel and fireworks that widely contaminates the environment and our food. Sadly, even organic food has been found concentrate high levels of this toxicant, making it exceedingly difficult to avoid exposure. It is now found in disturbing concentrations in breast milk and urine, and is a well-known endocrine disrupter capable of blocking the iodine receptor in the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism and concomitant neurological dysfunction.  A recent study found that the beneficial bacterial strain known as Bifidobacterium Bifidum is capable of degrading perchlorate, and that breast fed infants appear to have lower levels than infant formula fed babies due to the breast milk bacteria’s ability to degrade perchlorate through the perchlorate reductase pathway.[vii]
  • Heterocylic Amines: Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCA) are compounds formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures of 150-300 degrees C, and are extremely mutagenic (damage the DNA). Lactobacillus strains have been identified that significantly reduce the genotoxicity of theses compounds.[viii]
  • Toxic Foods: While not normally considered a ‘toxin,’ wheat contains a series of proteins that we do not have the genomic capability to produce enzymes to degrade. When these undigested proteins – and there are over 23,000 that have been identified in the wheat proteome – enter into the blood, they can wreak havoc on our health. Recent research has found that our body has dozens of strains of bacteria that are capable of breaking down glutinous proteins and therefore reduce its antigenicity and toxicity.

While the role of probiotics in degrading gluten proteins sounds great, a word of caution is in order. Since modern wheat is not a biologically compatible food for our species – having been introduced only recently in biological time, and having been hybridized to contain far more protein that our ancient ancestors were ever exposed to – it would be best to remove it entirely from the diet. Also, the aforementioned research showing bacteria in the human gut are capable of breaking some of these wheat proteins revealed that some of the species that were capable of doing this for us are intrinsically pathogenic, e.g. Clostidium botulinum and Klebsiella. So, relying on the help of bacteria to do the job of digesting a ‘food’ we are not capable of utilizing on our own, is a double-edged sword. Again, the best move is to remove it entirely from the diet as a precuationary step.

What Probiotic Should I Take?

While plenty of probiotic pills and liquids exist on the market, and many of which have significant health benefits, it is important to choose one that is either shelf stable, or has been refrigerated from the place of manufacture all the way to the place you are purchasing it from. Moreover, many probiotics are centrifugally extracted or filtered, leaving the nourishing food medium within which it was cultured behind. This is a problem in two ways: 1)  without sustenance, the probiotics are in ‘suspended animation’ and may either die or not properly ‘root’ into your gastrointestinal tract when you take them.  2) the ‘food matrix’ within probiotics are grown provides a protective medium of essential co-factors that help them survive the difficult journey down your gastointestinal tract.

With that said, another option is to consume a traditionally fermented, living probiotic food like sauerkraut, kimchi, or yogurt (focusing on non-cow’s milk varieties, unless you are lucky enough to find a source that has the beta-casein A2 producing cows). There is always goat’s milk which is relatively hypoallergenic.

Finally, the reality is that the probiotics in our bodies and in cultured foods ultimately derive from the soil, where an unimaginably vast reservoir of ‘good bacteria’ reside – assuming your soil is natural and not saturated with petrochemical inputs and other environmental toxicants.  And really fresh, organically produced – preferably biodynamically grown – raw food is an excellent way to continually replenish your probiotic stores. Food is always going to be the best way to support your health, probiotic health included.


[i] Kenji Oishi, Tadashi Sato, Wakae Yokoi, Yasuto Yoshida, Masahiko Ito, Haruji Sawada. Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jun;72(6):1409-15. Epub 2008 Jun 7. PMID: 18540113

[ii] Shah Md Asraful Islam, Renukaradhya K Math, Kye Man Cho, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun. Organophosphorus hydrolase (OpdB) of Lactobacillus brevis WCP902 from kimchi is able to degrade organophosphorus pesticides. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 May 12;58(9):5380-6. PMID: 20405842

[iii] Kye Man Cho, Reukaradhya K Math, Shah Md Asraful Islam, Woo Jin Lim, Su Young Hong, Jong Min Kim, Myoung Geun Yun, Ji Joong Cho, Han Dae Yun. Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by lactic acid bacteria during kimchi fermentation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1882-9. PMID: 19199784

[iv] Marc Monachese, Jeremy P Burton, Gregor Reid. Bioremediation and tolerance of humans to heavy metals through microbial processes: a potential role for probiotics? Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Sep ;78(18):6397-404. Epub 2012 Jul 13. PMID: 22798364


[v] Chang-Kyung Oh, Myung-Chul Oh, Soo-Hyun Kim. The depletion of sodium nitrite by lactic acid bacteria isolated from kimchi. J Med Food. 2004;7(1):38-44. PMID: 15117551

[vi] Adriana Nowak, Sławomir Kuberski, Zdzisława Libudzisz. Probiotic lactic acid bacteria detoxify N-nitrosodimethylamine. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014 Jul 10. Epub 2014 Jul 10. PMID: 25010287

[vii] C Phillip Shelor, Andrea B Kirk, Purnendu K Dasgupta, Martina Kroll, Catrina A Campbell, Pankaj K Choudhary. Breastfed infants metabolize perchlorate. Environ Sci Technol. 2012 May 1 ;46(9):5151-9. Epub 2012 Apr 20. PMID: 22497505

[viii] Adriana Nowak, Zdzislawa Libudzisz. Ability of probiotic Lactobacillus casei DN 114001 to bind or/and metabolise heterocyclic aromatic amines in vitro. Eur J Nutr. 2009 Oct ;48(7):419-27. Epub 2009 May 16. PMID: 19448966

Probiotics May Improve Pediatric AD Symptoms

Probiotics may also reduce need for topical corticosteroids

A daily capsule of a cocktail of probiotics may reduce both the severity symptoms in moderate atopic dermatitis and the need for topical corticosteroids to treat symptom flare ups in children, research published in JAMA Dermatology suggests.

In recent years, research has demonstrated close links between gut microflora and many factors involved in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis, such as immunity. Patients with atopic dermatitis have been shown to have different faecal microbiota compared to healthy control subjects, and the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota of young children who later developed atopic dermatitis have been shown to be different from those of children who did not.

Up to 20% of children are affected by atopic dermatitis and a group of researchers based in Spain decided to test whether there was a potential role for probiotics in their treatment.

Lead author Vicente Navarro-López, MD, PhD, of the Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM) in Spain, said: “Several studies have already explored the efficacy of certain probiotics in the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis. Overall, the current evidence suggests that probiotics could be an option to improve moderate and severe atopic dermatitis recovery rates in children and adults; however, to date, there is no strong experimental evidence supporting their effectiveness and safety in clinical practice.

Importantly, evidence and clinical trials demonstrating strain-specific effects are lacking.”

The study

The group conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, between March and June 2016, at a hospital in Alicante, Spain. The study involved 50 children, ages 4 to 17 years with moderate atopic dermatitis, who were randomized according to sex, age, and age of onset of atopic dermatitis to a daily capsule containing freeze-dried powder with 109 total colony-forming units of the probiotic strains Bifidobacterium lactis CECT 8145, B longum CECT 7347, and Lactobacillus casei CECT 9104 and maltodextrin as a carrier, or maltodextrin-only capsules (placebo) for 12 weeks. None of the children involved had received systemic immunosuppressive drugs in the previous three months or antibiotics in the previous two weeks, and none had a diagnosed intestinal bowel disease or signs of bacterial infection.

After 12 weeks children who had taken probiotics saw a 19.2 points greater reduction in the SCORAD (Scoring Atopic Dermatitis) index than those who took the placebo capsule (mean difference, −19.2; 95%CI, −15.0 to −23.4). In relative terms, the SCORAD index fell by 83% in the probiotic group (95%CI, −95% to −70%) compared to 24% (95%CI, −36%to −11%) in the placebo group (P<0.001).

Two of the sub-components of the SCORAD index (eczema spread and intensity) showed clear improvement in the children who took probiotics compared with those who took placebo, but there was no statistically significant difference in the third sub-component – subjective symptoms. In the probiotic group subjective symptoms fell by 77%, but they also fell substantially in the placebo group – by 53%.

Navarro-López suggested that this might be because patients who took placebo might have been able to reduce symptoms such as pruritus by using more corticosteroids.

The usual treatment for mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis is a course of topical corticosteroids, and long term topical steroids for moderate to severe disease.

Children who took probiotics in the study used topical steroids to treat atopic dermatitis flare ups on significantly fewer days (161 of 2084 patient-days [7.7%]) than those who took the placebo capsule (220 of 2032 patient-days [10.8%]; odds ratio, 0.63; 95%CI, 0.51 to 0.78).

Navarro-López said: “Our results suggest that administration of this mixture of probiotics, as adjuvant treatment, may be effective in reducing the SCORAD index and, subsequently, decreasing the use of steroids during atopic dermatitis flares.”

He added that the clinical response documented in the probiotic group was greater than that obtained with other probiotics tested previously and suggested that a greater effect may have been seen due to the longer length of treatment and the patients involved in this particular trial.

“Treatment longer than eight weeks might condition the positive effect of probiotic use, patients older than 1 year have a greater response to probiotics, patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis have a better response, and a mixture of probiotics has better beneficial effects than a single probiotic, especially when lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are included in the mixture,” he said.

“The final blend used in the study was selected on the basis of published results and internal unpublished data,” he added.

The physiology of gut microbiota in atopic derm

So how might gut microbiota be implicated in atopic dermatitis and probiotics exert their effects?

It has been suggested that there is an association between a disruption in intestinal barrier function and the origin of atopic dermatitis, mediated by immunological activation leading to a type 2 dominant inflammation, which would suggest that gut microbiota could play an important immunomodulatory role in the development of normal immune tolerance. A predominance of T helper two cells rather than T helper 1, causes an imbalance that might aggravate the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis, increasing IgE and activating interleukins.

Low levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and an associated reduction in short chain fatty acid production have been implicated in Crohn’s disease, and a recent analysis of the gut microbiota of patients with atopic dermatitis has shown an intra-species compositional change in Faecalibacterium prausnitzii that reduces the number of high butyrate and propionate producers.

Butyrate and propionate are microbial-produced short-chain fatty acids with an anti-inflammatory role, and butyrate has been shown to be a key player in maintaining gut barrier integrity. Therefore, reduced levels in the microbiota of both butyrate and propionate producers may result in a pro-inflammatory state in the gut and a loss of barrier integrity.

This raises a potential role for probiotics as microbiota recovery players in atopic dermatitis, Navarro-López said.

Probiotics may reduce SCORAD, steroid requirement in children with atopic dermatitis

Daily doses of the probiotic strains Bifidobacterium lactis CECT 8145, Bifidobacterium longum CECT 7347, and Lactobacillus casei CECT 9104 may reduce the SCORAD* index and need for topical steroids in children with moderate atopic dermatitis, according to a small study from Spain.

“Our results suggest that administration of this mixture of probiotics, as adjuvant treatment, may be effective in reducing the SCORAD index and, subsequently, decreasing the use of steroids during [atopic dermatitis] flares,” said the researchers.

Fifty children aged 4–17 years (mean age 9.2 years, 50 percent female) presenting at the Centro Dermatológico Estético de Alicante in Alicante, Spain who had been prescribed topical steroids for atopic dermatitis (moderate SCORAD index, 20–40) were randomized to receive a capsule containing freeze-dried powder with 109 total colony-forming units of Bifidobacterium lactis CECT 8145, Bifidobacterium longumCECT 7347, and Lactobacillus casei CECT 9104 with maltodextrin carrier or a placebo capsule (maltodextrin only) daily for 12 weeks. Participants were on a Mediterranean diet (KIDMED** score >7) and were prescribed topical methylprednisolone aceponate, a moisturizer, and an oral antihistamine.

Patients with a history of systemic immunosuppressive drug use in the last 3 months or antibiotics in the last 2 weeks, those with signs of a bacterial infection, or those with intestinal bowel disease were excluded.

A higher proportion of participants on probiotics experienced improvements in SCORAD index during the trial period compared with placebo (96 percent vs 46 percent). Participants who received probiotics also demonstrated a greater mean reduction in the SCORAD index compared with those who received placebo after 12 weeks (mean difference in SCORAD score, -19.2, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], -23.4 to -15.0; mean difference in proportional effect, -59 percent; p<0.001 in favour of probiotic). [JAMA Dermatol 2018;154:37-43]

Participants on probiotics also reduced their usage of topical steroids to treat flares (disease worsening requiring topical steroid use for ≥3 consecutive days) compared with those on placebo (161 of 2,084 patient-days [7.7 percent] vs 220 of 2,032 patient-days [10.8 percent], odds ratio [OR], 0.63, 95 percent CI, 0.51–0.78; p<0.001). In an analysis which included topical steroid use during non-flares, participants on probiotics still had fewer days of steroid exposure compared with those on placebo (291 vs 336, OR, 0.77; p<0.003).

According to the researchers, the response on the SCORAD index was better in this study (83 percent relative reduction) compared with that in several previous studies (63–68 percent). [J Clin Gastroenterol 2012;46:S33-S40; Ann Dermatol 2012;24:189-193; Iran J Pediatr 2011;21:225-230]

Factors that may have influenced the effect of probiotics included a longer treatment period, a better response in patients >1 years of age or in those with moderate-to-severe disease, or a stronger effect with a probiotic mixture containing lactobacilli and bifidobacteria compared with a single probiotic, they said.

“[The] evidence [from this study] supports the efficacy of administering this probiotic mixture to patients with moderate [atopic dermatitis] and suggests that it could be used more extensively in clinical practice,” said the researchers.

However, they cautioned that the single-centre design limited the potential extension of these results to a broader population such as in infants younger than 1 year or in adults, as well as in patients living in other locations.

“[Q]uestions should be answered about adequate dosage, the duration of probiotic administration, and at what age the use of probiotics would be most efficacious,” they said, highlighting the scope for future research.


Heart Health Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics may be the most important supplement of all. Every one of my cardiology patients MUST take them. Their success (and mine) depends on it. Probiotics literally means “pro-life” and antibiotic means “anti-life”. Doctors use the term probiotic to encompass the trillions of bacteria (flora) and beneficial yeast that colonize our intestines. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has a delicate balance of beneficial and harmful microbes doing the dance every day. When this coexistence gets out of whack in favor of the bad guys, disease will flourish.

Heart Health Benefits of Probiotics

The beneficial bacteria in our GI tract are responsible for:

  • Digestion
  • Vitamin synthesis
  • Detoxification of chemicals
  • Immune support
  • GI permeability (keeping unwanted particles out of the body while letting beneficial ones in)

Poor nutrition from grain (especially gluten containing grains), dairy, and sugar wreak havoc on the gut and can allow the bad bacteria and fungi to flourish. Antibiotics, steroids, fluoride, and chlorine inflict major GI damage.

Bacteria in the mouth convert plant-based nitrates to nitric oxide, the body’s main vasodilator. Read more about boosting nitric oxide here.

Also, genetically modified foods will surely alter our GI flora as the FrankenDNA from GMO will change the DNA of healthy gut flora.

Another nasty player is the pesticide Round-Up. The active ingredient glyphosate damages gut bacteria and causes a leaky gut.

How to maintain a healthy gut

If you do not have proper digestion with adequate amounts of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, disease will begin. Our ancestors ate bacteria in the dirt every day. They didn’t pull a carrot and scrub it clean. You can imagine Paleo people had very dirty hands, which would actually boost the immune system.

The health benefits of probiotics have been recognized for thousand of years. Our ancestors may not have known about the tiny bacteria themselves, but they knew the healing properties of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt. One bite of these items has billions of good bacteria and I recommend eating kraut or kimchi weekly. Kombucha tea would also be an excellent source of probiotics and is great for an afternoon pick-up. Dairy is best left for the baby cows.


Well, cardiovascular disease is linked to inflammation and a major source of inflammation is the gut. Heal the gut and heal the heart. The good news is, probiotics are proven to heal the leaky gut.

Hundreds of studies confirm the benefits of probiotics on cholesterol levels. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found those patients randomized to probiotics vs. placebo increased there HDL from 50 to 62.

Probiotics reduce blood pressure according to numerous studies and my clinical experience. Probiotics improve blood sugar. The lower the blood sugar, the lower the risk of heart disease. Probiotics lower inflammation and improve heart function!

In addition, probiotics:

  • Aid in food digestion and may reduce acid-reflux symptoms
  • Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins and improve calcium absorption
  • Improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis
  • Promote vaginal and urinary health
  • Support immune function
  • May inhibit antibiotic associated diarrhea
  • May prevent Traveler’s diarrhea

PROBIOTICS are best consumed on an empty stomach so I recommend dosing when you first wake up and 30 minutes before dinner or even at bedtime. It is good to take a variety of probiotics as there are hundreds of different strains that make up a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Overdosing is very unlikely, if not impossible. Side effects are mostly limited to loose stools.

When our ancestors wanted a carrot, they would pull one out of the ground and eat. In present day, our store bought vegetables are washed before we buy them and then scrubbed at home to get off any remnants of dirt. I am not opposed to the cleaning of our food due to toxic soil, air, and water, but this is all the more reason to consume probiotics on a daily basis. In addition, our hands used to be dirty from the soil and our hunter-gatherer lives. Not any longer, you can’t walk five feet without running into hand sanitizer which effectively removes all good probiotics along with giving you an extra dose of chemicals. Could the diseases afflicting our children and the recurrent infections we all seem to get be due to our sterilized society?


Probiotics found to reverse depression without the violent side effects of SSRI antidepressants.

Image: Probiotics found to reverse depression without the violent side effects of SSRI antidepressants

Lactobacilli, beneficial bacteria commonly found in probiotics, proves to be a potential treatment for depression. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine examined the effects of stress in mice and noted a significant loss of Lactobacillus in the process. The scientists found that the loss in Lactobacillus results in the subsequent manifestation of symptoms associated with depression. However, feeding mice with food containing Lactobacillus reuteri helped the animals return to almost normal.

Lactobacillus appears to affect the levels of a blood metabolite called kynurenine. The blood metabolite is known to trigger the onset of depression. The researchers note a surge in kynurenine levels when loss of Lactobacillus takes place, which in turn leads to the onset of depressive symptoms in the animals. However, maintaining high levels of kynurenine diminishes the effects of the beneficial bacteria, researchers say.

“The big hope for this kind of research is that we won’t need to bother with complex drugs and side-effects when we can just play with the microbiome. It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health – and your mood,” says lead researcher Alban Gaultier.

The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Results of the recent study are reflective of a systematic review published in the journal CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug TargetsAccording to the analysis, gut microbiota play a key role in regulating stress response and in the development of the central nervous system during critical stages. The review confirmed that probiotics help mitigate anxiety and depressive-like behaviors in animal models.

Human studies establish link between probiotics, depression

A vast number of human studies from the last few years have demonstrated the beneficial effects of probiotics in alleviating depressive symptoms. In 2011, French researchers found that daily consumption of a probiotic formulation helped ease psychological distress in study participants. Both L. helveticus and B. longum strains were shown to promote beneficial psychological effects in volunteers, the researchers wrote in The British Journal of Nutrition. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles also found that women who drank milk that contained probiotics exhibited less activities in brain areas associated with emotions compared with those who drank plain milk.

Another study published in the journal Nutrition showed that participants with  major depressive disorder who regularly took probiotic supplements had significantly lower Beck Depression Inventory total scores compared with those in the placebo group. A meta-analysis published last year also revealed that study participants who were on probiotics treatment had lower showed relatively low incidence of depression. The findings appeared in the journal Nutrients

Probiotics consumption may also help regulate mood, a Dutch study found. Researchers at the Leiden University in the Netherlands examined 40 healthy participants and classified them into two groups: the probiotics group and the placebo group. Study data showed that patients in the probiotics group exhibited less reactivity to sad moods compared with those in the placebo group.

“Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression,” said study author Lorenza S. Colzato.

Another study published in Psychopharmacology revealed that people who took prebiotics — compounds that promote probiotic growth — paid less attention to negative information and more focus on positive information during a computer test compared with those who took a placebo. Researchers also found that participants in the prebiotics group had lower cortisol levels in their saliva than those in the placebo group. High cortisol levels were known to induce stress.








Eating probiotics may lower blood pressure

Eating probiotics may be as effective at lowering high blood pressure as cutting down on salt, a study has found, suggesting it may reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by a fifth.

Eating probiotic yoghurt twice a day could relieve anxiety and stress by reducing activity in the emotional area of the brain, a study has found.

The study suggests regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure

Probiotic yogurts and supplements may lower blood pressure and could cut the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by a fifth if eaten regularly, according to a new study.

Researchers found that eating yogurts or drinks containing probiotics, so-called friendly bacteria that are good for gut health, may lower blood pressure.

An analysis of nine research studies, which involved more than 500 people, found those with elevated blood pressure saw a reduction when they consumed probiotics for more than eight weeks.

The effect was similar to that seen in people who reduce their salt consumption from an average of six grams per day to four grams and may be enough to cut the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by a fifth, the authors said.

Dr Jing Sun, lead author and senior lecturer at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine, in, Queensland, Australia, wrote in the journal Hypertension: “The small collection of studies we looked at suggest regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

“This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.”

Around a third of people in Britain are thought to have high blood pressure, where readings are higher than 140/90 mm Hg. A reading of 130/80 mm Hg would be considered normal.

An unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol and a lack of exercise are all linked to high blood pressure, or hypertension, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke or kidney problems.

The results of the latest analysis showed that probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure, the first number in a blood pressure reading, by an average 3.56 millimetres of mercury.

It lowered diastolic blood pressure, the second number in a reading, by an average 2.38mm Hg, compared with adults who didn’t consume probiotics.

Dr Sun compared the results to another study that found a slightly smaller drop in blood pressure had led to a reduction in the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by a fifth.

She said: “The reduction reported by the current meta-analysis is modest; however, even a small reduction of blood pressure may have important public health benefits and cardiovascular consequences.

“The findings from the Heart Outcome Prevention Evaluation study showed that a modest reduction of systolic blood pressure by 3.3mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.4mm Hg was associated with a 22 per cent reduction in relative risk of cardiovascular mortality, heart attack or stroke.”

The study found that probiotic products that contained a higher volume of bacteria and contained more than one type of bacteria were most effective.

Dr Sun added: “We believe probiotics might help lower blood pressure by having other positive effects on health, including improving total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol; reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance; and by helping to regulate the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance.

She said more research was needed before doctors could confidently recommend probiotics for high blood pressure control and prevention.

Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke, so it’s vital we do all we can to keep our levels in check.

“While this is an interesting review of the research in this area, it’s too soon to start recommending probiotics for lowering blood pressure.

“With only a handful of studies involving a limited number of participants and conducted for only short periods, we need more research to confirm the findings seen here.

“In the meantime, there are a number of well-established lifestyle changes that we can make to keep our blood pressure healthy.

“Eating less salt, more fruit and vegetables and being physically active and maintaining a healthy body weight are all tried and tested ways to do this.”

The Healing Power of Probiotics Impresses Researchers

A breakthrough study has revealed for the first time that probiotic bacteria appear to affect gene activity and cellular reactions in the human intestine.


According to NUTRAingredients.com:

“Consumption of a dairy drink containing three strains of probiotic bacteria was associated with changes in the activity of hundreds of genes, with the changes resembling the effects of certain medicines in the human body, including medicines that positively influence the immune system and those for lowering blood pressure.”

“Probiotics cause a local reaction in the mucosa of the small intestines,” said Prof Michiel Kleerebezem of NIZO food research. “These effects are similar to the effects of components that the pharmaceutical industry applies to medicines, but less strong.”

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help your body to thrive on multiple levels. In Greek, the term means “for life,” and the myriad of research surrounding these healthful microorganisms suggests that they are, in fact, an integral part of your well-being.

Far from simply helping your body to better digest and assimilate your food (which they do very well), probiotics influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner.

Among the many probiotic effects uncovered by this latest study were changes that positively influence your immune system and help lower blood pressure. In fact, the researchers noted that probiotics lead to changes similar to those sought after by the pharmaceutical industry, yet with probiotics there are no negative side effects whatsoever.

Probiotics Positively Influence Your Genes

One of the most cutting-edge fields of medicine is epigenetics, which has shown that your lifestyle plays a significant role in how your genes are expressed. The widely accepted dogma that your genes control your health destiny is now being completely uprooted, as your genetic code is not set in stone. Rather it is constantly changing based on factors like your diet and stress levels.

For instance, eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, garlic and onions helps to activate tumor suppressor genes that fight cancer.

Likewise, researchers revealed that drinking a probiotic-rich beverage influenced the activity of hundreds of your genes in a positive manner.

To put it simply, the more dietary and lifestyle habits you engage in that positively influence your genetic expression, the more protection you’ll naturally receive against a host of chronic illnesses.

Epigenetic therapy, which is essentially the curing of disease by epigenetic manipulation, involves changing the instructions to your cells — reactivating desirable genes and deactivating undesirable ones. This emerging field, now in its infancy, may represent the future of medicine.

But you can start to take advantage of it now by incorporating probiotics and other foods into your diet that help support healthful genetic expression.

Did You Know You Can Get Probiotics from Foods?

Probiotic supplements are widely available, and if you choose a high-quality version are very effective in helping to “reseed” your intestinal tract with good bacteria.

Though I rarely recommend taking supplements on a regular basis, a high-quality probiotic is one of my exceptions. In fact, it’s the one supplement recommended to all new patients in my clinic.

That said, way before the invention of the probiotic supplement cultures were benefiting from probiotics by way of cultured, or fermented, foods.

Cultured foods like yogurt, some cheeses, and sauerkraut are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria, provided they are not pasteurized. And fermented foods, such as natto, can give your body the similar benefits of consuming a whole bottle of good bacteria, at a fraction of the cost.

One of the best and least expensive ways to get healthy bacteria through your diet is to obtain raw milk and convert it to kefir, which is really easy to make at home. All you need is one half packet of kefir start granules in a quart of raw milk, which you leave at room temperature overnight. By the time you wake up in the morning you will likely have kefir. If it hasn’t obtained the consistency of yogurt you might want to set it out a bit longer and then store it in the fridge.

A quart of kefir has far more active bacteria than you can possibly purchase in any probiotics supplement, and it is very economical as you can reuse the kefir from the original quart of milk about 10 times before you need to start a new culture pack. Just one starter package of kefir granules can convert about 50 gallons of milk to kefir.

This is a far healthier, and far more economical, way to nourish your body with probiotics than buying any of the commercial probiotic beverages on the market. These typically contain added sugars and are made using pasteurized milk, which I don’t recommend drinking.

Cultured foods should be a regular part of your diet, and if you eat them enough you will keep your digestive tract well supplied with good bacteria. There may still be times when a probiotic supplement is necessary, such as when you stray from your healthy diet and consume excess grains or sugar, if you have to take antibiotics, when traveling to foreign countries or when eating at suspicious restaurants.

I’ve also found that using a high-quality probiotic every 30-60 days will typically help maintain a well-functioning digestive system. But use the supplement as it’s intended — as a “supplement” to, not a replacement for, cultured foods.

Probiotics Provide Whole-Body Benefits

The latest research on probiotics’ influence on your genes only serves to further support their role in your overall health.

For instance, beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system as well. The bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

Friendly bacteria train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately. This important function prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is the genesis of allergies.

Probiotics can even help to normalize your weight. One study found that obese people were able to reduce their abdominal fat by nearly 5 percent, and their subcutaneous fat by over 3 percent, just be drinking a probiotic-rich fermented milk beverage for 12 weeks.

As you can see, probiotics perform a wide variety of functions, which renders them useful and beneficial for a number of health concerns, some of which are still being uncovered. And because adding probiotics to your diet is so easy, by way of cultured foods and/or supplements, it’s one step I highly encourage you to take on your journey to optimal health.

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