The Food and Drug Administration just released Nutrition Basics reminder to help parents look at nutrition facts labels (ingredients, percent daily value, nutrients, and serving size) before buying food for their children. The main goal of this program is to fight childhood obesity with better food choices. How often do you discuss food labeling with your patients?
For additional information, please see the FDA Consumer Update .
A new review published in the journal Hypertension evaluated results of multiple trials concluding that daily consumption of probiotics can reduced blood pressure levels by 2 to 3 mm Hg. Even though this is not a significant reduction, probiotics in general have multiple benefits. What are your favorite sources of probiotics?
For additional information, please see Reuters Health.
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Trial published by the Journal of Microbiology Ecology released information that may hint that management of gut microbiota may be the secret to managing weight. Shanghai researchers looked into gut microbiota and its connection to weight. Ninety three obese patients were placed on a dietary regime with whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods, and prebiotics for 9 weeks. Patients were evaluated at the end of 9 weeks and then 14 weeks later demonstrating an average weight loss of 5kg. Researchers claim diet management improved insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, and blood pressure. In addition to weight loss, what health benefits can potentially be gained from managing our natural flora?
For the article visit BBC
For the study visit the Journal of Microbiology Ecology
Taking daily doses of probiotics can help reduce episodes of diarrhea and respiratory tract infections in children at day care centers. This randomized, double-blinded trial published in Pediatrics evaluated 336 healthy children, aged 6 months to 3 years old, whom half received Lactobacillus reuteri (probiotic) and half received an identical placebo. During the 3 month study, there were 69 cases of diarrhea in the placebo group versus 42 cases in the supplement group. The placebo group also had 204 cases of respiratory tract infections with subjects spending an average of 4.1 days on antibiotics, while the L. reuteri group had 93 cases of respiratory tract infections and subjects spent an average of 2.7 days on antibiotics. Follow-up continued for 3 months after the trial without any supplements of probiotics. There seems to be a beneficial effect for children taking daily doses of L. reuteri to have a significant reduction in episodes of diarrhea as well as respiratory tract infections. What are your thoughts on giving infants and children probiotics to prevent possible illnesses?
For additional information, please see The New York Times.
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A panel of experts who assess current scientific evidence for preventative medications focused on vitamins and other dietary supplements in their recent review. According to the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF), there is unclear evidence when taking nutrients (as vitamins or supplements) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and/or cancer. The report also advises against taking beta-carotene and vitamin E for the prevention of these two conditions due to lack of evidence. Instead, the panel suggests that a well-balanced diet would be more beneficial for the body, helping it to absorb nutrients in their most natural form. What are your thoughts on these recent recommendations? How do you counsel your patients to achieve this well-balanced diet? For more information, click here
According to a recent study published in the Lancet, administration of lactobaccilli and bifidobacteria was not effective in preventing diarrhea associated with broad spectrum antibiotic use. About 3,000 elderly inpatients were included in the study and those who received the lactobaccili and bifidobacteria had similar rates of diarrhea compared to the placebo counterparts. Although the study did not support routine use of these strains of probiotics, the authors believe more research on the pathophysiology of antibiotic associated diarrhea is needed. The causes of diarrhea can be caused by multiple factors including type of antibiotic used, patients’ different disease states, diets, and age. What are your personal /professional experiences as their relate to probiotic use for antibiotic-induced diarrhea?
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According to a systematic review published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found that probiotics may not alleviate colic in infants. The study analyzed data from 12 studies (5 for treatment and 7 for prevention of colic) and found that the results were conflicting. Results also differed based on whether the infant was breast or formula fed. Researchers suggest that parents should consult with their pediatrician first since probiotics may not work for every child. What are your thoughts regarding the study results? What do you recommend for treatment of colic in infants?
Please click here for more information.
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A new systematic review of 23 trials published by investigators from the Cochranne Collaboration evaluated 4,213 patients who were on antibiotics treatment for different reasons. Researchers concluded that 2% of patients when given probiotics developed C. difficile, compared with 6% of patients who were taking placebo. Additionally, people taking probiotics developed less abdominal side efeects compared to placebo. However, despite the preventive effect on diarrhea, taking probiotics did not entirely eliminate infections with C. difficile.What other indications do you recommend probiotics for? How do you feel about single versus multi-strain products?
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Probiotics are mainly known to benefit the digestive tract, but may also have a potential new advantage- cholesterol lowering. A 9-week, randomized trial conducted at McGill University evaluated 127 patients with high cholesterol. Half of these patients received a probiotic supplement twice a day and the other half took a placebo. Total cholesterol levels of those who took the probiotic dropped by 9% and their LDL cholesterol levels by 12%. However, one must keep in mind that this study was financed by a company that produces probiotics. What conditions do you routinely take/recommend probiotics for?
For more information, go to the NY times.
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A meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reports that probiotics may prevent Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD) in patients taking antibiotics. Data was pooled from 20 randomized controlled clinical trials evaluating probiotics compared to placebo or no treatment and the occurrence of CDAD. The results indicated that the occurrence of CDAD was decreased by 66% in those taking probiotics. What questions have you received from patients about the use of probiotics? What other indications do you recommend probiotics for?
For more information, please read the article in the Annals of Internal Medicine.