This month’s bulletin is chock-full of interesting news about the prevalence of prescription drugs and micronutrient deficiencies, and brand new information about an until now unknown role played by gut flora.
It turns out that prescription drug use is at an all-time high among Americans with two surprising exceptions.
Also, researchers have found rampant micronutrient deficiencies among U.S. citizens, which are linked to obesity and other health conditions.
Micronutrients are not the only microscopic substances your body needs. A brand-new study sheds light on an amazing discovery about gut microbes: they actually regulate the Master Antioxidant, glutathione.
As you can see, there is plenty to cover, so let’s start with the news about prescription drugs.
1. Prescription Drug Use At An All-Time High In America
A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows a 51% increase in prescription drug use between 1999 to 2011, particularly drugs linked to obesity: statins and blood pressure drugs.
“More Americans than ever are taking prescription drugs — close to 60 percent of U.S. adults, according to new research.
And most seem to be related to obesity, with cholesterol and blood pressure drugs leading the pack, researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.”1
Elizabeth Kantor, formerly of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and now at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and her research team “used national surveys of more than 37,000 adults to find that the percentage of people taking prescription drugs rose from 51 percent of the adult population in 1999 to 59 percent in 2011.
The population is getting older, but that doesn’t explain it, Kantor said. The pattern looks more related to obesity, which is steadily rising… And more people are taking five or more drugs at once.”1
As unfortunate as this news is, there is hope: bisphosphonate continues to be on the decline, as is the use of hormone replacement therapy, neither of which are recommended on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, of course.
The decrease in bisphosphonates coincides with a decrease in atypical femur fractures as well, according to a recent study:
“This decline in oral bisphosphonate use was followed by the decline in the incidence of subtrochanteric and diaphyseal fractures.2
Researchers further point out that:
“The plateauing and subsequent decline in oral bisphosphonate use since 2006 coincided with reports of safety concerns of bisphosphonates…”2
Notice the reports of safety concerns were the driving force behind the decline. The same can be said for hormone replacement therapy declining – patients became aware of the dangers, and use of the drugs dropped off. This is yet another example of the power of knowledge and information.
And while prescription drug use continues to soar, so does micronutrient deficiency among U.S. citizens, which has been linked to health issues including osteoporosis.
2. Micronutrient Deficiency Linked To Obesity And Osteoporosis
Micronutrients are better known as vitamins and minerals, and sadly, our food supply is woefully deficient in these vital nutrients, paving the way for the very health problems we see so frequently in the U.S..
“Unfortunately, our food supply is sorely lacking micronutrients — the vitamins and minerals we need to live healthy lives. Even fresh fruits and vegetables are a lot less nutrient-rich than they were a couple of generations ago.
Micronutrient deficiency can lead not only to obesity, but a whole host of other health problems.
…‘When I was 30 I was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis, which means I had the bone density of an 80-year-old, which was quite a shock to the physicians at that time,’[30-year-old Mira Calton] recalled.
…Mira didn’t want drugs, so she searched for a natural treatment. …After two years of the right vitamins and minerals, her osteoporosis disappeared.
…According to government statistics, micronutrient deficiency affects 90 percent of Americans, which means nearly all of us lack at least one critical vitamin or mineral necessary for good health.
Topping the list of micronutrients most people are lacking are potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, D and E.”3
Savers will recognize the Foundation Supplements, described in Chapter 10 of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program: calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D. Why are so many people deficient? The culprit is a food supply that is saturated with processed foods full of “empty calories.”
Even whole foods and produce are less nutritious than they used to be, thanks to depredatory farming practices that starve the soil of microbes and nutrients. In addition, foods that are shipped long distances are often picked before they have had a chance to ripen and mature, further decreasing nutritional value.
This is why the Program recommends organic, whole foods that are locally grown whenever possible, and expounds in detail about the role of each nutrient in building bone. It’s crucial to know which micronutrients are needed for optimal bone health, and to choose your foods accordingly. It’s a simple concept, but it is rarely practiced…unless you’re a Saver!
3. More Praise For Gut Microbes: New Research Shows They Regulate Glutathione, The Master Antioxidant
Scientists are making more and more discoveries about the complex workings of microbes in the gut. A brand-new study reveals another fascinating role of these vital microscopic life forms.
“In a recent paper published in Molecular Systems Biology, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, the Royal Institute of Technology and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden revealed that gut microbiota regulates the glutathione and amino acid metabolism of the host. The study, highlighted on the cover of the journal, shows how a novel integrative approach can be used to reveal the metabolic differences between germ-free and conventionally raised mice through a combination of proteomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics data as well as tissue-specific metabolic modeling. …
In the study, a generic map of mouse metabolism was created, and tissue-specific computer models for major mouse tissues were generated. Through integration of high throughput experimental data, the researchers found that the microbiota in the small intestine consumes glycine, which is one of the three amino acids required for the synthesis of the glutathione.
In order to confirm the results of the computer-based simulations, the level of the amino acids in the portal vein of the mice was measured. Moreover, a lower level of glycine was observed in liver and colon tissues, which indicates that the gut microbiota regulates glutathione metabolism, not only in the small intestine but also in the liver and the colon.”4
This is fascinating new information. If intestinal bacteria are out of balance, then the glycine-consuming bacteria will get the upper hand, so to speak, robbing the body of one of the building blocks of glutathione. And this is extremely important with regard to osteoporosis. I’ll explain.
Why Is Glutathione Important?
Glutathione is referred to as the Master Antioxidant for a reason. It is present in every cell in the body, and it is able to donate an oxygen electron to free radicals (so-called because they lack an oxygen electron) without becoming a free radical itself. Glutathione is a key player in staving off bone-destroying oxidative stress.
But glutathione does so much more. It protects your liver by aiding its detoxification process, and the liver manufactures a glutathione precursor called methionine. Glutathione also helps to enable the immune system, facilitates nutrient metabolism, and modulates a number of important cellular processes.
Glutathione deficiency is a major contributor to oxidative stress, which is instrumental in the development of many disorders.
Glutathione is manufactured in the body from three amino acid precursors L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and L-glycine. Based on this just-published study, without a thriving microbial “community” in the gut, the manufacture of glutathione could be greatly impaired.
Gut Microbes Are Essential For So Many Reasons
The glutathione connection is just one of many, many ways in which healthful gut microbes benefit our bodies. Here are a few to consider:
- The intestine is central to your immune system. In fact, scientists are seeing more and more evidence that the gut is the body’s immune “command center.” And the key players in this process are the gut microbes, which actually communicate with other cells in your intestine, telling them to produce immune-fighting substances. With cold and flu season upon us, this is especially relevant. In fact…
- Probiotics reduce the incidence, severity, and duration of upper respiratory tract infections.5
- Probiotics relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
- Certain probiotic strains reduce tooth decay and boost cardiovascular health.6
What You Can Do To Make Sure You’re Getting The Right Probiotics
Given all the amazing benefits of these important microbes, you may be wondering what you can do to promote probiotic production and increase the number of friendly microbes in your gut.
When it comes to balancing intestinal flora, it is important not to forget prebiotics, substances that act as precursors or “food” for the probiotics. These include insoluble fiber such as inulin and oligofructose. These substances work symbiotically with probiotics to keep gut flora in balance.
You’ll find the “total package” in TrueLife PB™, a symbiotic blend of prebiotics and key probiotics that have been carefully researched, and have been shown to be the most beneficial for the health of your bones and your whole body. TrueLife PB™ takes the guesswork out of choosing a probiotic supplement.
TrueLife PB™’s unique blend of microbes is called FloraFit™, which is composed of plant-based, non-GMO cultures. The FloraFit™ strains are blended with the prebiotics inulin fiber and kiwi extract before being carefully packed in special, protective packaging that eliminates any need to refrigerate.
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Till next time,
1 Fox, Maggie. “More Americans Than Ever Use Prescription Drugs.” NBC News. November 3, 2015. Web. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/more-americans-ever-use-prescription-drugs-n456831
2 Jha, S., et al. “Trends in Medica Reports, Oral Bisphosphonate Prescriptions, and Hip Fractures 1996-2012: An Ecological Analysis.” May 27, 2015. Doi: 10.102/jbmr.2565. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26018247
3 Johnson, Lorie. “Micronutrient Crisis ‘Starving’ America into Obesity.” CBN News. Augst 12, 2015. Web. http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2015/August/Micronutrient-Crisis-Starving-America-into-Obesity/
4 “Gut microbiota regulates antioxidant metabolism.” Science Daily. November 6, 2015. Web. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151106062708.htm
5 Hao, Qiukui, Dong, Bi Rong, and Wu, Taixiang. “Probiotics for preventing acute upper respiratory tract infections.” The Cochrane Library. February 3, 2015. Doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006895.pub3. Web. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006895.pub3/abstract
6 “Daily doses of a new probiotic reduces ‘bad’ and total cholesterol.” Abstract 11348. American Heart Association news release. November 5, 2012. Web. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/daily-doses-of-a-new-probiotic-239562