Can Poop Transplants Help Wipe Out Superbugs?

shutterstock_261419939Widespread antibiotic resistance is one of the major problems facing America today. It happens when our bodies become resistant to the effects of a specific antibiotic (or antibiotics) over time because of misuse or overuse of those drugs—and many experts worry that our dependence on antibiotics—as well as our obsession with antibacterial products—may lead to the development of more and more dangerous “superbugs” that don’t respond to normal antibiotic treatment.

The good news? Researchers from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York may be one step closer to kicking those superbugs to the curb. In a study involving mice, Dr. Eric Pamer and his team recently discovered that fecal transplants were effective at eliminating two of the nastiest types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria seen most often in hospitals today: vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumonia.

While fecal transplantation is a relatively new concept, already it has been used successfully to treat some types of intestinal infections in humans. In this particular study, researchers wanted to see if the method could not only eliminate harmful bacteria but also help prevent further colonization. Based on their findings, transplanting gut bacteria from healthy mice into those infected with VRE and K. pneumoniae was indeed able to wipe out both types of bacteria and help thwart future growth in the gut.

Though additional research is needed to see if the positive results can be sustained over time, Dr. Pamer and his colleagues are positive about the potential for humans. Nowadays most experts recommend taking antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and always completing the prescribed dose. Taking a daily probiotic supplement may also help strengthen the body’s natural defense system, the majority of which is found in the gut.‡


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Color Your Diet for a Nutrient Boost!

shutterstock_213215713Have you ever heard the expression “Eat a rainbow”? It refers to the wide range of colors we see in our favorite fruits and vegetables and what those colors mean for our health. Each different shade of red, orange, yellow, green, and even purple and blue comes from different nutrients found naturally in fresh produce—and those nutrients provide numerous benefits for the whole body.

As we celebrate Fruit & Veggies—More Matters® Month, here is a quick list to help you put a little more color on your plate. Whenever possible, stick to low-sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables for optimal health.

Red: Tomatoes and watermelon are both rich in lycopene, phytoene, and phytofluene, which promote healthy cholesterol and blood pressure to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Red-Purple: Red grapes, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates, and raspberries contain natural compounds called anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and flavonoids, which support heart health and metabolism.

Orange: Squash, mangoes, apricots, carrots, and pumpkins contain alpha and beta carotenoids (powerful antioxidants that promote overall health)—not to mention plenty of vitamin A for healthy vision, vitamin C for immune health, and potassium and iron.

Orange-Yellow: Oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits contain bioflavonoids, which support heart health, along with plenty of essential vitamin C for healthy skin, eyes, and immune function.

Green-Yellow: Avocado, spinach, green beans, mustard greens, and collard greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, natural compounds that promote heart and eye health.

Green: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy contain glucosinolates, isocyothianates, and indole-3 carbinol, which have powerful antioxidant properties.

White-Green: Garlic and onions contain allyl sulfides, which support healthy cells, bones, blood circulation, and immune function.

And don’t forget about fiber! Fresh fruits and veggies are chock full of dietary fiber, which has been shown to support healthy digestion, immune function, heart health, and more, so be sure to spend a few extra minutes in the produce aisle the next time you head to the market. Your body and your health will thank you!


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