Medical News Today: What do the colors of a bruise mean?

Bruises happen when small blood vessels in the skin are damaged. Over time, a bruise changes color as the blood under the skin breaks down, and as the bruise heals.

Bruising typically occurs when a person receives an injury to an area of their skin, such as from falling or bumping into something.

The blood vessels between the skin and other tissues in the body burst. The blood pools under the surface of the skin, causing a bruise. It is natural for a bruise to change color during the healing process.

Read on to learn more about the usual cycle of bruising, and when a person should see their doctor about a bruise, for example, when it does not heal, returns or the pain intensifies.

Bruise colors over time and their causes

A person may be able to estimate how old a bruise is from the color. As the body heals and breaks down the hemoglobin, or compound that gives blood its red color, the bruise will change in color. This is a regular part of the healing process.

However, skin color affects the appearance of a bruise. Those with medium skin tones had more red and yellow to their bruises, while darker skin tones displayed darker bruises.

During the healing process, a bruise will usually go through the following colors:

  • It often starts red because fresh, oxygen-rich blood has newly pooled underneath the skin.
  • After around 1–2 days, the blood begins to lose oxygen and change color. A bruise that is a few days old will often appear blue, purple, or even black.
  • In about 5–10 days, it turns a yellow or green color. These colors come from compounds called biliverdin and bilirubin that the body produces when it breaks down hemoglobin.
  • After 10–14 days, it will turn to a shade of yellowish-brown or light brown.

Finally, once the bruise has turned a light brown, it will begin to fade. Most bruises will disappear without treatment within about 2 weeks.


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When to worry about bruises

Bruises are not typically something to cause undue worry. Often, they are a surface injury that requires no medical attention, and people can treat them at home.

But, in some cases, a person may want to seek medical attention for their bruising.

One common issue is a hematoma. A hematoma is a large collection of blood that becomes trapped within tissues. It is often related to more significant trauma.

When a hematoma occurs, the body cannot heal the bruise as easily or quickly as a minor injury. As a result, a hematoma stays the same color, firmness, and causes the same level of pain even after several days.

A person may need medical attention to find out if the hematoma requires further treatment.

The location, size, and cause of the hematoma will determine how to treat it.

Some of the warning signs that a person needs medical attention include bruising that:

  • causes an arm or leg to become numb
  • causes loss of function of a joint, limb or muscle
  • keeps growing in size
  • recurs in the same spot or lasts longer than 2 weeks
  • happens alongside a broken bone
  • occurs on the head or neck
  • causes vision impairment
  • occurs with no known cause on the abdomen, head, or trunk, as this may signal a problem with an internal organ

How to speed up healing

Person putting ice pack on skin around elbow
Applying an ice pack to bruised skin can promote healing.

People may want to try to speed healing or lessen any pain associated with bruising. There are some potential at-home methods they can try, as described here:

Use an ice pack

One of the first steps to helping a bruise heal is to apply ice to the area. People can ice the area with anything frozen, such as a freezer pack or a bag of frozen vegetables.

Wrap the cold object in a towel or cloth and apply to the affected area. Do not apply a cold pack directly to the skin, as this can cause further injury.

When a person applies ice to a new bruise, it helps to slow bleeding down and lessen the swelling. This can reduce the overall size of the bruise, as it prevents blood from leaking further and reduces inflammation.

Use healing creams

Many people use arnica, quercetin, vitamin B-3, or vitamin K creams to help speed up bruise healing times.

People can also use over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation around the bruise. Avoid aspirin, as it can increase bleeding.

Avoiding NSAIDs may also be necessary when bruising occurs after surgery or with extensive bruises, as these drugs risk worsening the bleeding. People should check with their doctor before taking any NSAIDs if they have this bruising.

Wrap it up

The use of a soft elastic wrap, during waking hours, for the first 1–2 days can help decrease bruising and discomfort after an injury.

The wrap should be firm but not tight. Numbness, tingling or increased discomfort means the wrap should be loosened or removed.

Raise the affected area

Elevating the bruised area has a similar effect to icing the bruise. It helps prevent the bruise from getting bigger. The individual should raise the affected area to a comfortable position.

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When to see a doctor

Person with bruised arm around the elbow
A doctor should inspect bruises that occur with no obvious cause.

A person should seek medical attention any time they have the following symptoms or issues associated with bruising:

  • a suspected broken bone
  • loss of function of a joint, limb or muscle
  • increasing pain
  • an area is affected by a bruise that returns
  • there is no identifiable cause of the bruising
  • the bruise does not heal within 2 weeks
  • the bruise interferes with vision

Those taking precription blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), should notify their doctor if they experience any falls or signficant injuries.

A doctor can help determine if there is a more severe condition or cause of the bruising that the person does not know about themselves.

In rare cases, bruising can indicate more serious conditions including:


Bruising takes on many colors as the body works to heal an injury. It is normal for a bruise to change color over time. A person can expect about four phases of colors to a bruise before it fades away.

If a bruise does not fade, becomes worse, or other issues accompany it, a person should consult a doctor. Otherwise, most bruises should heal within about 2 weeks with no medical treatment.

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Medical News Today: Psychedelic drugs ‘may improve depression, anxiety, and PTSD’

Psychedelic drugs tend to have a bad reputation; they can have harmful effects and lead to addiction. Many countries regulate them heavily. Now, however, researchers ask whether such substances may be used to manage conditions such as anxiety.
colorful head concept art
Can psychoactive substances help people manage symptoms linked to anxiety, trauma, and depression?

The annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) — held this year in San Francisco, CA — is home to much thought-provoking debate about which directions psychotherapy should next consider.

This year, researchers from various global institutions discussed the potential of psychedelic drugs in the management of anxiety, depression, and psychological trauma symptoms.

These institutions included the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute in California, the Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada, and the Palo Alto University in California.

Combined with psychotherapy, some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin, and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Symposium co-chair Cristina L. Magalhaes, Alliant International University Los Angeles, CA

“More research and discussion are needed to understand the possible benefits of these drugs, and psychologists can help navigate the clinical, ethical, and cultural issues related to their use,” adds Magalhaes.

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MDMA for social anxiety?

Many researchers see psychedelic drugs as unsafe, and they are banned or heavily regulated by governments across the world, but this might change in the future; scientists argue that such substances could be a useful add-on to psychotherapy.

Currently, a clinical trial is seeking prove that MDMA, or ecstasy, can help those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as co-chair Adam Snider, of the Alliant International University in Los Angeles, CA, also notes.

Moreover, a recent study — the findings of which were presented at the APA convention — has gathered some evidence that MDMA, in combination with psychotherapy, can treat social anxiety in adults with autism.

A total of 12 participants with autism who experienced moderate to severe social anxiety participated in that study. They agreed to take two treatments of pure MDMA, alongside their regular, ongoing therapy, and they reported long-term and significant improvement of symptoms.

“Social anxiety,” explains study author Alicia Danforth, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, “is prevalent in autistic adults and few treatment options have been shown to be effective.”

“The positive effects of using MDMA and therapy lasted months, or even years, for most of the research volunteers,” she stresses.

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‘A larger role for spirituality’ in therapy

Another study whose findings were presented at the symposium suggested that LSD, psilocybin (or magic mushrooms), and ayahuasca could help manage anxiety, depression, and some eating disorders.

Researcher Adele Lafrance, from Laurentian University, argues that psychedelic drugs can help with psychological symptoms partly by improving a person’s sense of spirituality, and how they relate to their own emotions. This, she says, is what a study of 159 participants who took such drugs reported.

According to the study’s findings, the use of psychoactive substances led to a heightened sense of spirituality, better emotional balance, and therefore a reduction of anxiety and depression, as well as disordered eating.

Lafrance says, “This study reinforces the need for the psychological field to consider a larger role for spirituality in the context of mainstream treatment because spiritual growth and a connection to something greater than the self can be fostered.”

As for ayahuasca, another study discussed at the symposium suggested that the brew can support the management of depression, addiction, and trauma-related symptoms.

“We found,” notes researcher Clancy Cavnar, from the Núcleo de Estudos Interdisciplinares sobre Psicoativos in Brazil, “that ayahuasca also fostered an increase in generosity, spiritual connection, and altruism.”

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Cancer, emotions, and psychedelic drugs

Psychedelic drugs could also bring comfort to people dealing with cancer, as they may reduce anxiety and psychological distress.

According to a study of 13 participants that Gabby Agin-Liebes — from Palo Alto University — led, psilocybin in addition to psychotherapy can help people deal with their fear of death and their distress with regard to loss.

“Participants made spiritual or religious interpretations of their experience and the psilocybin treatment helped facilitate a reconnection to life, greater mindfulness and presence, and gave them more confidence when faced with cancer recurrence,” Agin-Liebes explains.

The debate regarding the usefulness and safety of psychoactive drugs is ongoing, but those who participated in the APA symposium agreed that there is a need for more studies examining the potential of such substances more closely.

In particular, they said, psychedelic drugs pose sensitive legal and ethical questions that should be properly addressed going forward.

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Medical News Today: About Candida albicans: Natural yeast and problematic infections

What is Candida albicans?

Candida albicans is part of our natural microflora — or the microorganisms that commonly live in or on our bodies. It can be found in the GI tract, the mouth, and the vagina.

Most of the time it causes no issues, but it’s possible for overgrowths and infections to happen.

Candida albicans is the most prevalent cause of fungal infections in people. Its species name, albicans, comes from the Latin word for “white.” The yeast appears white when cultured on a plate. And in the case of certain infections, like thrush, it can create white patches.

We look more closely at types of Candida albicans infections and how they’re treated.

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Types of Candida albicans infections

Below, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment of four of the most common types of Candida infection. In the next section we’ll go over the less common infections that Candida albicans can also cause.

Urinary yeast infection

Candida species are the most common cause of fungal urinary tract infections (UTIs). Candida UTIs can occur in the lower portion of the urinary tract or in some cases can ascend up to the kidneys.

The following can put you at risk of developing a Candida UTI:

  • having taken a course of antibiotics
  • having a medical device inserted, such as a urinary catheter
  • diabetes
  • a weakened immune system


Many people with a Candida UTI don’t have symptoms. If symptoms are present, they can include:

  • an increased need to urinate
  • a painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • abdominal or pelvic pain
  • blood in your urine


Treatment is only recommended for symptomatic individuals. The antifungal drug fluconazole can be used in many cases.

If a catheter is in place, it should be removed.

Genital yeast infection

Candida albicans is the most common cause of genital yeast infections.

Normally, a type of bacteria called Lactobacillus keeps the amount of Candida in the genital area under control. However, when Lactobacillus levels are disrupted in some way, Candida can overgrow and cause an infection.

You can also develop a Candida genital infection after participating in certain sexual activities, particularly those that involve oral-genital contact.

Although otherwise healthy individuals can get genital Candida infections, the following groups are at an increased risk:

  • people that have taken antibiotics recently
  • people with uncontrolled diabetes
  • immunosuppressed individuals
  • pregnant women
  • people that are taking oral contraceptives or who are on hormone therapy


Symptoms of a genital Candida infection can include:

  • a burning feeling while having sex or while urinating
  • an itchy or painful feeling in or around the vagina
  • redness, irritation, or swelling around the vagina
  • abnormal vaginal discharge that can be either watery, or thick and white
  • a rash around the vagina
  • a rash on the penis

Candida species can also infect the male genitals, often if their partner has a vaginal Candida infection. The infection may be asymptomatic, but can cause an itchy or burning rash around the head of the penis.


Mild or moderate genital Candida infections can be treated with a short course of an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription antifungal cream, pill, or suppository. You could also be prescribed a single dose of an oral antifungal medication, such as fluconazole.

For more complicated infections, you may be prescribed a longer course of medication, either in the form of a cream, a pill, or an ointment.

Oral thrush

Despite being a normal part of the microflora of your mouth, Candida albicans can cause infections if it overgrows. The infection may not be limited to just your mouth. It can spread to your tonsils and the back of your throat as well.

Severe infections may spread to the esophagus.

People that are at an increased risk for developing oral thrush include:

  • those taking antibiotics or corticosteroid drugs
  • someone with undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes
  • immunosuppressed individuals
  • those who wear dentures, particularly upper dentures


Some of the common symptoms of oral thrush include:

  • white spots in your mouth that have the appearance of cottage cheese and may bleed when touched
  • a burning or painful sensation in your mouth
  • redness inside your mouth or at the corners of your mouth
  • difficulty with eating or swallowing
  • loss of taste
  • a cotton-like feeling inside your mouth

If an oral thrush infection is left untreated, it can lead to a systemic Candida infection, particularly in people with a weakened immune system.


Oral thrush is treated with an antifungal medication that can come in the form of a pill, liquid, or lozenge. Examples of drugs that are used include nystatin or clotrimazole.

An oral course of fluconazole can be given for more severe cases.

Mucocutaneous candidiasis

candida albicans
Candida albicans is the most common cause of fungal skin infections.

Candida species can also infect your skin and mucus membranes.

Candida albicans is most often the cause of a fungal skin infection, although other Candida strains can also cause it.

Areas that are warm, moist, or sweaty provide good environments for yeast to thrive. Examples of such areas include the armpits, groin, the skin between your fingers and toes, the corners of your mouth, and the area under your breasts.

Other risk factors for developing a Candida skin infection include:

  • wearing tight or synthetic undergarments
  • having poor hygiene or changing undergarments infrequently, including infrequent diaper changes for infants
  • taking antibiotics or corticosteroid drugs
  • having diabetes
  • having a weakened immune system


The most common symptom of a Candida skin infection is a red rash that forms in the affected area.

In some cases, blister-like lesions can form. The skin may also become thickened or produce a white substance that has a curd-like appearance.


Antifungal creams are typically given to clear the skin infection. They can contain antifungal drugs such as clotrimazole, miconazole, and econazole.

A steroid cream may also be given to help ease any itching or swelling. The skin should also be kept dry while recovering.

In cases where the infection is widespread, oral fluconazole pills may be prescribed.

How are Candida infections diagnosed?

In order to diagnose candidiasis, your doctor will first take your medical history and ask you about your symptoms. They may also ask if you have any conditions or medications that could lead to a weakened immune system, or if you’ve taken a course of antibiotics recently.

Many common cases of candidiasis can often be diagnosed through a physical examination.

If your doctor is uncertain if your symptoms are due to a Candida infection, they may take a sample from the affected area. This sample can then be used to culture the organism and to identify what species it is. For example, if candidemia is suspected, your doctor will collect a blood sample for testing.

Identifying the species of Candida that’s causing your infection is also helpful because your doctor will be able to prescribe an antifungal medication that will be effective in treating that particular species.

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Other Candida infections

If Candida albicans enter your bloodstream, they can cause serious infections not only in your blood but in other organs as well.

Neutropenia — a key risk factor

An important risk factor for developing more invasive Candida conditions is neutropenia. This is when there are abnormally low levels of cells called neutrophils in your blood. It can make you more prone to infections.

People that are commonly affected by neutropenia include people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, and people with leukemia or other bone marrow diseases.

Individuals that have neutropenia and an invasive Candida infection have different treatment recommendations.


Candidemia is a blood infection with Candida species. It can lead to long hospital stays and an increase in mortality due to concurrent conditions.

Risk factors for candidemia include:

  • immunosuppression
  • use of broad-spectrum antibiotics
  • major surgery
  • placement of a medical device such as a feeding tube or catheter


Symptoms can resemble those of bacterial sepsis and can include:

Diagnosis and treatment

Candidemia can be diagnosed when the yeast is isolated from a blood sample.

Treatment may depend on the species of Candida causing the infection, but can include IV doses of fluconazole, caspofungin, micafungin, or amphotericin B. Catheters should also be removed.


Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart, which includes the heart chambers and valves.

Fungal endocarditis is a very serious condition with a high mortality rate. Candida albicans is responsible for 24 to 46 percent of all cases of fungal endocarditis.

Risk factors for developing this condition include:

  • a weakened immune system
  • heart abnormalities or defects
  • prolonged antibiotic use
  • cardiovascular surgery
  • implantation of medical devices, such as a feeding tube, catheter, or prosthetic heart valves


Symptoms of fungal endocarditis can include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • generalized body pain, sometimes in the lower extremities

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis can be difficult because symptoms are often similar to endocarditis caused by bacteria.

Treatment may include intravenous (IV) fluconazole or amphotericin B, removal of any infected medical device, and possible surgical removal of fungus from the tissue.


Endophthalmitis is an inflammation of the eye that can be caused by fungus. It can lead to loss of vision.

Candida albicans is the most common Candida species involved, although Candida tropicalis can also cause the infection.

Risk factors for endophthalmitis are:

  • recent hospitalization
  • recent surgery
  • a weakened immune system
  • having a medical device such as a catheter or IV inserted


The condition can affect one or both eyes. The main symptom is inflammation in the eye, although in some cases pus can be present in the tissues of the eye.

Diagnosis and treatment

Endophthalmitis can be diagnosed through a retinal examination as well as by analyzing a sample of fluid from your eye.

Treatment can include amphotericin B with flucytosine. Fluconazole can also be used.


Meningitis is the inflammation of the tissues that surround your brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis can occur when fungus travels through the blood to your spinal cord. Fungal meningitis caused by Candida is often acquired within a hospital.

Factors that can put you at risk for meningitis caused by Candida can include:

  • immunosuppression
  • certain medications such as antibiotics, immunosuppressants, or corticosteroids
  • a recent surgical procedure


Symptoms of fungal meningitis include:

  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • fever
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensitivity to light
  • confusion

Diagnosis and treatment

If a fungus is suspected for causing your meningitis, a sample of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) will be taken and cultured.

The recommended treatment of meningitis caused by Candida species is amphotericin B with flucytosine.

Intra-abdominal candidiasis

Intra-abdominal candidiasis can also be referred to as Candida peritonitis. It’s an inflammation of the lining of your inner abdomen caused by a yeast infection.

The condition is most commonly caused by Candida albicans although other Candida species can cause it as well.

Some risk factors for developing intra-abdominal candidiasis include:

  • a recent abdominal surgery or procedure
  • undergoing peritoneal dialysis
  • antibiotic therapy
  • conditions such as diabetes


The symptoms of intra-abdominal candidiasis can be very similar, if not indistinguishable, from bacterial peritonitis. Symptoms can include:

  • pain or bloating in your abdomen
  • fever
  • nausea and vomiting
  • feeling tired or fatigued
  • diarrhea
  • diminished appetite

In order to diagnose the condition, your doctor will take a sample of abdominal fluid (peritoneal fluid). If Candida is causing the infection, yeast will be observed in the sample.


Treatment can include antifungal drugs such as:

  • fluconazole
  • amphotericin B
  • caspofungin
  • micafungin

Catheters should be removed as well.

Osteomyelitis and fungal arthritis

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection while fungal arthritis (also called septic arthritis) is a fungal infection of a joint. Both conditions can be caused by Candida species, although this is rare. Bacterial infections are more common.

Risk factors for developing these conditions can include:

  • having a weakened immune system
  • experiencing a recent bone injury or orthopedic procedure
  • having an IV or a catheter
  • conditions such as diabetes


Symptoms of these conditions include pain or swelling in the affected area that can be accompanied by fever or chills. People with fungal arthritis can also have great difficulty using the affected joint.

In order to determine if a fungal infection is causing osteomyelitis, a bone biopsy may be needed. Analysis of joint fluid can determine if arthritis is due to a fungal infection.

If a blood infection caused either condition, Candida may also be detected in the blood.


Treatment can include courses of antifungal medication such as amphotericin B and fluconazole.

Candida albicans and you

Normally, Candida species are a part of the natural microflora of the GI tract, skin, and vagina, and don’t cause disease. Some circumstances, such as taking a long course of antibiotics or having a weakened immune system can increase your risk of developing a Candida infection.

The most common Candida infections, such as vaginal and skin infections, are localized and can be treated with antifungal drugs. An untreated Candida infection carries the risk of leading to a systemic infection in which other organs can become involved.

If you notice symptoms that are consistent with those of a Candida infection, see your doctor in order to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Medical News Today: Early pregnancy symptoms by days past ovulation (DPO)

For people trying to get pregnant, the days following ovulation mark the infamously difficult two-week wait.

However, knowing what is happening in the body, as well as the typical pregnancy symptoms that occur on different days past ovulation (DPO), can make the wait a little easier.

Many people wonder if every twinge and ache could be a sign of pregnancy. However, the early symptoms of pregnancy are often similar to the symptoms of an impending period. Some, like muscle aches and pains, are also a part of everyday life.

It is not possible to know for sure if a person is pregnant until a pregnancy test confirms it. Also, pregnancy symptoms, and when they occur, vary significantly between individuals.

In this article, we look at what is happening in the body around the time of ovulation, and what early signs people might notice in the early DPO.

DPO symptoms by day

young woman with stomach ache
Early pregnancy symptoms can be similar to PMS symptoms.

While some people experience many early pregnancy symptoms, others experience few or no symptoms at all. Also, early pregnancy symptoms can be very similar to the symptoms experienced around the time of ovulation, during PMS, and by those taking fertility medications.

This is why DPO symptoms are not a reliable measure of whether a person has become pregnant. People should talk with a doctor about their specific symptoms.

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Days 0–7 past ovulation

Ovulation is the moment when an ovary releases an egg.

As soon as an ovary releases an egg, the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle begins. The luteal phase ends with a menstrual period unless pregnancy occurs.

People will not experience any pregnancy symptoms during the earliest part of the luteal phase. This is because pregnancy does not occur until the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus.

During the luteal phase, the body produces more progesterone, which is a hormone that helps sustain an early pregnancy. The levels of progesterone peak at 6 to 8 days after ovulation even when a person does not become pregnant.

Progesterone levels can affect a person’s mood and body — this means that after a week or so, a person may experience similar symptoms in early pregnancy as they do before a period.

When a fertilized egg reaches the uterus, it implants itself into the wall of the uterus. This is called implantation and marks the start of pregnancy. Implantation typically happens 6 to 12 days after fertilization.

This is the time when people may begin to experience pregnancy symptoms, including:

  • breast tenderness
  • bloating
  • food cravings
  • increased nipple sensitivity
  • headaches and muscle aches

However, these symptoms may also occur in those who are not pregnant. This is because of the increased levels of progesterone that are present during the last stages of the menstrual cycle.

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Days 7–10 past ovulation

When the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus, around one-third of people will notice light bleeding, or spotting, which is called implantation bleeding.

This spotting typically lasts only a day or two and is very light in flow. Implantation bleeding is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy since it happens around the time the person becomes pregnant.

However, even when a person notices bleeding around the time of implantation, they may still not get a positive pregnancy test. They may have a very early miscarriage called a chemical pregnancy, or the bleeding might be due to something else.

At implantation, the body begins producing a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Known as the pregnancy hormone, hCG, along with progesterone and estrogen, is responsible for early pregnancy symptoms. It is also the hormone that pregnancy tests identify.

However, it can take several days for hCG to reach to a detectable level, so pregnancy tests may not pick up the hormone, and symptoms may not develop immediately.

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Days 11–14 past ovulation

A few days after implantation, hCG levels may be high enough to cause early pregnancy symptoms. However, this is also the phase of the menstrual cycle when a person is most likely to experience symptoms that mean they are about to get their period.

People who are aware of how their body behaves each month might be better able to identify whether their symptoms are due to pregnancy or regular menstruation.

Some other symptoms of early pregnancy include:

  • darkening in the color of the nipples
  • fatigue
  • food cravings or increased hunger
  • increased need to use the bathroom
  • gastrointestinal changes, such as cramping or diarrhea

By the time a person has experienced several early pregnancy symptoms, it is possible that the hCG levels are high enough that a pregnancy test can indicate a pregnancy. However, hCG levels vary, so this is not always the case.

Common early pregnancy symptoms

young couple at breakfast with woman feeling nauseous
Nausea is a common symptom of early pregnancy.

As pregnancy progresses and hCG levels rise even more, many people begin experiencing more symptoms. Some of the most common include:

  • dizziness or light-headedness due to hormonal shifts and changes in the blood pressure and heart rate
  • nausea, especially when hungry
  • vomiting
  • strong aversions to certain foods or smells
  • changes in the sense of smell
  • fatigue
  • bloating and water retention


Whether a person is trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid a pregnancy, the two-week wait can be frustrating.

Some people track their ovulation by looking out for physical symptoms or using ovulation tests. It is important to note that the only way to detect ovulation is through medical testing.

However, home ovulation tests can be misleading, particularly if people have conditions that affect ovulation.

No symptom alone can confirm early pregnancy, and many people experience no early pregnancy symptoms at all. The only way to establish a pregnancy is through a pregnancy test.

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Medical News Today: Keto diet: Scientists find link to diabetes risk

By finding a link to a condition that raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, new research questions the health benefits of ketogenic diets.
example of the keto diet
Is there a link between diabetes and the keto diet?

Ketogenic diets are low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets that have been shown to reduce weight. They change metabolism so that energy comes from fat instead of sugar.

When researchers in Switzlerland examined what happened to mice in the early stages of a ketogenic diet, they found that the animals showed a poorer ability to regulate blood sugar compared with similar mice on a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

In a paper on their work now published in the Journal of Physiology, they note that “even though [keto diet]-fed animals appear healthy in the fasted state, they exhibit decreased glucose tolerance to a greater extent than [high-fat diet]-fed animals.”

The reason for this, they found, was that the livers of the keto diet-fed mice were not responding as well to insulin. This condition, which is known as insulin resistance, raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues we face,” says study author Christian Wolfrum, who is with the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health at ETH Zürich in Switzerland.

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Insulin resistance

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body control levels of blood sugar, or glucose. If blood sugar stays above normal for long periods of time, it becomes a condition called hyperglycemia that can lead to serious health problems. This is the hallmark of diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, hyperglycemia develops because the pancreas does not make enough insulin. In type 2 diabetes, organs and tissues lose their ability to respond to insulin. The pancreas tries to compensate by making more insulin, but eventually this is not enough and leads to hyperglycemia.

There are a number of ways in which insulin helps control blood glucose levels. One is by signaling to the liver to reduce glucose production, and another is by helping muscles and tissues absorb glucose and convert it into energy.

Insulin resistance is a “complex metabolic disorder” with no obvious single cause. The liver becomes insulin resistant when it fails to reduce glucose production in response to insulin.

Cells can also become insulin resistant when they need increasing amounts of the hormone to help them use glucose.

However, the researchers found that the main reason for decreased glucose tolerance in the keto diet-fed mice was due to insulin resistance in the liver “rather than impaired glucose clearance and tissue glucose uptake.”

Despite extensive research into the causes of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, they are not completely understood.

One thing that scientists do know is that fat-like substances called lipids are “clearly associated with insulin resistance.” Even here, however, many questions remain, such as, “Is the link due to circulating fats or to fat buildup in tissue?”

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Ketogenic diets and ketosis

By dramatically reducing intake of carbohydrates, keto diets induce a metabolic state known as ketosis. In this state, cells that would normally get their energy from glucose switch to ketones.

The lack of carbohydrates makes the body break down fats into fatty acids and then into ketones.

Keto diets are probably among the “most studied” approaches to weight loss of recent times.

A lot of research now backs the idea that keto diets have a sound “physiological and biochemical basis” and can significantly benefit cardiovascular health.

This is welcome news to many physicians, for whom one of the biggest challenges that they face in their daily practices is treating obesity.

However, while keto diets have a proven track record in tackling obesity, some concerns remain. Many of these likely relate to a “broad lack of knowledge about the physiological mechanisms involved.”

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Mechanisms of insulin resistance not clear

The new study helps plug some of this knowledge gap. It suggests that insulin resistance in the liver can develop in the early stages of keto diets. This now needs to be confirmed in humans.

Also, the underlying mechanisms that lead to insulin resistance are still unclear, especially in relation to different diets. This also needs to be explored further, say the researchers.

Another area that needs further research is the effect on the brain of the byproducts of fatty acid breakdown. The researchers’ theory is that the fatty acid byproducts might have important “signaling roles” in the brain.

Although ketogenic diets are known to be healthy, our findings indicate that there may be an increased risk of insulin resistance with this type of diet that may lead to type 2 diabetes.”

Christian Wolfrum

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Medical News Today: Can you mix cephalexin and alcohol?

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Medical News Today: Treating pain with magnetic fields

Scientists have designed a hydrogel loaded with magnetic particles and laboratory-grown neurons. By applying magnetic force, the researchers were able to reduce the pain signaling of the neurons.
hand holding magnet
When applied to neurons, a magnetic field can reduce the cells’ pain signals, suggests a new study.

In the United States, chronic pain is “the most common cause of long-term disability.”

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 76 million people in the U.S. — that is, approximately 1 in 4 people — have had an episode of pain that lasted for more than 24 hours.

Of these, 40 million have had severe pain. Such figures led the NIH to deem chronic pain “a major public health problem.”

In this context, the search for new, more effective pain management therapies is ongoing and of vital importance. Now, bioengineers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have designed an innovative method that may succeed where other pain therapies have previously failed.

Researchers led by senior investigator Dino Di Carlo, a professor of bioengineering at UCLA, set out to investigate how magnetic force could be used to relieve pain.

The first author of the paper is Andy Kah Ping Tay, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University in California. The researchers published their findings in the journal Advanced Materials.

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Magnetic force reduces neuronal pain signals

Tay and his colleagues designed a hydrogel using hyaluronic acid, which is a molecule uniquely capable of retaining water and that has key roles in skin moisture and skin aging. Additionally, hyaluronic acid can be found between the cells in the brain and in the spinal cord.

After creating this hyaluronic hydrogel, the scientists filled it with small magnetic particles. Then, they grew a type of brain cell — called dorsal root ganglion neurons — inside the gel.

Next, Tay and team applied magnetic force on the particles, which enabled the transmission of the magnetic field through the hydrogel and to the neural cells. By measuring the calcium ions in the neurons, the scientists were able to tell whether the cells responded to the magnetic pull — and they did.

Finally, the researchers steadily increased the magnetic force and found that doing so reduced the neurons’ pain signaling. In an attempt to return to a stable state, the brain cells adapted to the magnetic stimulation by decreasing their pain signals.

Our results show that through exploiting ‘neural network homeostasis,’ which is the idea of returning a biological system to a stable state, it is possible to lessen the signals of pain through the nervous system […] Ultimately, this could lead to new ways to provide therapeutic pain relief.”

Andy Kah Ping Tay

Prof. Di Carlo also comments on the results, saying, “Much of mainstream modern medicine centers on using pharmaceuticals to make chemical or molecular changes inside the body to treat disease.”

“However,” he adds, “recent breakthroughs in the control of forces at small scales have opened up a new treatment idea — using physical force to kick-start helpful changes inside cells. There’s a long way to go, but this early work shows this path toward so-called ‘mechanoceuticals’ is a promising one.”

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Medical News Today: Can gripe water or gas drops treat colic?

Baby colic causes uncontrollable crying that does not stop, even with comforting, and gets worse over time. At present, there is no evidence to prove that any treatment is an effective remedy for colic, and no cure is available.

Colic is a common problem in young babies, with around one-fifth of babies developing the condition.

Colic tends to get worse in the early evening. As well as crying that gets worse throughout the day or night, other signs of colic include:

  • screaming
  • pulling the legs up towards the chest
  • passing gas
  • an enlarged stomach

Some people swear by specific remedies for colic, such as gas drops and gripe water. But what is the difference, and which one is best?

What is gripe water?

Gripe water vs gas drops
Gripe water is a liquid solution that may reduce colic symptoms.

Gripe water is a liquid solution containing herbs, such as dill seed oil. Some people believe that gripe water warms and soothes a baby’s stomach and reduces colic symptoms.

Different brands of gripe water contain different ingredients. Some still include sugar and alcohol, though most are now sugar and alcohol-free.

Gripe water also usually contains sodium bicarbonate, thought to help relieve colic symptoms by offsetting stomach acid. However, too much sodium bicarbonate can cause alkalosis, a condition that can lower the acidity in a person’s blood, leading to serious side effects.

What are gas drops?

Gas drops contain simethicone. This active ingredient breaks up larger gas bubbles into smaller ones, which are more comfortable for a baby to pass.

Caregivers can give the drops directly to a baby or mix them in with formula or expressed breast milk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that gas drops are safe to give to newborn babies, and adverse side effects are rare.

However, if a baby is also taking thyroid hormone medication, do not give them gas drops as simethicone can interact with this type of medication. Doctors may prescribe thyroid hormone medication for conditions, such as congenital hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland is underdeveloped.

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Which option is better for colic?

Anyone caring for a baby with colic will likely be keen to try anything that might ease the baby’s discomfort.

Several users of parent-to-parent forums have recommended both gripe water and gas drops as remedies for colic. However, no scientific evidence shows either of them to work. As such, it is up to the caregiver to decide whether to try either remedy and see which, if either, works best for the child.

If a baby’s symptoms seem to stem more from gas pain, then gas drops might be more effective. If a baby appears in more general discomfort, gripe water might be the better option. However, there is no guarantee that either will make a difference.

Caregivers should remember that there is always a possibility their child could react negatively to any new remedy.

Gripe water products can contain many different ingredients. Be sure to check the label of gripe water to see what it contains. Do not use products that contain alcohol.

Also, some gripe water ingredients remain untested in babies. Ask a doctor to be sure ingredients are safe for a baby before using them.

A new, untried remedy could also cause an allergic reaction. Caregivers should learn the signs that might indicate an infant is having an allergic reaction. If a caregiver suspects an allergic reaction, they should stop using the medicine immediately and seek advice from a doctor.

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • a rash
  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling on the face, neck, or tongue
  • vomiting

Caregivers should make sure they give the correct dosage, store gripe water and gas drops according to the instructions, and check that they are within their use-by date. Doing so will also reduce the risk of the remedy causing any upset to the infant.

Other home remedies for colic

Gripe water vs gas drops may reduce colic
Gently rocking the baby may reduce pain and provide comfort.

More research is necessary to understand why colic occurs and which treatments can help reduce the symptoms of this condition.

As well as gas drops and gripe water, other home remedies include:

White noise or womb noise

Some people find that noises that mimic the sounds babies hear inside the womb can help soothe and calm babies who are crying from colic. Noise from household appliances, such as hoovers and hairdryers, may have a similar effect.

Carry, rock, or walk

Some young babies who are upset because of the discomfort and pain that colic causes like to be held and rocked rhythmically.

Some parents suggest that going for a drive or out for a walk with the baby in the buggy can help due to the gentle rocking motions. Putting the infant in a sling while walking around can provide comfort from movement and skin-to-skin contact.

Avoid certain foods if breast-feeding

Some foods may pass through breast milk and could cause a fussier, gassier baby. However, people who are breast-feeding should avoid randomly removing foods from their diet.

Instead, look for patterns and try to identify if the baby becomes fussy after eating certain foods.

Some foods that are sometimes, though not always, culprits, include:

  • dairy products
  • cabbage
  • onions
  • caffeine

Some people choose to avoid these foods while breast-feeding in an attempt to reduce colic symptoms in the infant.

Switch to a different bottle if formula feeding

Some people find it helpful to use bottles with slow-flow teats or those that are designed to reduce colic by only allowing milk to come out when the baby sucks.

These bottles may reduce the amount of air the baby swallows when feeding and therefore the amount of gas that forms in the stomach.

Some anti-colic bottles are available to purchase online.

Change feeding positions

Holding a baby upright during and after feeding could help keep feeds down and prevent reflux.

Smaller, more frequent meals could also aid digestion and lessen the symptoms associated with colic.

Try a pacifier

Some babies may find a pacifier soothing, though some may also refuse one.

Causes of colic

Doctors are not sure what causes colic, or why some babies get colic and others do not. However, some possible causes include:

  • lactose intolerance, or allergy to lactose, which is the protein found in cows’ milk and dairy products
  • other gastrointestinal causes, such as reflux
  • an imbalance of different types of bacteria in the gut
  • problems in the gut and intestines with moving food through the digestive system
  • swallowing air while crying, which then gets trapped in the stomach
  • a hernia
  • caregiver behaviors, such as smoking and poor feeding technique

Colic does not mean there is anything necessarily wrong with a baby, and most people find that their babies start to show improvement at around 3 to 4 months of age.

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When to see a doctor

Gripe water vs gas drops for high temperature baby
Consult a doctor if the baby has a temperature above 100.4˚F (38˚C).

Colic is widespread in young babies. Although often upsetting for both the caregiver and baby, the symptoms of colic are usually no cause for concern.

However, there are times where a caregiver should seek advice from a medical professional to ensure there is not a more severe underlying condition causing symptoms.

A person should see a doctor if the baby:

  • has a temperature over 100.4˚F (38˚C)
  • is crying uncontrollably due to falling or injuring themselves
  • has blue lips or a bluish tinged skin — this suggests they are not getting adequate oxygen
  • has blood in their stool
  • has not had a bowel movement for significantly longer than usual

Caregivers should also consider seeking advice from a doctor if the colic symptoms are causing them great concern or are making it difficult for them to cope. A doctor or other medical professional can provide advice on reducing symptoms of colic.


Colic is a common condition in young babies. Because the symptoms often appear to cause distress, many caregivers are keen to find treatments to reduce the symptoms and comfort their little ones.

There are many remedies that people suggest for easing the symptoms of colic, including gripe water and gas drops. However, no clinical evidence has found that these remedies are effective.

It is up to the caregiver to decide whether they wish to try gas drops or gripe water. They may find that one works better than the other or that neither has an effect. Be sure to check what ingredients are in the gripe water, and talk to a doctor to make sure they are safe before using it.

If someone is feeling tired or anxious about a baby with colic, they may benefit from seeking help from another person to look after the baby while they take a break. Remembering that colic is temporary and most babies’ symptoms ease by the time they are 3 to 4 months old can help parents get through the more difficult periods.

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Medical News Today: Why are my fingers pruney or wrinkled?

The skin on the fingers can become wrinkly or “pruney” when soaked in water. Pruney fingers may serve an evolutionary role, helping people grip wet objects or objects in water. If wrinkly fingers happen without being submerged in water, it could be a sign of a medical problem.

The skin on human fingers and toes is known as glabrous, meaning it is smooth and hairless. When it has been in contact with water for a long time, the glabrous skin on the fingers can look like a prune.

Most people are likely to know the common experience of pruney figures after a long bath, swimming, or washing dishes. It may be more likely to happen in warm water than cold water.

What causes pruney fingers?

pruney fingers
Fingers can become “pruney” after a long bath or swimming.

Pruney fingers occur when the nervous system sends a message to the blood vessels to become narrower. The narrowed blood vessels reduce the volume of the fingertips slightly, causing loose folds of skin that form wrinkles.

Scientists still do not fully understand the purpose of the fingers wrinkling when exposed to water or cold temperatures.

A small study in 2013 suggested that it is easier to grip objects in water with wrinkled fingers, meaning that the phenomenon may be an evolutionary change that helps humans adapt to wet conditions.

However, a 2014 study found contradictory results and concluded that finger wrinkles due to water exposure did not affect how well humans could handle wet or dry objects.

Immersion in water is the most common cause of pruney fingers. There are other, less common causes of wrinkling or puckering of the skin on the fingers, however.

Pruney fingers are not usually the only symptoms of a medical condition. If a person does frequently experience pruney fingers due to a medical condition, they will often appear alongside other symptoms.

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The following conditions may cause pruney or wrinkly skin on the fingers:


dermatitis on hands
Eczema cause the skin on the fingertips to become wrinkled.

Dehydration can affect the skin, making it feel dry and cold. The skin on the fingertips may look shriveled.

Similarly, if a person gently pinches the skin on the back of their hand, then it may not spring back as quickly as usual.

Older adults, children, and babies have a higher risk of dehydration than other groups. People may be at more risk of dehydration in hot weather, if they are unwell, or if they have been exercising.

Other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • dry mouth and lips
  • headache
  • not peeing as much as usual
  • dark yellow pee
  • feeling dizzy
  • feeling confused or irritated

Vomiting and diarrhea can also cause dehydration. Anyone experiencing these symptoms may need to replace the electrolytes they have lost with over-the-counter (OTC) oral rehydration products. A pharmacist can advise on which products to use.

Raynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease is an extreme sensitivity to cold. It affects the small blood vessels that supply blood to the extremities of the body, including the fingers and toes.

The key symptoms of Raynaud’s disease are fingers turning white or blue in the cold, numbness, and tingling. The skin on the fingertips can also look puckered, wrinkled, or pruney. Stress can also trigger symptoms.

There is no cure for Raynaud’s disease, but a person with the condition can take steps to reduce stress levels and ensure they do not get too cold. For symptom management, people can take calcium channel blockers.


Eczema is a condition that causes skin inflammation, rashes, itchiness, and redness. People with eczema experience flare-ups, followed by periods of time with fewer symptoms.

Atopic dermatitis is a long-term form of eczema. It causes red, dry skin that may itch or swell. Atopic dermatitis commonly affects the hands and fingers, backs of the knees, and inside the elbows.

Eczema dries out the skin and can cause it to wrinkle or pucker. The fingertips may look pinched.


Diabetes affects the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes may be more at risk of developing several skin conditions.

Conditions that can affect the fingers include:

  • bacterial infections
  • fungal infections
  • disseminated granuloma annulare

Bacterial and fungal infections can affect the skin around the nails and between the fingers. Bacterial infections often cause the skin to become red, swollen, and possibly wrinkled.

Fungal infections usually cause itching and redness. They often create raised areas of skin.

Disseminated granuloma annulare is a rash that affects the extremities, such as the fingers or the ears. The rash looks like raised red rings on the skin.

When to see a doctor

Pruney fingers due to water exposure are nothing to worry about if they go back to normal after being dry for some time.

If a person has pruney or wrinkly fingers without having been in water but does not have any other noticeable symptoms, they may be mildly dehydrated. Anyone experiencing dehydration should drink more water.

If a person has been drinking enough water, pruney fingers may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Anyone concerned about frequently wrinkly fingers can speak to a doctor. Making a note of other symptoms and possible triggers can help a doctor make a diagnosis.

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Treatment and prevention

three small children eating watermelon in the garden
Eating foods with a high liquid content can help prevent dehydration.

Fingers wrinkling in water and then returning to normal does not damage the body. A person may choose to wear rubber gloves to do the dishes or avoid spending a long time immersed in warm water if they find pruney fingers bothersome.

Dehydration can affect the body’s ability to function, causing fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help a person stay hydrated.

At risk groups, such as children or older adults, may need support to get enough liquid during the day. Suggestions for ways to help include:

  • providing a drink with meals
  • offering foods with a high liquid content, such as soup or watermelon
  • finding more flavorful alternatives to water, such as herbal teas or clear juices

People with Raynaud’s disease should try to avoid getting cold. It can help if they regulate the temperature at home and wear gloves, thick socks, and appropriate shoes in the cold. They can also protect the hands when holding a cold glass or taking food from the freezer.

If the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease are severe, a doctor may prescribe medication to open the blood vessels. This medication will allow more blood to the extremities, such as the hands and feet.

Managing blood sugar levels is essential for people with diabetes. Regular blood glucose checks, eating a healthful diet, and getting plenty of exercise can help to maintain safe blood sugar levels.

The risk for skin conditions, including those on the hands and fingers, is higher for people with diabetes. Keeping skin clean and dry can help them avoid infections.

Using a mild soap and moisturizing the skin frequently can also reduce the risk of skin problems. Medication is available to treat many of the skin conditions associated with diabetes.

There is no cure for eczema, but people can manage symptoms with a combination of OTC or prescription medication, creams, gentle bath products, and by avoiding known triggers.

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Medical News Today: Could probiotics cause ‘brain fog’ and bloating?

The use of probiotics could lead to a cluster of symptoms — that include brain fog and abdominal bloating — by increasing bacteria in the small intestine.
organic probiotics
Might probiotics be behind severe abdominal bloating and brain fog?

This was the conclusion that researchers at Augusta University in Georgia came to after studying 30 people with abdominal symptoms such as gas, bloating, and distension.

Of these people, 22 also reported symptoms of brain fog, which is a temporary mental condition that brings on confusion and difficulties with concentration and memory. All 22 were taking probiotics, some more than one brand.

Some reported that their episodes of brain fog — which can last for several hours after a meal — were so bad that they had to give up work.

Although they all had similarly severe abdominal symptoms, those with brain fog were more likely to have two other conditions: an accumulation of bacteria in their small intestine, and higher blood levels of D-lactic acid. In some cases, the acid levels were two to three times the normal.

Lactobacillus bacteria species, one of “the most commonly used probiotics,” produces D-lactic acid. The bacteria make the acid when they ferment sugar in the food that is passing through the gut.

The brain fog cleared and, for most patients, the abdominal symptoms “improved significantly” after treatment with antibiotics and stopping use of probiotics.

A paper on the study is now published in the journal Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology.

“What we now know,” explains first study author Dr. Satish S. C. Rao, the director of the Digestive Health Clinical Research Center at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, “is that probiotic bacteria have the unique capacity to break down sugar and produce D-lactic acid.”

He suggests that taking probiotics might “inadvertently” establish the conditions for brain fog and other symptoms by populating the small intestine with too many bacteria that produce D-lactic acid.

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Gut microbes and health

As research tools have improved, scientists have uncovered increasing evidence of the role that bacteria and other microorganisms in the human gut have in health and disease.

The human gut is home to a complex ecosystem of some 300–500 species of bacteria with a total of just under 2 million genes.

These microbe colonies live in partnership with us. They interact with our immune system, help us digest food, and take part in our metabolic processes. In return, we protect them against enemy microbes and provide shelter and nutrients.

The human gut is sterile at birth and soon begins to accumulate microbes from various sources. The variety and composition of the microbe colonies depends on many factors, such as the type of birth, sanitation, method of feeding, physical contacts, and use of antibiotics.

Because of the muscular movement of food along the gut, and because gastric acid, bile, and other digestive juices have an antibiotic effect, the parts of the gut that lie in the stomach and the nearby small intestine are relatively devoid of bacteria in healthy people.

In contrast, the colon — which is found at the other end of the gut near the rectum — contains much denser colonies of bacteria, and their composition is very different.

Here, the dominant strains — including Lactobacilli — are anaerobic, likely because of adaptation to the low-oxygen environment. The bacteria in the parts of the gut nearer the stomach, on the other hand, are predominantly aerobic.

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Beware of ‘excessive use’ of probiotics

For many years, we have heard that taking particular amounts of certain microorganisms — known as probiotics — can benefit human health due to their effect on the gut.

It is now common practice to take probiotics to alleviate gastrointestinal conditions and diseases, and clinicians treating them are also increasingly recommending them.

The most commonly used probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species.

In the United States, probiotics are classed as dietary supplements and their production is not subject to the same Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations as those required of drugs.

There are many commercial probiotics available over the counter. They come in different forms, such as “freeze-dried” pills, sachets that can be mixed with drinks, and yogurts.

While some probiotic manufacturers have tested some of their products in clinical trials, there has been little or no research on whether taking different probiotics together causes the bacteria to work with or against each other.

There are certain scenarios in which probiotic use causes problems, including conditions that affect the movement of food along the gastrointestinal tract. People who take opioids and drugs to reduce stomach acid also experience problems.

Dr. Rao and his colleagues recognize that probiotics can benefit some people in certain situations, such as helping replenish gut bacteria after taking antibiotics. However, they warn against “excessive and indiscriminate use.”

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First study to show effect in ‘intact gut’

All the people who took part in the study underwent extensive gastrointestinal exams to rule out other possible reasons for their symptoms. Also, they completed questionnaires about their symptoms, use of probiotics, consumption of yogurt, and particular food habits.

The team administered metabolic tests that followed what happened when participants consumed carbohydrates. These showed the effect on levels of glucose, insulin, D-lactic acid, and L-lactate acid, which is produced when muscles burn glucose for energy.

The “most severe symptoms” experienced in the 30 patients were “bloating, pain, distension, and gas” in the abdomen. These were similarly intense in the 22 patients with brain fog (who all consumed probiotics) and the 8 without.

The researchers found that the brain fog group was more likely to have a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), in which there are far more bacteria in the small intestine compared with those of healthy individuals.

They also found that three quarters of the brain fog group had higher levels of D-lactic acid in their blood compared with a quarter of those in the group without brain fog.

Other studies have suggested that probiotics may lead to overproduction of D-lactic acid and result in brain fog in people with short bowel syndrome. This is a condition in which the small intestine does not function correctly and results in undigested carbohydrate.

The excess of undigested carbohydrate is what causes SIBO and the resulting higher levels of D-lactic acid.

Dr. Rao says that their study appears to be the first to link probiotic use to brain fog, SIBO, and high levels of D-lactic acid in people with an “intact gut.”

Probiotics should be treated as a drug, not as a food supplement.”

Dr. Satish S. C. Rao

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