Alternative Medicine - - Health News & Tips -

The body’s re­ac­tion to cer­tain stres­sors—from en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tants to a fight with your spouse to the an­tibac­te­rial soap in your bath­room—af­fects the way we gain weight, and although some stres­sors seem ob­vi­ous, we are obliv­i­ous to oth­ers, says Alan Chris­tian­son, MD, ND, author of The Adrenal Re­set Diet.

His ad­vice? Go with your gut! Specif­i­cally, fo­cus on two types of bac­te­ria: Bac­teroidetes and Fir­mi­cutes. Most stud­ies have shown that the more Bac­teroidetes you have com­pared with your Fir­mi­cutes, the leaner you will be. Ad­di­tion­ally, a study pub­lished in the jour­nal Na­ture in­di­cated that weight gain and calo­rie ab­sorp­tion dif­fered among in­di­vid­u­als with vary­ing bal­ances of th­ese two bac­te­ria in their gut mi­cro­biome—even when they ate the same foods. Re­searchers are poised to find out—and help us ad­dress it. A team made from mem­bers of both UMass Med­i­cal School and Worces­ter Polytech­nic In­sti­tute is de­vel­op­ing a stress-eat­ing smart­phone app that will help users bet­ter un­der­stand why they overeat. The three-year, two-part project will re­sult in “RE­LAX”: A mo­bile app will en­able pa­tients to track their daily ac­tiv­i­ties from their smart­phones, and a web-based tool will al­low clin­i­cians to ac­cess pa­tient in­for­ma­tion to help in­form treat­ment.

“Most com­mer­cial apps avail­able to­day fo­cus on track­ing diet and ex­er­cise, but do not help the user un­der­stand why they are eat­ing so much and/or ex­er­cis­ing so lit­tle,” says lead re­searcher Sherry Pagoto, PhD. “Our clin­i­cal and re­search ex­pe­ri­ence sug­gests that stress is a very com­mon trig­ger for overeat­ing, and it is a bar­rier to ex­er­cise.”

Learn more about the project’s sta­tus by search­ing “RE­LAX app” at umassmed .edu.

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