499. The Ultimate Gut Pod: Probiotic Myths + The Gut-Brain Connection w/ Just Thrive's Tina & Kiran

Tina & Kiran

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Tina Anderson’s journey into the world of health had a unique start and some unusual turns. She began her career as a trial lawyer who specialized in settling cases by bringing both sides together, a personal passion of hers. Once her second child arrived, Tina left that high-stress job behind so she could focus on her family. Luckily, she was still able to use her considerable legal skills to point her career in a new direction as the in-house counsel for a family pharmaceutical company. But what Tina saw there made her change direction again. Frustrated by the many abuses in the pharmaceutical industry, Tina turned toward the field of natural health, and found her life’s work. She channeled her energy into learning all she could about disease prevention and good health maintenance. That led her to discover the importance of gut health and how connected and crucial it is for overall health and wellness.

To share her discovery with the world, Tina along with her husband created a unique supplement that contains the superior probiotic strains of renowned researcher Dr. Simon Cutting. By promoting gut health and probiotics, Tina shares her passion for wellness, helping others live their best physical and emotional lives.

Kiran Krishna is a research microbiologist whose focus is the human microbiome and wellness. With his particular expertise in the newest frontier in microbiology, gut commensal spore bacteria, Kiran is a frequent lecturer, largely to national and international medical audiences, but also as an expert guest on live radio, satellite podcasts, and many autism conferences. Coming from a strict research background in the fields of molecular medicine and microbiology at the University of Iowa, over the last 17 years Kiran has conducted dozens of human clinical trials in human nutrition through the clinical research organization he established.

In addition to his recently published, ground-breaking leaky gut study showing reversal of gut enteropathy within 30 days, Kiran is currently involved in nine other ongoing human clinical trials testing the effect of gut commensal spore probiotics on many conditions, including thyroid/Hashimoto’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and liver failure, as well as a longer, more extensive Leaky Gut trial. Kiran brings his extensive knowledge and practical application of the latest science on the human microbiome as it relates to health and wellness.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

It’s time for a gut check. I’m thrilled to welcome back friends of the podcast, Just Thrive’s Tina Anderson and Kiran Krishna. Tina founded Just Thrive along with her husband Billy, and Kiran is a renowned research microbiologist who brings his valuable  expertise to the brand.

Gut health issues have long been my Achilles heel. I’ve been taking Just Thrive’s probiotics for years, and they have been a huge player in helping me restore healthy gut microbiome. (Visit lukestorey.com/justthrive and use code LUKE for 20% off 90-day supply of Probiotic or Just Calm.)

In today’s episode, we talk about how the gut is connected to almost every function in our body. Top of mind is the gut-brain connection, and we dive into why it’s so essential. We also demystify the microbiome, debunk long-standing myths, and answer questions like… Is there such a thing as good and bad bacteria? Do I need to switch my probiotic every two months? And do I really need to refrigerate my probiotics? Listen for some surprising answers!

Plus, we explore prebiotics, postbiotics, fiber, and butyrate. We talk about psychobiotics and the connection between the gut and anxiety. I also share my favorite Just Thrive products for gut health, immunity, cognition, and stress. Remember to visit lukestorey.com/justthrive and use code LUKE for 20% off a 90-day supply of Just Thrive’s Probiotic or Just Calm.

(01:22) — The Power of the Gut-Brain Connection

  • Luke’s history using Just Thrive products for years
  • How the gut impacts every aspect of our health
  • The massive overlap between digestive and cognitive issues
  • The connection between IBS and depression
  • The three biggest disruptors of gut health
  • How air travel affects the gut
  • Is the issue gluten or glyphosate?
  • How pesticides and herbicides diminish the resilience of microbiome

(27:03) — Busting Probiotics Myths

(53:40) — Prebiotics, Postbiotics & Fiber

  • What prebiotics are and what they do
  • Can prebiotics make things worse for your microbiome?
  • The difference between fiber and prebiotics
  • Why following an omnivore diet is best for your gut health
  • MITOLIFE Vitamin-C(code LUKE for 15% off)

(01:10:36) — What You Need To Know About Butyrate

(01:18:36) — Supporting Your Immune System

(01:32:14) —Stressing The Importance of the Gut-Stress Connection

(01:57:58) — Probiotics For Pets

[00:00:00] Luke: All right, here we go. Life Stylist trifecta. Let's do this. I'm excited to see you guys again.

[00:00:07] Kiran: You as well. It's great to be here. Thank you.

[00:00:09] Tina: Great to see you, Luke.

[00:00:10] Luke: Yeah, you too. So there are some interesting developments in the world of Just Thrive and probiotics in general that I'm really excited to start to unpack. I know you guys are just constantly doing more research, and examining more research, and innovating. And as someone who, I would say, had an Achilles heel of gut issues, even though I've been really committed to health for so long, I'm very keen on this, not only for myself, but I think, man, if I'm doing all of these practices for over 25 years, and my gut is periodically still not right, that there's more to learn, and I can't be the only one because I can only imagine the bad shape people are in who are just eating the standard American diet and not paying any attention to it. So I'm excited to get in and cover some of this.

[00:01:06] My first question for you-- actually, why don't you both just introduce yourself since there are two of you. You're male and female, so your voices will be easy to differentiate, but just give us your role in life, and your name, and title real quick before we start.

[00:01:21] Tina: Sure, I could start. I'm Tina Anderson, and I'm the CEO and co-founder of Just Thrive. Just Thrive Probiotic was our flagship product, but we're basically a supplement company that focuses on products that are missing and needed in the market, and primarily focusing on gut health. That's really where we focus most of our product development on, has been the gut.

[00:01:43] Personally, I'm in business with my husband. We've been in business for 10 years. We have three adult children and a son in law. And it's been really fun just being in this industry and helping people every day and really making an impact on society.

[00:01:58] Luke: Yeah. And I met you and your husband many years ago now at this point, and I'm happy to see that you have created a thriving business together, no pun intended, and are still married. I'm assuming everything's going okay.

[00:02:11] Tina: Very well. Thirty years this year we celebrated, Luke. So it's been going awesome. Very blessed.

[00:02:17] Luke: That's great.

[00:02:18] Kiran: Billy's a saint. She's a saint. Did I tell you?

[00:02:20] Tina: Did you hear, Kiran? Billy's a saint. He is.

[00:02:23] Kiran: Oh, shit. Did I say that out loud?

[00:02:26] Tina: You did. Yeah.

[00:02:26] Luke: Your mic is on Kiran. We all heard you-- tens of thousands of us.

[00:02:33] Kiran: No, they're both saints.

[00:02:35] Luke: I joke about that because I know when people are in a partnership and they love spending time together, they often-- and this has happened to me. That's how I know it so intimately, but you think, we like spending time together. We're together all the time. Anyway, let's go into business, and we'll be together even more. And that goes really well for some people, as has been the case for you, and can be a catastrophe for many other people. So congratulations on cracking the code to co-living and co-working with someone.

[00:03:05] Tina: Thank you.

[00:03:06] Luke: All right. How about you, sir? What are you to in the world?

[00:03:09] Kiran: Yeah. I'm Kiran Krishnan. I'm a research microbiologist, as my training goes. I've been focusing on the gut microbiome and just the microbiome in general because I'm doing stuff in the skin microbiome and so on as well. For the last almost now 15, 16 years, my goal in general is about developing technologies that go after the root cause drivers within the microbiome, whether it's a gut, the skin or other places in the body.

[00:03:39] The gut of course becomes a primary target because the gut microbiome controls so much of everything. And as you pointed out, Luke, you can do a lot of things right and still have some dysfunction because when it comes to the microbial level, things are a little more complicated and sometimes require microbial help to get microbial changes to be done.

[00:04:01] So I founded a company in the practitioner space, and I've been working with Billy and Tina on Just Thrive as well bringing research and innovation to the space. Proud to say that we've published probably close to 20 research papers in the last seven years or so. We've gotten a number of patents in this space, and I've had a lot of fun along the way. There's a lot more to come.

[00:04:26] Luke: I'm glad that you two teamed up because I just went in the kitchen before we started, and I got all my Just Thrive products, so I wouldn't forget to talk about any of them. But I think when I first met you, Tina, at Paleo f(x) many years ago, there was this buzz in the room about, oh, there's these new type of probiotics.

[00:04:43] They're spore-based, and so they survive the GI tract and the acidic environment and do what they're supposed to do and all that. And I got on them shortly after that. And I've been taking these probiotics just about every day ever since. And people that listen to the show will know that you guys are one of our sponsors, so I talk about it all the time.

[00:05:04] And I'm just glad that you all exist because this has been a really difficult one for me to fix, and your probiotics specifically have been a huge player in helping me restore all of the damage that I did to my gut early in life, eating gallons of glyphosate and God knows what.

[00:05:25] But I want to talk about-- of course, the gut pertains to digestion and things, and we'll get into all of that, but one thing I think that's really interesting in the emerging research over the past few years is the gut-brain connection and how the vitality, and biodiversity, and biosis in the gut is so responsible for our mood, our levels of anxiety, depression, brain fog, the neurotransmitter effects.

[00:05:57] So maybe you guys could just riff on that a little bit, how this issue with the gut pertains to so many other areas of our lives and our health that are sometimes difficult to diagnose because if you have migraines and insomnia, you might not think, oh, I need to heal my gut. You think, I need to start healing my brain, or wherever you're having the issues. So let's maybe get into that a little bit.

[00:06:22] Tina: Sure. I could start. I think even wider than that it's just that it's hard to find any disease that's out there, any non-communicable disease that's not associated with some type of imbalance in your gut. And it's so hard for people to wrap their head around the fact that you have anxiety and depression and that might be stemming from your gut, but in fact, it is.

[00:06:41] 90% of our serotonin, our happy hormone, is produced in our gut. All these neurotransmitters are being produced in our gut. Serotonin is produced in our gut. Dopamine is produced in our gut. GABA, the calming hormone, is produced in our gut. And we know now we have the vagus nerve. We call it the communication super highway because it's this communication going back from the gut to the brain and then the brain to the gut. And they're constantly sending signals back and forth to each other.

[00:07:12] As simply as we know, you get butterflies in your stomach when you're excited. That's a great example of that. This is not just woo. For years, I've been on podcasts like yours telling people, meditate to help your gut issues because we know when we have a calm mind, the brain is sending signals down to the gut.

[00:07:29] And then the reverse is true. When our gut is healthy, we're sending those happy signals back up to the brain. And so it's really important that we're nurturing that gut-brain access, that vagus nerve, and nurturing our gut as well as taking care of our brain to help our gut.

[00:07:47] Luke: You just reminded me of years ago in a time when PTSD was a much more active part of my experience. And I remember being in such continual states of fight or flight that my digestion would be wrecked. And it took me some time to piece together that when I was really emotionally dysregulated, I would have way more digestive issues than I did when I was calm and centered and living my best life. So I've experienced that in a real time. It's very real.

[00:08:24] Tina: Yeah.

[00:08:24] Kiran: Yeah. It is. And there's a massive overlap between digestive issues and cognitive issues. So if we take the example of IBS, IBS is the most commonly diagnosed gut issue. Now, there's a lot to be said about IBS being this weird umbrella diagnosis that doesn't quite make sense because it's a syndrome, and there's so many ways of experiencing that syndrome.

[00:08:48] But nonetheless, what we do know is that there's lots and lots of GI issues that can be lumped together under this umbrella. And when you look at people that suffer from that, somewhere around 70% of people with IBS have anxiety and-or depression. Compare that to same age match controls that don't have IBS, it's less than 19%.

[00:09:11] So if you have IBS, you're almost four times more likely to have anxiety, and the vice versa is true as well. So the gut-brain connection is a very real thing. And often things that affect your gut will affect your brain. Another great example of that is campylobacter jejuni infection. So Campylobacter is the second most common foodborne illness, especially in poultry.

[00:09:36] It's a pathogen that creates a gut infection. But one of the key symptoms of this pathogen is sudden onset of panic anxiety. So it's infecting your gut, but it's causing changes in your brain, which is really, really fascinating. And just to round out the whole thinking around this, we know that the microbiome is responsible for, or has a degree of control for up to 90% of all metabolic processes that happen in your body.

[00:10:06] Because more than 90% of our genetics comes from the microbes in the microbiome. And the vast majority of the microbiome, 45, 50% plus, exist in the gut. And so inevitably, those microbes that exist in the gut are going to have an impact on every part of the body, including the brain. And a very interesting way to think about this, and I always try to put this idea forth, anytime I'm talking about the microbiome, what people really need to understand is that the microbiome is a companion to you, and it's along on your journey. It's a very normal and essential part of your system and how your system functions.

[00:10:47] But there is a gradient in our relationship with our microbiome. You can either have a microbiome that is the most supportive, protective thing that is in your system, providing you exemplary resilience, protecting your immune system, improving your metabolic health, your neurological health, uh, endocrine systems, everything. It's protecting, supporting, and creating function within your system. Or we are the other end of the spectrum-- your microbiome is the most toxic thing you're exposed to every single day.

[00:11:21] So your microbiome is either working completely against you, or it is the most important protective thing and why you will live to 120 years old. So it's somewhere on that spectrum. Everyone's microbiome is somewhere there. And so you know that if you're struggling from a condition or an issue, or multiple issues, that the microbiome is playing a role in driving that.

[00:11:44] And one of the core ways in improving that issue is shifting your microbiome back towards the end of the spectrum where it is supportive and protective rather than toxigenic. So it's not just, hey, my microbiome is healthy or unhealthy. It's, what is this relationship look like? Is this thing hurting me every single day, or is my microbiome protecting me every single day? And there's a gradient there.

[00:12:10] Luke: Yeah. It's interesting as we start to learn more about this critical part of our body how the gut and the brain seem to be a feedback loop where one of them can negatively affect the other one, and vice versa. I'm thinking about, as you were talking, the slang term that has been popular forever. When somebody is afraid, they'll say, oh, I was shitting my pants, that anxiety.

[00:12:41] And so it's like if you're having fearful thoughts in your mind and you're dysregulated emotionally, it can have a negative impact on the gut. But then when the gut is dysregulated, as we were talking about before, and Tina spoke to, the neurotransmitter effect where all of a sudden, you're actually getting this negative feedback loop of anxiety because you have anxiety because of your thoughts, and emotions, and things that are bothering you that then disrupt the balance in the gut, and then it sends messages back that gives you even more anxiety. It's really interesting. It's a bummer that it's that way.

[00:13:18] Tina: The biggest bummer I think also is just this world we're living in is just so offensive to everything that has to do with supporting our gut. I mean, you mentioned glyphosates. That's a huge disruptor to our gut health. Antibiotics that we take from time to time or antibiotics found in our food supply, huge offender to our gut health.

[00:13:38] Stress, like we've just talked about, is a huge offender. The household cleaning products that we're using are so offensive. And so we're living in this world that is just so offensive to our gut health on a regular basis, and yet it's dictating every aspect of our overall health. And I think that's hard for people to wrap their heads around.

[00:13:57] Luke: Yeah, it is. There's another effect I've noticed in terms of gut health, and that is how negatively air travel affects the gut, and I wanted to see if either of you know. I have an intuitive sense, and this could be totally wrong, but because these organisms in the gut are sentient in their own minute way, they seem to get dysregulated and confused when we cross time zones.

[00:14:28] And we're in Central Time where I am now, and then I fly to Hawaii, I might know that, okay, the clock has changed because I'm in a different orientation on the planet, but the gut microbes don't know that, and so all of a sudden, when they think it's supposed to be nighttime, it's daytime, and so on. How much does the circadian disruption of travel affect the gut biome?

[00:14:56] Kiran: Yeah, so I think it can have a significant effect on it because we know the gut is a diurnal system, so it does have a 24-hour clock. But it often aligns with our 24-hour clock if we are disciplined in our behaviors, meaning we're eating around the same time, we're resting around the same time, we're fasting around the same time each day, then your microbiome adapts to those same rhythms.

[00:15:24] So if that rhythm gets thrown off because of traveling and moving to a different time zone, or even the act of traveling alone, let's say you're taking a day to fly to Hawaii, it takes a whole eight, nine hours to get there, your behavior is disrupted during that time, so then it screws up the gene expression in your gut.

[00:15:46] You can gamify some of that. So I do that a lot because I travel a lot, and I travel all over the world. I've known to be in six, seven different time zones within the given week in time zones that are 12 and a half hours away from where I am. And so one of the things I do is I try to be repetitive about when I eat as if I'm eating in a cycle that's similar to where I'm at home, uh, during the course of travel and maybe the first day or so when I get there until I can spend a little bit of time resetting the clock.

[00:16:26] So you can gamify it a little bit, which has helped me, but certainly, I think it has an impact. So people that do travel, or if you're going on vacation, for example, then you might have a double or triple whammy because not only are you traveling and going six, seven hours, different time zone, you're more than likely eating worse than you normally do because you're on vacation. You're more than likely drinking worse. You're not resting as much.

[00:16:52] So those can all have compounding effect, which at the end of the day can largely be negated if you have a highly resilient microbiome. Because your microbiome is really good at adapting to scenarios, just as there's this show, which is a tremendously bothersome show to watch called My 600-lb Life or something like that.

[00:17:17] I don't know if you guys have seen that, but it's basically a reality show of people that are 600 pounds or greater. And when I've seen a show like that, the thing that occurs to me is not how sad that scenario is and how and why a person is at that level, but what really hits me is how fascinating the human body is that it can still exist even in that scenario.

[00:17:44] That person's systems are still functioning, granted, in suboptimal ways, but they're still living, and breathing, and digesting, and producing all thousands of compounds every single day, even though they've put themselves in that extreme of a situation. So it illustrates the adaptability of the microbiome if you have certain features, which constitutes a resilient microbiome.

[00:18:09] And I think that's the real key here, so that we can travel, we can go off our normal eating patterns, we can have drinks with our friends, we can eat some gluten from time to time and still be okay if we have the resilience. And our brain will be okay too if we have that resilience.

[00:18:28] Luke: Got it. You mentioned gluten and that was something that was on my list to discuss. How much of people's reactivity to gluten do you think is the actual gluten protein and its inflammatory nature versus the fact that at least in the states most products that have gluten have been sprayed to death with glyphosate? Is it more so a glyphosate issue or really more so these hybridized wheats and things like that that we have here that are more inflammatory because of the gluten?

[00:19:07] Kiran: Yeah. And I don't have data on this, but I would lean towards it being 90% the pesticides, herbicides, glyphosate, and the type of wheat that we have here, the Roundup Ready, genetically modified, hybridized to having different types and concentration of gluten and gliadin proteins in general.

[00:19:31] I hear all the time from people that are not only gluten sensitive, but even celiac level. They can go to Italy and eat bread and pasta there and have no issue at all. And they have a crouton here, and they're out for a week. And so I think that has a huge component to do with it, which your question is perfect because it speaks to that diminishing of resilience within the microbiome.

[00:19:59] So why is it that our microbiome here can't handle gluten? It's because we've hurt the characteristics of the microbiome through the exposure with glyphosate. And glyphosate is a perfect example of something that diminishes resilience because it's a strong antibiotic, so it's killing microbes. Not only that, it's actually even worse than conventional antibiotics because it selectively kills good bacteria.

[00:20:26] Because over time, we get small doses of it in our water, in our food, and all that, so it works like an antibiotic in that antibiotics are antimicrobials that work at low doses. So they work at small doses, and it selectively kills beneficial bacteria because there's a lot of opportunistic pathogens that have resistance around how glyphosate works.

[00:20:51] So it's like creating this environmental pressure that allows for pathogens to really proliferate and dominate the ecosystem of the gut. That is one of the core tenets in losing resilience, is that advanced pathobiome, is what we call it in the world of microbiome science. People with elevated pathobiomes have very, very poor resilience, very poor immune function, very poor metabolic function, and so on. And that was illustrated through COVID as well, which we can talk about long hours with that.

[00:21:24] Luke: That makes perfect sense because I'm often very envious of my wife and the fact that she seems to eat gluten sprayed with glyphosate probably with seeming impunity. She's fine. And she'll have a pizza, and I can't resist. And I'm like, she seems fine. And then I have it, and I'm wrecked the next day, and my joints hurt, and I have brain fog, the whole thing. And I'm just like, what's the difference between us? And she must have a more resilient immune system and gut biome where it's the same assault, but she seems to be able to bounce back. Actually not even bounce back. She doesn't seem to be affected at all in any discernible way.

[00:22:06] So it's so interesting how the reactivity that we experience is so unique to each person, and it's not something that you can even put your finger on because in the case of my wife, she's very healthy and doesn't seem to have any problems with anything, but she definitely is not as committed as I am.

[00:22:27] This morning I did an ice bath, I did ozone, I did the vibe plate, red light. I did 10 really powerful interventions before I even sat down to do my work, and she just got up and ate breakfast and probably feels great without doing any of that stuff.

[00:22:41] So it's interesting how some of us are just tougher internally. It's like when you see someone and their grandma dies at 101 years old and they smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and had a shot of whiskey every night and ate whatever they wanted. I think sometimes it's a genetic resilience that we can't really explain, and it makes those of us that are the canaries in the coal mine envious and jealous that we can't just live and do whatever we want.

[00:23:09] Kiran: Yeah, but it's achievable to a certain degree too. You can improve your resilience. Can you ever be as resilient as your wife is? Probably not to that level, but I think you can get a good portion there. And you've already obviously built your resilience up from all kinds of other practices as well, and all kinds of discipline and things that you do, but can you take it even further? Likely.

[00:23:36] Yeah. And that's one of the beauties of the microbiome, is that it's such a major influence on how our bodies function and adapt to stressors around us, including, which we'll talk about external stressors of the mind, things that cause anxiety and so on. But it can always be adapted, and it can always be modulated because it's an ecosystem. So it's not set in stone completely like our genes. There are adaptations that we can afford it based on using simple principles.

[00:24:13] Luke: That brings me to another myth that I'd like you guys to bust if it is in fact a myth as much as I think it is, and that is this idea that we've used a reductionist approach to the microbiome and we classify good bacteria and bad bacteria. And it seems like that's a little bit of a broad stroke, so can you maybe speak to the importance of just balance because, say, somebody thinks they have candida and they go on a huge yeast killing regimen. Well, you need some candida. You just don't need too much of it, and so on. So can you speak to the importance of balance versus a dualistic perspective of good versus bad? Get rid of all the bad, add more good.

[00:25:01] Tina: Yeah, that's something that we've been talking about for years. Candida, like you mentioned, it's a normal part of our gut flora. It's when it becomes overgrown that it starts to become problematic. And that's why the spores are so effective in dealing with something like Candida, because it's actually just elbowing out that overgrowth.

[00:25:20] It's going in there and reconditioning the gut. We've always preached. We're not looking to go in there and get rid of all the bad bacteria. Like Kiran said, it's an ecosystem, and we just need to rebalance it. So the good bacteria is outweighing the bad bacteria and the pathogenic bacteria.

[00:25:38] Kiran: Yeah. And we use the terms good and bad for simplicity sake because it just helps people wrap their mind around it. But you're absolutely right in that it is a myth that there's this category of microbes that are bad and category that are good. And what you want is no bad and all good. It doesn't work that way because it's all about context.

[00:25:59] And it's also really important to note that at the species level, all of us are completely different. We just have a very different distribution of species. As you get up from the species to the genus level, it gets a little bit more similar. Then you get up to the family, order, phylum level, it starts to get similar and similar and similar.

[00:26:20] We all have the same phylum of microbes. And for those that are listening that don't understand what the hell I'm talking about between phylum and order and all that, there's a classification really of organisms in the world. So you've got kingdom at the biggest, where we're all part of the animal kingdom. And then from kingdom, you go to order, and family, and genus, and species. So it gets more and more and more specific.

[00:26:45] And so when you look at the highly specific classification of genus and species, we all have all kinds of different microbes. As you get larger to the orders and families, we all have very similar orders and families of microbes in there. But at the end of the day, what all that means is the context is really important. And the presence of certain microbes in an individual may be very normal for them, but the same presence in another individual's microbiome may be problematic, just to give you an example of that.

[00:27:21] And this is why it's very hard to say there's a specific microbial overgrowth in someone's gut. And there's all these gut tests that people do that I've been trying to educate people against because what they'll do is give you a list of 17 microbes that are bad, and they give you a level of the microbe, one times 10 to the five, one times 10 to the six, and it'll say it's high.

[00:27:46] It doesn't actually mean anything because for that individual, it may be high. It may not be high. It may be low. It depends on the context. So I'll give you one analogy for people to try to help understand and wrap their head around it. Let's say you are a city planner, and you're planning out a city, and you've got this city with X number of homes and X population, and then somebody comes to you and says, hey, for the city, we have 15 police officers. Is that enough? Your first question is going to be, what's the population of the city, right? What's the context?

[00:28:22] If you have a thousand people, then 15 is probably more than plenty, right? If you've got 200,000 people in that city, 15 is not at all enough. You have officers. So both cities have officers. In one case, it's plenty enough. In the other, it's not because when you look at the context, the percent of police officers to population, that's what really dictates whether or not you have enough there.

[00:28:46] So that's exactly the same with microbes. It's not just who's there. It's who else is there, and how they affect one another. So you have to really look at the full ecosystem and the context in which these microbes exist. And so it becomes really difficult to pinpoint specific problems in individuals. And anytime a company tells you they can do that, they're pulling the wool over your eyes a little bit.

[00:29:13] So then the question is, what can you do? Well, we know a couple of things. One is there are three or four features of healthy microbiomes across the board that have been validated in thousands of studies. So we can go after those. And what those are is high diversity in the gut microbiome. The higher diversity, the better off you are.

[00:29:36] Number two is the presence and relative abundance of what we call keystone species. So these are organisms that have been identified as being really important to the stability and functioning of the microbiome, and have also been shown to be inversely correlated with disease. So take Fecalum bacteroprosnitzi, for example.

[00:29:58] If you have high or good levels-- it's hard to say high, but if you have good levels of Fecalum bacteroprosnitzi, you tend to be protected against everything in the inflammatory bowel disease category-- so Crohn's, colitis, micro colitis, even colorectal cancer. If you have good levels of Akkermansia, you are protected against everything under cardio metabolic syndrome, which is upwards of 50 diseases-- diabetes, obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, all kinds of things. So having good levels of keystone species is really important.

[00:30:30] The other feature is having low levels of microbes in your small bowel. If you have microbes that are higher than a certain count in your small bowel, then you have an overgrowth of microbes in the small bowel, which disrupts how the small bowel functions and starts lending itself towards these conditions like SIBO, and IBS, and so on, which are some of the most common conditions.

[00:30:53] And then the last thing is the oral microbiome because we know that a dysfunctional oral microbiome leads to a dysfunctional gut microbiome and vice versa. They influence one another. And our oral hygiene in general is relatively bad, in the US, because there was a study published, I think it was in 2014 that showed that 94% of Americans have some degree of gum disease, gingivitis, which is driven by dysfunctional oral microbiome.

[00:31:23] And that may be in part because we're constantly swallowing foods that have antibiotics, antimicrobials, all these things that screw up your oral microbiome. So we think about just those four things, and we strive to improve those four. No matter what the individualistic dysfunction is in each of our microbiomes, those things start to get corrected because the overarching features correct the minuscule changes that need to happen in each individual's microbiome.

[00:31:53] Luke: Cool.

[00:31:54] Kiran: Does that makes sense?

[00:31:55] Luke: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And that brings me to another question I had about the biodiversity. So, like I said, I've been using the Just Thrive Probiotic here for many years on an ongoing basis. And I don't even know how to pronounce the strains of bacteria like you just did. I read the bottles, and I'm like, oh, that sounds good.

[00:32:16] But I have, and I'm glad we're talking today because I've been meaning to just email Tina and ask her this, I have just intuitively over the years, here and there, done a run with another probiotic just because I feel like, I know these spores are getting delivered. And they've had such a majorly positive impact on my digestion in general since I've been on them.

[00:32:38] But every once in a while, I'll be like, I'm only getting these four strains, so I'll get on another one for a month or something like that just to balance it out. Am I doing that right, or can people just take your probiotic and be done with it, or are they going to lack some of the other diversity that they might get from different strains, and different brands, and whatnot?

[00:33:00] Tina: That's what's so unique about the spores, is they actually have the ability to read the microbial environment. So they're doing something different in your gut than they're doing in mine. And they're actually reading the microbial environment and helping those good bacteria come back to life, if you will, and helping get rid of some of the overgrowth of the pathogenic bacteria.

[00:33:20] And that's where I love to use the garden analogy. It goes into the garden, and it's actually having the ability to bring those plants that have been stepped on and trampled on, you compare that to your intestines, and help those beneficial bacteria come back to life. So it's creating diversity. And then it actually has the ability to get rid of that overgrowth of the weeds in the garden.

[00:33:41] And that's where we're showing this great diversity with using the spores. It's something we talk about all the time because we know that the spores alone are helping increase diversity and helping feed and facilitate those keystone species like the Akkermansia, and the Fecalum bacterium, and all of that.

[00:34:00] Luke: Cool.

[00:34:03] Kiran: And to add to what Tina said, what Tina, um, brought up is this issue of quorum sensing. So that's the fancy word that people can use. Quorum sensing is the microbes ability to read other microbial signatures and then communicate with other bacteria. So it's a very elegant biological process that occurs that we know a good amount about, but there's still a lot of mystery behind how microbes actually do this quorum sensing.

[00:34:27] But at the end of the day, if you really want to have diversity in the gut microbiome, it's not going to come from taking a variety of probiotics because most probiotics are the same genus and species. So even if you have a 15 strain probiotic, most of them are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, which means that you're only affecting two genuses within your gut microbiome. What about the 180, 200 others that should be there?

[00:34:55] So you're not actually implanting diversity into your gut. What you really need to do to achieve diversity is create an environment in which numerous different types of organisms can survive and thrive because a lot of those organisms are actually there already. They're just at such low numbers that they're not functional.

[00:35:16] We've published on this before. We published on paper where we showed one individual's microbiome had undetectable Akkermansia. And that's through doing the highest sensitivity stool analysis, metagenomic sequencing work. We couldn't find Akkermansia in their stool samples. And then we added the spores and then a prebiotic, and three weeks later, we test, and there's really, really good, strong levels of Akkermansia.

[00:35:46] We never put Akkermansia in there, so where did it come from? It was always there. It was just at such low levels that the probability of finding it when you're looking for it is really low. And that's an important concept for people to understand, is that microbes in your gut and in stool, when it comes out, and we look at stool as a slight representation of the gut, aren't homogenous.

[00:36:11] So if you've got a very tiny amount of Akkermansia, the amount of it actually coming out in stool, and then the ability to sample the right part of the stool to find that Akkermansia is really low. So you might do a sampling and go, there's no Akkermansia there. It's not that it's not there. It's that its numbers are so low.

[00:36:31] Often people go, what if you had multiple rounds of antibiotics and lots of exposure to things like glyphosate and so on? My answer to them is, it doesn't mean that those microbes aren't there anymore because you actually cannot verifiably kill 100% of any microbes. This is why all those claiming products, when they make the claim on the bottle, it says, kills 99. 9%. They can never say 100% when it comes to microbes because you can always have one bacteria cell hanging on there forever. Given the right scenario, that microbe can come back.

[00:37:09] So we all have some inherent diversity already in our gut. What you need is a quorum sensing microbe to go in and start rebalancing the environment so that those that are really, really underrepresented can have a chance to start coming back. And those that are really overgrown get suppressed to a certain degree. That's where quorum sensing affords you.

[00:37:31] Now, that starts to happen, so then the microbes that are already in your gut start to come back. Then you add to that going out and being in the natural environment. So going out for hikes, and exposing yourself to dirt, and exposing yourself to other people, exposing yourself to animals like a dog, for example, if you have a pet.

[00:37:51] All of those things will bring more microbes towards your system and help diversify your system. There are studies that show very clearly that people who live in urban environments versus farm environments or country environments, the people in the country environments have much more diverse microbiome just because they're exposed to nature a lot more.

[00:38:13] So it's really about creating scenario and a condition in your gut that allows for diverse growth and competition within the microbiome. And once you do that, then it's about engaging in behaviors that facilitate exposure to microbes, like going out and being in nature, eating diverse foods, engaging with people in person, and so on. So the spores really do that. They create that environment through quorum sensing that allows for lots of diversity in the microbiome. And then hopefully you engage in those other behaviors.

[00:38:45] Luke: That's amazing. I'm so glad to know that.

[00:38:47] Tina: Yeah, that's one of the myths that we've been talking about also for years, is that people have always said, and we all know, most experts out there will agree, that we need diversity to have a healthy microbiome. And that's absolutely true, but where the story went awry is when people would say, oh, switch up your probiotic every couple of months because now you're getting these different strains. And there's absolutely no studies.

[00:39:10] There are no studies behind that and no proof that that actually is going to do anything to create more diversity. I like to say it's like you're throwing a penny in a pool that's filled with quarters. It's like you won't even notice the difference. And in fact, some of the probiotics, when you see these probiotics that have, we call it the kitchen sink formula of probiotics, 15 different strains, 20 different strains, there was a recent study that came out by the Weizmann Institute that actually showed that when you see some of these multi strain probiotics, they actually start to compete with some of your natural gut flora and could actually make with situations worse when you're trying to fight off an infection.

[00:39:48] And so we do caution people to be careful about some of those kitchen sink formulas. The psychobiotic product that we'll probably talk about later, the strain in there that's our effective strain is this Bifido longum 1714 strain. And when we tested that strain with another Bifido longum strain, it actually negated all of the positive effects of the 1714 strain.

[00:40:12] So it's really important, and this is something we have been talking about for years, is that we need studies on the finished formulation, the actual, how do these strains work together? So the four strains that are used in our spore-based probiotic have been studied to show that they actually work. And we know now together what they do and how they work together. So that's really important. It's definitely a myth out there that we don't want to be focusing on finding a whole bunch of different products with a whole bunch of different strains in them.

[00:40:44] Luke: That's really good information for so many of us listening that probably spend so much money on all these different probiotics. And I remember back in the day, going to these health food stores, I guess they still have them. I just don't shop for probiotics because I always have some of yours, thankfully, but those little refrigerated sections.

[00:41:03] And I'd pick up the probiotics and it's like, 50 billion guaranteed live organisms and all of these different strains, and it's overwhelming to try to figure out. And then when I learned about the spore-based probiotics and that also there's a lot of, uh, from what I understand, deceptive marketing around the survivability of them and the need for them to be refrigerated-- so your spore-based probiotics do not need to be refrigerated. Is there any validity to refrigerating any of them, or are they all just going to get killed by the acid in your GI tract and it's a wash anyway?

[00:41:44] Tina: Yeah. And they're pretty much all going to get killed by not just the acidity of the stomach, which is going to kill the majority of them, but it's also the temperature. If a probiotic needs to be refrigerated, it means it can't even withstand the room temperature of the store shelf, so how in the world would it ever survive your body temperature, which is 98.6? And the answer is they're not surviving the body temperature or the acidic environment of the stomach.

[00:42:11] And so I think it all started that we know in order to be defined as a probiotic, it needs to be a live microorganism that confers a benefit onto the host. It needs to be a live microorganism in your intestines, not in the refrigerator. And so forget about the logistics aspects of getting from the manufacturer to the store to the refrigerator then back to your house and into your body. Even if it did make that journey alive, it's very unlikely that it'll ever make the journey alive to the intestines. And this has been tested time and time again.

[00:42:45] Luke: Wow. Cool. I love sharing things like that on the show. It's saving people money, and time, and energy, and demystifying things that we just go along with. It is just like in the health space you hear these thought memes about stuff, and they just-- one that got me a while back was that taking ascorbic acid formed vitamin C would diminish your copper levels. Copper is a really underappreciated mineral in general by many people, and there's a lot of misinformation around copper toxicity.

[00:43:23] So I immediately stopped taking ascorbic acid and got obsessed with whole food vitamin C thinking that was the only one just because I heard an expert talk about it on a podcast or saw a social media post. And then a couple of years go by, and I learned that's not actually true. It's fine. Ascorbic acid is great for you. And now I take it all day long every day. This brand MitoLife makes a really great ascorbic acid base but also has some polyphenols and stuff. It's really nice.

[00:43:53] And I probably do, I don't know, four times a day. I'll do two of those in a glass of water, and I feel really good on it. And I could have missed that benefit by just going along with a trend in thought that wasn't necessarily rooted in science, or at least not universally applicable to all people at all times as that pertain to copper, for example.

[00:44:19] Kiran: Yeah. And some of those ideas are often generated by a single mouse study where something like that was observed. And then that gets extrapolated to being relevant to everything universally. And it is a shame because ascorbic acid, I take upwards of four grams a day, two to four grams a day, because it's so beneficial for you in so many different ways. And any of it that you don't use, you just basically urinate it out. It's water soluble and so on.

[00:44:49] And so other myths around this multi strain thing that I heard when I first came into the probiotic industry, and I constantly still hear now as well, there are some people that have nailed some numbers for some reason. I don't know where these have come from, but they'll say, you shouldn't take a probiotic that has less than 15 strains in it, the species in it. I'm like, okay.

[00:45:13] Don't take a probiotic that's less than 50 billion CFUs. And don't take a probiotic that has more than I think 24 months shelf life, or something like that. There's all these random numbers that people have thrown out, and none of it makes any sense. It's not relevant in science at all. And in fact, here's another really interesting thing.

[00:45:39] I've been lecturing to practitioners and doctors a lot over the last eight months around asking this question, is your probiotic silent? And this is a very important point because we're making some discoveries now that we believed and hypothesized based on some scientific rationale, but now we have evidence of this.

[00:46:01] And the idea is that the vast majority of probiotic strains are inflammatory. They drive inflammation in the body. That's how the body responds to them. It's incoming foreign microbes essentially. And even though they may, they're not pathogenic microbes, they're not necessarily producing toxins and doing pathogenic things, but the way your body and your immune system responds to their presence is by activating inflammatory pathways.

[00:46:30] And you see that clinically. We talk to practitioners because a lot of practitioners don't use any probiotics at all for issues like mass cell activation, histamine intolerance, SIBO. These are all people with lots of inflammatory conditions. And what they found just through practice is that every time they use a probiotic, they get somewhat worse.

[00:46:51] And so they've intuitively said, okay, I don't use probiotics anymore. And of course, we have to educate them on what probiotic actually works. Now, the reason they can't use probiotics in many of those cases is because most probiotic strains are inflammatory. They upregulate Th1, Th2, and Th17.

[00:47:09] If people aren't familiar with those, those are three different types of inflammatory pathways in your body that lead to different activations. But nonetheless, they're all inflammatory. They also may upregulate some anti-inflammatory pathways, but they're upregulating three inflammatory pathways and one anti-inflammatory pathway. So the net result is inflammation.

[00:47:30] Now, if you're perfectly healthy, you're super resilient, like your wife is, for example, and there's the cold and flu season going on, taking a probiotic like that can upregulate her immune system enough to help protect her against the cold or the flu. But if she has any inflammatory conditions, it exasperates it and makes it worse. The last thing she needs is a probiotic that drives inflammation.

[00:47:54] So then the question is, are there probiotic strains that actually don't cause inflammatory responses? And as it turns out, there absolutely are. The spores, for example, we've done this test on them. They don't upregulate any of the three inflammatory pathways. They only upregulate the anti-inflammatory pathway. The psychobiotic, the Bifido longum 1714 strain, does not upregulate any inflammatory pathways. Only upregulates anti-inflammatory pathway.

[00:48:22] So there are strains that will do only the anti-inflammatory, but when you have these cocktail products, kitchen sink products of 15, 20 strains, throwing together 50, 60 billion CFUs, you can be very sure that a good portion of that is probably driving inflammation in the body, and that's not a great thing.

[00:48:43] Luke: Wow. Cool, man. That's good to know. What's your take on prebiotics, and postbiotics, and fiber? Back in the day, I used to take psyllium husk, powdered psyllium husk, just because I heard it was good for you. That was a long, long time ago, and then I just forgot about it and stopped.

[00:49:10] And then, I don't know, for some reason, intuitively, recently, I decided to order some and just see how I'd feel, and I've responded to that really well. My digestion is great. I take a couple spoonfuls of that a day, and I'm golden. But I don't really take resistant starch or prebiotics, postbiotics on an ongoing basis.

[00:49:33] I just eat whatever I eat and get some psyllium in there and take your probiotics. But there's a lot of hype in the gut health industry around the prebiotics, postbiotics, and all of that. And I've heard one, again, just something you hear out there, potential negative effect of taking prebiotics could be that if you have dysbiosis, you have an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, that you could just be feeding that and not feeding the good stuff. So what are either or both of your takes on that element of it of what these bacteria in our gut are actually eating, what's good for them, what's bad for them, etc?

[00:50:17] Tina: Yeah. We actually did not launch a prebiotic for a long time, and here we are, this gut health supplement company, but we didn't launch one because we knew about this. We knew that there's prebiotics out there that were actually making problems worse for people because, back to that garden analogy, it's going in and feeding all the weeds and making the problem worse, making the overgrowth of that pathogenic bacteria worse.

[00:50:39] So we waited to find these particular illegal saccharides actually only target the beneficial bacteria. So these probiotics are very, very targeted. It's why we call it the Precision Prebiotic, because it's actually only targeting the beneficial bacteria. So when it's feeding the bacteria, it's creating more diversity, but of that beneficial bacteria, not the overgrowth of the weeds in the garden, if you will. But we see that all the time with prebiotics that people are having difficulty with it because it is feeding the overgrowth of the bad bacteria.

[00:51:10] Kiran: Yeah. And let's break down for people this concept around fibers, and prebiotics, and all that. What are they, actually? So there's a marked difference between fiber and prebiotics. Fiber tends to be roughage. They're not very complex carbohydrates. They are more complex than we can break down, which is good. So our digestive system is really, really bad at breaking down carbohydrates and utilizing components from carbohydrates, glucose, fructose, and so on at the end.

[00:51:41] And so the moment there's some complication to the structure of the carbohydrate, it becomes a fiber that means we can't break it down. It moves past our small bowel, enters our large bowel, and goes into fermentation. It's absolutely clear that a high fiber diet is really good for you. We know both from anthropological studies and also studies on hunter-gatherer tribes that exist today, like the Papua New Guinea tribes, Hadza tribe in Tanzania and all that, that these really healthy microbiomes tend to come from people that eat 100, 150 grams of fiber per day.

[00:52:20] Now, of course, a lot of that they're getting from food because they eat really fibrous, rich foods. So we know that fiber is really good for you in general. However, as Tina pointed out, if your gut is really dysbiotic, one of the issues with fiber is that it's not complex enough where there's only specific groups of microbes can utilize it.

[00:52:40] Lots of microbes can utilize fiber, including dysfunctional microbes. So for those people, what they will typically experience if they take a couple of scoops of psyllium husk, they'll get a lot of bloating and discomfort. And that's because the dysfunctional microbes are converting the fiber into gas rather than into the beneficial things like short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which then go on to do all these wonderful things in your body.

[00:53:06] And so at the end of the day, where you want to get to is a gut that is diverse and well balanced, and then you want to preserve that diversity and balance and drive the functionality of the diversity and balance by feeding it a really good amount of fiber and prebiotics. Let me distinguish prebiotics as well.

[00:53:26] So prebiotics are highly complicated carbon structures of fibers. And the reason they're called prebiotics is because there's fewer and fewer classes of microbes that can break those down. So you may have lots and lots of microbes. Let's say there's a 100 different species in your gut that can break down psyllium. If you take a fructooligosaccharide, you might only have three species that can break that down. So it gets more specific as to who you're feeding with those foods.

[00:53:54] Now, what you want to do is use something like the spores and start to try to diversify your diet, get stress under control, be outdoors, and do some of those things that help to diversify your diet. The moment your microbiome starts to get a little healthier, then you want to hit it with lots of fibers and prebiotics. You want to do both.

[00:54:15] So I do psyllium husk as well, and I do probably 10 to 15 grams a day of psyllium-- just good old plain powdered psyllium, nothing else. And then I try to get at least another 40, 50 grams of fiber through food. So I'm trying to get 60, 70 grams of fiber per day. But at the same time, I use the prebiotics, and that's a really important component to it. So I use the prebiotics to specifically feed those keystone species that we talked about earlier--the Fecalum bacteria, the Akkermansia, the Biflongum.

[00:54:49] Those keystone species selectively love those types of prebiotic fibers. So you want to get prebiotics, you want to get fiber, but you want to start rebalancing your gut microbiome before you throw a lot of that stuff at it. And then once you got it starting to get balanced, give it all the fiber, give it all the prebiotics you can, because there's no real upper limit for those things.

[00:55:11] Luke: Awesome. Thank you for clarifying. So what does that mean for those folks out there that are wrapped up in the carnivore diet trend that aren't getting any fiber? I see those folks on social media like, you don't need fiber. It's a myth. You just eat steak. And my brother, I don't know if he still is, but he was carnivore for a couple of years, and he seemed to be very healthy and doing well with it.

[00:55:34] I didn't see his microbiome test results or anything, but seems like some people do fine on it for some time, but that particular part of it has always seemed a little strange to me because I don't think historically there have likely been any, and if so, very few humans that have had diets that are completely devoid of all fiber year round, long-term.

[00:55:59] Kiran: Yeah. And sometimes people point to the Inuit Indians that eat predominantly seal, seal blubber and seal meat. But as the studies have shown, number one, they're incredibly unhealthy. They have a very high rate of metabolic disease, and inflammation, and all that. The Inuit Indians do. And they also have certain genetic snips that allow them to utilize the fat and the meat differently than other people.

[00:56:27] So it's not a great example of like, those people can do it, so we should eat steak all day. And here's, I think, the benefit you get if you go full carnivore right off the bat because a lot of people will get some benefit upfront, and they might feel more energetic. They might lose some weight. Of course, they're getting a great amount of protein, so they might get stronger, especially if they're working out.

[00:56:55] To me, a lot of that benefit comes from not because you're eating just meat. It's because you've eliminated sugar from your diet. To me, overnight switch to a carnivore diet is an overnight switch to a sugar-free diet. The problem is, and if people really kept a food diary, right? Even if you think you eat pretty healthy, but you're just eating like a normal omnivore diet, you're getting sugar into your system one way or the other.

[00:57:27] And the people who don't have a resistant enough constitution where those sugars and all that can be problematic for them, they've experienced those as negative effects, and then you go full carnivore, uh, and you're just eating a steak with butter on it, steak with butter on it all day long and eggs. You have no sugar coming into your diet and that, and you're going to feel better, but that will have long term consequence, right?

[00:57:51] There's no longitudinal data on the carnivore diet. There is some data showing that a high fat, high protein diet does decrease the microbiome diversity, even over a relatively short amount of time. You do start losing Bifidobacteria, which is a really important organism for longevity. And so even though you might see people running around the beach with a six pack because they're only eating steak, it might look okay from a vanity perspective, but it's absolutely the antithesis of how our system has evolved.

[00:58:24] We have evolved as omnivores, and our keystone species and the bulk of the microbes in the gut require some component of plant-based nutrition. Now, does that mean the vegetarian diet is right? Absolutely not. Does that mean the vegan approach is right? Absolutely not. Right. We are omnivores.

[00:58:43] And I think that's where this whole diet thing, just-- some of the looks at all of this purely from a scientific perspective, it drives me a little bit nuts because people get very, very adamant about the camp that they're in with the diets. And it becomes more almost like a political thing rather than a scientific thing. They're advocating for their team. I'm team vegan. I'm team vegetarian. I'm team carnivore, whatever team they are. And they completely negate and ignore all the science that may speak against their diet. So we are omnivores, and we've always been omnivores. And that was a very significant component to our evolution.

[00:59:24] Let me just bring one more aside. There's been some fascinating studies on the divergence of ape microbiomes because we all came from a common ancestor. We know the modern day chimpanzee and humans came from the similar ancestor. And so when you start looking at our microbiomes, they are significantly different, but our genetics are basically the same.

[00:59:55] We have a 1% genetic difference from chimpanzees. And then 1% accounts for all the physical differences that we can see. And then our microbiomes account for a lot of the other biochemical differences. But then when you look at which primates we have the most similar microbiomes to today, the primates we are closest to aren't the ones that we're genetically the most similar to. The primates we're closest to are baboons.

[01:00:21] So us and baboons have very similar microbiomes compared to us and gorillas or chimpanzees. The reason is because baboons evolved to become omnivores. And they left the forest, they left the trees, they hunted as much as they gathered and foraged versus chimpanzees and all that predominantly still ate greens and plant-based foods. They did almost no hunting, no roaming around on dry lands, and so on.

[01:00:52] And so when you look at the primate world, the omnivores there, which are the baboons have very similar microbiomes to us, which are omnivores on the homo sapien side. So this evidence is absolutely clear that we are designed and evolved to be omnivores. So anytime you're in one of these extreme camps of diet, you're working against your system, and you may have some short-term benefit, but in the long run, it's not going to be good.

[01:01:26] Luke: Thank you for clarifying that. And I can also support that anecdotally from trying different diet fads over the years. And finally, I'm just over-- I don't even talk about diets on the podcast. It pertains to the gut biome, so we're talking about it now, but I'm just like, it's so boring. It's so boring. Look at the baboons. Look at evolution, and it all becomes much clearer.

[01:01:52] But I think to your point, there's the tribalism, but then there's also something like, say, the carnivore vegan diet. It's really an elimination diet as you pointed to with the sugar. So it's like, of course, if you're having metabolic disease, or chronic disease, or whatever it is, and you go on an elimination diet and all you eat is plant-based foods or all you eat is meat, many of the symptoms are going to disappear initially because you've eliminated all of the things that were causing an allergic reaction or inflammation or whatever, but then after some time, it seems to be the course of a few months or a few years on any of those extreme, very regimented diets that you're going to end up having diminishing returns.

[01:02:34] And I've observed this with so many people I know that get off on a tangent, including myself when I tried vegetarianism for way too many years. And it was great at first because I needed to detox. I was just full of heavy metals, and mold, and all kinds of things, and I felt amazing over the course of maybe after five years, and things started going south on me, and I just had to start eating a steak.

[01:02:59] Kiran: Yeah, totally.

[01:03:01] Luke: A friend of mine who knew nothing about health who was a redneck used to always make fun of me for being a vegetarian. Man, you need to eat some steak. You needed some steak. And I go, oh, you don't understand. The cholesterol, and whatever my things were, the animal cruelty and all that, which was of course valid.

[01:03:18] And then I had to admit at one point he was right because I couldn't take it anymore. I felt like shit. I started eating meat, and so many of my problems went away, just from adding good quality grass-fed meat into my diet. So, very valid points there. You mentioned earlier the, I think it's a metabolite of our microbiome organisms being butyrate, and that they manufacture this out of the stuff that they eat.

[01:03:49] And something that I found to be really useful is taking quite a bit of exogenous butyrate, different forms of butyrate, just as a supplement or even suppositories. MitoZen, great company, makes a butyrate suppository with some other, I think, probiotic bacteria in it and whatnot. And I find I do really well when I take a lot of butyrate all the time. What's the difference between relying on your biome to make the butyrate that you need and taking it yourself in larger doses?

[01:04:21] Kiran: Yeah. And I think as a first step, everyone should really focus on endogenous production first. You need to make sure that your endogenous production is at least at base level because there is some bioavailability issues with exogenous versus endogenous. Now, they may work in different parts of the body and offer different mechanisms of function.

[01:04:45] So let's break that down a little bit. A lot of the butyrate that's made endogenously naturally in your gut is made in the descending colon or the transverse colon. So the farther distances down in your gut by organisms like Fecalum bacteroprosnitzi, which is one of the keystone species. Bifido longum and a number of other organisms make a high amount of butyrate.

[01:05:10] Now, butyrate is one of the short-chain fatty acids that predominantly stays in the gut. And the reason it stays in the gut is it modulates a lot of the metabolic processes. It also is very anti-inflammatory, and then it also acts as the primary fuel for the cells that line your digestive tract. So for those cells to stay healthy and keep reproducing, they need butyrate to function.

[01:05:34] You also have a type of cell in your gut called a goblet cell. The goblet cell produces mucus. And you need a really healthy, thick layer of mucus in the lining of your gut in order for your gut to function properly. If you don't have a thick lining of mucus, your gut is absolutely dismantled, your immune system is dismantled, you likely have leaky gut and all kinds of problems. So lots and lots of chronic diseases can be traced back to a diminished layer of mucus in the lining of your gut.

[01:06:03] And that mucus is dependent on butyrate for production. And all of that happens in the terminal end of the gut. And so the butyrate that's made there is almost automatically utilized in that large part. Some of it will make its way to the small intestines and other areas, but it's predominantly used there.

[01:06:21] Now, the other thing that it's doing there, it's activating these receptors that are now becoming very famous because of these weight loss drugs called GLP. GLP-1, for example, is a receptor that's bound by butyrate that turns on satiety and turns on fat burning in your body. That's a result of eating.

[01:06:45] That's how your gut tells your body and your brain that you're full. You need to go into a metabolic process and stop eating. It causes you to release the satiety hormone called leptin, and it causes all your cells in your body to start burning fat and getting the sugar balance and metabolize out of the system to get your blood sugar levels back down after a meal and so on.

[01:07:09] So the binding of GLP-1, all of that happens at the terminal end of your colon as well. When you take exogenous butyrate, it's still unclear whether that exogenous butyrate makes its way all the way down there. So you may get benefits from the exogenous butyrate in your small bowel and maybe the very proximal part of your large bowel, but there's no data that shows that it makes its way all the way down, which means that exogenous butyrate can be beneficial for the other parts of the gut, and you may be able to utilize it better in the proximal part of the gut, but you still may not be getting the benefit that you need out of butyrate in the bottom.

[01:07:44] So at the end of the day, then the best thing is, make sure you do both. So you make sure your endogenous production is up. The best way to do that is having high diversity and high keystone species. The spores will do that for you. And then feeding those organisms enough oligosaccharides, enough fiber, because they convert fiber to that. And then you can take exogenous butyrate as well.

[01:08:06] I just started, for the first time, taking exogenous butyrate. I take a tributyrin product from a company called Good Gut. And I just started taking it just to see what happens. A lot of people ask me about it. I haven't felt anything, but nothing negative. That's good. But I'd probably make a lot of butyrate endogenously anyway because I've been focusing on that quite a bit. I don't see any issue in it. I think for a lot of people, it can be very beneficial in the small bowel, especially. But doing both becomes really important.

[01:08:37] Luke: Cool. That's interesting. Yeah. And your thought that we don't yet know if you take butyrate exogenously, orally, if it's getting to where it really does its great work, that speaks to why I've had such great success with the butyrate suppositories, because it's going in the other end. It's not going anywhere else once it's there.

[01:09:04] And I've experimented with that because my friend, John Lieurance, who formulated those at MitoZen, he has a clinic in Sarasota, Florida called the Advanced Rejuvenation Center. And he's had great success with people with Crohn's disease changing relatively nothing and just adding in those suppositories. And over the course of a period of time, a few months or whatever it is, the problem's gone just from doing that.

[01:09:31] And I thought, oh, that's interesting. So I've never had Crohn's, or SIBO, or anything really gnarly, but as I said earlier, the gut has been my Achilles heel over the years, much less so recently with some of the tools that we're talking about here. But if I ever go off the rails when I'm traveling and eat gluten or something like that, I'll bring those MitoZen suppositories, and it fixes my gut in one night, reliably.

[01:09:57] It's pretty cool. Granted, I shouldn't be doing the things that are wrecking my gut anyway, but sometimes I'm imperfect, I admit, and so I've found those to be useful. But you know what? If I could boil down what has really healed my gut more than anything, and I'm not just saying this because I'm talking to you guys, but number one is the spore-based probiotics from Just Thrive, the Ion Biome product that Zach Bush makes, it's like a fumic, fulvic acid soil-based organisms or something. That stuff, your probiotics, and upping the fiber game, and then taking a lot of butyrate in both ends.

[01:10:46] Not to get too graphic here guys, I guess, the title of the show will have something to do with poop, or gut, or something like that, but I'm in a really good place now. And of course, there's a lot of other interventions, but the ones that specifically pertain to gut health, I feel like I've found the formula, at least, for my body that's really working.

[01:11:06] And to your point earlier that both of you spoke to of the resiliency of the gut, I can actually get away with being less strict in terms of what I eat now because I just seem to bounce back faster. I must have pretty good biodiversity and things are functioning well, so I don't have to be as careful about, say, eating some ice cream that would normally cause me to have loose stools the next day or something. Trying to find the least gross way to say it, but there are certain foods that I really enjoy from time to time, but they would come with a price. And I find that that price is much lower when I'm really being regimented about those few things that support my gut.

[01:11:48] I wanted to move on to something else that you guys make that I don't really hear you talking about a lot. Maybe it's just because your probiotic is such a flagship, but it is the Ultimate IgG, this immune product. And you guys sent me some of this a couple of years ago, a few bottles of it. I'm probably still working on that. I read the bottle, and I was like, oh, complete immune support, detox formula. That's great.

[01:12:15] And I would take it here or there without any real strategy behind it, but having moved to Texas, both my wife and I have experienced periodic bouts with allergies, myself much less so than her, but she gets this cedar fever, and I have had some mold exposure and things like that that respond like an allergy in terms of just constant runny nose, and brain fog, and the things that come from mold or allergies.

[01:12:43] And so I've done some experiments with this Ultimate IgG where I'll, I think, megadose it. It says take four capsules, so I'll take six capsules and stir it up in some water and take that on an empty stomach in the morning, and then I'll do that again in the afternoon or evening again on an empty stomach.

[01:13:01] And it's pretty much guaranteed that whatever sort of allergic feeling I'm having, just in terms of sinuses, and runny nose, and feeling sneezy, and all that, I feel like it freaking cures it. And I want to know if that is what I'm doing that's working, and if so, why? And I think this might be an unsung hero in your suite of products because you guys are a company that you don't put out like 150 products just because you can make money. You seem to have a very tightly curated collection.

[01:13:34] You got five or six different things, and you don't really stray from that for the most part. And if you do, it seems to take a few years before you come out with a new product to add to your suite of products. So I guess give me the boil down on what this ultimate IgG is because I don't I really don't understand what it is, but I'm noticing some pretty profound effects from it that I'd like to share with people.

[01:13:56] Kiran: Well, ultimate IgG is immunoglobulin G, and so immunoglobulins are, and particularly IgG is the one of the most abundant antibodies that we have in our body. And it's basically meant to grab onto toxins like mold and things that you mentioned, and your body safely removes it. So this IgG actually goes into our gut. So it adds 25% more IgG in our gut where a lot of these pathogens are found. And so it's actually grabbing onto them and having our body safely remove them and leave the body.

[01:14:33] And I agree with you, Luke. It is definitely a non0negotiable in my daily routine. I'm using it all the time because we are faced with all these exposures on a regular basis. And it's also further supportive of our gut lining. The probiotic alone we know is helping with the leakiness of the gut, but now we know with IgG, it's further supportive of that gut lining.

[01:14:57] Luke: So I'm not the only one that's had a positive experience with allergens, and mold, and things like that?

[01:15:02] Kiran: No. And in fact, my kids like to use it before they're drinking because it's really great for-- yeah, I hate to admit it, but --

[01:15:10] Luke: I think it slipped under my radar for a couple of years, and it would just sit in the cabinet because I was like, I'm not catching colds. I'm not getting flu, so I think my immune system must be fine, so there wasn't really a need for it. But then thinking about the cytokine storm that happens when you have allergic reactions or when you're exposed to things like mold and so on, I don't know, I just put it together in a very unscientific way.

[01:15:35] I was like, oh, maybe that would help me be more resilient to the allergens in my environment. And I'll be damned. It really seems to be the case. So I think I was thinking of the immune system in a limited way at first. If I'm not getting a bacterial infection, or viral infection, or whatever that needs immune system support, I didn't see the utility in it. And then just through experimentation, I was like, hot damn. But the way you just explained its ability to shuttle out and detox those potentially irritating allergens makes a lot of sense as to why it works so well for that.

[01:16:17] Kiran: Yeah. And it's important to keep in mind that your immune system has to deal with everything your body encounters on a daily basis. Whether it's food, it's all the components of food that are coming in, all the good stuff, and maybe some bad stuff in the food as well, everything you drink, everything you breathe in, everything that touches your skin, every single thing, your immune system has to make a decision whether I attack that thing or I don't attack that thing. Because the immune system is in one of those two states when it encounters things.

[01:16:48] And so hopefully, when you're eating food and you, the regular proteins and carbohydrates and fats and all, your immune system knows not to attack it, so it doesn't. Or some of the commensal microbes. It doesn't attack that. Or even some of the more common environmental particles-- ragweed, and pollen, and so on.

[01:17:05] People who don't have allergies, their immune system has gone, okay, I know what that is. It's not a danger. I'm not going to attack that and create this big inflammatory response. So what you're experiencing when you get an allergic reaction to something, and it could be to anything, to food, environmental particles, and whatnot, the response is exactly the same.

[01:17:24] What's happening is that that particle is coming into your system. In the case of allergies, it's typically coming in through your respiratory track, so it's making its way into your sinuses, your eyes, your ears, your nose, your throat, and your upper respiratory track, and it's encountering your immune system in the mucosal tissue.

[01:17:44] So the entire area of the inside of your body is covered in mucosal tissue. That same mucosa that I talked about in the gut that's really, really important extends from the gut through the rest of the body. You've got almost 4,000 square feet of mucosal surface area inside your body. So it's absolutely massive.

[01:18:05] Anything that enters into your body will end up in the mucosal tissue. In the mucosal tissue, you've got all your immune cells as well, and of course, microbes everywhere. So then, let's say you breathe something in in Texas, a new antigen that you're not normally used to experiencing, comes into your mucosal tissue, and it activates an immune response.

[01:18:27] Because your immune system's like, hey, I don't know what this is, I'm just going to throw a bunch of inflammation at it to try to protect the host. And so that then constitutes an allergic response, and now you have environmental or other allergies. That can take many different forms in terms of going all the way to fever, and swollen glands, and all that, to just very irritating histamine like responses.

[01:18:50] But nonetheless, your immune system is involved in it. You've got this toxin that's entering your body, or this antigen, really. We don't want to call it a toxin. An antigen entering your body that can irritate your immune system. Now, if you take something like the IgG, what it tends to do is neutralize that antigen where your immune system looks at it and goes, okay, that thing is neutralized. I'm not even going to bother with it. And then eventually, it just moves out of the body.

[01:19:15] So it's reducing the toxigenic load and the burden that your immune system has to face on a regular basis. This becomes really important for gut health as well, because remember, the gut experiences the biggest exposure to foreign substances on a daily basis. And 70% plus of your immune systems in your gut, so all of those immune cells are trying to make decisions in the lining of the gut.

[01:19:40] And a lot of times, for people that have inflammatory and negative responses in the gut, it's because the immune system is choosing to attack things that shouldn't be attacking in the gut. The IgG can really play a role of reducing some of that as well. So it's great for allergies. It's great for upregulating immune response if you're in cold and flu season and all that, but it's also really good for people that have sensitive guts that they're trying to rebuild. It really, really helps with that as well.

[01:20:07] Luke: Awesome. Is IgG one of the things that's present in a colostrum?

[01:20:16] Kiran: Yes, you do get IgG in colostrum.

[01:20:18] Luke: Oh, okay. Because before I found this ultimate IgG-- I still use colostrum a lot because I just love the taste of it. There's a great company called ARMRA that make, I think it's liposomal. It's a very small amount you take. And that's another thing I forgot to mention that's really helped my gut actually now that I think about it.

[01:20:39] But for years, I was getting, I think it's three kilos or something, this giant jug from Surthrival that's just grass-fed colostrum. And that was another one that I would use a lot to repair my gut if I went off the rails and ate a bunch of stuff I wouldn't. It very reliably would help me bounce back from something like that. So I wonder if part of why the colostrum is working like that is because of the IgG.

[01:21:09] Kiran: Yeah. And colostrum contains somewhere around 7, 8 % IgG normally and some IgM as well, which is a different type of immunoglobulin. But then it has all these other factors in it, immunological factors as well that can be beneficial. This IgG has 55% IgG.

[01:21:28] Luke: Oh, wow.

[01:21:28] Kiran: So it's a way of getting really high concentration of IgG. So what you're getting from colostrum is a mix of benefits from some IgG and then other factors that are in there. This product will get you a really, really nice therapeutic dose of IgG.

[01:21:46] Luke: Cool.

[01:21:46] Kiran: So yeah. And so you can actually utilize both at the same time too.

[01:21:49] Luke: And where does this IgG come from? How do you make this concentration so strong?

[01:21:56] Kiran: Yeah. So it comes from happy, healthy cows. It's a serum derived product, so it comes from the cow serum. They spin down and separate the blood from the serum. And then all the IgG is concentrated in the serum, which is the white blood cell component of the blood. And then you can further spin that down and isolate just the immunoglobulins out of it to get really, really high concentration.

[01:22:23] And then they do something called lyophilizing, which is freeze drying of the remaining compound to concentrate it down to 55%. So it's made here in the US. Phenomenal product. Probably 20, 25 published studies on it everything from gut issues, like HIV enteropathy. HIV enteropathy is a really severe form of leaky gut that HIV patients get because they have a lot of CD8 T cell activity in the lining of the gut that damages the gut really rapidly to a point where actually the NIH published a study showing that leaky gut or HIV Enteropathy was the biggest driver of mortality In HIV, and a biggest predictor of mortality in HIV.

[01:23:15] So this particular raw material has been used in four different published studies on HIV enteropathy, where they were able to rescue the lining of the gut and the immune dysfunction going on in even that type of very severe cases. There's some pediatric Ulcerative colitis studies. Recently, a COVID study out of Spain on, I think, 300 COVID patients active infection showing the ability to reduce the recovery time, which was really exciting to see.

[01:23:46] So we know it's helping the immune system in a significant way. And then it binds all kinds of toxins like mold toxin. So if you're somebody that lives in a moldy home, or office, or car and you think mold is part of one of the things you're dealing with, this is a phenomenal way of reducing the mold toxin impact in your system.

[01:24:06] Luke: That's so cool. That makes perfect sense because I did recently find out I had mold exposure, which is very prevalent where I live here in Texas. And so I just threw this and the kitchen sink at it, and it took me about two weeks to bounce back and not have any runny nose or any of the symptoms. But I didn't even know that this was helping with that, so now I'm going to keep on it even stronger because there's mold everywhere here. It's crazy.

[01:24:33] Tina: It's also dairy free, which is great. That's a big advantage for people who can't tolerate dairy with the colostrum.

[01:24:40] Luke: Oh cool. All right. Good to know and I forgot to mention for you listeners out there. You'll find the show notes, because I know we're covering a lot of detail here, and we're going to put all the links to the studies and anything else we can at lukestorey.com/gut, G-U-T. And I also want to mention while we're at it, you guys, I got a note here that if folks go to lukestorey.com/justthrive, and use the code LUKE, you get 20% off a 90-day supply of the probiotic or Just Calm. And we'll also put that in the show notes at lukestorey.com/gut. So thank you for that. It always bugs me to talk about cool things and then have people pay retail. So thank you. We all appreciate that.

[01:25:25] That brings me to another thing I have on my desk here, and that is this product you guys have called Just Calm. And I know nothing about it at all, so I'm curious to learn. We talked a bit before about the gut-brain connection, so I'm assuming it has something to do with that. But I take a couple here and there when I'm feeling a little anxious.

[01:25:47] It's not like I feel it has a sedative effect where I'm like, whoa, I need to take a nap or something. But I just trust you guys, and I'm sure that it's doing what it's supposed to do. So how does that one work? And can it be stacked with the spore probiotic, or should it be taken at a different time on a different day or something? Because I think it also has some other strains of probiotic in it, if I'm not mistaken.

[01:26:11] Kiran: Yeah, no, great question. I'll answer that one first. What we'd usually recommend is to start out your day with taking the probiotic, the spores, and then later in the day taking the Just Calm. The Just Calm product has a psychobiotic in it, so it's a strain called Bifido longum 1714, and it is an incredible strain that's been studied on actually reducing the perception of stress for people, um, even changing brainwave activity, improving cognitive function. And this is really, really exciting.

[01:26:43] And they work so beautifully together with the spores, this Bifido longum 1714 strain. It's been studied extensively, but it's exciting. We were disruptors with the, um, the spore-based probiotics, and now we're disruptors with bringing a psychobiotic to the market. It's really exciting. We've seen incredible results with the product.

[01:27:10] Luke: That's really cool. I'm on board with anything called a psychobiotic. I didn't know that's what it was, but now that you called it that, I'm going to take it every day.

[01:27:21] Tina: For sure.

[01:27:23] Kiran: And it's such a fantastic term. And the guy that came up with that term, uh, his name is Professor Ted Dinan, and that's who we work with. So we work directly with the inventor of the term psychobiotic, and he wrote a book called The Psychobiotic Revolution. He's an integrative psychiatrist. And the reason why this is such a pivotal moment in human health is because we all know that anxiety, depression, and mood disorders are so prevalent in society.

[01:27:55] And they are destabilizing to society because they can take on all kinds of forms, whether it's people that are managing through it day-to-day still working and doing everything that they need to do, but they're self-medicating. They're drinking too much on the side. They're using lots of recreational drugs and so on to try to manage it, all the way to people who are abusing prescription medication for it, all the way to people who are disrupting society because of it, and they go a little bit nuts, and they shoot schools, and they do things like that, right.

[01:28:27] So there's a lot of destabilization effect of anxiety and depression in society today, and the thing is the prevalence of it is going up and up and up. The thing that's been absent is understanding the root cause of psychological disorders. We used to always say things like, they have a chemical imbalance. But what does that actually mean? Is there a gene that causes people to have anxiety? Is there a gene causes people to have depression? How is that connected to long term neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, dementia?

[01:29:04] As it turns out, and this is a bold statement that I always make, but there's lots of science to back it up, that what we experience today as anxiety and/or depression is actually pre-Alzheimer's or pre-dementia. Because the pathology that creates anxiety and depression is the exact same pathology that creates Alzheimer's and dementia down the road, and potentially even Parkinson's based on the data.

[01:29:29] So these are very, very significant issues without a true root cause. So when you look at allopathic medicine, what they've done is they've gone, okay, anxiety and depression is in the brain. Let's focus on the brain. We're going to interfere with serotonin reuptake so we can build an unusually high amount of serotonin inside the brain.

[01:29:49] Or they use beta blockers and other anti anxiolytes to work on the central nervous system. Those have lots of side effects and of course minimal success for longterm management. Then you look at the natural world, the world of holistic health and natural medicine. We use other tools. We use things like meditation and box breathing, and of course, things like ashwagandha, and holy basil and magnesium, and so on. And those can be effective tools.

[01:30:18] But anxiety is not a deficiency in ashwagandha. Anxiety is not a deficiency in box breathing. They're tools, but that's not the root cause. So then the question becomes, what the hell is the root cause and why is it so prevalent? As it turns out, the gut-brain axis is answering a lot of those questions. Basically, what the studies show is that a dysfunctional gut is the root driver of experiencing anxiety that then also develops into depression.

[01:30:52] And then a dysfunctional gut microbiome is also the key to long term neurodegenerative conditions like dementia, and Alzheimer's, and so on. It all has to do with neural inflammation, so lots of inflammation in the central nervous system. It has to do with what happens to cortisol when you release it. It has to do with getting stuck in a flight or fight response and not being able to turn it off.

[01:31:19] And then lastly, it also has to do with tryptophan dysregulation. Tryptophan is a key amino acid that in your central nervous system is converted into serotonin and melatonin, the happy hormone and the sleep hormone. If you can't convert tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin, it actually becomes something called quinolinic acid, which is actually neurotoxic, which does the opposite. It keeps you awake, and it keeps you in fight or flight mode. So these are the core tenets. And all of that is dictated by your gut.

[01:31:52] Luke: And also, with the serotonin cascade of metabolites, you also have endogenous DMT. It comes from the same chain of the tryptophan, right?

[01:32:04] Kiran: It does.

[01:32:04] Luke: And I don't know exactly how that affects our mood, but I know when you do some pretty hardcore breathwork, you get a nice DMT high, depending on the technique, doing the Joe Dispenza work and things like that. I know myself and many others have had some pretty profound experiences. But to your point, if the raw materials for these molecules are underproduced in the gut, then they're not available for us to use as we need for mood, and sleep, and all the things you describe. It's really interesting.

[01:32:38] Kiran: Yeah. And what a psychobiotic does-- and the reason something is called a psychobiotic is because it's confirmed as a probiotic, so one that's ingested and goes into the gut, but from the gut, has a direct effect on the brain. And it's doing so through the gut-brain axis. So it's a really important distinction.

[01:32:57] So this particular psychobiotic impacts the brain in a number of ways. Number one, when you experience an external stressor, cortisol is released when you activate your HPA axis. That's the initial stages of going into a fight or flight response, which is perfectly normal. It's perfectly normal and actually good for us to trigger a fly to fight response when we experience a stressor.

[01:33:21] However, what's supposed to happen is we're either supposed to fight or flee if it's a true threat, a physical threat, or we're supposed to be able to rationalize what the source of the threat is, whether it's a message, or a tweet, or something like that, and then realize that it's not truly a threat and come down from the fly to fight response.

[01:33:42] So the off switch for the fly to fight response is dependent on microbes in the gut. And it's specifically dependent on a certain type of carbohydrate that psychobiotics in the gut produce. These are carbohydrates called peptidoglycans and these glycoproteins that are produced by these microbes in the gut.

[01:34:03] What these carbohydrates do is they attenuate the effect of cortisol on increasing neuroinflammation. If you don't have enough of these microbes, what tends to happen is cortisol gets released when you experience a stressor. As cortisol is released, a portion of the cortisol dumps into the gut.

[01:34:25] Now, the reason it dumps into the gut is because there are microbes that metabolize cortisol and send the metabolic byproducts of the kidneys where the metabolic byproducts turn on sodium potassium pumps and drives more water into the circulatory system. The reason it's doing that is trying to upregulate blood pressure because it's trying to get you more perfusion of blood to your brain and your heart so that you can fight or flee from whatever you're dealing with.

[01:34:50] This is why chronic stress creates hypertension. It's because you're constantly dumping cortisol into the gut and increasing the expression of these sodium potassium pumps. Now, the other thing that happens with cortisol when it gets into the gut is it makes the gut profoundly leaky in a very short amount of time.

[01:35:07] And you get a compound called IL-6 that's elevating. IL-6 has a very notorious functionality in that when it elevates enough, it can go back to the brain and re-trigger your HPA axis as if you have a new stressor even if you don't have a new stressor. So it keeps doing that. So you get the cycle where cortisol dumps into the gut, makes the gut leaky, IL-6 goes up, re-triggers the HPA axis, releasing more cortisol. More of it dumps into the gut, makes your gut even more leaky. IL-6 goes up on and on and on.

[01:35:41] So what tends to happen to people is you experience an external stressor, and then you can't come off that reactivation loop of being in the fight or flight response constantly. So now we're in this elevated state of fight or flight. So what's happening there? You're in what we call the sympathetic nervous system, which is fight or flight. You are negating the parasympathetic, which is the rest, digest, recover component.

[01:36:09] So you're constantly in fight or flight. You can't digest, so your gut is getting trash. You can't absorb nutrient, so you can't repair anything. You're not turning on any repair genes because you're in fight or flight. And of course, you can't rest, so you can't sleep at night either. It's hard to go to bed. So this is the imbalance that we're seeing in modern society today.

[01:36:31] All of that is attenuated by having these bacterial carbohydrates in the gut. Because what these bacterial carbohydrates do is when cortisol dumps into the gut, it stops cortisol from creating that permeability and increasing IL-6. And it completely negates that. At the same time, it's turning on neurotransmitters in the gut that send a signal to the brain that shifts your brainwave activity when you are in a stressed state to low frequency brainwaves.

[01:37:01] So a lot of us do a lot of work to try to tap into low frequency brain waves through meditation hours on end. That's the whole benefit of meditation, is being able to tap into those data waves when you need it. You can be in your high frequency beta waves and you're working and doing diligent work, but when you experience stressors in life in general, you want to be able to tap into low frequency. Turns on the coping centers of the brain, allows you to rationalize through stressors. You cannot do that if your neurological system is inflamed and your HPA axis is activated.

[01:37:33] So this strain stops the reactivation of the HPA axis and kicks on your low frequency brainwave so you can just deal with the stressor and not feel the experience of it as this heightened, anxious state, and you can go back to the parasympathetic where you can rest, digest, and repair, and so on. So it's a complete rebalancing of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic, parasympathetic balancing. And the way the brain perceives stressors in general completely changes the game for people.

[01:38:06] Luke: That's amazing.

[01:38:07] Tina: Yeah.

[01:38:08] Luke: I'm so glad I asked that because, like I said, I haven't really committed to taking that product on an ongoing basis, but now I'm going to.

[01:38:18] Kiran: It provides you a neurological and cognitive resilience like nothing else. You're going to experience stressors in your life. We all know that. But when you do, you're going to be far more prepared for it. And if you are someone that already deals with an elevated level of anxiety and stress and all that, it'll absolutely taper that down.

[01:38:39] There's almost nine or 10 published studies on the strain in various conditions, men, women, different lengths and periods on anxiety, and depression, and sleep. And it impacts all of that just beautifully. And it was discovered, funny enough, in happy, old Irish women.

[01:38:56] Luke: Really?

[01:38:57] Kiran: Yeah. The APC's, this research institute in Cork, Ireland, the largest microbiome research institute in the world, this is where Ted Dinan, the discoverer of psychobiotics works. And they were basically trying to figure out the role of the microbiome and understanding psychological issues, and so they started taking people with anxiety, depression-confirmed compared to people that had very little or any history of anxiety, depression and comparing the gut microbiomes.

[01:39:30] And what they tend to find is that in these happy, old Irish women, they all had very high levels of this type of microbe, this peptidoglycan carbohydrate producing microbe that seems to mitigate all of the stress response in these individuals, and keep some low inflammation, and better brainwave activity, and all that. And they isolated the bacteria, figured out that it's these unique carbohydrates that it produces that has this impact, and then since then have done, eight, 10 published studies on it. It's really, really amazing.

[01:40:03] Luke: That's so cool. Is there an upper limit on dosage? When I looked at the bottle, I think it said take one capsule. And whenever I look at something that says take one, I think, come on, what's one going to do? So I take four. Is one a day adequate for someone to have that resilience to stress management and so on? Or would one get more benefit if they were having a really rough day to take a handful of them?

[01:40:32] Kiran: Yeah, there is a dose dependency, a dose response to it. So I would say, if you're starting off new, you haven't taken a psychobiotic before, and you're somebody, let's say that has above average anxiety, I would absolutely start with two or three a day and load up on it for a period of four to eight weeks. Once you've loaded up on it, you can probably taper down to one to two a day and just maintain a good degree of resilience.

[01:41:03] Now, if you know something stressful is coming up, for example, we lost our 14-year-old dog earlier this year, and it was a kid's first dog that they've lost. And they grew up with the dog, so we knew it was going to be a difficult thing. She had all these cancers and all that stuff. And so I was like, oh my God, this is not going to be easy. So I dosed up on it for the weeks leading up to it, and I could say, with a great deal of confidence, that it really mitigated the hardest parts of dealing with things like that.

[01:41:37] Of course, you're still sad. You're still going to be upset and so on, but I was much more balanced than I thought I would be. And so I think you could dose up on it. I take probably two or three a day on average because of the other neuro anti-inflammatory effects. And we know there's lots of viruses, pathogens, and toxins that create neuro inflammation in the body, and this reduces neuroinflammation.

[01:42:10] So for me, that's really important to protect the brain. It's my one asset that I have that's decent, so I'm like, I'm going to protect this thing in my noggin as much as I can, especially because 20% of the time I like to do stuff that I know is not good for my brain. I do two or three a day. So I think that's a great question.

[01:42:30] Luke: All right, noted. Yeah. Speaking of the neural inflammation, I just thought of another application for Just Calm. For those for whom this would apply, for many it won't, but as I'm sure you guys are aware, there's a huge renaissance in the realm of psychedelics now in terms of psychedelic therapy and people healing their trauma, like I have using plant medicines and things like that.

[01:42:52] And depending on what substance is used, you can take a pretty heavy hit on neural inflammation. The excitatory nature of those molecules can really do a number on your brain. And so I'm always looking for ways. I'll drink exogenous ketones, take tons of minerals. There's things I've developed over the past few years to help mitigate some of the side effects when and if it's appropriate for me to venture into that. And I'm going to be adding this one to my repertoire now to minimize the damage of those pursuits. So that's good.

[01:43:29] Kiran: Yeah. And kick up the IgG as well because inevitably, you'll be detoxing when you do things like that. So whether you're doing combo, or ketamine, or whatever it may be, your body's going to detox something. So it's great to bind that up and reduce inflammation.

[01:43:49] Tina: Yeah.

[01:43:50] Kiran: That's a great idea.

[01:43:51] Luke: Cool.

[01:43:51] Tina: The response we've had with the product, unfortunately, it's so relevant right now because everyone's so stressed out, and it's been incredible. We sold out of it immediately. It was crazy, the response that we've had from people. So that's been really encouraging for people. When you get to the root cause, it's amazing what happens.

[01:44:14] Luke: Awesome. Yeah. I guess I'm just a little late to the party, but I'm going to catch up now. Speaking of development, for those listening at the time of this recording, it is, uh, September 2023, and my team in the notes said, ask about their new cognitive product coming in November. Is that for this year? And if so, what is that all about? Because it sounds like the psychobiotics thing is really interesting. Is it in that realm?

[01:44:44] Tina: It's not a probiotic strain, but it is a cognitive product that Kiran helped formulate it. He was instrumental in it, and we know that this brain health area is so important. We've waited to get into it again, waiting to make sure we're bringing something to the market that's unique, that's been studied. And it's supposed to launch in November, knock on wood. You know how these things happen.

[01:45:10] Luke: And what is that going to be? A nootropic thing for cognitive performance, or what are the main effects you're going for?

[01:45:19] Tina: Yeah. More for a nootropic type of an effect where we're talking about helping an aging brain with memory, that type of thing.

[01:45:29] Kiran: Yeah. And we think it pairs really well with the psychobiotic because the psychobiotic inherently protects the neurons by reducing the type of inflammation that can also drive issues like demyelination, which we know is a big, big driver of aging your central nervous system, losing that insulation on the nerves.

[01:45:51] And then also, when you have an anti-inflammatory effect on the neurological system, it allows you to. regenerate new neurons. So inflammation negates that repair. The analogy I always give people is like, if you get a cut on your hand, if you just leave it alone, it'll repair itself. But if you get a cut on your hand and you rub it and scratch it every single day and irritate it, it'll never heal.

[01:46:14] And so that's the same thing with any other part of your body. If you can negate the inflammation, you will allow regeneration and repair. So now we have that with the psychobiotic. Then when you add in some of the nootropics and brain protective ingredients, you're going to end up with a better effect for those ingredients now that you've got a baseline neurological system that inherently works better.

[01:46:37] Luke: Awesome. I can't wait for it. Do we have a name for this thing yet?

[01:46:41] Kiran: We don't even have a name yet.

[01:46:42] Luke: Okay. Well, you better deliver now because we've officially announced the unnamed coming cognitive support product.

[01:46:50] Tina: Yeah. We're definitely going to deliver.

[01:46:52] Luke: I'm looking forward to that. Oh, another thing, actually, I don't have sitting here on my desk, but just to give you guys another shout-out is I take your vitamin K27 every day too, two a day, no matter what, every time I travel, every time I do anything, which is obviously a hugely important fat soluble nutrient that is missing from many of our diets, which is why I take it, because I'm not going to eat like a tin of Japanese natto every day or wherever you would get enough K2.

[01:47:28] But that one's been really useful for me and also for my wife, Alyson, who was dealing with some overcalcification issues. And so that was one of the things that was recommended, is to be able to shuttle all of the excess calcium she's eaten her whole life into where it's supposed to go instead of the joints, and kidney stones, and all that.

[01:47:46] I made a video last year of my top 10 supplements because people ask like, all right, there's all of these exotic things you can take for performance and things, but for budgetary restrictions and people who just aren't insane, like me and as neurotic as I am with all the shit that I take, which I totally understand, what are the top 10? And the K2 and your probiotic were both in there. Because the K2 is something your body needs on an ongoing basis, and you're just not going to get it from most diets.

[01:48:22] Tina: Yeah.

[01:48:23] Luke: Wanted to let you guys know you made it in the top 10.

[01:48:26] Tina: Wow. That's awesome.

[01:48:27] Kiran: Awesome. Yeah.

[01:48:29] Tina: That's really awesome. Thank you.

[01:48:30] Luke: It was the cod liver oil for the retinol, just basic stuff, and then there was like the-- oh, you know what, Jared, if you're still listening as producer, put in the show notes. We'll put a link to that video for people that want to watch it. It was pretty funny because I go through my whole kitchen, unpack thousands of bottles of supplements, and then I'm like, all right, if I have to get rid of-- maybe not thousands, but definitely many hundreds.

[01:48:55] If I had to chuck all this stuff, what are the 10 that would remain? And I literally couldn't do it. So then there was like an honorary mention, another five that was methylene blue, and C60, and a few of the other things that I'm like, I don't know, it's not in the top 10, but I don't think I could, live my best life without it.

[01:49:14] Tina: Wow, that's quite an honor coming from you, so we appreciate that.

[01:49:18] Luke: I'm just looking at my list here of the stuff that you guys have. I also give my dog cookie the Just Pets probiotic every day. Actually, before we go, tell me how that works because I trust you guys, so I just give it to my dog. And I never asked anyone what it does or how it works, but she seems to be thriving. So what is the difference maybe between the human spore-based probiotic and the pet one? Or is it just the label on the outside?

[01:49:47] Kiran: So in general, certain spores are universal colonizers, which means that they're commensal both to humans and then lots of other animals as well because they're ubiquitous in nature. And so lots of animals have picked them up over the course of evolution. And so when we looked at what's going on with our pets these days, it became really clear to us that they are suffering from leaky gut, just like we are.

[01:50:16] Because the kind of conditions that they're struggling with, you don't see them in their most recent ancestors. The closest genetic ancestor to dogs, or domesticated dogs, is the gray wolf. And the gray wolf does not suffer from hip dysplasia, and atopic dermatitis, and allergies, and diabetes, and all these things that our poor pets suffer from. These are all human diseases that we've given these animals.

[01:50:40] And so our hypothesis was that this is likely due to leaky gut in dogs as well. And we looked around and we couldn't find any research on leaky gut in dogs, so we did the first couple of studies proving that, yes, there is leaky gut in our domesticated pets, and it is profound in which it's driving chronic low grade inflammation and immune dysregulation the same way it does so in humans.

[01:51:04] So these human-like conditions that our animals suffer from are a result of human-like behaviors that we expose them to. And so we said, okay, we've solved leaky gut in humans with the spore-based probiotic. We have the studies published to show that. Can we do the same thing in dog? So when we were looking at the strain, we said, okay, there are two strains in the Just Thrive probiotic that actually are also functional in dogs. The other ones aren't, the other two aren't, so we didn't select those, but then we also identified another similar ubiquitous environmental strain that is commensal in dogs, and that's called Pediococcus acidilactici. And Pediococcus is a really interesting organism. In fact, it's found in grass a lot, which may explain why when dogs are sick. They go and eat grass awkwardly, right?

[01:51:54] Luke: Yeah.

[01:51:55] Kiran: So it's a very prevalent organism in grass and in certain types of shrubs and so on. And it really modulates the immune response in dogs and really helps with allergies and atopic dermatitis and all these other immune dysregulations. So we use those three organisms together and did a study on leaky gut in dogs and showed sure enough that we can absolutely resolve leaky gut in dogs and completely modulate their immune system.

[01:52:23] So it's really about our companions that, of course, provide us with unlimited and unconditional love and affection. And because of that, as a result, they get our diseases because they live in our environments and eat similar foods that we eat. And so the least we can do is protect their guts for them so that we can reduce their risk of developing these things. So that's where it came from. It's purely from the heart. We look at our pets and go, all right, we're really not doing them a service. They give us so much. The least we can do is protect their guts in this environment. So that's where it came from.

[01:53:00] Luke: Awesome. I'm so glad you did that because I'm always looking for ways to biohack the dog and have her live a vital and long life. And by the way, also, man, my condolences for the loss of your dog.

[01:53:12] Kiran: Thank you so much.

[01:53:14] Luke: I say this to Alyson all the time when we're hanging out with the dog. I go, I still am just gutted that they only live 15, 16 years, or whatever it is. I didn't know that when I got a dog. I just figured, yeah, I'll just going to grow old with my dog. And someone's like, you know they don't live that long, right? I'm like, shit. I really appreciate that you guys put together that product. And also again, man, I literally can't imagine. I'm going to have to brace myself for the inevitable passing of our dog someday, hopefully a very long time from now.

[01:53:46] I want to thank you guys for joining us. I know you've got a jam. We're right at the two-hour mark. It's funny. Every time I'm like, yeah, it'll be about 90 minutes, but I still have more questions. So we'll have to do another one because I'm literally not even 75% done and we got to go. I'll remind everyone to go to lukestorey.com/gut, and you'll find that in the show description on your podcast app as well. And there you'll also find the link to Just Thrive and that 20% off, code LUKE.

[01:54:14] And so I want to encourage people to go check out your stuff. It works. It's awesome. You guys are good people. You got the science, you got the heart, you have all the ingredients to help support people's health, so I appreciate what you do, and I appreciate you taking the time to educate me and the audience today.

[01:54:31] Tina: Thank you, Luke.

[01:54:31] Kiran: Thank you so much.

[01:54:32] Tina: Always an honor to be here with you.

[01:54:33] Luke: We'll see you soon.

[01:54:40] Kiran: Yeah. Thank you.


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