The major source of all inflammation in the body is actually the gut. So your gut hosts the largest number of immune cells in the body so that you, all of you, most of the immune cells in your body are found in your gut. You've got them in your spleen, your thymus and your obviously in your blood. So in addition to immune cells being in your gut, you also have a lot of bacteria in your gut. And those bacteria play a very, very important role in regulating your immune system.
So you're talking about people that are eating unhealthy. They're not getting enough fiber and, you know, they're doing damage. And this guy and that's causing a lot of immune cells to become active chronically every day. You know, you have to feed those bacteria, the right types of foods. You can kind of think of them as little chemical producing factories, actually, because when you feed them the right type of food, which happens to be fiber, fiber gets digested by this bacteria in your gut, in your colon specifically.
And it produces a bunch of different chemical products called short chain fatty acids, which a little signalling molecules that tell your immune cells in your gut to become a certain type of immune cell. So they'll tell them, OK, become this type of immune cell that is involved in preventing autoimmune diseases, making sure your immune system doesn't get so ramped up that it starts to just attack everything, including your own organs. That's very important. That's Dr. Rhonda Patrick.
And this is a special deep dive edition of the Control podcast. The Rich Roll podcast, and now for something a little bit different, after eight years and 500 plus conversations, I've compiled quite a library of bankable, timeless information and advice. However, because of the way the Internet functions and or the way the human animal operates, there does seem to be this sense that content created in the past is somehow less meaningful than more currently published content. In many ways, this is incorrect.
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I've said this many times before, but because it is so mind blowing, I think it's worth repeating and here it is, only about half our cells are actually human. The other half is comprised of all the bacteria, the viruses and the fungi that live in or on our bodies. And we choose to believe, nonetheless, that despite the fact that we're the symbiotic host of essentially an entire kingdom of life, that nonetheless we're still fully sentient and self-governing, that we're entirely responsible for our health or moods, our decisions.
But the truth, of course, is far different. And in fact, to a large extent, our emotional state, our propensity for disease, the nature of our cravings, and even some of our decision making can be traced back to the nature of our gut ecology. Most of these microorganisms, as I said a moment ago, are symbiotic. Maintaining a healthy culture of the right microorganisms is fundamental to good health.
But should the quality of your microbiome go awry, health havoc is certain to ensue. So to better understand the vital role these microorganisms play in our health and our lives.
Today's show is intended as a microbiome masterclass courtesy of the gastroenterologist, the scientific researchers and various gut experts that have graced the show in the past. The full episodes for whom can be found in the show notes. Of course. We begin today with a basic definition of the microbiome, the vital functions microbes play in regulating our bodies, how antibiotic use can compromise our gut flora and in turn, our immune systems and the adverse effects of over sanitation. All of this is coming to you courtesy of my awesome friend, Dr.
Robbins, shatkin respected integrative gastroenterologist, microbiome expert and best selling author of books that include Gut Bliss and the Microbiome Solution. So probably the first thing we should do is define what the microbiome is. So it's basically the trillions of bacteria that live in and on our bodies, mostly bacteria, but also viruses and protozoa and helminths worms for those of us who have them.
So about 100 trillion and all 100 trillion. And how many human cells are we?
We are outnumbered tend to want to by our microbial cells and genes.
So this is crazy thing where we're really just hosts to something that outnumbers us 10 to one. It's crazy when you start to think of it that way.
And tAnd the ecosystem is really very tremendously. So even on your skin, the bacteria that live in your nasolabial folds close to the nose and mouth are completely different to the bacteria that live on your cheekbones a couple of inches away on the same part of your face.
So it is the microbes from the gut to the vaginal mildew, to the lungs, to the mouth to again, just a couple of inches away on the skin are all completely different based on the differences in moisture and oxygen content and sweat glands and all sorts of things. So pretty fascinating, the different landscapes.
And really the idea is that most of these microorganisms are not there are friend or they're kind of like neutral, right? Yes, exactly. And how did you first become interested in this?
So my area of expertise or interest is inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. And those diseases, Crohn's, which is sort of the prototypical inflammatory bowel disease, was described by Dr. Crone, Oppenheimer and Ginsberg in the 1930s at Mount Sinai Hospital, where I did my GI training.
And we still, you know, almost 100 years later, still short of 100 years later, we're not really that much closer to figuring out what caused these diseases. Like most autoimmune diseases, the medical community, it's sort of like, well, you just have them. There's a genetic predisposition, but they're not really genetic diseases. So I was seeing a lot of these patients and I, like a lot of other people in this area, started noticing that many of them had this common thread of frequent antibiotic use.
So I started asking and people would say, yeah, well, I was on a bunch of antibiotics for strep throat, but that was decades ago, or I took tetracycline for acne in my teens. But what does that have to do with me having colitis now or Crohn's now in my 30s? And then there was an article, a meta analysis look at a compilation of many different studies from Mount Sinai that came out and actually showed that antibiotic use.
Interestingly, the two antibiotics that we used to treat these diseases were main risk factors for developing them. So I just started to have this really uncomfortable feeling like, you know, we're we're creating disease and not realizing it. And we really have to let people know. I would see patients coming in and they tell me they've been on antibiotics for acne for three or four years. And lo and behold, now, they were developing symptoms.
And there didn't seem to be a really clear connection between those things in the minds of the people who are experiencing it, and certainly not in the minds of the doctors who were prescribing. And I'd been that one of those doctors up until very recently.
So I I felt this very strong. Urge to spread the word a little bit, and unlike my first book, God Bless, which probably 90 percent of the stuff in the book I knew and was just my daily experience, seeing patients with GI problems and very little research, the microbiome solution was sort of the opposite. I learned so much writing this book. I had this basic idea that we were on the wrong path, that we again were thinking of our microbes as foes rather than friends.
But I had no idea how much of the wrong path we were on until I really started researching it.
Interesting. So let's explain maybe or explore a little bit about the function of a healthy microbiome and what kind of biological functions it helps regulate and in terms of keeping us healthy or leading us astray from health.
So you talked about us being host to the microbes. If you think of our body as a factory and all these different things have to happen.
The kidneys have to filter urine, the heart has to pump, the lungs have to swap carbon dioxide for oxygen. The digestive tract has to break down food into its constituent parts of protein and fat and carbohydrate and then absorb them through the lining and carry them to the different organs for energy. And all that stuff has to be done by something someone and those some things some ones are microbes. So they are sort of the worker bees for the factory that help all these processes keep running smoothly, not just in the gut.
Of course, that's where we as you said, that's where the majority of the microbes are, but in all kinds of different areas, too. So if we think about something like energy for cells, energy for cells in our digestive tract colonies, sites, what do they use for energy that you short chain fatty acids where the short chain fatty acids come from their byproducts of the microbes that break them down and provide the supply chain?
Producing vitamins are a whole bunch of essential vitamins that our bodies can't make on their own. That gut bacteria involved in methylation processes to create these vitamins, the clear toxins from our body, cancer causing toxins, some less aggressive toxins. So there are all these vital functions.
I mean, really, you know, at its core, essentially what you're saying is sort of maintaining this healthy gut flora and, you know, microbial ecology that propagates all over your body is absolutely essential to maximizing health and preventing disease, et cetera. But this is sort of at odds with kind of the last several decades of medicine and this kind of over sanitisation of not only our environments, but our bodies. Right. And with that, I would assume, comes either in ignorance of the important functions of the microbiome or just a sense of it not being essential or important.
Is that fair to say? That's absolutely fair. So in the 1950s, a researcher from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene named David Straughn, was tasked with trying to figure out why they were seeing so much eczema and hay fever, which is sort of classic autoimmune diseases in post-industrial London. Everybody had left the farm for the factory and they were seeing this sort of epidemic. And he found two really interesting. It was a twenty seven year study looking at thousands of kids and their families.
And he found two really interesting things. No. One, kids who lived in large households with lots of siblings had far fewer lower rates, essentially of hay fever and eczema because they were sort of being immunised by their siblings who were sneezing on them, coughing on them, dirtying them up in general, which we now know is a good thing.
And children who came from more affluent households where there were higher standards of hygiene with bathing all the time, washing all the time, things were super clean, had also higher rates of these things. So it was good to be was good to be in a large litter, if you will, with lots of litter mates. And it was not good to be too wealthy and too clean. And at that time, I'm not suggesting that people of higher socioeconomic status are cleaner in general, but that was a phenomena in post-industrial London, is that higher socioeconomic households of more means had more access to these sort of newer at the time hygienic modalities.
They had more showers and baths and so on. So that was the beginning that formed the foundation for something that's called the hygiene hypothesis, which basically says that our immune system needs exposure to germs, to bacteria for training so that it can recognise and distinguish between friend and foe. And when that doesn't happen, as was what was happening in post-industrial London when people were starting to be cleaner, is that the immune system gets confused and then it starts to react to its own body.
So in the case of the diseases I see Crohn's and colitis, the body starts to react to the gut tissue and creates ulcers and inflammation there. Autoimmune, disease, autoimmune. In the case of arthritis, it's a joint psoriasis and eczema. It's a skin. So there is a direct correlation between autoimmune diseases and the level of hygiene and standard. As countries get more industrialized, more developed and the level of sanitation and the use of things like hand sanitizers and antibiotics and so on, fluoride, chlorine in the water, as that increases, the rate of autoimmune diseases start to increase.
And we're seeing this in India and the Middle East. And it's a real problem because, again, we have to figure out I mean, it's great chlorination of water helped to eradicate cholera outbreaks and so on. So it's sort of a tough situation. You don't want people drinking dirty water and coming down with outbreaks of cholera, but at the same time with super sanitizer, water, now it's full of chlorine and chemicals. And again, it's one of these contributors to autoimmune disease.
So there is a balance there between being safe and not having large numbers of people exposed to potentially harmful microbes and just super sanitizing everything and. Right.
Yeah, it's like the pendulum has swung too far. I mean, certainly you want, you know, a sanitary situation in the event of like an acute, you know, infection. Right. You want you want, like the surgery room. You want the instruments to be, you know, very sanitary.
But we've kind of taken that idea and run too far with it. Right. Like our Purell culture is out of control. And, you know, the idea behind that is, oh, if you want to not get sick, you want a germ free environment. But basically, it turns out it's the opposite, like that kind of low grade continuous exposure to all sorts of maybe pathogens as too extreme a word. But just, you know, the general environment in which we live allows our immune system to respond in kind of, you know, do its push ups so that it's prepared for when the day comes, when you have that kind of overexposure to something that might make you sick so that your system can do what it needs to do.
That's exactly right. Yeah, cool.
So if we track it through kind of like, you know, the life span of a typical individual starting out in utero, so coming through the vaginal canal, being born is extremely important. You get that like you get covered in all of this. You know, these these microorganisms. You get a big gulp of it, I suppose, as you're born. And when you have a C-section, you're denied that kind of like rite of passage of being born, that kind of coats you and stuff that you need to be as sort of base and elementary about it as possible.
That will serve in kind of seeding your microbiome for, you know, better health as you mature and rich.
You know, I went through medical school and good places. I was at Columbia for medical school residency. I trained at Mt. Sinai. I had never heard this. I heard this for the first time at Center for Mind, Body Medicines, Food as medicine course. And I couldn't believe it. I mean, my jaw dropped. I was like, what? This is an important thing. Going through the vaginal canal. I thought, how could I mean, people that's something that people are much more aware of now.
But what percentage of people get C-section?
And it's now almost one in three in the U.S. and granted, some of those are necessary breech births and the mothers in distress are the babies in distress. But the vast majority, the vast majority are done because of convenience. And people don't know.
OB GYNs don't know. When I talk to some of my old U.N. colleagues about this, they look at me like I have two heads are like, what? So we again, you know, most physicians and most people, one could argue it's slowly changing, think that the cleaner you are, the better. And as you said, there's some good times to be clean. If you're having your leg amputated, you're having your appendix out or something.
It's good to have a clean environment.
I want to rub dirt in the open wound.
Generally speaking of speaking of rubbing dirt in the open wound, there is a fantastic way to rewilding a baby who has been born by C-section. And that's just to take a little gauze swab and soak it. And obviously it doesn't have to be sterile because we're looking at in microbes and just sort of soak up the vaginal juices of the mother and then wipe the baby down with it after just to sort of try and approximate passing through the vaginal canal. It's such a simple, low tech way of doing it.
But instead, what do we do? You know, we yank the babies out after C-section and then we sort of sterilize and we wipe down with all this recital stuff. So we really have to rethink what it means to be human and to be healthy. And our relationship with microbes and this idea that the cleaner, the more sterile, the more chemicals we have in our environment, the healthier we are. If we go down that road, you will end up in a really bad place as far as your health is concerned.
OK, so we got our footing, but we can't talk about the microbiome without talking about prebiotics and probiotics, right. But what exactly are these? And do any of them actually make a difference or is this just all marketing hype? Well, to help cut through the confusion, I sat down with IRA Katz and Roger Durr, the co-founders of microbiome company SEED.
Let's define the term probiotic. So probiotics are live microorganisms which confer a health benefit on the host, there's a couple of key definitions that are sub definitions within that. The first is, if it has not been tested in a human population for the claim that's being made, then it is not a probiotic. So that means double-blind randomized placebo controlled study is scientifically looking to show that that organism has a probiotic effect. One popular trick that we see a lot of commercial interests and corporations use is they'll test a probiotic strain for one very specific or small or niche outcome, like, let's say, I don't know, antibiotic associated diarrhea, for example.
But then they'll position the product as if. It has utility for a wide audience, preventively or proactively, and there's just no information to suggest that. So I think that we really want to see companies and and researchers. This isn't even just a companies thing. This is the Terman in the lexicon, his views and thrown around to basically capture any organism which could have a benefit or that's theoretically could have a benefit or even just anything that's been fermented.
That's how broad this category is gone. We're all fermented. Foods are now being positioned as probiotic to but more likely to really get like in skin care.
So they say it's our organisms that are heat killed and then ripped open and just the cell wall is being used and applied and those are called probiotic all the time. So it's very, very important. But the definition included the organisms being live, being delivered in the appropriate dosages and having testing done on the indication in the population that it's being marketed to. Aha.
Yeah. I mean it goes back again a little bit to the fact that the, the term itself is used so loosely, not just on products but also from a dietary perspective, like you mentioned, like fermented foods and beverages. A lot of people just say, oh, I'll drink a computer and I don't need to take a probiotic. And I think that's partially just because the term itself has become so, so diluted. Meanwhile, it's an entire area of inquiry like it within microbiome science.
And I think it's especially important to because in the future, particularly as we look at areas like, you know, fertility, the treatment of pathology and disease, the way we're going to metabolize chemotherapy, the way we're going to think about marginal health and preterm birth in the developing world, I mean, probiotics have such potential to make a huge, huge impact and not just because of their health impact, but also from the affordability compared to other medications, the lack of side effects compared to other medications or other complications.
We really feel that they're such an important part of our cause, not just the science, and to create what we believe are some of the most sophisticated and effective products, but to really see where the translation of it and to really be able to call out, you know, evangelism over evidence. You know, if everyone thinks that every tortilla chip you can just throw probiotics on or your shampoo is just just throw some microbes into its probiotic, obviously those things are not going to get taken seriously.
And actually, as a result, you know, when we've seen areas of science where public perception shapes and hinders funding and the ability to move some of these areas forward. And so I think that for us, like part of really big, important part of the mission.
So let's dispel the misconceptions around kind of what the typical sort of thought pattern is or behaviours are around, like the products that are currently so fermented. Foods definition really are a very different category than a probiotic. It would be considered a prebiotic unless it's been shown to modulate the microbiome. It's not even a preboarding. It is just a fermented food. That is the category. And I'll give you an example. So a study was done that did a deep metagenomics sequencing on a Kimche product.
And of the 900 or so different strains that were found from the lots that were tested, only four are believed to have probiotic potential or were advanced into showing that it has probiotic potential. I think that a lot of the benefits and fermented foods come because the bacteria actually digests a lot of the components and roughage that for some people are very difficult to handle. So fibrous, they're fibrous and they're delicious. So this is not a PSA against fermented foods.
We think they're great and certainly have been used in ancestral populations for the purposes of food preservation for a very, very long time. If I didn't have a refrigerator, my dad would be 70 percent fermented foods. But the fermentation process itself is bacterial growth. Right? Are these not like sort of positive? Organisms that we want to introduce into our microbiome, they don't stay there very long, they don't colonize. In fact, I would say more important than the organisms that are used for fermentation are organic acids and fermentation byproducts.
And some of those metabolites that we believe could be used by the human body to have a health benefit. But these studies are few and far between. And so the research is really, really lacking. And actually, the way Russia is describing it is like a really important distinction. You were talking about how to break this down for like the general consumer looking at probiotics. It's really important to think about that a microbe could be taken so you could actually consume bacteria to have a specific effect that it has been studied for, which is very different than the way probiotics are currently marketed, which is this idea that it's good bacteria, that you have some good bacteria, but that you're missing some in your gut and that you take a probiotic and it puts it back.
Right, which is two very different ways of thinking about them. But the scientific definition is the former, which is that you consume bacteria that has been demonstrated to have an effect in the human body. And that's the difference, which is and the where the marketing is right now is this notion that you kind of like restore or put the good stuff back versus that it has an effect in the body and that by taking it continuously, because probiotics are is talking about colonization, which is another good myth to bust, and that there's a lot of people who think that a probiotic must colonize in order to quote unquote work.
But in fact, probiotics are transient, which means that they do their work kind of on the road, on their way through your body. And so that's an important distinction that I think a lot of people kind of don't understand.
Yeah. What is the impact in your mind of the decreasing diversity of our biosphere in general? You know, through our soil, through the you know, there are increasingly toxic environment, the way we raise animals for food, et cetera, all of these things playing into species extinction, you know, all the way down to single celled organisms and smaller and the like. How does this play into gut health and how we think about.
Yeah, I mean, well, you know, one of the things that we are looking at from a seed perspective, and we have a division of our company called Seed Labs, which is where we start to look at the way in which microbes could be a part of the solution. So, like, honeybees are like a really awesome example. Yeah, you guys are doing something amazing.
Yes, that's right. This looks specifically at the impact on the honeybee gut of new nicotinic pesticides.
But on the honeybee is all that larrikins, because I'll start by answering your question. Most people here would know or have heard of this phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, which is for unexplained reasons. In the last 10 years or so, mass Mars communities of honeybees are just dying off indiscriminately. We don't know why the populations. Do we really not know why we're starting? So that's the hook. The answer is the lead to leading causes or the three leading causes are habitat loss.
And habitat doesn't just mean the wild is being less wild. It means modern culture of plants, too.
So the streamlining of the lack of diversity, that's a lack of diversity. The second is a pathogen called falderal disease. It's a nasty pathogen that kills honeybee babies in the first three days of life. And the third are neo nicotinamide pesticides, which the EU had banned last year. But the US still allows and they're called because they operate in the nicotinamide and nicotinic receptors sites in the brain, which etymologically are related to what's found in the tobacco plants. So much so that if you put a suspension of water with glucose and water with nicotinamide pesticides, honeybees will pick the pesticide water over sugar water.
And that's a completely crazy finding. And so what it does is it slowly disorients bees and when it compounds and aggregates in their bodies, they just get so disoriented that they forget where their hive is. So this thesis was when these environmental changes happen, the first thing that changes is the microbiome. And so there's a lot of sequencing work that was done. Our chief scientist and our first seed fellow are the ones that are leading these field trials. And we actually found that by reintroducing three probiotic organisms back into the bee gut, you can, a, detoxify neonaticide pesticides before they're absorbed into the body.
So it's it binds and releases these common pesticides and dampens or protects the immune response as a result of it. But perhaps more impressively, in early, early bee communities, you know, so so bees are becoming something like Japan right now where there's a lot of old bees, but very few young bees, and they dramatically and significantly protect these young bees from crowding out this pathogen, which is so powerful that if it's found beekeepers are supposed to go and burn and scorched earth, the entire hive, to make sure it is within days of its discovery immunity.
Because it can spread. It can spread. Very quickly, even once more, can spread and result in an epidemic in a neighboring hive. So we published about this. The first paper came out in scientific reports in Nature using a Drosophila model that's a model organism for honeybee populations. Field trials just concluded last year. We made our announcement at the end of last year and we patented this, but then opened up royalty free the patent honeybee farmers around the world.
And then we hope at some point this year to roll out bio patties and bio sprays that are based off these species after our UC Davis trial commences. And so this is a large scale field trial in almond farms, which is kicking off in a couple of years. So essentially, it's a probiotic right now.
It's a PADI. It's like almost like it's like a pancake. And I have yet. OK, so they eat in the hive and this and that populates their gut flora with something that helps them avoid the negative impacts of these nicotinamide, of nicotinamide pesticides and of the foul brood disease. So two out of three leading causes of colony collapse. Right. And just for people that don't know, like paint the picture of colony collapse disorder, you know, at its ultimate.
Yeah, the bees are the most efficient pollinators that have or ever will be discovered or invented. If we lose bee populations, we lose nearly every single. Blooming crop or fruiting crop that you find maybe some in small quantities, root vegetables would persist, but a lot of the diversity that you see from above ground pollination are virtually gone. I mean, models that predicted say that the supermarket, the fruit and vegetables aisles of the supermarket would be decreased by over 90 percent if you watched movies.
Yeah, I mean, the easiest way to say it is whatever you ate for breakfast this morning probably won't be here. And there's also other implications, like cotton, for example, that have, of course, other implications for other industries and other uses.
Right. So it really broadens the aperture on the work that you're doing. This is not just, hey, you know, like we want to create a probiotic to make people healthy. Like it's really an effort to address the declining biodiversity of the planet at large. And the implications or the sort of applications of this science that you're developing are really limitless.
And I think also the applications of science that's really often stays kind of guarded in academic institutions are for many reasons, often doesn't make its way to humans or for other applications that can be immediately kind of put to use and to make an impact.
So part of kind of the bridge we've built very much more to come, of course.
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OK, to ease back into all of this, I think it would be good to pull focus on the link between how we treat our bodies, what we choose to put into our bodies and what we absorb into our bodies, and how all of that impacts our guts, specifically our gut lining and the permeability of that gut lining. And, of course, in turn downstream what all of that means in terms of health and disease. Our steward for this corner of microbial exploration is my friend and podcast Stand Out favorite, Dr.
Zak Bush, truly one of the most interesting minds working today to improve human and planetary health. The first step is to kind of consider what is inflammation, inflammation is actually a normal biologic response to an injury. The immune system lies throughout your body in different shapes and forms. But some 60 percent of the volume of the immune system and some 80 percent of the work done by the immune system is done in your gut lining. And the concept of the gut is poorly defined and poorly understood by the consumer as well as doctors.
But it really starts in your sinuses. It is your barrier system between the outside world and what you breathe the outside world and what you drink, eat, etc.. This membrane is extremely interesting to look at it and it's engineering. It's such an interesting under engineering event. This got membrane. It is the largest surface area. We have exposure to the outside world as two tennis courts and surface area versus only the one point eight meters or so of your skin surface area.
So you got this massive surface area and the only covering of that surface is a cellophane like layer of epithelial cells of the gut and sinuses and the rest that is about 50 microns in diameter, which is like one cell thick, one cell thick, which is if you pluck a human hair and cut that in half, that's the thickness of your gut membrane.
So you have this half a human hair cellophane layer that protects you from every bite of food you eat, every chemical that comes into your food chain, et cetera. So it seems like horrible engineering, but on the flip side, it tells us something about what we're engineered for.
We need to be inherently in contact with the ecosystem in nature around us. And if we start to tinker and screw with that nature, that membrane is going to become very vulnerable and start to leak. And our immune system sits right behind that.
There had been some papers coming out in the mid 2000s in the cancer world that were starting to say that the bacteria in your gut were predicting which cancers you would get.
If you're missing these bacteria, you would get prostate cancer. If you have these bacteria, you would get breast cancer. That was so radically bizarre. And out there for our current model, even to this day as to how cancer worked. But now you fast forward eight, 10 years and now there's tens of thousands of articles that are showing that genomically the bacterial genome is way more important in determining cancer than the human genome. And so this reality was hitting us in 2012 when we discovered these chemicals that look a little like chemotherapy, that are made by bacteria and fungi in the soil.
It suddenly closed loop of, oh, my gosh, what if the bacteria in our gut is doing the same thing? What if the bacteria and fungi are actually our best source of medicine for everything?
And so that's the direction we were going. But as soon as we put this into petri dishes with cancer cells and beyond, we suddenly realized, no, no, no, there's something way deeper happening with this information stream coming out of bacteria and fungi. And it was my chief science officer, Dr. John Gilday, in genetics and cell biology. And he was the first to realize that we had put our finger on the glyphosate toxicity issue is that this communication network from the bacteria and fungi was actually supporting the protein structure in our gut lining.
And so it turns out that the gut is held together by these trillions of cells that make up that cellophane layer by tight junctions. These are Velcro like proteins that hold one microscopic cell to the next to create this coherent carpet of two tennis courts. And he had recognized before this and a number of other labs had started to publish that glyphosate seemed to increase the permeability of this membrane and nobody was really sure why. Yet that chemical was never patented as a weed killer.
It's only been patent is an antibiotic. And then it was repackaged as an anti parasite.
And that was the original purpose of it. Correct.
What's the mechanism? That's the mechanism they recognized. And so the mechanism of glyphosate is to go in and block enzymes in soil, bacteria, fungi and plants. And that enzyme pathway is called the shikimic pathway. And it's important because it makes a number of the essential amino acids. Our bodies are composed of over 200000 proteins, but we only have 20000 genes. We have this pathetically dumb genome in the sense that a flea has 30000 genes.
So you're two thirds as complicated as a flea at the gene level, which I find reassuring.
If I can't find my keys or I'm having a bad day, I'm like I am to help kids. A what can what are my real expectations here?
But the reality is we're very simple at the genetic level, and yet we make over 200000 proteins from a bunch of amino acids. There's 26 amino acids that will build those 200000 proteins, those 26 amino acids, just like the 26 letters of the alphabet in the sense that the vast majority of those are useful but not critical. But the vowels, these avowals in our language, if you subtract one of those vowels, you can affect hundreds of thousands of words.
The vowels and the amino acid vocabulary here is are the essential amino acids, which if you start to tweak any of those nine, you're going to start to lose tens of thousands of protein structures in their functionality and in their their unique form. And so. It was essential amino acids, not only are they important like the vowels, they also can't be made by the human body. So those nine have to come from your food chain somewhere.
And it turns out that they are only made by the bacteria, the fungi in the plants. You don't have a shikimic pathway in your human cells. And so these essential amino acids are blocked through the shikimic pathway by Roundup. And so imagine treating a food chain with a chemical that blocks the ability of these plants to make the building blocks for a healthy human body. Forget about a human it's dog, a cat, any mammal, any complex. Multicellular biology is going to depend on these essential amino acids.
And we literally in the last 15 years subtracted out the ability to build the body because we changed the 26 letters.
Zach spoke about inflammation, but it's still kind of an elusive, confusing subject matter, I want to better understand it. What does it mean? Why is it so important? And what is the difference between acute inflammation, like what happens when you suffer a physical injury and chronic inflammation, which is this persistent state that can be and often is induced by things like diet and lifestyle. And on the subject of diet. How exactly does diet itself affect the gut bacteria and in turn the immune system?
And how does all of this relate to inflammation? Well, here's the wonderful Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and an expert in nutrition, metabolism and aging, to break it all down in understandable terms. You know, I don't think a lot of people really do understand exactly what information and so what information is referring to is it's a consequence of your immune system being activated. And once your immune system is activated, they start firing off all these chemical weapons that are called inflammatory cytokines.
And these inflammatory cytokines are damaged cells inside your body damage DNA inside your body damaged pretty much everything inside of your cells.
But what's confusing to me about this is that essentially inflammation is is an immune system response to something wrong in your body.
Right. Is your body's way of saying let's send the ambulance out to fix whatever is wrong, whether you cut your finger or you sprained your knee, your immune system gets activated and mobilized to then kind of visit that either localized area or general if it's stress related or something like that, I suppose. But the idea behind it is to fix the problem.
Right. So on some level, doesn't it make sense that like some inflammation is good because it's your body reacting to a problem in order to fix it? Absolutely.
One of the major downstream effects of having these inflammatory cytokines and molecules being produced is they recruit other repair factors.
It it increases genes in your body that then start to repair damage, fix things. So it is essential part of repair and recovery system. However, there is a difference between acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation would be something like your four hour marathon run you or your two hour training session when you're running and you're causing inflammation or inflammation occurs after intense exercise.
That's good because you the inflammation signals to various genes in your body that turn on all these antioxidant genes. They turn on genes that repair muscle damage. They turn on all these good. So it's like a stress response sort of mechanism. We're turning on all the good stuff, but you need the bad stuff to turn them on. So it's kind of like here, here's a little bit a little dose of this bad stuff to turn on the good stuff.
Right. So there's there's sort of the, you know, exercise induced oxidative stress that triggers the immune system response versus somebody who's just smoking cigarettes all day long. And that's causing some kind of internal damage in a number of ways. That's creating just a chronic immune system response that is literally just burning your engine out, right?
Yeah, exactly. You know, the chronic smoking or in actually the major, major source of all inflammation in the body is actually the gut.
So you're talking about people that are eating unhealthy. They're not getting enough fiber and, you know, they're doing damage. And the guy and that's causing a lot of immune cells to become active chronically every day.
So in your experience, what what are the foods that create the worst sort of inflammatory response?
Well, I think it's actually more a lack of food, lack of the good foods and eating bad foods because your gut hosts the largest number of immune cells in the body so that you all you most of immune cells in your body are found in your gut.
You've got them in your spleen, your thymus and your obviously in your blood stream.
But the largest number of them are actually a good reason for that is because your gut is exposed to the external environment, food you eat, your gut sees it, and that can be pretty lethal if you get some bad, nasty stuff.
So your immune system has to be there and ready to react to that. Right to to make sure you stay alive long, long enough to reproduce and pass on your genes.
So in addition to immune cells being in your gut, you also have a lot of bacteria in your gut, tons and tons of bacteria. And there's people that sort of debate how many bacteria? You know, one hundred trillion I've seen references for and I haven't dug into, like, is it accurate or not? It's a lot.
It's a lot of bacteria, 10 times more microorganism than human rights and and people that just can't it irks them to hear people say that. And, you know, I don't know. I've seen references that show that there are 100 million bacteria cells in your in your colon in the distal part of your gut.
And those bacteria play a very, very important role in regulating your immune system. So you have to feed those bacteria, the right types of foods in order for them.
You can kind of think of them as little chemical producing factories, actually, because when you feed them the right type of food, which happens to be fiber, fiber gets digested by this bacteria in your gut, in your colon specifically. And it produces a bunch of different chemical products called short chain fatty acids, which a little signalling molecules that. Tell your immune cells in your gut to become a certain type of immune cell so they'll tell them, OK, become this type of immune cells that is involved in preventing autoimmune diseases, making sure your immune system doesn't get so ramped up that it starts to just attack everything, including your own organs.
It's very important.
And the type of immune cell that does it is called T regulatory cells and T regulatory cells become t regulatory cells based on this bacteria in your gut that are producing these little products that tell it to do it.
So, you know, it's very important that your gut gets fiber. And if you look at like hunter gatherer societies, like in Tanzania. They get around 200 grams of fiber a day and compared to the typical American diet, which is like maybe 15 grams of fiber. That's that's a huge crazy.
And it's funny because in our culture, we're all obsessed with protein. You know, we're all walking around thinking that we might be suffering from a protein deficiency.
The truth is, almost everyone is suffering from a fiber deficiency. And if we flip those words around, I think we'd all be better off if people were like, did you get your fiber today to get your fiber today? I mean, we would be in a different place.
I am so with you on that is my new motto. Did you get your fiber today? Because it is so incredibly important and what a good way to think about it for for some people that don't really have a grasp on why fiber is so important. When you eat protein, when you eat fat, when you're when you're eating these other sources of energy, even carbohydrates that are not like refined carbohydrates and don't have fiber, those things all get metabolized in the upper part of your intestine.
They don't make it to the colon where all your bacteria are probiotic bacteria, good bacteria, the commensal bacteria that are regulating the immune system, like you just mentioned.
So what happens is because you're getting protein and fat and refined carbs, those bacteria start to get hungry. Oh, what am I going to eat? I don't get the protein. I don't get the fat. So they actually start to eat what's called Musan, which is what essentially the gut barrier, the gut barriers made up something called museum.
And it's museum because it's kind of Mukasey kind of slippery and it separates the immune cells from the bacteria. And your gut separates the food, you know, from from, you know, the internal part of your gut. So they've got barrier starts to get broken down by your own probiotic bacteria that are good for you because they're hungry, because you've been starving them of fiber right there so far down the conveyor belt that they have, they're forced to basically cannibalize them.
Exactly. Is that what causes leaky gut? Yes. All these sorts of issues where people are having all these digestive disorders.
Yes, it causes a plethora of disorders, you know, leaky gut. It affects your immune system because now your immune system's all out of whack. Your gut barrier starts to break down the immune cells, start to see the bacteria. What do immune cells do when they see bacteria?
They fire away. They're going to fire all that chemical warfare I was talking about. It creates more inflammation. You start to release these things into your bloodstream, causes activation of immune cells in your bloodstream that can affect your cholesterol.
And, you know, the lack of fiber, it's kind of like I think it's like this insidious kind of damage that people just they don't realize that it's like, oh, they may notice they may be constipated a little or, you know, it's just but they don't realize to what magnitude this sort of effect can have when it starts to compound over the years, because it's really changing our immune system.
It's causing inflammation. It's aging you. It's going to accelerate the way you age on every level. And it can lead to these diseases, these autoimmune related diseases, these diseases of aging. All sorts of problems start to happen.
And I really think that you nailed it. When there's a simple solution, a simple solution is you need to focus on getting fiber.
I actually that is my main obsession. It's fiber.
And then I supplement some protein and fat and all that with fiber fibers at the top of the food pyramid is the top.
That's so interesting.
And it's all different types of fiber because you've you've got seeds, legumes, you've oats, vegetables, fruits, you know, they all have different types of fiber.
And what we're learning is that there are different types of fiber that are having different effects.
You know, so they're feeding different types of bacteria and they're producing those bacteria are producing different types of chemical byproducts, which then do X, Y or Z know. So I mentioned the T regulatory cells, which are important for preventing autoimmune disease. They also make something called natural killer cells, which are the most important type of immune cell that kills cancer cells in our body.
And we're constantly getting little cancer cells that arise and our immune system takes care of it. Right. It's when our it's sort of like a levels no when when we get more cancer cells than our immune system can handle a because our immune system's weak, because we're not making enough natural killer cells or something like that, then then it starts to get to the point where the cancer cells start to survive.
They make it gotcha.
All right, good. So let's get back to inflammation in general. So we kind of have a working understanding of inflammation now. And what, in your opinion, are the leading kind of causes of inflammation? And what are the ways that we can, you know, avoid these, like what are some daily habits that we can kind of under? This chronic immune response that is making us sick, so as I mentioned, I think one of the major drivers of inflammation is gut health and lack of fiber.
That's that's really one of the major things to making sure you're eating enough vegetables, you know, getting getting enough nuts, seeds, plants, legumes. Like, I think that's I think that's very, very important for controlling inflammation.
And that's been I mean, it's been shown that the gut is a major regulatory regulator of inflammation. So that's number one. That's easy. You know, increase your intake of vegetables.
The other easy, actionable for controlling inflammation is, believe it or not, actually causing acute inflammation through exercise because it is a form hermetic.
It's called a comedic type of stress where you're inducing stress, you're then activating all these antiinflammatory genes. And this has been shown like about an hour after exercise. You have a really high elevation of these pro inflammatory mediators and then immediately after that, a couple hours later, is a very strong anti inflammatory response.
So exercise is a really good way to boost the anti inflammatory processes and natural ones in your body.
So it's like push ups for your immune system as well as for your muscles.
Exactly. It really is. It really is. And the other one that I've really been obsessed with recently is curcumin.
And Cukierman is one of the Cukierman aids that was found in tumeric.
Right. It's a root through. And what is the difference between that and tumeric?
Well, turmeric has many different kurk humanoids in them, including curcumin.
I like to get now. I mentioned the curcumin specifically because the curcumin is a very, very potent antiinflammatory, but it doesn't work the way people may be thinking. And NSAIDs or, you know, antiinflammatory drugs, it works very differently because it's actually kind of like exercise. It's a hermetic stress. It's it's actually slightly toxic to us.
And because it's slightly toxic to us, it turns on all these really potent anti inflammatory genes and it inhibits the pro inflammatory ones as well.
So curcumin is really, really good at doing that. But I want to differentiate the difference between curcumin and to mark to market is also very good because it's the source of curcumin.
Kirkman's not as concentrated.
If you're taking the full tumeric, which you can buy, you can buy the and have it fresh or you can buy powder and cook with it curries and stuff or often have to work in it. Or you can make tea, you can do lots of things with it.
But what's really cool about turmeric is that in addition to curcumin, it has something in it called Aromatic Tamron, which is another that you can cook humanoid that has a completely different function than curcumin. The aromatic Tamron has been shown in studies to actually.
In the brain increase neural stem cells, so stem cells, wow in the brain to make more neurons, so it actually increases neural stem cells to what's called differentiate, which just means these stem cells become neurons. So it increased dramatically, increase the number of neurons in little mice brains. All right.
So back to inflammation. So here we have increase your fiber. We have exercise. We have curcumin. Yes.
And then beyond that, let's talk about sleep and other stress reduction techniques like meditation and the impact of that on reducing chronic inflammation. I was just going there. Yes.
Well, what's I've become sort of obsessed recently with circadian rhythm or your biological clock, which is related to sleep. You know, we're on humans are on a you know, a twenty four hour light or day night dark cycle where we're in the day when it's light out, we're active, we're working, we're exercising. We're thinking we're metabolically active at night when it's dark. Typically we're resting, sleeping. It's when we're repairing a lot of damage, things like that.
But what is so interesting is that. Bright light exposure, early bright light exposure, so incredibly important for setting your biological clock, it's like an anchor to set it so that it knows, OK, this is days when day starts. And so this internal clock that you have regulates 20 like 20 percent and 15, 20 percent of your entire genome.
Many of those genes involved in metabolism, inflammation, that's a true tons and I mean is completely regulated on just when you know, the amount of light you're exposed to, when you're exposed to it and when it's dark, it's like this clock.
And so recently I came across a study that showed when humans were exposed to really, really bright light, it was 10000 Lux, which is like the sun when they're exposed to it, starting early for about seven hours. That was able to reduce cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone cortisol, by up to twenty five percent during the next day during its peak phase. Wow. Twenty five percent.
So cortisol translation.
You need to be outside and exposed to the sun. You need it. You need to be exposed to our cubicle.
Yes, that's the translation. And you know, just cortisol is it causes massive inflammation.
It's one of those stress hormones that activates almost every gene in the body that increases your immune cells to go fire, fire, fire, cortisol, that I mean, there's a reason it does that. It's a stress response.
But if you are not being exposed to bright light because you live somewhere and it's dark in your house or your apartment or you work a job where you know, you're just not able to be exposed to the light, it really can have detrimental effects on health. And, you know, we're talking about inflammation here that active that at the molecular level. That's what's going on. But it has a lot of effects on your ability to lose weight, to gain muscle mass, your mood, brain function, memory, learning, all these things.
I mean, tons and tons of studies have shown, you know, cortisol decreases muscle mass.
It actually causes your muscles to atrophy, causes your brain to atrophy. And this is all been shown experimentally.
Wow, that's amazing. So for the average person, though, they're not most people are not able to be out in direct sunlight for seven hours a day. Right. So is there like a manageable solution for the average person?
Well, I do know that in terms of just setting the biological clock, being exposed to seven hours a day, that specifically was referring to the twenty five percent reduction in cortisol. I got you. But but just being exposed to bright light for like one to two hours is is enough to set your biological clock correctly so that your metabolism is going the way it's supposed to.
Your inflammation is going the way it's designed. You know, you're able to break down fat, you're able to build muscle mass, you're able to repair damage. All these things are being regulated by that biological clock.
So that one to two hours is key for that, which is like sort of like the minimal effect. Right. Right.
It's such a crazy thing that the circadian rhythm is like even exists. And we walk around thinking that we've mastered nature, you know, and we forget that we're just primal creatures, you know, living in this basically in the wild and that we're still, you know, we still have to fall prey to these things beyond our control.
OK, got it, but how do things like stress and anxiety play into all of this? For example, is the trauma of this pandemic impacting our microbiome and inclosing? What exactly is the best dietary approach to optimizing the microbiome and microbiome health?
Hint, think plant diversity. To close out today's deep dive, let's hear from my buddy, Dr. Will Posawatz, a lot at gastroenterologist, gut health guru and author of the must read Fiber Fueled. So many things to talk about, I think an interesting launching off point for this would be to kind of contextualize your work with what's going on currently in this pandemic era that we're all navigating through.
And what I've been thinking about lately, and I'm interested in your thoughts on is how we square this, you know, need to socially distance and sanitize our environments and kind of cloister ourselves from other human beings and restrict our exposure to a variety of environments with this paramount need to increase our biodiversity, not just with the foods that we're eating, but with the environments that we visit and the people that we interact with. Like these two things are at odds.
The importance of biodiversity, maximizing that with this need to kind of over cleanse everything at the moment.
Yeah, I feel like health has never been as important as it is right now. There is a direct connection between your gut microbiome and the strength of your immune system. And for that reason, it becomes imperative that we take care and nurture a healthy gut microbiome, and the thing that sort of stands out to me, Rich, is, yes, excessive cleanliness, sterilizing our environment, not being allowed to socialize and connect with humans like all of those things are there.
But to me, the most powerful influence is the stress. The stress is something that is affecting all of us. I mean, we are living through a moment of collective stress. We're all forced to take this on. There's no avoiding it. And that actually has an impact on our gut microbiome. And it drives us to this place where we all sort of have different ways that we cope and deal with that stress. And for many, it's to turn to unhealthy habits, and that includes unhealthy food and in many cases, alcohol.
And we're compounding that stress and we're actually compounding the harm that it does to our gut microbiome, you know, many people when we think about gut health, we talk about food and like my book discusses food in great detail. The part of the book that I really wanted to elaborate on, and there just weren't enough pages for me to go, there is the effect of trauma. The most challenging patients that I see is a gastroenterologist are the people who have been victims of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological trauma, and it changes them and they don't realize the way that it affects their gut.
And typically, when they get to me, I'm the fifth or sixth doctor gastroenterologists that they've been to. They're looking for solutions related to their gut microbiome or to their digestive issues. And what I discover after getting to know them and building that trust and that relationship, is that the solution? The part is actually not through food. More so it's actually about healing that trauma that is eating at them on a subconscious level, and all of us are dealing with trauma right now.
And I feel like collectively this is affecting our gut microbiome and it's at the worst possible time. There's a direct line between gut health and our immune system. 70 percent of our immune system lives in our gut. And when we have that that emotional trauma that's affecting our gut and then we also compound that by consuming alcohol or by eating junk food. We're putting ourselves into a vulnerable place where if we do get the virus, we don't have our defense system built up to protect us.
And that's the scary thing, because increasingly we're seeing studies, rich, that are making connections between the gut microbiome and severe manifestations of covid-19 and where the doctors are all asking the questions, who are these people? They get covid-19. And one of the first things that we discovered is it's the people who are that have diabetes and high blood pressure and coronary artery disease and are overweight. And then when you think about all of those things that I just mentioned, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, being overweight, they're all connected back to the microbiome.
So essentially, to ignore got health or to not have a optimally functioning microbiome is to put yourself at peril in terms of your immune response to covid or anything.
I feel like this connection is critically important in the twenty first century period. I mean, look at the explosion of immune mediated disease states. Look at celiac disease. Five hundred percent in the last 50 years. Look at inflammatory bowel disease that's absolutely exploding. And there's conditions, Rich, that when I was a kid literally didn't exist, that I'm diagnosing sometimes twice in the same day that our immune mediated know things like eosinophilic esophagitis and so independent of covid.
I feel like recognizing this connection is really critically important, because the problem is once you trip that wire, once you cross that line. You may find yourself with one of these conditions that I don't believe that there is necessarily a cure, I think that you can put yourself into remission.
But once you have one of these conditions, I think that you have it and it's there in terms of the protocols that we should all be undertaking to buttress our our microbiome. You're not necessarily advising a specific type of diet other than to say plant diversity is king like this is the vector of all vectors for you. Right? So it's not about, oh, it's vegan or I mean, it's a predominantly plant based or plant based diet. But the diversity of plants is really what's important in terms of making sure that you're doing everything you can in the interest of your microbiome.
Well, I think the critical piece to me so the book is called Fiber Fuels, and that's because I feel like fiber has been this ignored superfood. And part of it is that we've been thinking about it as this orange drink that grandma stirs up so that she can boo, when in fact it's incredible the connection between fiber and our gut microbiome. Fiber doesn't just go in the mouth and chewed out the other end. Soluble fiber is a specific sort of general category which feeds the microbiome.
This is their preferred food. When we give this to them, they consume it, they grow stronger. Microbes actually multiply, grow stronger. And then they turn around and they reward us, and the way that they reward us is by releasing short chain fatty acids. And these short chain fatty acids have healing effects throughout the entire body, so we've been emphasizing a little bit the immune system, shortening fatty acids optimize our immune system. There are studies that we could talk about if you want to, connecting, shortening fatty acids in terms of protection from respiratory viruses.
They can have their effect in the lungs on the immune system. Shortening fatty acids, reverse leaky gut, which is I mean, despite this, that is the root cause of these digestive issues that I take care of on a daily basis, they directly prevent colon cancer. They lower our cholesterol, they prevent and reverse insulin resistance, which is type two diabetes. They travel throughout the entire body having their healing effects. We think that they can actually reverse coronary artery disease.
We think that they can actually repair the blood brain barrier for people that have brain fog. They actually travel into the brain through the blood brain barrier and they have their effect. They affect our mood, our memory. They affect that. I mean, believe it or not, we have studies that suggest that they prevent Alzheimer's disease. These are incredibly powerful. And the way that you get them is through the consumption of fiber in your diet. And here's the problem.
Ninety seven percent of Americans are not getting an adequate amount of fiber in their diet, and that's creating issues for us. Everybody's worried about their protein intake, but they don't give a second thought to their fiber intake. 97 percent of people are fiber deficient. I mean, that's a shocking statistic, you know, and that's.
Well, and that's what the bystanders I mean, the expectation or the standard that we're holding is twenty five grams for women and thirty eight grams for men. And the average American is somewhere in the 15 to 18 gram range. And let me ask you a question. I'm just curious. So I know you eat a very healthy diet. If you had to estimate in a given week, how many plants do you think you have in your diet? Give me a general idea.
I mean, it's going to be higher than most, but it can't be more than. I mean, 30, 40, OK? And I would challenge the people listening at home right now, like if you have to hit the pause button and take a minute and think about how many plants you actually have in your in your diet. OK, so most Americans are definitely less than 30. The majority are around 15 to 20. There are literally three hundred thousand edible plants on the planet.
The problem is that we've narrowed it down to the point where seventy five percent of our diet is from three of them, and we're ignoring this diversity. We've put pressure, unfortunately, on our farmers.
Where the farmer has no choice but to opt for high yield breeds of crops, we are narrowing down the biodiversity within our diet through our food systems.
Right. If there's only one thing that you take away from this podcast, listening to us have this conversation today. This is what I want you guys to hear, OK? The way that it works is this fiber is not just fiber. There are millions, if not billions of types of fiber in nature, it's so incredibly complicated from a chemistry perspective that we're not even capable of creating an estimate to how many types of fiber there are. But every single plant has its own unique types of fiber, multiple different types within that plant, every single plant is going to have prebiotic fiber that feeds the microbial.
This is their preferred food is prebiotic fiber's, and the key is that they are picky eaters, they're like us. You have different food preferences than I do, even though I'm sure that many people would label us as having the same diet. You eat differently than I do. We have our own preferences and they do, too. They have specific food preferences in terms of the different types of fiber. To put in perspective, take a black bean.
You give these microbes a black bean and there are certain specific species that are going to multiply and thrive and they're going to be stronger and be more prepared to help you because you just fed up. They're energized. But the opposite is true. You take that black being away, you say I'm going black being free. Those same microbes that were thriving because you were feeding them are starving, right, and they're not getting what they need. And so the point is we want as much diversity as possible.
That's the critical piece, eating as many different things as possible and getting out of your comfort zone a little bit. And I think what you're saying essentially is that the more that you're in in the practice of doing that, it's almost like an insurance policy that you're taking out for your gut health. You're feeding your gut with the biota that will then ultimately be able to grow and thrive the more that you're feeding it, those types of plants.
Yeah, every single plant has its own unique types of fiber. That's what I've been talking about for the last few minutes. But there's so much more. Every single plant has vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, these are the unique chemicals that you will find in plant foods exclusive to plant foods, that's what phyto means. There's at least a thousand of them. Very few of them have. We actually studied an example of one is resveratrol. So you hear about resveratrol.
It's resveratrol is capable of actually changing the microbiome by itself. You know, David Sinclair in lifespan talks about resveratrol and its benefits for healthy aging. And this is just one example of one phytochemical that you'll find in these plants. And the other thing, by the way, that's kind of interesting. Most people don't realize this. The plants have a microbiome of their own. Every single life on this planet. Either has a microbiome or is a part of the microbiome, and depending on how you choose to zoom out, you could almost make the argument that us humans are part of a larger microbial in a way which is planetary health and the way that it all functions.
But these plants have their own microbiome. If you take an apple, for example, because we have a study that shows this.
The apple has a microbiome that is there from the sea, from literally the sea. Through the flower and all the way through to the fruit, and that microbiome is dynamically evolving and changing and helping this to actually this transformational process to occur.
And the apple has literally over a thousand species of microbes more than us humans do, and potentially one hundred million microbes, when you eat an apple, you're getting the fiber, you're getting the phytochemicals, of which there are many. You're getting the vitamins and the minerals and you're even getting the microbiome that the apple contains. Wow. And so each plant has a story like that. Each plant has something positive that it wants to bring to your health. Every single one wants to bring something to your health.
Yeah, and what's interesting about the work that you do is that it's not about reducing certain things. You're talking about what you're building it like what you're it's very additive. Like this whole diversification of your diet is about building new things into your diet as opposed to focusing on what we're removing.
I feel like it's easily applicable, but conceptually extremely sound like from my perspective, 50 years from now, this is still going to be the best way to eat, to consume a broad variety of plants, to be as predominantly plant based as possible. You know, I wrote the book Rich to meet people where they are. So when you say, well, you're not rigidly adherent to any particular diet, I want people to be 90 to one hundred percent plant based.
That's what we find in the blue zones. That's what I think from a nutritional perspective, is the highest quality diet. And I do think that when people get to be 90 percent plant based, they're going to feel so good, they're going to want to keep going. But I also think that there's an argument that goes beyond nutrition and talks about the health of our planet and talks about, you know, the compassion for these animals. And I think that those should be a part of the conversation, even if they are not directly human nutrition.
I think the covid-19 has taught us that when we abuse this planet. We may abuse these animals. I kind of feel like it's going to fight back. It's beautifully put and that just speaks to the interrelationship of everything. You can't talk about the microbiome without referencing the macro biome. The health of our gut is related to the health of the planet and vice versa.
The soil health connects to human health. You know, the health of our soil, which is the source of our nutrients, is critically important to human populations moving forward. I have children and I am scared of what this planet looks like one hundred years from now when you consider what it looks like today compared to 19, 20. And the reality is that we need to just look at population. Right now, we have seven billion people. In twenty fifty, we will have 10 million people.
Consider that in nineteen hundred, there were only two billion people. Consider that an eighteen hundred, there was only one billion people, we're going to have ten times the population in two hundred and fifty years. And that's putting a strain on the environment on our planet, a strain on these animals, biodiversity is the word. It's critical to our health, it's critical to planetary health, and it needs to be upheld. Thanks for listening, everybody.
Hope you enjoyed this first and what we are planning will be a series of topic specific deep dives that we intend to drip out over the course of the coming year.
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Today show was produced and engineered by Jason Carmello. The video edition of the podcast was created by Blake Curtis, portraits by Ali Rogers, David Greenberg and Leon Pasovic graphic elements courtesy of Jessica Moranda Copywriting by Georgia Waili. And our theme music was created by Tyler, Pietje, Trapper Pietje and Harry Mathis. Appreciate the love, love the support. Thank you for listening. Be back here soon. Peace plans a.