An unhealthy Gut Microbiome is the leading cause of disease throughout our bodies. If we change our gut health, we can change our health overall. Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr Peter Dingle. Peter is passionate about health and about changing people's perspectives. Like many of us, he is sick of seeing people sick. He started his journey as a science teacher, he then travelled the world, and this brought him his excitement about toxins. He then went back to University and worked there for 20 years. He studied a degree called “Health and the Environment” because his passion was looking at the big picture. Today I wanted to dive deeper into many of the questions about a healthy gut microbiome. Such as how much diversity is needed, should we be eating more fibre and the dependence on a correct pH. Read ahead for that and more.
Looking At The Bigger Picture When Dealing With Gut Health
I have been in the health area for over 30 years and I am convinced that 95% of the chronic illness and pain that we have, we don't have to endure. All too often our picture of health is focusing on one little condition or symptom. But I look at the big picture and I developed a concept called the Dingle DEAL:
You can't look at one aspect and think you are going to solve it. That's what medicine does so wrong. It says “everyone is the same so we can give everyone the same amount and treat that part of this illness.” They don't look at what we have known for thousands of years such as your food and lifestyle. If you are going through depression it might be:
Or all of them combined.
And in modern medicine, their answer is a drug to try and help. It doesn’t work that way.
I have been researching and teaching it for 20 years. We need to look at the big picture and look at all the key players in there. Once I realized that it led me to start looking at the gut microbiome. The gut seems to be the “cracks” of our health. Everything goes through it. When I talk about toxins, the first place these toxins have an effect is the gut. Everyone knows roundup is unsafe. Its main effect on us is through the gut.
We are complex organisms but health is simple if we approach it that way.
I have been researching the gut and last year we wrote a book called Gut Secrets. Most, if not all, people have a gut issue. The main place that inflammation stems from is the gut. Many doctors will just slap a medication on your inflammation and call it fixed. But that is just a temporary solution. Eating a diverse diet of plant-based foods will help with the inflammation. Most of the medications that they use are derived from plants and herbs. I love when the medical professionals say that these herbs don't work and then they use extracts of them.
Another topic that is on the rise is fecal transplants. They are getting more popular and at the end of the day, it is a problem. This is a medical procedure and I say don't wait until it gets to that stage. Even if you do a fecal transplant you are going to have to feed that bacteria. It needs to regrow. You also have to hope that the feces you get is healthy. There are viruses that we don't know how to measure and that brings into question the safety of it. Fecal transplant in itself is a way to manipulate genes. There is so little that we know about the microbiome right now so while there is a lot of promise with it, there are also a lot of risks.
Do Many Health Conditions Come Back To Gut Health?
Gut health is simply the biggest health concern that western nations are facing. People don't realize that. They often say “what about obesity?” Part of the obesity problem is because of unhealthy gut microbiomes. There is a part of it in every illness. Gut health links with every condition.
We have roughly 40 trillion bacteria and they have 100x the amount of genetic material that we do. They can talk to our genes. What that means is that the microbiome in our gut are a part of our evolutionary process. So instead of developing a second brain to cope with things we developed a gut microbiome that takes on many of the roles and responsibilities to do with our health. As a result, if anything goes wrong with our gut microbiome it interferes with every single health condition. I can't find a health condition that isn't linked…...
Bipolar- There are over 30 articles that linked gut health and bipolar
Diabetes- Since about 2010 there have been many studies showing the direct link between the gut and diabetes type 1. In mice that were prone to develop diabetes, they were able to reduce the risk of getting diabetes type 1 by 90%. Simply by altering the gut microbiome.
Alzheimer’s- we know at least 50% of these cases are linked to the gut. That means if we go out and tell everyone to go and fix their gut we are going to eliminate 50%. And if we do this for every single disease, we can limit them drastically.
Depression- it may not cure everyone's depression but it will help rebalance the body so it can cope with the various stressors that are going on in their life. There are studies coming out that people have been given probiotics and gut-healthy diet and their depression rates have dropped. They have done this in controlled studies, so we know this has a great impact.
I am trying to get this message out there to everyone. Fix yours and your family’s gut health. It scares me to see what people are eating. I see kids who are as young as 5 years old with diseases we never saw until they were in their 40’s. There have also been cases of breast cancer in teenage girls. THIS IS NOT NORMAL, our body does not want to be sick it wants to get back into a normal state. The best place to heal yourself is through the gut….
Is Biodiversity The Key To A Healthy Gut?
We are all different. Our gut is so unique to us and it is totally different from anyone else's because of everything that happens in it. The best way we measure gut health is by Biodiversity- how many microorganisms are in the gut. This includes the good and bad bacteria. And remember that the bad bacteria isn't necessarily bad until there are too many of them in the wrong spot.
We can have good bacteria but if they are in the wrong spot (such as the mouth and small intestine) they are toxic. In your large intestine, it's about having the most biodiversity. It is like a rainforest and it has so much resilience. The fire comes burning and a big die-off, a pest comes in and some die off, and you have a garden or crop and a bug comes through and everything gets wiped out. It's the same in the gut.
You want biodiversity of 500 species growing in your large intestine, so if some get knocked out others can support them. The food web is exactly what happens in the microbiome. We want to grow a rainforest with a diverse food web. You need to eat 25 different plant-based foods a day, even if it is just small amounts. Something as easy as going and nibbling on herbs in the garden. Many herbs are antibiotics to the worst type of bacteria. They control and limit the amounts of helicobacter bacteria which is the one that causes cancer. They also control candida so by nibbling on the herbs it will put the pressure on them so the numbers stay low.
You need to try and get the biggest biodiversity on the smallest amounts of food. You need to get off of the ultra-processed foods. If it's in a pack and it doesn't look like something that came out of a seed or a tree you need to cut it down - there is no option. We have to “de-ultra-process” our food. Try to eat some of the food raw because it has more fibre, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. These are all easy changes that make a world of difference in your gut health and overall wellbeing.
Stomach Acid And Digestion
When someone comes to me with an issue such as stomach acid and they say that they have too much of it.. I question it. Stomach acid has a pH of 1 and you can't get lower than that. But if your stomach acid has a pH higher than 1 (even a 2!) then it cannot break down many of the big proteins. If you cannot break down the protein, then it cannot turn into amino acids. So in all reality, people are running around protein deficient. Even bodybuilders, they may have muscles but they don't have neurotransmitters, hormones, proteins, or amino acids that do everything else around the body. Tryptophan, melatonin, and serotonin all come from amino acids. And if you don't have the correct stomach acid you don't make these amino acids.
Vitamins like iron and zinc all rely on us having a strong stomach acid. If you don't then you can't kill the bad bacteria either. You need to have an acidic stomach, so if you think you don't have enough stomach acid, there is a 95% chance that it's not acidic enough. The problem is that since it’s not digesting, it can't go anywhere. Your body won't let it through unless it's ready to be processed to the next level. And for that to happen it needs to have a strong pH.
One of the ways your body measures how to do different things is through your pH:
-The pH of your stomach determines what opens and closes to let things through to the small intestine.
-The pH in your small intestine determines how fast things move through or don't move through.
It’s critical to get that pH balance right throughout the body. Here is my great conundrum that people love. An acid stomach leads to less acidosis in the body. Acidosis is a health condition where there is too much acidity and an acid stomach reduces that acidity in the body. It sounds absurd but it is absolutely correct.
It goes back to fixing the pH. People have been on Proton Pump Inhibitors that stop the production of HCL and they are only supposed to go on it for a week or so and they are on them for decades! Then they come to me and have all of these diseases and their body is shutting down. And once they come to one of my talks, they finally realize that those inhibitors are hurting them.
Ways To Improve Digestion
There are many ways to improve digestion. Here are two:
Apple cider vinegar is great for digestion. The thing about a gut condition like reflux means you are going to have gut conditions throughout the system. Since the pH isn't right in the stomach then it isn't going to be right in the small intestine, the large intestine, or the rectum. You will have gut problems all the way down. You will find people with acid reflux have another condition called SIBO or have IBS or an autoimmune condition. It is like a production line of a car. If they aren't putting the chassis on properly you never are going to end up with a car that works. The apple cider vinegar will help to balance the pH.
Chew Your Food! Digestion cannot occur unless you get it right. This begins in the mouth. It has to be chewed, raw, smaller amounts, unprocessed, then you start to talk about regaining your health.
If you start with these then you will see your digestion start to improve.
Autoimmune Conditions And Gut Health
There was a study done linking tooth disease and gum disease to rheumatoid arthritis. And gum disease is linked with heart attacks and strokes. The link with all of those conditions is through the gut. If you have tooth decay you constantly have bad bacteria going into your gut microbiome. If you aren't doing things right when you are eating then it will not be right as it goes through your body.
Rheumatoid arthritis is actually very simple. This is the way that they test the drugs used for it:
-They get the mice
-They give the mice rheumatoid arthritis by poisoning the gut microbiome which kills off the good bacteria and then the mice develop arthritis
-Then we develop a drug that can reverse that.
It makes no sense. Let's not poison the gut microbiome, instead, we should find a way to fix the gut microbiome of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Your gut microbiome is your first layer of protection. Then you have a mucus layer, then you have the cell. One cell is preventing all of the digesting food from getting into the body. The good bacteria protect it so if they are wiped out then the bad bacteria eat the mucous layer and they have direct access to the gut wall. Then the gut wall under stress (since it’s not getting fed by the good bacteria) gets poisoned by the bad bacteria. They chew all the mucus layer that the body produces to protect you.
As they die off, they send all of these toxins into the blood and your immune system identifies them as a threat and creates a reaction. Or they will send the chemicals Lipolysaccharides (LPS) through the gut wall (leaky gut.) And that inflammation goes to wherever your body has a little bit of damage. It multiplies it by 100. If you have old basketball knees then you get arthritis in those joints. So if we prevent this from happening by keeping the good bacteria well fed and nourished, then you will not have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
And remember, if you have RA you may develop a lot of other diseases such as:
These are all linked through the gut. If you start to fix the gut you start to fix everything.
Do Collagen and Probiotics Help To Improve Gut Health?
People usually take collagen to get beautiful skin and nails. But sometimes they find that if they take collagen their arthritis will lessen in a few weeks. They think, “This must be going to my joints” but in all reality, it is repairing the gut wall! It's a bandaid because collagen is a connective tissue for our gut wall. The turn over for our gut wall cells is in minutes and hours. The repair occurs very quickly. The cells get their collagen, they can repair, and then it reverses arthritis. The collagen isn't a solution it is a band-aid but it shows you how the whole system works and it is still great to use!
I am a firm believer in probiotics but the problem with them is that if you take them you have a benefit and after weeks or months it ends up going down. You need to feed them to sustain the benefit for the rest of your life. My standard line is “it’s no good having probiotics on white bread.” Sugar poisons the gut microbiome, focus on raw natural foods. You don't have to be a vegetarian but you have to have more of those plant-based foods. The more of it you eat the better the return. Try these two to help your gut health tremendously.
Is Fibre The Key To Great Gut Health?
After our books we wrote on gut health Ready Set Gut Health & Overcoming Illness, we said what's next? 95% of the research has gone into probiotics and fecal transplants The research is really lacking in fibre. I started looking at it after the last 12 months. The more I looked at it the more I realized that it's the biggest part of the solution. When we talk about fibre, you have your soluble, insoluble, resistant starch, and prebiotic. The more fibre the better from more sources. Every bit of fibre has its own role.
We used to think that it was just prebiotics that fed the lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, and all the other good bacteria in our gut. But what we have learned is that we need all the different types of fibre in our diet. I think we will get to a point where we can treat an illness based on the type of fibre the person isn't eating. You can give them apple pectin which is different from the pear pectin and so on. All of the molecules are fibre molecules and they just have extra molecules thrown on the end or in the middle. They are all a bit different, so the more diverse amounts you eat the better off you will be.
If you eat 25 different types of plant food a day, they will have 100 different types of fibre, and that is going to feed the rainforest in your gut. Try to have a smoothie everyday, because then you will get the whole plant. Throw in a dozen different types of plant based foods to get a great diversity of fibre. One Pomegranate a day unblocks your arteries after 3 years. So just by eating this a day, it will help you. Don’t feed yourself, feed the gut and the gut will feed you. If you look after the gut it will look after you. Most western countries only have about 10g of fibre a day and we should be consuming at least 35g.
Whether it's probiotics, fibre, a diverse diet, polyphenols from herbs and spices it is all highly critical to feed this rainforest and have it flourish. Then it will produce beneficial compounds such as short-chain fatty acids, vitamins, neurotransmitters, and it is simple. It is not hard, it is taking the crap out and eating really clean food. -Kriben Govender
One of the main issues with not having a diverse gut microbiome is that we are losing it at a generational level. We don't pass it down the line and eventually there will be no diversity. This diversity keeps us healthy. Challenge yourself to have a more diverse diet. That is the single best thing you can do to get it started. Without the movement, nothing else will work. And make sure to drink a lot of water! Improve your stomach pH by eliminating Proton Pump Inhibitors, drink apple cider vinegar, strive to eat 25 different vegetables a day (even a small amount), and prevent disease from blooming by feeding those good bacteria. Share this with a friend that needs to boost their gut microbiome!