Today, I have a special guest on the show who needs no introduction – the renowned Dr. Steven Gundry. Not only is he a cardiothoracic surgeon extraordinaire, but he’s also a true pioneer in the field of nutrition. In our conversation, Dr. Gundry dives deep into the intriguing world of the microbiome. We all know it’s important, but how do we really support it? Dr. Gundry sheds light on the topic, discussing everything from the significance of gut health to the secrets of effective supplementation. Prepare to be amazed as he unveils the latest insights and advancements in gut health. Dr. Gundry’s new book, Gut Check, which is available on Audible, explores these groundbreaking discoveries.
I must admit, I’ve been an avid reader of Dr. Gundry’s books for quite some time, even before we ever crossed paths. What sets his works apart is his ability to unveil fresh perspectives, including those that even he himself finds awe-inspiring. Moreover, he approaches these conversations in a way that’s accessible and relatable, whether he’s addressing weight management, inflammation, the microbiome, or brain health. Dr. Gundry takes complex concepts and communicates them in a way that resonates with people, finally helping them grasp the information and truly understand.
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- [00:02:28] Heart Surgery
- [00:05:03] A Leaky Gut
- [00:11:32] The Human Body
- [00:22:44] Oils
- [00:34:07] Sickness Is Good for Business
- [00:42:21] Rituals
- [00:53:31] Cholesterol
- [01:03:38] Nicotine
- [01:16:26] Supplement Vitamins
[00:01:57] Dr. Gundry: I hope so. I keep writing so I can, get it right one of these years.
[00:02:02] Gabby Reece: But it must be also fun for you as somebody who’s had such a diverse background. The fact that you go from being doing heart surgery and on children and developing devices for that to having a professional epiphany, I would say, and saying maybe I want to get on the front side of this and not be either fixing people at the end of this, but see if we can get in front of it, but that you’re still learning and discovering.
[00:02:28] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, that’s I’ve been a researcher all my life and of course the first half was researching heart and how to protect the heart and developing devices to protect the heart and infant heart transplant which really didn’t exist before my partner Leonard Bailey and I went at it and but then, my life changed about 25 years ago when I met him. Big Ed, who’s a real guy, and I went, holy cow, how in the world did this guy reverse inoperable coronary artery disease? And I spent the last 25 odd years trying to figure out how he did it, and I get closer every year. Yeah.
[00:03:09] Gabby Reece: So, for people listening, Big Ed was basically somebody who asked you to please give him another test, look at his blood work and you were like yeah. He made some changes through some supplementation at things and you were, I remember it clear as day, expensive pee, good for you. But then you went back and looked at the blood work and you’re like, wait a second, what’s going on here? I just, I have to backtrack though. When you say that you and your partner. We’re experimenting on, infant transplants. I have to ask; how does one go about doing that for the first time?
[00:03:41] Dr. Gundry: These are, these were kids who were doomed. They had no option. And so, what are you going to do? The heart of a newborn is about the size of a walnut and you. You have to, make that, another walnut fit in there and connect all the tubes. And of course, we have magnifying glasses on our eyes. But, and then to see these kids grow up. Now these kids are married. One has a child, sent me a picture of them and you go that worked out pretty well, but maybe that relaxed attitude is why you could do it.
[00:04:19] Gabby Reece: Cause the night before, how are you sleeping on something like that?
[00:04:23] Dr. Gundry: The night before I or my partner was in an airplane going to another city to harvest the heart from a brain dead child and then personally bringing it back in a bucket of ice water and then then putting it in and interestingly enough, I used to have migraine headaches back then.
And I almost always developed a migraine headache during that trip back then. I can tell you it’s no fun doing heart surgery with a migraine headache. Now the good news is I figured out why I had migraine headaches and I haven’t had a migraine headache in 25 years. Yeah. Was it hormones or was it, what was it?
[00:05:03] Gabby Reece: Oh, a leaky gut. Yeah. It’s perfect segue into this. So, I want to, we’ve been, people have been talking about the microbiome for good solid 10 years. It’s a vast unknown place with trillions and trillions of microbes or buddies as you like to call them. Gut buddies. Yes. And. Do you feel like we are genuinely getting, we’re making any headway into really understanding, at least a small percentage of what’s going on in there?
[00:05:38] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I wrote this book. Hippocrates somehow knew this 2, 500 years ago, the father of medicine, and he literally said all disease begins in the gut. And A few years ago, at a gastroenterology meeting in Paris, I decided to title my talk, Hippocrates Was All Disease Begins in a Leaky Gut.
And yeah, so we now know that almost everything that happens to us is controlled by our microbiome. And people feel very uneasy about that because we’re this advanced organism, and my goodness, we’re the most advanced creature that ever existed, and we’re the only creature that uses a language. Oops.
Now we know that All these animals use languages and we now know that bacteria actually have a language and we couldn’t hear that language, we couldn’t decipher that language, but little by little every year we are learning the language and it’s literally like Breaking the Enigma code in World War II, the German secret code that was broken.
[00:06:56] Gabby Reece: How do you go about and because I do appreciate, you and I have insight to you after reading some of your books where I feel like you like gatherings and parties. Because all your analogy is, you’re at a party, there’s a bouncer, you’re going to a party, you’re going into a club, and I’m like, yes, Dr.
Gundry is trying to, really get us to look at things almost in that 3D way, the way we see things, and you talk about these gut buddies even like they want to have their friends there, certain types, and are the languages between similar microbes, are those languages similar and then different from all the others?
Or how does that work when you’re talking about these languages?
[00:07:34] Dr. Gundry: It’s almost like two languages. There is literally a language that these guys talk to each other. We’ve known for, actually, probably 10 years that bacteria do what’s called quorum sensing and quorum sensing isn’t exactly what it is.
You have to have a quorum to make a decision. There might be a rave that you want to go to, and everybody sends out text messages. Hey, there’s going to be this. Get together at such and such a place at such and such a time be there when we now know that Bacteria talk to each other and can and know how many of a particular of their kind have gathered in one place and they have reached a critical mass where they decide to make their move And so they literally wait till they have the right number of buddies, and then they make a move.
And it was first discovered in how cholera worked. And now we know that these bacteria talk to each other. That’s number one. Number two, which is probably even more startling, is that mitochondria, the little energy producing organelles in all of our cells, are, in fact, ancient engulfed bacteria that were engulfed about two billion years ago.
But they maintain bacterial characteristics. Their membrane is very much like a bacteria membrane, and interestingly enough, they have their own DNA completely apart from the nucleus in the cell from, high school biology. Yeah. So, they can divide within a cell without the cell dividing. So, if you need 10 more mitochondria, a thousand more mitochondria in a cell, then they can do that when they get the right stimuli.
On the other hand, they talk, they get messages from their sisters in the gut. Now, why are they their sisters? You, my dear gave your children their mitochondrial DNA. I Unfortunately gave my children no mitochondrial DNA. It only comes from the female. As men are just drones, they’re useless.
[00:10:06] Gabby Reece: Oh, no. I love men. Oh, okay, good. But maybe not for that. That’s right.
[00:10:10] Dr. Gundry: They’re useless there. Yeah, they’re useless for mitochondria. What’s really cool is You gave your kids their first dose of their microbiome, both through delivery and through your breast milk. And so, you inoculated them with their community, and you gave your kids their mitochondrial DNA.
So, we’re now learning that Those bacteria talk to their sisters, the mitochondria, so there’s literally a cross chat between these two systems and it’s incredibly well designed and that language is incredible. Not text messages, obviously, but they’re chemicals like short chain fatty acids. And what’s even cooler is that there are gases that do this communication.
They’re gas messengers. So, in my two books ago in the Energy Paradox, I said, step on the gas. So, all this crazy intestinal. Gas, which we just thought was an embarrassment, is actually a communication system between the gut microbiome and the mitochondria and lots of other things.
[00:11:32] Gabby Reece: I think, everyone can talk about the complexity and the sort of magic that is the human body. But it, it never ceases to really amaze me about all the intricacies about the way things work. And I can imagine as somebody like you who really understands it or certainly a lot deeper than I do. Tries to. That it’s like, Oh, you’ve got to be kidding. So, when you, just for an example when we hear, okay, good. Gut bacteria, bad gut. And you’re talking about this communication and you say, Hey, we’re waiting for enough of us to collect to mobilize. Can you give me a scenario? Let’s say if it’s a good, but gut flora that what is it doing then? Where is it going? Where are they waiting to all be mobilized to, in a, in the positive sense?
[00:12:21] Dr. Gundry: It’s so complex. I like to think of it as a, a tropical rainforest is actually a really good example. So most tropical rainforests, most of these complex ecologies, have a lot of similar principles. Now, A rainforest in the Amazon may be different than a rainforest in Florida, for example, but they share a lot, they may be different species, they may be different animals, but the interaction between all these species is very much the same.
In the book, I use the example of Yellowstone Park to talk about an ecosystem, and I think it’s a very good example. A number of years ago, it was thought that wolves, which is, which are one of the apex predators in Yellowstone, were nasty guys. They’re bad guys. They were eating the elk, and they might be eating some cattle, but that’s beside the point.
We need to get rid of the wolves. And it was open season on wolves. All the wolves were killed off in Yellowstone and got rid of the bad guys. Oops. What happened was, of course, that the elk overgrew because they no longer had their predator. They started eating all the little saplings for more food that they wouldn’t have touched long ago.
The saplings were used by beavers to make beaver dams, and the beavers had no saplings to make beaver dams. So, the beavers failed, and the fish, which would be in the beaver dams, which We’re used by other animals disappeared and the whole ecosystem fell apart, right? Lo and behold, when they reintroduce the wolves, this terrible, bad part of the ecosystem got balanced.
And so, one of the interesting things. is that people get their gut microbiome checked and they’re told, Ooh, you guys, you have some bad guys in there and we need to get rid of the bad guys? Or you have SIBO, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, and we need to kill off those guys because that’s not right.
Part of gut check is no. Not so fast. We got to have some bad guys in there to keep everything balanced. And without this balance, the whole system falls apart.
[00:14:53] Gabby Reece: Yeah. A lot of times people will take tests and do tests. Is there a test? Are there tests? What are the tests that actually are a good starting point? Because I know a lot of people are confused and they’ll put effort into doing it and maybe they’re not, getting guided down to the best path.
[00:15:09] Dr. Gundry: I’ve never personally ordered a gut microbiome profile on any of my patients. Several reasons for that. Number one, the gut microbiome changes on a day to day basis, depending on what you ate the day before, depending on what else happened to you.
As an example, you could have an organic chicken breast. Which you didn’t know that chicken was given antibiotics which is perfectly legal if you think a chicken might be sick to still give chickens antibiotics. And people don’t know that there’s 100, 000 chickens in a warehouse and a veterinarian only has to suspect that one chicken might be sick to give the entire 100, 000 chickens antibiotics.
Even if it says organic. Even if it says organic. Perfectly legal. And about. 56 percent of organic chickens that have been tested have antibiotic residues in them. Oh, so why? So those antibiotics actually kill off the microbiome. Or you could have sucralose in your No cow beverage and that sucralose will kill off half of the bacteria in your gut, one single packet of Splenda, Duke University said. Oh, come on. Oh, yeah. And it’s in all these health drinks. Yeah. And most of these if you had that yesterday, that may tell you nothing about what you had two weeks ago, so getting back to how do you test for this? We’ve suspected people had leaky gut for quite some time, but it wasn’t really until Alessio Fasano, who’s a physician who is now at Harvard, discovered how gluten, lectin, my favorite subject.
You love lectins. I hate lectins, but I love them. Gluten causes leaky gut and he developed the mechanism and proved it. And so now we have tests that we can do with a finger prick to look at the markers for whether or not you have intestinal permeability, leaky gut. And, I have one of my company’s Gundry Health, different than Gundry MD, offers this test for, a very reasonable price. And the shocking thing, And the reason I keep doing this is once we started doing these tests. I realized that every human being with an autoimmune disease, number one, has leaky gut. Every human being with coronary artery disease has leaky gut. A hundred percent. Now. So what? If everybody’s got it everybody’s got it. The great news is you can get rid of it, and that’s what I do in my practice. And I’ve even published studies that 94 percent of people with a blood test proven autoimmune disease, or symptoms, will resolve their issue, will repair their leaky gut. Within 9 to 12 months, 94%.
[00:18:28] Gabby Reece: What’s interesting and I feel, and I really appreciate about the gut is that it does rejuvenate. Like they even talk about these perforations that they will start to heal is certain ones almost immediately. And that’s so for people, even though it’s a daunting area. Because it is complicated and there’s trillions of elements to it that there is this upside of really being able to heal. Yeah,
[00:18:51] Dr. Gundry: This is what Hippocrates taught and you know I start off the book talking about Hippocrates and it sounds very California speak but Hippocrates believed that we had within us What he called a green life force energy.
You’re talking about California And he believed that wanted an organism to literally have perfect health to thrive and that he believed that there were External factors that were keeping an individual’s green life force energy from expressing So he believed that a physician should be a detective and find out What were those external factors that were stopping this?
Teach the patient to remove them. And then you just got to step back and watch this green life force energy fix everything. So that’s all I do now. I’m just a detective. And the cool thing is, once we tell the patient, Okay, here’s the factors that are doing this. Trust me for now. Let’s take these factors away.
And let’s watch what happens. And we can actually watch this progressively heal. And what’s really cool, scary, is that 100 percent of people with leaky gut have antibodies to all the various forms of wheat and gluten. 100 percent of them. But, within a year, 100 percent of them, those antibodies disappear. You no longer want to attack the components of wheat.
[00:20:37] Gabby Reece: It almost seems, I think, for people it’s, what is the secret for you in that kind of first Let’s say two to three months. So, you’re saying, Hey, listen to me and we’re going to make a plan and you’re going to adhere to the plan. The other thing I’m hearing that I really appreciate that I hear a lot on in these conversations is, we’re not going to add more things for you to do. We’re taking things out so you can be successful. So, is it starting with nutrition for these people and then are there other practices outside of what they’re eating and drinking that supports a healthier microbiome?
[00:21:12] Dr. Gundry: Yeah. So, one of the things that. I guess was hard for people to accept is we’ve known for a long time there are a lot of compounds that are capable of healing a leaky gut. And we go into a lot of them in the book and I won’t bore people now. The reason I won’t bore people now is that, okay, so take all these compounds, get some licorice, get some L glutamine, there I said a couple and get some marshmallow root. And We can heal your leaky gut, no doubt about it.
But if you keep swallowing razor blades every day, you’ll slice it right open. And I think one of the reasons that my system works is I teach people what their razor blades are. And everybody’s a little bit different. And we can actually test for, okay, is Casein A1 in American cow milk, a razor blade for you.
Are eggs, even pastured eggs, a razor blade for you? I’ve got a patient in the book, actually I have several, that broccoli is a razor blade for them. And we take it away from them actually started working with a woman who owns an avocado farm. Oh no. Oh yes. Come on. And guess what? Avocados, she is incredibly, has an incredible food sensitivity to avocados.
[00:22:44] Gabby Reece: Now dumb question, that would include avocado oil? Yeah. Okay. Just anything avocado.
[00:22:49] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, anything avocado. But there’s so much, so many better oils than avocado oil. So many. Okay.
[00:22:56] Gabby Reece: Let’s not leave that olive oil. Yeah. Olive oil. I have some of your olive oil, actually.
[00:23:02] Dr. Gundry: I do. Yeah. A brand new study out shows that, that particular olive oil has Great deal of effect on stopping inflammation in human blood vessels in volunteers in Canada, so that’s cool.
[00:23:15] Gabby Reece: Yeah. What other, you like coconut? No.
[00:23:18] Dr. Gundry: Okay. I like I like coconut, but not coconut oil. I am a huge fan of perilla oil. Perilla oil is the number one oil of Korea. It is actually the highest source of alpha linolenic acid, the short chain omega 3 fat. Lox, LPSs that was used in the Lionheart study to reduce heart disease. I’m a huge fan of perilla oil. Is it hard to get? You can get it on Amazon.
[00:23:53] Gabby Reece: And is it do you, can you do high heat with it?
[00:23:56] Dr. Gundry: Yep, you can do high heat. You can mix it in salad dressings. How does it taste? It has a bland taste. Really? Yeah. I mix it half and half with olive oil, with everything I use.
[00:24:06] Gabby Reece: Okay. Is there any other oil? What about mackinac or how do you feel about some of these?
[00:24:10] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, mackinac oil has an interesting compound that actually might make you skinny, which is fun. And it doesn’t go bad, isn’t that right? No, it doesn’t go bad. You got to be careful with olive oil because olive oil goes bad. Flaxseed oil is great for you. Tons of alpha linolenic acid, but it goes rancid very quickly, so you’ve got to keep it in the refrigerator. The problem then is, if you keep it in the refrigerator, you forget it’s there, and it doesn’t become part of your daily regimen.
[00:24:45] Gabby Reece: Daily practice. So just before we leave the coconut conversation.
Can we talk about ketones and how they play in all of this? Because you actually break down a whole section in your book on ketones. And also, I want to mention, and this is something you do a lot that I really appreciate is you have all the foods listed where they live, how they function, and then you have recipes.
So, I want to remind people, this isn’t just a, scientific book about the gut, but there’s real practical application on, hey, what lives where, what food is what, and then, here’s some creative ideas on how you can cook and eat.
[00:25:18] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, I do this because I still see patients six days a week.
I know. You’re hard to get into too, by the way. And I’m really hard to get into. That’s actually why I decided to create Gundry Health so that people wouldn’t have to see me and can still get the tests that I do. But yeah, so the reason I tell people how to do this and give recipes is because every day, I’m in my office guiding my patients and, okay let’s do this.
Let’s check your blood in three months. Let’s see what’s happened and let’s get a report card. And the really cool thing is you can watch the effect of doing this. And you can feel the effect of doing this as well, but it’s nice to have data where somebody can say, oh my gosh, I had this degree of leaky gut when we started and now it’s three months later and its half what it was.
And, oh, and I see that. And, oh, I had 10 different antibodies to the various components of wheat. Really strong IgG antibodies. And now 3 months later, they’re down to 2 antibodies to wheat. Where’d the other ones go? your microbiome actually, number one, retrains your immune system. That basically, hey We’ve got your back here, relax a little bit.
The other thing that happens, which is directly, you can watch it. As that leaky gut seals, your immune system, which, 80 percent of your immune system lines the wall of your gut. 80%. If you’ve got invaders coming across the wall of your gut constantly, your immune system, if there’s nobody coming across the wall of your gut, your immune system is like a cop on the street with nothing to do and is having a donut and a cigarette.
But if you’ve got, all these bad guys coming across the wall of your gut, now you’ve got Your immune system is in a Kevlar vest with two AK 47s strapped across with the bandoliers and they’ve got their finger on the trigger. They’re What happens when things slow down and the immune system says, oh this is not a bad neighborhood anymore. There’s not a drive by shooting. I guess I can holster these things and I’ll go have a cigarette and a donut. Not that I’m saying police have a cigarette and a donut.
[00:27:56] Gabby Reece: Never. Never. It’s interesting because people don’t realize like you and we, and you talk about it in the book, like a little bit of inflammation or inflammation is good.
It’s the chronic inflammation that really is the it is the thing that gets us in and is a sort of fertile ground for all kinds of havoc. And you talk about leaky gut versus an immune response. There’s a difference there.
[00:28:19] Dr. Gundry: Yeah. You’re right. A little bit. of inflammation keeps things ready, keeps know who your enemies are, who, and, but inflammation, I get a kick out of you need to eat anti-inflammatory foods.
You need to take anti-inflammatory supplements; you have to practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. No, you have to do a non-inflammatory lifestyle, which is totally different. Inflammation comes from leaky gut. The idea of eating anti-inflammatory foods, whatever that is, or taking anti-inflammatory supplements, whatever those are, it’s as you and I know, fighting a forest fire with a garden hose here in California.
It’s stopping the fire in the first place that’s important. And the fire is caused by leaky gut. So, the whole principle of the book is, if you want to put out the fire, you got to stop leaky gut. And then the fire It goes away, there’s nothing, there’s no fuel.
[00:29:40] Gabby Reece: There’s nothing to do. Just so I’m really clear, and for people listening, if they don’t live near you, or they can’t get in to see you, if they want to understand what are the razor blades that continue to irritate their gut, obviously there’s foods that people talk about gluten all the time that are pretty known to not be great or supportive of the gut. But where, how would they, could they order it online, send it in, get the results? How does that work?
[00:30:05] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, they can go to Gundry Health. com and I’ll soon have another site up probably by tomorrow. Okay. And we’ll, you’ll be able to check. Okay.
[00:30:19] Gabby Reece: And then and then they just follow up every, so few months and they get an understanding. And will that test, if I’m the egg person, it’ll say, Hey, eggs are a no go for you.
[00:30:28] Dr. Gundry: Yeah. What’s shocking is. Yeah, I know. Here we go. Okay. And I go into this in the last.
[00:30:35] Gabby Reece: What do you have? Do you have stuff that you can’t eat that you really, that you used to?
[00:30:38] Dr. Gundry: enjoy? I’ll give you an example. Early on, I certainly couldn’t tolerate gluten and a lot of lectin containing foods, but the exciting thing is, now I’m heading over to Europe and Baguettes all the way, baby.
I have tons of patients who had really nasty autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s or psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis, that we got rid of by following this. And then They go over to Europe and they go, Oh, what the heck, I’m going to have a baguette or I’m going to have a pizza. I might have some tomatoes.
And they don’t react. Dirty lectins. And they don’t react. They go, oh my gosh, Dr. Kendry’s cured me. I’m cured. I can have these things. They come back to the United States and within two weeks, they’re on the phone with their symptoms back or, a rash of psoriasis back or a joint hurt. And they go, what the heck?
You cured me? What the heck? I said, you came back to the United States. You’re having Our grains that have been sprayed with glyphosate. You’re having our oats that have been sprayed with glyphosate. You’re having our wine that has been sprayed with glyphosate. And glyphosate, if you wanted to produce a way to kill off important gut bacteria and produce leaky gut, it’s one of the greatest compounds ever designed to do that.
And luckily in Europe It’s either banned or increasingly banned. And it’s interesting. I can do the same thing with myself. I can usually very well over there have these things that used to torment me. And then I’ll go, I’m fine. And then I’ll test it over here and again. To no go.
[00:32:26] Gabby Reece: No. You talk about this in your book actually, it reminds me, there’s a conversation around the blue zones and it’s like in a way, and it wasn’t done on purpose, but there’s sort of these misnomers about Oh, these are the universals. But when some of these zones, like in Sardinia, they’re eating lots of, you were talking about Mark Harmon, I believe went there and was like, they’re eating tons of yogurt and dairy. And it’s a blue zone where everyone was like, Oh, it’s not the dairy. It’s this and that. So, to your point and I actually, and I’m not a, obviously a scientist. I’m sure I’m wrong in so many ways, but with milk, for example when we go to Hawaii, we can get whole raw milk from the cow. It’s yellow. It’s all this. And Laird and I always talk about it. He’s I would feel like most people are allergic to the process of pasteurization. And homogenization, not really the milk, but those processes that we do to these foods.
If you go and have the bread, the way it’s supposed to be made over in Europe, and it doesn’t have all these chemicals and they let her; it’s actually fermented. Correct. It’s like our bodies can handle so much more. So, it is an interesting reality where we’re trying to navigate. It feels sometimes like a landmine, even for someone like me, who’s pretty well informed, like even talking about organic chicken.
Now I’m ordering all my meat, like I get it from my group, Force of Nature, or there’s this, different farms, I get stuff from Maui, and it’s, and then you start looking at vegetables and you think. I don’t, where did this come from? How much has it been sprayed? And so, it’s, I really have compassion for people because even when you know a little something and you’re trying, it’s like you still have to be extra careful.
[00:34:07] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, unfortunately you really do. Sickness is really good for business as we like to say in the medical profession. It’s good for, Giant health care organizations years ago, I was asked to consult with some manufacturers in a large Midwestern city who wanted to set up a, basically a healthy eating program.
And I said geez, you got a major university, a medical school in your town, and there’s lots of Nobel laureates at that medical school. And why don’t you partner with them? You don’t need me. And they said, Oh, we tried. And I said what do you mean? And he tried. They said we had a big meeting, and they went you don’t understand.
We may be a healthcare institution, but telling your people how to avoid us is, would be against our business model. And I go, oh, that makes sense. At least they were honest about it. Yeah, for sure. So, I actually went and consulted with them. Yeah. Big food, big pharma, big medicine. Big chemicals. This is all designed to disrupt the normal functioning of our ecosystem that starts with our microbiome. Yeah. And the sicker you get, the more medicines you need.
[00:35:30] Gabby Reece: Yeah, and then let’s really destroy your microbiome, get on more medications. That’ll really do a doozy for you. That’ll really do a good job. it’s interesting because you do come from traditional medicine and I really appreciate, and you’ve shared your story many times that when you were practicing and obviously there’s a different kind of stress. I know you are very busy person and patients, but I would imagine in your earlier practice those types of surgeries and think I would imagine in that scheduling as a young doctor is very stressful sleep deprivation, but that you said you were. I think 70 pounds yourself overweight. Yeah. 70 pounds overweight, running all things running 30 miles a week, going to the gym one hour a day. Yeah. Yeah. So, the other thing I know is that you’ve lived it on both ways, both sides. So, you’re not just speaking from, oh, I’m the authority and this is what you should do. You went through your own version of this.
[00:36:18] Dr. Gundry: And again I see it in my patients and, when I resigned my position as Professor and Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Loma Linda, many years ago now, and, set up a clinic in Palm Springs, I basically said, hey hi there, I, I’m a researcher and I’ve got these crazy ideas I’d like you to Take these certain foods away from your diet.
And I want to send you to Costco or Trader Joe’s to get some supplements. I didn’t sell supplements. And I want to get blood work, insurance or Medicare. I’ll pay for it every three months. And let’s see what happens. Would you mind? And they go, no, that sounds fun. Nobody else wants to do this. And so, with, with every three months, we’d see the effect on inflammatory markers. We’d see effect on blood pressure. Early on, people would call and say, Hey, what? What supplement is making me dizzy? And I don’t know of any supplement that’s going to make you dizzy. I said, come back in the office. And their blood pressure was low. And these were people like on three high blood pressure medicines, right? And I go, Oh, that’s interesting. Let’s, stop one of these give me a call a month later. Hey, I swear a supplement making me dizzy. And I’m going, no, get back in here. And of course, their blood pressure was low. And so, we take these people off of their drugs because they no longer need them which is exciting. Because, that’s what a doctor was supposed to do. Most doctors really wanted to treat people and improve their lives and keep them healthy.
[00:38:01] Gabby Reece: You must get some hell sometimes, though.
[00:38:03] Dr. Gundry: It’s funny, I have third year family practice residents that rotate through my clinic for a month. And number one, the things I’m measuring, they’ve actually never been taught to measure, which is shocking. Which is easy to do, these are tests that, you know.
[00:38:20] Gabby Reece: Give me an example, like these ones for the microbiome, tell me another one.
[00:38:23] Dr. Gundry: Like fasting insulin levels. Or insulin resistant levels, what’s called HOMA IR.
[00:38:31] Gabby Reece: And that’s like a 20 tests. I’m probably exaggerating, but I think.
[00:38:34] Dr. Gundry: It’s not even a 20 test. It’s like an 8 test.
[00:38:37] Gabby Reece: Yeah, and it’s, for me, that feels like a cornerstone. Exactly. That
[00:38:41] Dr. Gundry: test. Oh, and I tell people, look, if I only had one blood test to tell you your fate It would be a fasting insulin level. if I only got one, and it’s 8. And, it’s like one of the chapters is I have a crystal ball, and it’s the wall of your gut. If I can, I know what’s going to happen to you if I know how permeable your gut wall is. How do I know that? Because experiments and even Little worms show that, that little worm, which is actually a standard model of longevity, C. elegans, as that little worm’s gut wall becomes more and more porous, the worm dies faster and faster. If the gut wall of that worm is intact, the worm lives for a very long time. And we can show what will make that worm’s gut wall impermeable and what won’t. And the whole book is, let’s teach you how to, number one, have a bunch of friendly, happy bacteria in a community that works biodiversity. And number two, let’s fortify the wall of your gut so that nothing gets through. And the stronger it is, then, the good news is, the more you can probably get away with.
[00:40:09] Gabby Reece: Right, and that’s the thing you’re saying, is hey, get fortified so that when you do a little of this or that, you don’t pay a wicked price for that.
[00:40:16] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And the fun thing is, we see that people who might have been have food sensitivities to, say, 20 different foods that we can test for.
Yeah. It goes away. I’ll tell you one of my favorite stories. I take care of a gentleman who’s fairly high in a social media company. And he was sent to me by Peter Diamatus the X Prize. Sure. He had a really nasty, painful autoimmune disease, and he was on drugs, and he wasn’t getting any better, and blah, blah, blah.
We did these tests, and he had really leaky gut surprise. And he was really sensitive to eggs, both egg yolks and egg whites. All the proteins in egg yolks and egg whites. So, I said, okay, we’re going to get rid of eggs, sorry. He said, oh, you can’t do that. I have an omelet every day of my life.
I have to have my omelette. And I’m going okay. There’s a good egg substitute. But, have faith in me. We’ll get you your eggs back. We really will. Nine months in, so he’s off of his meds. His pain is gone. His inflammation is gone. And we can watch his leaky gut get better and better. Nine months in, it’s pretty much sealed.
And he says, can we retest my egg again? I said, sure. So, this time, he’s no longer sensitive to egg white. He’s still sensitive to egg yolk. And I said, good news. You can have an egg white omelet. And he’s going, oh, thank you. Oh, you changed my life. Two and a half days later, phone rings. It’s him. He said. I am in such pain. And I’m going, what did you do? And he said you told me I could have an egg white omelette. Two days ago, I had an egg white omelette for breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner. Yesterday I had one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner. Today I was cooking my egg white omelette in pain and I went I wonder if I did this too quickly.
And I said, yeah, bye. Now he’s eating egg whites and egg yolks and he’s a happy guy. I think
[00:42:21] Gabby Reece: it’s funny too how we get attached to things like our rituals and our weirdness that we won’t give up. What about stress? What? What about if you have a patient who comes in and there, they play by all the rules, they don’t eat any of the, damaging foods, but man, they got a wicked job or they’re in a, they got a bunch of little kids or they’re just, or they’re also naturally more of a high stressed person. How do you help those people?
[00:42:49] Dr. Gundry: Two ways. Number one, stress is actually a really good way to cause leaky gut. There is a, a gut brain axis and it goes both ways. It’s actually far more from the gut than the brain. But the stress from the brain can cause leaky gut. But a whole chapter in the book is devoted to if you don’t have the right set of bacteria.
Bacteria that can make the feel good hormones, the anti-anxiety hormones. And these bacteria are killed off preferentially by glyphosate. So, everyone listening who’s having their organic oatmeal for breakfast, ought to realize that it’s loaded with glyphosate, organic oatmeal. And besides it’s a really nasty lectin, but Even if you don’t believe me about that, it’s got glyphosate.
And that’s ki your healthy, organic oatmeal is killing off the microbiome that is going to do serotonin, the feel good hormones, oxytocin, the love hormone. And your brain is not getting those messages. And your stress, and so many of my patients actually, like the book said, it’s got glyphosate.
didn’t come from what’s going into your brain. It’s because the things your brain needs are not being supplied. And you give it what it needs, take away glyphosate loaded foods, and it’s unfortunately everywhere. And you can, your anxiety and depression lift. It’s really exciting.
[00:44:29] Gabby Reece: You must sit at a 30, 000 view sometimes and go people. It’s not that hard and confusing because as we, in the world that we’re in now, and people go social media is making our kids more depressed and more of this, that could also participate. But what you’re saying too, is if we look at the foods, we’re consuming who knows, I don’t know if they’re spraying stuff in the air or not, whatever.
It’s just again, everywhere that you must think it must be fascinating for you to go, okay, so depression and anxiety. Weight gain, autoimmune, hormone, heart health, all these things. If we could just get this one thing taken care of, then that would take care of so many things.
[00:45:12] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And it gets back to Hippocrates. All disease begins in the gut. You choose the disease. You want arthritis? starts in the gut, honest not just rheumatoid arthritis, plain old osteoarthritis. Yeah.
[00:45:28] Gabby Reece: Yeah. You talk about that too. Bone health, bone density. Oh yeah. Bone density.
[00:45:31] Dr. Gundry: It’s all from the gut. I see all these women with osteopenia and osteoporosis. We don’t put them on these. synthetic crazy bone builders, we change their gut and we can actually watch their bone rebuild. It’s wow!
[00:45:48] Gabby Reece: So, a lady of 60 or 70 years old can rebuild your own. And someone who’s had 30 years of autoimmune and they come in and they’re on this and they’re on that and if they dedicate a year to 18 months of really doing it, taking care of their gut, they can really support them healing.
[00:46:05] Dr. Gundry: Give me six to nine months and just watch what happens. That’s why I keep seeing patients six days a week because there’s not a day goes by that something happens that I go, wow, thank you for coming in. People, I’ve had little kids who have such massive psoriasis on their hands and feet that the mothers, eight year old kids can’t walk and can’t hold things because they’re bleeding from their hands.
And within three months, the bleeding stops and nine months later, the kid is back to school with normal hands and normal feet, as long as they’re not eating these certain foods. Yeah. And. And we can, I have a big pediatric and adolescent practice seeing these girls who, are anxious and depressed, and it’s a hard job for the parents to, Hey, honey, look let’s try this.
We’ve tried everything else. You’ve been to four psychiatrists. You’ve been and nothing’s working. And maybe food is the answer. And, like I say, No wonder I’m so busy. Yeah. And
[00:47:17] Gabby Reece: you talk about even like skin and Oh yeah. Older wrinkles and spots and when you’re younger acne and things like that. It’s a lot of it is, obviously young people they’ve got some hormone stuff but ultimately the gut. Yeah.
[00:47:31] Dr. Gundry: And, a whole chapter is related to hormones. We’re now beginning to realize that probably PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, is from leaky gut. And now endometriosis looks like it’s from leaky gut. Certainly, the evidence is incredibly strong that Parkinson’s and dementia is leaky gut.
What’s fascinating is we can actually measure leaky brain. We can actually measure whether the blood brain barrier is under attack. And we can measure now antibodies against various components in the brain. And what’s fascinating is if you have leaky gut, you have leaky brain. And you, once you fix the leaky gut, the leaky brain goes away, which is, it’s incredibly empowering that.
We have the power to fix this. We don’t, and it’s, yeah, you’re going to hate me for a few months, probably, because I’m going to take away some of your favorite foods. Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. But you can have them back. And that’s the carrot on the stick that I hold out for my patients. Look, try this.
Yeah. You’re not going to like me for a while, but you’re going to start to feel better so quickly. And then watch, we’ll retest you and look, you can, okay. You can have your baguette if you go over to France or if you can find properly raised wheat in the United States.
[00:49:04] Gabby Reece: I think it’s the other part of it is like now you have all these specialists.
So, it’s an interesting thing where everybody wants to claim I do this, I’m a doctor of this and that. And it’ll be interesting to see, because I have seen more and more, you’re seeing these specialists that are siloed off into their specialty. And they’re all saying there is a movement because it feels like almost like we’ve gone too far to. We’ll just throw a pill at it, that’s not working, and I’m seeing all of these different people come back to exactly what you’re saying. So regardless if we’re talking about mental health and anxiety, if we’re talking about your hormones, if we’re talking about you, your, gastro and How, it’s all going back to these same things.
[00:49:43] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, which is amazing, David Perlmutter and Dave Bredesen have become very good friends of mine. And, we’d sit around we’d chat, and we’d go, isn’t this hilarious that, a couple of neurologists and, heart surgeon cardiologists would all meet in the gut. And none of us were really particularly, interested in that, number one, and none of us were really trained in it. I was a general surgeon before I became a heart surgeon, so I knew a lot about the gut, but I didn’t like the gut. I wanted to be a heart surgeon, but now. Everything is actually melding in the same place and we just shake our heads and we just go, yeah, Hippocrates is right, and I don’t know how he knew it, but he was right. Yeah.
[00:50:26] Gabby Reece: There’s suggestions that he took psychedelics, but that’s, another story, right?
[00:50:29] Dr. Gundry: It’s interesting you should say that. Psychedelics actually change the gut microbiome. Is that good or bad? That’s actually a very good thing and it may be why they actually work.
[00:50:43] Gabby Reece: Is that why you have those blue glasses on? What’s going on? Do you know something?
[00:50:47] Dr. Gundry: It’s the next book. Okay.
[00:50:49] Gabby Reece: What’s funny is I. by nature, have a more conservative approach to that stuff. Not a, not an open minded one, just for my own personal practice, but certainly I think it started with Michael Pollan’s book on how to change your mind, just because it would seem reasonable to me.
And then now hearing so many success stories, I have people, ex-military friends that have really gotten a lot of relief through these processes. And. Really measured. It’s exciting to have measured people who like to see data and research, but open minded and talking about other tools from nature that can be healing.
[00:51:24] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, there’s actually a very interesting old Greek saying from around the time of Hippocrates. When they were
[00:51:30] Gabby Reece: doing psychedelics together. Oh, yeah.
[00:51:32] Dr. Gundry: The saying was, you must die before you die, so that when you die, you will never die. And the descriptions of most of these experiments, from Hopkins, from Harvard, on the effect of psychedelics is almost universally identical to near death experiences. And so, this is from 2, 500 years ago Greek, you must die before you die so that when you die, you’ll never die in it. And if this is true, then this opens up the window of what’s happening when you die. And then you end up never fearing death. Yeah. That’s what the expression basically meant. Yeah. Yeah. But it changes your microbiome. Kind of cool. I started,
[00:52:27] Gabby Reece: I micro dosed a little bit and I know that’s very different cause, and again, I thought I was getting like cement head, I called it. Where it felt hard, my brain was starting to feel hard and not soft and not pliable. And so just a couple days a week, a small, very measured micro just a micro dose and, I felt more homeostasis, like an easier form of homeostasis. So anyway, I haven’t gone on a full trip, but maybe I need to die before I die so I don’t have to die when I die.
[00:52:56] Dr. Gundry: Sadly, I’ve had a few patients who have done some pretty big trips. And they unfortunately we’ve looked at their brain with autoimmune stuff. Oh yeah? And at least two of them Boy, they, they’ve got, they’ve attacked their brains in places they don’t want to be now. They’re coming back. Yeah. So, you got to be careful. Yeah, you want to be measured. And I think Paul Stamets is right, I think eventually maybe micro dosing will be approved by the FDA. Yeah. He’s certainly. Yeah
[00:53:31] Gabby Reece: I’ve had a very positive experience with it. Cholesterol. I still don’t understand. It has been more than seven or eight years that really reputable people have been talking about that. It has nothing to do with your heart. Pretty much with heart disease, but yet you will still hear people say, I have very high cholesterol. I’m going to go on a statin. And it’s have you not gotten the information? And it’s amazing when we get an idea out there, it sticks. People can’t change their mind. I liken it even to like this booster with COVID. It’s like people are like, I’m getting my ninth booster. It’s okay, it’s like they lock in on a message and they can’t get over it. So, can we once again, revisit?
[00:54:12] Dr. Gundry: Michael DeBakey, one of the fathers of heart surgery from Houston, Texas back in the 50s and 60s used to say that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, that cholesterol is an innocent bystander. And it gets involved with patching areas of blood vessels that have inflammation.
And I, in past books, have written let’s suppose I’m an alien that is circulating the earth and reporting back to high command my findings. One of the things I could probably conclude is that I’m pretty sure that accident, that Ambulances cause car accidents, because every time I see a car accident, there’s an ambulance.
And of course, association does not mean causation. And, but you could think that if you saw the ambulance, that was the cause of the car accident. It’s the same thing, just because cholesterol certainly is associated with a plaque, doesn’t mean that the cholesterol was responsible for that plaque. We really got off.
the boat when statin drugs were introduced, statins clearly lower LDL cholesterol, the quote bad cholesterol. And we saw, through studies, that yeah, if your LDL was lowered, yeah, your risk did go, did go down. Not by much, but it did go down. The cholesterol hypothesis of heart disease gained ground. Fast forward a few years and we realize that Statin drugs work not by lowering LDL cholesterol, but they work by blocking what are called toll like receptors, tiny little radars I call them, that actually measure and invite inflammation, cause inflammation. They actually read barcodes on compounds. Statin drugs were blocking them from reading that something was foreign. Cholesterol lowering was a side effect of the statin drug that had nothing to do with how the statin drug was working. The statin drug was lowering inflammation. And what, yeah. And so, we I got the cause and effect all wrong. I have patients, literally, in their 60s, who have over 500 total cholesterol.
They have LDLs of 450. They have absolutely no coronary artery disease by CT coronary angio. No plaque. None. Yeah. Now, some of them come, and I do my tests looking at vascular inflammation, these people, and they have absolutely no vascular inflammation, none whatsoever. And their cholesterol is not oxidized, it’s not rusty or rancid.
And the surface of their blood vessel is slippery, and we can measure that. So, when I see these people, and they go, my doctor wants me on a statin, I say, you’re 65 years old, you have no plaque and you have an LDL cholesterol of 450 and your doctor still wants you on a statin? I said, I could have saved you a lot of time because look, you have no markers of any issue.
And I go into that a lot in the, in gut check because if you have, we have a lining. over our blood vessels that are called, that’s called the glycocalyx. And it’s basically a bunch of sugar molecules all lined up. We have that same lining in our blood brain barrier. We have a very similar lining in our joints. And here’s one of the real sad things. It’s towards the end of the book, but keep reading, folks. There’s this sugar molecule in beef, lamb, and pork, and in milk called NU5Gc. Yes, I’m
[00:58:20] Gabby Reece: Yes, I’m so glad we’re talking about this.
[00:58:20] Dr. Gundry: And we have a sugar molecule called Nu5Ac. The two molecules are identical except for one molecule of oxygen.
They’re otherwise indistinguishable. Now, years ago, when I wrote about this in the Plant Paradox, we thought we didn’t think. If you or I eat, drink some raw milk, you will instantaneously make antibodies to NU5Gc in that milk. Sorry about that. Even if it’s raw, it’s beautiful. We thought, because the two molecules are so close, that we would mistake our molecule, NU5Ac, for NU5Gc, and attack it, and it was called molecular mimicry.
And, okay, that main association does not mean causation. But now, the literature shows that this glycocalyx, which is made up primarily of NU5AC in us, Yeah. is always being constantly changed. So, if you’re eating a diet high in NU5Gc, then these sugar molecules replace NU5Ac, and it’s a foreign molecule, and we have antibodies to it.
And I argue in the book That if you want to produce heart disease, then you should eat beef, lamb, pork, and drink milk. You want to produce leaky brain, then do this. If you want arthritis, do this. And now we know the mechanism. Now, is there hope? Yes! Yes, the good news is bacteria love NU5Gc and they will ferment it.
The problem is it’s absorbed before your colonic bacteria can get to it. But if you ferment milk and turn it into yogurt. Or cheese, there is no new 5Gc in yogurt and like hard cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino. It’s gone. And what’s really exciting is if you take meats and ferment them the way traditional sausages are made, they eat the new 5Gc in that meat.
And there is no Neu5Gc in traditional sausages.
[01:01:01] Gabby Reece: And you talked about liver being really high, is that right? Liver is the
[01:01:05] Dr. Gundry: highest content of Neu5Gc there is. Liver man, if you’re listening, Oh, jeez, that poor guy. If you want to produce arthritis, heart disease, and dementia, Yeah.
[01:01:20] Gabby Reece: So, what if someone’s listening to this and they go, okay I, I do eat, that’s what I do. I eat meat and vegetable, or.
[01:01:28] Dr. Gundry: Yeah. So now again, I got no dog in the fight. I’m from Omaha, Nebraska. No
[01:01:32] Gabby Reece: I, no, I know. I’m just I’m looking at it more from the most healthful way to do it. So, fermented. But if realistically you don’t live near a German sausage maker and you’re a person who’s I try to be keto or, I’m making it up because everybody has.
[01:01:46] Dr. Gundry: The good news is you can find fermented sausages here in the United States. A good friend of mine, Jimmy Schmidt, who’s won three James Beard awards ferments his sausage. You can get Italian and French sausages, Portuguese sausages that come from Europe that are traditionally prepared.
Most Italian named sausages in this country do that. Of course. You can’t go get a bratwurst and assume it’s been fermented. Sorry about that. But the other exciting news that I talk about in the book is the more NU5AC products you eat, like fish and chicken, properly raised chicken, properly raised fish, you’ll displace that NU5GC out of these glycocalyxes. So that’s the exciting news.
[01:02:38] Gabby Reece: So, there’s a way to bank it a little bit. Yeah.
[01:02:41] Dr. Gundry: Yeah. So, for instance, my wife and I will have a Grass fed, grass finished filet, Mike, every three months, and don’t feel bad about it, and, again, I’m from Omaha. But do we have it every day? No, we don’t.
Do we have milk? No, we don’t. Will have fermented A2 milk or, cheeses. Yeah. And if you look at the blue zones, one of the things that’s remarkable about the blue zones is that four of the five blue zones are sheep herders and goat herders, and they eat a huge portion of their food in the form of yogurts and kefirs and cheeses. And that’s actually what makes them the blue zones. Blue zones. And they smoke like fiends. I know, I saw
[01:03:26] Gabby Reece: that, I was like what do they say, an exercising, exercising smoker is better than like a nonmoving nonsmoker, something to that effect I think I’ve heard as far as like health and longevity.
[01:03:38] Dr. Gundry: What’s fascinating, nicotine, yeah real nicotine has some good things in it. It’s one of the greatest mitochondrial uncouplers there is. It blocks LPSs, which we haven’t talked about. But it’s addictive. No doubt about it. Tobacco companies depend on its addictive. But, if you look at sardinia, which is fascinating, the only sardinians who have longevity live up in the mountains.
The sardinians who live down by the water don’t. What makes them different? They’re the goat and sheep herders. They’re eating a lot of these products. And what’s really fascinating is the men have the longevity in Sardinia, in Acchiaroli, in Crete, in Costa Rica, because they’re the smokers. About 95 percent of the men are smokers.
Only 25 percent of the women are smokers. Men in general. live much shorter lives than women, about seven years. But how those guys become blue zones is because the men reach the women, because they’re smokers. Now, why aren’t they all dying of lung cancer? This was something that fascinated Stephan Lundeberg about the Kitabans, which are those interesting people in Papua New Guinea.
They smoke like fiends. They have never had an episode of coronary artery disease or a stroke, and they’ve never had an episode of cancer. And you go what the heck? And I’ve written about this before. It’s because they’re eating all of these antioxidant rich vegetables and eating tons of polyphenol containing foods.
And so, they’ve actually mitigated against the negative oxidative stress that smoking brings them. Yeah, it’s really bad for them, but they’ve stopped that effect because of the rest of their diet. It’s like the Mediterranean diet. The studies, over and over again, show that the grains and beans of the Mediterranean diet are a negative effect, but it’s compensated for by all the olive oil, all the red wine, all the fruits and vegetables that are rich in polyphenols. If you don’t understand which the important factors and you are want to, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. And if you want to make a case that grains, and beans are good for you because all these long living people do it. No, that’s not the case.
[01:06:17] Gabby Reece: And let’s be clear, like the nicotine that when they put in cigarettes has all these other chemicals that are dangerous.
But I have a friend, Paul check that smokes nicotine, but in a. It’s like in its pure form. So, I think, to your point, it does a lot of interesting things.
[01:06:33] Dr. Gundry: Yeah, and the argument can be made that these people are rolling their own and they’re growing their own tobacco and they’re not spraying the tobacco with pesticides, etc.
[01:06:44] Gabby Reece: Yeah, it’s a, can we, can you just remind people, because I do love the uncoupling. Be because it’s important for people to understand about mitochondrial uncoupling. Yeah.
[01:06:55] Dr. Gundry: I Spent two books trying to make the Case and it’s in gut check as well. And we had party scenarios even for that. That’s right. Yeah. The Mitt Club I remember. Mitochondria make a TP for us, e the energy currency that we spend, and we have to make a TP in mitochondria. These engulfed bacteria are really good at making it. Simplistically, it’s really hard work, and it’s really damaging. And the more mitochondria make ATP, the more they’re damaged.
Now, we have two antioxidants in our mitochondria, and there’s only two. Melatonin, the supposed sleep hormone, and glutathione. Melatonin is not a sleep hormone, folks. It’s an antioxidant. So, Years ago there was a professor at the Buck Institute Martin Brand, who wrote a cute little paper. It said uncoupling to survive, and everybody can read it.
And he basically said that when times are rough, if you’re starving to death, then mitochondria It can’t die because if they die, if they starve to death, you’re done for because you got nothing to make energy. Since making energy is such hard work, there is a mechanism that mitochondria use to protect themselves from damage.
And it’s got this name called uncoupling. Now it’s not Gwyneth Paltrow getting divorced. Oh, that was awesome. They uncouple oxidative metabolism from making ATP. And the way they do this is there’s basically emergency exits in mitochondria where protons, which would normally couple with an oxygen molecule to make ATP, instead leave via a back door and don’t couple with oxygen.
You still actually burn oxygen, but you don’t make any ATP. Now, that seems stupid, but it turns out it stops damage in mitochondria. Professor Brand showed that Mitochondria will aggressively uncouple to save their lives. And everybody said, that’s stupid, what a ridiculous thing. He went on to show that super long lived people have the most uncoupled mitochondria.
And as I talked about in other books, there is an interesting theory of aging called the cost of living hypothesis. And the cost of living hypothesis is basically the faster your metabolic rate, the shorter your life. And It works pretty good little creatures don’t live a long time, and they have really high metabolic rates.
Big creatures like us and elephants live a really long time because we have a slow metabolic rate. Now, the problem with that theory is birds. Birds have incredible lifespans, and they’re really small. A hummingbird in captivity can live 12 to 14 years, and it’s got a heartbeat of 1, 100 beats. per minute.
It has a huge metabolic rate. Parrots can live 80 to 100 years. And they, so how do they do it? They have the most uncoupled mitochondria of any species. So, when you start then looking at, do I want my mitochondria uncoupled? And super old people have the most uncoupled mitochondria? It turns out that but people with the highest metabolic rates live the longest because what we’re actually measuring is how much their mitochondria are wasting fuel.
And the side effect of wasting fuel is, in general, you lose weight and you can eat more.
[01:11:00] Gabby Reece: Yeah. So that’s where the fasting and things like that can also accelerate.
[01:11:03] Dr. Gundry: That’s where, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It uncouples mitochondria because it exposes your mitochondria to ketones for a longer period of time. And ketones aren’t some miraculous fuel, they’re actually, they uncouple mitochondria. Because long ago, the only time ketones would have appeared was when we were starving, because guess what? We didn’t. Catch a wildebeest every day, right?
[01:11:30] Gabby Reece: Yeah. And that’s, I’m so glad you brought it back around to the ketones.
Cause I wanted to bring up, your, that you like ketones and they’re great on couplers. I wanted to see if we could talk about APOE4 and just You, there’s a section in the book where you talk about the reduction in amino and s sc FA production. There was this whole sort of element in there that I wanted to see if you could talk about.
[01:11:59] Dr. Gundry: Yeah. About 30% of us Carrie. a mutation of the ApoE gene makes apolipoproteins, and I promise there won’t be a test. These proteins are rather important for carrying cholesterol around the body, for delivering cholesterol. into the brain and picking it up and taking it out and also taking omega 3 fats into the brain. And one of the surprising things that was learned about people who have a mutation called the APOE4 mutation, most people carry what’s called 3 4. Some unfortunate people carry 4 4. which is pretty mischievous, but this, having this gene is called the Alzheimer’s gene, but people should realize the vast majority of people with Alzheimer’s don’t carry this gene. We’ve done a really good job from leaky gut in the foods we eat from producing, for producing Alzheimer’s. Nevertheless, these people don’t carry long chain fatty acids into their brain Omega, DHA, and EPA. You have to have certain phospholipids to do that, and they’ll do an end around. So, one of the things I do with my APOE4 patients, and I have a ton of them, is have them take krill oil.
And krill oil What you want to do when you buy it is look for the most phospholipids per capsule. Now the problem is you can’t just take krill oil because it doesn’t have much DHA in it. And we measure DHA in people and people who have the ApoE4 gene don’t have DHA in their brain. You could take tons of fish oil and it won’t get you your brain.
So, you got to take krill oil as well as fish oil. Or a plant based. Like an alga one. I make one at Gundry MD, it’s all plant based.
[01:14:07] Gabby Reece: So, for you personally, do you take any supplements?
[01:14:09] Dr. Gundry: Yeah.
[01:14:10] Gabby Reece: I’m not telling you to tell people what to take, I’m just saying
[01:14:14] Dr. Gundry: what do you my last book I actually listed out in Unlocking the Keto Code.
I listed all my supplements and people were just blown away. It’s 120 in the morning and 80 at night. Do I vary them? Yes, I do. Do I think they’re going to have an effect? Yes, our ancient hunter gatherers used to eat 200 different species of plants on a rotating basis. And all these plants were grown in six feet of loam soil.
It was all organic. And if you really think, even eating our organic diet, that we’re going to expose our microbiome to 200 50 different mixtures of polyphenols on a rotating basis, then I’ve got oceanfront property in Palm Springs to sell you, Gabby. You’ve got actual oceanfront property, but.
[01:15:05] Gabby Reece: no, it’s, so do you do it on an empty stomach? Like what’s the process? How do you get that?
[01:15:09] Dr. Gundry: done? However, I can, yeah, however I can get them into my patients, the better. Women in general are much more sensitive to supplements than men, so Meaning
[01:15:20] Gabby Reece: more responsive? No, it bothers
[01:15:22] Dr. Gundry: their stomach. Bothers their stomach. I see. Women in general do better.
And one of the reasons, interestingly enough, I make so many powders and gummies at GundryMD is that I found from my patient experience that women in general hate taking capsules and tablets. And you’re much more likely to drink a supplement or a couple supplements. And I found that’s how I came to make so many powders and now gummies that women will take. Is it,
[01:15:56] Gabby Reece: I’m sure you’ve thought about it, but sometimes I see gummies and they make me nervous that there’s so many other weird
[01:16:01] Dr. Gundry: things in them. Oh yeah. So, my gummies are basically just sugar. Yeah. So, my gummies are made out of either allulose or inulin, which are prebiotic fibers.
And we won’t put any of that crap. Yeah. Cause I’m just saying to people. Oh yeah. Most gummies are just pure sugar folks. Sorry. Yeah.
[01:16:17] Gabby Reece: So are there hero supplements though that like you go, Hey, it would seem that the majority of people would benefit from this variety of
[01:16:26] Dr. Gundry: supplements. Yeah. And I talk about this in the book. Number one is vitamin D, vitamin D3. most. Not most, all of my patients with an autoimmune disease have low vitamin D levels. Virtually every one of my patients with leaky gut has a low vitamin D level. Now, what’s low? The federal government says 30 is perfectly normal. The University of California, San Diego, which has a big vitamin D research center, says the average American should be taking 9, 600 international units of vitamin D3 a day.
I have some of my patients when we first start around 20, 30, 40, 000 of vitamin D to get their vitamin D levels up. Vitamin D is critical for healing leaky gut. It actually tells stem cells to grow and fill holes. Vitamin D also is critical for telling our overactive immune system to lay down your weapons and just relax.
And we’ve seen over and over again that for instance, in rheumatoid arthritis, the white blood cells in rheumatoid arthritis are insensitive to vitamin D. They would normally be calmed down and you got to hit them over the head with a sledgehammer of vitamin D to get their sensitivity down. And so, vitamin D is really critical.
The other thing that I think people should realize, is we are one of the few animals that don’t manufacture vitamin C. Vitamin C we monkeys and guinea pigs vitamin C, we have five genes that manufacture enzymes that take glucose, sugar, and convert it to vitamin C. We have all five genes, but the fifth gene is what’s called a ghost gene.
It’s inactive, and we think that apes, guinea pigs, and us all had huge amounts of vitamin C in our diet, in, in our food supply, in our, in the jungle. And It was a waste to take glucose, which was really, was calories and produce something that you got in abundance. So, you knocked out that gene. So, you wouldn’t waste that glucose.
What’s so important is we know from experiments in rats that you can take rats who make vitamin D. I see. and put in our gene sequence so that they carry our ghost gene. And they will live only half as long as a normal rat. But, if you put vitamin C in their water, they will live every bit as long as the normal rat.
Yep. That shows you how critical vitamin C is for everything. Vitamin C also is essential for not only making collagen, but when collagen is broken by ultraviolet rays or smoking, then vitamin C is essential to repair that collagen break. And if you don’t have vitamin C, it’s not repaired. And one of the theories that I’ve talked about in other books and this one is that smokers get a particular form of blockages in their blood vessels where of bends occur and they don’t have any vitamin C because vitamin C is used up in the oxidative stress of smoking and that’s why they have all the wrinkles as well.
But what’s interesting about smokers is once past the blockages. Their blood vessels are gorgeous. It used to be, it was so fun operating on a smoker back in the good old days because they had beautiful blood vessels beyond the blockage, and in general, they were skinny. Now, of course, everybody has disease everywhere in their blood vessels because it’s now, in my humble opinion, an inflammatory process. Everything that’s happening, you’ve got to check. Yeah. Yeah, so vitamin C. So, you’ve got to take timed release vitamin C. Yeah.
[01:20:46] Gabby Reece: Yes, I was going to ask you if you have a favorite one. There’s several out there.
[01:20:50] Dr. Gundry: Even if that’s a pain in the neck, go buy some chewable vitamin C tablets and carry them around in your pocket and four times a day chew a vitamin C. It’ll work fine.
[01:21:02] Gabby Reece: We joked the last time about the influence you can have on your wife because you’re, when you’re married, you’re so close to somebody. What suggestions or invitations have you made to her that she’s finally on board with that she has in her practice now that maybe she was reluctant?
[01:21:16] Gabby Reece: I’m just curious.
[01:21:18] Dr. Gundry: She’s become a very religious supplement taker number one. Yeah. I think I told you that Martin Cary Sisson and Penny and I spent some time together a few months ago in the south of France, and We were talking about marathon running and Mark, one of the great marathoners, of all time, really thinks the farthest a human being should run is a hundred yards. Yeah. And Penny was a great marathoner. She qualified and finished the hundredth running of the Boston Marathon. And I started showing her the data. Of marathon running. Oh yeah, in their hearts? In their heart. And she hung up her cleats. She stopped running when I showed her the data. And she, and Mark, and I think my wife would be the first to admit that. Nobody really enjoys running. What you’re looking for is the endorphin effect. And it’s, you’re looking for that, kick, that hit. And it’s, it was hard for her to give up, but the evidence is just so scary about the effect, particularly long distance running.
[01:22:26] Gabby Reece: If you were going to go into medical school today and I know that your path has led you here and it’s perfect, but it, what would you go in and study if you were, 21 or two and what, right now, what would you study? What form of medicine?
[01:22:41] Dr. Gundry: The problem is it’s really not. taught in medical school, and I’ll get back, so I get these third year family practice residents who, they see what I do, and they all get excited every one of them, and they go back, this is their final year before they go out into practice, and they go back and they talk to their advisor, and they go, oh my gosh, this is what I went into medicine to do, this is what I’m going to do, I’m, I’m going to, teach people how to eat and I’m going to measure these things and, going to change the world. And then their advisor looks at them and they said guess what? You’re going to have to see 40 patients a day for eight minutes each to pay off your 250, 000 medical student alone and to actually keep the lights on in the building. And during those eight minutes, you’re going to be at a computer renewing the six or eight prescriptions that your patient is taking. And that’s all the time you have. And they come back after an and they’re, some of them are in tears and they go, this isn’t why I went into medicine. This is why I went into medicine and I said we can’t do this. How can they stop me? And I said I almost went bankrupt doing this and my wife.
Said, look if you got to do this, we got to do this and, talk about understanding. It’s really hard from going to be a heart surgeon, even an academic heart surgeon, to teaching people how to eat. Nobody wants to pay you. Yeah.
[01:24:19] Gabby Reece: You’ve really made it. And so, we’ve talked about how hormones and your bones and your skin and your brain and your moods and everything is connected to gut health. If just to hit it, one more time, the cornerstones, because I think. Again, it feels floating and I love the fact that you talked about how that the gut can spread out this space of a tennis court. Yeah. This is a complicated space. But cornerstones of solid gut health for you, if you’re bringing your patients up to a level, what does that, what is that for you?
[01:24:55] Dr. Gundry: So, one of the. I think mind blowing studies, and there’s lots of mind blowing studies in gut check, was done by the husband and wife team at Stanford, the Sonnebergs. And they’re basically gut microbiologists. And everybody knows that you’re supposed to eat lots of fiber, and that fiber prebiotics are what the gut microbiome wants to eat, they need to eat it, and they’ll produce all these great short chain fatty acids like butyrate, and butyrate is the holy grail of health, it really is.
So, they said, hey, let’s take some humans, and we’re going to give each of these humans a whole lot of prebiotic fiber. And one group’s going to get all this prebiotic fiber. The other group is going to get the same amount of prebiotic fiber, but we’re also going to give them fermented foods. In this case, it was mostly yogurts and kefirs, plain.
And let’s see what happens to number one, the diversity of their gut microbiome, basically measuring How diverse that ecology of the tropical rainforest is. You need lots of different species in a tropical rainforest to make it work. You can’t kill off the wolves. And let’s look at inflammation markers and see what happens.
Theory would be prebiotic fiber will be eating, eaten by the good gut bacteria. More of them will show up to Take a part in the feast and they’ll tell the immune system, man, we’ve got what we want. It’ll quiet down. The folks who just got the prebiotic fiber had no change in their microbiome diversity and no change in their inflammation.
And you go, what the heck? The folks who got the probiotic rich yogurt, now there’s no living probiotics in yogurt, and if there were, they’re going to get killed by your stomach acid. What that has is actually post biotics, the products of bacteria and dead bacteria that increase the microbial diversity and the inflammatory markers fell.
I hate to use the expression; it takes a village. You actually have to have products of fermentation in the form of short chain fatty acids that are precursors of butyrate, and you have to have messages from dead bacteria in the form of post biotics. Only then can you take prebiotics and get the results you want, and it’s a real eye opener. So, you could munch all day on artichoke hearts, but if you don’t. Bring in some fermented foods and the one of the easiest ways is vinegar. Vinegar is a classic Fermented food people have been using vinegar since time immemorial. It’s easy
[01:28:08] Gabby Reece: and cheap. It is cheap I mean; I only even do apple cider vinegar and some water and just drink it and obviously salad dressing and making it and that’s the other thing We really always encourage people to make their dressings at home.
Oh, please. Yes. Because those oils and the seed oils, we won’t get into that today, the seed oils, but we talk about that a lot here where those are really wreaking havoc. We have talked about the oils that you like. And then when you just really quickly a butyrate being a hero, can we just talk a little bit about butyrate? Because I know it is. Yeah,
[01:28:42] Dr. Gundry: so, butyrate is a short chain fatty acid, and it’s produced by only certain types of bacteria in our gut. One of the things that was surprising to me, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, was yes, there are butyrate producing bacteria, but the butyrate producing bacteria have to have pieces of other short chain fatty acids, precursors, and other parts to actually come make butyrate.
And you could, eat all the fiber in the world, but if you don’t have the other missing pieces, they’re not going to make butyrate. Why is butyrate so important? Clonic cells, the cells that line our large intestine 80 percent of their energy requirements are met by burning butyrate as a fuel.
There’s no oxygen down there and so colonic cells are dependent on butyrate for life. What’s interesting is when you look at people who don’t make much butyrate, and that’s most of us because we’re not feeding those bacteria, we see Changes in their colon lining, we see polyps, we see pre cancers because these guys, when they’re starving to death, become abnormal cells.
And that explains why a low fiber, highly processed diet is Now commercials, people at 45 years old are supposed to get colonoscopies, it’s like, Huh? Now, why in the world? Because we’re seeing this huge increase in colon cancers in young people because their colons are starving to death.
Yeah, but it gets better. Butyrate is the major communication system between the microbiome and mitochondria and our brain and without butyrate Everything falls apart. It’s that simple. The mitochondria have to get information from butyrate. Your brain has to get information. And if you’re not making it that’s it.
[01:30:55] Gabby Reece: Is there anything that showed up in this particular project that surprised you? That you, it blew your mind? Because I’d imagine it’s hard to blow your mind at this point.
[01:31:04] Dr. Gundry: With, I mean with each, whenever I start on a book I actually refuse to write an outline because invariably. And as I write and research, not just my research, but other people’s research, I say, Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that.
And I’m, I like to go down rabbit holes and I’ll go, oh my gosh, look, this thing, this bug is essential for this bug to make what this bug needs. And that bug has to make this for the butyrate making bug. And if you don’t have this bug, and this bug, you’re screwed. I’ll give you a perfect example of that, which really impressed me.
There’s a compound that I am very high on called Urolithin A which was found by a Swiss company Timeline Nutrition. I have no relationship with them. I’m very fond of them. We’ve known for many years that pomegranates, walnuts, raspberries have an interesting polyphenol called e algaic acid.
And everybody thought this was really good stuff. It turns out that but if you look at super old people, 50 70 percent of super old people have the right combination of bacteria that can take pomegranates, walnuts, and raspberries and turn it into your lithonate. Unfortunately, only 14 20 percent of normal people, like you and me, have that.
proper combination of bugs to make urolithin A. Why is that so important? Turns out urolithin A is critical for uncoupling mitochondria and telling them to eat themselves and make new ones called mitophagy. And without urolithin A, that doesn’t happen. And there’s really cool studies that supplementing with urolithin A will build muscle mass by 20 percent within three months.
Yeah. What was shocking was Whoa, super old people have these bugs and the most and most of us don’t and what were they eating? What were they doing that enabled those bugs to thrive? And so, it’s you can eat all these polyphenols you want. But if you don’t have the right set of bugs to turn them into the active ingredient
[01:33:37] Gabby Reece: is, were people located this larger perc, is there a larger percentage of people located that have this all lined up? Or is it just individual case by case how they’re living and eating? These super long lived people. Yeah, amazing. Justin, you get a question.
[01:33:53] Dr. Gundry: I for the everyday common person, like myself, that’s just realizing that yes, God help is important.
What are like the first couple steps I should start taking? Number one. Take at least 10, 000 international units of vitamin D3 a day. Number two, it is very worth your effort to avoid grains as a general rule. If you’re going to eat nightshades peel and de seed them. Avoid If you’re going to eat beans or legumes, pressure cook them. Many societies pressure cook their beans or ferment them for a very long time. In Italy people will ferment beans for 48 hours. That scum that comes to the top when you’re soaking beans. is actually the fermentation of the beans. And the more they ferment, the less lectin content. The other thing that I talk about in the book, which people are not going to hear, want to hear, I didn’t, there’s a class of lectins that are called aquaporins. And one of the plants that contains aquaporins is spinach. Oh yeah, Popeye got it wrong. Yeah, and Not everyone reacts to the aquaporin in spinach, but, interestingly enough, a great number of my patients, particularly with MS react to the aquaporin in spinach. And I’m not going to create widespread panic, but and you can, from what I can tell, I have not found a paper that pressure cooking destroys the aquaporins. They’re also present in corn, soybeans. Bell peppers, tomatoes, tobacco, and spinach.
[01:35:46] Gabby Reece: Have you ever, have you visited at all with Tom Brady, by any chance?
[01:35:50] Dr. Gundry: No, but people have often said that his diet is virtually identical.
[01:35:55] Gabby Reece: I don’t know if you know this, but before I met you years back, I would make dinner and Laird would say, Is that a lectin? And I was like, I’m going to kill Dr. Gundry. congratulations on another book, Gut Check. It’s out tomorrow. And again, you can look, you can get it on audio. And I know there’s a lot of people who listen to books, but I would suggest to people because it’s something you can reread. It’s also liked a workbook. It has recipes. It has the lists of food. And it’s very helpful. And you do always It’s such a great job of making the information accessible. So, if people don’t have a big science brain like you, they go, Oh I still understand. So, Dr. Gundry, I really appreciate you. Thank you.
[01:36:37] Dr. Gundry: Supposedly I’m a pretty good explainer of difficult stuff and I read all my own books on Audible.
[01:36:43] Gabby Reece: Yes. And you make it always a party, everything. All the analogies are parties and gatherings.
[01:36:48] Dr. Gundry: It’s a party down in your gut. And unfortunately, it’s not a party for most of us down there. I know it’s a
[01:36:54] Gabby Reece: wasteland. And if we talked about avoiding so many things in life, really what just, I’m reminded in this book is if we can.
Take some put a little bit of energy towards making sure that we our guts are healthy and working well and to remind people that it doesn’t matter what age you are You can be 20 and have really serious wear and tear in your gut Oh, yeah, and you can be 60 and by the way, turn it around So I just want to remind people that it’s just really worth it.
[01:37:22] Dr. Gundry: Yeah. I mean we see people in their mid 80s who were on death’s door turning around and one of my favorite ladies had, she was a model in her years. And she went back to dyeing her hair bright red. She started living with a younger 70 year old man in her 90s. And she was a cougar. She was a great cougar and she made it to 97 and just. Passed away in her sleep, but she had a, the way you want to do it. She had a great 12 years .
[01:37:52] Gabby Reece: I hope you have a great trip. I appreciate it. And again, the book’s, gut Check, and Dr. Gundry, I’ll I look forward to the, maybe the next one’s about psychedelics. I don’t know.
[01:38:00] Dr. Gundry: Actually, they are looking forward to it actually. It’s about the brain. Oh, about the brain. Yeah. So yeah, psychedelics will be in there, but it’s more than meets the brain.
[01:38:11] Gabby Reece: Thanks everyone. Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you want to learn more, there is a ton of valuable information on my website. All you have to do is go to Gabrielle Reese. com or head to the episode show notes to find a full breakdown with helpful links to studies, research books, podcasts, and so much more. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and send them to at Gabby Reese on Instagram. And if you feel inspired, please subscribe. I’ll see you next week.
About Dr. Steven Gundry
If you want to improve your health, get in shape, and achieve a long, happy life… Let me be the first to welcome you. (You’re most certainly in the right place!) I’ve worked in medicine for over 50 years and am proud to be known as one of America’s preeminent heart surgeons. My colleague Leonard Bailey and I performed more infant and pediatric heart transplants than anyone else in the world. I’ve also had the privilege to operate in over 30 countries – including charitable missions to China, India, and Zimbabwe.