The New Probiotic Strain That Allows You To Eat Carbs Again, How GLP-1 Peptide Actually Works And Why It’s Not Intended For Everyone, With Pendulum’s Colleen Cutcliffe.

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You might've heard me say it before: “The gut is the second brain.”

But what if that boundary is pushed even further, and you consider the gut not just as an influencer but as the master controller of the body? Perhaps the real biological is unfolding right inside that intricate microbial realm that could be the linchpin to peak health.

With over two decades of leadership in biotech, pharma, and academia, my guest on today's show, Colleen Cutliffe, is gut-deep :) in microbiome knowledge. Her path, spanning from the hallowed halls of Johns Hopkins University to groundbreaking initiatives at Pacific Biosciences and Elan Pharmaceuticals, showcases an unyielding curiosity about the mysteries of the human body. Now, as the driving force behind Pendulum Therapeutics, Colleen is charting new territories in the world of the microbiome.

Pendulum is no ordinary biotech outfit. It's a beacon of innovation, deeply rooted in family values and driven by a team that believes in the profound potential of gut health. From the streets of San Francisco, they're pioneering a new understanding of our inner biology, spotlighting proprietary strains like Akkermansia muciniphila and pushing the boundaries of what probiotics can achieve.

Akkermansia muciniphila, one of Pendulum's products, is a unique oval-shaped bacterium that thrives in the human gastrointestinal tract. This anaerobic microbe predominantly resides at the junction between oxygen-rich and oxygen-depleted zones of the intestines. Found in about 90% of healthy individuals, it constitutes 1% to 3% of your fecal microbiota. However, its prevalence can decrease with age or certain diseases.

In today's chat, Colleen unravels the enigma of the gut-brain axis and its monumental influence on the microbiome's functionality. She sheds light on the role of natural agents like berberine, bitter melon extract, apple cider vinegar, and even pharmaceuticals like metformin in regulating blood sugar. With insights into the importance of Akkermansia muciniphila in GLP-1 production and the captivating genetic variations within the microbiome, this conversation promises a comprehensive look at gut health like never before.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Colleen Cutcliffe's extensive education and background…00:45

  • Experience in managing and leading large teams in the fields of biotech, pharma, and academia
  • Co-founder of Pendulum Therapeutics (code GREENFIELD saves 20% off your first month's subscription)
    • Specializes in probiotics and bacteria-based products
    • Develops innovative probiotics with applications beyond traditional uses
  • Has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University
  • Her work is influenced by research from institutions such as:
  • Freestyle Libre

-The gut-brain axis' crucial role in how the microbiome functions…10:40

  • The microbiome metabolizes dietary fibers into short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate
  • Stimulates the production of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) in the gut
    • Influences insulin responses, blood sugar regulation, and food cravings
  • GLP-1 drugs, like Ozempic, are designed for individuals with type 2 diabetes who struggle to produce adequate levels of GLP-1 naturally
    • Not suitable for healthy individuals
      • Disrupt the natural GLP-1 cycle and may lead to unintended side effects
  • Constant stimulation of GLP-1 by semaglutide peptides would lead to consistently high insulin levels
    • The body continually attempts to metabolize sugar from the bloodstream even when not actively eating
    • Overstimulation of insulin-producing beta cells could lead to:
      • Decreased responsiveness over time
      • Reduced effectiveness of the drugs

-Berberine, bitter melon extract, apple cider vinegar, and metformin to regulate blood sugar levels…22:48

  • Blood glucose disposal agents
  • Metformin
  • The microbiome is the natural way to metabolize carbs and fiber
  • Facilitate glucose uptake into tissues like muscle
  • GLP-1, or glucagon-like peptide-1, is a molecule that stimulates insulin responses
    • Aids in blood sugar clearance
    • Plays a role in food cravings
  • Probiotics can influence GLP-1 production naturally through the gut microbiome
    • Short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, can stimulate GLP-1 release
    • People with diabetes and obesity are often low, or lacking entirely, in the microbes that stimulate GLP-1 production

-Akkermansia muciniphila and GLP-1 production…26:33

-Genetic variations in the microbiome…37:55

  • A study in Isreal: Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses
    • Associates different levels of Akkermansia with responses to high-sugar foods
    • Low Akkermansia levels may lead to poorer responses to high-sugar diets
      • There isn't enough data to confirm Akkermansia non-responders
    • Akkermansia can even help you respond to dieting better
  • A keto diet can increase Akkermansia levels
    • The relationship between diet and Akkermansia is not fully understood

-Are there side effects from using inulin and Akkermansia?…48:07?

  • Patients with SIBO reported benefits from taking Pendulum products
  • Providing the necessary microbes for metabolizing fiber can allow people with SIBO to reintroduce fiber into their diets
  • Miracle Noodles made out of Japanese yam (use code BEN to save 15%)
  • Akkermansia was discovered in the early 2000s

-Is there a connection between gut metabolism and Parkinson's disease?…52:37

  • Sugar Shift probiotic compound
  • Colleen's career started in pharma, working on drugs to treat Parkinson's disease
    • Research on brain plaques and how to remove them
  • We have neurons in our brain and in our gut
    • Neurons in our gut are constantly regenerated
    • Communication between the brain and gut via the vagus nerve
  • The plaques that show up in the brains of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's patients show up in the gut first
    • New field of work in studying and healing the gut rather than solely looking at the brain
  •  Pendulum is in the process of studying this

-When is the best time to take Pendulum products?…55:02

  • Take Pendulum twice a day with food (code GREENFIELD saves 20% off your first month's subscription)
    • Once in the morning, once in the evening
  • Colonization is key
  • Taken with food will reduce sensitivities
    • Food also creates a basic, rather than acidic, environment
  • Colleen takes two in the morning with coffee
    • It works for her
  • Take orally
    • There is no trial for this being used as an enema

-Ben's experience taking Pendulum products while wearing a glucose monitor…59:18

  • Cycles between apple cider vinegar to berberine to bitter melon extract
  • Sees a restoration of his blood glucose levels to normal pre-meal levels within a couple of hours after a meal
    • Generally doesn't see a rise to anything more than 120 post-meal
  • Started taking Pendulum, and stopped taking the above agents, and had similar results
  • When he quit taking Pendulum, his blood glucose would go above 120
  • Colleen had a similar experience, taking either Pendulum or a placebo while wearing a continuous glucose monitor
    • She had stronger workouts
    • Glucose spikes and crashes were minimized

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  • Couples Collective: October 25th – 29th, 2023

Couples Collective is an exclusive and immersive way to explore health, wellness, and mindset with your significant other. Jessa and I will be leading a health optimization and relationships workshop alongside many other awesome couples. This is a small event, and access requires you to interview with event-holder OWN IT to ensure a right fit. However, for those who are said fit, this event is designed to bring you into deeper union within your relationship and onward into greater connection with your life, love, health, and happiness. I'm looking for 6 to 7 powerful couples to come join me at the event – are you one of them? Learn more here.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Colleen Cutcliffe:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Colleen Cutcliffe or me? Leave your comments below, and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

6 thoughts on “The New Probiotic Strain That Allows You To Eat Carbs Again, How GLP-1 Peptide Actually Works And Why It’s Not Intended For Everyone, With Pendulum’s Colleen Cutcliffe.

  1. Gabriel Gluck says:

    Good evening
    Haw can I Get AKK Muciniphila in ROMANIA:
    E mail:[email protected]
    Thank YOU

  2. Chris says:

    Dr Willam Davis in his podcast with Ben earlier in the year said this about Pendulum –

    “Akkermansia, that’s the active component of the Pendulum product, when they first came out, they were charging I think $185 for a 30-day supply which is extraordinary. What they’re not telling you is that 95% of us already have Akkermansia. And, you can cause a bloom, a substantial bloom in Akkermansia just by doing something like getting inulin FOS, fructooligosaccharide, and the oleic acid of olive oil, and other prebiotic fibers and you cause Akkermansia to bloom. And, by the way I called the chief scientist at Pendulum, I said, “How many Akkermansia are actually in the capsule? Oddly, it’s not listed on the label.” He says, “Anywhere between 1 and 100 billion.” In other words, they have not fully worked out the process, they coat it with a polysaccharide to prevent it from dying upon exposure on oxygen. But, I’m a little bothered, Ben, when people do things just for profit and don’t tell you the full story, in that case, for the charging people a ton of money for something don’t — that 95% of people. Now, there are 5% of people who don’t have Akkermansia, and they may benefit by taking supplemental Akkermansia source.”

  3. gut4health says:

    @Tyler: improve blood flow with OPC tablets daily. 1tspn inorganic sulfur with each meal, and brown algae until farts & turds do not smell anymore (Prof. Dr. Dr. Probst method). I love to add 1 shot of activated effective microorganisms (aka EMa) and Green Propolis dissolved in DMSO 1tbspn first thing in the morning.

  4. Andrew Kencis says:

    Extremely interesting information. I tried immediately after hearing this podcast to order some. Unfortunately the discount code and subscription does not apply to Canadian orders. I was directed by Pendulum Customer service chat to a third party that sells it in canada. not the same thing but at least I can try this!

    Thanks Ben for a VERY informative and interesting talk!!

  5. Tyler says:

    I’m on a very fixed budget. What would you say would be the most inexpensive way to improve my gut microbiome?

    1. Chris says:

      Listen to the podcast with William Davis –

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