[00:00:51] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:51] Guest Introduction
[00:07:20] The Key to Healthy Bacteria and how Dr. Davis assesses and repairs gut issues
[00:11:16] What Is L. Reuteri and why focus on it?
[00:16:16] Dr. Davis' reaction when told he cannot make Yogurt with L. Reuteri
[00:24:59] How do you actually make the yogurt?
[00:31:30] Podcast Sponsors
[00:37:45] cont. How do you actually make the yogurt?
[00:38:48] What to do once you get the strains?
[00:42:51] What do you do for fermentation
[00:48:32] When is the best time to consume this yogurt?
[00:56:04] Using an older batch to seed a newer batch
[00:58:13] For someone with SIBO, what is a sample daily diet and supplements? Besides the yogurt, what should they be doing and avoiding?
[01:06:09] Big wins with probiotics
[01:09:23] Closing the Podcast
[01:11:43] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
William: And so, when people do this, they restore this microbe Lactobacillus reuteri, you get this surge in oxytocin and people will say things like, “I feel closer to my partner. I love my children even more than I did before. I like my coworkers better. They're less annoying to me.” And, my favorite, “I understand the opinions of other people even when I disagree.” Isn't that something?
Ben: Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
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Well, folks, I first became familiar with today's podcast guest and his pretty impressive body of work and writing when I actually interviewed him several years ago for an episode about heart attacks. And then, later he came back and joined me for a follow-up podcast about a book that he wrote called “Wheat Belly.” And, in that book, we talked about why you might not be eating the same kind of wheat that your ancestors ate, and whether wheat bread is really better than white bread, or if wheat is ever okay to eat, good substitutes and alternatives for wheat. And, that was a pretty fun episode. And, I'm going to link that one for you in the shownotes if you want to go back and listen to it.
But, he actually just wrote a relatively new book called “Super Gut.” It's “Super Gut,” was just absolutely great because I get a lot of these gut books and digestion books and they seem to all just be an echo chamber. This one was totally different and went into some really cool specific microbes in your gut, how to eliminate bad bacteria, how to bring back missing good bacteria, even includes this super simple four-week plan that you can follow. I took a bunch of the stuff that I learned in that book because I would say if there's one area in my life I struggle with, it's my gut and it just absolutely transformed my digestion and I think my nutrient assimilation, but then also a lot of other things related to the gut-brain axis like sleep and energy. And so, that book was really, really great for me. I wanted to get the author of it on today's show to talk about it.
I should tell you one other book this guy wrote that I think you would also really, really enjoy is a book called “Undoctored,” which as the name implied, kind of goes into how to navigate some of the failures and faults of our modern medical system and how to undoctor yourself, so to speak, or at least connect yourself with the right kind of physician.
So, if you haven't guessed already, my guest is Dr. William Davis, Dr. William Davis, who is not only as you may have already guessed, also a prolific author, but he practices what he preaches. I think on our last podcast he told me he hasn't had a bagel or ciabatta or a pretzel in years. And, I also know that he consumes a lot of the yogurt that we're going to talk about on today's show and that I've been enjoying every day since I read his book.
So, the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SuperGut. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/SuperGut, which is also the name of Dr. Davis's book, which is on Amazon now. And, I'll link that in the shownotes as well. Dr. Davis, welcome back to the show, man, for a threepeat.
William: Thank you, Ben. Thanks for the invitation. Always glad to be back.
Gosh, like I mentioned when I was introducing you, this book is a lot different than a lot of other digestion books that I've read and seems to be focused on specific key bacteria and strains that have a pretty significant impact not only on the gut but also on things like oxytocin, and brain health, and anti-aging, and mental clarity, and weight loss, and sleep. So, this might be an involved question that could go all over the place, but I'm curious in terms of your methods for repairing and for nourishing the gut, they seem a bit different than the average gastroenterologist or nutritionist. I'm just curious if you would describe what your overall process is when you're dealing with somebody who's got gut issues, what you're actually looking at.
William: As you well know, Ben, the conventional world essentially ignores the microbiome. They throw these atom bombs called antibiotics into your microbiome and just tell, “Oh, you have diarrhea for a couple of weeks. You'll get over it.” and say nothing about how to rebuild a microbiome, which is, as you know, essential. It's critical for long-term health. So, I think if we believe the evidence that's come out of Stanford from the husband-wife team of Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, they published a very important study about 9-10 months ago. And, that was they showed that the one thing that really seems to restore a collection of healthy microbes is consumption of fermented foods, that is fermented vegetables, kefirs, kombucha, yogurts, just plain old fermented vegetables because these microbes curiously have very important species like Pediococcus pentosaceus and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and a bunch of others.
But interestingly, they're not the microbes that take up long-term residents, they somehow set the stage to allow other healthy microbes to stay and persist. No one knows why or how that happens. In other words, if you plant tomato seeds in your garden, you don't get cucumbers, you get tomatoes. So, how in the world can you implant these microbes from fermented foods yet get a whole range of other microbes? So, it's not quite clear if they're quiescent or latent or somehow the fermented microbes make you more receptive to the microbes you obtained from other people, contact with other people, or the environment. Nobody knows, but that's become this thing, Ben, that we've all forgotten because of the invention of home refrigeration in the 1920s.
William: When [00:09:41] _____ discovered the use of freon as a refrigerant, and it made home refrigeration affordable. And, we all forgot that allowing food to undergo this controlled rotting process called fermentation was actually a great thing for human health.
Ben: Obviously, a lot of people are kind of familiar with the idea that fermented foods are really good way to restore bacterial balance to the gut. I think there might be some scenarios where it seems to actually cause a little bit more bloating and gas than people who have things small intestine bacterial overgrowth or might need to get rid of some of those foods for short period of time, but I might want to talk with you about that a little bit later on.
But, there's one microbe in particular that — actually before I started doing the yogurt from your book, I was doing a lot of the sauerkraut that my wife makes, fermented cabbage, some of these fermented condiments, taking a probiotic, etcetera. And, based on the recommendations from your book, I looked at, in my case it was Viome, I know there's other gut tests out there like Gut Zoomer or Thrive, and I look specifically at what you call the lost microbe based on what I understand from your book, the most important microbe. And, that's L. reuteri, R-E-U-T-E-R-I, L. reuteri. And, my levels were super-duper low, which concerned me based on everything I learned in your book about how beneficial this microbe is. I started doing the yogurt from your book, and within about eight weeks, my reuteri levels were fine. They were actually on the high end of the reference range.
And so, based on that, I would love to hear you describe a little bit more about what reuteri is and why you focus on it so much in your book and in your practice.
William: Sure, Ben. I'm shocked even today after several years of dealing with this one microbe, what this thing is capable of doing. So, it's a microbe along with many others that is uniquely susceptible to common antibiotics. So, if you took, for instance, amoxicillin 20 years ago say for an upper respiratory infection or for urinary tract infection, those common antibiotics like penicillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin, and many others kill off these healthy microbes.
Now, these healthy microbes were doing things for us, they're performing very vital functions for human health, but we've lost them. So, if you and I went to say, New Guinea, the jungles of the interior of New Guinea and we're to draw the blood or examine the stool, I should say, of people who've been living, these indigenous populations that hunt, gather, don't bathe very much and kill animals and eat and gather tubers and roots, these people all have Lactobacillus reuteri. If we were to sequence the microbiome of wild animals like raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, they all have Lactobacillus reuteri. If we were to sequence the microbiome of modern people, almost nobody has it anymore because of this unique susceptibility to common antibiotics. So, we've lost this microbe.
But, this microbe is responsible for one, taking up residence in the entire GI tract, which is unique by the way, Ben. Not just colon, but the 24 feet of small intestine and the stomach, and it sends a signal via my enteric nervous system, the nervous system of the intestinal tract via the vagus nerve to the brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary, to release the hormone oxytocin. So, a lot of your listeners will recognize the hormone oxytocin because it's the hormone of love and empathy. People say things like, “Pet your dog” or “Hug your spouse,” you get a little surge in oxytocin —
Ben: Right. Or, don't go negotiate for a used car when you've got high levels of oxytocin because you trust everybody, right?
William: That's right. Well, this is a way to increase the endogenous, the internal production of oxytocin around the clock, not just a moment when you hug somebody. So, you get this surge in oxytocin. And so, when people do this, they restore this microbe, Lactobacillus reuteri, you get this surge in oxytocin and people will say things like, “I feel closer to my partner. I love my children even more than I did before. I like my coworkers better. They're less annoying to me.” And, my favorite, “I understand the opinions of other people even when I disagree.” Isn't that something?
But, beyond that, it's clear that oxytocin is not just the hormone of love and empathy, it's important but there's more to it, there's an increase in REM sleep, deeper sleep, there's a restoration of youthful muscle and strength because we lose muscle and strength as we age, there's preservation of bone density, there is an acceleration of healing, there's a suppression of appetite for snacking for junk foods, there's an increase in drive, there's an increase in testosterone production in the testicles. The thing that cracks me up, Ben, so I tell people all this and I say, “We don't really care about the empathy, we don't really care about the restoration of youthful muscle or deeper sleep.” And, ladies all say this with rare exceptions, “We just want smoother skin” because one of the effects of oxytocin is to boost the dermal production of collagen. So, there's a marked increase in collagen and people start to lose their skin wrinkles within a few weeks. It's quite a dramatic effect. So, ladies will beat the door down. I tell ladies, “Do this, you'll start to lose your wrinkles in a few weeks. You'll have moisture skin.” But, the little secret is they'll be better human beings also. They'll be better able to get along with people, they'll be physiologically healthier, deeper sleep, more restorative sleep, healing is accelerated, bone density, et cetera. So, sadly humans are not motivated by issues like empathy, but they are motivated by issues smooth skin.
Ben: Yeah. And, what's interesting was I think that there was an anti-cancer study, I believe in your book you talked about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that also looked at the anti-cancer effects of L. reuteri. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's what initially kind of piqued your interest in L. reuteri. But, somewhere in your book, I recall you reached out to them and they told you that you can't. Now, you can buy it, it's not inexpensive. There's a company called BioGaia you can get on Amazon, but I mean it's expensive bacterial strain to just buy and consume. But, apparently when you contacted BioGaia they told you that you couldn't make yogurt with it that they tried and it doesn't work, which of course, I mean, for me anytime I hear something like that, it's a little bit of a challenge. It sounds like maybe the same thing for you.
So, what do you do from there once you discovered L. reuteri and they told you that you couldn't actually make yogurt out of it?
William: Yeah. Ben, it was an odd episode. So, I called these people who've done a very good job, by the way, of validating the effects of this microbe in infants. So, they have numerous studies showing, for instance, that by getting Lactobacillus reuteri, these two strains in a commercial product called Gastrus, G-A-S-T-R-U-S, that babies have less colic, less fussiness, less regurgitation of formula or breast milk. So, some interesting effects in babies when I told them, “Were you aware of these extremely elegant studies from MIT published between 2013 and 2017 showing all these incredible effects?” But, what surprised me, Ben, was the indifference. So, so what? Wait a minute? Even the MIT people said these are potentially life-changing discoveries. Do with it what you will. Surprise me.
And so, but the BioGaia people just weren't interested and they even told me, as you said, “You can't make yogurt.” I said, “I have made yogurt. I've made dozens of batches and it's rich and thick and you can.” What they're talking about is if you were to make yogurt in a factory, when you're commercially producing things, production time is key. If it takes an hour to make a product or three days to make it, you'll make more money if you make it in an hour. Well, commercial yogurt production is typically a four-hour process. Now, microbes, there's no, of course, male and female, there's no mommy and daddy microbes, they undergo something called asexual reproduction where a microbe becomes —
Ben: Sounds like fun.
William: Damn right, two becomes four. So, reuteri requires about three hours to double itself. So, if you ferment in a factory for four hours, you've got nothing. So, I ferment using that simple logic bench, just nothing but simple logic. If you allow double 12 times, you get this huge increase. It's like that old kid's riddle, “Which would you rather have, $1,000,000 or penny that doubles every day for 30 days?” Kids always say, “I'll take the $1,000,000.” Not recognizing that the penny will become over five and a half million dollars. But, if you look at the growth of that money, the big increases in money don't occur till about day 27, 28, 29. Same thing with microbial reproduction, when it's doubling every three hours, you don't get really big numbers till about hour 33. In other words, four hours is absurd.
Ben: And, by the way, when I've made yogurt in the past, before I learned your technique, I would go for about 12 hours. I thought I was doing myself a pretty good service because I'd see a lot of recipes for four hours. I'd go as long as 12 hours, but keep going but you kind of went above and beyond that.
William: So, we performed flow cytometry on the yogurts many times, and we get something like 250 and 260 billion counts of bacteria per half-cup serving. So, we're essentially increasing the number of microbes from the starting probably by about a thousandfold. That's probably part of the reason. Another thing I don't know, Ben, is I started with those BioGaia strains. And, these strains are just a pain in the ass. The DSM 17938 and the ATCC PTA 6475 —
Ben: Yeah, like the CP3, R2, D2 names.
William: Right. You and I don't make this shit up. And, that's what people do. So, these two strains from BioGaia, now I want to know though there's over 100 strains of reuteri. Are there strains better at this than other strains? So, can I tell you a very embarrassing story? I made a yogurt with another strain I got from a microbiologist. I call it the Suresh 07. That's not the real name, I just call it that because the guy gave it to me. His name is Suresh. He's an Indian guy. And, he gives me this microbe that's super high counts like 600 billion per gram, which is extraordinary. I've never seen that kind of number potency. I made yogurt with it. It was nothing special, taste the same, smell the same, et cetera. I had that yogurt.
That night, Ben, I had this very unusual dream. I dreamt that I met this woman and I saw her in exquisite detail. I saw her hair color. I saw her eye color, facial features. I felt overwhelming love and affection for this imaginary woman. She introduces herself to me, first and last name, which I've never had happen before. I wake up, and the most unusual thing of all with this intoxicating level of love and affection for this imaginary woman, a feeling I've not had for a real person in a long time, persisted well into the day. In other words, there's a way to, I think, turn on feelings of intense love and affection at will even for a person who's not really there. I've not been able to recreate that but I want to find the formula. Because imagine you could do that, turn on or turn off intense love and affection at will by some combination of reuteri, oxytocin, and something else. I've done all kinds of things to find out what the missing piece was. I boosted serotonin, epinephrine, and the cannabinoids, you name it. I've tried. I've not been able to, but it was such an intoxicating high of love and affection.
Now, I did ask, by the way. So, every Wednesday night, I do this thing with some of my followers. But, 80 of them show up every Wednesday night and we talked for two hours, we talked about reuteri and other microbes and vitamin D and health and diet and that kind of stuff. Well, I said to this group, I said, “Hey, guys, let me tell you about this dream I had. It's a little embarrassing, but has anybody else had this feeling?” A bunch of people raised their hands and say, “Yes, not quite like that though, but I've had a marked increase in drive so much, an erotic content of dreams so much that I've had to back down and consume the yogurt every second or every third day.”
Ben: I didn't back off, I swear by it for dessert. I actually have it for dessert, I put a little bit of stevia to sweeten it up. I toss a few prunes in there. That's what I have in the evening instead of ice cream. I know that MIT did research and found that that strain does increase testosterone, especially in guys, the Leydig cells in the testes that produce testosterone and growth hormone which could impact deep sleep. And then, if you have high levels of oxytocin simultaneous to deep sleep and elevated testosterone, I could see the mechanism of action but it's super interesting. I mean, literally, just use the slang term, it's almost like wet dream type of content when you consume this stuff before you go to bed at night.
William: Right. Now, one of my interests Ben is to optimize this whole thing. And so, we have a mouse trial, for instance, to assess whether there are differences among various strains. Are some strains better at this than other strains? I suspect there are differences because it's a very complex mechanism that the MIT people partially worked out by which reuteri triggers the release of oxytocin has all these varied effects on numerous organs. Well, how does this work? Well, they worked out a lot of the details, not all, but a lot of the details. But, I want to know, can you and I choose microbial strain of reuteri that is better at this and thereby optimize effects like love and empathy, smoothing of skin, increased muscle and strength, preservation of bone density, acceleration of healing? And, of course, Ben, this is just one microbe. This is one stinking microbe that does all this.
William: So, you got to wonder, are there other microbes like reuteri that we don't have and we've lost because of antibiotics and other factors that when replaced yield extraordinary effects? I don't think Ben I wouldn't have said this even a few weeks ago, but I think the world of microbiome technology will eclipse the world of pharmaceuticals. And, I'm talking about 10 or 20 years, not tomorrow but in coming years, I think that's how powerful some of these microbiome strategies can be.
Ben: Yeah, it's pretty cool. I mean, it kind of goes hand in hand with I think a lot of the research and the interest right now in the mycorrhizal network, the largest living organism on the planet. And, there's movies like “Fantastic Fungi” that have come out just about how integral these fungal networks are, these mycorrhizal networks are to the health of the planet and the health of the human beings living on them. You kind of say the same thing for the microbiome strains that are just threaded through each one of us human beings, the vast importance of them. And, the complexity of them, I think, has only begun to be studied. So, I'm sure that people, though, they're probably on their edge of their seats thinking about this yogurt because it's amazing.
And so, you've probably done this a billion times before. But, can you explain how you actually make it? Like, what do you get and how do you make it?
William: So, I started with those two BioGaia strains as you point out, but more recently, I've used other strains. I've made yogurt with eight different strains of reuteri and my, forgive me, my gut sense, my anecdotal sense is that the BioGaia strains, for this aspect, there may be differences in other ways for babies, but for this effect the oxytocin effect, my anecdotal sense is that there are other strains that do this just as well perhaps better. And, we'll find that out by fall of this year when we finish our first round of testing with mice. Likewise, are there ways to amplify the effect? Can we combine say reuteri with other factors in health, life, diet that amplified the effect and accelerate say, restoration of muscle, or deeper sleep, or whatever?
So, I started with the BioGaia strains but you can start with other reuteri strains. The only strain I would not use is the 30242. And, I'm sorry about this designate, they're not mine but the 30242 strain also called UAL-RE16 that is made by the former UAS company. And, in Madison, Wisconsin, people told me years ago, “Oh, Wisconsin is the seat of probiotic manufacturer.” I said, “What? No way.”
William: Yeah, they're right. I have several world-class and the largest probiotic manufacturers within an hour of my house which surprised the heck out of me. And, I've gotten to know these people is microbios and scientists and becoming very, very interesting place to be. Otherwise, kind of boring place but it's proven to be from microbiome standpoint, very interesting. But, you get a reuteri strain just not the 30242. And, the reason why I say don't use that one, one of the other aspects of reuteri is that because it takes up residence in the entire GI tract and it produces what are called bacteriocins, natural antibiotics effective against stool microbes, the species of SIBO like E. Coli and Klebsiella.
In other words, I speculate, hard to prove, that the loss of reuteri and some other microbes due to antibiotics and other factors is the reason why we now have what I think is the world's worst epidemic of disease ever in the history of man on this planet, which is SIBO as you point out, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Ben, I would have said to you, three years ago, if you said to me, “Hey, I think SIBO is epidemic.” I said, “Ben, you're nuts. No way, no way. Yeah, way.” Because one of the things that really changed my mind was the availability of the AIRE device, the A-I-R-E device, it's a consumer device. You test it in the comfort of your kitchen or living room and you blow into it and it registers hydrogen gas.
Ben: It's almost like a home test for SIBO. You're telling me about that. I write about in your book, I never actually wound up getting one, but people who have tested for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, they no doubt done the long involved, I think the gold standard went out there now is the tri-test, but I don't think a lot of people realize about this Aerofit that you can literally just get and test in the comfort of your own home. Again, like I'm talking about it, I haven't used it. I made a note to myself, I have to write your book to get it and I didn't yet. But, it works pretty well for testing SIBO?
William: It works pretty well. It's a wonderful situation, Ben, where it's superior to the conventional test done in a clinical laboratory because when you do it in a clinical laboratory, they capture your breath in a vial, which is very imperfect. It's not uncommon, the vial sits on the counter before it's put through testing for hours to days. Hydrogen is very small molecule and escapes very readily. So, you leave it on the counter, it's going to lead to false negatives. With the AIRE device, it immediately detects hydrogen gas.
Now, the problem with the device is the guy who invented it, now my friend, Dr. Aonghus Shortt, he's a Ph.D. engineer in Dublin, Ireland, he invented it because his then fiancée, now wife, had irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, and was told going to low FODMAPs diet, that is low fiber low sugar diet to reduce her bloating and diarrhea. So, she does it, but he sees how difficult it is. She's getting tripped up all the time. So, he invents this device for his fiancée to test for hydrogen gas when she makes mistake in diet and eat something with fiber, sure.
So, he releases the device in 2018 as a device for people with IBS on low FODMAPs diet. So, I get a hold of it. I call them up and I say, “Aonghus, that's not what this is.” I'm telling the inventor, Ben. This is a mapping device. It's a mapping device to tell you where microbes are living in the GI tract. That's brilliant. Even though he's not a doc, he's an engineer, so we can't blame the poor guy and he's a good guy. And, they're changing the course of the company because of this, it is a mapping device. So, it all is based on how soon after consuming something that microbes can metabolize, how soon after you consume it. Do you yield hydrogen gas? And, it tells you where microbes are living.
What surprised me, Ben, was of the thousands of people I've persuaded to do this, how many test positive? In fact, it's the exception who tests negative. Now, you might say, “Well, maybe the test of the device is flawed.” But, I've seen this now happen many, many hundreds of times, people say, “You know what, I hit a weight loss plateau. I went wheat and grain-free and low carb, lost 73 pounds. I have 40 more to go and I'm stuck.” Or, I was a type 2 diabetic and hemoglobin A1C on insulin and drugs, was 12.4%, which is terrible. You're heading quickly towards kidney failure, blindness, and amputations. They go on this on a wheat grain-free low carb lifestyle, nutrients that address in some resistance like vitamin D and magnesium, and they dropped their hemoglobin A1C, said 6.1%. So, dramatically off drugs, by the way, Ben, off drugs, but they're stuck at 6.1%. And, as you know, ideal is about 5.0 or less. That's where all excess risk for such nasty things as cardiovascular death go away. They address their SIBO as evidenced by the positive H2 breath by the air, and it finally drops to 4.9%, something like that.
In other words, I saw residual health problems finally resolve with the identification and then management of SIBO. Big effects, Ben, big effects.
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This strain that you're starting off with, I think that that BioGaia strains, specifically, you can still get it on Amazon, right?
William: You can. By the end of this year, I'll know better and I can say, “Hey Ben, we're only testing five strains at a time because each round costs about $70,000, so we're going to do it in batches. But, over time, we'll test strain after strain after strain.” So, in time, I'll be able to say, “Ben, okay, here are the whatever, three strains that are best at this that they provoked the largest rise in oxytocin. And, there's a parallel biomarker that also indicates effectiveness, which is interleukin-10, IL-10.” So, I'll know better in coming months if there's a better way to do this. But, until that happens, the BioGaia strains are a good source.
There's another small company called Cutting Edge Cultures, and they have something they call LR Superfood. And, that's one I've made lots of yogurts with. That's the one that gave me that crazy dream, what I called love dream. So, I think that may be, it may be as good perhaps superior for this effect.
Ben: Yeah. Okay, okay, got it. So, you get this strain, and what do you do with it once it comes in a box to your doorstep? You don't just eat it because obviously, you're going to burn through pretty quick, just eat it, then you make the yogurt out of it. So, what do you do to make the yogurt?
William: You need roughly 2 billion counts to reliably generate a yogurt, so the BioGaia Gastrus, for instance, comes as hard tablets, and there's only 100 million microbes per tablet.
Ben: A hundred million, you said. How many do you actually want?
William: More like 2 billion.
Ben: Okay. So, a lot more than what you're going to get in a tablet.
William: Uh-huh. So, there's two strains, 100 million each, so 200 million. So, what I what I've done, this is just trial and error, Ben, crushed 10 tablets with a mortar and pestle or a heavy jar or glass or something in a baggie. So, pulverized it down close to a powder, put it in a bowl, I use Organic Half & Half. So, I think you and I reject this ridiculous notion of cutting fat and saturated fat. So, I use Organic Half & Half. And, you can do this by the way with non-dairy also.
Ben: Yeah, coconut milk, by the way works because I think I came across, there was a gal who wrote an article at Cultured Food Life, I think it was culturedfoodlife.com. She talked about coconut milk.
William: Donna Schwenk, yeah.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, she did a test on the bacterial count and it was still just through the roof using coconut milk. So, I've personally used goat milk just from our goats here at home and I've used coconut milk. And, I'm usually kind of a non-dairy guy, but I can do fine with a fermented goat milk, yogurt. And, I just go back and forth, I don't care whether it's coconut milk or goat milk. These days, it's goat milk because as you might allude to as you're going through this yogurt-making process, you'll use one batch to just start the next batch of yogurt. And so, right now, I'm just going through a batch that's been made with goat milk.
William: Exactly. You only have to buy the microbial source like the Gastrus product once. Never have to buy it again because you can make subsequent batches from some of the prior batch. So, the first batch, crushed the tablets. I had a little bit of Organic Half & Half, and the Half & Half can't have additives like xanthan gum or gellan gum because it screws up the process. So, just plain old dairy, add a little bit, couple of tablespoons, make a slurry, add some prebiotic fiber. I add some inulin or raw potato starch, it generates a thicker, richer end result because you're feeding the microbes like giving cow manure to your tomatoes.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, and the prebiotics. So, those are super easy to come by. Like you mentioned, inulin, chicory root. There's companies, there's one, BiOptimizers, they have this gut guardian type of powder and that's got prebiotics in it. Sometimes I'll put a scoop of that. I'm not too picky on which fiber strain I use.
William: Yeah. Usually, it doesn't make a difference, only occasionally with certain species do they make a difference that is some species prefer different prebiotic. But, with reuteri, it'll pretty much eat anything given. And then, we ferment for 36 hours like we talked about, 12 doublings.
And, the first batch is typically curds and whey, it separates solids and liquids. It's the subsequent batches made from some of that first batch that gives you much more uniform. It's not the best-tasting yogurt. We're not doing this for taste, we're doing this for biological effects. But, if you're doing it just for taste, Lactobacillus gasseri is much more tasty yogurt, Lactobacillus brevis, very tasty yogurt. Some of the mixed microbes you get from commercial probiotics like the Synbiotic 365 makes a very delicious yogurt and other commercial product called Sugar Shift makes. In other words, if this is just for esthetics or for taste, you can do better than reuteri, but the reuteri stands apart for its —
Ben: Yeah. And, honestly, I just put vanilla stevia in it afterwards. So, I make it, I keep it plain, but if I'm going to make it up for dessert, for example, if I'll take a little bit and I'll put it in the freezer before dinner so I get more of a frozen yogurt, I can put a little bit of vanilla stevia in there or stir some cacao powder into it. So, you can obviously work with it. I would do that before you do the fermentation. But, after you do the fermentation, if you don't want to miss out the flavors, it's not that hard, same as you do with ice cream or yogurt.
Now, one quick step on the fermentation. So, you ferment it for 36 hours, what do you like to use for your fermentation like a food dehydrator, an oven? Do you choose a specific temperature? How do you do it?
William: I've been using a Sous Vide, Sous Vide, slow meat cooker.
Ben: Oh, really?
Ben: Wait. How are you doing in Sous Vide? It sounds like a water bath, you put it in a container and then put it into the water bath?
William: Yeah, and just a glass bowl covered with some saran wrap.
Ben: That's a good idea.
William: And, this is true for most lactobacilli, they prefer human body temperature, they're adapted to mammalian life. And so, they like the temperature of most mammals, which is about 97 degrees, 98 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you need a device that keeps it roughly in that temperature. It could be a Sous Vide, could be as you point out, dehydrator. That's a great one. Could be a yogurt maker, could be an instant pot. I used to do it in my oven just by turning on the oven for a minute or so. Let it warm up to a tropical temperature, and then do that every four hours or so. But, it confused people, Ben. Even my sister calls me up and says, “Bill, I made yogurt and I baked it for 30 minutes at 300 degrees and it didn't turn out.” Don't bake it.
William: So, it confused a lot of people so I stopped talking about using the oven.
Ben: So, you could just put it in a Sous Vide water bath for 96 to 99 degrees around in there and then just let it sit for 36 hours in that, in the glass container.
William: Yeah, different microbes prefer different temperatures. But, most lactobacilli and most bifidobacteria prefer human body temperature. Then, there's some like the spore formers like bacillus coagulants, which by the way also makes it delicious yogurt. But, that microbe likes 115 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit to generate a yogurt. I like to make sparkling juices with Saccharomyces boulardii, which is a fungus. So, I take a commercial probiotic, it's called Florastor in the U.S. Take one capsule, empty it into any juice, any volume doesn't matter, Quart gallon doesn't make difference. Thicker juices do better like apple cider say, or I use a mango passionfruit juice. I just make sure there's no preservatives like potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate because those are antimicrobial. They're not good for anyway.
So, juice, that's pure juice, empty one capsule of Florastor, agitate a little bit, and then cover it very lightly because you'll see by 24 hours, the thing is bubbling like mad, Ben, like a cauldron. There's so much carbon dioxide being produced. And, let it go for another, so total 48 hours. So, it starts a lot of sugar, of course, but the sheer contents cut by half by fermentation and it's filled with high counts of Saccharomyces boulardii, which is one of the most important things people can do to help rebuild a healthy microbiome and prevent a lot of the adverse effects of antibiotics if you have to take an antibiotic for whatever reason, and it's delicious. You get sparkling apple cider or sparkling grape juice or sparkling mango passionfruit juice, whatever juice you use, it's delicious. It's fun as heck. And, it's a vivid illustration just how vigorous this process of fermentation can be.
Ben: Yeah. The other thing I should note, too, by the way, is as far as the texture, back to the yogurt, as far as the texture of the yogurt goes, I don't know if you do this, but if you pre-heat the milk, if you get up to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit and then you pre-heat it and just hold that temperature for around 20 to 30 minutes on the stovetop and then let it cool back down or you let the milk cool back down and then you add your inulin powder or your fiber and then you add your probiotic tablets, put the lid on and then do your 36-hour fermentation, I think you get a little bit better texture, a little bit thicker and creamier yogurt if you pre-heat the milk. And then, you just got to make sure you let it cool down enough to where it's not going to kill off the bacteria once you put the bacteria in there.
And then, if you're using coconut milk, you can actually when you're doing your fermentation, you can add a little bit of gelatin to it or a gar gar or tapioca flour also works. And, if you add that in before the yogurt-making process before you heat it up, just stir all that in there along with your starter culture and everything, it actually thickens up the plant-based milk a little bit better.
William: Yeah, great points. The coconut milk is a little fussier. You have to do things like add some kind of a thickener. I use guar gum.
Ben: Okay, yeah.
William: A little bit like 2/3, 3/4 of a teaspoon. I also find it helps to once you've added the guar gum, as you point out, heat it, pre-heat, let it cool because high temperatures will kill your microbes but add the guar gum, add your prebiotic fiber, maybe add some sugar because there's no lactose in coconut milk, and then I hit it with a blender. Stick blender for about a minute and it really thickens up. Then, add your microbes. You don't want to blend microbes because it kills the microbes. And then, you get a very nice end result that doesn't separate. Because if you don't use the guar gum or gelatin or other thickener, and don't blend, it tends to separate into —
Ben: Yeah, I've had a little bit of clumpiness before and I'll shake the jar when it finishes up. I'll have to have a guy who lives at my house during the day and it makes me feel less than a man. He does all my lawn mowing and my yard chore. His name is Steve, but I've actually started to have him start to make the yogurt for me. So, I'll have to have him listen to this episode now. Hello, Steve, if you're listening. And implement a few of these little tips that we're going through.
And, also if you're listening to this podcast, if you go to the show notes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SuperGut, I'll put a link to some of the recipes and also some of the ingredients there if you want to start to make this stuff.
So, a few logistical questions here, Dr. Davis. We established that if you eat it before bed, it seems to cause some pretty cool things to happen, not just deep sleep but also erotic dreams, just feeling really, really well rested when you wake up. Would you say there's other good times of day to consume this yogurt or is it before bed the best time?
William: Because it's not a drug, of course, or supplements, it's a microbe that takes up residence, so timing is not that important but some people do report excessive sleepiness if they consume it during the day. So, there must be some kind of upfront surge in oxytocin. So, some people do prefer like to eat it as a dessert after dinner or something like that. But, one thing to know is that if you eat the yogurt regardless of time, it does take up residence, not for a long time but for a few days. And so, if you eat yogurt on Monday, you're still having some of that boost in oxytocin, even by Wednesday or even Thursday.
Now, this hints at a very fundamental area of ignorance about microbes and the microbiome. If your mom gave you reuteri and provided you're not exposed to antibiotics, you'd have reuteri for a lifetime. But, we get it this way, it only persists for days, maybe weeks at most. And so, why would that be? So, I think the best theory is that microbes, just like humans, so you and I don't live in isolation, we live with our partners, our children, our families, our communities, et cetera. Microbes are the same way, they live in communities, collaborative communities. And, if you only restore one, it's unlikely to persist long term. So, I think in future, Ben, we won't say get reuteri yogurt, we'll say something like this, “Get reuteri and these seven other or whatever microbes, it will take up long-term residence.” Maybe we can get the yogurt once in a great while.
Ben: One of your recipes, I think, is a SIBO recipe modification for the yogurt. Don't you add extra strains into the SIBO version?
William: Yeah. As you know, SIBO management one is being ignored by most gastroenterologists or they say things like, “Did you consult Dr. Google again, Ben?” Or, “There's nothing wrong with you, I didn't see anything with your colonoscopy.” Or some other BS answer. And so, I'm a big fan, as you know, of giving people tools to manage health on their own because healthcare, this healthcare is a $3 trillion disaster. It's ridiculous. It doesn't help people. There are times and places where healthcare is necessary, but if you just want to be healthy, I mean just take the reuteri issue and go to your doctor say, “Hey, doc, I'm going to restore Lactobacillus reuteri because I believe it boosts oxytocin and thereby yields a whole myriad range of effects. What do you think?” “I don't know.” They'll have no idea because their specialty, the doctor's specialty is not health, it's the business of healthcare.
William: And so, one of the things I did. So, you can take an antibiotic for SIBO. So, just for your listeners who are unfamiliar. So, SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, the situation in which mostly stool species that are supposed to stay in the colon have instead ascended up into the small bowel, the 24 feet of small bowel. So, it adds up to 30 feet, trillions of microbes. Microbes only live for a few hours, so there's huge turnover. Trillions of microbes when they die, some of their breakdown products of their cell walls enter the bloodstream. The very important process called endotoxemia, but this is the process, by the way, finally validated by a Belgian group in 2007 that now tells us how microbes in the GI tract, especially in the small bowel, can be exported and experienced as skin rashes like rosacea or psoriasis, or as brain effects like depression or anxiety or Parkinson's disease, or as joint muscle effects like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis.
So, Ben, a huge shift in the way we think about disease in light of what's been discovered in the microbiome. But, if you want to get rid of SIBO, you could take an antibiotic. Well, antibiotic god is here, cause a lot of the SIBO. So, I'm reluctant to advise antibiotics.
Ben: Although admittedly small amounts of rifaximin like short course rifaximin seems to work a little bit. I had SIBO and I did rifaximin but then I started into this yogurt right away and that 1-2 combo seemed to help. I think rifaximin, that's the one I've seen that seems to have decent evidence behind it, but you obviously know way more about this than I do.
William: Well, I asked a different question. I asked, “What if you or I had SIBO, your listeners had SIBO and you took a commercial probiotic, would the SIBO go away?” No, you might have less bloating, but you still have 30 feet of microbes inhabit an entire GI tract. So, I asked different questions, I asked these questions: What if we chose microbes that colonized the upper GI tract that's where SIBO occurs? And, what if we chose microbes that produce bacteriocins that is natural antibiotics effective against the species of SIBO? So, I chose three, I chose our friend the Lactobacillus gasseri, which colonizes the upper GI tract, produces up to four bacteria since it's so effective, Ben, that my microbiologist friends say they sometimes use reuteri to clean their fermentation vats.
William: Yeah, of contaminants. I chose a strain of Lactobacillus gasseri, the BNR17 strain, which likewise colonizes the upper GI tract and produces up to seven bacteriocins. And then, I chose a strain of bacillus coagulants, the GBI-30, 6086 strain, the so-called [00:54:04] _____ strain. And, I co-ferment them as yogurt, so extended fermentation to get hundreds of billions of bacteria. Ben, I've only done this about 35 people, but so far, 90% have converted to negative hydrogen breath testing. So, we will do in collaboration with Aonghus Shortt a small clinical trial to validate this and see if this is really true, so it's just anecdote.
But, Ben, if I said the treatment is to remove your colon or exploratory laparotomy, well you better be damn certain you need it but what if the solution is something as benign and familiar as yogurt? Why not do it, right?
William: So far, it's working.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, maybe you should have named the book “Super Butt.” Sorry, couldn't resist. So, anyways, the SIBO version of it is kind of the version we just described —
William: That was funny.
Ben: Thanks. You just add, in addition to Lactobacillus reuteri, you're then adding the Lactobacillus gasseri and the Bacillus coagulans so you're getting these bacteriocins out to kill off the SIBO and then also colonize the upper GI tract. And, by the way, I know that recipe is around somewhere. It's certainly in your book and I'll link to everything on the SIBO version of the yogurt as well. And, similar to the other yogurt, I mean this does not have to be a chore, you can put chocolate in it and stevia and freeze it and have chocolate frozen yogurt after dinner. You can put a little bit. It goes great with obviously because it's creamy like Indian foods and curries and things like that as well. I really to put it on top of chicken and steak. I do a ton of stuff with the yogurt.
And, like you mentioned, you could do with Sous Vide one, you could do it in the food dehydrator, you could do it in the oven if you get the oven temp low enough, and you can even get one of those fancy yogurt makers. I actually have one of those. My problem with it though is all the little glass containers that come with it, they're so small. It's just easier to use a bigger glass jar and do it all at once rather than doing all the tiny little yogurt jars from the standard yogurt maker.
In terms of the stuff that I mentioned using one yogurt batch from a batch you've already made to seed the next batch, can you explain briefly how you actually go about doing that?
William: Yeah. So, once you've made it from the microbial source, typically a probiotic, you can make future batches. I just use a couple tablespoons of either the curds, the solid, or the whey, the liquid or some mix. I've actually gram-stained, stained whey and there's lots of microbes in the whey. So, you can use the whey also. And, some people, they pour off the whey because whey has some issues. Despite its popularity as a protein supplement, whey also stimulates insulin and so it's got some issues. So, a lot of people like to pour off the whey, the liquid part, or freeze it in an ice cube tray and use that as the start of your next batch of yogurt. So, sometimes people make this tougher than it is. It really should be stupid simple. It's really very, very easy.
There's only a few hurdles that people should know about. One, choose a dairy. As you point out, you get a better result when you pre-heat if it's not Half & Half or cream, if it's milk, whole milk, you want to pre-heat, you get a better end result, thicker mouth feel. But, if you use, like I do, Organic Half & Half, it's got such great mouthful, you don't have to heat. You can, doesn't hurt but you don't have to but you want to make sure there's nothing in it but the dairy product, no carrageenan, no gel and gum, none of that business.
If you've got a device that has a preset temperature, a lot of yogurt makers have preset temperatures for instance or instant pots, you want to run it for a couple hours and with a water bath and put a thermometer in and validate the temperature. So, one of the most common tripping points, people say I use my yogurt maker and it didn't turn out but they put a thermometer in it, let it run and it shows a 114 —
Ben: I never thought of that, I always just kind of trusted it was at the right temperature. Okay, that's good to know.
William: You'd think so. But unfortunately, not always true and reuteri tends to die at about 108, 109 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if your yogurt maker is running at 112, you're killing it off and you won't get it. So, that's among the more common tripping points.
Ben: Okay, got it.
There's obviously, as you alluded to, the Saccharomyces boulardii cultured juice that you make, and that's almost a sparkling kombucha type of beverage, it kind of makes me wonder. I'm just curious. Let's say I were your patient or someone were your patient, they had gut issues and they had SIBO and you've got them eating this yogurt and maybe doing some other things. I'm just curious what a sample day of eating or supplementation would look like. And, I realized everybody's a little bit different, but for you, gold standard scenario for someone who really wanted to repair their gut, what kind of things would you have them doing besides eating the yogurt doing or avoiding?
William: I look at it like a garden, a backyard garden. So, if you're going to plant your little 10 by 10 plot, how do you do that? Well, you start by cleaning up the area, you pick out the weeds and stones and sticks so you prepare the soil, then you plant seeds for cucumbers and zucchini, and then you water and fertilize it through growing season.
The microbiome then is almost exactly the same, you prepare the soil that is you remove things that disrupt the microbiome such as chlorinated drinking water, buy organic foods whenever possible so they don't have glyphosate and other herbicides and pesticides. Glyphosate's an antibiotic. It's a herbicide, yes, but it's also an antibiotic. Try to get off all prescription drugs like stomach acid-blocking drugs, statin cholesterol drugs which do nothing anyway, they're stupid, non-strong anti-inflammatory drugs. Try to get off all the drugs you can because they have massive effects on disrupting your microbiome. And then, plant seeds, the best seeds are fermented foods not commercial probiotics. People think that probiotics are a one-stop shop for all solutions, they're not. The current crop of probiotics are very crude because they're haphazard collections. It's getting better, Ben. There are some companies who are smartening up but there's still a lot of gimmickry in probiotics like soil-based organisms, the spore formers, double encapsulation. There's a bunch of gimmickry in probiotics unfortunately because of the commercial market has become so overcrowded.
But, there are some good products out there that have science built into them. One of my friends is Dr. Raul Cano, he's a microbiologist with a 40-year academic history, and he created something. I had no relationship with this company. He's a good guy, a good product, good science. He made something called Sugar Shift, and it's a collection of microbes that collaborate, in other words, microbes talk to each other via metabolites. And, this sugar shift collection of microbes that includes Leuconostoc mesenteroides and a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum and a bunch of other bifidobacteria, [01:00:49] _____, you put these things together and they consume glucose, sucrose, and fructose in your gastrointestinal tract. And, thereby, we did this in 20 people, in formal trial, it reduced blood sugar by about 10 milligrams per deciliter in non-diabetics, which is huge in non-diabetics. By the way, the co-founder of that company, it's called BiotiQuest.
William: A woman named Martha Carlin. I love Ben people with skin in the game. Her husband has Parkinson's disease and she's been on this quest to identify microbial solutions for Parkinson's disease. They have not yet performed the clinical trial, but this collection of microbes that Raul Cano validated in an in vitro system to show that it collaborates. Well, when it consumes those sugars in your GI tract, not only does it reduce blood sugar, it also produces a sugar called mannitol which humans can consume but you can't digest. And, mannitol has the unique capacity across the brain where experimental evidence, not yet human, shows that it dissolves the alpha-synuclein, that's the stuff that accumulates in the brains of parkinsonism. So, anecdotally, Martha is convinced that it's caused partial remission of her husband and several other people with Parkinson's disease with this curious mixture called Sugar Shift. But, I think that's where the probiotic world is going, Ben, that is not just a haphazard collection of SLAP-microbes.
Ben: By the way, just a quick interruption, I have a friend who I try to pass on interesting advice about Parkinson's too. Do you recall that the name of that probiotic strain that's helping to produce mannitol?
William: So, it's a collection of strains, so it's got Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum.
Ben: Is it marketed under a specific name?
William: Sugar Shift.
Ben: Sugar Shift. Okay. That's interesting because there's another one called Pendulum that I know is a probiotic that's being marketed right now as based on a lot of the research on the microbiome relationship with glycemic variability as something to support blood sugar levels. But, I was looking into it, and apparently, it helps to modulate dopamine levels via the microbiome and the gut and was suggested also is something that might be helpful for Parkinson's. This is the second time in the last month I've heard about this strategy.
So, I'll find this Sugar Shift stuff and link to it in the shownotes if people want to check it out. I don't know if you have any opinions on this, but the one I currently use, the probiotic I currently use is the Seed, it's the DS-01 Daily Synbiotic. I take about three of those a day and it seems pretty well-formulated. I don't know if you've looked into that one at all, have you?
William: Yeah. But, the thing I would do is break the outer capsule.
Ben: Oh, really? Because I thought the outer capsule is what allows it to reach through the end of the small intestine. Are you saying if you want to populate the upper GI tract though?
William: Yes, exactly.
Ben: Okay, that makes sense.
William: So, the world's worst epidemic ever in the history of mankind, SIBO, you want microbes to populate the small bowel. And so, to double encapsulate, to release in the colon, you've missed 24 feet of small bowel and you won't get colonization by — you might long term as bacteriocin but a much faster solution. I love the world, Ben, of probiotics and microbes, but there's a lot of gimmickry and imprecise thinking. So, the Seed is one where they I think they goofed and 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.
William: But, they were targeting the type 2 diabetes market. 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.
Ben: Yeah. It's interesting too. Gosh, I had four hours of podcasting with Joel Greene, the author of the book, “The Immunity Code” about certain human milk oligosaccharides and some different green and red fiber strains to naturally boost Akkermansia. So, if people really want to geek out on Akkermansia, you and I probably don't have time now to get into everything but go listen to that podcast with Joel Greene because we get deep into it.
And then, for the Seed probiotic, what I might start doing with that then is I'll just maybe break open a couple capsules but then keep a couple capsules intact, so I'm getting the best of both worlds. I might try out that Sugar Shift product you talked about as well.
Back to that question about caring for someone with a compromised gut, basically, you're saying eliminate a lot of the antibiotics, of course, introduce the fermented foods particularly yogurt and some of these other ferments that we talked about, add in a good probiotic strain, a couple good probiotic strains. And, I know you've got an article on your website and you also talk to your book about how to navigate the world of probiotics, anything else specifically that you would find to be big wins?
William: So, like we talked about, probiotics are helpful but the current crop are mostly not all that helpful. They do help a little bit. Probiotics even of the worst sort do increase mucus production for protection of your intestinal cells, they do compete with pathogens, they do produce metabolites like vitamin B12. So, there are some benefits even to the conceived probiotics. The fermented, I can't emphasize just how important fermented foods are, those are extremely important, probably the primary strategy. If we believe the evidence of Justin and Erica Sonnenberg from Stanford, it means consuming them several times per day. So, I make it a habit, I tell people to do this to consume a fermented food at every meal at least. And, that seems to be really, really helpful.
Now, one thing also note is this is not something you do for a week and you're done, this is something you do for a lifetime. One of the things we don't know, you know this, that nobody really knows what a genuinely healthy microbiome should look like. Should it look like the microbiome of somebody living in the jungles of New Guinea, or the Yanomami in the Brazilian rainforest, or the people living in Eastern Africa, the Malawi, or the Hadza, nobody knows because they're microbiomes by the way that is untainted by antibiotics and other factors, modern factors, are very different from ours though oddly similar even though these populations are in different continents and separated by thousands of miles and oceans.
So, should we mimic them? But, they're so different and so probably not, but what does it mean? What does a healthy micro — so that has not been sorted out. So, we're kind of trending towards what we think is a healthy microbiome. I remind myself that if you had clostridium difficile enterocolitis after a course of antibiotics, which is a terrible infection, pain, bleeding, diarrhea, you can die of it. Well, if you get the poop of somebody else and put it in your colon, it goes away.
Ben: Yeah, you don't even have to put in your colon, they make oral fecal transplant pills now as well. Yeah, I know some people that use them. And then, of course, there's the Taymount Clinic in Britain and some other places like in the Bahamas where you can go and get the full-on transplant. But, yeah, I mean, that's kind of taking out the big guns so to speak, but man, I've seen some really good results with that as well as particularly for clostridium. But, I would say start with the yogurt not with putting somebody else's poop up your butt or down your mouth and you'll probably be off to a pretty good start. And then, of course, we'd be remiss not to mention the little things I know you're aware of Dr. Davis like stress control, the gut-brain connection, not exercising in the heat with a lot of food in your stomach, eating slowly and mindfully and in a parasympathetic state. There's a lot of things in terms of sleep hygiene, gut, and food hygiene that are important as well. But, I think one of my main, main goals for doing this podcast with you was I basically wanted to make people hyper-aware of this freaking fantastic yogurt and this little known strain L. reuteri and how important it is.
So, I would say that if you're listening in right now, definitely grab the book and definitely visit the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SuperGut where I'll link to more ingredients and different recipes like chocolate frozen yogurt and the SIBO yogurt, and then some best tips for making this yogurt at home, which will save you a lot of money because correct me if I'm wrong, Dr. Davis, nobody's making this commercial you can buy, right?
William: No, it'd be tough thing to do because you're up against the Fage, Stonyfields, and Chobanis of the world. Essentially make them as fast as possible with the shorter fermentation time, but you can't compete with that.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, the kind of yogurt we all grow up on with the rotten fruit in the bottom.
So, I'll link to all that stuff in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SuperGut. And then, just so you guys know, Dr. Davis has these other fantastic books like “Wheat Belly” and “Undoctored.” Whenever his publishing company sends me one of his books, I have a stack of books that typically just get shelled without reading, and then the stack of books that get read and Dr. Davis's books always get read. So, I can give those a thumbs up. And then, the last thing is he has a podcast if you guys want to check it out called Defiant Health.
You're still doing your podcast, right?
William: I am, Ben. Yes.
Ben: Okay. Alright, cool. So, folks can check that out too kind of a short easy podcast on a lot of the type of topics around the gut and beyond.
So, Dr. Davis, once again, it's been a pleasure talking to your wealth and knowledge. I love your passion. I love what you bring to the world. So, keep up the good work, man.
William: You too, Ben. Let me just add that I'm very grateful for what you do because we live in a world where you may have noticed that people like you and me are no longer welcome in major media because of the dominance of direct-to-consumer drug advertising. So, you and I no longer have the freedom to speak our minds about health. So, what you're doing is so critical, so important.
Ben: Well, thanks, man. Thanks, I'm blushing. Or, maybe it's just the yogurt. I don't know. Anyways, though, so folks, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Dr. William Davis. Shownotes again are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SuperGut. Have an amazing week.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
I first became familiar with the brilliant Dr. William Davis and his impressive body of work when I interviewed him for an episode about heart attacks way back in 2009.
Later, he joined me for a podcast about his book “Wheat Belly,” in which we discussed why you're not eating the same kind of wheat your ancestors ate, whether wheat bread is really better than white bread, if wheat is ever OK to eat and if so, when, and good substitutes and alternatives for wheat.
Today, Dr. William Davis is back to discuss his new book Super Gut: A Four-Week Plan to Reprogram Your Microbiome, Restore Health, and Lose Weight. In Super Gut, Dr. Davis takes his research and findings a step further and shows that because of highly-processed diets, pesticides, and overuse of antibiotics, it's likely that your gut is missing many good bacteria required to be healthy. The result is a loss of control over health, weight, mood, and even behavior.
The ancient bacteria that keep your gut in alignment and your digestion easy have been dying off, replaced by harmful microbes that don’t serve to keep you physically healthy and mentally fit. With cutting-edge research, Dr. Davis has connected the dots between gut health and modern ailments and complaints. There are entire species of microbes that have disappeared, creating health issues that were uncommon one hundred, or even fifty, years ago. A major consequence is SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). This silent and profound epidemic affects one out of three people and is responsible for an astounding range of human health conditions.
Super Gut teaches you how to eliminate bad bacteria and bring back the missing “good” bacteria with a four-week plan to reprogram your microbiome. The program is based on research and techniques that not only get to the root of many diseases but improve levels of oxytocin (the bonding/happy hormone), brain health, and promote anti-aging, weight loss, mental clarity, and more restful sleep. Super Gut explains the science clearly and includes more than forty recipes, a diet plan, and resources so you can pinpoint your gut issues, correct them, and maintain your long-term health and well-being. Dr. Davis provides solutions to health problems by addressing the microbiome, massively disrupted in modern people. He shows readers in his Super Gut book, for instance, how to restore important lost microbes such as Lactobacillus reuteri, restored by using a unique method of yogurt fermentation that smooths skin and reduces wrinkles, restores youthful muscle and strength, deepens sleep, reduces appetite, and provides many other youth-preserving and anti-aging effects. He also provides do-it-yourself-at-home strategies for benefits such as improved mood, improved athletic performance, better sleep, heightened immunity, and improved body composition.
Dr. William Davis is responsible for exposing the incredible nutritional blunder made by “official” health agencies: Eat more “healthy whole grains.” Today's wheat is different from the wheat of 1960, thanks to extensive genetic manipulations introduced to increase yield-per-acre. Eliminating wheat yields results beyond everyone's expectations: substantial weight loss, correction of cholesterol abnormalities, relief from inflammatory diseases like arthritis, better mood, and reduced blood sugar, with many type 2 diabetics being freed of insulin and other drugs. Dr. Davis articulates his theories and solutions in his Wheat Belly series of books. He is also a champion of individual self-directed health, as discussed in his Undoctored book.
In this episode, you'll discover:
- Podcasts with Dr. William Davis:
- Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis
- Super Gut by Dr. William Davis
- Undoctored by Dr. William Davis
-The key to healthy bacteria and how Dr. Davis assesses and repairs gut issues…6:30
- Conventional medicine ignores the negative effects of antibiotics (amoxicillin and penicillin, etc.) affecting the microbiome and says nothing about how to rebuild
- How different biotics impact the gut, brain health, and cognitive performance
- Stanford study by Justin and Erica Sonnenburg:
- Fermented foods like fermented vegetables, kefir, kombucha, and yogurt contain microbes that restore other healthy microbes
- Microbes like Pediococcus Pentosaceus sets the stage to allow other healthy microbes to persist
- Fermentation of foods (controlled rotting process) that is good for human health was sidelined with the invention of home refrigeration
-What is L. reuteri and why focus on it?…11:12
- The lost microbe, L. reuteri
- L. reuteri is susceptible to antibiotics; mass kill-off of our healthy microbes
- Effects of modern-day antibacterial
- Indigenous diets vs. modern diets; indigenous populations and wild animals still have the microbe, while most western populations have lost L. reuteri
- L. reuteri promotes a surge of oxytocin production, which positively affects:
- Mood and REM sleep
- Restoration of muscle and skin
- Bone density and acceleration of healing
- Suppression of appetite for snacking
- Increased drive and testosterone production
- L. reuteri and cancer
-Dr. Davis' reaction when told he cannot make yogurt with L. reuteri…16:15
- L. reuteri's effects on infants:
- Commercial yogurt production is typically a 4-hr process
- Microbes undergo asexual reproduction; 1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 4…
- L. reuteri doubles itself in 3 hours
- Flow cytometry shows 250-260 billion bacteria in a half-cup serving
- Yogurt increases drive
- Ben puts prunes and stevia into his yogurt
- MIT study on testosterone increase with probiotic microbes
- Microbiome technology could surpass pharmaceuticals
- Fantastic Fungi
-How do you make yogurt?…24:55
- Started with 2 BioGaia strains (DSM 17938 and ATCC PTA 6475)
- The only strain not used is the 30242 (UAL-RE16)
- L. reuteri resides in the entire GI tract and produces bacteriocins, natural antibiotics effective against stool microbes like E. coli and Klebsiella (SIBO)
- AIRE SIBO device breath tester registers hydrogen gas; works for testing SIBO
- Dr. Aonghus Shortt – developer of AIRE
- SIBO yogurt recipe
- Tests in clinical labs capture breath in a vial and tested maybe hours later leads to false negatives
- Are there ways to combine microbiome to apply effects?
- BioGaia strains still available on Amazon
- Only 5 strains are tested at a time because of the cost ($70,000 per batch)
- Cutting Edge Cultures LR Superfood is also a good source
-What to do once you get the strains?…35:30
- Roughly 2 billion counts are needed to make the yogurt
- Yogurt ingredients:
- Ferment for 36 hours
- Coconut milk
-How you ferment yogurt?…39:40
- Sous Vide slow cooker
- Reuteri and most lactobacilli are adapted to mammalian temperatures – 97-98°F
- Can also use a dehydrator, yogurt maker, or instant pot
- 36-hour fermentation
- Different microbes prefer different temperatures, but most Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria prefer human body temperature
- Spore formers like Bacillus Coagulans prefer 115-122°F to produce yogurt
- Dr. Davis also makes sparkling juices with the fungus Saccharomyces boulardii
- Empty a capsule of Florastor probiotic put into a juice without preservatives (which are anti-microbials), set aside for 48 hours
- Saccharomyces boulardii helps rebuild a healthy microbiome and helps correct the adverse effects of antibiotics
- Pre-heating milk to 180°F for 20-30 minutes and allow to cool down then adding inulin gets a better texture
- Use a thickener like guar gum when using coconut milk
-When is the best time to consume yogurt?…45:25
- Timing is not important, but some people report excessive sleepiness when they take it during the day
- Some prefer to eat yogurt after dinner
- Oxytocin boost still happening after 2 days
- Microbes live in communities
- Endotoxaemia and a Belgian 2007 study
- Rifaximin for SIBO
- 3 microbes effective for SIBO
- Lactobacillus gasseri BNR 17
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Bacillus coagulans GBI-30,6086
- Chocolate frozen yogurt recipe
- L. reuteri coconut yogurt recipe
- Any of the coconut milk or creams:
- Thickener (any of the following)
- Yogurt Starter
-Using an older batch to seed a newer batch…52:45
- Use curds or the whey
- A few hurdles:
- If you use dairy (whole milk), preheat
- Half and half, you do not need to preheat
- Devices with preset temperatures need to be run for 2 hours to verify the temperature
- Reuteri dies at 108-109°F
-For someone with SIBO, what is a sample daily diet and supplements? Besides the yogurt, what should they be doing and avoiding?…55:20
- Microbiome is like a garden
- Do not use chlorinated drinking water
- Buy organic foods whenever possible; no herbicides and pesticides – glyphosate is an antibiotic
- Get off all prescription drugs like stomach acid blockers, statin and cholesterol drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs
- Eat fermented foods
- Do not use chlorinated drinking water
- Sugar Shift – a collection of microbes that collaborate to consume glucose, fructose, and sucrose in the GI tract
- Sugar Shift reduced blood sugar by 10mg/dL in nondiabetics
- Martha Carlin of BiotiQuest
- The microbes (like Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Lactobacillus plantarum) consumes the sugars and produces another sugar, mannitol
- Mannitol can consumed but cannot be digested
- Pendulum Glucose Control and Pendulum Akkermansia
- Break the outer capsules of probiotics to populate the upper GI tract
- SIBO – the world's worst epidemic
- Pendulum targets type 2 diabetics
- 95% of people already have Akkermansia
- Akkermansia can be substantially increased with Inulin FOS, Oligosaccharides, oleic acid in olive oil
- Podcasts with Joel Greene:
- Carnivore Diet, Raw Beans, Lectin Myths, Pre-Sleep Gelatin, Apple Peels & More – Q&A Episode With Joel Greene!
- Joel Greene Podcast Part 2: How To Reshape Fat Cells, Enhance Repair During Sleep, Target Your “Circaseptan Rhythms,” Build Young Muscle & Get Rid Of Old Muscle.
- How To Reboot The Gut, Eat Cheesecake Without Gaining Weight, Amplify Any Fasting Protocol & Maximize Fat Loss.
- The Immunity Code by Joel Greene
-Big wins with probiotics…1:02:05
- Probiotics are helpful, but most only help a little
- Importance of fermented foods; consume fermented foods with every meal
-And much more…
- Super Gut: A Four-Week Plan to Reprogram Your Microbiome, Restore Health, and Lose Weight by Dr. William Davis
- Other books by Dr. William Davis:
- Dr. Davis Infinite Health Podcast
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldlife.com/calendar
Resources from this episode:
- Episode #176: The Shocking Truth About Wheat
- Podcast Episode #60: Why Do Healthy People Have Heart Attacks?
- Books by Dr. William Davis
- L. Reuteri Yogurt: Do’s and Don’ts
- Step-By-Step L. Reuteri Coconut Yogurt Recipe
- Chocolate Frozen Yogurt
- Dr. Davis Infinite Health Podcast
- Dr. Davis Infinite Health YouTube Channel
- L. Reuteri Yogurt Recipe
- SIBO yogurt
- Lactobacillus Gasseri BNR 17 – colonizes the small intestine and produces up to 7 bacteriocins, a virtual bacteriocin powerhouse
- Lactobacillus Reuteri DSM 17938 and ATCC PTA 6475 – also colonizes the small intestine and produce up to four bacteriocins, including the powerful Reuterin. (L. reuteri is such an effective antibacterial that a microbiologist with 40 years experience told me that they sometimes clean their bacterial production vats with this microbe. I was skeptical and checked with my friend, Raul Cano, PhD, also with 40 years of academic microbiology experience–yup, he confirmed: L. reuteri can clean vats of unhealthy microbes.)
- Bacillus Coagulans GBI-30,6086 – produces a bacteriocin. It does not colonize the upper GI tract but has been shown to substantially reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome that is virtually synonymous with SIBO.
- Carnivore Diet, Raw Beans, Lectin Myths, Pre-Sleep Gelatin, Apple Peels & More – Q&A Episode With Joel Greene!
- Joel Greene Podcast Part 2: How To Reshape Fat Cells, Enhance Repair During Sleep, Target Your “Circaseptan Rhythms,” Build Young Muscle & Get Rid Of Old Muscle.
- How To Reboot The Gut, Eat Cheesecake Without Gaining Weight, Amplify Any Fasting Protocol & Maximize Fat Loss.
– Other Resources:
- The Immunity Code by Joel Greene
- Cutting Edge Cultures LR Superfood
- Sugar Shift
- Pendulum Glucose Control
- Pendulum Akkermansia
- Inulin FOS
- Oleic acid
- Organic half And half
- Potato starch
- Coconut milk
- Coconut cream
- Thrive Market organic coconut milk
- Traders Joe's organic coconut cream
- Agar Aagar
- Tapioca flour
- Yogurt starter
- Guar gum
- Sous vide slow cooker
- Instant Pot
- Cultured Food Life
- AIRE SIBO breath testing device
Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Dr. William Davis or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!
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