It’s time for a Gut Check with Dr Steven Gundry

Meet Dr Steven Gundry

Dr. Steven Gundry MD, Heart Surgeon, New York Times Bestseller, Host of The Dr. Gundry Podcast.

Dr. Steven Gundry is one of the world’s top cardiothoracic surgeons and a pioneer in nutrition. He hosts top-rated health show, The Dr. Gundry Podcast, is the Founder and Director of The International Heart and Lung Institute Center for Restorative Medicine, and founder of Gundry MD, a line of wellness products and supplements.

After a distinguished surgical career as a professor and chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Loma Linda University, Dr. Gundry changed his focus to curing modern diseases via dietary changes. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers The Plant Paradox, The Plant Paradox Cookbook, The Plant Paradox Quick & Easy, and The Longevity Paradox, along with national bestsellers The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook, The Energy Paradox, Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution, and Unlocking the Keto Code, and has had more than 300 articles published in peer-reviewed journals on using diet and supplements to eliminate heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and multiple other diseases. He will also be releasing his next book Gut Check: Unleash the Power of Your Microbiome to Reverse Disease and Transform Your Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health on January 9, 2024.

Listen to the episode on Spotify here or on your favorite podcast platform.

Podcast transcript:

Welcome back Dr. Pedram Shojai, the urban monk podcast. Excited to be here. Happy 2024. Um, there’s so much happening this year. I’m finalizing the vitality summit. Uh, have a new series called homesick home coming out in March, the summits in February. , and, uh, just been working a lot, sitting at this microphone. , filming a lot of content for the year, trying to give you the tools that you need, the sciences moving. Uh, the world is moving.

You have to move with it. If you stand still, you’re stuck. So how do you move your feet under you? How do you stay healthy? How do you make the right decisions? How do you not get overwhelmed by all the information out there? Uh, that’s been a big theme in what I’ve been doing. I’m really working to cut the noise for you and get you the information you need. I put the people that I think are saying the smartest stuff in front of you as well. Which leads me to today’s guest, Dr.

Steve Gundry, great guy, uh, really grown to be fond of him. He’s doing some great work out there. He’s kind of a foundational thinker. And I just doing the thing. Right. And so he’s actually in the summit, that’s coming in February, but I wanted to snag him for a podcast cause he has a new book out, , that he’ll tell you about that.

I think is exquisite. , and I think that you need to stay informed. You need to stay up to date on this stuff. Steve Gundry is one of the guys that’s just, , he’s doing the research. He is up to date he’s relevant and he’s sharing that information in a very digestible way. No pun intended with everyone through his work.

So without further ado, enjoy the podcast with Dr. Steven Gundry.

Dr Pedram Shojai: It’s certainly good to see you, uh, welcome to the show.

Dr Steven Gundry: Well, thanks for having me back. Appreciate it. Good to see you.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah. It’s been, it’s been a minute and I love, I love catching up with old friends who are just constantly working . Right. You, you, I don’t know, you just keep writing books and, and doing stuff and helping people and I really appreciate that. Right. You got that. You got that bug is you’re just researching and sharing.

Dr Steven Gundry: Yeah, and I still see patients six days a week, uh, even Saturdays and Sundays, uh, which is. You know, it’s like, well, what, what do I do that for? Well, as I talk about in the book, um, you know, I’m still like a kid in a candy store. Uh, a bad analogy, but, uh, you know, I get to see people heal themselves, uh, every day, and I just keep doing it.

Dr Steven Gundry: So.

Dr Pedram Shojai: You know, there’s a really important distinction in what you said there, which. I have a profound amount of respect for, there’s a lot of ivory tower medicine, there’s a lot of academic medicine. There’s a lot of folks saying, well, I come from, you know, Harvard or Stanford, and therefore what I say is important.

Dr Pedram Shojai: These guys haven’t seen a patient. In decades or possibly ever. And that feedback loop of, is it working? Oh man, you didn’t sleep. That sucks. You know, there’s, there’s a lot of biofeedback if we get, if we will, in a clinical setting that informs whether or not our advice is landing, working, and getting the results.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So I really appreciate that. You’re, you’re in the clinic still.

Dr Steven Gundry: Yeah, a few, a few of my friends who will go, their names will go and mention, um, will go, well, what the heck are you still seeing patients for? You know, I stopped doing that years ago. You don’t need to do that. Well, I do. Uh, ’cause you’re right. I wanna find out if, if my, I. Recommendations, you know, work, I wanna measure it, and then I report, and then people can decide, you know, and there’s other people who, who are doctors MDs, who have actually never seen a patient since medical school and have written the exact same advice for 30 years despite, you know, the Human Microbiome Project finished in 2017.

Dr Steven Gundry: And yet you’d think that. The advice might change based on those findings, but it’s still exactly the same party line, and you go, wow. Okay.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah, read a book, dude, I look. I did a 10 part series in 2018 on the microbiome, followed by an eight part series on the oral microbiome, followed by another six part series on the microbiome, and I still don’t know anything. I mean, I’ve sat in the room with all the smartest people talking about this stuff and the science moves as you’re looking at it.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And so in, look, I know you have been an avid student of this since the Plant Paradox, since you know, you’ve done a lot of, , really meaningful work in the space and now you’re writing about the microbiome. And I can tell my listeners right now that if someone takes the time to write a book. It’s because it’s something now worth saying you’re not, you’re not saying, oh, me too.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? You’re, you’re bringing more, you’re adding to the conversation. So would love to know what inspired you to say, you know what, it’s time for me to write a book about this.

Dr Steven Gundry: Well, that’s a, that’s a great question. Good introduction. , when the, the Plant Paradox came out, uh, six and a half years ago, uh, and you know, it was met with, um, critical and popular acclaim and, you know, it’s still a big series. I think there’s. Now seven series seven books in the series. And, uh, I thought I knew quite a bit back then and, uh, when it came out people, um, about 80% of my practice now is autoimmune, uh, disease patients and oh.

Dr Steven Gundry: We now have sophisticated ways of looking at leaky gut. We can measure it. It’s not pseudoscience. Uh, thanks to Alessio Ano who’s now at Harvard. Um, we know the mechanisms. We know how it happens. And so, uh, about 90% of people who actually read and followed my book, uh, would. I hate to use the word go into remission or cure themselves, just like Hippocrates had predicted.

Dr Steven Gundry: But about 10% of people did better, but they still weren’t all the way. Um, I published papers of of my patients, 94% of people with a measurable autoimmune disease, biomarkers of autoimmune disease go into remission in nine months to a year following this program. Uh. Biologic remission on no drugs, and that’s pretty good.

Dr Steven Gundry: Um, but there were a few that didn’t, and so. I started saying, okay, what, you know, what am I missing? What, you know, what should have changed based on what I recommended? And we’ve got better and better tests looking at the interaction of what’s going on in the microbiome. You know, we used to think that there were really, they’re good guys and then there were bad guys and you know, the bad guys were bad and you didn’t want the bad guys.

Dr Steven Gundry: And I. I’m remembering that a few years ago it was thought that wolves in Yellowstone Park were bad guys and we should get rid of them. And we did. And lo and behold, uh, without that apex predator, the elk overgrew, and they all ate all the saplings, and then the beavers didn’t have anything to build Beaver nams with, and then there weren’t any fish, et cetera, et cetera, and the whole ecosystem fell apart.

Dr Steven Gundry: Put the wolves back into Yellowstone. Lo and behold, they, the bad guys. Were serving a purpose. So one of the things that I’ve learned through the years is that. Bad guys in this gut ecosystem, uh, actually serve a very useful purpose. And that as long as they’re, as long as this ecosystem is balanced, and we certainly have an imbalanced ecosystem, which is about the book, they, they get out of control.

Dr Steven Gundry: Or if you try to eradicate them, and we might. Wander into SIBO just for fun. But if you try to eradicate what you assume is bad guys, uh, you may end up being a whole lot worse off than you thought. And so I don’t try to get rid of bad guys anymore. I really don’t care about ’em. I wanna give the good guys the leg up and everything will balance out.

Dr Steven Gundry: Gut check. There’s a chapter called The Plant Paradox, 2.0. I think it’s the last chapter before the food. And it’s what I learned and it’s, uh, it’s fairly, I think, remarkable what I’ve been able to learn since then. And people won’t necessarily like to hear what I’ve learned, uh, but it, those were the missing pieces from the Plant Paradox.

Dr Steven Gundry: So that’s why I wrote the book.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Let’s go into the history of the microbiome. I mean, you know, microbiome 1.0 was amoxicillin and go, right? We would just napalm the bad players, as you alluded to, and you know, move on. Then we learned that there were some species that were beneficial and so, you know. Hallelujah acidophilus. And we just started throwing a couple species saying This is gonna solve everything.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Just eat yogurt. Um, and you know, Marty Blazer, there’s a lot of people that have contributed to this work, you know, over the decades. But then it became about diversity, then it became about what kind of rainforest are you cultivating? Um, and , how many plants and vegetables and all, , all of the, the microbiome advice that has shifted has become kind of an inconvenient truth.

Dr Pedram Shojai: ’cause now I gotta think about what I eat. Right. And there’s no pill for it. So let’s go through that journey of the rainforest, if you will, and, and what you’ve learned with your kind of plant, uh, paradox 1.0 learnings, especially that the, that 10% that weren’t getting better and how we have to now nudge into this 2.0.

Dr Steven Gundry: Well, I think one of the eye openers a couple years ago for me was, uh, one of the papers that. The husband and wife, Sonenberg team outta Stanford, published with human volunteers. And you know, the advice has been for quite a long time that we’ve, we’ve gotta eat a lot of fiber, particularly soluble fiber, because this is what, uh, our, I call ’em, gut buddies want to eat.

Dr Steven Gundry: And uh, and that’s pretty true, but. It’s much more nuanced than that. And so what they did was they gave a bunch of volunteers, uh, a bunch of soluble fiber, they gave them inulin and, uh, watched what happened and I. Interestingly enough, they didn’t have increased gut diversity and they didn’t have any drop in their inflammatory markers.

Dr Steven Gundry: So they gave an identical group of people the same soluble fiber, but they also gave them fermented foods primarily in the forms of yogurt or key fear. Um. Crout and that combination, the fermented foods plus the fiber resulted in more biodiversity of this rainforest and drop in inflammatory markers. So you go, hmm, uh, it takes two.

Dr Steven Gundry: And that’s one of the themes of the book. Uh, what’s interesting is. A lot of these really important bugs that make, um, one of my favorite substances. Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid actually have to have precursors to manufacture butyrate from being fed soluble fiber. They have to have pre short chain fatty acids.

Dr Steven Gundry: Um, they have to have other fatty short chain fatty acids like acetate vinegar. Uh. It’s like an car assembly line, and if you don’t have that set of bacteria or if you don’t have the precursors that these bacteria need to make the final product that we’re interested in, it’s not gonna happen. So it’s, I wish it was as simple as we all thought it was, but.

Dr Steven Gundry: Any ecosystem, and we’ve got one of the most complex ecosystems anybody’s ever heard of or described any complex ecosystem. There are so many players that you have to have all the right things where it’s not gonna happen. And that’s a real eye-opener and we have to be aware of that. And so. A lot of the book is okay.

Dr Steven Gundry: You know, it, it takes two here. Here’s what you need to activate the system. Here’s what you need to give the bugs what they need to eat, and basically, you know, help me help you.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And feed your friends. Um, it’s funny ’cause you, you, you alluded to this earlier, as you know, we, we have this very kind of, , capitalistic versus com, you know those commies are coming, right? Like we have the good guys and the bad guys. . Always cowboys and Indians. Like, it’s just the way our brains like to, to bifurcate and structure culturally.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? And we are trying to get out of that. We’re trying to get into an ecological model. Um, some of the talk, the, the rumblings I hear now, it’s like, well, okay, butyrate good LPS bad, right? And so again, we start getting into this post biotic world of saying, well, , we have the good guys and the bad guys, so you wanna

Dr Pedram Shojai: Feed your good friends and starve your bad friends, and it starts to kind of go down the same tracks, right? But there’s this understanding now that LPS or the lipopolysaccharides leading to endotoxemia, arguably contribute to up to 50% of chronic disease. Like big numbers, big numbers. So. That is a huge lever for us to be able to pull.

Dr Pedram Shojai: That’s why I find the microbiome science just fascinating, right? If, if this one thing leads to 50% of all the stuff that people are gonna the hospitals for, why are we not looking at this? And why isn’t every, , university looking at it now, the answer is most are. Um, so let’s talk about LPS. Let’s talk about Butyrates.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Like you, you alluded to this place where there’s this huge heyday of, you know, pharma’s jumping in. Everyone’s looking at this saying, here, here’s the big lever.

Dr Steven Gundry: Yeah, I think one of the things the book points out is that you look at any disease process. Choose the disease. Uh, you know, Hippocrates 2,500 years ago said, all disease begins in the gut. The guy was right. Uh, how he knew that, I’m still trying to figure out, but he was right. Uh, and the good news is all disease can be reversed in the gut.

Dr Steven Gundry: That’s why I see patients six days a week. Uh, ’cause you can, so butyrate has really become one of the holy grails and butyrate. If you, I mean, if you wanna talk about depression, I. Butyrate, uh, comes right to the forefront. If you wanna talk about diabetes, butyrate comes right to the forefront. If you want to talk about cancer, butyrate comes right to the forefront.

Dr Steven Gundry: If you wanna talk to dementia, butyrate comes right to the forefront. It’s like, holy cow. You know, everywhere I turn, if you look at all these patient populations and look at one of the things that’s dramatically different. About their microbiome is they lack butyrate producing bugs, or they have those bugs but they’re not making butyrate.

Dr Steven Gundry: Which goes back to my point. You gotta give them some precursors to make it so, you know, butyrate is, is pretty cool stuff. Uh, I think one of the . Kind of hidden in one of the chapters. I’m not a big fan of the human genome having a huge effect on us. Um, papers in nature have shown that the human genome probably affects about 8% of what’s gonna happen to us.

Dr Steven Gundry: 92% is based on environmental, but more importantly, our bacterial and viral genome. Which vastly out, you know, outnumbers our human genes. Anyhow, one of the startling things when I was researching gut check was I am supposedly one of the experts on the a OE four gene, the quote Alzheimer’s gene and I, I’ve become good friends with, um, David Perlmutter.

Dr Steven Gundry: Um, and Dale Bredesen, and because of our interest, I got interested in it from a cardiovascular disease standpoint. They of course, came at it from dementia. And the interesting thing is we’ve. Through the years, wanted to control the bad things we knew about that mutation in terms of cholesterol levels, in terms of inflammation in the brain.

Dr Steven Gundry: But only recently was their discovery that the APOE four genotype, which about 25 to 30% of people carry. So it’s not insignificant. Changes the gut microbiome into a microbiome that doesn’t make much butyrate. And now you go son of a gun, you know, there’s, you know, there’s a, there’s a missing link, there’s a smoking gun.

Dr Steven Gundry: No wonder this gene is such a bad actor because it’s suppressing butyrate producing bacteria in the gut. And so, for instance, now all of my patients with the APOE four gene, I put ’em on, uh, bugs probiotics that will facilitate, uh, populating butyrate producing bugs. So, and to me that was maybe a real eye-opener.

Dr Pedram Shojai: That’s big. And what do you feed these bugs? I mean, you, there’s the prebiotics, there’s a. Precursors. I mean, I don’t wanna go too deep into it, but the shift that happened between saying, I’m just gonna take a probiotic and then I’m going to take the things to feed my friends. Um, I think, uh, a lot of the audience still hasn’t let that sink in yet, right?

Dr Pedram Shojai: Is we, we want the butyrates, so what do we gotta get into the bugs to get the butyrates to happen?

Dr Steven Gundry: Yeah. Um, I think one of the things, and I, I, I should have thought about, uh, yesterday I was actually reading, um. My audio book, uh, of gut check, and I said, you know what I’m saying in this book, uh, among other things is that there, there is a message in the bottle. And, uh, what I mean by that is that, uh, one of the chapters is dead.

Dr Steven Gundry: Men Tell, tell No Tails, but dead Bacteria do. And one of the things that’s interesting, uh. Fermented foods, which I spend a lot of time on, most of the time, the fermented foods we eat, uh, we think of them as, oh, they contain probiotics. They contain friendly bacteria. Well, in fact, most of them don’t have any living bacteria.

Dr Steven Gundry: And if they did, uh, most of those bacteria will be killed off by stomach acid. If you’re not taking stomach acid. Reducing drugs, but that’s another story. And so what’s fascinating is that dead bacteria carry important information. And the products that these bacteria made while they’re fermenting, which are called postbiotics, are.

Dr Steven Gundry: Information carriers and precursors for what our butyrate producing bugs need. And I just, you know, finished taking my dogs for their morning walk and we have, uh, one female and three male dogs, two rescues, and the, the male dogs, of course, are sniffing and marking things and. I can’t smell what they’re sniffing, but they are clearly getting important information.

Dr Steven Gundry: Uh, I mean a lot of important information and they are clearly leaving information. And what’s really a revelation is that these bacteria, cell walls. Carry information and that information is read by other bacteria. They literally read that barcode. It’s the same way with LPSs lipopolysaccharides. Um. I don’t swear, but I can’t resist calling them little pieces of shit because that’s what they are.

Dr Steven Gundry: We read the cell wall of these dead bacteria as living as, as a bacteria that’s loose in us, and that’s what our immune system goes crazy about. Well, it’s the same thing. All of these dead bugs, . Educate our, um, our gut, educate our immune system. Uh, one of the examples I use, which is fascinating, I’m a big fan of this keystone species.

Dr Steven Gundry: Akkermansia, mussino fill, mucus loving Akkermansia, and uh. There’s good papers showing that swallowing this bug in the right way does some great things, makes butyrate producing bugs appear, makes more mucus in your gut, blah, blah, blah. But there are excellent papers that show swallowing dead. Akkermansia also does much of the same thing.

Dr Steven Gundry: Slightly different, but so it’s dead bacteria that carry important information. I think we’ve been missing that from cultures that have used fermentation as really one of the major preservation systems of all time. Now we forget there was no refrigeration up, up until really modern times. We forget that most cultures detoxified the lectins in the foods that they were going to eat by fermenting them, letting bacteria take care of these nasty compounds.

Dr Steven Gundry: So, and it left information, uh, and it is that information, it’s a message in a bottle. I tell my patients, look vinegar. Is a message in a bottle to your microbiome. Uh, keefer is a message in a bottle. A glass of red wine is a message in a bottle, uh, and olive oil carries messages in that bottle. I think the more we approach it that way, it gives you more reason to use this stuff.

Dr Pedram Shojai: On the other hand. Fiery Hot Cheetos, Dr. Pepper.

Dr Steven Gundry: That’s a bad message in a

Dr Pedram Shojai: those are also messages in bottles, right?

Dr Steven Gundry: our messages. That’s that’s exactly right. ,

Dr Pedram Shojai: yeah. Let’s talk about the downstream effects. I mean, you have information, not all information is created equal to your body. So what, what does your body do when it recognizes something versus not recognizes something or assumes the thing that the it is recognized is poison, a foreign invader? So let’s talk about the, the wall, the gut lining.

Dr Pedram Shojai: ’cause that’s a big part of your book. It’s a big part of this work.

Dr Steven Gundry: Yeah. Um, when I, when I wrote the Longevity Paradox, uh, a few years ago, uh, one of the things that really impressed me, there’s a, there’s a little worm that’s used in longevity studies called Sea Elegance, and the reason this worm is used is two reasons. Number one. Um, it, it turns out that almost everything that’s been discovered using the Sea Elgan model has been confirmed in higher animals in including us.

Dr Steven Gundry: Uh, number two, sea elegance. Um, even though it’s a little bitty tiny worm has a gut and it has a single cell gut wall just like we do. And what really struck me was that. As that worm’s gut wall, as it’s border with the outside world, uh, breaks down is um, breach, that’s when the worm begins to die. As long as that gut wall is intact, that worm lives, but once that gut wall is breached and the wall begins to fall apart, that’s when death ensues, and that had a really profound effect on me.

Dr Steven Gundry: Particularly after a poverty set, all disease begins in the gut that perhaps we were missing the point that we’ve gotta do our utmost to make that wall basically impermeable to things that are going to come across. And if things come across, we’ve got to repair it as rapidly as possible. And a, a lot of the book is, look you.

Dr Steven Gundry: Protect your gut wall. And guess what? Um, almost nothing bad is ever gonna happen to you. And, you know, studies of these super centenarians, uh, show that in fact, uh, they’ve got a microbiome that is dedicated to protecting their host, their, you know, . Their home, us from harm, they, they eat xenobiotics. What are xenobiotics?

Dr Steven Gundry: Well, the thing is we’re talking off camera plastics and all those xenoestrogens and all of these environmental factors. They eat them. They actively eat them. And most of us, those guys are, are long gone. So the protection that would’ve normally gone into protecting our gut wall, and like I talk in the book, we’ve, we’ve wiped out, uh, we’ve wiped out the front floor of our offensive line and we’ve got water boys, you know, manning the front line.

Dr Steven Gundry: And no wonder the quarterback’s getting sacked.

Dr Pedram Shojai: I love that . Um, the, the implication here with the APO E four gene and what you were alluding to earlier is, is not missed. Right? In that, look, if we’re looking at all these markers of dementia of, of, you know, decline in different systems, but they are somehow tied to the gut wall, the gut lining. That is the first link in the chain.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And then downstream from that, we have all sorts of problems. It makes a lot of sense. So then the question is where’s, you know, where’s the Jesus plan, right? Like, how do I get forgiveness for, , the Dr. Peppers I did have, how do, how do I build that mucin to layer? How do I re inoculate? How do I fix this in mid age?

Dr Pedram Shojai: Right? A lot of Americans are like uhoh now what? I’ve been sinning for a very long time.

Dr Steven Gundry: Yeah, I, I’ve, I’ve got a, a, a patient here in, in Santa Barbara who’s a, who’s a, who’s a great businessman, and he’s, he’s in his, uh, he’s in his late sixties now, and he, I. You know, he spent his life building great businesses and he’s really good at it. And he, like many of us, uh, always viewed ourselves as a 25-year-old Adonis.

Dr Steven Gundry: And he still views himself as a 25-year-old Adonis. But now things are coming home to roost. Uh, for instance, I . I just got a text from him yesterday saying, Hey, you know, I just noticed something, um, my feet are, are kind of numb all the time and, uh, what do you think about that? And I said, well, uh, I just, what I told you, you know, you have insulin resistance, you have very high insulin levels, you have a very high blood sugar, and guess what?

Dr Steven Gundry: You know, you’ve got diabetic neuropathy and he’s going, what? And, and, and I said, yeah, you know, remember I told you that it’s the fourth quarter, uh, you bi, you’re at the two minute warning and you’re down 21 points. And he said, well, I know you told me that. And I said, well, you know, guess what? You just got a 10 yard penalty and you know now what he says.

Dr Steven Gundry: Okay, I’m really interested now. Well, and this is actually what happens. So the good news is you can, number one, stop the process. And if we catch it early enough, you can reverse the process, which is really exciting. Um, and that’s, how do you do it again? It takes, it takes two things. I think there is a place for.

Dr Steven Gundry: Taking various probiotics if you wanna use a shotgun approach, I don’t really have a problem as long as you understand that we’re still just, you know, scratching the surface. Um, I, I attend the Microbiotic Congress in Paris every year in present, and I mean, every year we find a bug in Japanese patients who

Dr Steven Gundry: Uh, love seaweed and it secretes, uh, GLP one that keeps them skinny, but it has to have seaweed eat. Otherwise, you know, it, it won’t make it. There’s another fascinating bug in. Italian raw cheeses that actually does the same thing. But if you pasteurize the milk before you make it into cheese, that bug is killed and you will not get the exact same effect.

Dr Steven Gundry: So it’s, it’s this incredible. Minutia that we didn’t even know these guys were there 20 years ago. You know, we, and, and now we’re going, holy cow, this guy does this and this guy does this, and this guy, like the book says, this guy needs to eat this to do that. Um, let me u use one more example. Um, there’s a, there’s a really good,

Dr Steven Gundry: post biotic called uralithan A a and it’s, it’s a new darling and I’m a big fan of it. I don’t make it, but, uh, Lyan A is a post biotic. Another way to think of Postbiotics is bacterial poops. So this is a compound that’s been showed to produce autophagy, allow mitochondria to eat themselves, repair themselves, and then make a brand new one.

Dr Steven Gundry: It. It’s been shown in humans to increase muscle mass regardless of what else you’re doing. So it’s pretty cool stuff. It’s made from a precursor called EAG acid that’s present in walnuts, raspberries, and pomegranates. Now, the sad thing is you gotta have. What looks like four different bacteria to take ilog acid and make it into uro, lith A, and each of those bacteria does a little something different.

Dr Steven Gundry: Now, sadly, as I write about in the book, I. Only about 14% of of us have those four bacteria. So we could eat, we could drink all the pomegranate juice in the world and we would never make U Litan a. What’s fascinating is super old people, 50 to 70% of the super old have those four bugs and they make Han a and you go, son, you know?

Dr Steven Gundry: There’s another key to the puzzle. They’ve got this rich, diverse rainforest that we all once had, and here’s how they did it. So then you start looking at these super old peoples, and I’ve got a whole chapter on the Blue Zones. And guess what? They’re not blue zones, they’re white zones. Um, but. You look at what these guys do, what they eat, and you start seeing, okay, how did they foster all these different species?

Dr Steven Gundry: And that’s a big part of the book. And it comes down to things like poly amines, all these other messages from fermented foods that start bringing these bacteria out of hiding. One last thing I’ll say about that, which is one of the good news is about the book. Um, years ago I got really interested in, um, so the reason our gut, the lining of our gut is the same surface area as a tennis court, and some people argue it’s two tennis courts, but it’s big and it’s only one cell thick.

Dr Steven Gundry: The reason there’s so much surface area in our gut is that we have all these roots. That really extend into the wall of our gut like a shag carpet. And these are the microvilli. And these microvilli are aligned with one cell thick endothelial cells at the base of these microvilli, or what are called crips.

Dr Steven Gundry: And these Crips basically house two things. Number one, they house stem cells and those stem cells are there so that if one of these endothelial cell lining is killed or damaged, the stem cell takes over and becomes one of these cells and takes its place. The other reason it’s there is there is a collection of bacteria.

Dr Steven Gundry: And a really interesting, diverse collection of bacteria, and they’re actually protected in these Crips by our immune system, and they’re, they’re basically hiding in there. And what can happen under the right circumstances. And I, I talk about it with vitamin D for instance. Uh, you can and dangling the food that they want to eat out in front of them, they will come out of those crips and repopulate your gut.

Dr Steven Gundry: And to me, that’s the only hope for us because otherwise we’re screwed. Um, so let’s, let’s, let’s call him out.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah. Well then calling them out requires bringing the food that they like. The variety and the diversity. It’s funny, you think about, you know, pharma looking at this, says, okay, great, four bacteria, allergic acid, you know, 1, 2, 3 system. I’m gonna patent this thing and boom, this is a blockbuster, right? I have a new longevity drug and that’s how pharma thinks and that’s how capital thinks in kind of the business of medicine.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Not necessarily wrong, but not holistic. Right? Like it, , it’s mechanistic. It will try to solve a problem, scratch an itch, and really target down. What you’re saying is, is the rainforest ecological model is very different, right? Like , the wolves, don’t replace the elk. The wolves coexist with the elk.

Dr Steven Gundry: Right.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And so obviously eating a lot of plants, obviously having the variety is a big part of your thesis, right? Um, When we start doing that, and you talk a lot about, you know, and I don’t, I’d, I’d rather people read the book, there’s too much detail here, but you talk about leaky gut, leaky brain, leaky gut, leaky hormones, all sorts of downstream issues that come as these LPS crossover.

Dr Pedram Shojai: And as we have, the fallout of this, but the flip side in healing that gut lining with the variety and the ferments and all that, how quickly do you see . People’s health turning around, whether it’s the inflammatory markers, whether it’s, , just symptom surveys. Like what do you see? How quickly do you see it?

Dr Pedram Shojai: Because, you know, Americans love a quick fix. Lifestyle isn’t a quick fix conversation, but it is the conversation. So how do we have it , and get people to trust that it’s gonna work for ’em.

Dr Steven Gundry: Sure. Uh, when I started doing this over 20 years ago, I was a bit naive and I, I really thought you could seal leaky gut in a couple weeks. Um, you can’t, number one. Uh, we do, we do these leaky gut tests and they’re blood tests, um, every three months on people and. Most people, we see a, well, all people, we see a demonstrable difference in three months, but it takes nine months to a year to literally see Seal the gut.

Dr Steven Gundry: And these are people who are very motivated. You know, again, these are, these are folks with. Active autoimmune diseases for the most part, and want to get off their biologic drugs, um, for really good reasons. Um, so they’re, they’re very motivated people. Uh, but it takes quite a while now, the really exciting thing in the, in the.

Dr Steven Gundry: The carrot on the stick that I hold off for my patients or for anyone who’s reading the book is when we start, uh, everyone I see with whatever disease process you wanna choose, coronary artery disease, they have leaky gut. You wanna choose mild po cognitive impairment. They have leaky gut. Um, you wanna choose cancer, they have leaky gut.

Dr Steven Gundry: Uh, you name it, they got it. Uh, certainly autoimmune disease. Those patients who have leaky gut, and quite frankly, it’s nearly every one of us, uh, all of those patients, a hundred percent of those patients have IgG antibodies to the various components of wheat, rye, barley, and oats. A hundred percent. And some of these people have not been eating gluten for 10 years because of, you know, their symptoms.

Dr Steven Gundry: And you go, what the heck? You know, everybody’s got antibodies to gluten, to wheat, germ glutenin to non-gluten, wheat proteins. What the heck? Well, what’s exciting is that as the leaky gut heals, all those antibodies go away. So that, uh. By the time we’re done, the immune system has been totally retrained that it isn’t worried about.

Dr Steven Gundry: Those things anymore. Uh, can people go back and start eating wheat? Uh, certainly most of my patients can safely eat, uh, white wheat products like bread or pasta or pizza over in Europe. Um, when they come back here, assuming they’re now cured, uh, within weeks, uh, they usually are back to their original complaints, and that brings up something that you and I and everybody talks about.

Dr Steven Gundry: There’s glyphosate in all of our. Grain products, uh, in everything, and glyphosate is a great gut disruptor. It potentiates gluten being a mischief maker, and we’ve all said enough about it, but it just keeps getting worse.

Dr Pedram Shojai: You, you know what’s funny is as you’re saying that, you know, I’m in this conversation, a lot of my listeners are in this conversation. Um, but just the last couple things you talked about, um, if I post something about leaky gut on Instagram, there’s this barrage of, um. Quote unquote, people that show up and say, there’s no such thing as leaky gut.

Dr Pedram Shojai: You start talking about glyphosate, you get attacked. And so the, there’s an orchestrated troll farm industry that attacks this information because, I mean, what you just said, I just want. I just want our listeners to, to tune into that. You talked about four or five different downstream major diagnoses that cause major problems and all of those roads led back to fixing a leaky gut and then finding alleviation, right Downstream.

Dr Steven Gundry: Correct.

Dr Pedram Shojai: You’re, you’re bad for business doc

Dr Steven Gundry: Well, I know, you know, when I first did this, you know, I resigned my chairmanship of, of heart surgery, you know, at Loma Linda University because you know, I. Said, geez, you know, I, I can keep these people away from me. You know, I, I don’t have to operate on them. What? And, you know, my colleagues said, what, what the heck?

Dr Steven Gundry: You know, you’re trying to put yourself out of business, which I did. Um, and, but it works. You know, I’ve, I’ve presented papers of, of a thousand patients with known coronary artery disease stents, bypasses, who I followed for over 10 years. And they have a 1.6% incidence at 10 years of a new cardiovascular vet.

Dr Steven Gundry: I mean, think about that. 1.6%. Now, if you look at maximal me medical therapy, within three to five years, 20% of people will have a new event with maximal statin drugs, maximal blood pressure medication, and a low fat diet. And at 10 years following my program, a thousand people, um, 1.6% incidents of a new event.

Dr Steven Gundry: Not bad.

Dr Pedram Shojai: It’s not bad at all. Dunking on the other interventions.

Dr Steven Gundry: Yeah.

Dr Pedram Shojai: I got a question for you. A lot of folks in the health and wellness industry are noticing kind of a increase in all the spike proteins after the coronavirus and the, and all this leading to more, , whether it’s herpes or, or mono or all sorts of different viral acute things that are starting to come up.

Dr Pedram Shojai: How much does the gut lining in your assessment have to do with this? How much can, if we were to adjust. The leaky gut and the parameters around that wall, do you see those types of symptoms start to subside as well?

Dr Steven Gundry: Uh, well, you bring up several good points. Uh. We know that one of the, one of the kind of unappreciated causes of leaky gut is a viral infection. And uh, the reason we don’t know too much about it is ’cause we just have not gotten into the viral, uh, microbiome as much yet as we should. But viruses are really good at causing leaky gut, and we forget that in covid infections.

Dr Steven Gundry: 25, 30% of the presentation of an active covid infection was GI in nature. It was nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. And I am one who’s convinced that most long covid comes from leaky gut. And in my clinics, that’s exactly what we see. Now the other thing, uh, I became, uh, I guess Robert f Kenny Jr’s best friend, a couple years ago when I published a, presented a paper at the American Art Association that these mRNA vaccines, I.

Dr Steven Gundry: Dramatically increased vascular inflammation on blood vessels as measured by a very reputable test. Now, um, that I guess got me into a lot of trouble. There’s subsequently been several papers that have confirmed that fact. So it wasn’t just. Me and I, I’m nothing against these things. Uh, but the good news is that most of these, this inflammation subsides in generally six months.

Dr Steven Gundry: I’ve seen it go as long as nine months. Uh, ’cause we follow these every three months. But the good news is it subsides so this, this message to keep producing the spike protein. Thank goodness, at least in our experience, stops. Now that doesn’t help people who keep getting these dumb vaccines. Uh, and, and I, I do call them dumb.

Dr Steven Gundry: I, I won’t let my patients get the mRNA vaccines. I’ve seen almost all of my autoimmune patients, uh, s uh, flare their autoimmune disease, uh, after these vaccines. So, you’re right, this activates the immune system. And the immune system. I learned in, you know, heart transplant. Anything that activates the immune system in someone who’s quiescent with a heart, you know, a baby heart transplant, the immune system starts putting, attacking the heart.

Dr Steven Gundry: That was, it was quiet up until something brought it up and now they just start shooting at everything. So, it’s no surprise to me that these things which activate the immune system, um, cause these, this mischief. So, yeah. Um, I, I go after leaky gut and these folks, and knock on wood, we’ve had good success,

Dr Pedram Shojai: Yeah. Again, uh, another reason why I like to talk to clinicians who are still in the mash unit, right? ’cause you have these, these things called humans that you get to, , watch and observe and learn from as you go. Um, we’re running out of time and there’s a. One chapter in particular that I would, , be remiss not to talk about.

Dr Pedram Shojai: The title is Cigarettes, meat and Cheese, . The Secrets of Longevity are not what you Think. Um, tease it for my, my listeners, if you will. Please. What, what are we talking about here?

Dr Steven Gundry: Well, you know, a lot of times. We, we make the mistake of thinking that something might be good for us, and let’s just say, oh, beans and grains are good for us and. Um, a, a certain, uh, journalist has made a career out of saying that, uh, blue Zones, uh, are blue Zones because they’re both basically vegan, vegetarian, and all they do is eat grains and beets.

Dr Steven Gundry: Um, and a man. Sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest. Now, what’s fascinating about Blue Zones and I’m the only nutritionist who has spent most of his career living in a blue zone, and that’s Loma Linda, California. So, excuse me, uh, I think I. Can talk about Blue Zones. So the unique thing about Blue Zones is first of all, four out of the five of these blue Zones, they are heavy smokers.

Dr Steven Gundry: But it gets more interesting than that. The men are heavy smokers, not the women. And what’s fascinating, Sardinia is a great example. About 99% of the men in in the blue zone of Sardinia, which is up in the mountains, not down by the water are smokers. Only about 25% of the women are smokers. And what’s interesting is only the mountainous people have increased longevity, but it’s the men who pull up the longevity.

Dr Steven Gundry: Men normally die about seven years earlier than women, but the men outlive the women. And it’s, believe it or not, because of the nicotine, and I’ve written a lot about this, nicotine is one of the best mitochondrial on couplers there is. But what happens is people say, oh, they’re so healthy that the cigarettes don’t bother them.

Dr Steven Gundry: It’s the same with the Katas. The Katas smoke like fiends, they’ve never had coronary artery disease discovered they’d never had a case of cancer. And people say, oh, that’s because the katas eat a lot of tarot root and a lot of coconut and a lot of fruits and vegetables, and so the smoking doesn’t bother them.

Dr Steven Gundry: Well, wait a minute. Maybe just, maybe a lot of these blue zones, it’s because they’re smokers at Chii. The same thing. Now, why do they get away with the smoking? Well, I go into that because they’re eating a ton of antioxidants. They’re eating a ton of polyphenols, so they’re, they’re suppressing the oxidative stress that comes from smoking.

Dr Steven Gundry: The other thing that’s fascinating. Is that four of these five blue zones are sheep and goat herders, and they eat a ton of sheep and goat yogurts and sheep and goat cheeses, and it just so happens that. Three 30% of all the fats in sheep and goat milk are medium chain triglycerides, MCTs, and they’re really good mitochondrial and couplers, which make mitochondrial work much better.

Dr Steven Gundry: All of these four of the five are sheep herders. In fact, the Napoleon Peninsula in Costa Rica, the differentiation between that little gerrymandered district and everybody else in Costa Rica is that these guys are sheep herders. Everybody else in Costa Rica eats corn and beans. So do these guys. But there’s a beautiful paper showing that the corn and beans are the negative aspect of their diet, and it’s the sheep herding that’s the positive aspect of their diet that makes the difference.

Dr Steven Gundry: When I came to Loma Linda, uh, I met with the dieticians because about 50%. Of the calories that were being fed in Loma Linda, Cal, California cafeteria at the hospital was fat from cheeses and yogurts. And I’m going, you’re killing my patients. You know, stop this. And they’re going, uh, Sonny, you know, we’re some of the longest living people in the world Shut up and pay attention.

Dr Steven Gundry: And it was all of these. Animal products, milk products that had been fermented. That was actually the benefit. And as I talk about the fermentation of animal products brings these messages, we eat these messages and it tells our bacteria what to do. Wow. And last but not least, all of these people. Eat sausages from the animals that they raise or kill.

Dr Steven Gundry: Why do they eat sausages? Because they don’t eat a lot of meat. That much is very true. But what they do use, they can’t eat. So they have to preserve it and they grind up everything and make it into sausages. And one of the fascinating things I learned was. Sausage making eats up this really nasty sugar molecule in beef, lamb, and pork called New five gc.

Dr Steven Gundry: And we probably don’t have time to talk about it, but it eats it and so it’s harmless to us. And these fermentation process makes all these other really cool compounds like polyenes, like sperm, aine, like Racine, that really do a great job on our bacteria in our gut. And so the, the hilarious thing is the.

Dr Steven Gundry: The longest life expectancy on planet Earth is a little country called Pandora, which is between France and Spain, up in the Pyrenees Mountains. And guess what? These people, their life expectancy is 90 years. Um, men and female. Uh, they have two things in their diet. Uh, they’re sheep, rooters, and they also eat sausages every day.

Dr Steven Gundry: And so they subsist on sheep, yogurt, cheap cheeses and sausages, and they’re the longest living people in the world. Oh, by the way, they smoke

Dr Pedram Shojai: Take that health industry. Um, fascinating, fascinating, fascinating.

Dr Steven Gundry: don’t go smoke. Uh, that is not the message.

Dr Pedram Shojai: No.

Dr Steven Gundry: But we’re missing the message that nicotine is, is a really potent mitochondrial and coupler nicotine is one of the best ways anyone ever discovered of being skinny. Uh, and that’s another subject. And one of the little things that’s buried in there just as a fun thing, is tobacco is a nightshade family and all nightshades.

Dr Steven Gundry: Have nicotine in them. So nightshades are in tomatoes, they’re in peppers, they’re in potatoes, they’re in eggplant, by the way, they’re in goji berries and they’re in tobacco. And isn’t it interesting that these compounds are all from North and South America? These compounds were not used by . Any of us until 500 years ago, and yet these compounds have taken over the world in terms of things we prefer to eat.

Dr Steven Gundry: So is it the flavors we’re getting from these compounds or are we getting the nicotine from these compounds? And that that’s the hit we’re looking from. And I was like, talk about in the book I report, you decide.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Real quick, mitochondrial uncoupling, uh, can’t leave that open loop there. What is that? Why is that important? And um, obviously if nicotine is doing it, there’s a positive attribute according to how you’re saying it. Um, why do we need to uncouple mitochondria?

Dr Steven Gundry: So I. Two previous books talking about this, and I, I wish somebody had called it something different, um, uncoupling. Nowadays we think of ending a marriage or a long-term relationship. But, uh, uncoupling is a way, it’s a protective mechanism that’s built into. The inner membranes of mitochondria that make a TP.

Dr Steven Gundry: And normally we should couple a proton and an oxygen molecule, uh, to make adenosine phosphate. And I talk a lot about it in this book, the Mechanism, and break it down into. The hottest club in the, in the, in the town called the Mito Club, and it gets hot in the Mito Club. And making a TP is really hard work and very damaging to mitochondria.

Dr Steven Gundry: And there ought to be pop-off bowels in this pressure cooker where. Protons can escape being coupled with mitochondria to blow off steam, and it turns out in 1978 it was discovered that there are uncoupling proteins that basically open up. Emergency exits in mitochondria to blow off steam. And there’re, it’s called mitochondrial uncoupling.

Dr Steven Gundry: And it turns out we do it every day of our lives. Uh, interestingly enough. 30% of all the calories that enter into the electron transport chain are never coupled with oxygen. They are uncoupled and wasted, and in the process they generate heat and we hear a lot about thermogenic compounds. Turns out.

Dr Steven Gundry: Thermogenic compounds, uncouple brown fat mitochondria. And the more brown fat you have, the healthier you are. And the more uncoupled mitochondria you have, the longer you live and live. Well, uh, again, I wish there was a better term for it. Just, just say it’s, it’s a pop off valve and a pressure cooker and, um.

Dr Steven Gundry: There was, there’s been some really good work looking at super old people and they just so happened to have the most uncoupled mitochondria and. Getting back to the final point, the more you uncouple mitochondria in the lining of your intestines, the healthier that wall becomes. And the book is, okay, you wanna uncouple your mitochondria.

Dr Steven Gundry: Here’s, here’s the tricks. And oh, by the way, butyrate happens to be a mitochondrial and coupler. So it, it comes full circle.

Dr Pedram Shojai: I love it. I love it. The book is called Gut Check. Um, depending on when you’re listening to this, get Anywhere books are sold. Um, big fan of your work doc. Um, really, uh, excited to share it. Audience and, uh, invite you to keep, keep at it, man. You’re, you’re doing great work out there and I just love the way that you, you dig stuff up.

Dr Pedram Shojai: So big fan of how you’re doing it.

Dr Steven Gundry: Oh, thanks very much. And, uh, I’ll, I’ll give you a teaser for the next book I’m working on. The dose makes the poison, which is famous. Uh, it turns out that the dose of LPSs makes the poison and a little LPS may be actually really good for us. We’ll leave it at that.

Dr Pedram Shojai: Oh, I love that. I love that. Dr. Steve Gundry, uh, always a pleasure. Uh, looking forward to seeing you again. Uh, can’t wait for the next book.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. I love Steve Gundry. He just a great guy doing great work, run out and get the book it’s called. Gut-check. Uh, love that title. We did a six part series called gut check about a year or two ago. Uh, hosted by Dr. Nicole. Birkins lots of very important work being done in the space of the microbiome.

Read the books, see the series, get yourself educated on this. It will make a profound difference in your life knowing. What to eat, how to eat it and how to think about food because the food you eat. Becomes the cells you are. And so you want to change your life starts with diet. We’ll see in the next one.

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.