Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

View all Platforms
Episode 556
The Doctor's Farmacy

Why Gut Issues Are On The Rise And How To Fix It

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

View all Platforms

When we ingest 60 percent of our calories from ultra-processed foods, as most Americans do, we destroy our microbiome (i.e., the ecosystem in our gut). The microbiome plays a role in every disease, so why aren’t we doing more to protect and restore it? One third to one half of all Americans have gut issues due to the constant consumption of industrialized foods, glyphosate, food additives, and more. This is a problem—and it’s time for us to take action.

In this episode of my Masterclass series, the first in a series on gut health, I am interviewed by my good friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, about the importance of polyphenols for our gut health. We also discuss my gut-health journey, which led me to dig deep into understanding the value of a healthy gut and diverse microbiome, and how to get there.

This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, Thrive Market, and InsideTracker.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, and Great Plains. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

Thrive Market is an online membership-based grocery store that makes eating well convenient and more affordable. Join today at thrivemarket.com/hyman to receive an extra $80 of free groceries off with your first order.

InsideTracker is a personalized health and wellness platform like no other. Right now they’re offering my community 20% off at insidetracker.com/drhyman.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dhru Purohit

Dhru Purohit is a podcast host, serial entrepreneur, and investor in the health and wellness industry. His podcast, The Dhru Purohit Podcast, is a top 50 global health podcast with over 30 million unique downloads. His interviews focus on the inner workings of the brain and the body and feature the brightest minds in wellness, medicine, and mindset.

Show Notes

  1. Therapeutic Potential of Rosmarinic Acid: A Comprehensive Review
  2. Gut Food

Transcript

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hi everybody it’s Dr. Mark Hyman, and welcome to a new series on the Doctor’s Farmacy called masterclass, where we dive deep into popular health topics including inflammation, autoimmune disease, brain health, sleep, the gut and much more. I’m really excited because for the next few episodes of masterclass, my friend and my business partner, my podcast cohost, Dhru Purohit and I are going to be diving into all things gut health. For the past four years we’ve been really digging deep into the research on what it takes to create a healthy gut microbiome. What are the ingredients your gut needs to thrive? Now we want to share this information with you in a multi-part series starting today. Welcome Dhru.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark so excited to be here, and we’re in Los Angeles at our studio over here. It’s good to do these in person, I always miss having these in person conversations with you they’re a lot more dynamic. You’re still good on remote as well. Mark we got a lot to talk about today on the topic of gut health, and we’re really going to give people a big picture background into why are we in this crazy situation where so many people have so many health issues that ultimately come back to the gut. But like we do, let’s give a little nugget at the top. What is one thing that you think people are doing on a daily basis today, the number one thing that is causing gut issues and long term gut damage?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, your gut health depends on the creatures that live in there. If you feed them junk, they become basically bad bugs. The way we feed our gut today is with ultra-processed food, which is 60% of our calories that comes from commodity crops, corn, wheat and soy and tons of sugar, and that is destroying our microbiome. If you want to start anywhere it’s get rid of the junk and food additives and processed food because within those are so many components that drive our gut into damage.

Dhru Purohit:
It really is like food is information not just for your cells but for the bacteria that’s in your gut as well.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re just not eating for you, you’re eating for all those millions and bazillions of bugs that live inside of you, literally trillions.

Dhru Purohit:
Let’s take a step back. If Mark Hyman had to give a state of the union on gut health and disease in the world today, what would he want to tell everyone who’s listening? Why are we in this mess?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Dhru this is the era of the microbiome. When I graduated from medical school there wasn’t even a term microbiome. In fact, the gut was mostly ignored except as a source of irritable bowel reflux, heartburn, ulcers and stuff that we treated with medication but didn’t really understand. I remember talking to a gastroenterologist about gut issues I said, “Do you ever talk to your patients about what they’re eating?” He was like, “Well, no.” I said, “Well, don’t you think it makes sense because you’re putting pounds of this foreign material in your gut everyday it’s got to affect the gut function.” He’s like, “Oh, wow that makes sense, I never thought of it.” It was so funny. The truth is we have a very important ecosystem in our gut that determines almost everything about our health. As we’re learning about the microbiome, we’re learning it has as many cells as our own body. It has 100 times as much DNA as our own cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Maybe there’s 20,000 genes we have, there might be two or three or five million genes all producing proteins and metabolites that are interacting with our body. When you have good bugs in there, they produce good molecules that regulate so many of our systems. If you were to take a blood sample of the average human, you might find a third to a half of all the metabolites in the blood come from bacterial metabolites that you’ve absorbed that are part of normal function of your body. The poop isn’t just sitting there, it’s all doing all kinds of stuff besides making vitamins and helping you digest your food and helping heal the gut. It’s actually creating all these chemical metabolites that are regulating so much. That’s why we see for example when things go wrong with the microbiome, we see high levels of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autoimmune diseases, allergies, autism and I can go on and on, because the microbiome plays a role in everything, even longevity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In writing this new book, Young Forever and it’s amazing how much data there is now on the changes in the microbiome that happen as we age, and why if you look at healthy centenarians why their microbiomes are very, very different than the average Americans, and it’s because of what we’re eating. We need to keep this microbiome healthy because it’s so important for our overall health. The reason we’re in this pandemic literally of gut problems, it literally affects probably a third to half of Americans who have some level of gut issues, reflux, heartburn, irritable bowel, bloating, gas, constipation. These are “normal” things that are not really normal, they are signs that their gut’s out of balance.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Why has this happened? Well, one it’s the industrialization of our food. We’ve really over processed our food so that we’ve removed all the fiber, all the key nutrients and the polyphenols, so we eat a very mono diet. It’s really unfortunate because that is not feeding the good bugs and then we don’t end up with a good gut microbiome. So their diet is a huge change. Then in the diet there’s also other things like glyphosate, which is a microbiome destroyer, pesticides which affect your microbiome. There’s food additives like carrageenan and other compounds that really destroy the gut and emulsifiers that cause leaky gut. Then we’ve got high levels of gluten proteins in the modern wheat we have. So we have this perfect storm of diet that’s driving so many problems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
On top of that, we have increasing C-sections, the third of all births are C-sections, so the baby doesn’t go through the vaginal canal and have the microbiome colonized by the mother’s vaginal flora or they don’t breastfeed. By the way, 25% of calories in breast milk are not available to the baby. They’re in the form of oligosaccharides, which are digestible only by healthy bacteria in the gut. But if a woman has taken an antibiotic in her lifetime and had a baby she won’t have this important species called Bifidobacterium infantis that’s so necessary for the development of the immune system and gut regulation. So you’ve got C-sections, lack of breastfeeding, you’ve got early use of antibiotics, acid blocking drugs, anti-inflammatories, oral contraceptives. So you’ve got this perfect gut busting lifestyle and gut busting diet and gut busting medications. It’s no wonder so many people have all these issues. That’s why in functional medicine you focus so much on the gut because it’s really the seed of your health. If your gut’s not healthy you’re not healthy.

Dhru Purohit:
Socrates said disease starts in the gut, is that attributed to him?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes, and many others like [inaudible 00:06:46] it’s all about the gut and many ancient healing systems understand the power of the gut in keeping us healthy. Having a healthy gut is critical to our wellbeing, our long term health, even our mental health. We’re now learning that antibiotics can destroy the microbiome in ways that cause depression and other mood disorders. It’s really quite a intersecting system.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s becoming even way more mainstream. You’ve had a guest on your podcast Dr. Uma Naidoo from Harvard and Mass General, who’s come on and talk about even things like OCD can be linked back to missing strains of bacteria inside of the gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Or too much of bad bacteria.

Dhru Purohit:
Too much bad bacteria, missing strains of good bacteria. The science just continues to evolve in this space, and really it’s all just coming back to we need to continue paying attention to it. One thing I do appreciate that you say is that there is a decent amount we know, but we’re still so much in the infancy. We want to put that out there, by no means at all is really anybody that’s out there, even the people that have been in this space for a really long time they would tell you that we’re just getting started. Let’s be honest about what we know, but let’s be more honest about what we don’t know as well.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. Although I would say that what we do know is enough to get started and help people, even if we don’t know how it completely works, it’s so complex it’s going to be hard for us to know. We still can figure it out in terms of interventions that make a big difference. Just because you can drive a Tesla you don’t know, I mean first thing I don’t know how it all does what it does it’s super confusing and it’s magic. I can drive it, I can get it to run. That’s where we are with the gut, there’s so much under the surface, but if we understand the basic foundational principles of gut restoration and gut healing, which we’ve been doing in functional medicine for decades, you can make a huge difference in people’s health.

Dhru Purohit:
How you know is that the patients are getting better, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, exactly.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s like hey you may not understand how all of this aspect works, but hey the patient is getting better which is great. I remember, before we dig into things, you’re friends with Dr. Emeran Mayer here in Los Angeles. He was telling me a story about in the ’80s when he was one of the first people that was really starting to talk about the microbiome and other things, people were like you’re going to waste your entire career. This is a black hole, you’re never going to get out of it, and there’s nothing there for you to look at. Now he’s a bestselling author and everybody’s paying attention to this topic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They used to make fun of me because they call me doctor see every poop because I wanted to see all the stool tests. Making fun of me the surgeon general was named C. Everett Coop so they called me doctor see every poop because I liked to look at all the poop.

Dhru Purohit:
You can change your Instagram handle to that if you want.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay, sure doctor see every poop.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark today we’re going to be talking about polyphenols, but before we do, you have your own personal story, your own narrative around the topic of gut health. I’d love for you to get a chance to go into it, to set the stage of how it’s shown up in your life and the sort of zigs and zags you’ve had to go through.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Sure. My story Dhru I’ve told different ways in different times. One of the things that happened to me when I was young, I had pretty normal gut up until I was about 36 years old. Then I got mercury poisoning from living in China, and that completely screwed up my system and I don’t know what exactly happened. But we do know that heavy metals and other toxins can interfere with gut function and your immune system and cause leaky gut and affect your enzymes and do so many different things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I went from one day to the next from being normal to feeling like I was basically inhabited by an alien, where they were blowing up a balloon in my stomach, really my stomach was so full of gas I couldn’t release it was so painful, I felt like I was going to explode. I developed horrible diarrhea, undigested food in my stool. I developed all these other secondary problems as a result, rush all over my face, chronic fatigue, muscle aches. My gut was just at the center of this problem, and I literally struggled to get it to work for a long time until I figured out that the mercury was a big factor. Then I got rid of the mercury and then my gut started to function better.

Dhru Purohit:
Just for context you were living in at the time I think it was Shanghai?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
China, I was living China in Beijing.

Dhru Purohit:
In Beijing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There was a pollution I guess and I just…

Dhru Purohit:
They have a lot of the coal factories which that’s where a lot of the mercury comes from.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Beijing has people all who heat their homes with raw coal. It’s not even a factory, it’s just people instead of they turn on their thermostat, they have a coal burning stove that’s how they heat in the winter. You get these huge inversions and you can’t see the building across the street on a sunny day because it’s so polluted with coal.

Dhru Purohit:
Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I was very susceptible to it and that was the first thing. Then I really had to learn how to reset the gut and that’s what I’d been doing at functional medicine. Then a few years ago I got mold poisoning because I’m-

Dhru Purohit:
So that happened, you got better, you found functional medicine, you were good, you were smooth sailing and then a few years ago?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I had a house there’s a barn and I got mold in it. I had really bad mold and I had a terrible cough and just really symptoms from it. At the same time I had a tooth that went bad in the root canal and had to have that pulled then needed an antibiotic. I took an antibiotic called clindamycin, which is common for dental treatments, but it also is one of the biggest causes of something called C difficile or clostridium difficile, which is a terrible intestinal infection that kills over 30,000 people a year, and it’s quite dangerous. That’s what I had and it developed into a full blown colitis and my stomach just went haywire and I couldn’t fix it. I did my stool test during that time. Dhru I have looked at more poop than you could ever imagine in your life, probably 30,000 or 40,000 of these tests, and mine was probably one of the worst I’d ever seen in my entire life, of all the tests that I’d seen it was so terrible.

Dhru Purohit:
Which means what? That your-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Which means my inflammation levels were high. All the biomarkers, my gut healthy bacteria were gone, it was chaos in there. There was no good guys it was all bad guys, it was all inflamed and nothing was working. I basically tried to figure out how to get healthy again. It was really tough because then it developed into a full blown colitis and I developed 20 bloody bowel moments a day, I lost 30 pounds I was just a mess. I was on the way to dying literally and then I could barely eat, I was nauseous 24/7 had severe gastritis from taking all the anti-inflammatory so I broke my arms. It was like this whole perfect storm. I ended up having to reinvent how to fix myself. That’s when I really began to look at what do we now know that we didn’t know five or 10 years ago about how do we reset the gut? Yes, it was getting rid of the mold, but also for me was really understanding how to put together the right cocktail of ingredients to one, heal my gut and to get rid of the bad stuff, but also to add in the things that really are needed to restore the microbiome.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I came up with a cocktail of things including polyphenols which we’re going to talk about, which I think were a much neglected area of research around the gut which is that bacteria like to eat all these colorful plant compounds called polyphenols. These food is medicine. Then one of the other things that could be helpful immunoglobulins and prebiotics and probiotics, just what is the right cocktail of stuff to reset? When I started using that myself I created out of all the things that I’ve known in functional medicine it was a miracle. Then I started using it on patients and I was like wow, this stuff really works. I always guinea pig myself first and then I try to see if it works for people and it was amazing. People would say this is the first time my gut’s been normal. I have no more colitis, all my IBS is gone I feel amazing and my poops are normal and perfect. I was like fantastic, this is great. So then we started talking about how do we help people get this? Because it’s a lot of hassle to put all this stuff together.

Dhru Purohit:
Right, and it’s a lot of products from a lot of different places. You’ve had a blog post out for a couple years now based on that experience. By the way, I was around during that time. You were in and out of the emergency room a couple times.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I was in the hospital.

Dhru Purohit:
At one point in time honestly we thought like was this guy poisoned by somebody? Were you poisoned by some nefarious actors or the industry or whatever because they’re trying to take you out? It was really mind-blowing, but like you said it was the perfect storm of things. It actually in classic Dr. Hyman style you became the guinea pig again and it led to this whole other journey of you going deep down the rabbit hole and through these-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now I have perfect poops.

Dhru Purohit:
Now you have perfect poops, exactly. Over the course of these next multi-part series on gut health, we’re going to be unraveling some of that research that you came across, and it’s going to be fun to jump into. Today we’re talking about polyphenols, and I’d love to get a chance to give a little bit of a background. For a long time polyphenols people would just write it off as these are like antioxidants, these are things that are for the cells in your body. But we started to understand that this is really a deep connection and link as you mentioned with the gut microbiome. So help us understand what does this whole new world of research show about the role that polyphenols play in the gut and why it should be important. Why should people who are listening today even pay attention to this topic?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So Dhru we’re really at the infancy in this field of microbiome research. We understood the role of prebiotics and probiotics, but until recently people haven’t understood the importance of this whole class of plant compounds called polyphenols. They are incredibly critical to the growth and development of the right bacteria in your gut so you can stay healthy. Now, what are these compounds and why should we care? Well, historically we ate 800 different species of plants. Today, the average diet consists basically of three or four crops, 60% are rice, corn, wheat and soy and then maybe a few other vegetables, a total of maybe 10, 12 plants are what Americans eat. We used to eat 800 pieces of plants, and the plants that we eat are pretty nutritionally depleted, don’t have a whole lot of polyphenols. The ones we did eat were super dense in not just vitamins and minerals and fiber, but they were super dense in these phytochemicals.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now what are phytochemicals? They’re the plant’s own defense systems or their ways of attracting pollinators or ways of defending against predators, their ways of resisting ultraviolet radiation. It regulates their immune system and their sex appeal in a sense. We have these compounds in there that the plants use for themselves, but there’s this concept that I came across that I invented a term four years ago, that I think describes how we’ve co-evolved with plants to regulate our biology when we don’t need to make the things that we can get from them. For example, humans don’t make vitamin C, guinea pigs don’t make vitamin C, most other animals make vitamin C. We don’t need to make it because we can get it from plants. These phytochemicals I think are evolving with us to regulate our biology in so many different ways and especially our microbiome.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I call this symbiotic phytoadaptation, which means we co-evolved with these plants in a symbiotic way, and have adapted our biology to use their ingredients to keep us healthy. In the microbiome space, we now know that the compounds whether it’s green tea, catechins or the polyphenols in cranberry or pomegranate or turmeric or olive leaf extract or prickly pear, all these different compounds in these plants the bacteria love them. You’re fertilizing the good guys. If you eat a lot of processed food and starch and sugar you’re fertilizing the bad guys. There’s always weeds in a garden, but you want to keep the weeds under control and you want to fertilize the good plants. That’s really what happens when you take the polyphenols. The research here is really remarkable Dhru. There’s a particular bacteria called Akkermansia that we know if it’s low in patients who have cancer they don’t respond to these new therapy called immunotherapy, which can be curative. Immunotherapy essentially is using your own immune system to fight the cancer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you have a low level of Akkermansia in your gut which regulates immunity, these drugs don’t work. It’s like a zero or a one. In other words, if they don’t work they don’t work. If they work, you could have stage four cancer and then you’re cured and you’re done, which is kind of a miracle. William Li, and we’ve had him on the podcast multiple times talking about his mother who had uterine cancer, stage four uterine cancer about to die. He took her stool test found she had low Akkermansia he gave her all these polyphenols and lo and behold the Akkermansia levels went up and she got more immunotherapy and her stage four cancer was completely cured. That is a mind-blowing story to me. If you look at the literature there’s plenty of literature to support this theory that this plays such a role, and it’s not just in cancer it’s all kinds of other things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So these polyphenols which the plants use for their own benefit we’re realizing are now really critically essential. We talk about essential vitamins and minerals, we talk about essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, things that we actually need. I would say if we don’t get those things we really get sick. But if we don’t get polyphenols it may not kill us tomorrow, but if we have a deficiency of polyphenols in our diet it’s going to cause long-term challenges with our health in terms of chronic disease and even longevity. A lot of the research I’m looking at around my new book, Young Forever is so clear how many of these compounds are used in our bodies to regulate different pathways for longevity. For example, resveratrol from red wine binds our sirtuins, it helps to regulate DNA repair or quercetin is very powerful in helping with epigenetic methylation. We know that your DNA methylation is improved by certain levels of quercetin.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So all these compounds fisetin also helps regulate from strawberries various pathways around blood sugar control and insulin. We know that these compounds are interacting with our biology and receptors that we’re now elucidating, which we didn’t even know before and how they work. If you don’t have high levels of these polyphenols you’re not actually activating all your healing systems in your body, even including your gut. This whole idea of xenohormesis is a really neat idea, which is that little low levels of these compounds, which can be toxic at higher levels, stimulate our bodies to repair and heal and renew. It’s so critical that we not just for our gut microbiome, but for our overall health, that we up levels of polyphenols.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s why I say that we should eat 75% of our plate as rainbow colored vegetables. There’s 25,000 of these phytochemicals in the plant kingdom, and the Rockefeller Foundation is spending $200 to map these out in a periodic table of phytochemicals and trying to figure out what they do. It’s just mind boggling. We’re just really beginning to see what the incredible value is of these compounds. The more you can get the better off we are, and especially with the gut I think is really important. How do we restore gut health? Because many people just suffer for years without any help and taking medication or chronically constipated or diarrhea, or irritable bowel or reflux, bloating, distension, gas. These are not normal. Yes a little gas here and there is fine, but it’s not normal. I think when we start to look at how we heal this, we need to think broadly and include this whole framework of polyphenols.

Dhru Purohit:
Going back to that example that you shared about William Li. The thing that I love is that one, it’s so great that he was able to do that for his mom and help her on her health. We don’t want to just write this off as a fluke thing, this doctor here who you’ve become good friends with, he’s been involved in the creation of over 200 medicines, and is the head of The Angiogenesis Foundation, he’s deep in this space. He’s talking about that food actually is medicine, and can play a role with medicine. By the way, for everybody who’s listening, when you say food is medicine you’re not trying to say that medicine has no place in this. Medicine of course has a place, there’s plenty of people that benefit for medicine. Is that food is central to hopefully help you avoid medication in the future if you don’t need it because of your diet, but also can play a parallel role with medicine and this example was a perfect one for sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true because they’re synergistic. Often Dhru if you actually apply food aggressively it works better than traditional medicine for many things like diabetes, heart disease. It’s something that we don’t really appreciate because we don’t know how to apply it as doctors. If I said aspirin is good for you but I’m only going to give you a milligram of aspirin. Well, that’s not going to work. It’s like if food is a drug then what dose do you prescribe it? What are the ingredients of that drug? How do you do it? It’s very specific, that’s the beautiful thing about functional medicine. Like just oh, yeah food is medicine it’s kind of good. It’s like there’s a whole pharmacology of how you apply food to treat different illnesses.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you’re treating someone with autoimmune disease it’s different than someone with dementia than someone with cancer, is really different and particular and individual. I think that the understanding of phytochemicals is so important because in the world of health and disease these compounds are the drugs. They are the things that modulate their different pathways, and they often work through multiple different approaches. They can have benefits in terms of heart health and regulating blood vessel health and endothelial function. They can regulate immune system like quercetin is incredibly important for regulating your immune function and gut health. There’s compounds for example in Himalayan Tartary buckwheat like 2-HOBA found nowhere else, which are immuno rejuvenating and help deal with old aging cells and cleans them up. There’s compounds for example like berberine that are in plants that help with diabetes, and so on.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We know that certain things like sulforaphane which is from broccoli has powerful anti-cancer compounds. They did a study in China where they literally got the urine of people and measured essentially the broccoli extracts that came out in the urine, and the higher that was then the lower the risk of cancers. We know across the spectrum of diseases how important these compounds are, and we just don’t get enough of them. That’s why we say eat a rainbow vegetables, they say five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables. That’s a minimum, you should probably have, a serving’s a half a cup. You probably should have 20 servings a day at least, that’s 10 cups of fruits and vegetables. That’s a minimum I think in my view. When you look at people like Terry Wahls who’ve done her work on reversing MS, they’re pushing eight to 10 cups of vegetables a day, which I think is right.

Dhru Purohit:
As a central piece, and found that when people who were struggling with MS, and she had one of the worst types progressive MS, and was in a wheelchair for almost a year or two before she ended up turning it all around. She saw that a combination of organ meats, which is one aspect, and we’ll talk about polyphenols and meat. Because we often talk about it in plants but there’s a whole component inside of meat too. But she saw that when people didn’t have organ meat in their diet and they didn’t have enough of the fiber, their gut was not able to restore at a level which helped to deal with all the things that ended up getting to the root of autoimmune conditions that people were struggling with, which MS is one.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, absolutely. There’s so many cool things with plant compounds that we’re just learning about. For example, like pomegranate is great for fueling and growing healthy bacteria, but it also actually it creates a byproduct. We can’t even often understand the complexity of this, just to break down how this one plant pomegranate creates this one metabolite, urolithin A from bacteria in the gut if you have the right bacteria. That three completely transforms your health by cleaning up your mitochondria through mitophagy, which is recycling and getting rid of old mitochondria and building new ones. Four by increasing muscle synthesis, basically ending sarcopenia, which is one of the key things that happens when you age we lose muscle. Basically when you take pomegranate it fertilizes good bugs, it releases this compound that helps you clean up your cells and helps with all the features of aging and helps you build muscle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s just one little compound. Now, there’s literally tens of thousands of these things that if we need to eat more of them, and we don’t need to necessarily know exactly everything that’s in everything. When I go through the grocery store now, I literally am going through thinking of it as a farmacy with an F. I think okay I’m going to buy this artichoke because I know it has prebiotic fibers. I know it also has these compounds that are detoxifying. Or I’m going to buy this pomegranate because I know it has good for my gut bacteria and also is going to help me build muscle. Or I know I’m going to buy this broccoli or broccolini because it has glucosinolates and sulforaphane it’s going to help me for cancer, but also is going to help me detox heavy metals. I’m thinking about this or I’m thinking I’m going to buy these shiitake mushrooms or maitake mushrooms because they have all these polysaccharides that are immune modulating.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This is the conversation I have with myself in the grocery store, which is pretty nerdy and weird. But basically this is what’s going on in my head because I’m thinking okay, how am I going to build my medicine cabinet for dinner? That’s what I do when I go home. My fridge is essentially my medicine cabinet. I think when you start to learn about this it’s so cool. You don’t really have to get into all the nerdy detail, you just have to realize you want to eat a lot of weird food, lots of colorful stuff, and just if you go like what is this? It’s probably a good idea to buy it and try to make it, there’s recipes [inaudible 00:28:50] on Google but it’s so important. Because the weird or the wilder the food probably the less adulterated it is, the less hybridized it is, the less modified it is. Dandelion greens are great they’re a little bitter, but way better than iceberg lettuce.

Dhru Purohit:
So Mark along with this, while we’re talking about the benefits and the interesting research and everything that you’re coming across, also want to bring in some of the considerations. Because one of the things that functional medicine doctors like yourself do, and all the doctors and physicians around the globe that have specialty in this is that sometimes when somebody does not have a lot of these foods in their diet and they start to ramp up, they hear you saying like great eat the rainbow, a lot of polyphenol-rich foods and they go from zero to let’s say 100, they can start to get a little bit of challenges that come along with it. They can get some distension, they can get this, that if they’re not used to. When people hear like eight and 10 cups and Terry Wahls and what success she’s had and your recommendations, it’s also worth noting that sometimes you have to ramp up to that if you’re not somebody who’s having a lot of plant food in your diet, would you say so?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I mean listen if you start eating 10 cups of beans a day and you never had a piece of fiber in your life you’re going to notice it, you’re going to blow up. So yes, you want to start slow and build up. But most of us can tolerate especially cooked vegetables pretty well. I think the more we include the better we are, and see how you feel. If your diet’s totally processed there might be a digestive week that you’re resettling things. But once you’re microbiome adapts, by the way there are only really two things that profoundly change your microbiome for good. One is your diet. If you switch to for example a paleo diet and you eat that for two months and check your poop, your microbiome’s going to look a certain way. If you go full vegan and you do that, it’s going to look a different way.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That is a very good particular of changing their microbiome. The second is a fecal transplant. Poop pills insert up your butt or swallowing them, or basically injecting somebody else’s poop up in your colon. That actually are the two things that have the most impact. However, if you actually change your diet including all these polyphenols that we’re talking about, you really will change over time your microbiome. Sometimes there’s a readjustment period where things are killing off the bad bugs and the good bugs are growing and there’s a little bit of a war, but usually it doesn’t last that long and people adapt pretty well.

Dhru Purohit:
Well now I’m going to go into that super interesting part that you’ve come across in your research, which is that plants is one way, a direct consumption of plants is one way to get polyphenols, but there’s also another way. Talk about that, because I found that very fascinating.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The whole meat conversation is interesting because we are all taught that meat is bad for you, that if you want to save the planet and save yourself you should be vegan. I think there’s a lot of controversy about that. I’m going to be having a guest on the podcast soon about The Great Plant-Based Con, which I’m very curious about a new book that came out. But it’s really about the way we raise the animals and what they’re eating. It’s not what you’re eating that matters, is whatever you’re eating ate. As Russ Konza says it’s not the cow it’s the how. When you have a feedlot cow it’s fed corn and grains and chopped up animal parts and Skittles and candy and then pumped full of hormones and they’re pumped with pesticides and herbicides from the plants they’re eating, that creates a certain kind of quality of the meat which is not very good for you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not good for you in many ways. It’s inflammatory and may have many adverse effects. Whereas, and of course the animals are grown in feed lots which are really inhumane. It’s really a bad scene. It’s bad for the animals, it’s bad for you, it’s bad for the planet and the way they do factory farming drives climate change so it’s all a disaster. However, if you look at wild animals or you look at real regeneratively raised animals who aren’t just eating grass, but they’re eating many, many food crops like their main food crops maybe two or three or four for calories and protein and so forth. But then they’ll probably sample 50 to 100 different plants which have all these different phytochemicals.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What we now know is those phytochemicals get consumed by the animal and they end up in their bodies in their tissues, and their milk and their meat, and that some levels of these are as high as they’re found in plants. So goats for example eating certain shrubs will have as high level of catechins as green tea. When you actually look at the metabolites of these compounds they also are secondary metabolites that may have increasing benefits for human health. It seems odd to think about getting your plant food from animals, but increasingly that’s possible with the regeneratively raised animals and the agricultural system that actually drives that change.

Dhru Purohit:
This brings up an interesting question and probably one that we don’t know the answer to right now. But we know that these plant compounds are so healing for the body. We also know when we look at modern day hunter-gatherer societies who have varying diets, some that eat way more when it comes to the macronutrients carbohydrates like the Tarahumara tribe that we’ve talked about last night at dinner. Then you have other groups that are out there that eat pretty much very little vegetables, mostly like roots and tubers and things like that, but are eating a lot of more plant protein. That could be one of the ways that they’re getting, sorry more animal protein. That could be one of the ways that they’re still getting access to all these healing compounds if their animals are grown and raised in a way or they’re wild or whatever it might be, which is what’s happening with a lot of these modern day hunter-gatherer tribes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The Inuit, I remember hearing stories of how they would go and kill the animals, but then they would open their stomachs and they would eat the moss and the greens these animals would forage on in the Arctic tundra. It was really interesting how they would adapt to getting the nutrients they need.

Dhru Purohit:
No, that’s very fascinating, very interesting for sure. All right, let’s shift into a little bit more practical. So somebody’s going about their day, what are because polyphenols are this larger classification, but underneath them there’s different ones that we know and some that we don’t know that haven’t been discovered yet. How do we want to think about in our own life navigating our day through this farmacy with an F, and some of the main ones that we want to incorporate in our diet?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. The way I think about these is this is like a giant pharmacy. You could say well, we have drugs, that’s what polyphenols are they’re drugs. Well, what drugs? What compounds matter? They’re different. Again, there’s 25,000 of these. So there’s flavonoids, there’s polyphenolic amides. Flavanoids are things like quercetin and catechins found in fruit and green tea. Polyphenolic amides are in chili peppers, phenolic acids like lignins and still beans are in vegetables and whole grains. There’s all these compounds that we can identify, we have these names for. The science of this is really pretty fascinating, we’ve really done a lot of work on this. We actually know the ingredients, we know the phytochemicals, we know the nutritional compounds not just the protein, fat, carbs, vitamin and minerals. We know all these phytochemicals that are in these plants.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I like to think about how do we start to increase our raw intake of the high polyphenolic plants that are so good for us? Teas are great. Green tea is great, berries, all the dark colored berries, certain veggies are super important. Brassica family has tons of these healing compounds. Tomatoes are great they have lycopene, artichokes are great, asparagus have again many, many of these compounds. We want to make sure we really eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. If you’re for example eating potatoes, you can always swap to the good version, so instead of eating the Yukon potato have a purple Peruvian potato. Instead of having iceberg lettuce have maybe more things like arugula, which is a little more nutrient dense or even more wild dandelion greens. There are always ways to increase the nutritional density and quality of the polyphenols by picking the right plants.

Dhru Purohit:
Doing tiny little upgrades. Just in your life, wherever you’re eating the same stuff again and again making little upgrades.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Then there’s dark chocolate, which is great. Now volume matters, you can’t eat 14 chocolate bars. But basically dark chocolate has all kinds of phenols and things that can be very helpful. Herbs and spices are a great source of these curcumin, turmeric. I use a lot of these spices in my cooking, I use them in making teas, you can make chai lattes, whatever-

Dhru Purohit:
Herbs and spices feels like one of the lowest hanging fruits to start adding more polyphenols in your diet. I remember you had on Kara Fitzgerald on your podcast which I had on too, and she did this groundbreaking longevity study that was there reversing people’s age in a period of time, by three years and in like eight weeks. One of the things that she was mentioning was one of the most underrated spices based on all the research on it out there is rosemary, and how she would tell people just have a little spice grinder with rosemary in it, add it to your salad, cook with stuff. You make eggs in the morning, just add a little bit of rosemary.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I put rosemary in everything. I have a giant rosemary bush in my garden and I love it because you could put it in all kinds of things, in grains, you can put it when you make meats, you can put it in salads, you can [inaudible 00:38:07] with it, you can make brussel sprouts with it. It’s a really incredible one. It also has very potent detoxification compounds in it. It’s super anti-inflammatory, antioxidant so using spices is super important.

Dhru Purohit:
On rosemary just one note, we’ll put the link in the show notes. There’s a great review paper on what’s the main compound in rosemary? Rosameric acid or something like that? We’ll look it up, we’ll put in the show notes. There’s a great review paper showing how it’s connected to improving renal function, it has anti-cancer properties, it’s great for cardiovascular health. There was 12 different categories all in there and that’s just one spice. The only reason I’m focused on that for a second is that again, lowest hanging fruit on these is just simply adding some more herbs and spices to your cooking that you’re already doing right now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. I think having grass fed meats is another source which I would say more regeneratively raised animals. Nuts and seeds really important, and they’re full of these beneficial compounds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, all the nuts. All contain powerful not only nutrient dense forms of protein, fat and carbohydrates, lots of vitamins and minerals, but they also have a lot of these polyphenols. Olives and olives are great, the olivine, I mean oleuropein is a really important polyphenol for example in olives. It’s great against antiviruses, it’s great for dealing with heart disease, anti-inflammatory. These are super important compounds that you just can make as part of your daily diet, garlic, ginger, great ideas to include these as cooking. I’m always thinking how do I include all these extra extras as part of making a yummy dish?

Dhru Purohit:
So Mark just like I was talking about people who don’t eat a lot of fiber have to ramp up slowly to it and build it up. That’s a part of the process, you don’t want to go from one cup a day to nine cups a day. There’s also this other topic that gets a lot of attention that people are trying to navigate. I’ve had a little bit of experience in my own life with it. It’s around the toxic phytochemicals, lectins being one that has become very popular over the years, largely do the work of Dr. Steven Gundry and a few other individuals. I’d love to get your view on it, which is a little bit different than maybe some of the popular views that are out there. Jump into the topic of lectins and what you might want to say about it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, I think first of all Dhru I think humans are widely adapted to huge variety of foods. You’ve got the Inuit in the North Pole who eat whale and seal and very few vegetables and do fine. You’ve got the Pima Indians 100 years ago were eating 80% of their diet is carbs, but mostly acorns and beans and things that were super high fiber. You have populations that eat just a wide variety of different foods that humans are capable to be adapted to. Now, what’s happened as a result of our modern lifestyle is that we’ve caused a lot of gut issues as we’ve talked about. When that happens, foods that we normally can manage and tolerate become harmful. So gluten is a great example of that, we’ve changed the wheat to be this dwarf wheat which is, sorry. We’ve changed the wheat we’re eating to be this dwarf wheat, which is good in that it was able to produce a lot of grain for a lot of people at scale and be drought resistant.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But the unintended consequences was that this gluten content of this new wheat was so high, and it had way more gliadin proteins that create more leaky gut and more injury. So as we’ve changed our food supply we’re getting away from the actual foods as they were evolved, but to modern versions which are unintentionally harmful. Lectins are common proteins in certain plants nightshades, seeds, nuts, certain beans that may be problematic for people, if you have autoimmune disease, if you have gut issues, and it may be that stopping those might be helpful for some people. My main issue is not figuring out what you’re sensitive to, but why are you sensitive?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you heal the gut, then you have the ability eat a wide variety of foods. When I was really sick all I could eat was turkey, broccoli and brown rice. That’s all I ate, because everything else I would feel like I just was about to die. I was very restricted. Now I can pretty much eat anything and my stomach’s fine. I don’t eat junk food, I don’t eat processed food, but other than that I can eat vegetable, I can eat whatever. I don’t eat that much stuff I know isn’t good for me I don’t eat a ton of bread, although I have it from some time to time, if it’s from the right grain I know where it’s coming from and so forth. I think the goal is to get more resilient. I’m not a big one to kind of permanently restrict foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think an elimination diet can be helpful. We do that routinely for a week, 10 days, three weeks. We can remove things then add them back and see how people do. But to say categorically people should not be eating X, Y or Z food I think is really tricky. I think we need to be able to be more inclusive and thoughtful. That’s why I created the pegan diet, which is more of a bigger tent umbrella for understanding the principles of healthy nutrition, which is quality matters. The nutritional density and the quality and phytochemicals matter. Food is medicine, so focusing on that and personalization. Those three things are really important in terms of any selection of a way of eating. But within that framework you can have a lot of different approaches and patterns. But I would be really careful to just go on a elimination diet forever, say I’m never eating lectins or I’m never going to eat dairy, I’m never eating…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Let your body tell you. I always say don’t let your ideology trample over your biology. We’ve got to listen to our bodies, it’s the smartest doctor in the room. If you eat something and it doesn’t agree with you, your body’s telling you something. Then you go well, why isn’t it agreeing with me? Well, maybe it really just doesn’t agree with me. If I eat onions, raw onions I know I have a genetic thing where I feel bad. So I don’t eat it I eat cooked onions. There’s nothing I can do about it. Maybe there’s some pathway that I can figure out in the future that will discover that I can take some other supplement and it’ll fix the pathway, but right now I don’t have that so I have to eat avoiding raw onions. But for most people we don’t want them to restrict their diet, we want them to be flexible and inclusive and eat a wide variety of foods because we’re meant to. But we can’t do that if we have a leaky gut, we can’t do that until we’ve healed our gut first. That’s the key, until I healed my gut I couldn’t eat anything, now I can eat everything.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s so true. I’ve done a bunch of gut healing protocols over the years because I had a lot of antibiotic exposure growing up, strep throat, ear infections, etcetera, etcetera. My gut has gotten so much better over the years through doing a lot of them, and yet still I’m pretty sensitive to most of the foods in the nightshade category, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant. I can eat them and pretty much instantaneously I get redness in my face and my throat tightens up. So great there’s plenty of other foods that I can eat that are out there, but I know I am one of those individuals that’s a little bit more sensitive to those foods, but I still can eat a ton of other plant foods and I’m not missing out I’m still getting the benefits.

Dhru Purohit:
I’ve had functional medicine doctors like yourself help me with that over the years. It’s less of an ideology. It’s like great okay it might be that you still have some leaky gut issues, okay let’s do our best attempt to fix that. Okay that’s fixed it seems like based on the labs and based on your symptoms. You’re still reacting to this food, we’re not exactly sure what’s going on. Fine let’s leave it out. A little bit here and there is fine, but if that’s something that you’re okay with leaving out there’s plenty of other foods that are available to you. But that’s just my end of one situation, and everybody’s got to figure that out for themselves.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark there was a really cool trial on the topic of polyphenols and longevity, which is what you’re writing about right now that was called the maple trial. It’s where adults 60 and older with higher levels of zonulin were put on a polyphenol rich diet to see if their symptoms improved. This group actually ended up reducing zonulin increasing butyrate which I’d love for you to talk about, what is butyrate and why is it so important? And also reducing lipopolysaccharides. Break down some of the findings from this trial and help us understand what is zonulin, butyrate and how do all these things play a role with polyphenols?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Many of you listening have heard of this idea of leaky gut, which essentially is a breakdown in the barrier in intestinal lining, which is really only one cell thick. You’re basically one cell away from a sewer. Poop and food on one side and your immune system on the other side, and there’s only one cell in between. Those cells are stuck together with tight junctions like Lego connections. It’s an energy dependent process, and they’re important because you want the food and everything to go through the cells not in between the cells. So when those Lego junctions break apart we call them those tight junctions loosen, then food and particles and bacterial stuff can get in and through, and your immune system’s like what the F is going on here? It starts to create an inflammatory reaction which why we get systemic inflammation, autoimmune disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s all these are inflammatory diseases from the gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Zonulin was first discovered as something that the body produced when it got cholera, and this was Dr. Alessio Fasano’s work, who’s an Italian researcher now at Harvard, one of the leading researchers in celiac and gluten. He discovered zonulin was produced at high levels with cholera which created this huge leaky gut problem and that’s why people die so fast from cholera. But then he found out that the other biggest thing that triggered it was gluten. So gluten and gliadin is triggering increases in zonulin which creates a leaky gut. Now what’s also fascinating Dhru is that we see as people get older zonulin levels go way up, which means they have a leaky gut. As you’re older we also see this whole inflammaging phenomena, this process of inflammation causing rampant disease and destruction and aging and death. A lot of that can be coming from the gut, from this increases in zonulin which are due to our crappy diet, all the drugs, there’s people on acid blockers.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Just the whole part of getting older is people are not taking care of their gut, and they’re dealing with all the consequence of a lifelong gut busting lifestyle. So when you look at zonulin levels it’s a really interesting predictor of what’s going on. You can look at it in the stool, you can look at it in the blood. You don’t want high zonulin. What’s really interesting is when you start to eat high levels of polyphenols, you start to eat pre and probiotics, you start to repair the gut. When you get off of gluten, which is really important, then the gut can heal. When you start changing the bacteria through changing your diet in the polyphenols, the good bugs start to grow the bad bugs, go down. The bad bugs are creating these damaging compounds like cholera that do also promote leaky gut. Some of the things that they create are lipopolysaccharides or LPS, these are endotoxins. These are on the surface of bacteria, they’re not meant to be in your bloodstream.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When you get a leaky gut, they get in your bloodstream and the immune system goes wow, what’s that? Toxin danger, danger, danger and it creates something called metabolic endotoxemia, which means your metabolism is poisoned by these toxins, and independent of what you’re eating you can get insulin resistance, you will gain weight, you’ll create more inflammation. It creates this vicious cycle of metabolic chaos and weight gain in diabetes just from having a leaky gut, and having exposure to these bacterial toxins. Now, when you eat a lot of polyphenols and you get your gut straightened out and you get rid of the gluten, then you start to produce the right compounds, the right bacteria. The right bacteria in the gut, one of the things we look at Dhru is a stool test, we look at something called short chain fatty acids, or SCFAs like butyrate.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Short chain fatty acids are produced by bacteria when they’re digesting their food, when you’re feeding them. The fibers that you can’t necessarily digest they digest and that creates butyrate. Butyrate is so important because one it’s the fuel for the colonic cells, so it keeps everything healthy in there. Two, it’s a signal modifier for all sorts of things in the body. It’s a huge anti-cancer compound, and it really improves your overall health. When it’s not there, it’s P53 oncogene which it suppresses starts to activate, which then for example leads to colon cancer. So you just think about like this, if you’re not eating the right foods you’re not having the right bacteria, you’re not producing short chain fatty acids and butyrate that’s why your risk of colon cancer goes up.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There are even studies for example looking at inflammatory bowel disease. When I for example had my colitis, my butyrate levels were low, and my short chain fatty acids were low they were almost nonexistent. Because all the good bugs were gone and there was just all bad bugs in there. That led to me having this kind of colitis, and one of the treatments in academic centers is infusing butyrate rectally into patients with colitis. Now it’s really smelly and awful. You can thank God you can take it as a pill now, but it’s really important to take the levels of short chain fatty acids very serious in your body, because it determines so much about your health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you take the right foods like the polyphenols, it’s going to raise the butyrate levels and the lipopolysaccharide levels go down, and the zonulin levels go down. That’s what we saw in these elderly patients, even though they were older and they had a fairly fixed microbiome, by adding all these polyphenol-rich foods they lowered the inflammatory lipopolysaccharides, they lowered zonulin and they increased butyrate which is really necessary for the gut health and healing.

Dhru Purohit:
Just a little bit off of what they were doing, so they were given a polyphenol-rich diet and three polyphenol-rich snacks per day, including berries, oranges, pomegranate juice, green tea, apples, apple juice, dark chocolate. All in all the goal was for them to get 724 grams of polyphenols. That’s a lot, that’s a good amount, but that fits within the window of the recommendations that you give to people.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Totally.

Dhru Purohit:
If you would take a day, like take your day yesterday or the day before, how would you navigate for you to incorporate those in between the mixture of all the different things that you do, diets potentially, I think you also take a butyrate supplement, is that right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yeah.

Dhru Purohit:
Just walk us through some of those that you might do. What do you do to get that number that showed the benefits of reducing the zonulin levels?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I basically am really conscious about this, and like I said when I go to the grocery store it’s actually my pharmacy and my fridge is my medicine cabinet. I literally open it and I go okay, what am I going to do for dinner? I’ll for example have a Japanese sweet potato with all these-

Dhru Purohit:
Well, let’s start for breakfast. Walk us through the day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay breakfast. Breakfast often I’ll do a shake because I work out and I’ll do a protein shake. But then I’ll add pomegranate concentrate, cranberry concentrate, matcha powder. I’ll use frozen berries, I’ll use other superfood things like baobab tree or maca or different kinds of [inaudible 00:53:39] powders. I’ll put in all sorts of these polyphenol blends into my smoothie, along with prebiotics and along with probiotics. I actually create this incredible gut healing shake every morning to make sure I get my polyphenols, my pre and my probiotics and get up to speed on what I want for my gut. But I also put in probiotics and I put in prebiotic powders. I really use this every day as a gut healing gut support system which I’ve used.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s essentially why we created gut food, because I’m tired of actually throwing all these things together and having five different bottles of stuff, I just want one simple solution for me actually. But the beautiful thing about it is that you can get these things in a simple way, in a quick way in the morning in your breakfast smoothie. Or you can have for example, let’s say a chia seed pudding, you can make it with almond milk, macadamia milk, and then you can put on berries in it, you can put in different powders. I do that as well sometimes just to have a different kind of breakfast.

Dhru Purohit:
Take us through. Would you say that you have most days because you work out and also for brain power and stuff, would you say that you would have a shake in the morning?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah when I’m home and I can do that I can, when I’m traveling it’s a little harder. But yes, and then I would say for lunch I always focus on where am I going to get the most nutrient dense foods? I’ll have maybe a can of a mackerel or sardines, which is full of omega three fats, and choline and also calcium with the bones and so forth protein. Then I’ll have lots of veggies, so I’ll have a salad. For example, I’ll throw in arugula, I’ll have fennel, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, olives. I’ll just throw all these different things in there that are full of polyphenols, so I’ll get my oleuropein from the olives, I’ll get some of the Brassica the arugula has a lot of the Brassica things so those [inaudible 00:55:37]. The pumpkin seeds have various phytonutrients that are very helpful for cancer and prostate health. I’m very aware of what I’m putting in as a medicine, and that’s how I get my lunch.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Dinner I’ll usually have like three or four, five veggie dishes. I’ll have roasted shiitake mushrooms which have the polysaccharides that are great for immunity. I’ll take broccolini and [inaudible 00:56:01] that with garlic and the garlic has all the allicin and compounds. I’ll put ginger in for the gingerols and they’re anti-inflammatory, and the broccolini has glucosinolates, sulforaphane, [inaudible 00:56:11] different vitamins. Then I’ll have a Japanese sweet potato like they have in Okinawa which is full of phytochemicals, maybe why they live to really be old there. Then I’ll have maybe a salad on top of it, so I have like a tomato, cucumber, avocado, hearts of palm, fennel, cilantro salad the other night, where I just threw it all together and put some olive [inaudible 00:56:28] on. I really try to make a plentiful amount of vegetables where they’re the centerpiece of my meal, and the meat or protein is a side dish.

Dhru Purohit:
And a little dark chocolate here and there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Of course, little huge chocolate.

Dhru Purohit:
As you’ve always mentioned with everything, it’s diet first. Diet first because food is medicine. When you start with your diet first, you can dramatically start to improve these aspects of your life. Along with that, as you went through your own healing journey, and as you went through all your research, our team started getting really excited about this. We came back to you and said look, these are all great, and yes diet first. We all want to make sure we have this diet and clean things out and add in the blood sugar layer with all the great polyphenols and the wide variety of fruits and vegetables that you talk about. We all asked you, you’ve been talking a lot about this little shake mixture that you’re making, can you make a product that we can all get a chance to take on a daily basis and let’s get started. Two years ago you went down this path and you came up with something and it’s almost on the market now, we have a waiting list set up and the product is called if you want to get into it?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Gut food.

Dhru Purohit:
Gut food. Tell us what is gut food and why is it so important to feed your gut with the right things once especially you set up that base pegan diet that you talk about?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s really clear that given the stresses of our modern society, given our inadequate diet, given the low levels of polyphenols, given the chronic stressors, given the environmental toxins, given the fact that most of us had antibiotics in our life and have had gut issues, it seemed to me we really need to have something that’s like a multivitamin for the gut. We all think oh, I need to take a multivitamin or I should take fish oil, I should take this or that. But what does actually the gut require to stay healthy? It’s really a combination of three main things which are prebiotic, which I’ll talk about, which are basically fuel for the healthy bacteria, probiotics and polyphenols. This is the cocktail of stuff I had put together with a few other things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It was amazing to me how nothing like that existed on the market and I had to basically piece it together from all these different products. It was a pain in the ass to travel with, just put together. I was like this is something that the world needs and will really upgrade our whole health as a nation. Because like we were talking about earlier, the gut plays such a role in every disease, not just digestive symptoms but heart disease, cancer, diabetes. All these diseases are things that are consequences of not having a healthy gut. So what could we provide people on a daily basis it’s easy to take, it’s delicious, it’s simple, it’s cost-effective to keep your gut healthy for life? I’m writing this new book on longevity Dhru called Young Forever, it’s so clear how the degradation of the microbiome over time is so correlated with poor health outcomes and with chronic disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you look at healthy centenarians, people who live to be well over 100, their microbiomes look quite different than other people who are younger and are sicker. So keeping your gut microbiome healthy is also a longevity strategy. For me it’s just part of the daily maintenance. I eat right, exercise, get sleep, meditate, take my multis and take my gut food. I do it, I had been having to piece together myself for years because we didn’t make this product, but I’m like we need this product. The product contains really powerful ingredients all research backed.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We pick stuff that really has really good evidence behind it, clinical studies, randomized control trials so that we can come up with a formula that works. It has and it’s changed people’s lives in the beta testing, it’s certainly changed my life. I think the world is really ready for something that’s going to be a overall gut support, not just used for emergencies, not just used for when you’re really sick, not for people who really only have gut issues. But something everybody could use as an insurance policy to keep their gut healthy over time.

Dhru Purohit:
What I love about this formula and it’s five ingredients that are clinically backed, as you said, and we’re also embarking on our own trials through this process, finalizing our partners to do our own clinical trials on the finished formula that’s there and we’ll continue to keep everybody posted, is that this is also an evolving formula. As the research continues to grow, as you continue to find out more things, you’ll continue to upgrade and change the formula to continue to offer people better access to things that can again be a multivitamin for their gut, to help them grow their gut in the right direction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Also for people who are struggling. We know that the ingredients that are in gut food have been individually studied in clinical trials and they’re shown to dramatically improve digestive symptoms, pain, bloating, constipation-

Dhru Purohit:
Leaky gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Leaky gut, mood disorders, brain disorders. It’s quite impressive when you look at the data on these things, like for example mucosave which is one of the components in there, it’s not even available in America, has been shown in Europe in the research trials to dramatically reduce GI discomfort 75%, and also to reduce reflux 74%, and also to improve other factors that we just wouldn’t even normally think of being related to it for example cognitive function, depression and mood issues. There’s all kinds of other benefits that you get from optimizing your gut. The ingredients that are in there are polyphenols, they’re olive leaf and prickly pear extracts, which are two plant compounds that really have profound impact on the microbiome and in the clinical trials really had improvement across this whole spectrum of gut issues.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think we just have to be able to think about what are the ingredients, what is in there? Lactospore a special probiotic, it’s a soil based organism. I’m sorry, it’s a spore based organism, it’s room stable. But that has also been shown in clinical trials to reduce irritable bowel syndrome by 42%, bloating 47%, vomiting reduction 43%, reduction in diarrhea, pain reduction by 60%. Then even affected cognitive function, which is surprising. But when you understand the role of the gut and the mind and the brain, there’s the gut-brain connection and the brain-gut connection, and you call the gut the second brain. But there was a 57% reduction in depression, improvement of sleep by 58%, reduction in dementia symptoms by 26% and improvement of quality of life by 47%, and a reduction in GI discomfort by 62%. That’s impressive data. When you start to look at these studies on these ingredients, the probiotics, the polyphenols, you start to add all this together and it’s quite impressive.

Dhru Purohit:
Now, one of the things we wanted to get a chance to mention Mark as part of that is that some of this data, and again five ingredients all clinically backed, we have the links and everything on the website once it’s all live.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For all the studies.

Dhru Purohit:
For all the studies in the show notes and everything, is that there are smaller studies, they are in this case for some of these ingredients we pulled in there are industry studies that are there. You always transparently talk about hey it’s important to know who’s doing the research, where is it coming from. It doesn’t mean that you have to write off industry funded studies, this is just that you should be aware and it should be part of the transparency process.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Just backing up on that look, any drug that’s on the marketplace today was an industry funded study. So all the drugs you’re taking were published in peer reviewed journals, were done paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Now, does that make them invalid? Well, you should definitely critically look at the data. But if it gets peer reviewed and it’s published and the conflicts of interest are disclosed, you can question the study design, you can question the motivations, you can question the manipulation of the data and the statistics, but at the end of the day it’s pretty good, it’s the best we can do. Now, there are government funded studies that are independent studies and those are great. Unfortunately, those are very hard to get, because there’s a limited budget from the NIH, and there’s almost zero budget for studying things that aren’t patentable, like for example probiotics or prebiotics or polyphenols, so those studies don’t get funded.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That requires the companies that are actually making the product to do clinical trials. So they’ll set up a clinical trial, they’ll fund it, but if it’s a randomized placebo controlled trial that’s then done correctly and is peer reviewed by other scientists who aren’t funded or work for the company that’s making the product, and then it’s published in a major medical journal then that’s legitimate. I always still look at the conflict of interest and I wonder about it, but it points in the right direction and you look at the data and you have to take it on a case by case basis.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then of course there’s still more we need to learn, there still needs to be bigger trials and more studies. But we’re looking here at what does the data show? Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it cost-effective? What is the big impact of it? When you start to use those metrics, looking at the ingredients we put in the formula, the polyphenols, the probiotics, the prebiotics, and also things that help reset the gut, we really have a beautiful cocktail of things that are evidence based that have worked individually and we’re combining them to creating even a better outcome, which I think we now are going to take that combination product and also do a clinical trials on that.

Dhru Purohit:
Which I’m really excited about, and we’ll keep every party posted as we follow along the journey. If you want to learn more about gut food, you can go to gutfood.com. You can either sign up for the wait list depending on when this podcast comes out. Or if it’s available, you can jump into it. We’d love to have you get a chance to try it out. So Mark coming back to the topic of polyphenols, and really with this focus of diet first. This idea of sometimes the things that are so simple in front of us are so easily overlooked in their ability to dramatically change our life. Exercise is one of those things, movement. You always say that if there was a pill on the market that could do what exercise does for the body, it would be the biggest selling pill in the world. In that same way we all go grocery shopping, we all go to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, whatever our local grocery store farmer’s market. We constantly see all these different vegetables fruits around us. In a way I feel like polyphenols sometimes need a spokesperson-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They need good PR.

Dhru Purohit:
They need a good PR campaign, and you’re the guy. Let’s give people the final pitch around the importance around polyphenols, especially if they think like well I eat healthy and I eat a little bit of vegetables here and there and I do my thing and I think I eat a pretty good diet. But they may not be stepping into the power of what is available to them with all the incredible research that’s out there on polyphenols. So final closing thoughts.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I agree Dhru, personally I spend a lot of time thinking about this, and as I begin to learn more about human biology, I know I’ve been doing this for 30 years but I still feel like a beginner. It’s shocking to me how powerful these compounds are, and how often they actually are better than drugs for the same condition. This is the work that William Li has done that’s mind-blowing, where he’ll look at deep, deep analysis that they do in the lab of the impact of drugs on certain pathways, let’s say blood pressure or inflammation or whatever. Then they’ll compare an optimal food with the right phytochemicals against the drug. The phytochemicals do better in terms of the power and the potency of them, which is counterintuitive to what we believe.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The reason I say that is I want people to understand that this isn’t just a nice to, this is a have to. If you want to stay healthy, if you want to live a long time, if you want to optimize your gut, you must figure out how to upgrade the quality of your diet. That means increasing the quantity and the quality of the polyphenols. In many of my books and other places I’ve listed all the different kind of colors of foods, all the different benefits of what those foods do, all the polyphenols that do those benefits and how to start thinking about incorporating these foods on a regular basis. So you get a little cheat sheet and this is in the pegan diet and other places, where you can go oh, I’m going to go to the grocery store, I’m going to pick these extra foods, because these are extra special foods that I know are going to increase my phytochemical content and they’re going to help me stay healthy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
As we get to learn more about these, we’re going to learn know how to put these in combinations. For example for longevity, there’s this whole, and I’m just talking about it because this is an area I’m working on now. There’s a whole suite of compounds that we’re learning are profoundly impactful, like quercetin which is in our formula. Quercetin is a compound which is a flavanoid, comes from apples and onions. This is crazy Dhru, they did a study looking at biological age with epigenetic methylation patterns. They were able to show by using quercetin and they used another drug that’s used often for a cancer drug. They were able to actually reverse biological age by using these polyphenols, which is pretty amazing. They’re not like just oh, nice to have things they’re really have to have.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Start to think about one how do you take them? I sometimes take them as supplements, I take them as powders, I put them in my smoothies. I’m constantly thinking about how do I increase polyphenols in my diet. That’s what you should be doing too, because they’re as essential as protein, fats and carbs, as essential as vitamins and minerals. If we don’t get them we get what we call long latency diseases. The things like well, you might not die tomorrow of cancer, but you might get it in 20 or 30 years or Alzheimer’s. These are these essential medicines that the more we include in our diet the better we are, and it’s what we really mean when we say food is medicine.

Dhru Purohit:
I love it Mark. If there was a PR team that was needed for polyphenols you’d be the head of it, and you’d do a great job. Instead of the got milk ads, we’d do a whole new campaign around polyphenols.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Got polyphenols, I love it.

Dhru Purohit:
Put you on shirtless with you sitting on a horse just like you have on Instagram.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There you go.

Dhru Purohit:
All right Mark, I’m going to toss it back to you to go ahead and conclude us on today’s episode on all things gut and polyphenol related.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, thanks Dhru, and thanks for listening to this week’s masterclass. If you like what you heard and you want to learn more about our new multivitamin for your gut called gut food, just go visit gutfood.com, and sign up for the wait list because it’s not out yet. If you enjoyed this episode share with your friends and family, and I will catch you next week for part two of our gut health series.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

Send this to a friend