Understanding How The Microbiome Affects Every Aspect Of Your Health

Episode 174 1h 13m


There’s a foundational piece of Functional Medicine that I find surprises many conventional health practitioners: it’s that the health of our gut impacts every other part of the body—even the brain. There are several reasons for this. When working correctly, our gut digests our food and absorbs nutrients so we can have energy and vitality. It eliminates toxins and fights pathogens. It’s also the home of trillions of microorganisms that aid in these processes and do so much more, like manage inflammation and produce neurotransmitters. I was excited to talk to Dr. Emeran Mayer on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, all about nurturing the microbiome to support whole-body health and fight the epidemic of chronic disease. Dr. Mayer’s work reflects just how powerful a systems-based approach to medicine is. When it comes to the role of the gut, we shouldn’t be surprised that it has such a wide-reaching influence on everything else. We eat pounds of food every day and rely on this one system to take in all the good stuff and get rid of all the bad stuff. There’s also been a massive failure to recognize that the gut is a powerful control center, due to its bidirectional communication with the brain—the gut-brain axis. The enteric and central nervous systems interact, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with intestinal function. The efficiency and function of the gut are dependent upon the microbiome, but modern farming practices, stress, medications, processed food, and other factors are leaving us with less of the beneficial bugs and more of the harmful ones. Dr. Mayer and I talk about how we got here and how certain practices, like eating a plant-rich diet with adequate fermented foods, can boost our friendly flora. We also talk about certain conditions that represent imbalances in the gut-brain axis, like IBS and depression, and how this system-based perspective offers greater chances for healing. I hope you’ll tune in to learn more about the powerful universe living in your gut. This episode is brought to you by Joovv, ButcherBox, and TrueDark. When you sign up to ButcherBox, you’ll get 2 lbs of wild-caught Alaskan salmon free in your first box plus $10 off. Just go to butcherbox.com/farmacy to take advantage of this great offer. Joovv is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners an exclusive discount on Joovv’s Generation 3.0 devices. Just go to Joovv.com/farmacy and use the code FARMACY. Some exclusions do apply.

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Topics Covered

  • The most common denominator in the chronic disease epidemic

    (2:47 - 8:01)

  • How Dr. Mayer came to take a systems approach to medicine

    (5:50 - 11:04)

  • Rethinking disease through our evolving understanding of the gut microbiome

    (11:18 - 16:32)

  • Metabolites produced in our gut influence our health, for better and worse

    (19:39 - 24:53)

  • Our thoughts, feelings, emotions and stress affect our gut microbiome and full-body health, and visa versa

    (25:01 - 32:07)

  • What will it take for conventional medicine to adopt a systems approach in patient treatment?

    (28:18 - 35:23)

  • Treating neurodegenerative and cognitive issues through diet and lifestyle

    (35:57 - 43:02)

  • Eating to support the gut microbiome and inequities in access to foods that strengthen microbiome health

    (40:15 - 47:20)

  • Our gut microbiome interactions in our bodies mimic the soil microbiome’s relationship to plant root systems

    (49:19 - 56:25)

  • How industrial agriculture has reduced the nutritional value of our food by damaging the soil

    (52:04 - 58:56)

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Ep. 174 - Understanding How The Microbiome Affects Every Aspect Of Your Health