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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. The weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.

Dr. Gundry (00:11):
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Welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast. Well, by now, if you’ve listened to me over the years, you know all about the microbiome, the trillions of bacteria living in your gut. These tiny gut bugs, as you know, are incredibly important for the health of your entire body. But my guest today says it’s not the whole story. There are fungi living in your gut that can have a dramatic effect on your health; good and bad. Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum is an expert on fungi, and he’s the Director of the integrated microbiome core, in the Center for Medical Mycology, at Case Western University in Cleveland. He’s also the author of a brand-new book called The Total Gut Balance.
On today’s episode, he and I are going to discuss the effect of fungi in the gut, the best foods for improving your gut health, and the three things that you can do today to boost whole body health. Doctor Ghannoum, it’s a pleasure have you here today. Thank you for having me. It is going to be a really fun because you are going to open the door on a whole class of other critters that are living in our gut that people need to know about. So, how’d you get started getting interested in fungi of all things?

Dr. Ghannoum (02:18):
Oh. That’s a long-time story. What happened when I went to England to do my doctorate, my supervisor gave me a paper and he said, “This is what you are going to be working on.” And guess what? It was about how Candida is affected by antibiotics and steroids. And that’s when my passion to work with Candida started in 1974.

Dr. Gundry (02:44):
Wow. That’s a long time ago.

Dr. Ghannoum (02:45):
It is.

Dr. Gundry (02:47):
So we’re going to get in to Candida or Candida as many people say. So why did he get you interested in that? 1974. Come on.

Dr. Ghannoum (03:01):
It was interesting because it’s something new. For a long time, we really did not have much role for fungus, in general, and Canada in particular for diseases. But, suddenly, because the way medicine is changing; new antibiotics, new therapies, and also people becoming more immunosuppressed, they have weak immunity. Suddenly, we started to see more and more of these fungal infections. So, to me, it was an exciting new area to try to understand, “How can we really manage this new emerging disease?”

Dr. Gundry (03:42):
So, let’s take a step back. So, fungi are with us all the time. They’re in us, then they’re a part what I call the Holo biome.

Dr. Ghannoum (03:59):
Absolutely. As you mentioned at the beginning, a lot of people think of the microbiome as bacteria, but in fact, in our body, we have not only bacterial community, we have also fungal community. And guess what? They play together. If they play together nicely, it’s good for us. However, if they are fighting, which, as you know, happens, it causes a lot of issues, including gut issues.

Dr. Gundry (04:30):
Got you. So, these guys are actually down there, having a good time, throwing balls around and… not like that. But they communicate with each other, right?

Dr. Ghannoum (04:41):
Yes. They communicate with each other. And also, if fungi is present at a low level or low abundance, it actually is very helpful. So, everybody is afraid of Candida, but 50% of us have Candida in us, both in our skin as well as in our gut and mouth, for that matter. So, as long as it is low level, what it does it start to break down, ferment food, which provides nutrients to the bacteria, the good bacteria, and then they are happy also growing together. The issue starts happening if, for example, as you know, somebody take antibiotic. If you have an antibiotic, you are killing not only the bad bacteria, which is causing an infection, we are killing also our good friends in our gut, and they are all this bacteria they are really good cops, they keep Candida under control. So, when you kill them, Candida have a field day and start to increase in number or over grow and then cause issues for us.

Dr. Gundry (05:55):
So, when people hear the word antibiotics it basically means anti living things, but most antibiotics that we consume or take kill bacteria, but they don’t necessarily kill fungi. Is that right?

Dr. Ghannoum (06:13):
Yes. Antibiotics, absolutely as you said, they kill bacteria. To kill fungus, we have what you call antifungal; it’s antibacterial and antifungal and the antibiotics that kill bacteria, they target some structures in the bacteria which we don’t have in the fungus. That’s why they don’t get it.

Dr. Gundry (06:38):
Got you. So, we should have renamed antibiotics, I guess differently. But I think it’s interesting because back in 1974, I was in medical school and right around that time the first broad spectrum antibiotics had been introduced. And, for us in medicine, it was great, because we no longer had to identify an individual bug and wait for cultures. We could just napalm everybody and sit back and say, “Boy. Aren’t we clever?” And, I’m certain that your professor said, “Guess what? Those clever MDs are out there wiping out everybody and the fungi are now reaping the benefits.” Is that kind of what happened?

Dr. Ghannoum (07:37):
Exactly what happened. And I can give you a simple example, which was true even then. When women take the antibiotic tetracycline to kill bacteria, guess what happens? They develop thrush because the lactobacillus in their body keep Candida under control, but this antibiotic is killing it and then now we are having this wild Candida go haywire and cause infection. So, that’s really true with many situations, as you say, especially with the broad-spectrum antibiotic because you are, as you say, napalming them.

Dr. Gundry (08:15):
So these guys exist in us there in most of us. And you’re right, they kind of have a to/fro relationship with bacteria. I got interested in them researching my next book. As you know, soil health also contains its own microbiome and the interplay between fungi and bacteria, at the base of roots, actually, is essential for the plant to absorb nutrients from the soil. And you’re right, without fungi in the soil bacteria can actually not get their job done of helping the root system.

Dr. Ghannoum (09:00):

Dr. Gundry (09:00):
Go ahead.

Dr. Ghannoum (09:01):
Yes. Absolutely. They build a synergistic relationship as you know, so they work together. It’s like the kids playing in a sandbox; if they play nicely, they help each other. And a lot of the time in the roots of our plants, really, both bacteria and fungus work together, which will help them take nutrients, so it not only they help each other, but also they help the plant to grow. So having both of them in this synergistic or complimentary relationship is very important for the growth of plants, and even as you know, for breaking down all the dead leaves now we are in winter. So. Yeah. I mean, it’s fantastic collaboration here.

Dr. Gundry (09:47):
Yeah. And, we’re going to get to this, so I think one of your first points is that fungi are not exactly the evil empire that we have to fear taking over our bodies?

Dr. Ghannoum (10:02):
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think if our immunity is good, if we are eating the right food, the right lifestyle, we can keep it under control. And we don’t have to be absolutely terrified of this, there is a way in our hand to try to control that.

Dr. Gundry (10:21):
Got it. Okay. So, these fungi that are in us are classified as the mycobiome, as opposed to the microbiome. But I agree with you that our microbiome includes both our bacteria and the fungi and actually a bunch of viruses and parasites and wonderful single-cell creatures.

Dr. Ghannoum (10:44):
Yes. Yes. Really, it’s as you say, it’s like a population; different background, different races, they all live together. The same in our gut on our skin, we have, as you mentioned, bacteria, fungus, viruses, parasites, they all are living there and they all really play good and bad together. And that’s why it’s very important for us to understand this so that we can control them and give a total gut balance, as you would say, when we have microbiome enzyme balance.

Dr. Gundry (11:22):
Great. Let me give an example for our listeners and our viewers that actually brings this home maybe on a more microscopic level. Recently, as you know, wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park, over a lot of the objections, they had been killed off. And one of the things that people had noticed since wolves were eradicated was the elk population, their natural predator is a wolf, and the elk population actually grew ridiculously. And what they found was that the elk population was eating small saplings during the winter, particularly near streams and the beaver population in Yellowstone was decimated, they left.
And one of the first things they noticed when wolves came back was they began controlling the elk population. And, particularly in winter, the elks were no longer eating the little saplings in the streams. And now, with wolves back in, the beavers are back and the songbirds actually lived in these little saplings by the creeks, and the songbirds had left Yellowstone. You actually didn’t hear birds, and now the songbirds are back. So you’re right. So, let’s just assume that all of us have been taught that Candida or fungi are really evil in us like a big bad wolf, and we really ought to eradicate them because they’re evil. But you’re right. This is important part of the ecology of us and, I think, let’s just agree that I don’t particularly want to meet a wolf. But that wolf is a very important part of the ecology. And so, bringing it back to you, fungi are incredibly important part of the ecology of us.

Dr. Ghannoum (13:26):
Absolutely. The other thing, I think, just to make people the at ease when they think about fungus is everybody talks about Candida but actually in our gut, we have good fungus as well, such as Saccharomyces. Saccharomyces, which is the baker’s yeast which we use for bread and this sort of thing, we have it there and when you have it, our studies shows that it can control Candida. Also, one study I published when I first started to work on the microbiome, I was interested in the HIV infected patients when we looked at oral complications of HIV which, as you know better than me, it is thrush. So, we did a study and we found to our surprise that if there is a yeast called Pichia, P-I-C-H-I-A, if it is there, Candida is not there. And if it is Candida there, Pichia is not there. So, it’s exactly what you said; there is an environment. If we had Pichia, we are able to keep Candida under control. So there are good fungus as well as bad fungus.

Dr. Gundry (14:38):
Yeah. As a matter of fact, in heart surgery, I against the advice of my colleagues after we would give antibiotics to all of our heart surgery patients, I would give them capsules of Saccharomyces to swallow, beginning day one after the heart surgery. And, my colleagues are going, “What the heck? You’re giving people yeast and fungi!” And I said, “Yeah. But this guy is going to tamp down Candida,” because so many of our patients would get oral thrush, and we’d have to give them nice dad and then they’d be sucking on lozenges. And nobody ever got thrush after I started giving them these capsules. And it’s like, “Wait a minute. You’re giving a fungus to stop a fungus?” But you’re right.

Dr. Ghannoum (15:29):
Honestly, honestly, your thought was well ahead of the game. And now, the good news is the science is proving that this is the case. It’s good to have this yeast, Saccharomyces, to try to control Candida. So, I’m really very pleased because now we have more scientific evidence to support what you’ve been doing well before we started looking at next generation sequencing and this sort of thing.

Dr. Gundry (15:56):
Well, I learned, actually, this trick and I’ve mentioned it before. I did my children’s heart surgery as a senior registrar at Great Ormond Street in London, England, back in the ’80s. And after heart surgery on babies, the sisters, the nurses would send the mothers down to the local green grocer to buy fresh yogurt. And they would come back with the fresh yogurt and they would feed these little infants, who I operated on, yogurt. And, smart American going, “Don’t do that. There’s things in that yogurt. The heart and we have to be sterile.” And the sisters would say, “You stupid American. You’ve just killed off all the wonderful bugs in this kid and I’m going to put it back,” and we’d butt heads. But I said, “They’re probably right about this.” So. Yeah. I learned that many, many years ago. The nurses taught me.

Dr. Ghannoum (16:59):
Absolutely. That’s why in your recent work and ours, we are saying, “Look, take some of this fermented foods because this is good.” Yeah. I mean, I am very excited about this because now it’s becoming clear what we need to do to try to keep these little critters under control and have a good health.

Dr. Gundry (17:23):
Okay. So, keeping little critters under control, there’s a fancy word for that called dysbiosis. What the heck does that mean?

Dr. Ghannoum (17:35):
Dysbiosis, as you say, it’s really the scientific terms for imbalance. Remember, to have a good healthy gut with no digestive symptoms, you need to have the balance between bacteria, the fungus, and the viruses for that matter. Even though we don’t know as much about the bacteria and fungus. So they are all happy like, as I mentioned before, playing in the sandbox. The problem if we have nice kid playing in the sandbox, they helping each other, you get some little other kid who wants to fight with everybody, that’s where the imbalance start. And, in our gut, when we talk about imbalance or dysbiosis, we have an increase in the bad or pathogenic organisms and a decrease in the beneficial one. So, what we need to do is try to bring back this balance so that they play nicely again.

Dr. Gundry (18:32):
Okay. So, I know I’ve written a lot about this and you write a lot about this, how did the bad kids take over? Did they just not get sent to the principal’s office enough or what’s happened?

Dr. Ghannoum (18:45):
I think it is to do with the way they eat. What type of food you eat, certainly, can feed the wrong organisms there. It’s like the garden; in the summer, we love our garden, even though you guys in California have always nice roses. We need to feed and grow the nice roses and kill the weeds. And that’s what we need to do; we give them nutrients, we give them the right fertilizers. The same in our gut; if we can give them the right food, and really avoid the ones that will encourage the bad guys, we are going to have a better situation. Also, if we can have some really lifestyle approaches, which are also important because our studies are showing is not enough just to control this diet by just the food or different kinds of food. We really need to have less stress, more sleep, and this old thing.

Dr. Gundry (19:52):
Okay. So, wait a minute. You’re saying that sleep and stress might affect our microbiome?

Dr. Ghannoum (20:01):

Dr. Gundry (20:02):
Is that what you’re saying, professor?

Dr. Ghannoum (20:04):
They are. And you know why? Because studies now are showing that there is communication between our gut and the brain. We call it gut-brain axis. For long time, we thought the brain is really the master switch, tells us everything what to do. But now we know also the gut talks to the brain, so it is bi-directional, two-way communication. So, if you have stress, you are going to have dysbiosis or imbalance in your gut. That’s why we really need to have less stress, even though in this day and age is very tough to have, but really, it’s very important because we had a lady, she had complete imbalance or dysbiosis.
I looked at her food, what she eats, she eating perfect food, which is going to support the beneficial organisms and reduce the bad one. But then we looked at the questionnaire which she fills, and we found that she is severely stressed. So, I advised, and that’s what we really recommend is you need to do a little bit of meditation, you need to do a little bit of relaxation. Go out to Yellowstone Park, go out to nature, because that all will help you de-stress and hopefully is going to help your gut balance.

Dr. Gundry (21:29):
Yeah. No. You’re absolutely right. In fact, in my last book, The Longevity Paradox, we make a big point that it is a huge two-way street, and that things like yoga and meditation have actually been shown to even change gut bacteria, for the better. And, certainly, we find that reducing stress allows the gut wall to heal. Okay.
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We mentioned Candida before. I can’t tell you a day doesn’t go by that someone doesn’t walk in and tell me that they have Candida or they’re being treated for Candida or that Candida is the cause of all their problems. All right. Set the record straight.

Dr. Ghannoum (22:43):
Okay. Look, when we look at Candida, Candida definitely is responsible for a lot of infections, especially in people who are, as we mentioned, on antibiotics, cancer patients, and any situation where you have imbalanced and weak immunity. Okay? That’s true. But at the same time, Candida also lives in our body. We did a study when I was at UCLA many years ago, we found that 40% of healthcare workers in the hospital, they have Candida in their hair, and they are fine. And that’s another story, I’m not going to go there, but if we go back to the gut, we have Candida. As long as Candida is at low abundance or low level, the numbers is low, it’s fine. In fact, it can help us and I just-

Dr. Gundry (23:41):
Oh. Wait a minute. Stop right there. Candida can help us?

Dr. Ghannoum (23:45):
Yes. It can.

Dr. Gundry (23:46):
Oh my gosh.

Dr. Ghannoum (23:47):
It can help us in at least two ways.

Dr. Gundry (23:49):
All right. We’re listening.

Dr. Ghannoum (23:51):
Number one, it will train our body immunity to start, to improve to be able to respond to Candida when it really grows, that’s number one. Number two, it can help our body also break down some of the food, the nutrients, which will help bacteria to grow and then that really complete the circuit. So, as long as it is at what we call colonization level, it’s just sitting there, not too many of it, less than let’s say one or 2% of the total fungal count, that’s fine. When it starts to go up, over grow more than 10% of the fungus there in your gut is Candida, then you will start to have issues and you need to control.

Dr. Gundry (24:39):
All right. So, this is a newsflash for all my listeners, and I tell my patients this so it’s not a newsflash to them. So, Candida, in the right amount, is not a bad guy. It’s a wolf in Yellowstone Park. But. Okay. So, how does this population grow to a point where it becomes a problem? What happens or what are we doing wrong?

Dr. Ghannoum (25:06):
Yeah. I think it’s multifactorial, a number of factors. Some of them, for example, if you are sick in hospital then you are likely to have Candida because your antibiotics, you are all chemotherapy in various aspects. So, that’s one thing which we already well established. The other thing which is really well known, is what we eat. If we eat a lot of refined sugar, Candida loves refined and processed sugar and it can grow very fast. So if we are eating all the time, sweets, put so much sugar in our coffee and tea. I remember when I was a young boy, we used to have tea in the morning with my brothers, and one of my brothers used to put so many sugar. My father used to say, “Look, you’re drinking sugar with tea.”
So, it’s very important that we cut down the refined sugar, because that is going to be a really an important factor for Candida to grow. Also, if we eat lean proteins that also will keep Candida under control. Finally, we showed and others that if you have a vitamin deficiency, especially A, B and C, you are likely to have more growth of Candida. So, you can see there are a number of dietary as well as, of course, factors which is beyond our control sometimes.

Dr. Gundry (26:43):
Hmm. So, the average person walking around who has gut issues, is it from Candida in the most part, or is a much more multifactorial than that?

Dr. Ghannoum (27:01):
I really would say it’s multifactorial. I mean, Candida will be one part but also, for example, if we have proteobacteria. Proteobacteria, which is bacteria as we are saying, if it is increase in it’s abundance and it’s level, also it becomes pro-inflammatory or in other words it cause inflammation, is a good red flag for inflammation. So, it’s just like the balance of good bacteria and good fungus. If you have too much bad bacteria; people who eat red meat with high fat, guess what they’re doing? They are feeding the bacteria that loves bile which is pro-inflammatory, it means it cause more inflammation. If you have really lean proteins from fish, from plants, then you are encouraging the good guys. Now, the same with respect to Candida. If Candida we are giving it the food that it loves, it’s going to grow.

Dr. Gundry (28:07):
Hm. All right. So, let’s suppose you found a person with an overgrowth of Candida. Give me the steps that you’ll recommend at Case Western to get this balance back again.

Dr. Ghannoum (28:26):
I think now with this the new knowledge of the microbiome and how these organism, microbiome and mycobiome, which you mentioned, the fungal community, the first thing we need to tell them is really they need to try eating the right food. We need to really restrict the growth or eliminate these organisms by not giving them food.

Dr. Gundry (28:51):
Starve them to death.

Dr. Ghannoum (28:52):
Starve them to death. Don’t eat sugar, don’t eat especially refined sugars. Okay? Make sure you take your vitamins. We need to also try to take some fibers because we want to encourage the growth of the good bacteria because those good bacteria can keep Candida under control. Now, obviously, if somebody have an infection and whatever, that’s another story. Of course, we have to go into antifungals and we are lucky these days we have really some good antifungals, it’s different from the days when, as you remember, when we had only Amphotericin B, it was terrible. Now we have better drugs for that case, but for ordinary person, I think if they can follow the right diet, starve the bad guys, feed the good guys. Make sure you are really having food like cruciferous vegetables which you love, you are going to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant components there, then you are going to go a long way to rebalancing your gut.

Dr. Gundry (29:58):
All right. Let’s myth bust for a minute, and we haven’t talked about this so you’re probably going to bust my myth. There’s a lot of advice on the internet for a anti-Candida diet that you should never eat fermented vegetables, that you should never eat cheeses, and you should never eat mushrooms because mushrooms are fungi.

Dr. Ghannoum (30:26):
Yeah. Yeah. I can bust that.

Dr. Gundry (30:27):
Okay. Bust that, would you, please?

Dr. Ghannoum (30:30):
So, first of all mushrooms, great foods because they have fiber, a lot of fibers.

Dr. Gundry (30:36):
Oh. Thank you so much. Thank you. Okay.

Dr. Ghannoum (30:37):
Yeah. No. No. I think this is definitely a misconception. Now, don’t eat fermented foods. As we mentioned before, Saccharomyces which is a good yeast, it helps us. So, fermented food is a good thing to have. Now, of course, you don’t want to go to the fields and start picking mushrooms, they are poisonous and whatever. Now, this is your problem. If you go to a good market or a place where they sell the right stuff, which is not toxic, mushrooms is great, you are going to be fine.

Dr. Gundry (31:14):
And, probably, if you eat a psychedelic mushroom, you won’t care. Just an editorial comment. Okay. No. So, that’s great because I can’t get over the number of people and I have mushrooms on my diet and I have fermented foods on my diet, and I have aged cheeses and people go, “Well, I have Candida. I can’t do that. That’s going to promote the growth.” And I’m going, “Where does this stuff come from?” Thank you. Thank you. All right. I want to talk about one of my actual interests that I don’t talk about but we’re going to talk about it today, biofilms. Now, the academy words are coming up, there’re probably not going to be no biofilms that we’re going to watch. What the heck is a biofilm and why should we worry about this?

Dr. Ghannoum (32:07):
Let me tell you, we all have biofilms. The best example is the plaque in our teeth every morning and evening, I hope, we brush our teeth. Why? We want to get rid of the biofilm or plaque. Plaque is a microphone. Now, what are they? So, I can tell you, in my studies we showed that the first thing for an organism or bacteria or fungus to start causing troubles, it sticks to a surface such as the teeth. Once it sticks, it starts to produce what you call matrix. So, what is this matrix? It’s like a Jell-O. If you have a Jell-O and inside the Jell-O we have raisins or M&Ms, so raisin and M&Ms are the bacteria and fungus. The Jello-O which cover them is the matrix. So, as if they are living inside a city covered by this matrix which protect them.

Dr. Gundry (33:10):
You’re talking about the film The Matrix.

Dr. Ghannoum (33:15):
Biofilm and microorganism have a matrix, definitely have a matrix, which as you say, in a way, it is like a film. It protects these organism, they become resistant to all antibacterials as well as we showed that they are resistant to our immune cells, they cannot go there and kill them. So now, let’s go into the gut. In the gut, not many people looked at that, most of the studies were on the catheters and knee replacement stuff and whatever. We, in 2016, published a paper where we showed that the bugs in our gut, which is we found that Candida tropicalis, one of the species there, E. coli, which is a bacteria and serratia marcescens, they all increase in these Crohn’s disease patients compared to their relatives with no Crohn’s.
And then, we found that they come together, and they stick together and they start, as you said, communicating and talking together, and they produce this huge biofilm. And we call it digestive plaque. It’s like digestive biofilm but it is a plaque because to make it easy, it’s all in our digestive system. Now when they form that, that is a bad news. Why? Because then they start to change. For example, Candida, instead of staying as a round cell like bakers is, they start to form these filaments or threads like and those start to go and start damaging our gut lining. So, that’s why-

Dr. Gundry (34:56):
So they can literally drill into our own selves?

Dr. Ghannoum (34:59):
Absolutely. They can go in and, I don’t want to get too complicated, but I tell you before I started to do biofilms, I studied Candida is able to secrete enzymes that can break down the lining and we showed that it’s a beautiful picture. I know, I’m crazy. I like these pictures.

Dr. Gundry (35:22):
I know you’re, getting really nerdy on me here.

Dr. Ghannoum (35:24):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, you see the filament like this and ahead of it, you have all these spot of enzymes which breaking down and go in to cause leaky gut as you say.

Dr. Gundry (35:37):
Now you’ve got everybody scared of Candida again, and we were both were trying to quiet everybody down. Okay. So, how often are these biofilms happening? I mean, they’re on our teeth every day.

Dr. Ghannoum (35:49):

Dr. Gundry (35:49):
So are you saying that that’s happening down below and we don’t know it?

Dr. Ghannoum (35:54):
It is there, but when there is the right harmony or when you have balance, the biofilms that forms are with the good guys, they don’t have the ability to go and start causing trouble. The only issue, when you are as I give an example in Crohn’s disease, for example, they overgrow and they are made of organisms that are pathogen or cause disease. Then they are a problem.

Dr. Gundry (36:21):
Got you. You’re probably aware of this that there is one theory of coronary artery disease that is an infectious theory of coronary artery disease and that bacteria and fungi and mouth organisms… some people want to call them nanobacteria I don’t think we have to go there, but that they set up these biofilms on the coronary arteries and it’s these biofilms that we can’t attack them with our immune system, but we try. It’s actually the plaque starts with biofilms. I kind of like that theory, and I’ve actually written about that. Again, it’s a theory.

Dr. Ghannoum (37:05):
I agree. I agree.

Dr. Gundry (37:07):
So. Okay. So, we don’t want biofilms, Candida is a good guy unless it gets out of control, and if you feed it sugar, it potentially can get out of control. So, give us three things that people can do today or start doing today to make sure that their fungi are good guys and happy and everybody loves each other down in their gut.

Dr. Ghannoum (37:32):
Yes. Number one, we need to cut refined sugars. It is very important. Number two, it’s very important that we have good vitamin levels in us like vitamin A, B, and C. Okay? Number three, we need to give resistant starch or fibers to feed the good bacterial guys that can keep Candida under control.

Dr. Gundry (37:58):
Okay. I write about this a lot but for our listeners, give me some resistant starches or fibers that we should be eating.

Dr. Ghannoum (38:05):
You can find it in banana, in the unripened side

Dr. Gundry (38:09):
Thank you for saying unripened, appreciate.

Dr. Ghannoum (38:12):
We can see in oatmeal, we can see it in sweet potato. Yeah. All these are great sources for resistant starch. And why, really, they are important to have resistant starch or carb? I know you will ask me, you and I are in the same wavelength. Why are we saying about the resistant starch and not simple sugar? Because, simple sugar we can break it down in our intestine and they really can affect our glycemic index, if we have too much of them they convert into fats and we become obese, whereas the resistance starch our body cannot break them down. So they go down into large intestine where these good microbes are there, and they start to eat them up and break them down. When they do this, what’s happening? They start producing good molecules or good compounds, we call them metabolites. And what happens? These metabolites are great, because then they can communicate with our brain and increase our immunity, make us in a better mood. So that’s why it’s really possible to control these organisms and have a happy gut.

Dr. Gundry (39:33):
All right. So, you mentioned vitamin A, and C, and E, and I would throw in vitamin D as super important. But most people don’t know about vitamin A. Where do we find the stuff?

Dr. Ghannoum (39:48):
I think there is a lot of vegetables that have vitamin A. Cruciferous vegetables have a lot of fun. So, broccoli, broccolini; all of those stuff, they have it. And, vitamin A, why I mentioned it? Because studies have shown that kids who had Candida issues in their gut, gastrointestinal issues, they really were deficient in these vitamins including vitamin A. So, having vitamin A is going to help you to really fight Candida in addition to the other factors which we talked about.

Dr. Gundry (40:27):
And another great source of vitamin A is cod liver oil.

Dr. Ghannoum (40:30):
Yes. Yes.

Dr. Gundry (40:32):
And, unfortunately, when I was growing up, I got a gulp of cod liver oil every day and I must say the modern cod liver oils don’t have that fishy taste, so don’t be afraid of cod liver oil anymore.

Dr. Ghannoum (40:48):
Yeah. It’s so funny you said, when I was little boy in our school, every morning we used to come and they give us [tigstab 00:40:56].

Dr. Gundry (40:56):
Yeah. And you had to hide the flavor because it was pretty bad. So, tell me, you’ve been at this a long time. What’s the latest things you’re working on? What’s the latest breakthroughs that we should pay attention to? Because for most people have never even heard about fungi, they know about Candida. What’s happening?

Dr. Ghannoum (41:23):
Thank you for asking this question. First of all, when we observed that, “Okay. They come play together the bad guys, they make biofilms.” Now, I’m starting to look at, “Okay. How can we develop ways to get rid of this biofilm?” And I put a grant for the National Institute of Health. And I can tell you, I’m happy to tell you that I just got funded.

Dr. Gundry (41:47):

Dr. Ghannoum (41:48):
Thanks a lot.

Dr. Gundry (41:48):
Such a big deal, folks.

Dr. Ghannoum (41:50):
To look at the interaction between bacteria and fungus in our guts, specially Crohn’s disease. Because, once we know this, we are going to be able to come out with method, even better method than we currently have. So it’s exciting to do this.

Dr. Gundry (42:09):
Because you and I can’t swallow a dental hygienist to go down there and pick up the biofilms.

Dr. Ghannoum (42:15):
Absolutely. Absolutely. We published a paper in April of 2019 and where we developed a probiotic, and I have for the sake of transparency, it’s a company which I co-founded called BIOHM Health, B-I-O-H-M Health, and we showed that this probiotic which not only have bacteria, but also have fungi… good bacteria and good fungi is able to break this biofilm. So, it was published in mBio, it’s American Society for Microbiology journal, and I think we are really moving in the right direction. Not only in this, but also trying to understand in other situations, or when the dysbiosis happens.

Dr. Gundry (43:03):
So. All right. So, that’s exciting and it’s okay to give yourself a shameless plug. So. All right. So, how do people find you? Where’s the book? Tell us.

Dr. Ghannoum (43:15):
Okay. You can find it, of course, in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, but also there is totalgutbook.com. You can find it, also, if people would like to learn more, I have a website called drmicrobiome.com, which we which really describes different ways how you can control your gut and also there is a community built where people help each other and this sort of thing.

Dr. Gundry (43:45):
So do you have a lot of Candida suffering people visit your site?

Dr. Ghannoum (43:52):
A lot of people, I must say, they call me and they tell me about Candida. And I try to, like you did, alleviate their fears and try to help them. What’s the best way? We don’t have to have a pill for everything. We are able to hopefully do something without that, except in extreme cases.

Dr. Gundry (44:15):
Wow! We don’t have to have a pill for everything? Yeah. You and I both figured that out a few years ago, I guess, and good for you for telling people. Actually, before we go, what about this notion that once you get Candida you will never get rid of it and you will have chronic Candida the rest of your life and it’s in you forever and that’s it? Good luck.

Dr. Ghannoum (44:47):
I don’t agree with that. I really don’t agree with it. I think, because I did an experiment with my students once and I said, “I want to take samples of your mouth. I want to see who has Candida.” And guess what? 50% of the students they are healthy, sport-playing guys, they have Candida. And they are healthy. So to me, if you have Candida in your gut, it’s okay if it is at low level. The only problem is if it start to overgrow, and you start to have, for example, digestive issues, constipation, bloating and whatever, then you need to start to look at that. But, don’t worry, Candida is a good guy. One last thing I want to say about this is Candida, it is the organism that cause infection of the immunocompromised. If your immunity is down, you may have issues. But if you don’t, don’t worry, you should be fine.

Dr. Gundry (45:48):
Follow-up question, what do you tell all these folks who watch TV and see every immunosuppressive drug known to mankind to treat every autoimmune disease? Should they be more aware of Candida in them?

Dr. Ghannoum (46:05):
I think if you are immunocompromised and there is Candida, as long as it is at low level, which you can know about it; there is a test, again, we, this company which I mentioned, BIOHM, we do gut testing when we are able to evaluate both or have a profile of bacteria and fungus. And if it is low, don’t worry, it’s okay. It’s fine to watch it. But you don’t have, really, to have paranoia about this.

Dr. Gundry (46:41):
Very good. All right. Now, at the end of our program, we always have an audience questions. So, we’ve got fans from around the world and here’s a question From [Toray Shelovold 00:46:58] who asks, “Is IGF-1 in red meat equally present in game like elk and deer as in beef?” Well, now wait a minute. So, IGF-1 is a growth hormone and it is present in, for instance, human milk. It’s much more present in cow’s milk and sheep milk and goat milk than in human milk because baby cows have to grow quickly to avoid wolves, for instance, and elk have lots of IGF-1 in their milk. When I write about animal proteins like beef, or even fish, or even chicken, the more animal-protein-specific amino acids that you eat, in general, the more IGF-1 you will produce.
But IGF-1 per se, the hormone, is not the big factor in beef. So, the answer to your question is eating elk or deer, you’re going to have the same animal proteins that would promote an increase in IGF-1 as you would in beef. I think, maybe, your question is about the sugar molecule, Neu5G, which is present in the blood vessels of cattle, lamb, and pork, but it’s not present in fish and chickens that we can have an autoimmune reaction to, that causes another theory of coronary artery disease, an autoimmune attack on our blood vessels. It’s also present in deer and elk, unfortunately.
So, on the other hand, deer and elk if you actually got it wild is going to be far better for you because it’s not farm-raised on grains and soy beans and given antibiotics. But, word of caution, most elk and deer that you buy at a restaurant, as well as bison, is farm-raised, so just be cautious. And, you can go compete with wolves anytime you want. Coming from the Midwest, go get an elk tag if you want to. So. All right. So, that’s it for The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Stay tuned for next week episode, but tell your friends about this because there’s some really great myth busting today going on. And I want everybody to hear this one. And thank you again-

Dr. Ghannoum (49:38):
Thank you very much. It’s really great pleasure.

Dr. Gundry (49:38):
Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast. And, if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drgundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.