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 (00:15):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. What loves to munch on your mucus while protecting you from those pesty plant lectins? Hang tight, you’re about to find out. Now, if you take probiotics, you’re probably familiar with common strains like lactobacillus, but unless you’ve read my books, like The Longevity Paradox that tout their incredible properties, you may not have heard about this incredible lifespan boosting bacteria.
First identified in 2004, Akkermansia muciniphila, which literally translates to mucus-loving is a species of bacteria that helps to maintain our gut lining. And until now it’s never been available as a supplement. Enter Pendulum Life, the first company to offer Akkermansia in a pill form.
And I’m so excited to have scientist Colleen Cutcliffe on as CEO and co-founder of Pendulum to tell us all about it. We’re going to talk about this bacteria’s benefit and why Akkermansia is so unique. So hold tight, we’ve got an exciting deep dive into the latest in microbiome discoveries that will help you and your loved ones live to a ripe old, healthy age.
We’ll be right back, stay tuned. Giving up inflammatory foods you love or used to eating like eating corn and corn-based products can be tough when you’re starting the plant paradox protocol. And that’s why I always recommend finding a good substitute.
Today, I want to address popcorn. Sure it’s associated with good times like carnival theme, parks and movies, but rest assured popcorn is not a good time for your gut buddies. Over time, any corn-based product, including popcorn will break down your gut wall barrier, which leads to leaky gut.
However, there’s a great alternative to it, popped sorghum by Nature Nates. Sorghum is one of my go-to yes grains on the plant paradox program because it doesn’t have those toxic lectins like corn does. Sorghum pop’s a little smaller than corn kernels, but knowing it’s not going to wreck your digestion system makes up for its size.
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I am so excited to have you on today to talk about one of my favorite gut buddies. Let’s start by telling my listeners what is Akkermansia Muciniphila? And why is it so important for not only your gut health, but overall health?
Colleen Cutcliffe (06:59):
Well, thank you so much for having me on, and I would be happy to share all of the new and exciting science that’s coming out of the microbiome. One of which is this strain Akkermansia Muciniphila. This strain is really emerging as a keystone strain that people who are healthy have in vast abundance, but people who are sick appear to be low or entirely missing this strain.
And it turns out that it plays a really functional key role in our gut layer, our gut lining, our mucin lining. And you may have heard the phrase leaky gut, and the idea behind leaky gut is that you could think of your intestinal wall like a fence. So, I have a wooden fence in my backyard. And when you look out in your backyard, you first buy your house, you’ve got this beautiful wooden fence with all these planks, everything’s strong.
But over time with sun and rain and seasons, those planks can start to deteriorate and some of them can start to fall down. And now you have all of these holes in your fence, and now all the outside elements that are supposed to be on the other side of that fence are now coming into your yard. And this is what the gut lining is like.
And you have these certain strains, which are important for making sure that those planks say polished and strong and keep that lining and that fence barrier up the way it’s supposed to be. And Akkermansia is one of these strains.
So when you have less Akkermansia, you have a less strong fence and now all kinds of things can make their way in and out of your gut that become really problematic and show up in things like obesity, type two diabetes, irritate bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and other GI issues.
Dr. Gundry (08:37):
Yeah, not only GI issues, but if you believe Hippocrates like I do that all disease begins in the gut and all disease begins in a leaky gut. So you and I think the same thoughts. So can you tell me a little bit about what started you down this fat path to researching gut health? I think it started with your daughter, right?
Colleen Cutcliffe (09:02):
Well, that was definitely an important part of what got me interested, but really I was working at a DNA sequencing instrument company called Pacific Biosciences. And we developed an instrument that allowed you to do DNA sequencing in a different kind of way than the other technologies out there.
And at the heart of the microbiome and at the heart of microbiome science is DNA sequencing technologies. So probiotics and yogurts and things like that have been on the shelves for decades, but only recently with the advent of DNA sequencing technologies can we actually sequence and begin to understand the different components of the microbiome.
And that’s how you start to identify novel targets and functions and link it together in a systems biology kind of an approach. And so I started this company with two co-founders. The three of us have very deep sequencing understanding and knowledge from working at Pacific Biosciences together.
I’m a biochemist. Jim is a biostatistician. John is a physicist and really between the three of us we understood the science opportunity of the microbiome. And we believed that you could apply pharmaceutical drug development tools to microbiome science to create an entirely new kind of product that had the efficacy of a drug, but the safety of a probiotic.
And so as I started to learn more about the microbiome, I realized that I had a personal connection to the space, which is through my daughter. So my first daughter was born almost two months prematurely. And when you have a baby born that early, you get to hold them for a couple of seconds, and then they get taken away from you.
And she spent the first month of her life in intensive care, hooked up to all these machines and monitors and receiving multiple doses of antibiotics. Which is protocol, not because they have an infection, but preemies are at risk of infection.
And there was a study that came out that showed that children who were on antibiotics systematically before six months of age were also more prone to obesity and type two diabetes as they got older. And sure enough, my daughter, as she was in elementary school, she had food sensitivities that the rest of the family did not have.
She had to really think about how her body metabolized foods. And I thought, oh my gosh, it’s because this early start to life that her entire microbiome was decimated. We could create products that could help millions of people including my own kid. And that really became the no-brainer for at least trying.
Dr. Gundry (11:24):
And I understand you have a second daughter who didn’t go through this and she doesn’t have the same problems.
Colleen Cutcliffe (11:33):
That’s right. Genetically they’re both sisters, same parents and growing up in the same household, the same foods. And really when you looked at the two they’re only two years apart from each other, the two girls, their metabolisms were very different from each other at that time.
Dr. Gundry (11:48):
So why did you hone in on a product that featured Akkermansia over other strains? I know your product also has other strains, but let’s stay focused on this bug for a moment.
Colleen Cutcliffe (12:03):
Sure. What’s really at the heart of how we chose all of the strains, including Akkermansia was data that we generated and at actually many other labs generated around the world where people were investigating what is the difference between people that have metabolic syndrome, so obesity pre-diabetes and diabetes, what’s the difference between those people and people who are ostensibly healthy?
And what was found was that there were what we found in our research and was corroborated by other is that there were certain functions that healthy people had a vast abundance of that people who had metabolic syndrome had low or entirely missing. And it really boiled down to two key things.
One was the ability to metabolize fiber into short chain fatty acids, in particular butyrate. And then the other was this particular strain Akkermansia muciniphila, which is associated with the mucin layer and involved in mucin regulation. So mechanistically it made a lot of sense to us that these two pathways we depleted in people who were unable to metabolize foods.
And Akkermansia in particular was first discovered by Dr. Kaplan at Harvard MGH. I flew out to Boston, met with him and said, hey, we’ve also discovered Akkermansia looks like it’s pretty interesting here. We talked a lot about it and about the opportunity to really give this strain back to people in a very specific way and see whether you could start to reverse disease with it.
Dr. Gundry (13:32):
So in my book, The Longevity Paradox, I talk a lot about this particular bug, and certainly there’s some fascinating studies, particularly in mice that you give Akkermansia to mice and their inflammation dramatically decreases. And you mentioned the mucin layer, and I want to just double down on that for a minute.
We normally should have this big coating of mucus on our gut wall, on our fence, if you will. And that coating of mucus, folks forgive me, but mucus is what comes out of your nose. It’s not, and you should have a generous pile of mucus that among other things actually traps sugar seeking proteins, like lectins, one of my favorite subjects, and doesn’t allow these proteins to get to their target, which is actually the fence wall that you talked about.
And so there’s tremendous data. The thicker this mucus layer is, the more you cannot get things past this fence wall. And as I talk about in the Longevity Paradox, it may be at the end game that as long as your wall and your gut is intact you’re not going to age, and you’re basically not going to die.
But it’s the gradual decline of that fence wall getting warped or damage that facilitates aging and diseases. Is that a good summary?
Colleen Cutcliffe (15:22):
Absolutely, and I would say it’s a little bit of a Goldilocks problem. You can’t have it too thick. You can’t have it too thin. And really there are these strains whose job it is to make sure that that fence is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.
And you’re right, there’s been a lot of studies, not just around that gut lining depletion, being problematic for a variety of different illnesses, but also your ability to simply metabolize glucose. And that’s very much, and we’ll get into this, but that’s very much tied into having a properly functioning set of strains, including Akkermansia keeping that wall.
And I would say just to build on the importance of that fence, the other thing is the receptors that exist at that lining that serve as a way to communicate what’s happening inside the gut and what’s happening outside. And so you have small molecules inside the gut that need to be able to get to these receptors that are lodged into your fence.
They need to be able to access them and get to them so that they can then send signals outside the body. And the other role of Akkermansia is hypothesized that it helps keep those receptors in the right place and available for the signal when it comes their way.
Dr. Gundry (16:32):
As all of this research progresses, we realize that these single cell organisms actually are probably the most important communicators to our immune system, to our brain. And I talk a lot about that in my new book, The Energy Paradox, and these in general called post-biotics. And they’re gasses, they’re short chain, fatty asses like butyrate, and there is this tremendous trans kingdom language that we’re now discovering between our microbiome and us, and who knew?
Colleen Cutcliffe (17:14):
Absolutely. I mean, we’ve, co-evolved with these strains since the beginning. And it’s only very recently that we’ve created products to try to get rid of them and kill them off. And I think what we’re starting to experience is the repercussions of those incredibly poned antibiotics, antiseptics, all these things that have entered people’s daily lives that are really killing of things that we’ve co evolved and actually depend on for many aspects of our health.
Dr. Gundry (17:38):
Yeah. So Akkermansia, if you look at the literature, obviously you have and I have, it’s been kind of the holy grail of probiotics. And I think you’re probably not the first to attempt to get Akkermansia swallowed, number one, and to get it past the gastric acid.
And number three, have it actually set up shop. Can you take me through both the laboratory and the human studies that got you where Pendulum Glucose Control is now? Which is the name of your product, by the way.
Colleen Cutcliffe (18:23):
Yes, thank you for that plug. The manufacturing of Akkermansia at a small scale, many people have been able to do and to run these preclinical studies on, but actually manufacturing the strain at a larger scale is quite tricky because if you can imagine it lives associated with this mucin layer in a very specific part of your GI tract.
And that is how it’s evolved to live. It needs those particular nutrients that are housed there in order to survive. Well, we have this issue in the United States which is that you cannot grow a strain in any sort of media that has things that would be considered like beef byproducts. And your mucin layer has many of these such things.
And that’s a result of actually mad cow disease, which is sort of interesting the repercussions that mad cow disease had on our own rules and regulations around safe manufacturing. So you have to figure out a way to be able to grow this strain in a purely vegetable based media if you want to be able to sell in the United States.
And that’s really the challenge is figuring out how grow it and how to grow it at scale in an environment that is very different from how it was it’s natural inhabitant and to have it be active. And then to say, now I figured out how to grow it and have it be active at the end of that.
And now I need to, as you say, deliver it and we use these enteric coded capsules in or order to make sure that it gets through the stomach acid and into where it needs to get to. But I would say the other component of this is the microbiome is an ecosystem. None of these strains exist by themselves. They exist with other strains and they exist with prebiotics that feed them.
And so, in fact, when we did our pre-clinical studies, we found that when you try to deliver individual strains by themselves or subsets of the consortia that we’ve decided work together to help metabolize fibers and mucin regulation, if you separate them, you actually get reduced and sometimes no efficacy.
And really importantly, if you separate the prebiotic from the strains, you don’t see any efficacy. And so I always say, it’s like, if I’m going to be dropped off on a deserted island, I’d love to be dropped off with a cooler filled with sandwiches and beers. And that’s really the prebiotic are the sandwiches and beers.
So by co-delivering them and having that proximity when that capsule dissolves of the strain right next to the prebiotic, that’s also a key part. The so-called symbiotic relationship. We took advantage of that and found in our preclinical and in vitro studies that they really need to function together.
And then by the time we got into clinical trials, we really had a couple formulations that we thought were going to be really impactful and showed in a placebo controlled, double blinded randomized trial that in fact if you took Pendulum Glucose Control compared to placebo, your A1C was lowered by 0.6%. And your blood glucose spikes lowered by 34%.
And for anybody who wears a continuous glucose monitor you’ll know that’s pretty substantial. And so we are very excited by this because it showed that we could, and of course we did microbiome analysis, it showed that we were able to deliver these strains. They were able to produce butyrate and they were able to ultimately reduce glucose spikes in A1C, which is very exciting.
Dr. Gundry (21:41):
Yeah. So I’m sure everyone has heard, I got my A1C down on a commercial on TV. But just for all of our listeners, hemoglobin A1C is a pretty reliable way of looking at how you are handling sugars and proteins for six weeks, two months, two and a half months, average looking back in time.
And so when you see a drug advertised on TV, I got my A1C down, what you are saying is with your product, you are having comparable results by using number one, organisms. And number two, the food that these organisms need to have, which are the prebiotics, delivered with a capsule, and you don’t have to shoot yourself up every day or once a week and read all the warning labels.
Colleen Cutcliffe (22:43):
Yeah, and I think that’s really the huge opportunity of the microbiome. It really is to create products that have the efficacy of a drug, but the safety of a probiotic. And I don’t want to make it seem like it was easy to do this.
We spent almost a decade as purely an R&D in clinical organization developing these strains and developing these formulations and making sure that we are creating something that worked. So it’s still very early in the science in the microbiome, but I think we’re just the cusp of an entirely new world of products that we don’t have to read all those labels and the side effects and worry if I’m taking this, what else is it doing to my body?
These are things that you naturally have. And interestingly, many of these strains and functions you have in your youth, we can all remember a time when you eat or drink whatever we wanted to, we didn’t have to worry about it.
And what happens over time through aging and stress and circadian rhythm changes, like when you go to a different time zone or for us women, we go through our menstrual cycle and menopause, you start to lose many of these functions. It is like the weathering of offense. And so what we’re doing is we’re basically giving people back things that they probably once had, but lost along the way.
Dr. Gundry (23:56):
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. There’s so many things that I’ve written about and other is that have contributed to this decline of our microbiome. And like you mentioned before, broad spectrum antibiotics were introduced in the mid 1970s. I was actually in medical school. I remember it was miraculous.
And we had no idea of course, that when we swallow these things, we were throwing napalm on our tropical rainforest microbiome. We didn’t know that this was happening. And we didn’t know that when we gave broad spectrum antibiotics to our animals, our beef, our chicken, our pork, our fish, that these antibiotics would be in their flesh.
And so we’ve had an entire generation that’s been continuously exposed to wiping out their microbiome that they’re supposed to have.
Colleen Cutcliffe (25:02):
Absolutely. And one of the things that I learned through this was that farmers have been giving antibiotics to their cattle for decades because they observed that they became more obese when they gave them antibiotics.
And to understand that that is not just true in cattle, it’s also true in us humans really starts to unravel a lot of things about what these antibiotics are doing, especially early in life. And to be clear, I’m not anti antibioticer. So antibiotics have saved millions of lives.
People should take them when they have a bacterial infection, but you should ask. Do I need to take this antibiotic? And what are the longer term repercussions and how can I preserve my microbiome afterwards?
Dr. Gundry (25:45):
Okay. People often ask me, let’s suppose they’ve been given antibiotics appropriately, not for a sore throat or not for most cough and running noses. But let’s just take a urinary tract infection, a bad one, and they go to the grocery store and they buy some yogurt. Why not just go to the grocery store and buy some yogurt, why do I need Pendulum Glucose Control? Let’s start there.
Colleen Cutcliffe (26:25):
Yes. Well, again, there are these keystone strains and functions that are important for your microbiome for any health condition. And it’s been pretty widely shown that Akkermansia is one of these strains. And you’re ahead of the curve and already publishing and knowing about that and spreading the good word about it, but also the metabolism of fibers in dibutyrate.
So we all know a high fiber diet is good for us. We’re supposed to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but we actually genetically don’t encode for anything that can metabolize those healthy fibers. It’s entirely our microbiome that metabolizes them. And so if you don’t have these microbes, the fiber you’re eating is literally going right through you.
And that fiber is good for a variety of reasons, but one of them is the production of these short chain fatty acids that help you metabolize glucose and insulin ultimately. And so I would say that many people do take yogurts and probiotics to help them.
And certainly I believe there’s a very strong placebo effect. I mean, it’s not that I believe that. There’s plenty of science that’s showing that. But if you want something that’s scientifically founded and is premised on functions that you need, that you’re missing, then you have look to not just what is the strain, but what is it doing?
What is it delivering? And I take Pendulum Glucose Control. My mom takes it. My kids take it. My husband takes it because ultimately these are keystone functions that you need in your body. It’s like if you had a cold and I said to you, hey, just go take some vitamins. No, we don’t say that. We say, go take some vitamin C.
And I think that the microbiome in probiotic space just hasn’t gotten to that level of sophistication yet, where it’s not go take some probiotics, it’s go re-constitute your Akkermansia, go re-constitute your butyrate producers. And we’re going to get to that level of sophistication, but we’re not quite there yet.
Dr. Gundry (28:19):
All right, so the next question that always comes up with my patients and people who listen to me is, okay, I believe you. I’m going to take a probiotic that’s inter-coated that gets through my gut. And I believe you, that probably more importantly is I got to give prebiotic fiber to these guys. It’s what they eat.
And if I don’t give it to them they they’re going to starve to death. But okay, I’ve swallowed these guys and I’m eating prebiotic fiber. Why do I have to keep swallowing these guys? Aren’t they down there now? Aren’t they reproducing?
Colleen Cutcliffe (29:00):
Yeah, and it’s a great question. And the truth is that you may not have to keep doing that. The microbiome is an ecosystem where there are a lot of pressures on that ecosystem. And so what you might realize is you have the microbiome that you have for a wide variety of reasons, including your diet, your exercise, your level of stress.
As the other things we talked about before, aging and all of these things. So there are a lot of things in your environment that have led you to have the microbiome that you have and the depletions that you have. And so if you give these strains back, yes, they’re going to be able to survive for some amount of time.
But if the ecosystem is an unfriendly one that doesn’t allow that to grow, then you’re going to have to keep replanting. It’s like you have a garden, an already existing garden, and you’re trying to introduce a new plant. Well, the rest of that environment can’t be growing over it, so it doesn’t get sun.
It can’t be absorbing all the water, so it doesn’t get rain. So you have to keep receding and replanting, unless there’s something fundamental that changes about your ecosystem. So for example, some people really can change their diet and stick to a new diet for long periods of time. I personally am terrible at that.
I can’t diet. It’s very hard for me. I have the things I like to eat and I like to eat them. And so if you are not going to change the environment of your garden, then going to have to keep replanting these seeds.
Dr. Gundry (30:24):
Well put. Plus I think a lot of these probiotics that we do swallow are not native and they go on vacation for a few weeks in our gut and then leave. And I think that’s another very useful argument that says a lot of these guys aren’t supposed to live there or at least they can’t set up shop the way we would want them to. And just put some more back in.
Colleen Cutcliffe (31:00):
Absolutely, I like that. The vacationers, they don’t speak the language.
Dr. Gundry (31:04):
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Now you’ve obviously mentioned glucose control and diabetes and prediabetes, but I think fundamentally, you’re just scratching the surface of what these microbiome do. And like I mentioned before, I and others including apocraties, thinks that all disease begins ends in the gut. So where else are you seeing application for your product?
Colleen Cutcliffe (36:47):
Well, starting with glucose control, it’s really not just about type two diabetes and prediabetes. As you know, and I’ve seen your writeups on this, the ability to metabolize glucose and to have control over your glucose spikes is fundamental to your health.
And so one of the interesting things that we’ve found when people have taken our product is that they come back and they say things about parameters that we never measured in our clinical trial. So things like I’ve had better digestion. I have less sugar cravings.
That’s one of the huge things we hear from 70% of our customers. And that one is a very interesting one because the idea that your gut and your brain are connected of course, is very interesting. And there’s a lot of reasons we say, when I’m nervous, I get butterflies in my stomach. That was my gut instinct that told me to do that.
We know actually that our gut and our brain are tied to together. And we’re just starting to understand the science behind that connection. And so when you think about, if your body is unable to metabolize something, that it is sending signals to your brain to tell your brain, give me more of that.
And when your body can now metabolize those sugars better, your gut is now sending signals to your brain to potentially say, you don’t need to have as many sugars. We got it under control now. And so that connection is very interesting to us. And so we have really been looking into that as a kind of next product line, as a collaboration with Dr. Pasrisha over at John’s Hopkins.
And what we’re really interested in is these signaling from particular gut microbes, these neurotransmitters signaling to the brain and where you can really start to develop new product lines there. And I’ll tell you I started my career in pharma. We were developing small molecule drugs for Parkinson’s disease.
And we were so obsessed with the brain and the plaques in the brain and developing all these assays on how to get rid of them. And the new emerging data around the gut is that you have these neurons actually in your gut. And unlike the ones in your brain where you get what you get, and as you kill them you can’t get them back, the ones in your gut are constantly regenerating and they are sending log orders higher of neurotransmitters to your brain.
And so in fact, the plaques that you see in Parkinson’s disease show up earlier in the gut. And so it’s possible that if you could figure out how to improve that neurogeneration in the gut, that you could actually prevent the misfiring from the gut to the brain that could be perpetuating diseases like Parkinson’s. It’s a super fascinating new field, and we’re just really excited by that opportunity as well.
Dr. Gundry (39:19):
Yeah, the classic finding in Parkinson’s is the Louie body, which is a dead neuron surrounded by glial cells. And those were found in the wall of the gut long before they actually appeared in the brain. And so I agree with you that Parkinson’s, and I think actually all dementia begins with leaky gut and the problem with the gut rather than the other way around.
So, good for you. That’s where we have to go with all this work. So I love transformation stories and you obviously get feedback from your users and you’ve seen blood sugars come down. You’ve seen hemoglobin A1C come down in a placebo controlled trial.
I mean, some people got your supplement and other people got a fake, and you didn’t know and they didn’t know. And so you can’t fool it. So you’ve got a great transformation story from a user you’d like to share?
Colleen Cutcliffe (40:27):
Yes, I’d love to. We get them all the time and I absolutely love all of these stories, but maybe I’ll share. There’s two with you that I’d love to share, if I could do two.
Dr. Gundry (40:36):
Colleen Cutcliffe (40:37):
One is from an individual who diabetes runs in his family. And so he grew up around this disease and he sort of talks about remembering at Thanksgiving after, Thanksgiving dinner, all of his uncles sitting around giving themselves insulin shots, measuring their blood glucose and sort of talking about it.
And thinking to himself, I do not want to end up like that. And so ate healthy, exercise, try to do all the right things. And as he started to age his A1C started to climb up. And he was really just appalled, ashamed all of these things where you feel like I’m doing everything I can, how could I be on this path that I really have been wanting to avoid?
And he tried Pendulum Glucose Control and was able to get his A1C down out of the prediabetes range into healthy. And for him, it was such a victory to not move into that category that he had seen his whole family was in, in terms of taking drugs.
The other story I’ll share with you is from a woman who similarly, diabetes ran in her family and her grandmother who raised her had diabetes that was so poorly controlled that she lost first a toe, then a foot, then a leg, then the other leg. And this woman actually ended up having to quit college to come home to take care of her grandmother and watch this whole kind of horrifying deterioration.
And so she also made this vow that I’m not going to go through that and has been eating well and exercising and started to see her A1C creep up. She read about the microbiome, understood that there were these certain strains and especially butyrate producers. In her garage began to try to grow these strains and dose herself.
I mean, this is woman is amazing. She didn’t even finish college and she’s basically a PhD microbiologist in her garage. And when we got introduced to her, she got introduced to us, she realized that we had made something that she had been trying to make and went on the product. And she has had a beautiful reduction in her A1C as well as her blood glucose.
She doesn’t have type two diabetes now. And so these stories where people are able to reverse, or these stories where people are trying everything and they just haven’t tackled their microbiome quite yet, those are really beautiful.
So if you’ve been trying lots of things and you don’t understand well, how come if that person eats the same thing I do, I don’t have the same result. Go look to your microbiome.
Dr. Gundry (43:15):
It’s absolutely true. Now, I understand that your product is pretty pricey. Can you talk about why that is? Are you just out to make a lot of money? Come on.
Colleen Cutcliffe (43:28):
100%. No, I’m just kidding. There’s two important things. The first is that we actually manufacture the strains in that product ourselves. We actually tried to outsource. There are a lot of manufacturers of probiotics, but they were unable to manufacture the strains. And the reason is actually something very fundamental to the gut.
In your gut where these strains live. There’s actually no oxygen. It’s what’s called anaerobic. And all of the strains that are on the market today are able to grow in the presence of oxygen. So where these things actually live, there is no oxygen at all. That’s what they need to live.
And that if you want to manufacture them, you have to basically create a closed end system where no oxygen can get into it at all. And there are not manufacturers that have built that system up. And so we ended up having to build it ourselves. So it’s very expensive to grow them because in order to keep oxygen out of an end to end system means that you have to constantly pump in other gases to keep the oxygen out.
So it’s expensive to grow them. The second thing is that they are room temperature sensitive and heat sensitive. So everything has to remain cold. Everything has to remain refrigerated for the entire process, including the delivery. It shows up at your door, you put it in your refrigerator. And so these are expensive to make.
Actually probably returnable to admit this, our investors will be mad, but for the first probably six months, we sold product at a loss. That’s how expensive it was to make them. Now, there are economies of scale. As we get more customers in, we’re going to be able to take advantage of that.
And I do believe the price will come down as we figure out efficiencies on our end. But right now we’re literally practically just breaking even.
Dr. Gundry (45:16):
You’re keeping the lights on.
Colleen Cutcliffe (45:19):
We’re keeping the lights on, yes.
Dr. Gundry (45:22):
Okay. So, for those on a budget, what kind of foods or lifestyle changes can you suggest to help boost your Akkermansia in the gut lining? I’ve written a bunch of tricks, but I want to hear from you.
Colleen Cutcliffe (45:38):
Yes. Well, I’ll just restate that the best way to boost your Akkermansia is to simply take Akkermansia and you are going to be the first person who’s going to hear about this and your listeners will be the first to hear about this, but we are just releasing an Akkermansia only product.
So it will be at a lower price because it’s just the single strain. That strain we’ve actually figured out how to get a room temperature, stable. So it will also cost less and can be on your shelves, and in your pantry. And so we will be able to deliver people just Akkermansia if that’s what you’re trying to get.
Of course, the other way to try to increase Akkermansia is to increase the foods that boost Akkermansia growth. And so I would say, there’ve been a lot of different things that people have talked about, but some of the things that have the most evidence behind them, I would say probably first and foremost are polyphenols.
So things with polyphenols in them, cranberries, grapes, those sorts of foods are really helpful. Things that increase short chain fatty acids are also helpful. Those have been associated with Akkermansia. So fibers like inulin, Jerusalem artichokes.
There are certain foods that are very high in those kinds of fibers. So there are foods you can eat, but it’s not the same as delivering the actual strain itself.
Dr. Gundry (47:00):
All right. And you heard it here first, new product coming out. Now in your research, what are the worst foods and drinks can you eat or drink that’ll kill off Akkermansia?
Colleen Cutcliffe (47:13):
Well, now you’re getting into places where I don’t like to go because some of these are my favorite things. Well, I would say, first of all, the most potent way to kill Akkermansia is through antibiotic use. And so first and foremost, if you have to take antibiotics, fine, but don’t go out asking for them or taking them unnecessarily.
That’s the biggest way you kill your Akkermansia. But generally speaking, I think that it’s sort of when you fill your diet with things that are feeding Akkermansia, that’s great. And so if you’re not filling your Akkermansia, that’s problematic.
There’ve been some studies to show that there are things like red meat and again, I really hesitate to go down this avenue because I’m definitely going to be practicing what I preach. But I do think probably the most important thing to know about Akkermansia though, is that there are many factors that are not actually under your control that are leading to your depletion of Akkermansia.
And this is where I think it’s important to know that you may not be doing anything that’s depleting your Akkermansia. Aging, stress, we’ve all been living through a very stressful two years now and going to be longer. All of these things have been correlated with depleted Akkermansia. So if you’re aging or you have stress, you’re probably depleted in Akkermansia
Dr. Gundry (48:39):
Another thing I’d add which is a great trick that I’ve written about in The Longevity Paradox and The Energy Paradox is time restricted eating or fasting actually has been shown to dramatically increase Akkermansia counts because there are one of the few bugs that can actually live on mucus. And if all you got is mucus they’re going, yeah, okay. Everybody else has gone. I’m going to feast.
Colleen Cutcliffe (49:07):
Dr. Gundry (49:10):
So besides this exciting new product, where are you going in research on the microbiome after all this?
Colleen Cutcliffe (49:18):
Well as I said, we’re doing this collaborative work with Johns Hopkins around the gut brain. And I think that the gut brain doesn’t just show up for things like Parkinson’s and dementia. But it also shows up for things like IBS. And then maybe if we stay on the mental health side of things and go younger, I think there’s really also a lot of opportunity in autism.
And there are quite a few people who have observed themselves that when they change diet you can really start to relieve some of the symptoms of autism. And when you change diet, one of the things you’re most certainly changing is your microbiome composition.
And so trying to understand what the difference is between kids that have autism and kids that don’t I think is really important. And interestingly, one of those differences is the ability to produce short chain fatty acids, where it’s depleted in kids with autism.
And so you can imagine that some of these pathways that we’re going for glucose control, because they are fundamental to the system could also be applied in other diseases. But we’re really teeing up for going after things beyond just metabolic syndrome. So stay tuned.
Dr. Gundry (50:29):
All right. Where can people find you and Pendulum Life and all the work that you’re doing?
Colleen Cutcliffe (50:38):
People can find out about us directly on our website, pendulumlife.com. And you can read about the clinical studies that are there. You can see the ingredients in the product and all of the literature that is behind the product. And of course you can purchase the product there.
And one of the important things that we offer is not just the pills, but also education about the microbiome. We offer free A1C testing every three months if you get the membership, because we want you to see if the product is working for you or not. We offer nutrition consultations. Those are really helpful to know.
It’s sort of like your body is a car. It’s not just about the fuel you put in your car. It’s about the engine you’ve got under the hood. And so you could be giving yourself great fuel. And if you don’t have the right microbiome or engine, you’ve got a problem and vice versa. So we’re really tying all that together and helping people.
And we have a money back guarantee. We are not here to fleece people. We want to develop products that work. And so if you take this and it doesn’t work for you, you can get your money back. And that’s a really important principle of the company. We’re really on a health mission. We believe in microbiome as a way to help you. But if it’s not, we don’t want to take your money.
Dr. Gundry (51:48):
Well, good for you. And I understand for The Dr. Gundry Podcast listeners, you’ve been kind enough to offer a special deal for them to try Pendulum, what is it?
Colleen Cutcliffe (51:59):
Yes, we want to give love to the Gundry listeners. And so if you listen to this and you’re excited about trying Pendulum Glucose Control, you can go to pendulumlife.com and order it and put in Gundry20, and that will get you a discount that hopefully will help you get a chance to try the product.
Dr. Gundry (52:20):
It’s a 20% discount. Is that a…
Colleen Cutcliffe (52:23):
Dr. Gundry (52:25):
All right. Well, thank you very much. That’s a great offer and I really hope folks will take you up on it. And for instance, with Gundry MD Products, we offer a money back guarantee. If it’s not working for you, send it back, even if the bottles are empty and good for you. I appreciate that about you and your company.
Colleen Cutcliffe (52:47):
Yes, and maybe we’ll be at Gundry MD Product too.
Dr. Gundry (52:50):
Hey, all right. Let’s work on that. So thanks for joining me today, Colleen. Your work is really quite impressive and I appreciate hard work and how many years it takes to bring a good idea to embark at. I understand personally how hard that is.
And I’m excited to see that people are going to benefit from your research and development, because I think the microbiome and the gut wall is where it’s at, and good for you. So thanks for joining me and follow up on this folks and we’ll keep you posted.
Colleen Cutcliffe (53:28):
Thank you. Thank you everybody.
Dr. Gundry (53:29):
All right, take care. And now it’s time for the audience question. This is from the Luke Hills on Instagram. Hi, Dr. G, for someone avoiding Neu5Gc, is beef collagen safe? Well, so Neu5Gc is actually a part of the lining of blood vessels in cows sheep and pigs. It’s not a part of the lining of blood vessels in us, in chicken and in fish. We have Neu5Ac.
So beef collagen you just kind of quite frankly, throw a bunch of beef and scraps and get the collagen out. But if you’re going to take a collagen product and you want to avoid the potential of Neu5Gc, then just stick with fish collagen, marine collagen or poultry collagen, and you’ll be perfectly safe using those products instead. So, yeah, great question. Okay, now it’s time for the review of the week.
Kimberly Snyder (54:44):
Welcome to The Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder. My goal is to help you develop a holistic lifestyle based on our four corner stone philosophy, food body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. This holistic approach will help you feel good, which I define as being connected to your most authentic highest self.
And this is the place from which your energy, confidence, creativity, true power and true beauty will start to explode. Every week, we provide you with interviews from top experts in their field, or a solo cast from yours truly to support you in living your most beautiful, healthy, and joyful life.
I’m your host, Kimberly Snyder, founder of Soluna, New York Times bestselling author and holistic wellness, nutrition and meditation teacher. Let’s get started.
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Dr. Gundry (56:15):
From Madison .E. Hiebert on Apple podcasts. Now I know what polyphenols are! Before hearing Dr. Gundry talk about polyphenols, I’d never heard this word anywhere else. Not only have I learned about the benefits of polyphenols, but I have been able to watch how the plant paradox diet changed my mother’s life and an extension changed mine.
After having a concussion that completely stripped away her quality of life, she knew enough was enough and started reading books with Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox program, being one of them. She was completely changed by it and still continues to share the good news with everyone around her.
Well, thanks Madison .E. Hiebert. It’s notes like this, as you know, that number one keeps me going in my research, keeps me going, bringing you the Dr. Gundry podcast. And please, if you like what you hear either in today’s episode or subsequent ones or past ones, please drop us a note. And it really charges me up to read this.
And thanks again for telling me about this, because I am Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you. I’ll see you next week. Disclaimer, on The Dr. Gundry Podcast, we provide a venue for discussion and the views expressed by my guests do not necessarily reflect my own. 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 podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of The Dr Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/dr.gundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.