A Microbiome Masterclass with Robyn Chuter

Gut Health with Robyn Chuter

All about Gut Microbiome with Robyn Chuter

Today’s guest on IBD Heal is Robyn Chuter and our topic for the show is the gut microbiome! Robyn and Shukul are going to do a deep dive into our gut friends and find out what it takes to create a healthy gut flora. We will also cover some of the dos and don’ts of how diet and medication use can affect our Microbiome.

Free consultation with High Carb Health: https://www.highcarbhealth.com/healthsurvey/

About Robyn:

Robyn Chuter is a university-qualified health practitioner, with a Bachelor of Health Science (and the Dean’s Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement) from the University of New England, a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) with First Class Honours from Edith Cowan University, and a Diploma of Naturopathy from the Australasian College of Natural Therapies.

She is also an Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, and proud to be a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.

Robyn has an extensive library of articles on her website about the gut microbiome and we highly recommend you take a look: https://empowertotalhealth.com.au/article-library-gut-microbiome/

The gut microbiome has been the hot topic of scientific research in the last few decades. In fact, the field of gut microbiota research has mushroomed so dramatically, that a scientific paper published in 2018 (https://gut.bmj.com/content/67/9/1716) calculated that over four-fifths of the total number of scientific publications focusing on the gut microbiota over the previous 40 years were published in just four years – 2013-2017.

And now, so many scientific articles on the topic are published every day that it’s impossible to keep up with them all.

In just a few decades, researchers have come to understand that the communities of bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi and viruses that live inside our gastrointestinal tract (our gut microbiota), and their collective genetic material (our gut microbiome) are so vital to healthy function that they constitute a distinct organ of the human body.

Here are just some of the roles played by the 100 trillion microorganisms that populate our gut:

  • Immune functions:

Formation of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue, or GALT (a key component of the immune system in the gut) and ‘training’ of our immune cells to distinguish self from non-self, and friend from foe.

  • Gut functions:

Maintaining the intestinal barrier (i.e. preventing and repairing leaky gut); digesting complex carbohydrates found in human breast milk and plants; producing short-chain fatty acids which feed the cells that line our colon; keeping disease-causing bacteria, yeasts and fungi at bay; regulating muscle movement in the intestinal tract (motility), and protecting against colon cancer.

  • Metabolic functions:

Regulating serum cholesterol, blood glucose levels and appetite.

  • Vitamin production:

Producing vitamins B1, B2, B12 and K, along with biotin, folate and alpha-lipoic acid.

  • Central nervous system functions:

Stimulating the development of parts of the brain, especially the hippocampus (which plays key roles in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory); and producing chemicals that affect areas of the brain involved in appetite control and food cravings. Enteric nervous system (‘gut brain’) functions: Producing neurotransmitters – chemicals that nerve cells use to talk to each other, and to muscles and glands – including GABA, serotonin and dopamine, and influencing the neuroendocrine cells in the gut that also release these neurotransmitters.

We hope you enjoy our latest episode, eat plants and lots of them!


Hello, everyone.

And welcome to this episode of the podcast.

We’ve got a special guest here.

I’m joined by Robin Tudor, who’s a certified lifestyle medicine

practitioner. Welcome.

Thanks for having me on.


Robin is very well researched medicine practitioner.

And basically what I want to talk with Robin about today

is the gut microbiome.

And we’re going to talk a lot.

And we’re going to go into detail about some of the research

that’s been published around the microbiome.

What’s the best solution to make sure that you optimize your

microbiome as best as you can?

And also just discuss some of the myths around fiber and

dealing with people who’ve got inflammatory conditions and

how to optimize things probiotics.

We can talk about those a little bit as well.

Again, welcome to the podcast, Robin.

First of all, what would be some of the main things that

when you want to just start talking about the microbiome,

like a macro level before you go into the microsite of things,

what would be the first kind of things that you’d like to

make the audience aware of around the best things to do.

Initially, if you’ve got some form of Dysbiosis or you’re

interested in learning more about the gut and the trillions

of bugs that are in there, what would be some of the things

that you’d like to share around that information?



Such a huge topic.

But I guess starting at that real kind of 60,000 foot view,

there is an ongoing project called the American Gut Project,

and it doesn’t just involve Americans.

People from all over the world can participate in this.

And what the American Gut Project has been doing is collecting

samples of people’s gut microbiota.

I’ll leave it up to your imagination how those samples are

collected. We don’t need to go into that in case anyone’s

eating right now.

But anyway, so they get samples from people and they carry

out an analysis of those samples to find out essentially

what is the composition of that person’s fecal microbiome,

which is perhaps not exactly the same as the gut microbiome,

but it’s about as close as we can get with current technology.

So people send in their samples and they get analyzed genetically.

When people send in their samples, they also have to fill

in and send back a whole range of questionnaires.

And these are really detailed.

Some of the questions would be things like when was the last

time you had antibiotics?

And do you exercise and do you exercise indoors or outdoors?

And were you breastfed?

Were you born through the variance section, all this sort

of thing?

And they also send in dietary questionnaires.

And again, these are reasonably detailed.

And then using the miracle of big data where you can take

all these kind of ridiculously large numbers of points of

information and then just crunch them using some mindboggling

algorithm and what they can then produce is correlations.

Now, correlation doesn’t equal causation but what they were

looking for, specifically is what diet and or lifestyle factors

show the strongest correlation with a healthy, which means

diverse gut microbiota.

And out of all those data points that they collected from

people and synthesized, there was one that was the strongest

correlation with a healthy gut microbiota.

And that was diversity of whole plant foods.

So specifically, people who ate 30 or more different whole

plant foods per week had the healthiest and most diverse

gut microbiota.

And that’s really the takehome point, because, as you know,

there has been such a proliferation of books and articles

and podcasts and blogs and whatever the heck else on gut

health, it’s like the topic to Jor the topic of the year

topic of the decade.

Even the ideas on how to cultivate a healthy gut microbiome

are all over the map.

And so we’ve got people saying you should go Carnival and

other people saying you should drink kombucha and other people

saying you shouldn’t eat weight and blah, blah, blah, blah.

And actually, none of that is true.

Eat plants a good variety of whole plant foods 30 or more

in a week, which is actually not really that hard if you

think. Well, okay.

This is how I explain it to my clients, right?

When they’re going 30 in a week, I go, well, okay.

One of the categories of plants, you got fruits, you got

vegetables, you got whole grains, you got legumes and you’ve

got nuts and seeds, and you’ve got herbs and spices and herbs

and spices play a role in each of those 30s, you could add

three or four herbs and spices to a meal.

There’s three or four new plants that you never had in your

diet, and that counts.

And people don’t realize that it does.

So for dinner last night, we had a doll.

And of course, when you make dull, you can put all manner

of spices in.

So I think I know all about Dal.

Robin, of course, I had about eight spices in the dial could

have probably was more like a lot of people put different

types of legumes.

In Dallas, you can put four or five different legumes in

a Dal.

You can put different ten different vegetables in a Dal.

You could have 20 or 30 different plants in one dial.

If you wanted to have your dial say, with rice, we could

do a mix of Brown, black and red rice, because each of those

do count as a different plant.

Because what makes a difference in the plant world is the

different composition of things like polyphenols, which are

these pigments.

That’s what makes your red rice red and your black rice black

and your eggplant skin purple and yada yada.

These are polyphenols.

And so even though rice is rice, black rice is actually different

from a gut microbiome point of view than Brown rice and red

rice is different again.

So you could, in theory, get all your 30 different foods,

one meal.

If you had a salad, there’s another, like five or six different

things next to that on top of it.

Or you have some condiments with your jar onion salad and

do a banana and coconut sambal.

You could hit 30 in the one meal.

So it’s actually not that difficult to achieve the kind of

dietary diversity that was found in this American gut project.

By the way, I mentioned, you don’t have to be American.

The majority of people who send in samples are American,

but they were collecting samples from people all over the

world, and the same findings held every single time.

So that’s my broad overview.

So what do you need to know about cultivating a healthy gut

microbiome? Eat more plants.

This just keeps coming up again and again.

And all the research people that eat more plants, they do

better. And I guess from a really high level overview, if

you’re watching this or you’re listening to this and you

really want to understand how to improve your gut microbiome.

As Robin said, you just need to eat at least 30.

The more you eat, the better it gets at least 30 different

plant foods a week.

And as we said to you, you can do it in one meal.

So it’s not necessarily really difficult, because if you

haven’t come from a place where you’ve been eating a lot

of plants, then obviously, yes, it can be a bit overwhelming.

But if you actually drill down into it and just say, okay,

how can I make these ingredients interesting?

Look at different recipes.

And before you know it, you can be well into 40, 50 a week

without really trying to absolutely get clients to actually

do this.

And many of them.

Once they really begin focusing on this, they will very quickly

realize that they can easily hit 40, 50, 60 or more in a

week. That’s really the first kind of high level overview.

That’s really what should we include for healthy and diverse.

And then the other thing I’d say from a high level is what

should we exclude?

And there are many, many prescription and OvertheCounter

drugs, for that matter that have really adverse effects on

the gut microbiota.

Now, the first one that people kind of think of is antibiotics.

They’re the obvious one.

And, yeah, antibiotics do contribute significantly to Dysbiosis.

So just five days on a broad spectrum antibiotics, the sort

of thing you might get prescribed if you go to the doctor

with a sore throat or your kid has an ear infection, for

instance, five days on one of these reduces the total count

of gut microbiota microbes by about 30%.


Which is very dramatic.

Now, within around 30 days of finishing that course of antibiotics,

the total number of gut microbes will have bounced back to

pretty much the original.

But here’s the role.

The composition changes.

The composition of gut microbes changes after antibiotics

the type of gut microbe that is most able to survive antibiotics

because there are certain bacteria that have a greater capacity

to generate antibiotic resistance.

The bacteria’s class of bacteria.

So they very quickly develop antibiotic resistance.

And so they’re the ones that bounce back.

How about we just go through the different classes?

Because most people won’t understand what a vector or teletype

is while we’re here, why don’t we just talk about that quickly?



So there’s a whole range of sort of levels of classification

of bacteria.

So staying at that level that I’m talking about now, probably

the major distinction would be between bachelor’s and Prevotella.

So these are sort of two broad, you might say, families like

big groupings of bacterial species that fall in into this

category be the bacterias or Prevotella.

And on the Western diet.

Or like in people who eat a typical Western diet, the bacteria

to prevatella ratio is higher.

So more bacteria is less Prevotella.

In people who eat a more sort of high fiber say, like a traditional

African diet, where animal products are written as a condiment,

the fiber intake is off the charts, and they have a higher

percentage of Prevotella.

Bacterioides thrives on a diet that is higher in protein

and fat.

Prevotella thrives on a diet that is higher in carbohydrates,

specifically fiber and fiber like carbohydrates.

So bacteria aren’t bad.

So the types of bacteria that fall into this classification,

they’re not bad.

They’re what’s called pathobios, which means that in appropriate

percentages or appropriate proportions, let’s say, in the

gut microbiota, they’re really handy.

They participate in digestion, and they make some nutrients

for us.

And pretty good.

But post antibiotics, the bacteria’s population, as I mentioned,

bounces back faster.

And so you get this higher proportion of bacteria post antibiotics.

And so they start to dominate the pre patella.

And unfortunately, in these sort of excessive proportions,

bacteriotes creates a more inflammatory environment within

the gum and also contributes to insulin resistance.

The more courses of antibiotics people have, the more their

microbiome will shift toward this more bacteria’s dominated

environment with less Prevotella.

This overall pattern has been associated with a higher risk

of the types of diseases that we see are really common in

Western population.

Metabolic diseases like diabetes and also cardiovascular

disease. And then your area of interest, which is autoimmune

disease and auto inflammatory diseases.



I think it’s very important to really understand when to

take antibiotics and when not to and really be well informed

around because I see a lot of people they’re given antibiotics

on a preventative basis or you’ve had some procedure done,

and now you’ve got to take this antibiotic just because again.



You may prevent something, but it may never happen in the

first place, but now you’ve obviously affected the microbiome,

and it takes a lot of work to bring that back.

You know, there’s a time and a place to use antibiotics.

There are certain conditions where I mean, for example, if

a pregnant woman develops a urine retract infection, although

it’s regrettable she really ought to take antibiotics.

Whereas if a nonpregnant woman develops cumin retract infection,

she can actually manage it at home just with water and Ural.

And this is actually recommended by the Nice guidelines in

the UK.

Now I’ve forgotten what the acronym Nice stands for, but

it’s kind of like the committee that sets the recommendations

for doctors to follow and they say, yeah, you can get an

antibiotic prescription from your doctor, but not fill it

not stop taking them unless after a couple of days of just

simple home management, your UTI is still there or it’s getting

worse. Right.

So in the case of, say, middle ear infections, which would

be the most common, probably the most common reason why kids

get prescribed antibiotics.

And I’ll come back to why kids taking antibiotics is a really

super bad idea.

Again, in the vast majority of cases, there’s no benefit

to giving your child antibiotic for a middle ear infection.

For starters, most of them are viral.

Anyway, they’re a complication of a common cold for seconds.

The most that you’re going to get by giving your kid antibiotics

when they have a Midler infection is about a half a day is

less pain, half a day, right.

And there are other helpful ways to relieve pain from a middle

area. Okay.

Why is it so bad if kids get antibiotics, particularly before

the age of three?

Well, when we’re born out, our gut microbiota is almost nonexistent.

There’s a few bugs in there, but not many.

The infant microbiota gets its first kind of seating dose

as the baby comes down the birth canal, hopefully.

And so the baby gets kind of inoculated with the mother’s

vaginal flora, which, by the way, changes significantly in

the final trimester of pregnancy.

So there are significant changes that occur in the normal

vaginal microbiota of a pregnant woman such that her vagina

microbiota actually starts to resemble the gut microbiota

just in that final leg of pregnancy.


It’s even being proposed.

And there is some evidence to support this that the vaginal

microbiota and or the gut microbiota may play a role in signaling

the timing of birth.

In other words, when a woman actually goes into labor, that

may at least influence, if not just outright started by signal

to send by the microbiota, the baby comes down, the birth

canal gets a mouth full of mum’s.

Vagina microbiota swallows it down.

That’s the initial colony of that microbiota.

And then again, hopefully, the baby breastfeeds is actually

a breast milk microbiome.

There are bacteria in breast milk itself, which is sampled

from the mother’s gut and delivered by special white blood

cells to the milk ducts.

No one even knows how this happens.

It’s the most extraordinary thing.

The body is just incredible.

And there’s so much that we just don’t understand.

We can look at it Marvel.

And then, of course, the baby is also getting some microbes

from mom’s skin when the baby is pregnant.

So that all happens.

But the instant gut microbiota is not terribly diverse at

all. By about the age of three, the microbiota of a child

is pretty much adult in composition.

Those first three years of life are really critical.

So taking antibiotics or having your child take antibiotics,

I should say in the first three years of life has a much

more catastrophic impact on the development of their gut

microbiota than taking antibiotics later in life.

So we really want to avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics

at all stages of life, but particularly in the first few

years of life, when your child is sick and the doctor wants

to prescribe antibiotics, like just slow them down and say,

okay, what would happen if my child didn’t take these antibiotics

or if I try to manage this without antibiotics?

What are the things I should look out for?

That would be signs that I should start my child on the antibiotics.

So these are very valid questions to ask.

And obviously, as I say, there are certain circumstances

where antibiotics are absolutely life saving and should be

taken. But that’s not the majority of cases in which they’re

prescribed. Aside from antibiotics, there was actually a

study that was done.

It was published in 2018.

So I made some notes before we started talking.

Actually, in this study, they examined the effects on the

microbiome of over 1000 drugs.

These are drugs that are commonly prescribed.

And they found that 24% of all of these over 1000 drugs inhibited

the growth of at least one species of bacteria that grows

that forms part of the gut microbiota.

Now they were doing this in a petri dish, right.

So we don’t know how this actually works inside the human

gut, but that’s pretty worrying.

Aside from antibiotics, the main class of drugs that they

found, it was just the most destructive in their impact on

the gut microbiotor was antipsychotics.

And so this is a class of drugs that isn’t just prescribed

to people with psychosis like schizophrenia.

They’re actually prescribed a lot to elderly people in nursing

homes to sedate them.

And they’re even prescribed to children who have what has

been diagnosed with ADHD.

And I have a number of clients who were prescribed antipsychotics,

having never had a psychotic episode, but their depression

wasn’t being fixed by regular antidepressants.

So the psychiatrist actually added an antipsychotic.

These drugs are in really common use, and it’s been known

for decades that antipsychotics really impair insulin sensitivity

and therefore increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and

diabetes. And it’s probable that those harmful effects are

mediated by the gut microbiota.

So the antipsychotics affect the gut microbiota, and then

the gut microbiota caused the person to be less insulin sensitive

and therefore prone to developing insulin resistance.

Type two diabetes, any kind of hormonal preparation.

So the oral contraceptive pill, for instance, and an HRT.

These also have really significant impacts on the gut microbiota.

So again, just a couple of numbers here.

Women taking the oral contraceptive pill have three times

of the risk of Crohn’s disease three times higher.

Those who’ve used it in the past but no longer use it have

a 40% higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease than women

never ever used the pill and 71% increase in ulcerative colitis

in postmenopauls of women who were taking HRT.

Okay, so these drugs are in such common use.

Hrt is not as much that used to be very common at HRT, just

about all postman, of course.

So that’s being tamped down, which is great.

But all these women and girls, girls are often taking the

oral contraceptive from almost the time that they first get

their periods.

And doctors are writing prescriptions for candidate like

candy. Absolutely.

Very few of them in my experience talking with clients anyway,

very few of them do a proper review to really assess risk

for individual women in taking the pill, particularly as

it relates to thrombombolic disorders like stroke, that are

much more common in women taking the pill.

So you’ve got all those kind of risks of the pill that have

been known for a long period of time.

And now we’ve got this emerging body of research on the effects

of the aura contraceptive pill and HRT on the gut microbiota.


So in your intro, you mentioned or was it what we’re talking

about before you hit record?

I can’t record.

I know one of the things you wanted to talk about today was

the effect of the gut microbiota on mental health on mood

and anxiety.

Once again, use of the oral contraceptive pill has been found

to really quite dramatically increase the prevalence of both

anxiety and depression in women.

And the younger girl is when she starts taking the pill,

the higher the risk that she’ll actually develop anxiety

and or depression.

And once again, there are a lot of mechanisms by which this

could be acting.

But one of them quite likely is the impact as appeal on the

gut microbiota.



So the foods are eat your plants.

Well, let’s just put it this way.

Really take a good, hard look at any medications that you

are taking or that you’ve been suggested to take.

Are there other better ways of handling whatever fails you

and taking those drugs?


We really looked in on what can create a really beneficial

kind of bacterial composition in our bowel.

And you said the don’ts.

We talked about some of the pharmaceutical don’ts that we

should be looking at.

But there’s another big class of don’ts that straight away

comes to mind, and that’s the food that we eat and obviously,

which can really affect the way your microbiome is composed.

And so let’s just talk about that.

Obviously, we know that anything that comes from an animal

does not contain any fiber, and we start to feed the kind

of bugs that we don’t really want in there.

So let’s just touch on the donts around diet that can affect

the composition of then we know, obviously the byproducts

of that we’ve got hydrogen sulfide production, tribeside,

production, all these kinds of things that happen.

Maybe we’ll just touch on that a little bit as well with

my diet.

So I mentioned before this sort of, I suppose, general divergence

between the Western gut microbiota and the gut micro that

you find in people eating a more let’s just say traditional

or actually, I would say, evolutionary diet.

And that is something I want to highlight from the get go

is that the diet that humans evolved on was a diet that was

ridiculously high in fiber.

And how do we know this?

Because of the study of what are called copper lifts or paleopoup.

So there are fossilized preserved.

And there are scientists who study fossilized species.

And good luck to them, because there’s a little nation sign

for everyone who’s got, like, weird optics of interest.

And so from analyzing the composition of fossilized human

poop, it’s very, very evident that our primitive ancestors

were eating much more fiber than we currently eat.

The estimates are somewhere in the range of 100 to 150 grams

of fiber per day.

As you know, the average person eating a Western diet is

flat out getting 20 grand a day sometimes.

Not even that.

Yeah, that’s right.

That would be a person who was pretty.

There’s plenty of people eating a lot less than that.

Which explains some of the stories we hear about the infrequency

of people’s bowel movements.

Apparently, there are some people out there who think that

only passing a bowel movement once a week is normal.

And it is not interesting story.

I was talking to a client.

This must be a couple of years ago, but their doctor told

them that it doesn’t matter what your frequency is.

As long as you’re regular and regular to this person was

once every three weeks.

And the doctor said that was completely okay.

Yeah, it’s mind boggling, isn’t it?

I don’t even know what to say about a person with medical

training who thinks that it’s normal to do once every three

weeks, folks, that ain’t normal.

So, yeah, our ancestors were not pooping once every three

weeks, and I reckon they would have gone about three times

a day and just passing these very large bowel motions.

And so why does that matter?

Well, because our physiology evolved in conjunction with

our food supply, as is true for all animal species, animals

end up adapting to the food supply that’s available.

And humans are no exception to that rule.

So we somewhere in the dim duck mist of our evolutionary

history, primitive, like the precursors of humans, essentially

outsourced a big chunk of carbohydrate digestion to gut bacteria.

So we like the human part of our digestive tract, the small

intestine with all of its digestive enzymes, and it’s bile,

and it’s pancreatic juice, and whatever the heck else, we

carry out most of the digestion of proteins that we eat.

There’s a little bacterial fermentation of proteins in the

colon, but we sort of do most of that for ourselves, and

we break down fats for ourselves as well in the small intestine.

But there’s a lot of different types of carbohydrates that

actually escape digestion in the smaller testine, because

humans don’t have the enzymes for them.

We’ve got 27 different carbohydrates enzymes that our genome

codes for and our bacterial genome.

Our microbial genome codes for something in the order of

60,000 different enzymes to break down carbohydrates.


So it was a smart decision, really.

From the point of view of the human genome could be kept

really quite small and complex.

There’s only 23,000 genes in the human genome, which is pretty

small. Rice plants have 44,000 genes in their genome.

And there’s a species of round worm that’s studied a lot

in genetics.

I think it’s about 15,000 genes.

So, in other words, our genome is not all that much bigger

than this little round worm, which is interesting.

So how then did we develop the capacity to adapt to changes

in geography, changes in climate as humans sort of dispersed

out from Africa?

Well, it was actually our microbial genome that gave us the

adaptability to be able to move into these different habitable

or make these different areas habitable.

Whereas most animals have a very narrow range.

Like, you don’t find polar bears outside of the Arctic, and

you don’t find, I don’t know, like rattlesnakes have a particular

geography, geographical location, they’re confined to humans

have spread.

We’ve spread ourselves all over the globe, and now some of

us actually want to leave it.

And some of us wish they would not come back.

So humans can adapt to all these different places.

And that’s largely because we’ve got this gut microbiota,

which is able to adapt to change far more rapidly than we

can, because humans can sort of replicate themselves, like,

roughly once every 20 years.

It takes 20 years to get to reproductive capacity.

Bacteria can replicate it once every 20 to 30 minutes.

When bacteria replicate, there are very often these little

sort of genetic.

You can call them mutations, but they’re just little mistranscriptions

in how the genetic code copies itself.

And some of these mutations are beneficial to the bacteria’s

survival. And therefore more of those bacteria will replicate

and they’ll come to dominate the environment that they’re

  1. Okay, so bacteria adapt to a change in environment far

more rapidly than animals like humans, and particularly those

that take a long time to reach sexual maturity.

Like humans, therefore, humans rely on the bacterial genome

to cope with environmental change, including a change in

food supply.

So there’s our ancestors chowing down on these really high

fiber foods getting these amazingly diverse gut microbiota.

And the microbiota are basically in service to those humans,

right? They’re making the most of carbohydrates that humans

can’t digest.

These carbohydrates provide a great food supply to the bacteria.

So the bacteria are thriving.

They’ve got a lovely warm place to live, and there’s always

food in there, so they’re happy.

And then they’re paying the host back by producing vitamins

and producing short chain fatty acids and all this fabulous

stuff. So this is what we see in a person who’s eating a

whole lot of plants.

They’ve got a bunch of basically fiber and other sort of

complex carbohydrate munching bacteria like these Prevotella

species. And they’re down in the colon making all this fabulous

stuff for their host.

There’s one particular substance called butyrate which your

fiber fed gut microbiota is going to make a whole heap of

and butyrate which is a short chain fatty acid.

So it’s a little short fat.

It’s not a really long chain fat, like, say, some of the

Omega three fat.

So a long chain, this is just a couple of little sub components

of fat stuck together, butyrate actually provides for 70%

of the energy needs of the human cells.

The colonosites that line the colon, all the other cells

in your body are mostly reliant.

There is one exception that’s a small intestine.

Most other cells in your body are really reliant on the bloodstream

for providing them with their energy needs.

So they’ve got to have access to the capillary so they can

take up glucose or fatty acids or lactate or whatever they

run on.


But your colonocytes are running mostly on, butyrate which

is made by your gut bacteria from fermenting, the certain

types of plant carbohydrates.

So you’ve eaten the plants.

Your human digestive tract has extracted the glucose and

the starches that you need for energy.

The stuff that you can’t digest gets passed on down to the

colon. Your bacteria fermented and produce short chain fatty

acids, which they have no use for.

They’re just a byproduct of bacterial metabolism.

Your colonocytes take up the short chain fatty acids and

use them as fuel.

It’s mind boggling.

Basically, it is a master.

All of nature is.

But like, there’s so many things within us where you just

go, Whoa, that’s pretty mind bending now this.

Butyrate if you are taking in so many of these types of carbohydrates,

that the butyrate production exceeds what your colonocytes

need for their energy requirements.

There are actually specialized transporters in the bowel

wall. So the cells of the bowel wall have these little receptors,

you might say, for short chain fatty acids, including butyrate

so they absorb them, absorb the butyrate pass it through

into the bloodstream.

And now you’ve got butyrate traveling around in your bloodstream.

And it’s a systemic antiinflammatory, because it’s a very

small molecule.

It can even get into the brain.

It can pass the blood brain barrier, which not that many

things can.

So it gets into your brain.

It’s an antiinflammatory in your brain.

But on top of that, butyrate actually stimulates the production

of something called BDNF brain derived neurotrophic factor.

Neurologists, or neuroscientists.

Call this miracle growth for your brain.

It actually causes new brain cells to grow, especially in

the hippocampus, the region of the brain that has to do with

memory and emotional processing and of courses, new connections

between neurons to form.

That’s what BD and FDR.

So again, you’re eating all that fiber and resistant starch

and oligosaccharides, the kinds of stuff you find in legumes

vegetables and whole grains and fruits.

And your gut bugs are making out of these types of carbohydrates,

this substance which has affected all through your body.

Oh, butyrate also enhances insulin sensitivity.

So it makes you less likely to develop metabolic disease,

including diabetes, butyrate can also be taken up by the

cells of the small intestine and used to heal the condition

known as leaky gut.

So the butyrate made in the colon is then able to get to

be taken up in the small intestine and to repair the sort

of abnormally high gut permeability that causes symptoms

like inflammation and food intolerance.

And the condition people described as brain fog.

So, yeah, that’s what happens on a plant based diet.

Now, what happens if you’re not eating all that fiber?

So your butyrate producing bacteria, there just aren’t many

of them because there isn’t enough of them to eat.

And instead you’re taking in a whole stack of protein and

fat. So you’re now going to have again, a lot more, more

bacterides and proteobacterial in your colon.

And many of these bacteria are.

So when you eat more protein than you need, the amino acids

from the protein can’t all be absorbed in the small intestine

because it’s just more than the body can actually physically

take up.

So you end up with these amino acids and even undigested

proteins down in the colon, there are bacteria that carry

out a fermentation process of undigested protein.

It’s just that in the case of protein fermentation, the term

that’s applied to that is putrefaction, which is about as

appealing as it sounds.

And there are some dead, nasty compounds that get produced

from this putrefaction.

There’s this one called putrecine.

There’s another one called cadaverine, as in cadavers, like

dead body part.

So that’s meat.

That’s what’s in your colon.

So, yeah, like putrefaction products.

That’s what’s in your colon when you eat meat.

Oh, my goodness.

So what do these do?

Well, they’re very proinflammatory then.

Of course, when you have a high fat intake again, the fat

can’t all be absorbed in the small intestines.

So some of it is going to end up down in the colon.

And there are certain bacterial species that will carry out

processes on fat.

But the other thing is that a high fat diet causes the release

of more bile.

Bile is an emulsifier like a detergent for those of you who

haven’t discovered the joys of oil free cooking and are still

using oil in your cooking, you’ll know that when you go to

wash up your pots and pans that you’ve used oilyn, you’ve

got to use detergent, because otherwise you can’t get all

the fatty stuff, all the residues off your plates and your

pots and pans.


Because fats are not water soluble.

So when you’re washing up, you got to use a detergent.


So bile is like a detergent.

It’s made in your liver, stored in your gallbladder, and

it gets squirted out into small intestine.

When you eat a meal that contains fat and BIOS are useful.

It emulsifies fat in the small intestine.

This allows us to take up the components of fat that we need

and also fat soluble vitamins vitamins A-D-E, and K.

That’s all fine.

But then that bile, some of it gets reabsorbed at the end

of the small intestine.

But if you’ve had a lot of bile release, not all of it will

get reabsorbed.

So now some of that bile is down in your colon.

And there are bacteria that actually eat bile.

Again, bacteria are highly adaptable.

These bile eating species, they’re called bilophilic lovers

of bile.

And one of them is called bilefila woodsworthia.

So it’s a bilateral bacteria named by a bloke called Woodsworth

because apparently blokes like to have bugs named after them.

There’s a whole lot of gut bugs that are named after Blokes.

I could be wrong.

I’m happy.

If anyone’s got a suggestion as to a gut bug named after

a check, they all seem to be named after Blokes.

I find this interesting.

Why do blokes want bugs found in people’s colons named after

them? Anyway?

I digress.

Okay, so this bio filler was worthy.

There’s also a bunch of bacteria called the sulfur Vibrio

that’s a family of bacteria that eat bile.

And you mentioned hydrogen sulfide before.

So hydrogen sulfide gas is actually made by these bileading

bacteria in the process of digesting the bile.

Hydrogen sulfide, as I’m sure you know, given your major

area of interest is a contributing cause of ulcerative colitis.

High levels of hydrogen sulfide and high counts of the bacteria

that produce them have also been found in the bowels of people

who get cholerctal cancer.

So, I mean, no surprise.


This is an inflammatory substance causes damage to the cells.

Yes, it does.

The other thing is that hydrogen sulfide gas causes the condition

known as visceral hypersensitivity.

So leaving the topic of inflammatory bowel disease for a

second, which is your Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, as

you know, then we’ve got this other category of very common

gut problem called IBS, or iridor bowel syndrome, which is

part of a group of conditions called functional gastrointestinal

disturbances or disorders.

So there’s no structural damage to the gut like you see on

a colonoscopy with a person with Crohn’s, or you see the

inside of the gut is all angry and red, and it’s ulcers,

and it’s bleeding, and it’s a mess.

In IBS, there’s no obvious structural change, but the person

is getting abdominal pain, they’re getting bloating, they’re

getting diarrhea or confirmation or both swinging back and

forth between them.

And the hallmark of IBS is visceral hypersensitivity.

It’s like a communication breakdown between the brain and

the gut brain.

And this hydrogen sulfide gas actually causes to the communication

breakdown that results in visceral hypersensitivity.

So that’s what happens when you get off the diet that humans

evolved on like this really plant rich, fiber rich diet.

And you go on to the typical Western diet, getting around

40% of your calories from animal products, which, as you

mentioned before, quite rightly, have zero fiber, but they

do have a lot of protein and a lot of fat, some more than

others. Of course, the other hallmark of the Western diet

is processed food, carbohydrates and plant foods that have

been stripped of their fiber and their fiber chemicals.

And whatnot all you’ve got left is sugar.

They’re also filled with all sorts of things melted extra

and multipliers.

All these things that of big alarm signals, putting those

things into your gut.

Oh, my goodness.

Like you’re probably familiar with the research on nanoparticles

and IBD.

Nanoparticles of titanium, for instance, which is found processed

are added there for reasons of appearance, primarily because

processed food looks pretty disgusting when it comes out

of the extruder.

So you’ve got to add something to it.

Otherwise, people would go gross.

But it’d be like, have you seen the movie Silent Green?

I haven’t no.



It’s very dystopian.

Let’s just put it that way.

The plebes eat this basically like just this extruded food.

It looks a bit like Dong kipple, but slightly bigger.


Yeah, that’s essentially what you’re seeing in soil and green

is pretty much what processed food is.

It’s just got, like, prettier colors, what they do to salmon

fish and factory farming, how they dye the color of the flesh

to make it look more appealing.


Otherwise it’s great and no one doesn’t look good.

They actually have these colors fortunes a lot.

Like when you go to Rosen has them, you can just say which

color do I want my fish to be?

I’ve seen that that should make people think about whether

they ought to be absolutely getting back onto those bugs.

So yeah, obviously, what we’re doing when we’re feeding the

bugs that we don’t want, we’re increasing their populations,

aren’t we?

And then they’re the ones that start to become the dominant

species in our bowel.

We get dysbiosis, and they cause all sorts of havoc, which

then down the line leads to our problems with the gut, whether

it’s IBS, whether it’s IBD.


Even primarily monoxide with heart disease.

And the link is very strong links there.

So it’s amazing.

Amazing how you don’t realize that food that you’re eating

and the dysbiosis that you’re causing with that has so many

flow on effects that probably can’t incomprehend just by

eating that one meal you mentioned.

There the kind of longer term consequences like this is what

happens to people when they’re eating this diet day after

day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

But the consequences can be far more immediate than that

in that, what you eat is going to be down in your colon within,

say, three or 4 hours of having eaten it.

And then you’ve got bacteria living in your colon that actually

make neurotransmitters and also bacteria living in your column

that influence the cells within the gut that make neurotransmitters.

And while the serotonin and the Gabba and the noradrenaline

that are made by gut bacteria and made and released by human

cells in the gut don’t actually cross the blood brain barrier

and into your brain.

They do affect the vagus nerve, which is like the Ethernet

cable between your two brains.

And so, for instance, in people who have eaten a very high

fat diet, there is an increase in endotoxin in their bloodstream

within a few hours.

So endotoxin is like a component of the cell wall of certain

types of bacteria they call gram negative.

So fat actually, particularly saturated fat actually ferries

endotoxin across the gut wall and into the bloodstream.

And if you actually hopefully with the person’s permission

experimentally inject endotoxin into a person’s bloodstream,

they experience anxiety.

So when people feel horrible day to day, they’re feeling

anxious and they’ve got low mood.

There are many reasons why a person can experience anxiety

and depression, obviously.

And there’s a lot going on in people’s lives, especially

now. So I’m not saying that what you eat is the sole arbiter

of how you feel.

But it has a really big impact.

And the research on the link between food and mood, which

really only got going in earnest.

I would say maybe ten years ago that research is really starting

to pick up.

And there is no doubt that when people eat a more whole food

diet, they experience less anxiety and mood.

There’s a lot of mechanisms for that.

But one of them, once again, is the gut microbiota.

So it’s not just, oh, if you keep eating this rubbish, you

might get colorectal cancer in 20 years.

When you eat that hyperprocessed, that ultra processed, hyper

palatable, big Mac fries and a thick shake, you’re actually

going to be pretty Yuck within hours of eating.

Yeah, absolutely.

Short term negative effects and long term negative effects.

I mean, I guess it’s just misinformation disinformation around

not understanding that these foods can be so harmful to your

health. And if people really understood this information,

which is why we’re so keen to share it, isn’t it, Robert?

People really understood what the stuff was doing to them.

They wouldn’t touch it, wouldn’t get anywhere near it.

But they’re just told any more than if you had a bottle of

bottle marked Poison sitting on your coffee table.

Not going to go heck, I think I might have a swig of this,

no matter how good it tastes.

But as you know, the food industry is enormously profitable.

And there’s a great book called Salt Sugarfat by Michael

Moss, who is an investigative reporter.

And he has a new book out called Hooked, which I must confess,

I haven’t read yet, but I can’t wait.

But if you read his books, Salt Sugar fat.

Michael Moss actually got access to fairly high levels of

a number of multinational food corporations.

And so he was actually able to go to the labs where they

design these foods and whatnot and read the book.

It’s great.

Let me just summarize, they spend wads of money getting the

composition of these foods just right.

They employed psychologists and food technologists.

They spend unbelievable amounts of money before they ever

bring a product to market.

Just tweaking every last aspect of that food in terms of

how much salt, how much sugar, how much fat, how much of

this that and the other do we add for the right degree of

crunch or what they call the bliss point, which is the point

of sweetness where people go, wow, that’s amazing.

But it hasn’t crossed the line into that’s kind of sickly.

So these products are addictive.

They don’t like to use that word.

It’s a word that they stay away from.

And I guess that’s why Michael Moss recent book is called

Hooked. These foods are actually crafted to be addictive.

And for all those people out there who are going, okay, I

hear what you say.

But, man, I just can’t give up my chips or whenever I walk

past Burgicking, I just can’t not go in.

Yeah, I get it right.

You’ve been hooked.

Your gut micro better play a role in that, too.

Just saying, right.

The evidence on food cravings and gut microbes isn’t as watertight

as some people like to make out.

But there is some evidence that who you have living in your

colon contributes to what kinds of foods you enjoy.

And I guess you can see that through experience.

Can’t you see someone who I’m sure you’ve worked with hundreds

of people like this, where they’ve been hooked on junk foods

and fast foods and things like that.

And as they start to change their diet after the obviously

the withdrawal period, everyone has to go through.

And you’re addicted to something.

And they start getting healthier.

And they should get shifts in their gut bacteria.

And they start eating more fruits and vegetables and whole

plant foods.

They started craving more.

I’ll tell you, I’m a perfect example of that.

I used to be hooked on KFC and McDonald’s and chocolates

and soft drinks and all those things.

But now the thought of eating some of that stuff, you give

me a mango.

Yeah, I know, right?

It’s so funny.

I was that person in my teens.

I was that person who if I walk past the cheesecake shop,

I’d be like, your face pressed up against the glasses, going,

like, give me one of everything.

And now I look at those foods and Michael Pollan’s phrase,

edible food like substances brings to mind.

I look at those things.

They actually don’t look like food to me anymore.

And sometimes I kind of catch myself and go, oh, this is

really interesting.

Those, again, edible food like substances, because I don’t

think we should glorify them by the name food.

They actually have no appeal.

But let me loosen a fruit and feed shop.

And I’m a crazy woman.

I’m running around going, this is interesting.

How about we try to call Rabbi?


Yeah, absolutely.

Now, just as we kind of finish off, I just want to touch

on this one point that’s been kind of publicized quite a

lot in the community around the gut, microbiome and things

like that.

And that’s SIBO.



Because I think there’s a lot of misinformation around SIBO,

and there’s a lot of people trying to make you think that

SIBO is more than what it actually is.

And so why don’t you just talk a little bit about what it

is and what the science says about it and what we can do

about it?

Because I think there’s a lot of noise around the SIBO thing

where it’s more confusing than anything.

It shouldn’t be 100% agree.


The first thing to say is that SIBO remains a contentious

topic. And within the field of gastroenterology, there are

gastroenterologists who I wouldn’t say deny that it exists,

but say that it is exceptionally rare and it really only

occurs in, say, blind loop syndrome.

So people who’ve had, for example, surgery on their intestines

for disease, and that other than that, it’s not really a

thing. And then you’ve got gastroenterologists who say, look,

somewhere anywhere up to 80% of people with IBS actually

have SIBO.

These include very prominent gastroenterologists.

What is the average person to make of that?

Okay, SIBO, which is for your audience, small intestinal

bacterial overgrowth.

So this means a higher total count of bacteria in the small

intestine. Remembering that the colon, the large intestine

is where the bulk of our bugs live.


So we’ve got 100 trillion odd bugs living in the colon.

The small intestine has bacteria, but not nearly the same

concentration as the colon.

So the definition of SIBO is any more than 10,000 bacteria.

If my memory serves me correctly, I think it’s more than

10,000 bacteria per milicluid in the lower part of the small

intestine, the terminal ileum.

But it’s not just an overgrowth.

It’s actually a dysbiosis.

So SIBO is a diphotic condition.

So bad bugs growing in your small intestine and too many

of them.


So SIBO does exist, and I have actually seen cases of it.

There are certain conditions for example, hypothhorotism

and diabetes, and also endometriosis that do predispose people

to having an overgrowth of bacteria in their small intestine

because the mechanisms that normally help flush excess bacteria

out of the gut aren’t working so well in those conditions.

And then there are people who have actually suffered damage

to what’s called the migrating motor complex, also known

as the cleansing wave and the small intestine because they’ve

had a really bad bout of gastroenteritis, like they got barley

belly or monozuma’s revenge, or one of the weird and wonderful

if you pick up while backpacking in Southeast Asia and they

actually have an autoimmune reaction as part of their immune

defense against the bacteria.

Long story short, they end up with like, a damaged clearance

mechanism. Placebo does exist.

I’m absolutely sure that is wildly over diagnosed, and pretty

much anyone who suffers bloating or gas or gets some loose

stools will often either self diagnose because they came

across a website talking about SIBO, or they get diagnosed

by practitioners with having SIBO.

And they’re then put on either herbal antimicrobials or antibiotics,

and very often, more often than not, they’re told that they

need to eat a diet that is restricted in carbohydrates.

So a low fold map diet or the biphasic diet or whatever.

And this is really nonsense because the characterization

of this dysbiotic small intestine is not complete.

But there have been some preliminary studies, and what they

show is that the types of bacteria that overgrow in SIBO

actually don’t ferment or break down fiber and oligosaccharides

and the other carbohydrates that are excluded in these diets,

like low fold map and biphasic and so forth.

There is no rational reason to exclude those foods from the

dining people with SIBO, except that they may have some discomfort

if they eat those foods and those foods undergo the normal

process of fermentation and the colon because they have visceral

hypersensitivity. Okay.

So it’s not that the fermentation and the resulting gas formation

from these carbohydrates is harmful.

It’s not.

It’s meant to happen.

It’s just that these people are hypersensitive to the normal

degree of stretch and the normal muscle movement that takes

place in the intestine when we eat those foods and our bugs

ferment them.


So does the exist?


Is it over diagnosed?


Is it appropriate to treat it aggressively with antibiotics

or antimicrobials?

I wouldn’t sort of take that off the table entirely.

There may be some cases where that’s warranted, but on the

whole, those treatments are widely overused.

Is it appropriate to treat it with a carbohydrate restricted

diet? No.


All right.

I think that kind of covers it.


I think we’ve talked a lot and covered a lot of ground there,

and obviously we haven’t covered everything overwhelmed your

audience? No.

I think this is exactly the kind of topic my audience or

our audience would love to hear and understand more of because

there’s a huge amount of noise around it.

And I think just having explained all the different aspects

of it and just talking through the stuff that we obviously

know, but just to kind of make it more clear and understandable

and just share that information, because unless you go diving

into the research, you’re not really going to find it that

easily. And you’re not going to find medical professionals

at this point in time, sharing it readily or being aware

of it even which is, I guess, even worse.


To your point, a friend of mine who quite recently graduated

from medicine in South Australia, she told me that in her

medical degree, they did not even look at the gut microbiome,

and it’s been observed by researchers on medical curriculum.

It takes about 17 years for medical discoveries to actually

make their way into the medical curriculum.

So your doctor is actually 17 years behind the eight ball,

which is really but that depends on when they graduated too.


You know what I mean?


If they graduated 40 years ago, they’re 60 years, like kept

themselves up.

Unfortunately, they do do a good amount of, I guess, professional

development, but a lot of it isn’t actually there’s very

little continuing medical education that focuses on nutrition

and exercise and mind body.

Yeah, it’s all about drugs, mostly most of the I guess the

medical conference is all about this drug for the symptom

latest greatest treatment machine that goes whatever.

Have you the 60 is behind on the research and all the I guess

development they’ve done is based on medicines, rather than

actually looking at root causes of what’s going on.

And so you’re not really going to get the latest and greatest

from your medical professional.

Obviously, there are some very good ones that are up to date,

but I don’t think it’s the vast majority.

Zach Bush legendary.

There are some fantastic doctors who have taken a really

deep dive into this, and they’re helping not just their own

patients, but they’re really getting it out there using the

platform of being a medical doctor.

Affords them exactly.

People do need to take responsibility for their own health

and not assume that their doctor knows all this stuff.

It is challenging to do that in the west of the internet,

as you know, where there are a lot of people who make themselves

out to be experts, and they’re really not.

So it’s difficult for the average person to navigate that

shameless plug.

As you know, I do write a weekly newsletter, and if you want

to put a link to my I’ll do that article in the show notes,

you can actually just directly to the page of my article

library, which has to do with everything gut related.

I’ll do that.

I’ll definitely link that, like, 30 articles on there.

So if you want to find out more detail about any of the things

that we’ve discussed, I’ve written an article on it.

Yes, you have and it’s very well researched.

It’s not really a shameless plug, Robin, you do some amazing

work and Robin is very thorough.

Which is why I’ve got her on here to discuss this with you

because she dives deep.

She just doesn’t look at the surface and she will really

look at that.

I put the links into all the studies.

Everything I write is like 50,000 hyperlinks in there so

you can go into those studies and look at it for yourself,

which I really recommend that people do, because again, absolutely.

You have to be responsible for your health and wellbeing.

And we’ve always said Shami, and I always say, don’t just

believe it because it comes from our mouth.

Look into it is what we’re saying, actually, right.

Look at the research.

Look at the evidence just because someone says, don’t ever

just believe them.

I think that’s really important for anyone who is sharing

information on the internet to make it really clear that

just because I said it, don’t just believe it, because it’s

me that’s you always make sure you double check it, check

the references, check the information and check that it makes

sense. Yes, that’s it.

It doesn’t make sense.

That’s really important.

All right, Robyn, thank you so much for taking the time

and sharing this absolute pleasure.

It’s always lovely to discuss all different health topics

with you.

I think the audience would really appreciate that.

And to everyone who’s either listening or watching this,

thanks for making it this far.

I really appreciate you taking the time and it’s going to

help you understand your body, better understand what to

do to help you get healthier.

And we’re all about trying to share as much information as

we can on our platforms to help you become healthy, because

that’s the main thing.

It’s not about us.

It’s about you getting healthier, taking control of your

health and being responsible for it.

So use the information that we shared here with you today

and eat a lot more plants and eat as many diverse plants

as you can.

Obviously, if you’re suffering from digestive issues, maybe

you can’t quite diversify your diet straight away.

So someone talk to Rob and talk to us about how you can incorporate

and what you can incorporate, given your current situation.

So never just jump to it to 100% if you’ve got some digestive

problems. But if you don’t, yes, 100% agree on that.

Very uncomfortable if they suddenly ramp up your fiber intake.


Don’t go from zero to zero with your five or intake.

But as I said, look, if you’re listening to this and you’ve

really found this interesting, please share it.

Share it on your Facebook page or your different social media

aspects. Lots of people can learn from this information.

And if you’re listening to this on the podcast, subscribe

to our podcast.

If you haven’t done so you’ll get notified of all latest

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Hit the subscribe button and the little Bell notification

icon will get you updates on all the latest uploads.

Also, if you have any questions, there’s a comment section

down below.

So ask away and we’ll do our best to answer.

All right.

Once again, Robin, thank you so much for joining us and for

everyone watching.

Make sure you eat plants.

Lots of fun.

Thanks, Robin.

At your plants.

Be well.


Shukul Kachwalla

Shukul Kachwalla is a Certified Wholistic Health & Natural Healing Counsellor from the Vibrant Health & Wealth Academy. Shukul has recovered from severe Hayfever, Acne, and Chronic Migraines and recommends a Whole Foods Plant based diet to people who want to improve their quality of life and experience optimal health.