On most Wednesday evenings, I host two-way Zoom conversations with anywhere between 70 and 100 people who are members of my DrDavisInfiniteHealth.com Inner Circle. Conversations are vigorous and wide-ranging, as we talk about issues as varied as coronary calcium scores, NMR lipoproteins, blood sugar monitoring, and breath testing for hydrogen gas.
But our conversations are increasingly centered around issues relevant to the microbiome. The science surrounding microbiome issues is booming, coming at us at lightning speed and yielding exciting new lessons virtually every day.
It is becoming clear that the microbiome is an incredibly fertile area for citizen scientists (as many in the Inner Circle are), as the tools for exploration have become so powerful. Teachers, business people, engineers, moms, dads, grandparents—a great variety of people with different backgrounds are discovering just how much power they have over health, functioning, and mood. We have, for instance, the ability to propagate microbes of specific species and strains via yogurt and other foods to yield hundreds of billions of bacterial counts for greater biological effect, actigraphic devices such as Apple Watch or Oura ring to make measures of sleep phases and heart rate variability, the AIRE device to measure breath hydrogen and methane gases, fingerstick and continuous glucose monitors to track blood sugar.
Among the unique observations that have been made by citizen scientists following my programs:
- The majority of people making high bacterial count “yogurt” with a combination of strains of Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Bacillus coagulans have converted from H2-positive SIBO to H2-negative by AIRE breath testing without the use of antibiotics.
- 20 non-diabetic people ingested a “collaborative” consortium of probiotic microbes that were known to vigorously metabolize sugars in the human GI tract, a mix that included strains of Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Pediococcus acidilactici, Lactobacillus plantarum and a few others. These people reduced fasting blood glucose by an average of 9.8 mg/dl, a magnitude of effect on a par with diabetes drugs with none of the side-effects. (They achieved this with a commercial probiotic called Sugar Shift with in vitro-proven synergistic effect in consuming sugars in the GI tract. I have no relationship with the company, BiotiQuest, except that the founders, Martha Carlin and Raul Cano, PhD, are friends of mine.)
- Many of us now enjoy deep uninterrupted sleep with approximately 20% lengthening of REM periods via actigraphy with various strains of L reuteri and the ME-3 strain of L fermentum. REM is the phase of sleep that is essential for emotional and mental health.
- People who have eradicated their SIBO (e.g., with “SIBO Yogurt’) report reductions in resting heart rate and improvements in measures of heart rate variability, HRV, an important sign of improved overall health.
- By engaging in a joint cartilage rebuilding program that combines L reuteri (that stimulates chondrocyte production of joint lubrication) with collagen hydrolysates and hyaluronic acid—restoring a microbe and nutrients that you should have been getting all along if you ate like a hunter-gatherer—people are reporting reductions in arthritis joint pain.
Did you notice that we are achieving effects that are not almost-as-good-as what doctors and prescription drugs achieve? We are achieving effects that are SUPERIOR to what doctors and prescription drugs achieve. This is the new theme that I shall be pursuing: advocating health practices that are superior to conventional methods, many of them involving purposeful management of the microbiome.
That was one of my intentions in writing my new book, Super Gut: to empower citizen scientists in exploring all the fantastic things we can now achieve via management of our microbiomes.