Dr. Zach Bush joins us this week to discuss the relationship between gut health and the microbiome and how that translates to our immune system and cognitive performance.  They also discuss the limitations of prebiotics and probiotics and give tips on how to repopulate your gut.

In This Episode We Discussed:

  • The relationship between gut health & the microbiome
  • 90% of serotonin produced in the gut lining
  • Gut health & the immune system
  • The danger of Roundup
  • How to repopulate your gut
  • The limitations of prebiotics and probiotics


Zach Bush, MD is one of the few triple board-certified physicians in the country – with expertise in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Hospice/Palliative care. The breakthrough science that Dr. Bush and his colleagues have delivered offer profound new insights into human health and longevity. His education efforts provide a grassroots foundation from which we can launch change in our legislative decisions, ultimately up- shifting consumer behavior to bring about radical change in the mega industries of big farming, big pharma, and Western Medicine at large.

Show Notes

0:00 Intro
2:10 What is the gut-brain axis
8:29 blood-brain barrier
11:35 microbiome & the immune system
20:19 microbiome & micro RNA
25:30 our relationship with bacteria & antibiotics
30:15 history of Roundup & consequences
37:13 toxins & chronic inflammation
40:49 depression & inflammation
48:31 get outside to repopulate your gut
54:25 probiotics & prebiotics
58:18 RESTORE supplement

Mentioned in This Episode:

Full Transcript:

Daniel S.: [00:00:30] Welcome back to the Neurohacker Collective podcast, Collective Insights. My name is Daniel Schmachtenberger. I’m here with research and development at Neurohacker. We are excited to have Dr. Zach Bush here with us today. Zach is the founder and chief scientist product developer at Restore4Life, which makes some really innovative, fascinating technology that I’m excited to talk about today. Zach’s a medical [00:01:00] doctor, background in endocrinology and internal medicine and did work in studying neuroendocrinology, cancer, and then ended up expanding into doing really cutting edge and novel work with chronic disease of many kinds, with autism, with neurodegeneration, a lot of things that are relevant to understanding the brain and neuropsych and things that we are very interested in here at the Collective.

Something that I really appreciate [00:01:30] about Zach, getting to start to study his work, is he’s a very systemic, ecological thinker, so looking at the relationship between the human genome and the microbiome very deeply, between human health overall and the health of the environment, the relationship between the gut and the nervous system and toxicity and nutrition and etc. and so really excited to get to have a conversation about the gut-brain access and the associated systems with one of the pioneers in the field. Zach, thanks for being here.

Zach Bush: Awesome. [00:02:00] I am excited to be here, Daniel. Appreciate what you guys do at the Collective.

Daniel S.: Let’s just start at the very beginning, gut-brain access. What is that? Why is that a thing?

Zach Bush: Absolutely, yeah. It’s such an evolving field, really, even as early as the early 2000s. We’re probably 20 years into this journey. The 2000 to 2010 was termed the decade of the brain. We learned more about the brain than we had in all previous human history. Then I think 2010 [00:02:30] to 2020 is going to be called the decade of the gut before the brain because what we thought was … By 2008, ’09, we were starting to call the gut maybe the second brain. We were starting to realize that wow, there are so many neurologic connections, dendritic connections, neuroregulatory bodies in that gut environment, everything from your nasal sinuses, all the way to the rectum. This huge, two tennis court surface area is the largest macro membrane in your whole body. It’s [00:03:00] enormous, for sure.

There’s a lot of people that debate well, maybe there are still a lot more neural connections in the brain than the gut. All of that has suddenly paled in recent years as we’ve come to increasingly understand the endocrine cells of the enteric system. These are often termed the EECs, or enteric endocrine cells. We’re starting to realize that 90% of the serotonin, for example, that is produced in your human body, serotonin being a neurotransmitter [00:03:30] that modulates everything from mood to focus to creative capacity, 90% of that neurochemical is produced in the gut lining rather than in the brain itself. We’re starting to, I think, evolve this into a story where you know what? It’s not the gut brain. It’s really the brain is really fully responsive to the gut. The gut makes everything the brain would need to begin with. The gut is bringing all this information into [00:04:00] the brain.

We have to keep in mind this interesting reality that we give so much respect to this eight pounds of gray matter in our head, but in reality, it’s completely useless junk. It’s as if the CPU chip of your computer was the source of knowledge. Obviously, there’s absolutely no knowledge in a CPU chip. CPU chip is just processing unit. It’s just taking in information and moving it somewhere else. That’s all your gray matter does in the brain. [00:04:30] The gut, being your largest contact with your environment, is such an interesting place to think about thought, human consciousness, certainly mood, your sense of reserve in the day. Are you hitting the wall and you’re needing caffeine by 2:00 in the afternoon or do you have lots of reserve and you’re still pumping at 6:00 at night and you’re at the top of your game? The difference will be how is your gut doing. The brain, we’re starting to realize, is secondary to the gut in a whole [00:05:00] myriad of different ways.

Daniel S.: I think a lot of people haven’t thought about it, what a profound thing that it is that the gut membrane has to selectively decide what is a nutrient and take it in and what is a pathogen and to kill it. What is a toxin and to keep it out. The selectivity of that membrane is really mind blowing.

Zach Bush: Mind blowing, you’re exactly right. I study this every single day. I look at them under the microscope frequently. It’s just you [00:05:30] can’t overemphasize the ridiculous intelligence of this membrane. It’s one cell layer thick. Contrast that to your skin, for example. Your skin has maybe 50 to 100 layers of cells that are all stacked up on top of each other and your skin protects you from the outside world. Well, your skin with all those 50 to 100 layers of cells, is about 1-1/2 square meters in surface area. Now you contrast that to two tennis courts in surface area of your gut and then contrast [00:06:00] the reality that that’s one cell layer thick. That’s 50 microns, 50 microns. You pluck your human hair, look at how thin that hair is. Now cut that in half and now you’re at about 50 microns. Your half the width of a human hair is this cellophane-like layer that separates your immune system from the outside world.

It’s utter chaos for your body if that membrane starts to leak and so it shifts you very quickly from this acute inflammatory [00:06:30] reaction, so some pathogen or foreign invader comes in from the outside. Your immune system just attacks, burst of oxidative stress. It clears that. Macrophage cleans up the site, no problem. That’s an ideal world and that’s what should be happening in your body minute to minute, day to day.

Now what happens is you open up that membrane, you turn that into a sieve, and suddenly, the entire immune system is getting hit. The majority of that happens in your nasal sinuses and then in the upper segment [00:07:00] of the esophagus can be prone to it, but the duodenum, that’s the first section of the small intestine, really prone to this. That environment and then you keep going down in your colon is where you do all this intelligent processing, what’s supposed to come in, what’s supposed to stay out.

Interestingly, it’s always tempting to think well, those gut cells must be so intelligent. They are. I don’t want to downplay that, but it’s fascinating to realize that it’s not even the cells that are the critical piece of this puzzle. It’s actually the [00:07:30] Velcro that holds these cells together. The Velcro is a relative term there, but it’s a protein structure that has two loops that come together. Kind of in a spot weld is this watertight barrier, so each of those microscopic cells at about 25 to 30 microns wide and about 50 microns deep, quarter of the width of a human hair in width. You take a bunch of those and you line up billions and billions and billions of those and now you get a single macro gut membrane. [00:08:00] That plane of tissue is now your regulator between the outside world and your immune system.

The immune system certainly anticipated our vulnerability here because we built 60 to 70% of the entire body’s immune system right behind that gut lining. When we start to talk about the brain here, you got to realize the brain is simply a CPU chip that needs a protected space. That protected space hides behind something called the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain [00:08:30] barrier happens to be a network of these same Velcro-like proteins, these tight junctions, that tie together the blood vessels anytime it abuts a nerve and so a peripheral nerve all the way down to your toe or your central nervous system up in the brain, spinal cord, all of that is protected. It has to be fueled by blood vessels. You got to get oxygen and nutrients to the brain and the peripheral nerves, but you’ve got to keep it super safe.

This is kind of like the new quantum chips. The quantum chips are phenomenally excitingly [00:09:00] fast, but minor detail, you’ve got to keep these things near absolute zero for them to function. You have to create these very bizarre, extreme settings for the chip to work. That’s almost the situation with your brain. You need a bizarrely protected space for that gray matter to actually be able to traffic information where it needs to go and process things correctly and at the speed that it should.

Many of us are starting to experience in our day-to-day life a decay [00:09:30] in that holy of holies protected space around the brain and that gray matter is starting to be in this soup of inflammation, this soup of chemical invasion, and even normal stuff like glucose, which is the preferred fuel by the brain. Well, if glucose is going through vascular walls in an unregulated fashion, it becomes overwhelming to the brain. The brain just needs a super controlled environment. You guys at the Collective are really bringing so much important information [00:10:00] to the consumer in that there’s so many threats to today’s brain. There are so many threats more importantly, perhaps, to that membrane or that structure of protection between the outside world and your brain.

Daniel S.: When we first started thinking about the gut-brain access, it was neurologic, right, looking at the enteric nervous system, meaning you got all these neurons in the gut and they’re actually a whole additional branch of the peripheral nervous system from traditional sympathetic, parasympathetic. Cool. Then we got [00:10:30] into looking at the endocrinology of the gut, as you’re mentioning. Then we started looking at the relationship of the tight junctions and the barrier in the gut and the blood-brain barrier and then also the relationship of the microbiome and the immune system and the inflammatory processes to what moves through the gut into the blood and then can go from the blood and affect the blood-brain barrier and into the nervous system.

It isn’t like there’s one mechanism that mediates that relationship. It’s almost like you can’t even think of them as separate systems because [00:11:00] almost every one of the different mechanisms that they’re interacting with, they’re interacting with each other in this deep way. How does our gut get damaged? How does it function suboptimally? Then what is the effect of that on the blood-brain barrier on making that CPU’s environment less protected and what does that do specifically? I know you’ve done a lot of work with neuropsych stuff, both neurodegeneration and neuropsych and so why is it that when you’re looking at [00:11:30] autism or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s that you’re looking at a gut at all?

Zach Bush: Very good. Yeah, so we know that the secret has to be in the gut just from a population statistic. We had a very stable rate of autism in the population until about 1975 and then things started to rise a little bit. Then in the 1990s, things just really took off furtively. We had 1 in 5000 children with autism in 1975, [00:12:00] 1 in 5000. Today, we have 1 in 40. The vast majority of that increase we doubled between 2012 and 2015. We are just seeing this extraordinarily vertical rise in a really devastating neurologic condition in very young children. Usually between 18 months and 2 years is where that injury occurs. You see this phenomenon there.

On the other side of the population, we had a very steady rate of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s that was [00:12:30] really traced in the geriatric population until the 1990s. Then we see this steady climb of Parkinson’s in males and Alzheimer’s in females. That phenomenon has tracked very closely with our autism phenomenon. Whether young to old, we can see these big neurologic injuries happen. Then if we look at the more minor versions of those injuries, which is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in our children, which then by age 12, 15 [00:13:00] will typically manifest as panic attack, anxiety disorders, which is more common in girls than boys that age. Then as we get a little bit older, it’ll transition into the full-blown mood disorders by college and everything else.

Then more minor than that would be sleep disorder and so teens to 20 start to get insomnia, fractured sleep patterns, etc. Then in the geriatric population, well, the more minor [00:13:30] version of those is other dementias. There’s other slower dementias in the patterns if you’re not getting Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but also, again, the sleep disorders. You can see dysregulation of the sympathetic nervous system with things like the whole menopausal syndrome, hot flashes, etc. All of these are just kind of a continuum of why is the whole population manifesting neurologic degeneration at such a young age, so vulnerable?

[00:14:00] The answers that have come out of our labs in the last six or seven years is really pointing to this twofold phenomenon. Number one, make the system vulnerable. The way to make that gut lining and the tight junctions that protect not just your immune system, but your brain and peripheral nervous system, the way to make that vulnerable is to wipe out the microbiome. The microbiome is a term that basically speaks to not just bacteria, but bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses, all of these microscopic life [00:14:30] that surrounds us.

It’s important to note how vast this ecosystem of microbiome is around us because it’s tempting to think that you’re still the majority and these little, invisible guys are the minority. The fact is you are almost nonexistent compared to the volume of life on the planet in the microbiome. From just a sheer genomic standpoint, to give you an idea of this, well, first let’s go to the numbers of the organisms. It’s pretty phenomenal. You’ve got 70 trillion human cells, which sounds [00:15:00] like a heady number. It’s slightly more than our national debt in the United States, but 70 trillion cells, it makes up a human body. Well, outnumbering that more than tenfold, pushing 15 to 20-fold 1-1/2 to 2 quadrillion bacteria. Those quadrillions of bacteria are diverse. Ideally, you’re in the 30,000, 40,000 species of bacteria. Right now, we’re walking around with a fraction of that because of our environment again, which we’ll go into.

[00:15:30] Then you go from the bacteria to the parasites and now you’re not at 30,000. You’re at 300,000 species of parasites. Most of these parasites are actually not damaging, in fact, are life-giving to the human body. We have little parasites that live under our eyelids. We have them that live in our sweat pores. These things help regulate normal, healthy cellular function. These parasites live all over us and we probably depend on them for our own existence and health, 300,000 of those guys.

Then you move to the fungi, 5 [00:16:00] million species of fungi. Then you move to the viruses. We haven’t even begun to categorize the species of viruses. We have a rough idea that we have basically 10 to the 31 viruses on the planet right now. That’s one with 31 zeroes after it. There’s no such name for that number. It’s roughly 10 million times more than our stars in the entire Universe. There’s 10 million times more viruses on planet Earth right now today than are stars in the entire [00:16:30] Universe, not galaxy, Universe. We’re talking about billions times billions times billions times billions of viruses around us.

Now, what’s the chances that those guys are out to kill us? The answer is zero. If they didn’t want us here, we would’ve never come. If they wanted to kill us, they would’ve killed us a long time ago. The fact is is this microbiome is an ecosystem in which we play this tiny, little niche. From a genetic standpoint, this is a tiny, little niche. [00:17:00] We only have 20,000 genes. That’s 2/3 as many as a flea. A flea has 30,000 genes. We are bizarrely engineered as a tiny, little genetic envelope. Most of our DNA, 99% of our DNA, doesn’t code for a gene. It seems to be inserts from viruses and other species that have inserted data into our genome.

The brilliant capacity of the human being for creativity, for adaptation, we [00:17:30] are the only species that’s adapted to every single environment on the planet. That adaptation and plasticity of our genome is thanks to the plasticity of our DNA to be able to absorb all this data from outside inputs, I believe. This has typically been called junk DNA because it didn’t make a gene, so we figured well, if it doesn’t make a gene, it doesn’t make a protein, it must just be junk. Well, nature never puts 99% of its effort into waste. It turns out that just in recent years, we found out that that [00:18:00] 99% that’s probably from other species injection into us, we get this reality that oh, my gosh, we are making micro RNA, these little trafficking proteins that modify the behavior of our genes. We know now that a single human gene can make over 200 different proteins depending on its micro RNA and corepressor-co-activator environment. Really, our plasticity is coming from this 99% of our genome, our capacity to build a new body every day.

[00:18:30] If you do the math, with your 20,000 genes, you can do somewhere around 4 million different bodies today. You could produce 4 million different human being bodies today based on your environment and ecosystem. If your body is functioning well and from day to day you’re building the body you like, it’s because you’ve built an environment around yourself that’s allowing you to build that body. If you have a chronic ailment, whether it’s something as minor as postnasal drainage and chronic congestion or [00:19:00] diarrhea, constipation or chronic bloating or obesity, doesn’t matter what ailment, if that continues to manifest every day of your life, it’s because your environment continues to allow that to be the body you build today. This is very good news for any of us. It means that we have almost incalculable capacity to change who and how we feel today by changing the environment around us.

That’s a long approach to the backdrop that I wanted to tell you because for most of us, [00:19:30] even when we say microbiome is important, we don’t realize we are less than one millionth of a percent of life on Earth, just a tiny niche.

Daniel S.: Before you finish here and go back to how does gut damage happen, just to say one part that you were saying slightly more explicitly is you use the term plasticity in an interesting way, which is genomic plasticity. Typically, we think of neuroplasticity, meaning that our connectome can actually restructure new synapses, dendrites, etc. We do also have [00:20:00] a genome that can express radically differently through epigenetic modulation. You talked about the diversity of the microbiome and the relationship of the microbiome. You mentioned micro RNA, but you just say the tiniest bit more. What is the relationship between the microbiome and the expression of the human genome?

Zach Bush: Perfect. I’m glad you asked that because I didn’t close that loop. The micro RNA are circulating in your bloodstream. The unique thing about some messenger RNA makes proteins, [00:20:30] so you have a gene. You’ve got 20,000 genes. They stay inside the nucleus of your cell. They can’t leave the nucleus of the cell. The DNA unravels a little bit, exposes a gene. A bunch of cofactors and micro RNA will bind on there. It will make an RNA, messenger RNA, which will then leave the nucleus and go into the cytoplasm of your cell and it will code for a protein to be built on top of that.

Now contrast this to the micro RNA that’s from the noncoding or non-gene regions of your DNA, 99%. [00:21:00] That 99% that’s making the micro RNA, they don’t stay at home. They go and leave the cell. Not only do they leave the cell, they can leave your body. Right now, if I was to swab your mouth, we could extract they’re basically envelopes that are in your saliva. They’re little exosomes, these little packets of micro RNA that are in your saliva right now. If I go and analyze those, I can tell exactly what genes you’re starting to turn on and all of that. I can tell exactly which micro RNA are being activated to modify those [00:21:30] genes.

The interesting thing is not only in your saliva, it’s in your urine, but it’s also in your breath. It’s also in your sweat. You’ve got these exosomes, or pockets of data going out into the environment around you. If you sit in a lecture hall, over the course of an hour, that professor will actually change everybody’s genome in the room by exhaling, by getting these exosomes of micro RNA out. Now, that’s a tiny little bit of information that [00:22:00] he’s going to exchange with you. In contrast, the bacteria in your gut, the fungi and the rest, we already know is making at least 35% of the micro RNA in your bloodstream. Thirty-five percent is nonhuman. That’s just scratching the surface because we’ve barely started to really decode the micro RNA from the fungi and already may account for half of that. Some 15 to 20% of the micro RNA we studied we already can recognize as being fungal.

I think that just by the sheer numbers that I shared with you a few minutes ago, [00:22:30] we are so overwhelmingly outnumbered by the bacteria, the fungi, and the parasites that we’re going to find out that 99% of the micro RNA in your bloodstream is not from human source. That’s the answer to your question is how do those bacteria do it? Well, they have “junk DNA”, too. They’re making micro RNA. They’re secreting it into their environment, which is your gut, your sinuses, or your breath. If you walk outside … I live in Virginia. We’ve got this extraordinary fall going on this year where the colors are just insane [00:23:00] and the trees are beautiful. You get that loamy smell in the woods. A lot of that is decomposition, obviously, of the soils and all the leaves falling.

That microbiome is exuding exosomes of micro RNA and so every time I go out and breathe, I get to be plastic with my environment and I get to have the fall tell my body this is the time for you to reconsolidate. You’re going to build strength. I believe that I build better bone in the winter than I do in the summer. I’m putting less of my energy out [00:23:30] to my periphery and I’m starting to go core, just like a tree who puts its energy right into its roots during this time of year. I think I can actually change which organ system is taking the benefit of my fuel depending on which microenvironment I put myself in.

Daniel S.: You’re talking about going out and breathing the loam and having it affect you about … Obviously, you didn’t say it, but when you talk about the micro RNA in saliva, you think about what kind of transform is happening when we kiss, [00:24:00] when we’re shaking hands, when we’re touching. The idea that we have a genome and it codes for who we are is a radically reductionistic idea, that we’re actually exchanging code with our environment continuously and we’re emerging as the result of our relationship with our whole environment. If we think about the density of the microbiome and the diversity of it inside of us, that mirrors the microbiome in the environment that we evolved in, so the soil microbiome and [00:24:30] etc.

You’ve talked a lot about the effects of modern agriculture on the soil microbiome and mineralization and etc. Obviously, when we start looking at synthetic fertilizers and then especially getting into herbicides and pesticides and antibiotics and chlorine and things that are intended to kill parts of the microbiome that we would’ve had a symbiotic relationship with because germ theory made a lot of sense.

Zach Bush: Yeah.

Daniel S.: There [00:25:00] is this thing like we know acute infection can kill people. What is the relationship between thinking about bacteria, viruses, etc. as pathogens, thinking about them as symbionts, and then also thinking about have we made our relationship with our environment and those creatures less symbiotic overall? Is that part of the health exponential curves you were describing?  

Zach Bush: Heat is a part [00:25:30] of it, for sure. The story here is going to tie back to the 1800s. There’s these two academicians in Europe that were arguing. One of them was Bechamp, a French guy. He was arguing that there is no problem … Germs don’t cause disease, basically. More it’s the terrain or the environment of the human being that makes them vulnerable to infection. Arguing with him was Louis Pasteur, who was arguing no, germs can attack any immune [00:26:00] system or any human being can be prone to polio or they were looking at Black Death. They were looking at lots of different things in the infection world, tuberculosis or what we call tuberculosis today. They were looking at these things and, of course, Louis Pasteur ended up winning the argument. That’s how we developed the term pasteurization, where we started heat pasteurizing everything to kill all the bacteria in the milk or in now we kill almonds. We kill anything that could potentially have a bacteria we pasteurize.

[00:26:30] That concept was all the germs, all the microbiome must be bad for us. It’s our potential invader, where Bechamp was saying we’re pretty much bulletproof as long as we have a good terrain. It turns out Bechamp, 150 years later, we find out was right, that in fact, it’s the vulnerability of a poor terrain or a wiped out ecosystem that then makes us prone to an invasive behavior of a bacteria.

I’ve come to realize that there’s really no room in academia for us to call anything [00:27:00] a bad bacteria anymore or a bad fungi or a bad parasite. The reality is if a parasite shows up, Lyme disease being an example of this bacterial agent that can set up this parasitic relationship to blood cells and things like that. That spirochete in the bloodstream looks like the problem, but in fact, I believe that that spirochete is probably there as a last ditch effort to create some sort of normal metabolism in the soil of your body [00:27:30] because this is exactly what we see in organic gardening and everything else. If you go out into Virginia and you go take a rototiller and just clear a bunch of land, chop down the trees, rototill the soil, the first things that are going to pop up when you’ve just denuded that soil of its life is weeds.

Same thing in the human system. If we go and build a hospital and we try to sterilize the entire hospital, we wipe out the whole ecosystem with alcohols, ultraviolet light, radiation, we do everything known to [00:28:00] man to kill bacteria, well, then we’re going to just select for the most ridiculous weeds that are able to survive in any ludicrous situation. It’s not the weed being a bad guy there. The weed is actually trying to return life to the soil. You see this in the garden. If you let the weeds take over, they don’t dominate for very long. The weeds will take over the soil and then pretty soon you’ve got tulip poplar tree sprouts popping up. Then a couple weeks or months after that, you’ve got evergreen sprouts. Then if you let it go for two years, [00:28:30] the weeds are having to die back out and make room for the big ecosystem that’s taking back over.

That’s exactly what we’ve done with the antibiotic era. In the 1940s, we created penicillin. What is penicillin? It’s a secretion from bread mold. Here’s a mold or a fungi that’s making an antibacterial. Well, why would mold check the growth or push back bacteria? Because it’s trying to be in a cooperative relationship with the bacteria. Guess what the bacteria make? They make antifungals. [00:29:00] They make anti-yeasts. They make antivirals. They make anti-parasites. When we fix the terrain, we see all of these conditions dissolving very quickly not because the terrain is curing anything. It’s just the natural progression of the weeds get to back off when they’ve done their duty to bring nitrogen in and bring all the resources that were missing when you had denuded it. We started with penicillin. Then, of course, every decade since then we’ve had logarithmic increase in the number of antibiotics [00:29:30] on the market and the different techniques we use to kill bacteria.

We’re about five, six decades into this journey of killing bacteria in force through the medical environment. We plateaued as doctors back in the 1990s. We haven’t really increased the number of prescriptions in the United States since the mid-’90s. We prescribe an amazing 7.7 million pounds of antibiotics a year. That’s a pretty gross number. It equates to 833 prescriptions [00:30:00] per 1000 persons, 833 prescriptions per every 1000 persons in the US is how much antibiotic we prescribe. It’s literally impossible to distribute more antibiotic prescriptions than we do in the US. We saturated that market.

Now contrast to the antibiotics that we’re using in our food chain and it starts to pale in comparison. As of 2014, we were using somewhere around 30 million pounds, so a good four times more antibiotic in our [00:30:30] chickens, pigs, and cows and their raising right before we slaughter them. Of course, their feces is contaminated with, their urine’s contaminated with antibiotic, and their meat itself is impregnated with antibiotic. We have four times as much antibiotic going into the food chain as we do into the humans from their doctors.

Again, that all pales in comparison to what we’re doing to our plants and the soils around them. The number one antibiotic on the planet right now is a chemical called glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active [00:31:00] ingredient in Roundup. Roundup got patented by Monsanto in 1976, well, ’74. It came on market in ’76. That was well after its discovery in 1959 when a Japanese guy invented it. It’s an amino acid, which is a critical building block for the human body, glycine. Glycine is one of the 26 letters, if you will, or amino acids that build the 200,000 proteins of your body. You take an important amino acid [00:31:30] and you add a phosphate group on one end an amine on the other end and you end up with a toxin, which is in a category called an organophosphate.

The organophosphate that was made famous before this was also created by Monsanto and it was a chemical called Agent Orange. You may remember Vietnam War or before that Korea, we were spraying this chemical over the jungles of the combatants to try to denude the forest. It would do it very quickly. You’d fly over in a plane, dump a [00:32:00] bunch of Agent Orange, three days later, all of the leaves have fallen off the jungle. You can see right down into it and you can kill the Vietcong better there. It was part of our military machine.

Well, we found out that stuff was pretty toxic. By the time our soldiers were coming back from Vietnam, they had skin cancers. They had horrible rashes. They had a lot of eye problems and mucosal damage. It was too toxic, so they were looking for a slightly less toxic version of Agent Orange to kill weeds because who likes weeding gardens? Nobody likes weeding, right? Well, so that was their technique. You remember [00:32:30] the 1980s with the Roundup commercials where the guy comes out of his garage, dramatic soundtrack, comes out with two pistol grips and starts spraying down the five dandelions in his driveway. Of course, dandelions are a superfood that kill cancer, but that’s a different story. We’re spraying these dandelions down by the 1980s and we’re washing all that glyphosate down, or Roundup, right into our gutters and into our municipal water systems. The huge problem with Roundup, or glyphosate, it that it’s extremely water soluble, which means it’s going to stay [00:33:00] in the water systems throughout the ecosystem.

You fast forward to today, we’re using 4-1/2 billion pounds of that antibiotic worldwide. It’s interesting because it’s never been patented as a weedkiller. That’s what they tell us it is, but, in fact, it’s an antibiotic. It was patented as an antibiotic, antifungal, antiparasite that can kill single-celled life that it touches. It also kills the plants and it does both the bacteria and the plants through the same mechanism. [00:33:30] It blocks an important enzyme pathway called the shikimate pathway. This enzyme pathway produces the ringed aromatic amino acids.

I mention there’s only 26 amino acids. One of them was glycine, the backbone of glyphosate chemical. The three that it blocks is phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. All three of those are critical for brain function. Here we are talking about neurohacking. We’re not only deleting glycine, which is critical for brain structure, we’re [00:34:00] deleting three other essential amino acids because you can’t make these in your human body. Most of the amino acids the human can produce in our own cells, but there’s nine of these guys that cannot be made in the human body, so we call them the essential amino acids. Among those are these ringed aromatic amino acids that are produced the shikimate pathway.

Daniel S.: Just so everybody places it here, the three amino acids he just mentioned are probably the most significant ones for our primary [00:34:30] amine neurotransmitters, so tryptophan makes serotonin, phenylalanine and tyrosine make dopamine and then the rest of the catecholamines, so they do a lot of other things, but just serotonin and dopamine immediately from what he just said.

Zach Bush: Yeah. You just hit 80% of the neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Of course, where those are being produced is in the gut largely like mentioned and so you take away … Now, picture this phenomenon in human planet. You suddenly take away the building blocks [00:35:00] for neurochemistry in the 1980s, really got out of hand in the 1990s when we started to spray our entire crops with this chemical because we had to genetically modify the crops to be Roundup ready so that the corn wouldn’t die, the soybean wouldn’t die. We can spray the food and the soils right before it’s harvested means an entire lifecycle of that plant, it can’t make the phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan and you’re probably replacing a lot of the naturally occurring glycine residues in the body with a misformed backbone. [00:35:30] You’ve got these four amino acids that I think are being massively affected.

Now, what would happen to the population in the next two decades? First and foremost, you’d see a disruption of sleep early on. Then you’d see an epidemic of early onset anxiety. Then as things progressed, you got higher levels of residues of the chemicals in there, you’re blocking more and more of the production the natural amino acids, you would start to get really significant early life vulnerability. You’ve already killed the bacteria, which is now making the gut vulnerable. Now you put [00:36:00] a food chain that doesn’t have the essential building blocks for a healthy human body and that brain becomes extremely vulnerable. You’re trying to build a brain with no neurotransmitters and with a lack of ultrastructure. You remember the brain is not just neurons. It’s astrocytes, which are kind of like the scaffold that holds all the neurons in relationship and there’s a lot of glycine residues in a lot of these structural proteins, this extracellular matrix. It keeps the gut and the brain functioning as a singular unit. You start [00:36:30] to take away the scaffold and you take away the communication network of the neurotransmitters, you’ve just got this paucity of information.

Daniel S.: You were mentioning the effect of glyphosate on the shikimate pathway. Talk to us about the effect of glyphosate when consumed on the gut because you were talking about one cell thin membrane and what would happen if we damaged that. I think when you talk about the exponential curves of health disorders, IBD is one of the [00:37:00] classic ones to look at here in its relationship to neuropsych and other chronic disease and inflammation. Specifically, why is gluten intolerance a thing all of a sudden after thousands of years of grain-based agriculture?

Zach Bush: Yeah, great. Again, we painted a backdrop of vulnerability, so we denuded the environment of bacteria by spraying 4 billion pounds of antibiotic on our soil, so we killed the soil, [00:37:30] lack of nutrients now in the soil. Then we sprayed a chemical, same chemical that would block the essential building blocks for a healthy human body and brain. Then we would go ahead and destroy the frontline of defense, so the same chemical again, glyphosate, has a direct toxicity of the tight junctions that we had mentioned that ties everything together. Your blood-brain barrier and your gut barrier system all reliant on those tight junctions and glyphosate is extremely damaging to that tight junction.

Now, is glyphosate [00:38:00] the only toxin to the tight junction? The answer is no. Alcohol is probably the oldest one in our environment, so you get drunk, what you’ve experienced is a huge lysis of the tight junctions. You’ve got inflammation throughout the body. You wake up feeling all headachy and achy all over. It feels like you’ve got the flu. You’re profoundly dehydrated because your colon couldn’t absorb water after all the tight junctions were damaged. You just feel like crap for a day or two. That hangover is maybe and everybody’s most common experience of a complete lysis of the tight junction environment.

[00:38:30] Since then, a potent toxin that’s moved into the environment is antiinflammatories, so nonsteroidal antiinflammatories like ibuprofen and this. They can be toxic. Then more recently, MiraLAX. MiraLAX is an over-the-counter drug now for constipation and it destroys tight junctions. We’ve been damaging tight junctions in different ways as human beings for thousands of years, but never has every bite of food and every drink of water and now in the United States, 75% of our rainfall, 75% [00:39:00] of our air we breathe contaminated with Roundup. We’ve gotten to the point now where we have a toxin that injures the tight junction, causes leaky sieve effect across the whole gut membrane, starting at your sinuses with every breath and flowing through down into the gut with every drink of water and bite of food.

That whole exposure system now and you can watch … We’ve got some time lapse videos on areas of our website that you can watch this. We boil 16 minutes of the gut membrane’s exposure to glyphosate down [00:39:30] to 16 seconds. You can just see the whole membrane fall apart over those 16 minutes. It’s profound phenomenon that really has massive public health implications. That vulnerability, of course, of the gut now shifts you from an acute inflammatory situation where you’re addressing little, momentary threats to a chronic inflammatory state where there’s been so many acute injuries with every drink of food, with every breath, that your immune system [00:40:00] can’t keep up.

You’ve run out of the antioxidant reservoir. You’ve run out of the coping mechanisms, the cell-cell communication, and you start to accumulate acid in that membrane. As acidity builds, you lose more and more cell-cell communication. You start to get this stagnancy in the whole system from the gut all the way to the brain, liver, kidneys, in between. The whole system is starting to get sluggish as you shift into this chronic inflammatory state. We now know that everything from your neurodegenerative disorders to asthma [00:40:30] to allergies, all the way down to cancer and Alzheimer’s to mention the rest of the end of life, all of this is just spectrum of chronic inflammation manifesting in different organ systems.

Daniel S.: Even neuropsych in the last couple years especially as an inflammatory issue has just really started to catch on as something that is being more understood.

Zach Bush: It’s interesting because that blood-brain barrier system in the brain itself doesn’t allow white blood cells in and so you don’t have a classical immune [00:41:00] system in your brain. Instead, you have specialized neurons called glial cells that will travel around like immune cells like macrophage that will do damage control. They trigger the same inflammatory cytokines and the same things in a lot of cases that the white blood cells do in your periphery. You’re absolutely right. This was actually my first area of interest back in the 1990s was neuropsychoendocrinology. There’s now like four or five national journals called [00:41:30] Psychoneuroendocrinology is one of them, neuropsychoendocrinology.

What this is saying, basically, is that the hormones that react to an inflammatory environment then will go and modify your neurons to act much differently. We now know that major depression is a shrinkage in the temporal lobe of a very specific site called the amygdala and the hippocampus. You lose short term memory processing capacity. You start to lose control of big, negative [00:42:00] emotions, rage, hopelessness, these kinds of things. That degenerative process in the temporal lobe is set into motion by a very specific set of hormonal events from the pituitary gland that’s set into motion by inflammation.

It’s really amazing that every single time that you don’t feel like you’re on your game, you can ask the question where is inflammation happening in my body? Where am I not keeping up with the ratio because you’re walking around right now with a super simple reality. [00:42:30] You have a rate of repair and a rate of injury. If a rate of injury outstrips your rate of repair even slightly, you’re going to start to degrade in function. You’re going to start aging.

In contrast, and this is my passion now with my medical clinic and with my lecturing around the world is oh, my gosh, we have such an opportunity here. Yes, human health is collapsing. Yes, we’ve never seen so much disease in history, but we are starting to get the tools, we’re starting to have the insights to [00:43:00] say we can increase that rate of repair and we can decrease the rate of injury by realizing that things like our food chain and glyphosate are a huge piece of the demise. We can now reverse engineer that and say here’s a way to build back up the gut so we can repair faster than we’ve ever seen before. Here’s a way to decrease the injury and the rate so that you’re actually getting younger at the biologic level, not older. That’s been my passion is to actually get to see people of almost all ages do that.

My favorite couple I have in clinic [00:43:30] have been married 63 years. They’re both 91 years old. They are hilarious. He still plays competitive tennis. She’s got all kinds of rotary club and everything else. They’re just the heart of their community still. I’m watching them get biologically younger. He just reversed cancer of the tonsils and everything else about three years ago. He’s still in complete remission despite never having gotten surgery, everything else and so really interesting phenomena. He’s getting younger to the point where his cancers are staying [00:44:00] away and everything else. She’s getting younger to the fact that she’s just gotten, in the last six months, black hairs starting to grow for the first time in almost three decades. You see people even at that end of the spectrum starting to youthify not because I’m a brilliant doctor, but because their bodies are brilliant. We are literally healing machines. We’re born that way and we can continue that way if we know which systems to support through that aging process. At any age, [00:44:30] we can shift that ratio.

Daniel S.: I think that this ratio of injury and repair is a very simple, key, valuable thing for people to think about. Decreasing the total amount of injuring is, obviously, key and then increasing the repair support on the decreasing injury side. We can have acute inflammation turn into chronic inflammation because the source of the acute inflammation stays too long. That could come from doing sports wrong, where you keep injuring your knee. What percentage in your experience in the clinical practice and working with doctors all around the world, [00:45:00] what percentage of chronic inflammation that’s a contributor to all these other chronic diseases would you say has its origin in the gut?

Zach Bush: I think the answer is 100%, ironically. That’s such a ridiculous statement to make at this point because the immediate thought is well, what about trauma because like you said, you’re just exercising wrong and therefore, you’re doing it. I used to say, “I don’t know. It’s basically all conditions with the exception [00:45:30] of trauma.” Then you ask the question why do we get trauma? We get trauma because we’re unaware of our body and its symmetry. We’re unaware of patterns of behavior. That probably ties back, again, to our neurocognitive function, how much fight or flight are we in? Are we in parasympathetic? Are we in sympathetic? If we find ourselves chronically in fight or flight or sympathetic nervous system state, we start to get asymmetries in our body and then we get prone to that injury.

There’s many people that play tennis [00:46:00] throughout a lifetime and never develop osteoarthritis from that sport exposure, whereas somebody who’s in sympathetic fight or flight for a myriad of other reasons, they’ll tip into that injury. You think well, what about car accidents? Well, the reason why car accidents happen the majority of the time is well, until recently, cellphones now being a big one. It’s hard to say that a cellphone and somebody just not looking at the road is due to inflammation, but I would say that we could probably even track that back. The reason why that kid is [00:46:30] glued to that cellphone and not looking up is because they have a neurocognitive deficit of serotonin and dopamine and they’re finding their entire neurocognitive stimulation from a phone rather than the environment around them. At every state and point, if we’re on, if we’re neurologically sharp, a lion should be able to jump out. We’ll know how to respond. We’ll take care of that threat. We’ll move on without any injury. It’s an example of at your highest neurologic function, you should be pretty much bulletproof.

Daniel S.: [00:47:00] We get the top down neurologic function, neurocognitive capacity being optimized is going to both increase situational awareness, increase proprioception, increase sentry motor acuity and so you’ll decrease injury and you also will repair injury faster because you have a system that’s better at acute inflammation because it’s not consumed in chronic inflammation. What are the top things, [00:47:30] if people haven’t studied this a lot, for how to deal with decreasing injury in the gut given that we’re talking about billions of pounds in the atmosphere? One of the things that you share that I actually love and it’s one of the points that we bring up at Neurohacker a lot is it is impossible to think of our health independent of the health of the environment. Now, most people don’t have a life where they’re working on changing agriculture writ large or changing healthcare writ large. Everyone [00:48:00] who feels inclined to I hope that they do, but the future of medicine requires the future of how we think about industry and the environment and agriculture and all those things because we are an osmotic membrane in an environment, right?

Zach Bush: Absolutely.

Daniel S.: Today, in an environment that has still got depleted topsoil and tremendous amounts of ubiquitous toxicity from many causes, industrial causes, as well as agricultural causes, what are the major steps that people can do to decrease the injury [00:48:30] rate happening in the gut?

Zach Bush: Awesome. The first answer to the question is become less vulnerable. I mentioned that before glyphosate hits the system and does damage, you need vulnerability. That vulnerability is through a loss of the microbiome or a loss of bacteria and fungi and all the good stuff. That loss, unfortunately, is partly from glyphosate, but it’s also from our lifestyle, so step one is get that ecosystem back in your body. How do you do [00:49:00] that? Number one, think about your day. If your day looks something like wake up 6:00 in the morning, run to the same kitchen you go to every day, prepare the same few bites of food, maybe the same smoothie, get those down, or you just run out the door with a granola bar, same one that you eat every day, you eat that in a car that’s off-gassing plastics all the way to the office, where you sit in traffic for an hour and a half in exhaust-ridden highway. Then you get to an office. You might [00:49:30] track 20, 30 steps from car to office and you sit in a cubicle all day. Then you reverse that pattern back to your TV on the couch in the same drywall box you woke up on.

What I just described is the lifestyle of 80, 90% of working America and we wonder why we are so vulnerable. Why are we so sick all the time? The answer is our terrain is awful because our microbiome is going to mimic our macro ecosystem or our macro environment. If your macro environment is so predictable [00:50:00] and is so separated from nature, there’s no way you’re going to have a strong defense in that microbiome environment. Step one is at very least become one of those weekend warriors where you’re out on your mountain bike every weekend or you’re hiking some trail up in the mountains or you’re out on your surfboard. You’ve got to get back out in nature on a very routine basis.

It’s remarkable how little it takes to reengage. One of my favorite things is to tell people just to start to weed again. Maybe you don’t have [00:50:30] a garden, but if you live in an apartment and you go out and your walkway’s got gravel on both sides of it, well, start picking the little weeds before there. You don’t have to wait for the landscaping guy to come around every Thursday to wipe those things out with more Roundup. Start plucking those things out of there and you’re going to get something interesting is that every time you pluck a weed, there’s a little plume of microbiome that’ll come up out of the soil. If you lean down and you’re engaging with that weed, you’ve just introduced, at very least, bacteria, fungi, [00:51:00] and some helpful stuff to your skin, which can then slowly repopulate your body. If you also happen to be breathing at the same time, you’ll do perhaps the most important thing is you’ll reseed the nasal sinuses and the upper respiratory tract with some of these critical bacteria from your environment.

Maybe it’s as simple as start promising that you’ll touch a few plants between your front door and your car. Then when you get off of work, if you could do something phenomenal is take off your shoes. Maybe there’s a little park on the way [00:51:30] home or over by the office or maybe it’s by your home. Stop at a park or stop by some greenspace and take off your shoes and socks and get your toes in the grass. If your feet can touch the ground for just a few minutes, A, you’re going to create a Faraday cage at the skin level. You’re going to take a blessed few minutes where your body’s not getting pummeled with electromagnetic field from the wifi systems and everything else.

You’re going to go back to some original math or frequency resonances in your body and the microbiome is going to enter through [00:52:00] all kinds of different mechanisms at that point. You’ve got it touching the skin. You’re getting microbiome literally through the skin, into the skin pores of your feet. Grass just feels good between your toes, too. If you haven’t felt that in a while, it’s kind of youthifying right there. You want to feel like a kid, take off your shoes, run across the park at high speed or, if you haven’t done that in a while, maybe a slower speed, but pick something you’re not going to injure yourself at and you’ll start repairing faster. It’s just a fact.

Daniel S.: Just to clarify. I love that the first thing you’re saying for how people can get healthier is increase their connection [00:52:30] with an evolutionary environment. Most people can’t find anything that’s even close to an evolutionary environment by where they live. They don’t live in the Vilcabamba Valley, so if they go to the park and they put their feet in the grass, that grass is sprayed with glyphosate for killing the weeds that are in there. Is it still net positive?

Zach Bush: It is, yeah. I think it’s totally net positive. I think anytime you engage, even with a trace micro ecosystem, you win. One of the reasons I’m so convinced of this is the dogs. I’ve [00:53:00] seen my patients go from on death’s bed, literally, with chemotherapy-destroyed bodies, sterile gut. They actually are passing white chalk stools, no bacteria in the gut. We put them on the supplement from ancient soil that’s still sterile, but then their dog comes in and their dog will repopulate their gut in just a few days as long as there’s some substrate for that bacteria to grab onto. I’ve seen animals just bringing enough microbiome from the backyard, which is not necessarily a normal [00:53:30] paleo man kind of ecosystem. It’s a suburban lawn in the middle of fake everything and yet, there’s enough microbiome there to get a gut repopulated and take somebody from sterile stools to normal bowel movements in a week. It doesn’t take much to get us moving in the right direction. Again, it’s because the microbiome is so fricking abundant. Even though we’ve destroyed a vast amount of it, there’s so much of it. It’s literally like everything around us. We are [00:54:00] basically being squeezed in and filled with microbiome all the time, if we just give it a chance. We got to get to that little window.

Daniel S.: You’re talking about the first way to avoid repair is that your frontline of defense is microbiomic. Before things even actually hit human cells, make sure that your frontline of defense is good and do that by interacting with natural environment. What about intentional microbiomics? What about probiotics, prebiotics?

Zach Bush: Great. A probiotic, unfortunately, is a super narrow spectrum. [00:54:30] Your typical probiotic will have three species or seven species in there at a copy of some 35 to 100 billion copies per dose. You’re looking at a massive monocrop phenomenon. You’re supposed to have 30,000 species and you’re taking three species every day at 50 billion copies, you’re going to narrow your ecosystem over time. The only way in which a probiotic makes sense is maybe for a few days after a viral infection or you got an antibiotic for a bacterial infection or something like that and you’re trying to repopulate. [00:55:00] Just throw a few good guys into the mix while you’re in recovery. I can’t argue with that.

However, chronic use of any probiotic, I think, is probably not the right way to get to optimal gut health. If you find yourself benefiting chronically from a probiotic, it means that your environment hasn’t enriched and you need to get outside. You need to start fermenting your own food. You need to get a lot more microbiome introduced to get the terrain to the point where it’s way past any probiotic capacity. Prebiotics, again, are selecting for a relatively [00:55:30] narrow spectrum of bacteria because it’s usually just a single sugar alcohol that’s being added, something like xylitol or the rest. The probiotics were a step in the right direction to make us suddenly admit as a world that maybe some bacteria are good. We need to now see all bacteria as good. It all has a role. All the fungi, all the parasites, they all have a role in the ecosystems. We need to welcome in much more than the “good bacteria”. Calling things good bacteria, it just [00:56:00] reinforces our belief that most bacteria are bad. I think it’s detrimental in the long run to the communication of the field. Nonetheless, if you’re on a probiotic, I would just say start dialing that back if you reengage.

Now, one of the major tools, now this is where my company comes in, so everything you’re about to hear is going to be from the bias of I created this supplement. I produce or bottle this supplement in my labs here in Virginia. We’ve become the worldwide distributor for this supplement. This is my industry. This is how I make a living. [00:56:30] It’s how my kids are going to college. All of that said, what happened in 2012 is I was studying nutrition science because I had left academia, left my chemotherapy exploration world, and I was running a world of nutrition for chronic disease management.

In that journey, we were starting to realize there was 30 or 40% of our patient population that wasn’t getting better on health food. They were fermenting for me. They were super hydrating. They were doing all kinds of things right and they were getting [00:57:00] worse, not better. I was so confused. Then they’d go back on a simple carbohydrate diet like the worst thing in the world for me is from a physician or a scientist standpoint and they would actually get less inflamed. We had to go on a journey of asking why is health food begetting so challenging to the human body. How come kale can be inflammatory to the human body? How come Brussels sprouts can be inflammatory when these things are supposed to be anticancer, antiinflammatory, blah, blah, blah?

The journey took us down everything I just told you into [00:57:30] realizing that there was a leaky gut, that Roundup was the main culprit in that and everything else. In that journey though we started studying soil science. In 2012, I was going through a 90-page white paper on ancient soil, 50 million year old soil. In that document, we found this molecule that looked a heck of a lot like the chemotherapy I’d been designing. In that moment, it was one of those goosebumps seconds where you’re like whole world is woo. We’d been looking as scientists and pharmacists [00:58:00] to plants to be our source of medicinals for thousands of years. Very few have ever looked to the soils for the source and so it was this moment of like oh, my gosh, is all the untapped secret that we’re looking for actually down here in the soil? Is that what we’re missing? That’s been a really exciting journey now over the last seven years.

The supplement that I make is RESTORE. This is a dietary supplement that’s entirely derived from ancient soils. We go through raw material extraction from fossil soils about 50 [00:58:30] million years old. Then we bring it out to Virginia and we go through a whole catalyst procedure through other mineral salts to get the oxygen-hydrogen binding right so that we get this reinvigoration of the biochemistry of ancient soil and that microbiome that produced these metabolites. What we found as you reverse engineer this whole story, we found in 2012 that the bacteria, the fungi, the parasites, etc., when they digest food around them to produce nutrients for your body, they also make [00:59:00] these small metabolites, these carbon-based molecules, that are capable of cell-cell communication, supporting these massive highways of communication through your body. That’s not just neural pathways. It’s actually even tinier. It’s down at the cell-cell level. We talked about the tight junctions. Turns out that these carbon molecules have an incredible capacity to speed up the production, the repair rate of the tight junctions to the point where you can expose that membrane to something like glyphosate and see [00:59:30] incredible resilience, where you’re repairing at such a fast rate that you never get the leak to actually happen.

That excitement has led us down this pathway realizing that in this journey of understanding the rate of repair and the rate of injury in the human body, we’ve done all that analysis in sterile Petri dishes. Everything we know about cancer was done in a sterile Petri dish. Everything we know about cardiovascular disease, major depression, sterile, sterile, sterile. This is the first time now in this last five years where our lab is getting [01:00:00] to experience what does human biology look like in the context of an ecosystem that’s talking. Each species of bacteria and fungi make a unique little carbon snowflake, each one looking a little different than the next.

Interestingly, when you get the electrical capacity, capacitance electrically is through hydrogen bonding. Once you get that electrical capacity back in these communication molecules, you get a communication network. This is just like a liquid circuit board. You can imagine these highways of communication on a circuit [01:00:30] board carrying electrical impulses. This is an extra neural or extra brain environment in your gut lining as you coat your gut where you get cell-cell communication happening across broad spectrums through this pulsing electrical capacity. What they do is they send signal down to the nucleus of the human cell to start making more protein. We need more protein down here. We need more tight junctions. We need this over here. We need this over there. The supplement doesn’t say anything. It just is the wireless communication network. [01:01:00] It’s so cool to reconnect the body to itself to find out that it’s calling for repair all over the place and let the body go into that repair process. That’s an amazing journey that we’ve been on the last five years. I can’t even remember the question you even asked, but hopefully, that nails at least part of that.

Daniel S.: I think it’s not an overextension to say that every chronic disease is a breakdown in communication and that getting signaling right, whether we’re talking about neurotransmission signaling, endocrine signaling, or [01:01:30] cell-cell signaling in any tissue is the foundational thing when we look at cancer as a breakdown in appropriate signaling of that cell with the rest of the cells around it. I think that’s a realistic dynamic. When you are looking at what is the foundational substrate needed to get signaling right that’s obviously very deep in the stack of things that matter. I appreciate that your insight happened when you were looking at soil because obviously [01:02:00] all of the plants and then animals that ate them, that was the foundation of where all the minerals came from, where all of the foundational microbiome came from. One of the first people I read in health as a kid was Dr. Bernard Jensen and Empty Harvest where he was talking about the effect of modern agriculture on mineral depletion. For those who aren’t familiar because I want to tie it back to what you discovered, can you tell us a tiny bit about humic and fulvic acids [01:02:30] and soil and why that’s part of this communication process, how it has anything to do with mineralization?

Zach Bush: Perfect. Yeah, so it was our group’s first envision of potential health sources within the soil. Others had thought about it for mineral content and so shilajit was probably the first. Shilajit came out of India and some of the Middle East there. Shilajit is just a fossil soil [01:03:00] extract, usually kind of white, chalky in color, extremely high in a lot of the minerals. It’s a great mineral source. The problem with taking high dose minerals and there’s a lot of people that have been hurt by mineral supplementation over time. It can demineralize your teeth. It can demineralize bone. Taking too much mineral actually leads to the opposite phenomenon where you actually suck mineral out of your body if you’re not doing the right dose, so high dose mineral supplementation relatively dangerous. That’s the history of shilajit [01:03:30] and kind of as good.

After shilajit, we got humic acid extracts and so this is a direct extract from the fossil soil which is called humate. You’ve got the humus layer of soil is your top living soil where you got the worms and high ceiling with the fungi and the bacteria. That humus, when compressed and fossilized, will turn into humic. Humic continuing suppressed will become lignite and then eventually will turn into coal. In the humic [01:04:00] state, you still have a lot of mineral content. You can get very oxidative source. Most humic acids are extremely oxidative, kill kidney tubule cells, things like that. Humates can be great in tiny doses, but as you start to increase them, they’re very oxidative.

Fulvic acid still usually oxidative, but it has a lot less mineral content in it. Fulvic acid compounds are much tinier in their molecular structure than the humic colloidal structures. [01:04:30] The fulvic will go transcellular, will go across cell membranes much, much easier than the humics will. It doesn’t deliver nearly as much of the minerals and so therefore, you’re not going to have the same oxidative stress from minerals, but the fulvic acid itself is called fulvic acid because of its pH. Typically, fulvic acid is coming in range of anywhere from 4.5 to 6 in its pH. The vast majority of it is under 5, so it’s very acidic to start with, which makes it oxidative. [01:05:00] It does not have a good alkalinity to that low pH, so a good example of an acidic with alkalinity would be something like apple cider vinegar, which actually absorbs acid from its environment, even though it’s got acidic pH. Fulvic acid’s not like that. Fulvic acid is both acidic and with a high acidity or low alkalinity to it. That’s the history of soil extracts.

We’re doing something similar, but now we’re completely getting far away from the mineral substrate. [01:05:30] We have just very trace minerals in the RESTORE. We’re really trying to get these carbon molecules that set up this communication. Even our extracts from the fossil soils, which are never acidic, we always do a neutral or it’s actually a pH around 8, extraction of the carbon molecules from it under high pressure water. Then we bring that out to Virginia. Then when we put those on renal tubule cells, still oxidative. Then you have to go through the buffering of the minerals or through the mineral salts [01:06:00] to get the hydrogen start to bond to that compound again and eliminate that oxidative capacity. That’s a little bit of the biochemistry behind the history of soil extracts.

Daniel S.: RESTORE is a lignite extract. You mentioned lignite in the process of the compression of organic matter, so tell people a little bit more what is lignite and why that extract, if you said it’s mostly not about mineralization [01:06:30] and it’s about communication. What does that have to do with communication? What kind of structures are in it?

Zach Bush: Yeah. What we’re going after is something called redox signaling. Redox is the concentration of two words. They’re reduction and oxidation. Reduction is the donation of electron. Oxidation is the absorbance of an electron. The more reductant you have in your environment, the more negative charge, the healthier you are, literally the younger you are. [01:07:00] A child at the age of 1 has an enormous amount of electrical charge potential. It has so much electron donor capacity that it’s really hard to injure a 1-year-old. They can fall down a flight of stairs. They can fall, skin their knee. Two days later, the skin’s totally healed. They are healing machines largely because of this profound negative charge or redox signaling capacity. It’s very hard to overwhelm a 1-year-old’s oxidative capacity. They could take something like humic acid and not [01:07:30] expect to see injury, where a 60-year-old takes that same oxidative load and can’t keep up because they don’t have enough reductant or negative charge. Youth is reductant. Age is oxidative, if we will. Optimal health is a balance between that reductive and oxidant environment. That’s where the communication comes in. We now know that redox signaling or communication is this liquid circuit board phenomenon at the fabric level of biology.

The vast majority of [01:08:00] redox signaling that’s ever been studied is not from bacteria, but from mitochondria. Mitochondria live inside the human cell, most remarkably, of course, in the neuron. A human neuron may have as many as 2000 mitochondria in the single cell body there. Those mitochondria are super power packed energy producers to the degree that a cubic centimeter of mitochondria can produce about 10,000 times more energy than a cubic centimeter of the surface of [01:08:30] the sun. It’s better than a nuclear reactor by 10,000 times ounce per ounce. It’s incredible capacity of production of the energy.

Energy in this form is electrical. It’s electron potential. That energy in its production is working through or has this metabolite system of redox signaling molecules to come out of the mitochondria and help coordinate the repair process inside the human cells. These are [01:09:00] very ethereal molecules. The redox signaling coming out of a mitochondria will last about a millionth of a second. Now, the world of quantum physics, a millionth of a second is a very long time. It’s a long enough time for this domino effect to happen across large distances. I mentioned the gap junctions earlier, which are like fiber optic cables running from one cell to another. It’s exactly what it function as is a single cable that’s actually- [01:33:30]

zach bush: Coordinate the repair process inside the human cells. These are very ethereal molecules. The redox signaling coming out of a mitochondria will last about a millionth of a second. Now, in the world of quantum physics, a millionth of a second is a very long time. It’s a long enough time for this domino effect to happen across large distances. I mentioned the gap junctions earlier, which are like fiber optic cables running from one cell to another, and that’s exactly what it function as, a single cable is actually tens of thousands of cables running between each cell. A pulse of mitochondria redox signaling can set up a chain reaction through a fiber optic cable there to a distant cell and have this coordinated event, where it says, “Hey, we need help over here.”

This high redox signal with lots of oxidative molecules coming out of this cell over here is calling for immune system and other nutrients to be brought to it. More oxygen, more nutrients, we need to repair, we need reinforcements. Like you said, all human disease can boil down to a loss of communication at the cell level. If you start to get isolated, you start to break tight junctions, you start to break gap junctions, you start to disrupt the environment with an acidic shell, you now get cancer.

Cancer is a cell that’s been damaged, damaged, damaged. It’s been calling for help but is now getting so damaged that the mitochondria itself can’t even mount this reactive oxygen species response to shout help. Now the cell is just accumulating damage, accumulating damage, to the point where now it can’t even repair itself. Amazingly, and you think of this lonely damaged cell, you would think, well, it would just give up, right? We are so wired for life at the very fabric of human existence. We are wired for life, so that damaged, lonely cell, says, “I can’t repair anymore, and I’m going to die, the only hope that I have of passing life on is to procreate.”

It just starts dividing, and that will become a tumor, which then can become an aggressive cancer. The cell is so unaware that it’s part of a seventy trillion cell organism, that it’s just going into life preservation. For that, we’ve created a $450 billion dollar industry called chemotherapy, to kill those cells. They’re just the loneliest, most damaged cell in your body.

Daniel S: I think this is a beautiful metaphor and a way of thinking of it, that we’re seventy trillion single cell organisms, that where those single cell organisms actually found radical symbiosis, and working together, that produces all these emergent properties that we, as an organism have, that those cells on their own didn’t have, right? Lot of evolutionary capacity.

That requires all those cells being able to communicate and recognize that what’s in their own best interest and the best interest of each other is the same thing, right, because they are part of a symbiotic system. The communication breaks down, they don’t recognize their symbiosis, they go into their own self preservation, and cancer is actually the going back to the very, very, very old evolutionary dynamics of single cell organisms being able to proliferate in a non-symbiotic environment.

Obviously the parallels of this with humans relating to each other as a civilization is obvious and critical.

zach bush: Critical. Yeah, you can actually even watch it in our politicians. I’ve started to actually our presidential campaigns, because I get to watch human biology at the macro level to surmise what’s happening at the micro level. I saw of our candidates get sicker and sicker over the course of their travel. They were stressing their bodies to an extraordinary degree. No rest, eating crap food, completely pushing beyond the limits of their physical capacity, and what you saw in result, as they got sicker and sicker, you remember, Trump was getting so red it looked like he was going to have a heart attack every time he got up and talked. Hillary collapsed and was taken in for pneumonia and then hospitalized.

Towards the end of that campaign, you see this collapse of human health happening, and so all the cells in the body are starting to go into this chaotic loneliness, like you said, just root cause survival state. What happened to their rhetoric? Got more and more inflammatory, and so they’re at inflammation at the cell level, they’re loneliness, they’re paranoia, they’re anger, all of that defensiveness was happening literally in their tissue, and it was turning into this outpouring from their mouths that all of us stand around in dumbfounded state, like these are the two human beings that rose?

But, you put any two people through that kind of stress, they’re going to manifest that same apparent idiocy as just of breakdown of our fabric.

Daniel S: The nature of our power structures is such that those who are in positions of most influence are also usually in the positions of most stress and the least regeneration and meaningful interpersonal connection, which is about as stupid a macro structure communication network as you could want to have.

zach bush: I mean, you look at our young people right now. You’ve got seventy percent of kids diagnosed with attention deficit disorder are on a drug by the time they’re twelve, and so you’ve got a huge amount of the male population coming through junior high and high school on speed. Then, they’re pushed into a work environment, where they’re supposed to work fifteen to eighteen hours a day, they’re supposed to survive on no nutrient rich food, and it’s no wonder what the behavior his. We look towards the housing being securities backed mortgages. Like, what kind of idiocy led to all of that?

Well, when we start to stimulate the brain in fight or flight state, in an environment where there’s no microbiome communication, there’s no extra neural communication going on, you’re just turning into an inflammatory civ, you’re neurons are starting to lose the substrates of dopamine, neuro epinephrine, serotonin. You’re literally losing communication at the microbiome level, at the mitochondrial level, the redox signaling level, at the nerve level. You are turning into just a complete fight or flight state, and we make horrible decisions over time that in the moment seem rational. It’s like, “Well, I’m going to lose my job.” Or, “I’m not going to meet that deadline,” or, “I’m not going to do that if I don’t do this.”

You’ve completely lost the forest for the trees, and now you’re just making second by second fight or flight decisions, and you’ve lost that attention to detail and the bigger picture, and you’ve lost a sense of creativity.

Daniel S: Right, so you just closed the loop, where first you said a sick environment makes sick people. Now you said sick people behave in ways that in turn end up damaging the macro environment that they’re part of, so we get vicious cycles or virtuous cycles in our own health, right? It’s more in the relationship of our health and our environment.

Knowing that we have to wrap up soon, I want to come back to why would [inaudible] process this way, help increase the communication of the microbiome and of the genome and of the microbiome with human cells. Explain that part to us.

zach bush: What we found, so I mentioned the mitochondria make these redox molecules that cry for help and bring in repair systems and everything else. The moment I saw those molecules in the soil was the moment I recognized the similarity. It would have been boring if it was just a toxin like chemotherapy. The exciting thing was the chemotherapy I had been designing was from Vitamin A and would turn on mitochondrial redox signaling and apoptosis or programmed cell suicide in cancer cells. You could actually eliminate cancer without an immune system.

That process was happening down at the mitochondrial level due to nutrients we could deliver into the cell. In this moment of looking at the soil, suddenly realized, “Oh, my gosh. The soil doesn’t have mitochondria.” It turns out that single celled organisms like bacteria and fungi don’t have mitochondria in them. It takes a eukaryotic multi-cellular organism before we start to see the expression of mitochondria [00:08:00] living within those cells.

Now, picture 30,000 species of bacteria, 300,000 species of parasite, and 5 million species of fungi all living together. They would have to communicate to do that well. The moment of seeing this molecule was the moment of, “Oh, my gosh, of course the bacteria, fungi and the whole microbiome would have to make a redox signaling capacity to it. The major difference being, it’s not in a protected space. I mentioned that a millionth of a second that the mitochondrial signal can last. Well, that still is enough time to communicate in the safe, protected space of the inside of a cell, because the PH is perfect, the osmolality is perfect, the [inaudible] is controlled.

Now, think of a bacteria in the soil. There’s no protection of that extra cellular environment. There’s no sense of control of what the PH is from second to second, and then you take a bite of that food and it goes from a PH of 7.5 to 2.5 back to 8, in just a 12 inch space, and so their communication network is going to have to be super stable in comparison.

That’s what we found in 2012 in lignite, was this perfect moment where as you move from the humus of living soil, to the humic where it’s really rich in minerals and a little bit is carbon substrate down towards more carbon substrate, less mineral, eventually being devoid of all things except for carbon, turns to coal. You’re catching it in the fossil process of stripping away enough of the mineral where you can start to get oxygen hydrogen binding to happen again, and that’s where we pull lignite into the picture.

If we can catch this moment where we can renew that bacterial communication network of this redox signaling capacity on there, and so that’s what we work with, is that oxygen and hydrogen exchange on these carbon backbone molecules that are made by the microbiome.

Daniel S: What have you found with the lignite extract with the restore in various [00:10:00] populations you’ve worked with? What have you found that’s happened in terms of the actual therapeutic effect on tight junctions, gut inflammation?

zach bush: Yeah, it’s super simple. Goes back to this ratio of rate of injury to rate of repair. We’re addressing at the root cause, and this is just pure luck, I’m not this smart of a human being. Providence is there, intuition is there, lots of perfect moments happened to create all this, but as it turns out,  this lignite extract, once put into a redox state, happens to address, just like glyphosate which addresses the injury at every step of the way, this addresses that glyphosate vulnerability at every level.

Turns out that when we put this into the complexity of a gut environment, the ecosystem quickly balances. We’ve got patients who have had an abnormal microbiome since birth. They’re born with cerebral palsy, spent the first six months of life in an ICU, hammered by antibiotics, weeds growing everywhere,  and it was candida that set up shop. Candida is a yeast that’s common in weed that crops up [inaudible] the bacteria. They’ve got yeast in their stools for 25 years with cerebral palsy, and they’re very neurologically damaged. They’re just dysfunctioned.

They come to clinic, they’ve been on every anti-yeast compound known, they’ve been on antibiotics, they’ve been on the whole works trying to correct their gut. Then, here we come along, we put a sterile compound that just does communication in that microbiome environment, and within three months that person’s got a microbiome that’s got a lot of bacteroides, these beneficial bacteria, that has now checked the growth of the candida. There’s actually no measurable candida in their stools for the first time in 20 years, and we didn’t try to kill anything.

That’s what we get to see over and over again. This is a supplement that doesn’t try to do anything. All it does is put the wireless communication network back up. My cell phone is starting to dysfunction on me this week, very annoying. Well, that’s a cell just like your cell in your body being isolated. My phone is starting to dysfunction and it’s not connecting to the antennas as well, and so as it starts to get disconnected from the wireless communication, the apps start to degrade, everything starts to fragment, and now my stupid operating system is all not working.

Well, that’s the phenomenon of the cells. Over and over again we see this dysfunction happening to that wireless communication network, so Restore is very unique in that it’s not trying to tell anybody to do anything. It just moves into the system  and restores communications so this cell over here can talk to that one over there and talk to this one over there. The microbiome wills start to correct itself. Then you move to the human system, and so now at the human system level, when we put this stuff onto a gut membrane, we see immediately the mitochondria actually decrease their stress level if they’re healthy. If they’re a damaged cell then the mitochondria with them actually increase their signal for help.

You get this differential response between healthy and unhealthy tissues at the mitochondrial level, and so it’s so cool to imagine all these bacteria and fungi and everything else talking to the mitochondria to say, “Hey, you’re a healthy cell, nothing to worry about. Hey, you’re a super damaged cell, you need to shout out, ‘Help’, get that activated.” You see this really fast increase in rate of repair, not from Restore, from inside the human cell. The intrinsic, endogenous repair systems accelerate when they’ve got the communication network back into play. The same time, you’re decreasing the injury rate, because the cell just made a whole bunch of tight junctions. You’ve got this impenetrable wall now, that’s being damaged by glyphosate, but it’s healing faster than it can be damaged.

This is where we’re getting to really relearn the entire human biology, now that we didn’t know that human cells could repair this fast. It has literally never been seen to go through the sensing of all that damage to the production of proteins to the integration of those tight junctions re enveloping. We’re seeing that happen in minutes. We thought genomic things took hours to days. To see this thing all happen in a matter of minutes is extraordinary.

Daniel S: When you look at increasing the communication within the microbiome, within the mucosal system, obviously that is upstream from so many other dynamics, that it could have a role in cancer and neurodegen and neuropsych and cardiovascular and et cetera. Are you guys starting to explore clinical trials for the application of the lignite extract to various kinds of disease states?

zach bush: We would love to. Of course there’s this minor little thing called the FDA and FTC that kind of keep us from doing disease based science around this, and so because it’s our company and everything else, we’re very limited by what we’re allowed to put into play, what we’re allowed to publish. But, we are doing clinical trials, and we’re doing them in areas that the FDA doesn’t care about. It turns out the FDA doesn’t think the microbiome is important, and so we’re able to do studies showing beneficial effects in the microbiomes. We’ve got those studies running. We’ve got early results from a number of those.

We’re doing studies just showing glyphosate levels. We got back some recent data showing a drop in glyphosate just after two weeks of fixing this gut environment. Get a 20 to 30 percent drop in glyphosate over a two week period [crosstalk]

Daniel S: On the same diet?

zach bush: Same diet, same everything. You just put the supplement into play, and you see this drop in glyphosate levels. What’s happening is, as the microbiome expands, and then starts to get rich, it will digest glyphosate. More importantly, it will actually up regulate the enzymes that chew up zonulin and other downstream peptides that create the tight junction leak that would end the glyphosate up in your bloodstream which would then hit the kidneys, et cetera.

It’s this really cool phenomenon that we’re seeing. Again, Restore doesn’t clear glyphosate. Restore doesn’t do anything directly to glyphosate. Instead, Restore is up regulating the microbiome’s capacity to deal with adversity, and up regulating your human body to deal with adversity. That’s the pattern that we have going on. We do have a lot of groups around the country that are working on more diseased centric stuff that have nothing to do with us. There’s autism groups and other groups around the country that you can connect to, but for us as a company we have to be pretty careful about what we put into play.

Daniel S: I understand that very well. We are actually doing a bunch of trials in neuropsych and I’d be very interested in talking with you about being able to explore some of the gut brain with neuropsych dynamics.

zach bush: Oh, no question, and we have that in space, so we  can definitely show the trajectory of normal human healing, right, and so something like sleep is a good example of this. When sleep gets disordered, it’s not because you have a primary lesion in your sleep center of the brain. No, not at all. There are six or seven major parts of the brain that just need to be coordinated for sleep to occur. Once you get the cell to cell communication reestablished, you start making more neurotransmitter, all of that falls into place, and of course you get enough good healthy nutrients in there, then the serotonin is produced, the dopamine is produced,  norepinephrine.

You’re not only decreasing inflammation by supporting all these innate repair and protection systems, you’re also up regulating the neuro communication, which then takes the stress of the endocrine system, so now you’re not making your stress signaling in the endocrine system, your sympathetic nervous system and the whole vagus nerve tones down, you got parasympathetic up regulation. It’s just win, win, win, win all the way down the course.

Restore is one of the exciting moments where if you have any condition that you’re thinking this is related to inflammation or aging, then you’re going to find, oh my gosh, this is a huge piece of the puzzle. Bring the microbiome back as a foundational piece and up regulate the body’s natural capacity for this injury repair and protection.

Daniel S: We’re fascinated at neural hyper with the potential of microbiome mix in general and what Restore does that is different than probiotics and prebiotics and that process. We’re going to put the link to the website and also link to some other talks for you to explore more about it in the show notes, but for people who are just listening, what is your URL, where people can come?

zach bush: www.restore4life.com. That’s our product website, and the Zach Bush M.D. website, that’s just got a bunch of my science and education and stuff like that, if you want to just go after general health and wellness. I can talk about disease management and other things on my Zach Bush M.D. website. I’ve got a podcast coming out that you can tune into soon. All that stuff, it allows me to take my gloves off and not be FDA compliant because I’m not talking about a product on Zach Bush M.D., so if you just want to hear my frontal lobe bent sometime, log onto that one there.

Daniel S: Great. Just in closing, for practical things, so people can go restore4life.com. Explore Restore is one possibility. They can go spend more time in nature. With regard to actual damage that is happening to the gut from glyphosate exposure and other things, top one, two, or three recommendations of what people can avoid and what they can favor that makes a difference?

zach bush: Yeah. To date we haven’t found anything that can compete with Restore in regard to that acceleration of protein synthesis and the front line of defense, all that stuff. But, there is other things you can do in regard to glyphosate. Number one, eating organic is smart. Now, there’s glyphosate in our rain and water systems and everything else, you can’t get away from it, but you can certainly decrease the amount. There’s many studies that have been published now showing a decrease in chronic inflammation and different disorders by just switching to a strict diet of organic foods.

In general the lower you get on the food chain, the less glyphosate is going to be present in your food, the less plastics will be in your food. If you think about this, obviously plants being at the lowest point of your food chain. I preach a plant based diet all the time in my clinic. If you’re going to tip into the animal protein world for consumption, certainly don’t go to dairy. I think dairy is extremely toxic on a lot of levels, but if you go into the meats then, the small whitefish, like your trout, your sea bass, those are going to be less acidic and less prone to carrying a lot of the toxins that we’re talking about, heavy metals included.

You go to the larger fish, things like tuna and salmon, those are very prone to high plastic content, high amounts of heavy metals, and of course, then the residues of the herbicides and pesticides. The larger the animal, the more residues they’re going to have of all the bad stuff, because they’re living off the smaller life. Those are just some general guidelines. If there is anything else you put in your cupboard other than Restore, I would say apple cider vinegar is a great one. Specifically Braggs, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar. Braggs happens to have a mix of bacteria in there that actually can slowly break down glyphosate levels, and so that’s a fun one to sprinkle on your salad before you eat it, and let it sit there for 20 minutes or something like that and marinate your salad, is all these bacteria can start breaking down any glyphosate that may be on there to begin with, and then as you eat it there will be less glyphosate that your gut, microbiome and the rest have to deal with.

Daniel S: And, you mentioned fermentation. Are there any starters that you put together like, or?

zach bush: [inaudible] Yeah, so I like wild fermentation a hundred percent and the problem with all the starters is they’re basically probiotics, right, so you got one species of acidophilus or a few strains of lactobacilli or the like, and so I’m a big fan of doing air fermentation. What that looks like is you make your salt water brine. Takes pennies. Then, you just chop up cabbage, or my favorite is chop up a bunch of turnips, throw those into your brine, and then put a towel over the crock and let that air ferment for two to three days where the bacteria from the air is populating that.

One of my favorite things is just to move it out to different sides of your house. In the morning put it out on your eastern porch or out in the yard where it can get some of that, and then in the evenings put it at sunset. Move it around the yard a couple times just for an hour or so is enough and then bring it back inside, keep the towel over it the whole time. The bacteria will filter through the little cheese cloth or towel whatever you got over it, just so you’re not dropping leaves in your ferment.  

Then, you might notice over a few days there might be a little bit of a film or even a little bit of mold that will start growing on top of the water. That means you’ve done your good job. You just scrape that clean. Then I tend to bottle it just so that it’s not as much work for me from day to day. Once I’ve got a few days of air fermentation going, I’ll pour it into my Ball jars. I’ve got half gallon Ball jars. Cap those. You don’t want to cap them tight because they’ll actually explode as they produce gas. You either cap them real lose so that there’s some air exchange going on, but my favorite was is to cap them tight, drill a hole in the top first and then pop one of the little air exchangers that you see in the air brewing systems and stuff like that. You can go by your local brewery kit and get that little air exchanger and pop that little cork with the air exchange into the top of the ball jar.

Then you can leave that on the counter for a few more days and then stick it in the fridge. It can stay in the fridge for months while you chose when to eat it. The nice thing about doing your own fermentation is you can pick what stage your palette prefers. You’re going to find out that the more denuded your microbiome is the more challenged your gut is, the earlier the ferment you’re going to prefer. It will be sweeter. It will have a different kind of bubbliness or fizziness to it initially, and a lot of people with chronic gut issues will prefer their ferments young like that. As you get healthier, you’re going to actually start craving the longer fermentation process. Things like long ferment chem cheese, the master’s meso, right? The Japanese mesos are the classic. You go over to Japan, make sure you get some of their black meso, their seven year fermented stuff. Imagine how many populations or generations of bacteria are on a seven year ferment, in your typical sauerkraut is two to three weeks. Seven years of a crock working on itself, digesting itself down, that stuff actually can reduce radioactive material. You can actually digest plutonium and other radioactive isotopes with meso, and so that stuff is like your holy of holies there in the fermentation world.

Daniel S: Zach, thank you for taking the time with us. I know we ran a little bit long.

zach bush: No problem, you guys are awesome.

Daniel S: Super fascinated by the work that you’re doing and feel like it is critically pioneering and excited to share this with everyone in the neurohacker field and to stay apprised of your work.

zach bush: Awesome you guys. Everybody go forth and reengage with nature. She’s going to heal everything.

Daniel S: Thank you much.

zach bush: All right.