Zach Bush, MD, Founder and CEO of ION* and his team join us today to explain how the gut microbiome functions and what we can do to help our microbiome thrive.
Give us a high-level overview of how the microbiome functions
The microbiome is a vast and diverse ecosystem of micro-organisms that provide nature’s critical capacity for energy metabolism and communication between the cells of all species, including humans. This integrated community of bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and even parasites exists around, on, and within each of us. It constitutes our unique microbiome that determines our genetics, energy production, and even our mental health by facilitating communication and connection between us and the natural world. In fact, we are mostly microbes, with some estimates showing we have at least 10 times as many microbial cells as human cells within our bodies.
Our microbiome assists in the digestion of food, regulates immune function, and produces essential nutrients for the production of over 200,000 unique proteins ranging from detox enzymes to neurotransmitters. In essence, our wellbeing is dependent on a well-functioning, balanced, and diverse microbiome. A balanced microbiome communicates with the intestinal cells to maintain a strong gut barrier as a first line of defense for the immune system, and prevents monoculture overgrowth of bacteria or other organisms. On the other hand, a dysfunctional, unbalanced microbiome may contribute to impaired immune health, digestive issues, brain fog, and a long list of the chronic disorders and diseases that have become pandemic in recent decades.
For our microbiome to thrive, it needs a healthy space to live, with the gut lining functioning at the foundation.
For our microbiome to thrive, it needs a healthy space to live, with the gut lining functioning at the foundation. Two tennis courts of surface area from nose to rectum, it is the largest barrier system between our bodies and the outside world. This barrier, called the epithelial layer, is only one cell layer thick (half the width of a human hair) and is delicately held together by cellular seals called tight junctions. Coated in what is best described as a mucosal “terrain,” this is where our gut microbiome lives.
Tell us about the science behind ION* Gut Support
Over the last 60 years, factory farming, processed foods, and widespread antibiotic use have all played critical roles in the decline of microbiome diversity and overall health. The Leaky Gut phenomenon has become increasingly widespread, opening our eyes to a better understanding of the microbiome, the gut lining, and our destructive efforts to harm these essential systems.
While there are many new chemical toxins in our environment due to industrial activities around the globe, glyphosate — the chemical herbicide found in Roundup and most of the other weed killers on the market globally) — is the most ubiquitous. This chemical functions as an antibiotic, killing microbiome diversity in our soil and water systems through agriculture and garden/yard maintenance. The residuals of the chemical in our human and animal food and water destroy the microbial diversity within our bodies. Additionally, glyphosate causes a direct breakdown in our tight junctions, causing increased intestinal permeability (popularly known as leaky gut). With leaky gut comes an immune system overwhelm and the advent of food and environmental allergies, immune system imbalance, and metabolic collapse.
The science of ION* is based on the discovery that diverse microbiomes in soil systems produce a communication system that we can capture to support human systems through a liquid supplement for gut health, skin health, sinus health, and beyond. As we enhance the communication network of the microbiome, we can promote the immediate capacity of the body for regeneration and repair throughout the body's systems. At the gut, this translates to support for rapid production of tight junction proteins the body needs to repair the barrier systems and support the body on the journey to health and healing.*
Sourced from ancient soil, ION* is a humic extract naturally rich in fulvate and a variety of trace minerals and amino acids that work together to help fortify the tight junctions in our gut barrier via support for healthy redox signaling. The bacterial metabolites found in this ancient soil are the same as those used in the gut to foster healthy communication between the microbial you and the human you. At a cellular level, this promotes a healthy adaptive response to our environment.*
How can folks tell if ION* is working?
The benefits of supporting reinforced tight junctions and enhancing the natural diversity of the microbiome are vast. Because so much of our health starts in the gut, supporting the strength of our first line of defense can make an impact in a myriad of ways. Someone regularly taking ION* could experience anything from enhanced mood to healthy digestion, from optimal regularity to smoother, healthier skin.*
If you could offer three tips to those with leaky gut what would they be?
- Eat organic, or better yet, regenerative plant-based foods whenever possible
- Reduce foods such as gluten and dairy that can promote immune imbalances
- Use ION* Gut Support three times daily to help reinforce gut lining integrity, and add ION* Sinus Support to enhance the resilience of the sinuses and health of the microbiome of your airways and upper gastrointestinal system.*
Can you tell us what makes our gut-brain connection of special interest?
Approximately 15% of our gut lining is composed of enteric endocrine cells, which produce over 90% of the serotonin and over 50% of the dopamine that our bodies use. In fact, the brain doesn’t even produce its own neurotransmitters — the gut does. This is a massive paradigm shift in the current ideology of the brain’s functions.
Approximately 15% of our gut lining is composed of enteric endocrine cells, which produce over 90% of the serotonin and over 50% of the dopamine that our bodies use.
In light of this data, it is not surprising that damage to the microbiome and intestinal lining is often associated with many common neurologic issues*. The gut barrier is the first line of defense against intestinal pathogens and toxins. It is responsible for the carefully regulated passage of water, electrolytes, and macro-, and micronutrients from our diet. For our bodies and minds to function properly, our gut must do so first.
Get to Know Dr. Zach Bush
What’s a biohack you can’t live without?
Get outside in nature every single day and breathe in the biodiversity that surrounds you. Spend at least 15 minutes daily soaking up the sunshine, with your bare feet on the ground connecting to Mother Earth.
Books you’re reading right now?
Favorite quote at the moment?
“Listen, and you will realize that we are made not from cells or from atoms. We are made from stories.“ — Mia Couto
Do you have any sleep tips to share with us?
The neurohealth necessary for a good night of sleep begins with clear nasal breathing, a happy gut, and a resilient gut/brain axis. For tens of thousands of consumers globally, ION* Sinus Support and ION* Gut Support have become cornerstones for supporting great sleep*.
A restful night’s sleep is contingent on the choices we make throughout the day, beginning the moment we wake up in the morning. Our lifestyle and environment can have a positive or negative effect on our sleep quality, including the foods we consume, our hydration level, who we surround ourselves with, and the extent to which we engage with nature. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Think about what you eat and drink. Aim to focus on a plant-based, whole food, organic diet. This will help you avoid processed sugars and toxic chemicals which negatively alter metabolism and can rob you of sleep— even if your bedroom environment is perfect.
- Try to limit caffeine, especially later in the afternoon. You’ll find once you spend a few weeks repairing your sleep, you won’t need that afternoon pick-me-up.
- Limit alcohol, and if you drink with dinner or during an evening event, try to keep it to a moderate level of consumption and always consume it with water. A good rule is 12 oz of water per drink. For example, two beers or two glasses of wine, equals an additional 24 oz of water. Drinking water will help reduce dehydration, flush out toxic metabolites, and protect against the negative effects of alcohol on your sleep cycle.
- Regular exercise will help stabilize your mood and decompress your mind in order to improve your sleep. The drop in body temperature which occurs many hours after exercise will also help you feel drowsy. Exercise improves the biochemical functions of your cells and will assist your sleep metabolism in performing its regenerative functions more efficiently. People who exercise regularly spend more time in deep sleep and experience longer duration sleep— in short: people who exercise get better sleep.
- Our sleep environment also extends into how we wake up in the morning. Our mindset when we are waking up can set the tone for your entire day. Try to take a few minutes as you are getting ready to get up to think about the things you are thankful for and give yourself permission to accept the challenges of the day ahead of you.
Connect With Dr. Zach Bush
Zach Bush, MD is a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology and hospice care. He is an internationally recognized educator and thought leader on the microbiome as it relates to health. 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.
You can connect with Zach Bush, MD and learn more about his work using the following links:
- Zachbushmd.com — Applying the rigor of science, strength of humanity, and the intelligence of nature to transform our health and our world.
- JourneyofIntrinsicHealth.com — A revolutionary 8-week personal health course, community, and coaching experience, with educational lectures and exercises that explore the root cause of disease and how to harness the body's healing capacity.
- Farmersfootprint.us — A coalition of farmers, educators, doctors, scientists, and business leaders aiming to expose the human and environmental impacts of chemical farming.
- Intelligenceofnature.com — All natural and soil derived, ION* Gut Support goes beyond probiotics to defend you from environmental toxins and diversify your gut microbiome naturally.
As a perk for our community, use code NEUROHACKER15 for 15% OFF ION* products (does not include discounted bundles or subscription purchase ). Happy health optimizing!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and services mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The recommendations in this article represent the opinions and experience of the interviewee, and are not a guarantee, promise, or reflection of other users’ results.