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Episode 53: Can An Unhealthy Gut Cause Alzheimer’s? [Straight From The Gut]

Episode 53: Can An Unhealthy Gut Cause Alzheimer’s? [Straight From The Gut]

Also called diabetes Type 3, Alzheimer’s link to diet and lifestyle is a hot topic. And now, researchers have confirmed the link between dysbiosis in the gut and the development of Alzheimer’s. 

On this “Straight From The Gut” episode, Andrea and Afif are back to talk about the new research and updates they’re seeing across the microbiome space. 

Along with breaking down the Alzheimer’s study, they get into an interesting discussion about how science is using microbes to detect and beat art fraud around the world, plus they chat in depth about IBS-D and its link to a specific bacteria that jumped from animals to humans (exactly like COVID-19!)

Questions? Ideas? Email us at themicrobiomereport@biohmhealth.com or reach out on Instagram @DreEats or @BIOHMHealth

Approximate Timestamps: 

  • Roundup, glyphosate and gluten (3:14) 
  • Microbes and art fraud (5:11) 
  • Teff grain and gut superfoods (10:06)
  • IBS-D’s tie to a specific bacteria (15:16) 
  • How gut microbes shape antibodies (20:46) 
  • Poor sleep linked to metabolites (24:00) 
  • The link between Alzheimer’s and gut microbes confirmed (30:07) 

Mentioned On This Show:

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Transcript: 

Andrea Wien: Welcome to the Microbiome Report. I am your host, Andrea Wien, and today we have another Straight From The Gut episode with Afif Ghannoum, the CEO of BIOHM Health. These episodes are all about the new research that's coming out, trends that we're seeing in the industry, and just general rabbit holes that we like to dig ourselves into and talk through.

On this episode, we are looking at some interesting things that we haven't talked about before. One of them being how the microbiome and microbes are being identified to beat art fraud. Such an interesting topic. They're looking at microbes from the time of DaVinci and his artwork and how we can really start to piece together the puzzles about whether things are actually what they say they are.

We talk about that. We talk a little bit about super foods as they relate to the microbiome and if we're really entering the stage of when every food might be considered a super food for the microbiome. So, that's an interesting conversation.

And then we talk in detail about irritable bowel syndrome, specifically diarrhea focused IBS and some research that's come out that could be really promising for people who are struggling with this. So if that's you, this is definitely something that you want to listen to. We also get into a few other studies, talk about sleep, Alzheimer's, antibody production.

Again, these episodes go all over the place but we really hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoy recording them. If you haven't already, could you please make it your New Year's resolution to go to our page on iTunes, leave us a rating, leave us a review, drop us a note. Let us know what you think about the show, if there's any topics you want us to discuss.

I'm at the microbiomereport@biohmhealth.com or on Instagram, we're @BIOHMhealth. I'm @dreaeats. Any of those places will all get to me. And I would love to hear what you think about the show and what direction you want us to go in in 2021. Now, without further ado, let's get to the show. Afif, Happy New Year.

Afif Ghannoum: Happy New Year to you too. Can I tell you my favorite new year hack?

Andrea Wien: Yeah.

Afif Ghannoum: There's a time I think it's like 11:33 PM, maybe 10:33 PM, if you start playing Forrest Gump at that time, you will celebrate New Year with Lieutenant Dan and I share that every year with my family.

Andrea Wien: Oh that's awesome. I think last year, I don't even think Matt made it to New Years, and to be honest, we're recording this right before New Year's. So I don't know how this year will go, but it might just be me and Lieutenant Dan by ourselves because my husband was asleep last year.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah. That's typically me, but I at least alert everyone I know that that's the way to do it.

Andrea Wien: Yeah, definitely. I just wanted to bring up [crosstalk 00:02:52].

Afif Ghannoum: Here it is. If you start Forrest Gump at exactly 10:38 and 57 seconds on New Year's Eve, you can ring in the New Year with Lieutenant Dan. There.

Andrea Wien: Well, now everyone's going to have to wait until next New Year's 2021 to do this because New Year's has been over for three weeks. I'll keep it bookmarked and we'll all do it together.

Afif Ghannoum: That's awesome.

Andrea Wien: All right. So I wanted to bring up one thing before we jump into this week's episodes about glyphosate and Roundup that we talked about. So it was brought to my attention that not only is it problematic for the microbiome, but it also has been linked to why gluten is so problematic.

So this is something having Celiac Disease that I've followed pretty closely. And again, when we're talking about this stuff, it's correlation not causation. So we can't say that Roundup has caused an increase in Celiac Disease. And yet when we look at the graphs that show the use of Roundup around the country and the rise of Celiac Disease, they are mirror images. I mean, they're identical.

So there is potentially something to dig into there. Of course, there's a lot of reasons why gluten could be problematic. I'll just give you another one quickly. People always say we've been eating wheat and gluten since the beginning of agriculture, why is it so problematic now?

And when we look at how many chromosomes ancient wheat, iron corn wheat is what it's called had, I think it's something like 14 and now current modern day wheat is at 28 or 40. Something ridiculous. So it's not even the same product. And then when we look at genetically modified organisms, GMOs, the wheat that we're growing now has actually been genetically modified to be able to withstand the spray of Roundup.

So a farmer can plant it and then go through his field and spray the whole thing with Roundup and it kills everything else except for the wheat. So, there's layers upon layers of things that could be problematic here, but I thought it was worth pointing out that when people make the argument we've been eating this product for since the beginning of agriculture, why is it problematic now? These are a few reasons why.

Afif Ghannoum: Well, and we were talking about off air. It's funny, like you said, it's correlation, not yet causation, but it's definitely worth looking at. And the example I was telling you off air was I was reading this book about wine fraud. It's a big problem in collector wine circles, where people are trying to pawn off fake wine as hundred year old bottles. And what blew my mind was one of the ways they can definitively tell if a bottle of wine is older than, let's just say 1940, there's a specific year.

It's around that time. But let's just say 1940 is that is the year that the U.S. tested nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. And it literally rained radiation around the world. So now they can definitively tell if grapes in a bottle of wine were produced pre 1940 or post 1940 because every single grape since that time has a low level of radiation. So this idea that things that are done don't have some trickle down in fact, there's so many of these crazy examples out there.

Andrea Wien: It's terrifying. And actually, I know you didn't see the topic that we're going to talk about next, but it kind of links in. So you're talking about wine fraud and there was that fascinating documentary. I think you mentioned that you're reading a book, but if anyone wants to check it out on Netflix, we'll put it in the show notes. I can't remember what it was called, but they go through kind of the-

Afif Ghannoum: I think it's called Sour Grapes.

Andrea Wien: Yes. Yes. That's what it is. And it's really fascinating. And just the level of specificity and fraud that people go through, it's really stunning. And the same thing happens in art. So now they are starting to be able to tell art fraud by the piece's microbiome. So they looked specifically at the artwork of DaVinci and got its own microbial fingerprint if you will, and found the different bacteria and fungi and cataloged that.

And so purely just by looking at the microscopic profile of the painting, they were different enough between the individual ones that the researchers could tell which piece of artwork it was just by that. Just by the microbes. Not even looking at the art or any details about it. So now they're starting to be able to say, "We can have these microbial fingerprints and then if something turns up, we can clearly see if it's an original or not," which is so cool.

Afif Ghannoum: It's amazing.

Andrea Wien: Yeah. It really is. What a fun way to start to think about the microbiome. And then they were saying each of these fingerprints is a collection of every person who's really ever touched that or restored it all the way back to potentially the 15th century. So it's so interesting.

Afif Ghannoum: Geez.

Andrea Wien: Yeah so it's one of those fun little stories that popped up that I think is just interesting.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah. And it's funny when I was like, "Oh, I sound like such a tool saying, 'Oh, wine fraud,'" but to your point it's actually super interesting. And it's like the FBI is involved and all these things and the book's called Billionaire's Vinegar because the idea is it's actually not wine. It's just sour grapes. So yeah, it's worth checking out.

Andrea Wien: So my thought is if these guys or women are being able to deceive, even these master sommeliers with these blends, they're still really good wines. So even though obviously it's problematic because people are paying way more than they should be. Those people who are frauds are really amazing chemists and they've figured something out.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah. And again, this is a rabbit hole but it's interesting. One of the things I learned is they'll buy these bottles off E-bay and to your point, sometimes they actually do use good wine but it's just not hundred year old top shelf stuff. So it's always amazing to me, if there's something to be sold and made money on, there's someone who's trying to figure out how to run a scam.

Andrea Wien: For sure. For sure. But really interesting. So yeah. Check that out and yeah, it'll be interesting too I guess if we could start to see the microbiome profiles of wine, right? Or is everything now going to have this microbial fingerprint that we'll be able to point to? Something interesting to think of.

Afif Ghannoum: Well, as you're saying that, I'm wondering, looking up. I can't imagine there isn't a…Yeah. How microbial ecology drives regional wines. I'm sure there is. After the [inaudible 00:09:54] I'll look, but I guarantee you there's…Oh yeah. There's a really cool article. I'll send your way. Maybe we can talk about it next time. Wine microbiome, a dynamic world of microbial interactions.

Andrea Wien: Yeah. We'll post it on the show notes page too. All right. So the next one up this in and of itself is not groundbreaking, but it made me think and beg a question of something different. So consumption of teff grain boosts the composition function of the stomach microbiome. So they did some research. They found that teff, which is a grain that's used a lot in Ethiopia. It's very high source of fiber helped boost the microbiome profile of, I think it was mice that they were testing it in.

So in and of itself, not that big of a deal, but it made me think, are we now starting to enter the super food phase of foods that are good for the microbiome? How we had acai berries and kale and these things that were, and still are, we kind of have-

Afif Ghannoum: Oh that's almost like antioxidants had its moment 10 years ago.

Andrea Wien: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah.

Andrea Wien: So are we starting to enter this phase where it's like, well, this specific food. I have clients that come to me like, "Should I be eating avocado because I read somewhere that it does X?" And it's like, "Well"-

Afif Ghannoum: So I do know this is where this is headed. The reason being I'm on the scientific advisory board for the Global Prebiotic Association. And what we're starting to see is just dozens and dozens and dozens of new fruits and vegetables being tested for their prebiotic fiber content. So that tells me a couple of years from now, we're going start seeing these things and you know how it is. It's just like skincare. Oh, this secret ingredient, this rare melon from France or something like that. You're going to start hearing stuff like that.

But again, it's going to be there's a lot of things that go into that. A lot of times the food ingredients we use, the supplement ingredients we use, it's not just that they're effective, it's that they're easy to supply. They're not that expensive to source, that they last for a while, long enough to put them in products.

So it'll be interesting to see what ingredients and when I say ingredients, I look at as a kiwi as a potential ingredient, the extract or whatever. So what fruits and vegetables will pass muster and actually end up being a worthy microbiome type ingredient.

Andrea Wien: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's just it behooves people to be cautious I think and of course, if you want to add teff to your diet by all means, but maybe don't go down this path of every food that then comes out that's shown to be beneficial for microbiome health.

Afif Ghannoum: But again, this is where I know we've said this before, but I always think it's worth mentioning again. You got to look at your diet and frankly your whole lifestyle, but let's talk about diet as this is the analogy I like to use. Everyone has been stuck behind that guy on a bike. He's got carbon fiber bike, Lycra suit, amazing helmet, but he's 80 pounds overweight. And it's like, you don't need all this fancy equipment. If you want to be more dynamic and be a great cyclist, lose some weight.

It's the same with diet. Before you're looking for exotic grains and prebiotic fibers, really holistically look and say, "Am I doing everything I can to optimize the basics first before I get to that point?" And the reason I say that is it can end up being frustrating. Well, I'm not doing this, I'm not doing that and a lot of times Aubrey Phelps, our director of wellness will say half the time she's talking people out of trying to introduce very exotic things because a lot of times it's not sustainable.

They're either hard to find, it's super expensive or frankly it doesn't taste that good. So you're going to get a lot more bang for your buck if you're really making sure you're hitting the basics like plant-based diet, lean meats, fish if you can do it before you start getting into these exotic things.

Andrea Wien: Yeah. That's a great point. Absolutely.

Afif Ghannoum: And then the other thing I'd say going back to are you going to start seeing microbiome super foods is, I think you're also going to start seeing the conversation shift away from probiotics. Now more strongly into prebiotics. Prebiotics is kind of having its moment. But then I think you're going to see deeper exploration of other types of foods and ingredients. Like the one that my dad is really kind of obsessed with lately is apple cider vinegar because it's really efficacious [inaudible 00:14:35] biofilms.

So I think you're going to see a lot of these ingredients start to surface as very microbiome friendly. Why? Because people are going to start actually testing them for those activities. Like my dad, his world's biofilm. So he's like, "Oh, I wonder what this does with biofilms." so you're going to start seeing a lot of that. So yeah, I think that's where it's going to end up going.

Andrea Wien: Yeah. And there's certainly benefits to be had from those conversations, but you make a very good point of unfortunately the basics and moderation are still the best way to go.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah. It sounds boring. But it really is. Just walk around Whole Foods. Your head will spin if you're trying to do every sort of exotic thing.

Andrea Wien: Sure. Absolutely. So there was another study that came out and actually I got a great email that broke this down from Dr. Will who's the gut health MD. He's one of our friends and it's about IBS but specifically to diarrhea. So there's kind of two strains of IBS. IBS-D and IBS-C. One is predominantly diarrhea based and one is constipation.

And there was a study that came out that linked Brachyspira is the bacteria to IBS-D. So the diarrhea one. And this is important. So in his email, he says, "One in six people in the industrialized world are afflicted with irritable bowel syndrome. And about one third of those, this bacteria seems to be causing their issue." So this is a huge finding that now we can start to target. And unfortunately, or fortunately that we know this now, short-term solutions like antibiotics were not helpful in this.

And also it was not detected by stool specimens. So this is important too because it was actually burrowed into the lining of the colon. So when you're doing a gut test, it's not showing up because it's not coming through all the way. So routine lab tests weren't finding it. So the fact that now we have this answer for a third of people who are suffering from this, we can be a little bit more targeted about how we create prevention, but also treatment for people who are suffering and haven't seen results or maybe have seen short-term results from something like antibiotics. Finding more long-term solutions. So, pretty interesting.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah. And I want to unpack one thing you said. You know how you were saying that this organism is literally burrowing into basically the epithelial lining? That's what we will see a lot of times is when there's heavy biofilm buildup in the digestive tract, you start to see the biofilm penetrate through the epithelial lining of the gut and really start to see organisms migrate through that lining. So that's where you start to have real problems because to your point, not only now do they become very hard to detect, it gets super hard to treat because now they're buried in tissue. It's really fascinating.

Andrea Wien: I have a point to make about that that's tied to another study on our list, but I think one other thing that people might find fascinating is this Brachyspira is not a new bacteria us. So it's actually the well-known cause of diarrhea type illnesses in pigs and chickens and dogs. So similar to how COVID spread from animals, this bacteria seems to have spread also from animals. And in our episode with Dr. Dennis, he talked a lot about these kinds of zoological transmissions from animals to people and how they'll become more and more common.

So I think that that's a point to be made as well and people who want to listen to that episode and kind of see what to do about that and how we can mitigate that, and to your point of plant-based diet is a starting point. It's an interesting tie that we're seeing this kind of in multiple places. And obviously IBS is not as deadly as COVID and as widespread. It is as widespread, I would say, but it's not as acute as what we're seeing with COVID, but it's still the same process that it's jumped from animals to humans.

Afif Ghannoum: And again, a lot of it, which we just take completely for granted is how excellent our food supply chain is, our sanitation systems are that these things don't surface. When you were talking about COVID, and I think it's called zootrophic transmission, one of the main ways that happens where you'll hear about a virus coming out of Africa or out of these wet markets in Asia is what it'll be them opening up a entire new part of the jungle to put in a facility.

And the workers will literally eat bush meat and accidentally then get exposed to viruses that monkeys in the area were carrying. When you watch the documentary, I don't know if you seen it, but if you haven't, it's really worth watching it. It's it's called Inside Bill's Brain. It's about Bill Gates and three or four big things he's working on.

One of them is sanitation for countries like India. We take for granted that under our houses are pipes that will take away fecal material from our houses into our sewage systems. They're problem in a lot of places in places like India is even if they wanted to, they can't now go and retrofit sewage systems into these areas. So you have a lot of times open areas of just these organisms just out in the city life.

So that's how a lot of these things, cholera, even things that in the US it's really no longer issue, big problems still in other places. So a lot of times it's are just really amazing to look at how rock solid our supply chains are for these things that could really make us deathly sick. It's really fascinating.

Andrea Wien: That's so true. And to point about the biofilms, the study I wanted to circle back on is they did one where they found out that gut microbes shape the antibodies before we're infected by pathogens. And so essentially the gut bacteria are shaping and deciding what these antibodies look like. So then when an invader comes into the immune system, our immune system knows how to fight them. And it's wildly different between if the gut microbes stay in our gut or in your situation we're talking about, this leaky gut, where they're getting into the bloodstream, they're creating two very different types of antibodies in that situation. And the immune system is having to work in different ways to fight pathogens and things that are coming in. So it's all connected in so many ways that it's kind of mind boggling to think about, but it all starts in the gut.

Afif Ghannoum: Well, it all starts in the gut. Can we talk about immunity for one second? Because I literally was on a panel, the business of immunity and this came up and people were kind of shocked and these are people in the industry. When we talk about immunity, if you say, "Oh, immune health," people instantly think about COVID, cold, flu and how do I keep my immune system healthy from that? Or they think about very serious immuno compromising situations like cancer, HIV, but there are a whole host of things that can comprise your immunity that you can do something about every day of the year.

So things like stress, the way you sleep, even alcohol consumption. These are things that people really don't think of as ways to boost their immunity. Even foods, a lot of processed foods can impact your immune response. So when you look in COVID, you'll see people that are worn down that really get overwhelmed when they're otherwise "healthy." A lot of times it's because going into the infection, they had been a truck driver driving through the night, just no sleep or people who are severely stressed. So I think we're going to also start seeing a lot of attention being given to the various ways we can boost our immunity.

Andrea Wien: I hope so. And we did a whole episode on this with Josh Gitalis and I think the title is something like 70 to 80% of your immune system resides in the gut. And we talk in depth about some common ways to know if your immune system is compromised versus some uncommon ways. And it was really an eye opening conversation, even for me. So I would definitely recommend people go back and listen to that because it's not just, what you're saying, not just, "Oh, I'm getting a cold three times a year."

People think if I'm not getting sick, I'm healthy and that's not necessarily true. So I think it's really important for people to start to understand those different factors. And also the phrase boosting immunity, we talk about that being a bit of a misnomer. So I'll just leave that hanging there and let you guys go check it out.

But it's not necessarily that we need to boost our immune system. There's some other factors at play there. Another point, I thought maybe you might go down this road a second ago, but there was a study that poor sleep was linked to gut microbe metabolites. And so you had mentioned people starting to pay attention to different aspects of microbiome health and metabolites seem to be something that are coming up again and again and again on these calls, but it's something that people are really starting to research a lot more. So what a metabolite is, it's a by-product of what the bacteria or fungi is putting out. So that's in its simplest form.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah. Think of it as the wastewater that they're producing, but it's actually not waste. It's turning out it's super useful. And what's funny, you touched on something that I think is really important for people to realize about science. It's not that these things, all of a sudden emerge. I'm like, "Oh my God, metabolites. Look at this amazing thing."

What happens is a lot of it becomes self producing. My dad will tell you, and he has this really cool chart he published at the NIH that shows up until 2015, 99% of the research, that's not an exaggeration, over 99% of research on the microbiome only focused on bacteria. And then guess what? They started to fund a couple of people like my dad to study fungi, but it was out of 600 studies, 30 studies and a little bit on viruses.

Now you're seeing on the metabolites. So I think one of the things that we run into is the way science is funded is the NIH will fund, National Institutes Of Health, you submit a grant proposal and that's what gets funded. And if it gets funded, that's what get research. So when you have most of the research in bacteria, it makes sense that they're like, "Oh, well, that's interesting. We know this about bacteria. Let's see what else we can find."

Whereas when you look at things like metabolites or fungi where you don't have a lot of advocates at NIH really looking at it, those have not been funded. So it's this very weird cycle of a lot of times the things that all of a sudden appear to come out of nowhere it's because all of a sudden there was enough momentum to say, "Wow, we really should turn our attention to metabolites." Does that make sense? I'm not sure if I'm explaining that well.

Andrea Wien: Yeah, absolutely. And I think on the episode about fungi, we talk to your dad about he kind of was sounding the alarms like, "Hey, we need to be looking in this area." And he said for 20 years, everyone's like, "Yeah, sit down. We don't want it. We don't care about that. We're focused on this other stuff." And then to your point, it started to build and pick up momentum. But until then he was doing the research kind of in a silo.

Afif Ghannoum: There's two stories going off what you said. One, he loves to tell the story that in the early nineties when he was at UCLA, he went to this conference and it was about fungi. And this guy was doing sort of a breakout session on Candida and doctors were getting up and saying, "This guy's a quack." It was 25 years later now this guy's like, "No, he was actually talking about an area he was studying," but the other guys, researchers in the room were so dismissive because Candida was sort of this not really studied area of infections.

The other is fecal transplants, which I believe came out of Australia. You may know this better than I do. The doctor who initially tried to pioneer that, I don't know if he was actually stripped of his medical license, but they definitely threatened it because it was so out there at time that this could be effective, that they were like, "This is essentially breaching medical ethics."

It's really interesting how this happens. Now, that being said, that doesn't mean everything that's fringe right now is going to end up being legitimate. You know what I mean? So you really have to put a focus on just critical thinking. But it's really fascinating how all this stuff comes to actually finally get acceptance.

Andrea Wien: It's counter intuitive to what you would think the scientific community is all about. Kind of as the general public, you think, "Oh, someone brings up a topic and all the other scientists are like, 'Oh, that's interesting. Let's explore it.'" Versus, "No, you're kind of on the fringe with this."

Afif Ghannoum: My dad always used the example. He's like, "A lot of times the guys deciding if I should get a grant for fungi research are bacteria researchers." And guess what? If more grants are going towards fungi research, guess what doesn't get funded? Bacteria. So so much of it is the cattiness of office politics that start to come into play in these areas to your point, science is not this above the noise ivory tower where only science dictates it. It's politics like anything.

Andrea Wien: Yeah, absolutely. It's so interesting. And not the way that you wish it would go, but such as life.

Afif Ghannoum: I know.

Andrea Wien: To bring it back to this study because I think it is interesting. So these metabolites…Basically, I'll read a piece of this. They found the biological pathways most heavily affected by the missing metabolites were the ones that helped generate neurotransmitters in the gut, including one that plays a role in creating serotonin from tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, which everyone knows after turkey, you get sleepy.

The mice were also found to be low in vitamin B6 metabolites, which speed up serotonin and dopamine production. So serotonin and dopamine can really impact our sleep wake cycles. So if we're altering the microbes through diet that are helping feed the production or generate the production of those, then we can really alter people's sleep habits. So if someone is having trouble with sleep, it's an area to look into.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah, it's really interesting.

Andrea Wien: All right. We have time for one more and I want to bring up, we skipped past it last month, the link between Alzheimer's and gut microbes confirmed. So this is something that we've known a bit about already, but they really found that they confirmed the correlation between an imbalance in the human gut microbiota and the development of the amyloid plaques in the brain, which are the origin of the neodegenerative disorders that are characteristic of Alzheimer's.

So we talk about Alzheimer's being Type 3 Diabetes is something it's now being called, but the microbiome is playing such a huge role in this also. So being able to identify if someone has this disordered microbiome could be a really important step in prevention of Alzheimer's.

Afif Ghannoum: I know I harp on it a lot, but we're seeing ... Here's the problem with the microbiome. If I'm going to hit over the head, we're entering this era where it's going to be very, very important that science really starts to dictate there happens to be a correlation versus this is something that is having an impact. I'll give you an example.

In autism, there's a clear connection between microbiome, imbalance and autism. The microbiomes, we've done clinical trials at BIOHM. We see very big differences between the microbiota of an individual with autism and the microbiota of an individual without. Now, the part that's not clear is how much of that is self-fulfilling because of the diet of someone who's autistic. Again I'm talking a little over my [inaudible 00:31:47] here because I don't know the ins and outs, but my understanding is that a lot of people with autism are very specific about what they want to eat diet wise.

And so there becomes a question is that microbiome imbalance actually caused by their diet, which is caused by the fact that they're autistic. You know what I mean? Not necessarily that the imbalance of microbiome is causing some either severity of autism or autism itself. So just that nuance that there's this other factor i.e. diet that could be impacting it is really, really, really critical to understand.

So all these other areas like Alzheimer's, all the other areas we've talked about having a connection, it's going to be very interesting to see how do you peel away these other factors that could be contributing. Is it the medications that someone who has Alzheimer's taking that could be having an impact? You know what I mean? Things like that that it's going to be really interesting to see how they peel back the onion and really look at those nuances.

Andrea Wien: I think so. And to the point of Alzheimer's also, we do know if people change their diet, if they have a family history, you can change kind of the epigenetics of what's going on in yourself and you can really protect yourself from…We don't have it all figured out, but there are things you can do diet and lifestyle wise to be more protective against something like Alzheimer's.

So something like this where they're actually identifying proteins in the blood that are caused by certain intestinal bacteria, maybe really early on, before anyone starts to show symptoms, can we have then dietary and lifestyle interventions that are more effective versus waiting until it's to the point where it's progressed so much that there's kind of no turning back and you can just mitigate the symptoms a bit. So I think that's what can be really interesting in this situation too.

Afif Ghannoum: Yeah, it's super cool.

Andrea Wien: All right. Well that does it for us on this episode. Again, we'll link to everything in the show notes at biohm health.com/pages/podcast. And Afif, thank you so much for coming on the show again.

Afif Ghannoum: Always a good time.

Andrea Wien: All right. Talk to you soon. Bye.

Afif Ghannoum: Bye.

Andrea Wien: As always, thank you so much for listening. Don't forget that New Year's resolution. Please go leave us a rating and review. And as a thank you, BIOHM is always offering 10% off their website for all podcasts listeners with the code BIOHM10. Again, B-I-O-H-M. Until next time, I'm Andrea Wien.

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