Fungus Role in Digestive Health Q and A
Recent health and wellness discovery proves that ‘fungus’ is no longer a scary word.
We’ve been accustomed to steering clear of all matter that associates itself with ‘fungus.’ It’s mysterious, peculiar, and rarely ever celebrated – but to Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum, Ph.D., fungi is a thing of beauty.
Dr. Ghannoum has dedicated his scientific career to studying the importance of fungi in the body and its role in health and wellness. The National Institutes of Health has awarded him with over $25 million in scientific grant funding to work towards discovering fungi related breakthroughs. Many of which, has led him to find the significant interplay between bacteria and fungi for critical balance within the gut. His findings were so impactful among the scientific community, that Dr. Ghannoum has been credited for naming the ‘Mycobiome’ (the body’s fungal community).
Today, Dr. Ghannoum and his team have concentrated their knowledge into developing, BIOHM, the world’s first probiotic engineered to balance the gut’s total microbiome of bacteria and fungus.
We spoke with Dr. Ghannoum to celebrate his latest scientific breakthrough.
First off, what’s a mycobiome?
In the past, research has been heavily focused on studying our body’s bacterial community, while very little efforts are spent studying fungus. But the reality is, our gut is made of trillions of organisms which include both bacteria and fungus.
My team and I uncovered that bacteria and fungus work together to create digestive plaque, which affects the critical balance of the gut. That’s when the Mycobiome – the term I coined for our body’s fungal community – got scientists to start paying attention and start talking.
Because our gut plays such a big role in our health and wellness, I am proud to have published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and been cited over 16,000 times by other scientists.
To make an impression amongst the scientific community at that level, it’s truly humbling.
What kind of fungi lives in our gut? And how does fungi and bacteria work together?
Believe it or not, recent studies are starting to reveal that our gut contains a large number of fungal genera—approximately 50 different fungal genera, many of which contain beneficial properties. The most abundant in the gut are:
Aspergillus: Although commonly found in our homes, it’s also considered bad fungi for the body, but only a few types of Aspergillus can actually affect our health.
Candida: The species of Candida called Candida albicans is commonly found in the gut, where overgrowths cause problematic health imbalances.
Cladosporium: Cladosporium includes some of the most common molds in our environment, though it rarely has a negative effect on healthy people.
Cryptococcus: The majority of cryptococcal species live in the soil and are not harmful to humans.
Fusarium: Fusarium is a very common soil fungi that can be found all over the world.
Mucor: Commonly found in nature, yet also present in the digestive system. The vast majority of Mucor species don’t have negative health implications for humans due to their inability to grow in warm environments.
Penicillium: Penicillium is one of the most scientifically important types of fungus, well-known for its ability to kill and control the growth of certain types of bacteria in the body.
Pneumocystis: Pneumocystis is found all over the world in both humans and animals. It’s usually found in low levels in healthy humans but can cause substantial health issues for people who are immunocompromised.
Saccharomyces: Overall, Saccharomyces is one of the most useful types of fungus (from food production to brewing), and in the body, Saccharomyces boulardii is considered to be the king of good fungus.
My group has discovered that bacteria and fungi have developed a mutual working relationship – meaning while working together they have the ability to break down our bodies’ tissues and create digestive plaque.
Tell us more about the digestive plaque. Why’s it so important?
Wellness starts from within, however bacteria and fungi have the tendency to stick to the lining of our guts – and some of these then work together to form digestive plaque which can cause a host of occasional digestive issues (such as upset stomach, gas, bloating, feeling full, stomach pressure, diarrhea, bowel irritation, difficulty processing lactose). None of those symptoms are enjoyable but they can be avoidable by maintaining a good balance in our gut.
BIOHM helps maintain a healthy balance by neutralizing bad bacteria and fungi to break down digestive plaque. Its formulation contains good bacteria, good fungi and a powerful enzyme to help our digestive system break down food, so our body can efficiently use nutrients as a source of energy. If you’re curious about what’s living in your gut, I suggest taking the BIOHM Gut Report, which provides you with a personalized analysis of your gut's microbiome using our state of the art DNA sequencing technology.
What causes fungi-related imbalances? How do we avoid them and keep our gut healthy?
Fungal imbalance can happen for a number of reasons, ranging from the food and alcohol we consume; to the stress we put ourselves under, and even our genetics can be a big factor. Imbalance surrounds us but BIOHM makes it possible to keep it under control and no other probiotic has been proven to do this. Period.
Diet & Alcohol
Always opt for prebiotic-rich foods such as avocados, whole-grain bread, soybeans, and peas, as these are the best “microbiome-friendly” types of food. Lucky for vegetarians, a vegetable based diet has been found to foster a healthy gut by helping to prevent the growth of different strains of bad microorganisms.
For obvious reasons, a diet that’s high in fat, refined sugar, artificial ingredients, and alcohol can cause microbial imbalance in your gut and disrupt our digestive tract’s environment. But if there’s one vice you cannot give up – go for red wine as it can promote gut health because of its polyphenols.
So while BIOHM will support total digestive balance, you can support your gut’s balance by adjusting your diet as the impact can vary from person to person. I’d suggest tinkering with your diet – temporarily remove certain foods or drinks that seem to cause you problems so you can see how your body responds. (This is best done with professional assistance, from a nutritionist or physician.)
Stress is a major factor for all ailments, especially on our gut’s microbiome as stress can alter the balance of organisms in our digestive system and change the types and number of organisms that are found in the gut. Research indicates that when the microbiome becomes less diverse due to stress, bad organisms start to flourish, and our body’s immune response is negatively affected.
To balance your gut, it is very important to start from within and you must work to lower your stress levels. That’s why I practice yoga and mindful breathing every single day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
A study led by Cornell University researchers found that some people with a specific set of genes had higher levels of certain good microorganisms in their gut. Other studies have even found certain microbes are inherited. Our genes influence which organisms thrive in our gut by themselves, and which organisms need a boost through diet adjustments and supplementing with probiotics like BIOHM.
Now let’s get to the important stuff, how did you develop BIOHM and how does it work?
BIOHM is a tremendous breakthrough in probiotics. So tremendous that its innovation has been covered by Forbes, ABC News, NPR, CBS News, Scientific American, USA Today, and I’m being interviewed by the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Muscle & Fitness, Prevention Magazine and many others – phew!
We worked with the American Type Culture Collection – which is the gold standard when it comes to sourcing microorganisms – and combined 30 billion live strains of bacteria and fungus together. We spent months selecting and studying the best probiotic strains that target bad bacteria and fungi, as we finally were able to completely break down the digestive plaque with the combination of the four strains (three bacteria, one fungi) and amylase (an enzyme)...and BIOHM was born.
Once taken, BIOHM works in a 2-step process:
1. The enzyme infused in BIOHM cracks the wall of digestive plaque, destroying the protective shield it creates over bad bacteria and bad fungus.
2. Once digestive plaque has been destroyed, BIOHM’s 30 billion live cultures of good bacteria and good fungus balance the microbiome by neutralizing the bad bacteria and bad fungus that has been hiding behind digestive plaque, as well as living elsewhere in the gut.
To ensure BIOHM works at optimal performance we needed to guarantee the cultures stay alive by the time it arrives to you. We addressed this in two ways: BIOHM’s jar is made from heat-resistant resin that protects the live bacteria and fungus from fluctuations in temperature that could kill them. Second, we applied a coating to the formulation, called an enteric coating, which protects the entire formulation from the harsh environment of the stomach, as the capsule moves down to the gut, ensuring that when BIOHM enters the digestive tract, all 30 billion cultures are still alive.
Try our six week supply of BIOHM for $49.99, risk free. Our probiotics are encased in vegetarian capsules and are free-from synthetics, dairy, gluten and egg.