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The Perfect Approach For A Child’s Healthy Gut, How To Help Your Body Make Its Own Natural Antidepressants, The Problem With Probiotics & More With Seed’s Raja Dhir.


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Ever wondered if babies born via C-section are missing crucial gut bacteria? Discover the answer to this question and more as you journey through the intricate realms of gut flora and fermentation, uncovering their profound impact on your health and vitality. 

Today’s show dives into the essence of probiotics — live organisms that bestow remarkable health benefits — and delves deep into how to improve and restore your (and your child’s) gut health. 

Several years ago, I interviewed probiotic expert and Seed co-founder Raja Dhir in the show: “Dangerous Probiotic Myths, The Probiotic Ben Greenfield Uses, Anti-Aging Effects Of Probiotics, Should Males Vs. Females Take Different Probiotics & Much More.

Today, Raja’s back.

A life sciences entrepreneur, Raja has unique expertise in translating scientific research, including scaling up both facultative and strict anaerobic organisms. He leads research and development, academic collaborations, manufacturing, technology development, and intellectual property strategy.

Raja has designed clinical trials with leading academic institutions including the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the Trial Innovation Unit of Mass. General Hospital (MGH), and is actively developing technologies with academic labs for the oral microbiome (Harvard) and skin microbiome (UCLA).

Raja serves on the Board of Directors for the Microbiome Therapeutics Innovation Group (MTIG), an organization that works directly with the FDA on the regulation of microbe-based therapies. His work has been recognized in CNBC’s “Upstart 100,” TIME’s “2018 Best Inventions,” Forbes, Fast Company, BBC, TechCrunch, Barron’s, Xconomy, Boston Business Journal, and Business Insider.

He also founded and oversees SeedLabs to develop novel applications for bacteria to solve complex ecological problems, most recently inventions to protect honeybee populations (Apis mellifera) from neonicotinoid pesticides and pathogen colonization.

Their consumer innovations are commercialized under Seed with a mission to bring much-needed precision, efficacy, education, and perspective-shifting science communication to the global category of probiotics. Founded to realize the potential of microbes, Seed platform enables the translation of breakthrough science across a portfolio encompassing both indication-specific and preventive applications for gastrointestinal and digestive health, women’s health, skin and oral care, pediatrics, mental health, metabolic function, and nutrition.

Additionally, LUCA Biologics, Seed Health’s biotech company co-founded with Dr. Jacques Ravel, develops living medicines targeting the vaginal microbiome for urogenital and reproductive health.

Join me and Raja as we bust myths and unearth the science behind optimal gut health, all through the lens of cutting-edge research and practical insights. Get ready to be enlightened, empowered, and inspired to optimize your own microbiome for peak performance and well-being.

During this discussion, you’ll discover:  

-Who is Raja Dhir?…05:50

Previous podcast with Raja Dhir:

Seed (use code 25BEN to save 25% on your first purchase of Seed’s DS-01® Daily Synbiotic and PDS-08® Pediatric Daily Synbiotic)

-What is a probiotic?…08:10

Probiotic: live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host
Most off-the-shelf probiotic products use low-diversity strains
Tested in a “gastric simulator

-Is it true that babies born via C-section have inadequate gut bacteria?…12:39

Seed article: “5 Microbiome Myths, Busted in 2023”
3 factors to have an optimal gut microbiome
Vaginal birth
No antibiotics

A perfect infant microbiome (2 to 3 weeks after birth) is dominated by Bifidobacterium infantis (B. Infantis)
B. Infantis does not allow potential pathogens to take hold — metabolizes human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which are essential prebiotics that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the infant’s gut and support overall health and development
Trains the immune system to promote tolerance to conditions like allergies, asthma, and inflammation

The healthiest infants have guts dominated by B. infantis until diversification (introduction of foods)
B. infantis dominates the baby’s guts when exclusively breastfed
Consumption of HMOs as an adult is not necessary when on a rich and varied diet
Seed article: “How Your Microbiome is Made — and How It Informs Your Lifelong Health”
HMO food sources:
All rough plant matter (fiber), fruits, vegetables, and tubers have versions of HMOs
Carbohydrates from plants mostly have saccharides

The carnivore diet does not provide any oligosaccharides

-Does the fermentation process applied to meat help with issues like inadequate fiber?…21:12

Fermentation of meat cannot make fiber
Can’t assemble amino acids into a fiber
Can take a long fiber and transform it into different compounds

Podcast with Dr. Steven Gundry:

Gut Check by Dr. Steven Gundry
Potentially harmful compounds in meat, like N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), are deactivated and predigested during fermentation
Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky
Fiber causes gastric distress

Podcast with Konstantin Monastyrsky:

Podcast with Mark Sisson:

-Can a probiotic replace what you’re missing when reducing fiber intake?…27:56 

Reduction of fiber is fine but may not be optimal
There is a microbial component to fiber and resistant starch intolerance
Akkermansia — a genus of bacteria that naturally resides in the human gut — in a low-fiber diet went from protective to inflammatory and triggering food allergies
Nature Microbiology paper: “Akkermansia muciniphila exacerbates food allergy in fibre-deprived mice”

Taking Akkermansia should be paired with a high-fiber diet (use code GREENFIELD to save 20% on your first month’s subscription)
Podcast with Colleen Cutcliffe:

-What is the difference between the pediatric and the adult synbiotic?…32:30

DS-01 is the adult synbiotic
24-strain mixture
Multiple strains from within the same species — called transient probiotic consortia
Designed for adult consistent usage

Transient in the sense that they don’t displace or alter the native microbiome in a healthy state

-Why take DS-01 if you have a healthy microbiome in the first place?…35:10

Two things a probiotic should do:
Microbe-microbe interactions
Microbe-host interactions

There’s an independent benefit of daily microbial inoculation than what your microbiome is to begin with
Seed clinical trial: “Placebo-controlled trial on DS-01 after a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics”
Use DS-01 concurrently with an antibiotic regimen

-Why should kids take Seed’s pediatric product PDS-08?…39:10

Has a different composition and different outcomes
Has fewer strains, but also includes multiple strains from different strains of the same species
More redundancy
More diversity within individual species

Addresses pediatric constipation or regulates the GI system of children
One in three kids has pediatric constipation

Can start as early as three years old and continue as long as regulation of the GI system is a goal
Until kids can balance out carbohydrate and fiber intake

-From a microbiome standpoint, what should you feed a young human?…40:44

Has to do with the development of the gut and the brain
Exclusively breastfeed for at least four months (six months would be better)
Raja gave his son an inoculation of B. infantis at around 3 or 4 months
Raja works with and grows a lot of different strains
Took 2 or 3 strains of B. infantis and put it on the tip of his son’s tongue right before he was breastfed

At diversification, you want to get carotenoids — a group of pigments found in plants, algae, and some bacteria — and N3 fatty acids
The mother should be taking very high doses of at least docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — omega-3 fatty acids that are essential nutrients in human health
The mother should be eating a diversified diet of carotenoids
Carotenoids go directly into the eye and the brain, crossing the blood-brain barrier

Food sources rich in carotenoids
Raja is also getting his son polyphenols like blueberries and bilberries — most of the bright, relatively lower-sugar berries
Fish oil

-Why are natural anti-depressants in the body destroyed by an antibiotic regimen?…47:25

The microbiome has around 500 different neuroactive metabolites
Seed article: “How Gut Bacteria Help Your Body Produce ‘Natural Xanax’”
DS-01 should be started alongside the completion of a course of antibiotics
Susceptibility to heavy metal absorption when on antibiotics
Seed article: “Take an Antibiotic Recently? Maybe Skip the Tuna”
Microbes can bind to metals, metabolize or excrete them, or lower their absorption rate

Exposure to very small particles of plastic
90% of microplastics you consume are in fish, water, and anything you eat that’s heated
A lot of the small particles won’t get absorbed if you have the right intact barrier that supports it

SeedLabs — bioremediation using organisms like bacteria
Ecological division of Seed

SeedLabs has considered microbial applications that relate to ecologies and certain environments, like:
Marine environments and diversity
Pollination environments
Waste degradation
Nutrient uptake
Symbiosis in marine ecosystems like densely populated coral reefs

-What is Seed’s impact on bees and the work between bacteria and bees?…53:16

Beekeeper’s Naturals
SeedLabs — probiotics to improve honeybees’ immune resilience
Bees have a microbiome in their hindgut
Some strains there are actually a type of Lactobacillus native to honeybees
Detoxifies xenobiotics — anything that’s toxic from the environment

Pesticides are a class of xenobiotic
Neonicotinoid pesticides are destructive to honeybee colonies

Podcast with Jonathan Otto:

Pesticide-like compounds wind up in medical supplies, plastic tubing, and even vaccines
Nicotine products such as nicotine patches bind to some of the same receptor sites
Nicotine patches
Nicotine gum and lozenges (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
In women, smoking affects the vaginal microbiome in a very destructive way

-How do you improve the vaginal microbiome?…57:17

The vaginal microbiome is quite unstable, but very stable when it is optimal
Lactobacillus crispatus — the hallmark of an optimal vaginal microbiome
Has anti-inflammatory benefits
Inhibits pathogens from existing
Associated with fertility and reduction of spontaneous pre-term birth
Promotes positive outcomes in STIs

IND (investigational new drug) approved by the FDA to study the composition of cervical cancer as a result of HPV
LUCA Biologics is developing a therapeutic product that could clear HPV
HPV is a very prevalent viral infection which is also learning to resist vaccines

The product would be a vaginal suppository

-Why is Seed’s daily synbiotic a capsule within a capsule?…1:00:41

Human native strains sensitive to water and other plant materials
DS-01 — an inner capsule with all the probiotics and live organisms is put into an outer capsule filled with punicalagin-rich prebiotic polyphenol
Punicalagin, found in pomegranate, is a part of the ellagitannin family
Ben started taking DS-01 after discovering pomegranate in its profile

-What are the best practices for the daily synbiotic?…1:03:56

2 a day as a daily regimen for maintenance
Ben takes 3 capsules a day
It has, for most, the same efficacy taken with meals or in a fasted state
Some can tolerate it better after a meal versus on an empty stomach
Raja threw up the first time he took it
Ben uses it when he travels; it’s stable non-refrigerated
Probably the best-formulated probiotic
Seed (use code 25BEN to save 25% on your first purchase of Seed’s DS-01® Daily Synbiotic and PDS-08® Pediatric Daily Synbiotic)

-And much more…

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Unlock Longevity: February 24, 2024

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Raja Dhir:

– Podcasts:

“Can Smoking Cigarettes Make You Live Longer, Are The Blue Zones A Myth, Which Meat You Should Think Twice About Eating & More With Dr. Steven Gundry”
“Constipation, Fecal Transplants, Fiber Myths, Resistant Starch, Probiotics & More With Konstantin Monastyrsky.”
“The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever.”
“The New Probiotic Strain That Allows You To Eat Carbs Again, How GLP-1 Peptide Actually Works And Why It’s Not Intended For Everyone, With Pendulum’s Colleen Cutcliffe.”
“Alternative Cancer Remedies You’ve Never Heard Of, The Shocking Truth About Animal Venom, Urine Therapy, Nicotine For Viruses & More With Jonathan Otto.”

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Pendulum Akkermansia (use code GREENFIELD to save 20% on your first month’s subscription)
Fish Oil
Beekeeper’s Naturals
Nicotine Patches
Lucy Nicotine Gum and Lozenges (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
Akkermansia muciniphila exacerbates food allergy in fibre-deprived mice

Episode Sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Raja Dhir or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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