Do you know how to best support your microbiome? Discover what probiotics and prebiotics are with Ryan Goodwin, LifeVantage Chief Marketing Officer, and Brian Dixon, PhD, SVP of Research and Development.

Prebiotics, you can almost think of that is coming first, pre, and then we have probiotic, which really means for life. Those are the actual microorganisms that we’re talking about, and that tends to be the bacteria, the healthy bacteria that we need, especially in our gut, for a number of health benefits, and then this new kind of aspect in the microbiome that’s called postbiotics, so pre, pro, and post.

Flip the “Bacteria” Switch: Support the Microbiome with Probiotics and Prebiotics Audio Transcript

Ryan Goodwin:

Hello, and welcome to Flip the Switch. My name is Ryan Goodwin. I’m chief marketing officer. I’m here with Brian Dixon, our senior vice president of research and development. Say hello, Brian.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah. Hey everybody. Thanks for tuning in again.

Ryan Goodwin:

Stoked to be here with you again, Brian. Today we’re going to be talking about probiotics, prebiotics, and how to support the microbiome. The best place to start is… Well, why don’t we just define what is a probiotic and what is a prebiotic?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah. It might feel to some of the listeners that we’re just kind of jumping right in, but we’ll encourage people… If they missed the last episode, we really went in depth on exactly what the microbiome is and really how it’s linked to health and how we’ve really come to appreciate it. I’d encourage you all to, if you haven’t, listen to the previous episode, maybe to get a little bit of background knowledge about how we got where we are in this episode. But yeah, maybe before we dive too far in and start talking about all the health benefits that you can get by supporting your microbiome, I think let’s clear up a few definitions. It’s confusing to me, and if it’s confusing to me, it’s got to be confusing to everybody else. I don’t know why scientists do this, but really the major thing that we’re talking about here are prebiotics, probiotics, and then something that’s relatively new. It’s also called postbiotics.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

In my head, I have the hardest time keeping those definitions straight, pre, pro, and post. In fact, I have to go through them in my head almost every single time before I say the words prebiotic or probiotic and run through all three of those to make sure I’m talking about the same ones. But yeah, the good news is you only have to remember three. Prebiotics, you can almost think of that is coming first, pre, and then we have probiotic, which really means for life. Those are the actual microorganisms that we’re talking about, and that tends to be the bacteria, the healthy bacteria that we need, especially in our gut, for a number of health benefits, and then this new kind of aspect in the microbiome that’s called postbiotics, so pre, pro, and post. That’s all you have to remember.

Ryan Goodwin:

That’s not hard at all.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Maybe, Ryan, we’ll work through these one by one.

Ryan Goodwin:

All right. That sounds perfect. Did you want to start with the prebiotics because they’re first?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, I think that’s probably logical. Prebiotics, what are prebiotics? Technically, prebiotics are really just the food that the probiotics or the microorganisms need to eat. Anything that’s acting as, really, a food source or a nutrient source for these probiotics is considered a prebiotic. Just to give you some examples of what this food that especially the bacteria in our microbiomes like to eat, they are things like plant fibers, fruit fibers, and then cellulose, which is really another more coarse fiber that comes from especially those tough greens that we’re eating and a lot of these other non -digestible, complex carbohydrates. Really, you can even lump them into that last major class. These are all technically carbohydrates. What is a carbohydrate? A carbohydrate is just a sugar. Then we get into complex carbohydrates, which are a string of sugars that are hooked together.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

But the difference between fibers and maybe the carbohydrates that we’re used to getting from the calories in our food, the difference is they have different chemical bonds that are linking these sugar molecules together. It turns out that we do not have the enzymes required to be able to break those bonds and liberate those sugars and utilize them in our own metabolism, whereas these different microorganisms living in us or on us actually do produce these enzymes. They can literally take waste products, the fiber that we cannot digest, and they will utilize them for their own fuel, their own nutrients, and then in the course of doing that, it turns out they provide a whole host of different health… these molecules’ metabolites, that turn out to provide a number of health benefits for ourselves. But then maybe just to-

Ryan Goodwin:

Does that mean that a high fiber diet is mostly to support the bacteria in our microbiome?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Well, there’s a lot of health benefits to eating fibers. Definitely feeding the microbiome is one of those healthy aspects. But because we can’t digest fibers and because our chewing ability is only so good with the teeth that we have in our face, we don’t really get them into microscopic molecules. They’re still pretty macroscopic as they enter our digestive system. These fibers are going through our digestive track in relatively large pieces. One benefit that eating fiber can have is it’s almost like you’re swallowing little brushes and they’re going down and literally scrubbing the walls of that epithelial lining, those cells that are lining our digestive track, and they’re removing cells that might be compromised a little bit, they might be ending the end of their lives, and they’re also going to help scrub some of the physical waste products that we want off of the inside of our digestive track. There’s a physical component to it, but then there’s, yeah, these metabolic components that come in when the microbiome starts to feed on these different fibers.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah. That’s crazy. Does that mean that most, if not all, prebiotics are plant-based carbohydrates?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah. I have to rack my brain. It’s always dangerous in science to say every single one, but every one I can think of off the top of my head are these kind of unique chains of carbohydrates that in the plant are meant to give it structure. They’re supposed to be tough so that a plant can spread its leaf out and be able to act like a solar panel to make energy. If it’s not all, it’s definitely most of them are going to be these carbohydrates. Maybe just a couple other examples of some of these complex carbohydrates that you’ve heard of are things like inulin, pectin, really just another fiber, various gums. I know sometimes we get questions about, “Hey, what is this gum that’s into your product?” Well, gum is really nothing more than a fiber. They’re healthy. They’re good for you. Something called lignans. These tend to come from nuts and seeds, so just another unique kind of fiber. Then I think also very interestingly, not carbohydrates, but some phytonutrients with their complex structure can also act like prebiotics and can act to feed these different microorganisms.

Ryan Goodwin:

That’s fascinating. That’s fascinating. I guess we should probably go on to explain what probiotics are now.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah. Probiotics, like I kind of alluded to earlier, is just simply the microorganism, and we usually associate those with being bacteria. But just as a reminder, your microbiome consists of a lot of different things from very primitive bacteria to protozoa to fungi. Even viruses can make up part of our microbiome. But again, we most commonly associate the microbiome with being bacteria. I think, again, that has to do a lot with all of the research that’s gone into the role that bacteria plays in health benefits. Usually when we’re talking about probiotics, and especially probiotic supplements, we tend to be talking about bacteria, but these bacteria and other microorganisms, they’ve been shown to have these beneficial effects on our health. It turns out that it’s the composition, the population of the different microorganisms that are living inside of our bodies and on our bodies is really what’s probably the most important. Just like we want a nice healthy forest out there, we want huge biodiversity. We want that same biodiversity living on and inside of it.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah. A prebiotic product tends to be healthy researched bacteria and effectively looking to replenish those within the gut, right?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yep. That’s exactly the main function. But things are even getting more advanced. In medicine, for example, I’ve heard of situations where somebody might be under antibiotic treatments. What the doctors are doing, they’re actually reinoculating people with microbiomes from different places to try to keep that healthy bacteria going. One example I heard is when we get intubated, when we need a tube to go down our throat to help us breathe, it’s incredibly disruptive to that microbiome. People have found that you actually had a decreased risk of, excuse me, respiratory infections when they could help support the microbiome at the same time some of these different medical interventions were going on.

Ryan Goodwin:

Wow. Wow. That’s fascinating.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

It’s almost like the dogma has completely shifted, where, “Let’s try to keep people as sterile as possible,” to, “No, no, no. Let’s try to help and facilitate these healthy bacteria recolonizing to help us out.”

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah. Fascinating. Postbiotics is a topic that I know very little about, so I’m really looking forward to learning about postbiotics.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah. Postbiotics is probably a little bit of a scientific or nutritional trick that…

Brian Dixon, PhD:

A little bit of a scientific or nutritional trick that can be employed to help us get the health benefits of the various organisms of the microbiome. It’s maybe not very appetizing to say out loud, but it’s really the microbiome poop, if you will, that’s giving us all of these health benefits. And like I said, I apologize, that might sound a little crude, but think about when we maybe make beer or alcohol. What we’re really trying to do is give them sugar. Then we add, in this case we might add yeast into the sugar water, whether it comes from grapes or whether it comes from grains. We extract the sugars out of these various crops. We inoculate them with yeast. The yeast are chewing up the sugar and then they’re actually excreting alcohol. So alcohol is the byproduct of yeast chewing up sugars.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

So think about that the next time you’re enjoying a glass of wine or a beer. You’re really just drinking yeast poop. But it sounds terrible, but this is exactly how the microbiome is working. It’s taking food that we can’t digest and metabolizing it. And then when it’s excreting those different metabolites, it turns out those metabolites are what’s having a number of the health benefits that are associated with the microbiome. Some examples you may have heard about are something called short chain fatty acids, so things like butyrate would be an example. And the studies around butyrate and some of the effects that butyrate’s having, especially on the cells that line our digestive track, that epithelium, is it actually helps facilitate cellular turnover. So the cells in our digestive track already live a relatively short time, just around three to five days, but you don’t want those cells living for very long because they’re really exposed to a lot of some of the nastiest things that we’re exposed to.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

So all the things that are coming through our diet, and then if you think about it, they’re really dealing with a lot of our waste product as well.

Ryan Goodwin:

They’re literally our frontline.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

They’re literally our frontline of defense. So we want to keep that cellular barrier as healthy as possible. And you run the risk of those cells becoming damaged by being exposed to these various things over time. So we want those cells to be there, do their job, and when they’re done, we want them gone. So butyrate has been shown to help facilitate that cellular turnover and one reason why it’s so healthy. But it’s not just butyrate, it’s a lot of these other metabolites that are actually making it into our bloodstream. So they’re not just acting on the cells that line our digestive track, but they can actually make it into the bloodstream and travel throughout our body.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

And so it’s been said before that our gut is actually our second brain. So I don’t know if anyone’s heard that out there. At first when I first heard it, I thought that was a little kooky thing to say. But as I’ve looked into it and researched it over the years, it really is incredibly interesting what’s going on with these compounds. And it’s not just these molecules that are entering the bloodstream and then acting as cell signaling molecules throughout our bodies, but we also have direct connections from our brains to our digestive track through nerves.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

And it’s amazing. So we have this direct and indirect communication that’s happening between our brain and our guts. And I think that’s where a lot of those health benefits that have been ascribed to a healthy microbiome are ultimately coming from. They’re from these metabolites that our microbiome is excruciating and then getting throughout the rest of our body, acting like signaling molecules and activating these healthy cell signaling pathways. But that wasn’t your question. Your question was, what are postbiotics? So I tell you all that because it’s the metabolites that seem to be having the health benefits. And so the idea with postbiotics is let’s try to isolate those metabolites, those healthy metabolites from these various microorganisms. And instead of giving the microorganisms back to you and I, we actually just give the metabolites back and try to get those into circulation so that they can have the same health benefit.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

So in this case, we’re not giving either living or maybe an organism that might be in a spore form, but we’re giving those extracts. So some ways that we can get postbiotics are growing them up in our little test tubes and Petri dishes in the laboratories, and then we basically heat and activate the bacteria or kill them. And then all of those metabolites are just going to be in that medium by which they were growing up in. We can do crude extracts. We can isolate the cell walls from these different organisms. We can do water-soluble extracts, we can do lipid-soluble extracts. And again, the whole goal is to isolate these specific metabolites so that we can give them back to people and experience the health benefits. And the reason that’s so important is we’re only able to grow up a relatively small handful of literally the trillions of different, I keep wanting to say probiotics, but it’s really all the different microorganisms that live inside of us and of these literally trillions of cells that we have living in and on us.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

We’ve only been able to isolate and then culture up a relatively very small handful. So we can actually leverage the things that these different microorganisms are making by not having to isolate and grow up, by trying to figure out what are those healthy metabolites that are in circulation and then determining what organisms can produce those healthy metabolites. And so then we can give those metabolites back in lieu of having to give the actual microorganisms. So it’s a little bit of a work around where we don’t have to colonize these very difficult to colonize organisms.

Ryan Goodwin:

Oh, that’s really fascinating. And I love that topic of the gut brain access mostly because it feels like to me that my nutrition is a major way that I can control my health by, and one of the most important things that I’m trying to do when I control my health is to make sure that I’ve got the best brain performance that I possibly can every day. So brain function is super important to me. And so the idea that I can help control my brain function by controlling as much as I can the health of my microbiome I find to be absolutely fascinating.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, it almost sounds like a broken record, but in literally every aspect of health that we talk about, it comes back to diet and exercise. We really haven’t touched on-

Ryan Goodwin:

With a bit of sleep.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah. With a bit of sleep. But it’s so interesting. It’s kind of a chicken and the egg type of a thing. But it’s just very clear that exercisers, for example, have very different microbiomes than non-exercisers. People who eat more fruits and vegetables have very different and probably more healthy microbiomes than people who don’t eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. People who sleep have different microbiomes than people who don’t sleep. I mean, so chicken and the egg, but it’s just these links, these correlations between who’s living there, and literally every aspect of our health is, it’s really quite intriguing and fascinating.

Ryan Goodwin:

So why would people want to take a prebiotic or a probiotic product?

Brian Dixon, PhD (18:10):

Yeah, and it’s so interesting because I see a ton of focus, especially out in the marketplace, on just taking a probiotic. And I don’t think that’s misguided per se, but I think that’s only just part of the equation. And so a reason why also taking a prebiotic is you want to be feeding those healthy bacteria. It’s literally impossible to eat too much fiber. And in fact fiber is a lot like Omega three fatty acids where it’s been shown that the more that you consume, the healthier. So fiber falls into that exact same category. We want to eat as much fiber as possible. And that’s where prebiotic supplements, or if you want to say fiber supplement, those are incredibly beneficial to those healthy organisms that are living in our microbiome, especially those healthy bacteria. And so again, if we think about prebiotics as being the food for the probiotics, I really think we’re missing the mark when we don’t talk about these together.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

I don’t know what a good analogy might be, but it would be like maybe you want to raise a bunch of chickens in your backyard so that you’ve got nice high quality eggs, but the analogy would be like going out and buying chickens, just sticking them in your backyard, but then you never feed them. So we want these things around, but we also have to feed and love and nurture on them as well. And our microbiome is exactly that same way. So prebiotics are important to help increase the amount of fiber that we’re getting. And then what’s so great with especially well-formulated prebiotic products is you can really target the specific fiber or complex carbohydrate that you’re giving to help support specific populations of those healthy probiotics.

Ryan Goodwin:

Right. In other words, you’re targeting…

Ryan Goodwin:

Right? In other words, you’re targeting the nutrients for the specific micro organisms that the probiotic is looking to reintroduce into your system.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yep, that’s exactly right. And again, I’m trying to think of a quick analogy off the top of my head, but maybe you can think about a forest growing over. So where I grew up in Oregon, there was a lot of logging that was going on and so they’d cut down these really old trees and then thinking about the ecology that would happen after they cut down those trees. So you usually start with a lot of, for example, maybe this is going the wrong direction, but you might start with a whole bunch of different maybe maple trees and some other smaller shrubs.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

But meanwhile that healthy fir trees or pine trees are starting to grow up kind of through this thick underbrush. But then eventually what happens is as those pine and fir trees grow up, they start to cast a lot of shade onto those shrubs and small plants and eventually shades them out. And so you have this complete shift in the ecology that’s going on and you can do that with different types of food. And my point is, is that really the different environment that you’re allowing any organism to grow is really going to favor one over the other. So with a targeted prebiotic product, you can basically kind of achieve that same thing by really trying to facilitate especially the known healthy bacteria to grow and thrive.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah. Yeah. And then a probiotic is looking specifically to get more healthy micro organisms actually down into your large intestine.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. So we’ll go into the scientific literature and it’s just really built upon the scientific method. And so a lot of that method is you first have to take something out of a system, you have to grow it up, and then you need to give that thing back to people and then look for various health benefits. So the rationale behind giving a probiotic are these are the ones that have the scientific evidence to show that they are important, not just because they’re there maybe in the largest quantities, but that those are also the ones that are giving a number of health benefits. And go to Pub Med and type in health benefits of the microbiome and various bacteria and you’ll just see pages and pages and pages of results that have come up as this research continues to mature. But yeah, exactly. What we’re trying to do is really seed, if you will, our digestive systems to make sure it has the opportunity that if these healthy bacteria want to take hold, we’re giving them that opportunity.

Ryan Goodwin:

Totally. Totally. So let’s talk about what makes specifically Life Vantage’s pre bio and pro bio products so solid.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, so specifically if we’re talking about our prebiotic, I mean I just absolutely love the prebiotic blend that’s in there. There are, I would say fiber supplements on the market, but then there are also prebiotic supplements on the market. So while our prebiotic contains a number of fibers, I wouldn’t consider it a traditional fiber supplement. I mean, for example, if you were to go to your favorite supermarket or drugstore, you would see something like maybe a Metamucil. And that’s designed to be a fiber supplement so those tend to be rich in a fiber called psyllium. A lot of great health benefits with psyllium, but it’s acting in a much different way. It might be acting as a food source in some ways, but it’s working in ways maybe we shouldn’t get into on this episode, but it’s basically forming as a jelling agent and then it just helping things move through the system.

Ryan Goodwin:

Making it move through.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

How’s that? Making it move through. So yeah, that’s maybe something someone should reach for if you’re having problems in your consistency of going to the bathroom. But where I think our prebiotic sets itself apart is that it is specifically designed to help support all of those micro organisms and especially those bacteria that are living in our digestive system. So our prebiotic blend, for example, has things like fructo oligosaccharides, zulo-oligosaccharides, inulin. It has some of these fibers from brown seaweed as well. So you can see it’s not meant to necessarily be these kinds of bulking agents, but it’s specifically designed to be able to deliver the food to especially those bacteria living in our digestive tract.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah and then it’s paired … It was formulated to pair perfectly with our pro bio product.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah. Again, it’s like trying to raise some sort of farm animal without ever giving the food. So yeah, if you want to start a zoo, you want to bring a bunch of animals in, you’ve got to feed them the right thing. And our microbiome is exactly the same way. So we need the food source for this microbiome to be able to grow and thrive. And then we also want to facilitate a healthy population of those probiotics or healthy bacteria that are also living inside of our digestive system.

Ryan Goodwin:

And I love the way that it tastes too.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah.

Ryan Goodwin:

So let’s talk about pro bio. What makes pro bio an awesome probiotic?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, so a couple of things I think set Life Vantage’s pro bio apart and that is that one, there’s six different strains that are found within Life Vantage’s pro bio. A lot of companies just do one or two, but I also see the other extreme where companies might throw, I mean, gosh, I don’t know, 30, 40, 50, a hundred different strains in there. I don’t love that approach because I might disagree that there’s super solid research that all of those 30, 40, 50 microbiome, or excuse me, probiotic species are actually proven to have a health benefit. I think it might be just simple words, maybe a marketing play that, “Hey, look, we have a hundred and you’ve got six,” but we also have scientifically validated strains of bacteria in our product. So I love how we’re sticking to the scientific evidence and aren’t making a real marketing play here.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

We want our product to be efficacious and we want it to deliver the health benefits that we expect and that’s why that’s one thing that sets our pro bio apart. The other thing that I love is just really how many of these healthy bacteria are found inside of a daily dose. We’re up to six billion with a B, colony forming units, or CFUs. And that’s, again, a goofy scientific way to talk about how potent a product can be, but when they talk about CFUs, what they’ll do is at the time of manufacture, they will take the product and then they will try to grow up all of the organisms that are in that product. And so if you can think about just maybe putting one bacteria on top of a Petri dish with a bunch of nutrients around it, one will become two, two will become four.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

And then eventually they grow up and they form these little colonies, almost like maybe mold on your bread. You kind of see those little spots that start to grow. So just one little spore landed there and started to grow. So then they can go back and they can count the colonies and then back calculate to figure out exactly how many bacteria are in, let’s say, a daily dose. So that’s where you’ll see on the label actually CFUs or colony forming units. So at six billion colony forming units, we have a very potent dose of these different healthy probiotics in Life Vantage’s pro bio.

Ryan Goodwin:

A probiotic nuclear bomb.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

And then-

Ryan Goodwin:

Go ahead.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

No, go ahead.

Ryan Goodwin:

I was just going to say I love the technology that we have in the coding that actually gets those microorganisms where they need to go because otherwise a lot of them are going to actually die in the acids of your stomach.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Well yeah, that’s very true. So yeah, well our various markets around the world have different technologies to help make that happen. We’ve utilized some very interesting technologies to … Maybe if we’re talking about a traditional supplement, we really want that product to dissolve as quickly as possible so that it can get absorbed. But in this case, we kind of want to hold that product together so that it’s not exposed to especially the harsh environment. The very acidic environment that’s in our stomachs. But then even as food and our supplements start to get released into the upper small intestine, again, it’s a very incredibly harsh environment.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

It’s full of enzymes that break down fat, enzymes that break down protein. It’s full of bile. I mean the pH gets goofy as well, so we want to kind of keep it and hold it in its little protective nest to try to get it a little bit further down the digestive system. And so we’ve been able to show that the DR cap specifically will hold together for 52 minutes. So giving it more time to get further down the digestive system where then it releases those healthy bacteria and gives them a fighting chance to actually one get where they need to be and then colonize as well.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah, I remember the difference of how much could potentially of those CFUs can actually get into your large intestine from-

Ryan Goodwin:

Of those CFU’s could actually get into your large intestine from something that doesn’t have a coding to something as strong as what ours has, with something like 7% to 90% plus.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, it’s been shown that the further you can get these things down the digestive tract, the better it is.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah, killer.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

There’s no question. And just for the listeners that might be listening in our international markets, in the US we call it DRcaps and then in some of our other international markets we call it BIO-tract and they’ve both been shown to have very, very similar effects. So if people are seeing maybe different wordings on the labels, don’t be concerned. We’ve tested both formulations.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks Brian.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Hey, do you mind if we talk about one other thing that I love about our ProBio product?

Ryan Goodwin:

Please.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

And that’s, we have an ingredient in there called Wellmune, as well. And I wish I could take credit for that, but whoever formulated that product was absolutely genius to throw a little bit of, Wellmune in there as well. And what Wellmune is, is it’s a branded ingredient of yeast extracts. And specifically what they’ve done is taken the cell walls of these yeast and isolated it out to concentrate a class of compounds called Beta-Glucans. Again, Beta-Glucans is nothing more than one of these complex carbohydrates, but what these Beta-Glucans have been shown to do is support our immune health and it does it in an absolutely fascinating way. So I’d encourage people to maybe go back to PubMed, read a little bit about Wellmune and these Beta-Glucans and all the health benefits that they can have on the immune system, but maybe just briefly here, we can touch on it.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

And so what these Beta-Glucans are doing is acting nutrigenomically to basically bring our immune system to a little bit of a heightened state. And the analogy I like, and I know it’s going to be a poor American analogy, but we talk about the president carrying around the nuclear football and really never more than an arm lengths away, he’s got one of his top advisors carrying around a briefcase that has all the nuclear codes that’s in it. So it turns out that the president has to enter his code, but then one other individual has to enter their code to basically fully unlock the capability. So my point is, is that it’s taking two different inputs to actually make something happen and our immune cells are working very similar. And if maybe you don’t like a nuclear explosion type of analogy, maybe a better one would be think about maybe a lock that has maybe two keys on it or maybe a gate that’s got two locks on it.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

And so when our immune system really needs to do what it needs to do, it first has to be kind of activated. So it’s really the first touch of our immune cell is what’s going to cause that first step to happen. Then it takes a second step for that immune cell to become fully activated and do its job. That process is called priming, okay. So you have to first prime your immune system, right? Basically give it an exposure and then it can fully go on and do its full work after the second exposure. But what’s so interesting about how these Beta-Glucans are working is they get into our digestive system and whether it’s the immune cells that are living inside of our digestive track or they actually get absorbed into the bloodstream, they initially get absorbed by some of these new or naive immune cells.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

The immune cells metabolize these Beta-Glucans and they excrete metabolites exactly like we were talking about before with the microbiome. It turns out the metabolites of those Beta-Glucans can bind to specific receptors on the surface of certain immune cells to act as that first step in the priming process and then through that receptor activation you get that first step to happen. So it’s literally already kind of removing that two step process and makes it only a one step process for your immune system to become really fully functional and work like it’s meant to and should.

Ryan Goodwin:

Oh, that’s really cool. That’s really cool. I was just thinking that it’s kind of like having your car, it’s always on and that means that you can always press down that accelerator and get moving when you need to do without having to turn the car on. That’s cool.

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, another great analogy for sure. So yeah, I think when we encompass all of those things together, I think it shows why our ProBio is just an absolutely amazing product. And then again, I just can’t emphasize enough though, it’s not just enough to take the ProBio if you really want to unleash the maximum capacity of your microbiome. Make sure you’re feeding them all the things that they need. So eat that healthy diet and then further support that healthy diet with the prebiotic supplement to get even more of those prebiotics, that food that the probiotics, see look, I even get confused, that the probiotics need to eat and thrive and then deliver the health benefits.

Ryan Goodwin:

Totally, so in other words, if we want to have a healthy microbiome and to strengthen that gut brain index, we’re going to want to have healthy diet, we’re going to want to take prebiotic, we’re going to want to take our probiotic. I assume you want us to be taking those every day, right?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

Yeah, absolutely every day. It’s been shown that a lot of probiotics, they only have an effect for one to two to maybe three days. And so what we want to do is just continually be replenishing those healthy bacteria back inside of our gut. And we were talking, gosh, I don’t remember if it was this episode or the previous episode about just how dynamic that microbiome can be and in response to our diet and in our lifestyle. So as we add these little maybe micro modifications in our diet and lifestyle, we want to be sure that we’re constantly seeding those healthy bacteria and then also providing the food. The combination is incredibly important.

Ryan Goodwin:

Yeah, it makes perfect sense. And what I do know is that as I do what you’re recommending here over time, it’s one of the best ways that I keep my brain functioning, how I need it to be functioning. So I find it to be absolutely critical to my day to day and how I kick a lot of trash. Well, awesome. Thanks for your time today, Brian. Is there anything else that you wanted to mention about the probiotic or prebiotic before we sign off?

Brian Dixon, PhD:

No, I just appreciate you having me on again and giving me the chance to talk about, not just the microbiome, but then what you can do to support it as well.

Ryan Goodwin:

Absolutely. I’m sure that our listeners have loved to learn from your wealth of knowledge, so thank you. And we’ll see you all next week on Flip the Switch.

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