The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect your Brain for Life [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_David_Perlmutter_Brain_Maker_Gut_EcologyGuest: Dr. David Perlmutter
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Best-selling author Dr Perlmutter will visit Australia as a keynote speaker at the 4th BioCeuticals Research Symposium (22 – 24 April 2016) to educate Australian health professionals on the link between the gut microbes and brain health. The Symposium will highlight the latest advances in nutritional and integrative medicine, covering a range of fields. BioCeuticals, Australia’s leading provider of practitioner-only nutritional and therapeutic supplements, is at the forefront of evidence-based Integrative Medicine.

Segment overview: Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, discusses his book “Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes To Heal And Protect


Health Professional Radio – Brain Maker

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Now, our guest in studio today is Dr. David Perlmutter, he’s a board certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He’s the recipient of the Linus Pauling Award and the Author of the number one New York Times bestseller, ‘Grain Brain’ as well as the ‘Grain Brain Cookbook’, ‘The Better Brain’ book and ‘Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten.’ And he’s here today to talk with us about the number of topics of having to do with the gut and how the gut has the power to heal and protect your brain for life. How are you doing today, Dr. Perlmutter?

Dr. David Perlmutter Well I’m doing really well. Thanks for having me today.

N: Welcome to Health Professional Radio. You are the Author of a few books that talk about the brain and how what we eat affects our brain. Talk a bit about your latest work.

P: Well, I mean, right off the bat I mean, think about this conversation that we’re having, why wouldn’t we get our arms around the notion that food and lifestyle choices can affect the brain? We already accept the fact that these choices affect the Heart, we’ve heard of the Heart Smart Diet and women need exercise for strong and healthy bones, but the brain has for some crazy reason it has been left out of this conversation and it turns out that the brain is very, very sensitive to our lifestyle choices, especially exercise and the foods that we choose to eat. So it’s a brand new playing field for us because frankly we don’t have any meaningful treatments, as you and I have this conversation for Alzheimer’s disease for example, or Autism or even for Depression for that matter, and yet we know that these situations including Alzheimer’s disease, are by and large preventable based upon the lifestyle choices that we make and on that list, food is really playing an important role.

N: So, the book that you just penned, Grain Brain?

P: Well that’s already a couple years old. The newest book is Brain Maker (crosstalk) Grain Brain for Life.

N: Okay, Brain Maker, that’s the book that I’d like to talk about. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life. These microbes, does it depend, do they produce themselves regardless of what we eat and depending on what we eat there are microbes are better or worse or can we basically control the production of these microbes?

P: Well there are several questions that you just asked. First, I think it’s important to understand that within the gut, each of us has over one hundred trillion microbes floating around, bacteria, and they outnumber the cells of your body by a factor of 10:1. So, cell by cell you’re far more bacteria than you are who you think you are. And these bacteria are involved in controlling your immunity and in controlling how you metabolize the foods that you eat and even controlling the mechanism that cause inflammation. When you recognize that, that the bacteria in your gut are regulating the set point of inflammation in your body and at the same time when you recognize that inflammation is the cornerstone of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and even coronary artery disease, Diabetes and even cancer – then you begin to look at these gut bacteria through a new lense and recognize how darn important they are and how easily they are changed from good to bad or bad to good, based upon your food choices.

N: Okay. So when we’re small and being fed by formula say, are these microbes beginning to form in a good way and all we need to do is maintain a good diet? Or as we grow older, starting the Fast food, do some of them kind of stay over in the corner and wait until they’re needed while the other ones just deteriorate and go bad?

P: Well let me say that it begins even before a child has his/her first meal, which hopefully is not formula, that we obtain our initial seeds of our microbiome, that we are fertilized with bacteria as we pass through the birth canal. The birth canal, mother’s birth canal, is loaded with bacteria as is the skin in the area of the delivery. Loaded with bacteria that primes that infant’s gut to establish, these are the seeds of his/her microbiome. When a child is deprived of that event, of passing the birth canal, by being born by Caesarean Section then he/she doesn’t receive those bacteria and it turns out that this is the likely explanation as to why kids born by Caesarean Section have a risk of Autism that is doubled, a risk of ADHD that is tripled, a risk for Type 1 Autoimmune Diabetes that is increased by 70% and even have an increased risk for becoming obese as an adult, increased by over 50%. That’s how important the initial exposure to the right bacteria really is in terms of developing the right microbiome, the right gut bacteria as we move forward. You mentioned how a child is fed, there is a great advantage to a child being breastfed as opposed to being fed instant formula in terms of the make-up of the gut bacteria and it’s not just what’s in breastmilk versus what’s in instant formula, but even the notion of a child suckling on the breast is that kid is obtaining bacteria from mother’s skin that again is priming the microbiome and early in life the foods that a child eats are fundamentally important for the development of that microbiome and these days, so many kids, and early on in life, are exposed to such frequent anti-biotics and that has a devastating effect on the microbiome – that can have life-long consequence.

N: Now this Symposium in Australia that you plan to attend, you’re going to be one of the keynote speakers there, at this BioCeuticals Symposium, is this the first time that you’ve attended this particular symposium?

P: It is. First time I’ve attended this particular symposium but I’ve taught in Australia before.

N: Now in Australia, there seems to be maybe more openness to this notion, or not the notion but the fact that our gut is directly related to our brain health. Is that what you see as far as you plan to go there?

P: Well I don’t know yet. My sense is that most developed countries are really beginning to embrace this relationship, the gut-brain connection. But I think nationally, the things that are going on in terms of in Australia itself, the things that are going on for example in terms of Agriculture seems to represent a bit of a naïveté in terms of understanding how food is grown and how that might relate to the human microbiome. Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States are pretty much the only, and Japan, are the only developed countries that allow GMO foods. The entire rest of the world says no, and the reason by and large that food is genetically modified is because it allows farmers to spray the crops with herbicides like Glyphosate which is the active ingredient in Roundup and we now understand that Glyphosate has a devastating effect on the human microbiome and as such likely has long-term consequences. You’ll remember that last year, the World Health Organization came out and indicated that Glyphosate, this herbicide that goes on the GMO crops is a probable human carcinogen and it was announced just this morning here in America, that the United States Food and Drug Administration is now going to be exploring the Glyphosate, the herbicide residues on many foods that are common in America.

N: Do you think, just based on your research and your interest in this topic, why is it if you know this, you’re not the only one? If the people that may Roundup, they obviously know this, why are we continuing to kill ourselves?

P: Well, I think the answer is self-evident. This is a global multi-billion-dollar corporation and Roundup is the largest herbicide used on planet Earth, Glyphosate and its 750 different products that contain it and I think that the manufacturers of this product have known about its dangers for years and years. The fact that it changes the microbiome happens because Glyphosate is an antibiotic and as a matter of fact, one center who makes Glyphosate patented it as an antibiotic back in 2010. So they know that’s it’s an antibiotic, we’re all aware of the fact that antibiotics damage the human microbiome permanently, but better living through chemistry what can I say?

N: Follow the money.

P: Yeah.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio talking with Dr. David Perlmutter. He is the best-selling Author, he’s about to visit Australia as a keynote speaker at the 4th BioCeuticals Research Symposium, coming April the 22nd through the 24th. And his plan is to educate Australian Health Professionals on the link between the gut microbes and brain health. We’ve been here talking about Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life, Dr. Perlmutter’s latest work and in future segments we’ll talk about his other works and talk a bit more about this Symposium this coming April. It’s been great talking with you Dr. Perlmutter.

P: Thank you Neal. I appreciate it.

N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe through our podcast on iTunes.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!