Guest: Kiran Krishnan
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Kiran is a research microbiologist and has been involved in the dietary supplement and nutrition market for the past 16 years. He comes from a strict research background, having spent several years with hands-on R&D in the fields of molecular medicine and microbiology at the University of Iowa. Kiran earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology at the University of Iowa; his undergraduate education was followed up with postgraduate research in Molecular Biology and Virology.
Segment Overview: Microbiologist, Kiran Krishnan, Chief Science Officer at Just Thrive Probiotic discusses a new study on how bacteria are allowed to penetrate the protective mucosal lining of the intestines that produce toxins that initiate the growth of cancer.
Transcript – Probiotics
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Thank you for joining us here on the program. Our guest is returning to speak with us Dr. Kiran Krishnan. He’s a microbiologist, Chief Science Officer at Just Thrive Probiotic returning to talk with us about a brand new study talking about how bacteria are allowed to penetrate the protective lining of the intestines possibly contributing to colon cancer. Welcome back to Health Professional Radio Kiran Krishnan. How are you?
Dr. Kiran Krishnan: I’m great. Thank you so much for having me. I’m always happy to come back and talk especially this kind of critical information coming up.
N: Absolutely. Now, for those who may not be familiar with you as a guest here on Health Professional Radio, just a brief bit of background about yourself beyond being CSO at Just Thrive Probiotic.
K: I’m trained as a microbiologist. I’ve worked in the nutritional and dietary supplement field for about 18 years researching products, developing products for other companies and also developing nutritional technologies and platforms for companies to be able to utilize. I’ve worked in product development for at least the last 15 out of the 17, 18 years and also contributed a lot to the research side of things. So my whole focus was I wanted to bring more clinical research to nutritional products because that was just hard to do for a lot of nutritional companies.
N: Let’s talk briefly about the good bacteria that is growing in the lining of our stomachs.
K: It’s important to distinguish what the lining of the stomach looks like. So the intestinal lining is basically one cell thick and the fancy term for that is the ‘Intestinal Epithelium’. It’s the cells that are sitting next to each other shoulder-to-shoulder almost acting as a barrier trying to separate things that are going through the digestive system like foods and toxins and then of course, all the bacteria that exists in the digestive system trying to separate those from the inside of the body which is the circulatory system. Now on top of that single cell layer is something called a mucus layer. The mucus layer has two parts to it. The bottom part is a really thick kind of gel and the top part is a very liquidy gel. But the combination of the two act as a barrier to protect that single cell lining and also help protect things from getting through and entering the body. So that structure is important to understand. Now at the very top of that mucus layer, the liquidy part of the mucus layer, we have about a hundred trillion bacteria that live there. They are our normal commensal bacteria that conduct over 90% of our important biological functions and the whole problem arises when they are allowed to move from the top liquidy layer deeper into that mucus structure and closer to that intestinal lining, the actual single-cell lining. That’s when we start to see these problems. The bacteria that have been shown to be associated in causing colon cancer aren’t particularly bad bacteria, in fact most of us have some amount of that bacteria within our gut. It’s the breakdown of that mucus structure where those bacteria are allowed to get deeper into that mucus structure, that’s where it causes problem.
N: What is it that causes that breakdown this leak in the gut?
K: That’s a big part of what we study as well is we’re looking at what is causing that integrity of that structure to break down. Well, there’s a lot of things. One is antibiotic use for example has been shown to disrupt the types of bacteria that live within that liquidy part of the mucus structure. Now when the antibiotics kill off certain groups of bacteria, it actually increases the growth of other bacteria that actually have an enzyme that breaks down that structure. So after a course of antibiotics is complete, you can actually see the types of perturbations in that flora where you start to have more bacteria that actually break down that structure. The other important part is a lack of something called Butyrate. So butyrate is a really important fatty acid or short chain fatty acid that’s produced by certain key good bacteria within the colon. Basically, what these bacteria do is they take fiber from your diet and then they convert it to this very important butyrate. Now why butyrate is so important is because butyrate is a compound that actually stimulates the production of new structures in that mucosal lining. So even though your mucosal lining gets broken down on a somewhat regular basis, the butyrate comes in and it stimulates cells within the intestines to produce more of this mucus, thereby regenerating that very important barrier. And so we tend to disrupt our flora quite a bit with things like antibiotics, preservatives and food, weed killers out there like glyphosate and then a lack of consuming friendly prebiotics that can be converted to butyrate. Between those two, we really mess up the integrity of that lining.
N: It’s estimated that about 50,000 Americans are expected to actually die of colon cancer this year alone. Of those who are possibly at risk because of this leaky gut that we’re talking about, is there a reversal that takes place once this is discovered and addressed or is this something that is going to be chronic and simply has to be managed?
K: It looks like once these cancerous polyps have developed and the cells are characteristically cancerous, then it becomes a much more complicated ordeal. At that point, the patient has to be managed at the hospital under strict oncology. Everything has to be monitored. They probably need to be removing some of those polyps and parts of the intestines that are cancerous. However, the process that leads to that tumor development occurs over many, many years. It can occur over a decade. It can occur over two or three years, that’s the migration of those bacteria from the liquidy part of the mucosal layer into the deeper parts of the mucosal layer where they set up shop and they start producing toxins that start to cause the inflammatory process that leads to the cancer. If they’re in that phase, meaning that the bacteria is just now penetrating and it’s producing the toxins, the cells are starting to get disrupted, that all should be able to be reversed by increasing butyrate production, by increasing the use of bacteria that can actually out-compete these bacteria and by increasing the intake of fibers and things like that. We should be able to either slow down the progression or maybe even reverse it. And that’s what’s so promising about this data is we now know that bacteria plays such a big role in this and anytime bacteria are playing a big role in this, there are ways for us to control what the bacteria are doing. For a long time, they’ve known that butyrate is actually a really effective treatment in either slowing down the progression of colon cancer or slowing down the pathologies that look like colon cancer within the gut. In fact in many hospitals, people who are at high risk of colon cancer will go in regularly and get butyrate enemas. It’s not only now that we figured out the mechanism exactly why butyrate seems to help. So taking a probiotic with prebiotics and if the probiotic you’re taking can actually convert that prebiotic to butyrate, it can be a significant benefit to making sure that that lining stays healthy.
N: Now, I do understand that this new study has been published in science, the February 2nd 2018 Volume 359, Issue 6375, it can be found on pages 592 through 597. Where can we go and get some more information about Just Thrive Probiotic?
K: Absolutely. A great place to go is at the product website thriveprobiotic.com and then attached to that website, you’ll find the blog where we talk a lot about butyrate formation and the gut. One of the things that I really liked about the strains in Just Thrive is that in the studies that we’ve done, we’ve seen that just by adding the strains into the system, we increase butyrate production by almost 50% and so that dramatic increase in butyrate has huge healing effect on the lining of the gut and the stimulatory effect of reproducing new levels of that mucous layer. So all of that kind of information is there at thriveprobiotic.com and then the blog that’s attached to it as well.
N: Great. Always a pleasure Kiran.
K: Thank you.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, listen in and download at SoundCloud and be sure and visit our affiliates page at hpr.fm and healthprofessionalradio.com.au.