Eating Right for Your Gut Type

What if you could personalize your diet to help keep you in optimal health, drop the extra pounds, and feel your energized best? And what if there were a quiz that helped you determine exactly how to do it?

I’m joined this week by Dr. Vincent Pedre, medical director at Pedre Integrative Health founder/CEO of Happy Gut Life. He believes the gut is the gateway to excellent wellness, and his newest book, The GutSMART Protocol—a 14-day personalized gut-healing plan based on the GutSMART Quiz—is the culmination of years of research and clinical experience as a functional gut-health expert.

In this episode, Dr. Pedre discusses the importance of gut health in overall wellness and how a disrupted gut microbiome can lead to various health issues. He also talks about the impact of stress, diet, and environmental toxins on digestive health and provides tips on how to improve it through lifestyle changes, such as incorporating fermented foods and probiotics into the diet and reducing stress levels.

In his words, “Microbial diversity is the holy grail of your health. The more diverse your gut microbiome is, the less inflammation you're gonna have in your body.”

We’ll answer questions like: How can getting out in nature help improve our gut microbial diversity? How can we reduce our use of antibiotics? How do fiber and fermented foods affect our gut microbiome?

Plus, you’ll learn how our gut bacteria can affect weight loss and metabolism as we discuss the exciting new research that’s emerging!

Freebies From Today’s Episode
Get a Free Chapter + Bonuses from Dr. Pedre’s upcoming book, The GutSMART Protocol


00:01:15 – Introducing Dr. Pedre, his gut health quiz and new book
00:03:32 – What it means to be GutSMART: how the gut is integral to every area of health
00:06:15 – Personalizing the approach to gut health
00:07:20 – Learning about gut health from modern day hunter gatherers
00:16:30 – Lessons from hunter gatherers we can incorporate in our own lives
00:17:37 – How antibiotics destroy gut health
00:27:55 – How gut diversity is assessed
00:29:50 – The gut microbiome and metabolism
00:34:25 – Nutritional steps we can all take for gut health
00:36:10 – The affects of alcohol on gut health
00:41:05 – Mindfulness practices for gut healing
00:47:27 – GutSMART Protocol and FREE bonuses

Mentioned in this episode:

Learn more about Dr. Vincent Pedre 

Read Happy Gut by Dr. Vincent Pedre

I take Extra Fiber regularly to boost my gut health

Study: Fecal transplant in mice to improve metabolic syndrome

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 541_Dr. Vincent Pedre
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Welcome and thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert here. I put the Power of Health in your hands and give you access to the top people in health and wellness. In each episode, I share safe ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox and lots more. So if you wanna get healthy and get off the dieting for life merry-go-round, I'll give you strategies that will help you look and feel better fast.
I've got my buddy, Dr. Vincent Pedre back now. You probably know him from our interviews. We did a what to eat, when to eat and why for gut health. That was incredible, where we dug deep into the microbiome and of course we've, we've done an interview about his happy gut work and he's back now and he's done something really super [00:01:00] cool.
He. Took the Happy Gut and went further with it and designed a quiz to really help you figure out your gut health and then what what you need to do next. And then created a 14 day personalized gut healing plan based on that, called His Gut Smart Protocol. And that is his new book. And we are gonna be digging into his new, new book today and also talking.
Fun trip he did well, maybe not fun. Fun. Might be overstating it where he got a lot of information that kind of helped shaped his work and the gut. So let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Vincent if you're new to him. If you're new to him, you're definitely gonna wanna follow him on Instagram. I'll make sure I put that in the show notes.
He does some great content. He's the medical director of Pedre Integrative Health in New York City, and he is also the CEO and founder of. And he also has been a spokesperson for Nature md. He's a functional medicine certified practitioner, and he. All over the place. Plus he is an amazing dancer. I just gotta say that.
And he [00:02:00] cooks Killer Cuban food, . These are all super important things, of course, and he is one of my go-tos if not the go-to on gut health. And you are going to hear some incredible information about gut microbiome diversity and how it can impact your weight and your metabolism. So stay with me. I will be right back with Dr.
Dr. Vincent Pedre, welcome back to the program.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Ah, thanks for having me back. Always have a great conversation with you, jj, my go-to
JJ Virgin: gut doc. Mm-hmm. , there you are. Now I'm super excited cuz you wrote Happy Gut, which it, it the Happy Gut, I know that it's kind of always felt like a double entendre to me because you always.
like you're always smiling. And then it was about how to make your gut happy. Now we're into gut Smart. So we are gonna talk about this, but first of all what I'd [00:03:00] love you to start with is like, what, what does gut smart mean
Dr. Vincent Pedre: to you? I kind of like the, the part of the reason I came up with gut smart is like becoming smarter about your guts to get gut smart.
So it's really about up-leveling people's knowledge about how the. Is integral and the foundation for every aspect of health. Gut, brain, gut, skin, gut, immune system, gut airway everything metabolism, weight is connected to the gut. And so the, it is this little bit of a double entendre getting gut smart, like getting gut smart and understanding better the role of the gut in all of its different aspects cuz people know they have a gut issue, right?
If you. Abdominal pain, bloating, all that. But do people really know yet that they have a gut issue? If they can't lose weight, if they have a weight loss plateau, if they're having hormonal imbalances, if they're estrogen dominant, if they've got adult acne, [00:04:00] all of these things are tied to the gut, and that's one big thing that I hope to get across with this new.
Doesn't it
JJ Virgin: feel like we're kind of going back to where everything sort of started, where in medicine and health, way back in the dark, like
Dr. Vincent Pedre: a hundred years ago, right? You know, before, before allopathic medicine took over this country was actually more in line with naturopathic medicine, with a belief system that everything starts and ends with the gut.
And if you're going to work with someone that you need to start working with their gut health first. So that's
JJ Virgin: what it feels like. It feels like. Okay. Well, Now we're back to that. But the difference
Dr. Vincent Pedre: is the, the difference is that a hundred years ago, we didn't have all this research that we're doing now and understanding not just the gut lining, but also the gut microbiome and how it plays a role in a whole bunch of different things like weight management and even depression.
Like mental health. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: We also, back then didn't have ultra processed foods. We didn't have all these [00:05:00] toxins. Right. We didn't , we
Dr. Vincent Pedre: didn't have antibiotics, actually. Yeah. No doctors. Doctors actually had these devices in their office where they created colloidal silver solutions that they gave their patients because silver is an antimicrobial and they would use that to treat infections before we ever discovered antibiotics, which was around, I think, penicillin in the 1940s,
JJ Virgin: which can be amazing and devastating all at the same time.
So, So it's interesting you talk about personalizing and you know, you look at gut health out there and it's kind of like, okay, well do this, but it's a very different approach if you have say, candida versus SIBO versus leaky gut. And so you talk about personalizing the gut. How are you doing that? How are you creating different gut
Dr. Vincent Pedre: types, basically through a quiz.
And the quiz, what it does is it not only teases out. How [00:06:00] frequently you're having gut symptoms and what their severity is. And by adding that up, you get a score. But then it also asks you, do you get headaches? Do you have allergies? Do you have asthma? Do you have autoimmune disease? Do you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis?
And all of these things add up to create a final score that divides people into mild, moderate, or severe. And it's really beyond just candida. It's about how is this affecting your entire body? And then how can we create a healing program based on this that is not just gonna help you with your gut health, but is also gonna help you resolve the domino effect of issues that are created when your gut is outta balance.
JJ Virgin: Yeah. Let's, I, I would love to dig into, you know, how the gut influences your weight and your metabolism and all of that, but before we do it, I remember I just was in Mexico with our buddy Eric Amidi and I think back to, because he's still trying to get me to [00:07:00] go on the trip and I said, I will go on the trip to the hunter gatherers if like, I don't have to go pee in the bush.
Like we're gonna have to resolve this . So, so he is trying to figure that out. But you did go on this trip, you went to, to, I did Africa. You stayed with the hunter gatherers and I know that that also played a role here. So what went down on that? .
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Well, first of all, I have to say the reason I was so excited when I was one of the 10 people that got a golden ticket and was picked to go on this trip is that I had already been learning about the Hadza the hunter-gatherers they'd been doing, you know, living the way that their ancestors lived for thousands of years because someone got curious and decided to collect their poop and test it and look at their microbiome.
And found that their microbiome is quite diverse. In fact, it's way more diverse than in that study. They looked at a control group of Italians. So Italian cohorts, you can imagine they're eating the [00:08:00] rainbow, they're eating tomatoes, pasta, sauce lots of greens, basil pasta, you know, lots of grains.
Mediterranean diet. You think Italians, they're eating one of the healthiest diets in the. So they should have a really diverse microbiome. Well, their microbiome is not more diverse than the Hadza but more importantly, like who would care, like if your microbiome is diverse, well, who cares? Well, the Hadza have no diabetes.
They have no heart disease, they have no obesity. They have no mental health issues. In fact, they don't even. A word for depression. It doesn't even compute for them. Wow. It's not part of, it's not part of what they think reality and encompasses because they live in the elements. They live under these hormetic stressors and they are way more resilient.
The They're okay with peeing out in the woods.
JJ Virgin: Okay, now just stop it. . So, but here's the question. So they, that could be a big hormetic
Dr. Vincent Pedre: stressor for you, JJ .
JJ Virgin: Well, I am trying to push [00:09:00] myself outta my comfort zone. I know this important part of longevity is doing different things. So I'm assuming you also have no cancers,
Dr. Vincent Pedre: no cancer.
And that's what's really fascinating about them. And, and what I like to say is, so why do we care about microbial diversity? Well, microbial diversity is the holy. Of your health, the more diverse your gut microbiome is, the less inflammation you're gonna have in your body. So that is the key there because every western disease is fueled and powered by inflammation.
And a lot of that inflammation is coming from the foods that people eat. Too much sugar, too many processed foods, inflammatory oils, and then what it does to the gut and increases gut permeability and leads to leaky gut and causes dysbiosis between good and bad bugs, maybe an overgrowth of yeast.
So it causes this, this disturbance that then has [00:10:00] reverberating effects through the entire body. Okay, a
JJ Virgin: couple questions. Let's go back to the who the Hadza. And then, we'll, cuz I wanna talk, get into this…and for, and for anybody
Dr. Vincent Pedre: who doesn't know the Hadza their, their territory is mainly around Tanzania and a lot of the area is like near some of the preserved lands where animals can run free.
There's zebra and there's, it's, it's just
JJ Virgin: gorgeous. Now how what was their diet like? What did you.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: So , we went hunting and foraging. They hunt things like birds. We ended up they ended up actually cooking a goat while we were there. I was not very big on that. But we also went and forged for root vegetables.
We dug them out of the ground and eat them raw. Raw, yeah, raw.
JJ Virgin: That's a big, that's a big anti nutrient. No-no. In our [00:11:00] world,
Dr. Vincent Pedre: well, they eat them raw. But imagine this root vegetable is more like a jicama it's got the consistency. It's very water like on the inside. Okay. So not like the ones we think of that have to be cooked.
It's actually So not like a potato. Not like a potato. It's very. Watery and crunchy, and then they're eating honey. So we went out like out far from where we were staying, and I don't know how they saw this, but they saw because the honeybees in Africa, they create their honeycomb inside a tree and then they build a little chimney, looks like a little tiny chimney, which allows for air circulation.
And these bees are really small. They're like little flies. They're not like the bees that we have here. In, in the us, at least the ones in that part of Africa. And so they chopped open. The tree bark and inside was all this honey and they just like poured it into our hands and Wow. We were having honey [00:12:00] out and honeycomb and, and there were bees mixed in with the honey.
Ew, . Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was quite a thing. It could be why I got a parasite after being in Africa. Who knows? . My, my, my gut microbiome is not prepared for that, but obviously they Right. They've lived in, and grown up in the wild, so their gut microbiome can handle all this stuff. And so, so like, they also eat boba fruit, which is very high in fiber.
they use it to wing kids off of breast milk. They, they make it into a porridge and they're eating berries and just animals. It's very simple.
JJ Virgin: Now, do they get up in the morning? Like, do they eat at specific times or is it just when they happen to find food? Like what's a day
Dr. Vincent Pedre: like? A day is, you know sometimes I would wake up early and wander around the, the weren't there animals in there.
Wild animals. No, no. I know. I was afraid, I was [00:13:00] afraid of that. There was a fire going on and they put somebody on guard just in case of hyenas or whatever, you know, cuz we're out in the wild, so you don't know what's gonna come. But luckily, no, we didn't, we didn't have any they're, they're not in a, a territory where there's lions and, and Lioness, but I was a little bit afraid, so I probably was sleeping between people just thinking if something happens, they'll, they'll eat them first.
I'll have some response time here. One morning I woke up early and the little children, there was like two children just wandering around on their own while still everybody else was sleeping. So that, you know, they take their time waking up, and then they're, they're the very separate. Community. So like the men will huddle together and there was like a cave and they would huddle together.
And the women, they're doing their own things separately. They're like maybe making beads and clothes and and things like that. [00:14:00] and then eventually, sometime probably like late morning, they decide to go out and they go on either a hunt or a foraging round and they can cover a lot of territory in little time.
I mean, these, these guys are really fast and I obviously, they, they were hosting us, so we did things like learn how to use a bow and arrow. And I learned that it's not that. And that apparently I don't have the musculature, the built musculature to pull that string back. I mean, they, it is on so tight that you start pulling on it.
You're like, wait, I can't pull this. And then the chief would take the bow and arrow and just grab it and just go like this. I'm like, wait, how did you do that? And he didn't
JJ Virgin: look like he was, it's a bowflex in wild. It wasn't like
Dr. Vincent Pedre: he was built. But he must have some really strong rhomboids back here.
Yeah. You know, he is developed that [00:15:00] muscular chair and it's just amazing how skilled they are, like going out on the hunt with them and they'll see a bird really far away in a tree and they can just, they'll, they'll get it. Wow.
JJ Virgin: So I'm hearing all this and what's so fascinating is there's very few cultures that have not gotten hit with Westernized.
Trash, you know, with our ultra processed foods, with our crazy stress, with iPhones, with, you know, all of that stuff. It's like, this is one of those last, last communities that hasn't, and you, you describe it and say, there's no diabetes, there's no heart disease, there's no obesity, there's no cancer. It's really quite
Dr. Vincent Pedre: telling.
And, and obviously people aren't gonna go and start hunting and gathering and living out in the woods, but what can we learn from them? That we can incorporate it into our lives. You know, for people who are living in cities that don't get enough nature exposure, get out and get in nature because being out in [00:16:00] nature is really good.
Not only does it lower your cortisol levels, but it also helps improve microbial diversity. You know, ideally in nature that is free of pesticides and free of herbicides and all that, so maybe not a lawn in the park might not be the best place, but if you can get out in the woods in nature, go hiking. All of that is going to improve microbial diversity in a way that other things don't.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, we try to go outside every day and get our feet in the grass, right? Bare feet in the grass. See the sunlight. It's, it's easy when you have little dogs. You have to go do it. But I think it was
Dr. Vincent Pedre: something we tend to forget. the sky before screen is ideal. Go outside, get the sun before you look at your smartphone.
JJ Virgin: That's a good one. Well, what else can you take away from that and bring into, you know, our world? What lessons from the Hadza?
Dr. Vincent Pedre: One of the big ones is just looking at what happens if we're [00:17:00] not exposed to antibiotics. And for a lot of people listening, probably they're thinking, well, I've been on a lot of antibiotics.
Over a lifetime, but there's probably mothers here who have children, and you can make a different choice for your children and try to only use antibiotics when they're absolutely necessary and, how would they know when
JJ Virgin: that is though? How would someone know? Right. ? Well, most
Dr. Vincent Pedre: viruses, most, most colds are viral.
They don't require antibiotics. And in fact, the, the practice of giving antibiotics for ear infections, In pediatrics was actually shown to be incorrect, and they found that most of them were viral and didn't actually require antibiotics. So how does someone who's a mom, how do they, how do they know?
Well, you gotta question your doctor because doctors are just writing things. They just want to get you out the door. Not only do they want to get you better, but they also wanna get you out the. As [00:18:00] quickly as possible, because our medical system only allots for 15 minutes at max per person. So you need to get in there, decide what the issue is and what the prescription is.
I was once that type of doctor, I was trained that way you're just thinking, what prescription do I need to write to move this person out? Do the best I can for them. And the thing that the, the, the patient, whether it's a mother, a child, or the mother advocating for the child, is ask the question. Is this really absolutely necessary?
Do you think I could get better without an antibiotic? What are you treating here? Do you think I have a bacterial infection? You know, so I think this is where you have to use a lot of gut intuition
JJ Virgin: as well. And, and the problem with antibiotics, just in case someone is not quite sure, cuz we're talking about gut diversity and your microbiome, what happens when someone takes an antibiotic?
Dr. Vincent Pedre: I'll give you an example. The, one of the most common [00:19:00] prescribed antibiotics, especially in the last couple of years, is a Zpac Zithromax. And that's, I can't tell you how many times patients came in when I was, you know, in regular practicing doctor working for a bigger clinic like, doc, can you just gimme a Z-pack?
I just wanna knock this cold. And I would be the doctor like, well, you're not gonna knock a virus out with an antibiotic. So like, it's probably just a placebo effect that you think it's making you better, especially if you get better after the first dose. And, but a zpac five days, which actually stays in your body for another five days.
It has a long half life. So it's hanging around for 10 days total. It will take your gut microbiome six months to recover from that five day antibiotic. Now, another really common one for women is cipro another five day course for U T I. Very commonly given to women when they have urinary [00:20:00] tract infection.
And of course if you're listening to this, you don't want your UTI to turn into a kidney infection, right, and end up in the hospital. So UTIs a lot of times need to be treated. But a five day course of Cipro is gonna knock out your gut microbiome and it's gonna take it 12 months, 12 months. 12 months
JJ Virgin: now, can you, can you improve that by being really good about pre and probiotics? And shorten that time.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yeah. And in fact you know, there was some key, there was a key study that came out in this fall of 2021 while I was writing this book put out by Stanford University. It was mostly done on women split into two groups of 18, and they looked at the effects on the immune system, immune activation and microbial diversity of a fiber rich diet versus a high fermented foods diet.
So they divided the group. One group was eating five to eight servings of fiber rich veggies per day. The other group was [00:21:00] eating, went from eating less than half a cup of fermented foods to having up to six servings per day. Six cups, six
JJ Virgin: servings of fermented food a day.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. Holy smokes. This was the high fermented foods group.
So, and, and you think, well, how were they getting those servings? Most of them through yogurt and through vegetable brine drinks. So they were drinking it. So it might have been a little bit. To get all those servings. Well, what happened? Who do you think had the greatest increase in microbial diversity?
The fiber-rich group or the fermented foods group?
JJ Virgin: So . So it would seem like the fermented foods group, but then you need the fiber to feed it. So, you know, I'd look at it and go, well, you have to have the fiber, otherwise you have no fuel for the, for the bacteria. So I'm gonna go.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: So was actually the fermented foods group that had an the greater increase in microbial diversity.
Now, this was only done, the intervention was [00:22:00] 10 weeks long. So one comment was that maybe the fiber rich group needed more time to reach that point where it was starting to change microbial diversity. But what they did find is the fiber-rich group, it modified immune activation depending on their baseline microbial diversity.
So you were asking me, okay, someone's on antibiotics. What do they do afterwards? How do they modulate their immune response? Because how many people have been on an antibiotic for a sinus infection, ear infection, and then three or four months later they get another one and they have to be on antibiotics again And what's happening?
You know, there's some level of immune dysregulation. I've seen this. You fix the gut. Then they stop needing to have antibiotics over and over again. They stop getting so many sinus infections. Well, one way is making sure you're getting enough fiber, but also, and
JJ Virgin: that study you just said to be clear.
Yeah, they said high fiber, high fermented foods, but they gave an insane amount of fermented foods like they [00:23:00] did. I've never heard of that high. That is like they did. It was a lot
Dr. Vincent Pedre: extreme. It ranged. It ranged from four to six servings per day during. Six weeks. So they had a ramp up, so they didn't go from zero to that.
They had four weeks during which they were increasing. and then a six week maintenance phase. And they checked microbial diversity in a whole bunch of inflammatory markers before and after. And the other thing they found was that the ferment, the high fermented foods group, actually had a drop in all 19 inflammatory markers, some of which they were looking at intracellular cytokine activation as a marker for immune activation.
But with the fiber-rich group there was also, and
JJ Virgin: the fiber was how much, because it seems to me.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Five to eight servings.
JJ Virgin: But that's not a lot of fiber. Like that's a normal day. That's what
Dr. Vincent Pedre: people should normally, that's not normal for most people. Jj, I've, what I've seen is, when I have asked over the 20 years that have been a doctor, the average [00:24:00] answer of how many cups of veggies are you getting per day is one to three, right?
And if
JJ Virgin: you pulled out ketchup, iceberg, lettuce and potatoes would be zero. But when you look at that, That still, it seems like the fermented is like, you know, it's a lot. It's a, it's massively more than the fiber group, so it's a lot. I, I feel like they need to redo that study and equalize, well, they didn't,
Dr. Vincent Pedre: they didn't.
Also, it was mostly women, so I think they need to have male, female as well as more ethnically diverse because it was mostly white
JJ Virgin: and, and put 'em together. What would happen with the fiber in ferments together
Dr. Vincent Pedre: and a control? So there was another study actually that was published last year in October where they looked at what happens to people's stress score if you put them on a high fiber, high fermented foods diet, and here it was five to eight servings of fiber per day [00:25:00] of fiber rich veggies.
JJ Virgin: How many grams? How many grams? The aim.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: So in this study they started, most people were eating anywhere between 12 and low, 20 some grams of fiber per day. And during the intervention they more than doubled that. So they were eating up to like 45 grams. Of fiber per day.
JJ Virgin: And are they trying to make sure it's like a blend of prebiotics and, well, a
Dr. Vincent Pedre: blend of soluble and insoluble fibers.
And then they, they also instructed them to increase their ferment. But in this study it was two to three servings, not six servings per day. And the control group, so it was 45 people divided into two. The control. Was just given general dietary advice, like avoid sugar, avoid processed foods, but they weren't told to eat more vegetables, to eat more fermented foods.
And then they did a stress score before and after. So they were looking at the gut brain connection here and, and what happens [00:26:00] if you do a dietary intervention with high fiber, high fermented foods but not as high as the other study. And what they found is that the, the intervention. Had a 32% drop in their stress score post only four weeks.
Whereas the placebo group was 17%. So the difference was significant between the two groups to start asking and questioning, you know, what is it that's going on inside the gut microbiome. When you do these things, what are you altering? Internal signaling, the metabolism of tryptophan. The inflammatory signals get reduced.
You get more short chain fatty acids like butyrate, which are anti-inflammatory, and. You know, this was just a healthy group. I think we need to start looking at this diet, diet style intervention for people who are stressed not just stressed, but anxious and depressed, and see what happens with them.
JJ Virgin: I have so many, I have [00:27:00] so many different places. I've been furiously writing questions and trying not to. Jump in here, but the first one would be, so how, how were we, how are they assessing gut diversity? Is that through a stool test
Dr. Vincent Pedre: and shotgun DNA sequencing? Yeah. Okay. Because with your quiz, can you, and they're, and they're using different indexes that they have, like all these like Shannon Index, Simpson's Index.
So they were using different markers. They were looking. All types of ways to look at diversity. Can
JJ Virgin: you, can you make some assumptions based on the diversity of someone's diet, on the diversity of their gut microbiome? Or do you have to, like, if we knew someone had good diet diversity, could we make an assumption that they're probably pretty good, or would we Well
Dr. Vincent Pedre: look at this.
Look at this short study that was done with the fiber-rich group and there was no change in microbial diversity in the fiber-rich. So I don't know. And that was four [00:28:00] weeks and that was a 10 week intervention. Mm-hmm. . So do we know that? Can we make a judgment based on diet? I think we have to look at the whole person holistically.
Cuz what if you're eating a lot of fiber, but you've been on antibiotics twice in the last year. Yeah. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: Right. Or your gut's super permeable. You've been like hammering.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: And those are the types of questions that I ask in, in the gut smart quiz to really delineate, you know, because it's not just about gut symptoms, it's not just about other body symptoms, but it's also about what's going on.
Like have you been on antibiotics? Have you been on birth control pill? Which increases gut permeability. Do you take NSAIDs for pain? Cause that's also gonna increase gut permeability.
JJ Virgin: So really you're looking at symptoms, lifestyle, to get a formula for healing. And I think it's important. I'm glad that it's coming out now about the gut bacteria and weight and metabolism, [00:29:00] but I'd love you to go down that, that rabbit hole too.
Cause it's, it's so fascinating.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: I think there, there was a, a really key study that was done actually couple of years ago. I think it was 2015. Where they took germ-free mice and they used germ-free mice as a model for what happens when you do a stool transplant into these germ-free mice, what can happen to their metabolism, to their weight?
So they took these germ-free mice, divided them into two groups, and then they found what they call discordant twins. So twins where one is thin and the other one is. And they took the stool from each twin and they put it in the cage. One from the thin twin, one from the obese twin. With these mice, they fed all the mice, the same diet.
It was a low fat diet, high in, in plant polysaccharides fruit vegetables, and the thin mice stayed thin on this diet. The other thin mice, after the stool [00:30:00] transplant, gained weight, became obese, developed metabolic disorder. So it was one of the first studies where it shows that weight gain and metabolic disturbances is a transferable trait within the gut microbiome.
So all this time we were thinking that it was all about the body. It was all about how much sugar you're eating, your insulin resistance, and not realizing there was a, there was a whole lens through which we were not looking at things, which was through the gut, through the gut microbiome. What is happening there because the gut microbiome also controls insulin sensitivity and resistance and can actually control how you're packing on weight or able to lose weight.
So then what they did is they wanted to see, well, can we make those obese mice thin again? And so they, they put those mice on a low fat diet and [00:31:00] they populated them. Now they put all the mice together. and what they found was that the thin mice, their gut microbiome cuz okay, this little gross, but , when you put mice, mice like to eat each other's poop.
My dogs
JJ Virgin: like to eat their poop too. So you know, I'm over it. , go, go figure,
Dr. Vincent Pedre: go, go
JJ Virgin: figure. Well, they must know something we don't know. Maybe this is, maybe they do. Diet culture, eat skinny poop. Forget skinny pop, eat skinny poop. This will be your next product. Well, did it work? So did they eat the skinny mice's poop?
Dr. Vincent Pedre: the thin mice, when they ate the poop from the obese mice, their gut resisted colonization by that microbiome. But when the obese mice ate the poop from the thin mice, their gut got colonized. So assuming that maybe the thin mice had a more diverse gut microbiome, the other one was less diverse, which is what we see with disease and inflammation.
And the obese mice then fed a [00:32:00] low-fat diet, lost weight, and became thin. And then they thought, well, what happens if we now feed them a high-fat diet processed food type style diet? The thin mice stayed thin. The obese, the obese that became thin, gained weight again and became obese. Now, I
JJ Virgin: wonder if they.
We're able to keep that gut microbiome longer, so it really took hold. Yeah. Right. So, yeah, so this wasn't, this wasn't a thing to say, Hey, if you've got good gut microbiome, you can eat ultra processed garbage pop-tarts. That's not, that was not the takeaway. .
Dr. Vincent Pedre: No, no. Although, you know, my body and I can eat a good amount of Cuban food and I'm okay, but I don't eat wheat.
Gluten, you stay away from a lot of inflammatory
JJ Virgin: things. So you can say that I've had your Cuban cooking, it's amazing and it's totally healthy. So, you know, it's, it's not like you're sitting there making like Wonder Bread [00:33:00] Cuban sandwiches, right? No, no. You're making, what was that thing you made at the house that night that was so amazing?
Dr. Vincent Pedre: was a picadillo which is a tradi, very traditional Cuban dish. And I think I made it, Grass fed beef and and bison, I think I
JJ Virgin: might have missed. Yeah, it was quite spectacular. That's all I remember. And there was nothing unhealthy about it. So, you know, I think, I think Tampa was, it's
Dr. Vincent Pedre: an elevated Cuban cuisine, cuz Cuban cuisine can be pretty unhealthy.
JJ Virgin: Hmm. Well I've never had the unhealthy cuz I've only had yours, so there you go. So what should we be doing then? I mean, I know you know the big takeaway here and everyone's gonna hear how they can get to take the quiz cuz the obvious thing here is take the quiz. Find out what your gut type is, customize and find out your gut types.
You can customize this, but are there a couple global things that people should be thinking of in terms of nutrition? Then I wanna go past nutrition, but global things for nutrition that, that we should be doing.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Very important things. You know, gluten is bad [00:34:00] for us, regardless of whether you have gut issues or not, or that you're aware of them.
Cause, because, because gluten is one, an inflammatory molecule. A lot of wheat, if it's not organic, has been sprayed with glyphosate, which is an antimicrobial agent, so it causes alterations of gut microbiome that then leads to leaky gut, but gluten itself. Activates a signaling molecule that increases gut permeability, so it leads to leaky gut even in normal people.
So over time, if you think of a multi hit hypothesis where maybe you don't start off with disease when you're 30, but you're, you're eating not the greatest diet and you keep having bread and pasta and overexposing yourself to gluten by 40, your thyroids starting to act. Things are starting not to look as well.
You're starting to gain weight. It's hard to lose weight. Well, it's partly the gluten that's contributing to that. Dairy is a big problem. For a lot of people either dairy sensitivity, food sensitivities, or just lactose [00:35:00] intolerance. The majority of the world is lactose intolerant, anywhere between 70 and 90%.
So that can be very problematic for people. And, and you have to stratify people depending on what their gut issues are. Some people can tolerate, some people can, and that's what I did with the Gut Smart quiz. Alcohol. Alcohol is a big. If you're trying to heal your body, I mean, you have to think that alcohol is used to sterilize surfaces.
So when you drink alcohol, what do you think it's doing to your gut microbiome? It's doing the same thing. It's causing alterations in the gut microbiome that then lead to increases in gut permeability, increases inflammation in the body. And you know, we used to think like, well, alcohol, it's the sugar, it's the liquid calories.
It's not just that. Mm-hmm. , it increases immune signaling in the body, which then leads to weight gain. And you're putting on more fat in the middle, and you're wondering why you can't lose weight because all you're doing is eating salads [00:36:00] and you know, like little bit of protein, but you're having your, your cocktails and your wine every day.
So alcohol is another big. For a lot of people. Caffeine, coffee. I'd hate to say it. I'm not saying cut it
JJ Virgin: out completely. I was good with everything you were saying and we'll just kind of skip over coffee.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: I'm just, I, I'm just, I'm not saying cut it out completely, but for some people who are drinking two plus cups of coffee espresso per day, it's gonna trigger an insulin response.
It's gonna make you hyper insulin, and that can lead to waking. Also So you have to pay attention to all of those things.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, I think it's important. I know alcohol's been getting a lot of press lately and it's, it's, I sometimes think we just confuse people more than ever. Cuz it's like one to two glasses a day is healthy.
No, any at all can kill you. It's like, okay, there's in between, but it
Dr. Vincent Pedre: increases the risk of breast cancer and women. Oh my gosh. Yeah. If you have just one drink per day, I think it's like eight to [00:37:00] 14 milligrams of alcohol per day. You know what I did? Hmm. I stopped drinking on January 1st, and it was originally part of dry January, but then I thought, you know, let me see what, I haven't done this in a while, and I, and you know me, I'm not like a big, I, I don't tolerate a lot of alcohol, so it's not like I'm gonna have multiple drinks in a night, but I'm a social drinker and, and I decided, you know what?
Let me see what happens if I take alcohol out. Well, what happened was I got way more organized. I wake up early in the morning, meditate. I've been in Miami, so a lot of days I go into the ocean. I started going to the gym at seven in the morning. Jj, I would never work out in the morning. I actually thought that my bio rhythm did not allow me to work out in the morning that I was an afternoon person.
Well, guess what? I can work out in the morning. I completely shifted that and was doing a cold plunge at 37 [00:38:00] degrees at my gym. So like I think you take alcohol out. You don't know what you're gonna get back in your life. And I'm not saying don't drink, but I'm saying be aware that if you're trying to heal your body and your body's inflamed, you've gotta think about the effect that alcohol's having on your body.
JJ Virgin: completely agree. Tim and I actually started last year. We, we started in, gosh, November. We decided just to do an experiment and I mean, it was profound and it wasn't that, Hey, I'm never gonna drink. I like my occasional glass of wine. But we do it very differently now, if you're out to dinner. We'll have a glass of wine, but it, it got to the, oh, we'll have wine every night.
You know, it's like, nope. It's all, that's all done. We stopped it. And I think everybody owes that to themselves to test. And especially if you are, if you're focused on healing your gut, alcohol doesn't have a place there.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: And, and I will say if you, if you stop drinking, you know, and if you're a social drinker, you have three to four drinks per week.
If you stop drinking, you need to put a mental note in your, in your mind [00:39:00] that. You've gotta wait two weeks to start to see what are the effects of having taken alcohol out because your body needs some time to detox
JJ Virgin: from it. Yeah. I really found it was about a month and then it was like, holy smokes. I mean, pretty quickly you'll see sleep changes that are dramatic
I was like, wow.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Just improved sleep. Being able to wake up early in the morning, waking up before sunrise, like just being way more productive. You know, and I've always been one, you know, me, I, I, I like to walk my talks. So if I'm gonna say, don't, don't drink because it's bad for your gut, well, I'm gonna have done it myself.
Mm-hmm. .
JJ Virgin: Yep. I'm with you. Yeah. All right. Having said that, I was gonna invite you to a Dry Farm Wines boat party.
I'll tell you about that in a bit, so I know there's more to it though than nutrition. You and I have done some meditating together. I've been, I, I did that breath work class with you that you are [00:40:00] amazing that you led us through. So beyond nutrition, like let's talk mindfulness because I've just been amazed.
I kind of look at what I've taken on over the last two years and what the heck was, why did I wait so long to do this? So, and you've been, you've been a guy doing yoga and doing meditation and breath work for years, right?
Dr. Vincent Pedre: Jj? I started when I was 21, 19 95. What,
JJ Virgin: what made you decide to do that? Like that was not my priority when I was in college.
I'll just say, no, .
Dr. Vincent Pedre: I had just finished college. I finished in three and a half years, went back home to Miami and already had been admitted scholarship to University of Miami for medical school. But I had a big issue and it was kind of like the elephant in the room. I was afraid of needles. And I would pass out every time I had my blood drawn, every time I had a [00:41:00] vaccine, a shot, anything, I was heart racing cold.
Out. So I almost didn't go to medical school, and my parents kind of, you know, they're like, no, no, no, . You're gonna become a doctor. And so there I am, I'm, I came back home from college and I'm thinking, okay, now I need to figure out how do I address this issue that I'm afraid is gonna make it impossible for me to be a doctor because I'm afraid of needles and they make me queasy.
They make me uncomfortable. So I started researching and found a book that changed my life. It's called The Relaxation Response by Dr. Herbert Benson from Harvard. And he had done research on how breath work, breathing, and meditation can alter your blood pressure, can gain control over over the autonomic nervous system, which is what happens when you pass out, when you have a Syncable episode.
It's this override of the autonomic nervous system. You go into the sympathetic fight or [00:42:00] flight. And so I said, I'm gonna conquer this and I'm gonna do it with using my body. I'm not gonna take any medications. I'm not gonna take any drugs. That wasn't in my, my, my philosophy growing up. And I'm gonna figure out how I conquer this issue I have with needles so I can become a doctor.
So I started doing the breath work. I started doing meditation. Back then, it was guided meditation, and then I discovered yoga, started going to yoga. This is 1995 jj 1995, like this was not even in people's, like this was an even part of our culture back then, but I was determined and it was almost as if I was training for the Olympics.
I was doing breath work every day, and I was determined that I was going to conquer this issue. Little did I know that this obstacle that was put in my way. You know, I, [00:43:00] my life could have taken a very different turn when I, when I went home to tell my parents after them, Kat, that I didn't want to go to medical school.
I said, I think I wanna go to Wall Street because my, my second thing I was interested in, in trading and stocks and, and all that. And my parents were like, whoa, , what, what are you doing? And. Thanks to them. I was forced to conquer this fear that I had, but my life could have taken a very different turn.
But thanks to this fear and the fact that I was kind of forced to learn how to meditate and do breath work at 21 on my own, just reading books cause there was no internet yet back then. Where we could, you know, watch guided meditations. There were no meditation apps, so I had to just read a book. There were honey, no apps, , and there was CDs.
You remember CD players, like, I have my CD player with the CDROMs and, and I conquered it and it, it shaped the type of [00:44:00] doctor I knew when I did that, that that was going to be part of the type of doctor that I would become in the future.
JJ Virgin: That is super, super cool and I know that you're putting some of these together to go with your book, which is amazing cuz I, everyone should have the opportunity to go through a guided meditation breath work with you.
It's, yeah. Quite something. They should also get to have Cuban food cooked by you. But I realize that's probably not gonna be everyone .
Dr. Vincent Pedre: I I, I actually, when I was putting together the meditations and the breath work for the book, I had these people I wanted to work. And one meditation teacher kept flaking out on me and and I, and I had decided each chapter has enough room for three meditations and three breath work exercises.
And this one meditation teacher just was like, yeah, I'll do it. And then they would disappear, and then they would say yes, and then disappear. And finally I was like, you're out. I'm not dealing with this. I need to have this chapter done. And. And [00:45:00] then I thought, you know, why am I trying to look for a meditation teacher, another one when I have been doing meditation for more than half of my life?
So I decided to create a meditation. I designed a new meditation. I call it the gut love meditation. And it's, it's based on my experience doing the Tibetan loving kindness meditation where you, you shower yourself with love and then you radiate that love out into the world. But instead, I created the gut love meditation where you go inside and you're sending love to your gut, to your gut microbiome and appreciation and gratitude, and then expanding from there.
And when I, when I sent it to my editor, she read through and she said, you know, I think my favorite meditation in this chapter is yours. The gut love meditation. Everything
JJ Virgin: always works out, doesn't it? Exactly how it's supposed to. So perfect.
Dr. Vincent Pedre: It always, it always works out when you [00:46:00] realize if the, if you're hitting a wall, the obstacle's there, it's because you're supposed to find another way.
Mm-hmm. . And if you just let go of needing it to be one way, then you can step back and see, wait a second. They're not responding because they're not the ones who are supposed to write this meditation. I'm supposed to do it.
JJ Virgin: Well, I'm excited about that. I'm excited about the book. So you've got the book, gut Smart Protocol, and for people buying it, I'm gonna put the information here.
I'll also put your last interview on Happy Gut here as well. I'll put everything at, and you are going to get. The quiz that you can download and then continue to take, as you can see, your improvement. You're getting $50 from your Happy Gut store. That's crazy. I mean, someone would be crazy not to buy the book because you get more than the book and Yeah,
Dr. Vincent Pedre: you get a, you, if you buy the hard cover for 20 some dollars, you're getting more than a hundred dollars worth of [00:47:00] bonuses.
So you're actually, yeah, I'm gonna buy
JJ Virgin: 10 books, so I get a thousand dollars worth of bonuses. Is that okay? ?
Dr. Vincent Pedre: You can buy as many books as you want.
JJ Virgin: So, yeah, great opportunity. So you get the quiz, you get your tips sheet, and you know, the thing I love the most is these guided meditations that are in the book that you'll be able to access as well.
So, I mean, this is really. Stunning work. I am super duper excited about this. It's like this, we needed this book, and I know you've been slogging away at it for quite a while here, so I appreciate all the work that you've had to be put into it. So again, that'll be at for the Gut Smart Protocol, and you'll have all the bonuses when you grab the book, which you'll wanna do a s A P and get started.
And congratulations on another book. Thank you. Very exciting. Very exciting, exciting thing. I'll look forward to celebrating that one with you soon, and thank you again for being
Dr. Vincent Pedre: awesome. [00:48:00] Thank you jj.
JJ Virgin: For more info on this and other health topics I cover or to rate and review, find me on Instagram, Facebook, and my website And don't forget to subscribe to my show so you won't miss a single episode. Go to Thanks again for being with me this week.
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