100: Hacking your gut w/o Probiotics & Enzymes

Gut health is making front page news as science begins to connect the dots between our microbiome, brain health, & immunity. For the un-initiated, the microbiome refers to the makeup or balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria throughout your GI system, from your mouth to your anus. Top to bottom.



And there is good reason for all the coverage regarding the connection between our guts and our overall health. Gluten sensitivity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Crohns, and a whole host of conditions associated with gut health, are exploding. And a recent book by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, the "Brain Maker", suggests that a whole host of conditions like Alzheimer's, diabetes, MS, and more can be improved by rebalancing our overall gut bacteria. And it is estimated that up to 70% of our immune system is connected to our gut health.


So is there really something to the gut/brain/body connection? And is there a new way to rebalance the gut that works better than traditional approaches such as oral or rectal probiotics, fermented foods, digestive enzymes, and the new interest around fecal implants? Dr Zach Bush and his team at Biomic Sciences think so. They suggest that the product they have developed called "RestoreFor Gut Health" can not only help rebalance the gut microbiome, but also seal "tight junctions", and create a virtual firewall in the gut sealing off the rest of the body from the effects of gluten & other toxins present in the foods we eat. The explosion in the companies growth as well as the experience myself and a few close friends suggest there might be something to the claims.


To me, this is all very personal. And tremendously exciting. For years, I have struggled with oral thrush (candida) and abdominal pain that arose from dental infections, antibiotics, and a poor diet. Shortly after leaving my "junior" front teeth under my pillow for the tooth fairy and growing in my adult teeth, I attempted to take a bite out of the side of a concrete swimming pool during summer camp. And the pool won. No contest. I remember running about the camp, crying, lots of blood & tears. No fun. My two front teach were badly damaged. Think fangs. Later in life, adjacent teeth died due to dental trauma that I endured many years earlier.


And while my dental journey is a "another story" and blog post, the short version is that I had countless surgeries, re-infections, root canals, amalgam fillings, caps, crowns, and rounds of antibiotics well into my 30s, etc. And it was another infection and course of antibiotics that broke what energy I had left in 2001. I had just moved to Boston to complete another degree, and within a ~week of arriving there as a new student and RA, I awoke one morning once again with all the pain and swelling indicating yet "another infection" had surfaced which was followed by a tooth extraction and weeks of antibiotics. And after the surgery and antibiotics, I was exhausted no matter what diet I followed or probiotic I took.


And while I am pleased to report that I had all of my systemic dental issues fixed by late 2002, the gut restoration process was much more of process that continues to this day. 


Along the way in rehabilitating my gut, I clearly remember being at parties trying to sneak a peak at other peoples tongues to see if they had the same white coating I did. Thanks to the antibiotics and dietary mistakes, I had a rather thick white coating on the sides of my tongue. Oral thrush or Candida is super hard to get rid of once you have it. And I tried everything.


And my gut was a mess. It hurt. Sometimes it just throbbed with pulsing in and around my entire abdomen. And so I tried everything to deal with the gut & oral flora imbalances. Some of the Probiotics I have tried include Primal Defense, Primal Defense Ultra, PB-8, Three-Lac, Prescript Assist, stuff from Japan whose name escapes me, and Baseline Nutritional’s Probiotic Formula. And it would not surprise me if there are a few that I am missing here in my list.


And I should add I tried colon hydrotherapy, colon cleansing herbal formulas, oregano oil, liver cleansing, and of course cleaning up my diet. And while many of these things helped improve my energy and stamina, the same thrush and abdominal upsets have persisted for years to varying degrees of intensity.


And this is why all of this is so intensely personal and of interest to me. While I have lived a normal life on the exterior and have been very successful in my career, I have always felt there was more in the tank than my biology was letting me express. And then comes along Restore and upends my thinking and approach to solving this problem. And its so exciting and positive, that I've shared it with upwards of 30 friends & acquaintances. And this brings us back to the present regarding the claims and benefits of Restore.


My functional medicine doctor mentioned Restore in passing during a recent routine consult and it peaked my interest. So much so that I devoured everything I could find on the web about it. I read all the articles and watched every video of the formulator, Dr. Zach Bush discussing the development & benefits of Restore. All the research was followed by placing an internet order over one weekend in August. Then I could not wait for my order to arrive early the next week, so I drove into DC and purchased a large bottle at a health food store. Then I had to explain to my wife why I had placed an order for 2 bottles and drove into DC and bought a 3rd "because I was so hopeful and anxious to try it". Perhaps I am just a hairs width shy of crazy. My wife thinks so :)


However, its this intensity & drive that enabled me to persevere during some dark days of frustration in solving this problem. The gut dysbiosis would leave me incredibly fatigued some days. And feeling foggy headed much of time which drove me crazy because I found it hard to be the animated soul I am naturally inclined to be. But thankfully, those days are mostly behind me now. Phew. So lets discuss Restore for Gut Health in terms of what it does, how it works, ingredients, scientific evidence, costs, and where to get it. And why probiotics and digestive enzymes are no longer required - another huge plus both in terms of the number of things to take and on the budget.


Restore; how it works. Restore does two principle things really well according to Dr. Bush; 1) seal up tight junctions which prevents toxins like gluten & herbicides from crossing over into your body. And 2), providing the content & communication network for healthy bacteria and enzymes to thrive.


Tight junctions are "closely associated areas between cells whose membranes join together forming a virtually impenetrable barrier". As Dr Bush describes, think of a great defensive football team whose lineman stand firmly shoulder to shoulder not letting anyone from the opposing team through their barrier. Same idea. However, our tight junctions are under constant assault from a dirty waterfall of "toxins" such antibiotics, gluten, the herbicide glyphosate, GMOs, our poor diets, and a host of modern threats. This leads to a lack of gut bacterial diversity and enzyme production that leaves the gut tight junctions vulnerable. And many of these offending substances also produce something called Zonulin which then breaks down our tight junctions leading to a condition called leaky gut. While there are varying degrees of leaky gut, the outcome is the same. Toxins pass from the GI into the blood stream landing in our tissues and organs (including the brain) causing inflammation. And if left unchecked, causing brain fog, fatigue, and a whole host of health challenges.


Thankfully, Restore brings our tight junctions "back online" and in active duty within 18 hours of taking it. According to Bush, "Restore is the first dietary supplement that delivers a balanced family of these bacterial metabolites to promote a healthy firewall of tight junctions in the gut wall and blood brain barrier." Many users, myself included, have noticed less sensitivity to offending foods, improved mental clarity, and a renewed sense of calm within days of taking Restore.  And not only does Restore help seal the tight junctions in the gut, but it also does it throughout the body including the blood brain barrier. This is huge.


One of the challenges with typical detoxification protocols, is that you risk moving toxins around from one tissue/organ to the next. With your Tight Junctions back online, toxins can now be safely excreted through normal channels such as sweat, stool, and urine. Game changer. And if you add in additional carbon bound nutrients to your health protocol, you can take your detox and nutrient efficiency to a whole new level. Look for a future post on Carbon Bound nutrition and its role in helping reestablish micro nutrients and removing toxins at the cellular level.


And with respect to reestablishing gut bacteria and enzymes, the above mentioned bacterial metabolites also stimulate the reestablishment of gut bacterial diversity. While the mechanism of action is not entirely clear, it appears to be a mix of content and communication. Bacteria feed on the metabolites found in restore which also provides the instructions for the right balance of bacteria & enzymes. While the latter communication aspect of Restore may seem a bit woo woo, the recent explosion in soil base probiotics suggest there is an intricate link between our health and soil. And since water has been confirmed to carry information via homeopathic remedies and structured water, its not unreasonable to think that soil & minerals can too.


And this leads us to what Restore is made of.  Think Carbon. Ancient Carbon from really old soils which have largely disappeared due to our modern petro based agricultural practices. On the way to becoming coal, plant matter breaks down into peat, then humate, lignite, leonardite - then coal. Restore is made from lignite extract and then re-activated at the companies plant in southern VA by mixing it with "deionized reverse osmosis water, stable carbon organics with a full spectrum of trace soil minerals, mineral salts, platinum group elements, and castor oil". Mixing these ingredients with the ancient but inert lignite extract reactivates it by balancing its redox potential. 


Does it work? As of this writing, I have been taking Restore for 2.5 months. And I have 2 close friends who having been taking it for almost as long (2 months) and who have gone on to recommend it too others. And while Restore is not the only thing those folks are taking and diets are sure to vary, the universal consensus is a very positive thumbs up. Across the board, folks are reporting improved digestion, elimination, mental clarity, less sensitivity to suspect foods, and overall calm. And while these reports are clearly anecdotal, they do align with what one would expect based on the claims. And all the buzz in natural health circles about Restore indicate the products has generated a lot of merited interest and enthusiasm.


Thankfully, science confirms the companies claims and users experiences. In 2 separate studies, Restore demonstrated the ability to Protect large bowel cells from gluten & glyphosate insult . And in a third study, Restore was found to Repair large bowel cells from glyphosate insult. This is huge news and could stand to transform the health of many individuals. With much of the commercial wheat around the world now being sprayed with glyphosate which is reported to be even more injurious to the gut than gluten, protecting & repairing the gut is massively important. You are what you eat. But if what you eat contains toxins that are getting into your bloodstream and into your tissues and organs triggering inflammation, your health will suffer. And we have all been exposed to these toxins so Restore stands to be a universal game changer in helping each of us reclaim the level of vitality nature intended. Both in terms of healing the gut but also enabling the body to detoxify at a systemic level. 


Key Question: do we still need to take over the counter probiotics & digestive enzymes? Since Restore is such a potential game changer in terms of healing the guts tight junctions and reestablishing gut bacterial balance, a logical question is what is the role of probiotics & enzymes going forward? Do we need to take them on a long term basis along with Restore? According to Bush and the company, the answer is No with a few possible caveats.


Ideally, our guts are teaming with upwards of 30,000 healthybacteria in a symbiotic balance. However, due to the dietary & environmental challenges mentioned above, our guts are often a hot mess of bacterial, enzymatic, and tight junction dysfunction. And while probiotics can be immensely helpful as a stop gap as my own health journey would support, they may not be the panacea they are currently touted as being. The key is in the numbers. Or better stated, the contrast between the ideal state of 30,000 bacteria in symbiotic balance in your gut and the 30 or less strains of bacteria in the best probiotic. If you measure bacterial diversity by the numbers, the best probiotics on the market don't even come close. The best of breed in my fridge has 6 strains. The soil based one in my cabinet has 29.  With the best probiotics having ~30 strains, vs the ideal 30,000 - you can quickly see why over the counter probiotics can't get us to the promised land.


Think of your gut as a tennis court size garden and your goal is 30,000 different plants and flowers; can you achieve your goal by planting the same 30 seeds over and over? The math just doesn't work. And while probiotics can be an important stop gap as my own experience bears out - and even a game changer for some when used rectally as David Perlmutter has suggested in his most recent book; "Brain Maker", the best long term strategy according to Bush is to cultivate a diverse bowel ecology as much as possible using the bacterial metabolites found in Restore. They provide the content & communication network to facilitate that level of diversity. Bush suggests only using probiotics after a round of antibiotics or viral illness - and then for a short time frame - such as 2 weeks - is a reasonable exception and use of probiotics & digestive enzymes.


Additionally, in cases of severe digestive imbalance, candida, or parasitic infection, it's my judgement that probiotics, digestive enzymes, and even anti parasitic products can be an important stop gap - all while using Restore.


For me and my friends, we have all seen improved digestion, elimination, mental clarity, less sensitivity to suspect foods, and an increase overall calm. And all these improvements are very much welcome since all other supplements that we have tried to date have not been able to achieve similar results. Game changer. We all love the product and plan to keep using it indefinitely. 


Costs and where to get it. A 32 oz. bottle of Restore retails for $69.95 online at the companies website and lasts for 2 months or 60 days taking 1 tsp 3x per day. With a subscription, customers get a 20% discount bringing the price to $55.96 and that included shipping when I ordered. Since I live in Virginia, I also had to pay state and local taxes. But at roughly $30 per month, that is a "steal". I have spent a fortune on probiotics & digestive over the years and I now have several bottles of each sitting un used. A welcome improvement to not only my wellbeing but also my wallet. Thank you Dr Bush and Biomic Sciences.


You can also purchase Restore through local health food stores listed on the companies site;


In conclusion, my experience and those of a few close friends along with a growing chorus of enthusiastic users suggest Restore is a game changer for gut health and over all wellbeing. And so far 3 studies support the products claims of protecting & healing the gut from gluten and glyphosate exposure. With an every increasing avalanche of toxins being found in our food supply, this is a welcome reprieve from the onslaught. If you are at all inclined to improve your health, digestion, and ability to safely detoxify your body, clear your brain fog, and be more fully who you were meant to be, I strongly encourage you to give Restore a try. And share it with everyone you know. We are all in this together and the more of us that are truly vibrant, vital, and alive, the more we can collectively affect positive change in the world. And hopefully shift us away for the commercial greed and madness that put us needing a product like Restore in the first place.