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Dr. Amen’s Ultimate Guide To Gut Health

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Class is in session! In this special series of the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, you are invited to a special private Amen Clinics company presentation on nutrition. This first episode tells you everything you need to know about the health of your gut, and why it’s crucial to your overall health.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalized treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Hi, this is Dr. Daniel Amen. This week's series is a special presentation on nutrition from our company event we held here at Amen Clinics. We felt that despite the slight change in sound quality, the information we captured could be super helpful to our audience, so we decided to share it with you. The following episode is all about your gut, and the role it plays in your overall health. Enjoy.
All right. Hello everybody. So we are continuing on our Bright Minds Initiative. Today we're going to talk about food. So the N is for nutrition, what goes in your body becomes your body. You want to do the pop quiz?
Tana Amen: Sure. Some of you will already know this, but where are 3/4 of the neurotransmitters in your body made?
Audience: Is that the gut?
Tana Amen: Your gut. What organ contains 2/3 of your immune tissue?
Audience: Also my gut.
Tana Amen: Your gut. You actually have to answer. We're not moving on until you do.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And do you know about autoimmune disorders? So where your body attacks itself, right? Hashimoto's thyroiditis-
Tana Amen: Which is what I have.
Dr. Daniel Amen: -is one. MS, multiple sclerosis. Rheumatoid arthritis. There's a list of about 100 of those, and often, it's because you have gut problems and no one's every talked about it.
Tana Amen: So if your gut is responsible for immune tissue and your gut's not healthy, that's really the start of a lot of auto [inaudible 00:02:36], where your body begins to attack itself.
What organs contains 10 times more cells than the total in your body?
Audience: The gut!
Tana Amen: What organ hosts a foreign legion that protects you? Your gut. And what do 70% of people suffer from?
Leaky gut. Yes, or gut problems. For sure. So the gut is the second brain. It's your microbiome. So it's ... You like to call it?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Friends with benefits.
Tana Amen: So, this is Biff and Lacey. When my daughter was about seven, maybe, we were talking about gut bugs and how important they are, and probiotics, and why it's so important to heal the gut, because of your neurotransmitters, because of autoimmune disorders. And if your gut's not right, your brain's not right. You know, so many things happen that we're gonna talk about.
So we were talking about this, and my daughter overhears that you have bugs in your gut, and she freaks out. She literally is like screaming. You can imagine a seven year old little girl, hearing she's got bugs in her gut, and she just loses it. So I'm like, “No, no, no. It's not quite like that. Yes, you've got lots of bugs in your gut, but think of the bugs in your gut sort of like your pets.” So we named them Biff and Lacey.
“So, they're like your pets, you have to take care of them.” 'Cause at the time we had this psychotic German Shepherd protection dogs, like it was a little over the top. But, I said, “It's kind of like Hank. We take care of Hank, we feed Hank. We take care of him so that he protects us. Right? So, we don't want your gut bugs going psycho like Hank did, but we want them protecting you.” So we named them Biff and Lacey. And she was like, “Oh, okay.” She got that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, two of the most important gut bugs you have.
Tana Amen: And we got the stuffed animals, 'cause then it was like it sort of personalized it, made it a little less freaky. So, yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So your gut is called the second brain. Right? I mean, we here at Amen Clinics, we're really interested in the big brain. But what feeds the big brain often comes from the second brain, which is your gut, and your gut is loaded with nervous tissue. Actually has a direct connection to your brain, and is why we feel emotional states in our gut. So you get butterflies when you're excited. Or, I remember once, I went through a period of grief. My stomach was just upset all the time.
Tana Amen: You know, if I could just say something here. It's so interesting, 'cause as a nurse, I remember being in medicine at a time when the gut-brain connection was not something we talked about. It just wasn't something we thought about, or talked about. Maybe there were studies being done, but it wasn't sort of this normal thing that we thought of.
And as someone who went through so much trouble with my own health, and as a way to suppress my thyroid cancer that kept coming back, they put me on this really high dose thyroid, which then put me on a bunch of other medications, and I was a mess. So I was wired, tired, didn't feel good, started to get depressed. Just my whole system was just wacky, including a lot of these problems. And when I went to the doctor, it's like what frustrated me was the doctors all would see these organs as very separate. They were not communicating. Oh, it's like, “Go talk to the cardiologist.” “Go talk to the G.I. doctor.” It was all connected, and it was so frustrating to me that they weren't seeing it, 'cause I was certainly feeling it.
So that's why we want you to really grasp this, because what was affecting me was those medications. One organ was completely affecting how I felt, my brain, my moods. So it's really important.
Dr. Daniel Amen: This is a very important concept. Lining your gut. So if we're just thinking from your mouth, all the way to the other end, it's about 30 feet of a long tube. And yes, your stomach pooches out a bit, but it's basically a long tube. And lining that tube is the lining of your gut. And the interesting thing, it's only one single cell layer thick. Now, why God did that? No idea. It should be like 10.
Tana Amen: Maybe it's a sign that he doesn't want us to do things that hurt it.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Ah! But it protects you from the outside.
So, we have a granddaughter, Haven, and she's nine months old now. She's so cute! She puts everything in her mouth. And so obviously, a lot of things going in her mouth are not good for her, and protecting her is this one single cell layer that is the defense against invaders in the outside. And when that breaks down, you end up with what we call leaky gut.
So here's an electron micrograph, so it means it's just really blown up, of the gut lining. And you can see these holes in it. And those holes are what doctors refer to as leaky gut.
Tana Amen: So, leaky gut's associated with autoimmune disease, we just talked about that. Digestive symptoms, like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc. Probably no one in here's ever experienced any of those. IBS, so Crohn's disease, celiac disease. It's really interesting. I'll talk about it at the end of this, why that happens when you get leaky gut.
Seasonal allergies and asthma. That's shocking to people when they clean up their diet. That's one of the first things that we noticed. Your skin gets better, it's less red, rosacea, things like that, because those are all signs of inflammation, just like allergies.
Hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue syndrome. You definitely get more energy. Fibromyalgia. Mood, anxiety, ADHD-
Dr. Daniel Amen: And they may not know what that is, so it's just where you just have pain all over your body.
Tana Amen: And when it's unexplained, they're not really sure why. It's like you've got this unexplained pain. And doctors used to think it was a myth. It's like, oh. It's like this catch-all phrase. It's sort of a way ... people ... Oh, it's like this way to say, “We don't know. It's kind of in your head.” But it's not. Your body starts to overreact. It's inflammation. When that inflammation comes down, the pain gets better. It's one of the first things that we notice within two weeks of people eating really well.
Mood, anxiety, depression, ADHD.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So that's what we do. So why are we ... you know? Basically, we're eight, soon to be nine psychiatric clinics interested in your gut, because that may be one of the causes. And when we get your gut right, your mood's better, your focus is better.
Tana Amen: Skin issues, like we just talked about, Candida overgrowth. So I'll get a little more into that as we go along. It's a yeast issue, but we'll talk about why that happens.
Food allergies and intolerances, and headaches. Headaches are another big one. Migraines. So when I was teaching my nutrition classes, the 12-week nutrition classes, the big things people noticed immediately, before they got even the longterm benefits, before the weight loss, before all that. That was sort of the side effect, was skin, headaches, pain. Because those are immediate things that happen when your inflammation comes down.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So some of the causes have been the standard American diet, which you know, if you just look at the initials of that, SAD. But it's basically the American diet, with sugar, gluten, corn, processed foods, pesticides. Low stomach acid, but when people get an upset stomach, what do they give you? They give you anti-acids to take down the acid in your stomach. Why do you have acid in your stomach?
Tana Amen: To digest food.
Audience: To digest food.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr. Daniel Amen: 'Cause it breaks down food, so if you're neutralizing the acid, you actually don't digest food as well.
Tana Amen: Which is why you start to get ... That's what I was gonna say earlier. Which is why you start to get this overgrowth. So you get this overgrowth of the wrong bacteria, the wrong stuff in your gut, that leads to the Candida. Right? It also means you're not getting the nutrients you need, you're not forming vitamin K, you're not breaking down and getting nutrients like magnesium and other stuff. Your building blocks.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, alcohol.
Tana Amen: You're not absorbing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Why does Tana as a nurse, why do nurses put alcohol on your skin before they give you a shot?
Audience: [inaudible 00:11:28] ... kill the bacteria?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Kills the bugs. You have 100 trillion in your gut, so do you really wanna be drinking much alcohol? Because what it's doing is damaging your gut bugs.
Tana Amen: So I have an interesting story about that. So this is not ... You're not gonna like this, but it's to prove that point. So I have friends that went on this expedition, this hiking expedition, and they were in a 3rd world country. And everyone on the trip got violently ill, 'cause somehow they got water in the ... I don't know what they got, but they got [inaudible 00:11:58] something contained the water that they weren't supposed to drink. But, a couple of the guys had gone on a drinking binge the night before. They were like, doing shots of tequila. They were the only ones that didn't get it.
So, we don't want you doing that. This is not a 3rd world country. Okay? But that proves the point. That what happened was, they were able to kill enough of the bacteria that they didn't get that. But that means it's killing the good bacteria too. So it's not very common that you get that kind of bad bacteria. But whenever you do that, you're killing the good bacteria. And it should be 80/20, or actually 85/15. So that means you're wiping out all that good stuff that's protecting you.
Dr. Daniel Amen: 85/15 of good bugs to bad bugs. We'll talk about that in a minute. Also, infections. Mold, which is why we test for mold. Chronic stress. Who among us haven't experienced that? Or, microbiome. That's all the bugs put together, there's an imbalance of good ones and bad ones. So ...
Tana Amen: Microbiome. 100 trillion bacteria are what you have. 10 thousand unique species, 10 times the cells in the human body, we already said that. And the goal is 85/15, which is what we just said, good bugs to bad bugs. And you have to work at keeping them that way. Otherwise, the bad ones take over.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So you have about three pounds of the brain in your head, and five to six pounds of bugs in your gut. And whenever you have a bowel movement, about 60% of that is dead bugs.
Tana Amen: You can say the word. I want you to say the word.
Dr. Daniel Amen: What?
Tana Amen: Why do doctors have such a problem with the word ... Yes. Nurses are like, very comfortable with the word poop. Every time we talk, he avoids the word poop. It's just so [crosstalk 00:13:44].
Dr. Daniel Amen: And you have to say it over and over again.
Tana Amen: [crosstalk 00:13:48] ... say it?
Dr. Daniel Amen: I think that's Tourette's.
So these bugs are so important. These bugs in your gut are your friends, so here are the friends with benefits. They protect the single cell lining, they help you digest your food, they help you absorb nutrients, they make vitamins and neurotransmitters. 95% of the serotonin in your body is made by your gut. So if your gut's not right, your brain will not be right.
Tana Amen: And have any of you ever heard weird terms that you don't quite get, like small bowel overgrowth, or like just odd terms? That's what they mean. So, you're not making vitamin K because you damaged the gut and you're not digesting food properly. Antacids will cause that. When you're not digesting your food, you get this overgrowth, and that prevents you from ... The small bowel overgrowth prevents this from happening, the synthesis of some of those nutrients.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So just pause for a second. Your gut bugs are supporting your overall health. They're not right, you are not right. So when they're deficient, you're anxious, you're stressed, you're depressed. You have ADHD, autism, even heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and [inaudible 00:15:12].
Tana Amen: If you are enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way podcast, please don't forget to subscribe, so you'll always know when there's a new episode. And while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or 5-star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're interested in coming to Amen Clinics, give us a call at 855-978-1363.