April 6, 2019

Dr. Jason Hawrelak, PhD. is a researcher, educator, and clinician, specializing in gastrointestinal health, the gut microbiota and the use of probiotics to improve health outcomes. Jason has written extensively in the medical literature on these topics and has been in clinical practice for almost 20 years. He also coordinates and teaches the Evidence-based Complementary Medicine Program at the University of Tasmania in Australia.

In this podcast, Jason and I discuss probiotics: what they are, what they do, and how to use them to improve your health. Jason talks about assessing the gut microbiota, some common misconceptions about probiotics, and specific strains to look for that are backed by research. He also discusses his industry-independent, evidence-based online courses and database, created to help guide clinical practice.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Jason Hawrelak:

[00:00:53] Jason’s background.

[00:01:48] Studying people with IBS; learning about FODMAPs the hard way.

[00:06:15] Jason's Probiotic Advisor courses.

[00:06:36] Jason’s scientific publications.

[00:09:39] Manipulating the microbiota to improve health outcomes.

[00:12:20] Tools for assessing the gut microbiota: breath and stool testing.

[00:12:55] The limits of lactulose testing for SIBO.

[00:14:20] Interconnectedness amongst organisms in the microbiome; Mouse study: Qiu, Xinyun, et al. "Changes in the composition of intestinal fungi and their role in mice with dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis." Scientific reports 5 (2015): 10416.

[00:15:11] Apex predators in the gut ecosystem.

[00:15:36] Course: Advanced Probiotic Prescribing.

[00:15:40] Probiotics: live microbes that when administered in adequate amounts produces therapeutic effects.

[00:16:51] Current applications for probiotics.

[00:20:02] Debunking myths about probiotics regarding colonization and quick fixes.

[00:21:34] Fermented foods and drinks.

[00:24:12] The characteristics of a species is strain-specific.

[00:25:01] What to look for in a probiotic product (and red flags for what to avoid).

[00:26:08] Minimum therapeutic dose: one billion colony forming units (CFU).

[00:28:40] The Probiotic Advisor database.

[00:32:31] Promising probiotic strains that aren't yet available on the market.

[00:35:35] Justin Sonnenburg.

[00:35:50] Improving diversity of the gut ecosystem.

[00:36:30] 40 plant foods per week.

[00:39:06] uBiome.

[00:39:24] Genova GI Effects Comprehensive Stool Profile.

[00:42:07] Using uBiome results.

[00:43:33] Connection between the microbiome and mood. Course: Depression, Anxiety, and the Gastrointestinal Tract Microbiota.

[00:44:32] Transmitting depression from one organism to another via fecal transplant; Study: Kelly, John R., et al. "Transferring the blues: depression-associated gut microbiota induces neurobehavioural changes in the rat." Journal of psychiatric research 82 (2016): 109-118.

[00:46:53] Jason’s clinic.

[00:48:00] Join the Gut Microbiota Explorer Challenge when you support us on Patreon.

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