The Health and Wellness show on the SOTT Radio Network covers topics of health, diet, science, homeopathy, wellness culture, and more.

Here's a summary of the show:
Today we'll be talking about all things related to the gut: its function and malfunction, leaky gut, SIBO, the gut as the second brain and its connection to the vagus nerve, the guts influence on mental function. Included will be a discussion on poop and healing the gut.

Participants in the show today are host Jonathan and co-hosts Doug, Erica, Gaby and Tiffany. Today's topic is gut health, talking about the makeup of the digestive tract, the production of neurotransmitters in the gut, disorders with the gut and how to work with those and other important information.

Starting with a recap of some of the things in the news, Tiffany starts off with a crazy story about the first ever head transplant. This comes from the files of absolute ridiculousness. A story on SOTT entitled Russian Man to Undergo First Head Transplant. Valery Spiridinov is about to become the first victim of a head transplant operation. He suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman disease, which gradually wastes away muscles and wants to undergo the head transplant to give himself a chance of living in a healthy body. The procedure is supposedly going to be carried out by the controversial Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero, sometimes referred to as Dr. Frankenstein who says it will be possible in the year 2017.

This is how the procedure goes, the donor ideally should be brain-dead and the recipients, to agree to undergo such a procedure was probably functionally brain-dead (laughter). They're going to cool down the two bodies to preserve them, slice open the necks and connect the major blood vessels and re-attach the spinal cord and its bundle of nerves and then stick the neck shut and put the patient in an artificial coma for four weeks to facilitate healing.

Some other weirdo doctors have been experimenting with head transplants on dogs and one neurosurgeon in the 1970s did a head transplant using monkeys. The monkey lived for nine days but there was no information on what constituted living for the poor monkey. Even if you do reconnect the head to the new body as fast as you can, wouldn't the person be brain dead, which would negate the whole purpose of the operation?

There's also the issue of tissue rejection which brings up the question of which part of the body would be doing the rejecting. Would the head be rejecting the body or the body rejecting the head? Probably both.

Arthur Caplan, the director of medical ethics at New York University's Langone Medical Centre described Dr. Canavero as nuts and believes that the body of head transplant patients would "end up being overwhelmed with different pathways and chemistry than they are used to and they go crazy." So this isn't going to work.

Erica suggests they may have gotten the idea from Mars Attack where they place the dog head on the human body. (laughter). The operations takes 36 hours and involves hundreds of doctors on hand to help out with the procedure. Crazy.

Doug thinks it's really misguided because it comes from the myth about the idea that a human being is just a life support system for the brain; everything else is completely interchangeable. It doesn't look at the whole human body as a holistic thing that needs all the different parts in order to keep on functioning.

Gaby has a couple of articles from this week she wants to review. One is about apple cider vinegar, The 32 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. It's backed by research and science and very interesting because apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps with lots of ailments and it helps save on supplements. For example ACV increases the upsurge of more minerals which is very important with your sugar intake, if you're on the ketogenic diet. It also has cancer-fighting properties. It is a natural disinfectant and bacteria-killer. It also prevents cardiovascular disease because it has malic acid which has anti-inflammatory properties. Cardiovascular disease is mostly an inflammatory condition. It also sensitizes insulin to help your hormones deal with sugar. It help keep your teeth clean. Well the list is very long. You can do all kinds of things with ACV. You can use it as an energy drink, to treat inflammatory conditions, improve digestion of meat and fat, to heal your gut. The authors recommend you take one or two teaspoons diluted in distilled water and if you find the taste impossible you can add some xylitol or stevia. Gaby highly recommends it. She's checked it out. It's good for all kinds of ailments and is really cheap. Ideally people should use organic ACV and not the conventional ones.

Braggs is a good brand of ACV, the kind with the mother in it, has the brown streaks down at the bottom. You can also use it as a hair rinse, it lends shininess to your hair. It also breaks down and removes the build-up out of your hair if you use shampoo. It's good for the balance of protein in your so it helps to fight dandruff instead of using shampoos with chemicals that promote cancer.

ACV is a natural remedy which can be applied to shingles. Jonathan found ACV worked very well in combating the itching of hives by taking a teaspoon in a glass of water twice a day. It also works well with mosquito bites and to fight warts. It's a must-have item. Be careful not to get it in your eyes if you use it on your hair.

Tiffany had a friend who took prilosec for acid reflux. He started taking a tablespoon or two in water before he ate and after a while he didn't have to take prilosec anymore because he didn't have acid reflux. It's helpful for transitioning into a diet of more meat and especially more fat. After a lifetime of carbohydrates we don't have enough digestive enzymes so adding ACV to your fatty meat will help you digest it.

You can make your own ACV if you're in a place where you can get raw, unpasturized apple cider which is hard to come by unless you have a cider press and can make your own. Just put it in a mason jar with a cloth secured around the top and let it sit for anywhere from a month to two months and it will turn into vinegar and there you have it. As long as it's aerobic fermentation, as long as the oxygen can get into the container it won't turn alcoholic. It'll turn to vinegar.

A recipe before we get to the official recipe section!

The next article covered by Doug is all about bleach. It's called How using bleach could be making us sick published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Journal at the beginning of April. The study suggests that there's a variety of illnesses that may be fostered by the use of bleach as a cleaner. Researchers have investigated the correlation between bleach use in the home and frequency of infection in 9,102 kids between the ages of 6 and 12. Parents were given a questionnaire about the use of bleach and frequency of infections in their children; things like influenza, tonsillitis, ear and sinus infections and pneumonia.

The prevalence of single and recurrent infections was higher among children whose parents used bleach, which is likely the opposite of what these parents and the public would expect. Because bleach is anti-bacterial people think that using it would decrease the number of infections, not increase them. Bleach as well as anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers are hazardous to your relationship with beneficial bacteria in your gut, in your mouth and on the surface of your skin. These bacteria make up the backbone of the immune system which is the first line of defence against any of these pathogens.

So by using these things we're actually harming these bacteria and getting rid our natural defence to be able to protect us from these things. Bleach kills bacteria by de-naturing proteins, making them all clump together. Think of cooking an egg; it starts as liquid and as it cooks all the proteins start to de-nature and coagulate and it becomes more solid. Bleach does the same thing to proteins in these bacteria.

The researchers concluded that using bleach to clean the home may increase risk of respiratory and other infections in school-aged children and may indicate a public health issue. In 2013 there was another study where the effects of household cleaning products were evaluated during pregnancy and their effects on infants. The use of cleaning sprays, air fresheners and solvents can increase risk of wheezing and infections in the offspring. A longitudinal study completed in 2007 found that frequent use of common household cleaning sprays may be an important risk factor for adult asthma.

Everybody's gone crazy with anti-bacterial stuff, constantly using anti-bacterial sprays and cleansers and they're actually doing more harm than good.

Gaby comments on the similarity to the MMS solution, the "miracle mineral solution" being very similar to what Doug explained. It oxidizes proteins and DNA and side effects including digestive issues, pancreatic problems. It's amazing that people consider it an alternative condition when it actually works more like an antibiotic.

Doug says it's almost like napalm. It just kills everything.

The next article is regarding vaccines. In a February 25th article on SOTT by Keith Bell called Vaccine Injury: First the Gut, Then the Brain he gives a little intro saying "When we think about vaccine injuries such as autism and epilepsy, we generally consider a direct assault on the brain. But the reality may be far different where injury begins in the gut, leading to brain damage." The article explores potential mechanism of gut/brain injury by vaccination. He does on to say that "Neurodegenerative diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are strongly associated with gut dysbiosis", so an imbalance in gut bacteria. "These problems are now thought to begin in the gut. Diabetes and obesity are associated with brain inflammation. Gut-brain is known to be a two-way street, so diabetes and obesity are improved by reversing brain inflammation. In fact, 90% of fibers in the vagus nerve travel from gut to brain, not brain to gut, it's surprising and unsettling."

The article continues "So, to consider vaccine injury as beginning in the gut isn't such a stretch of the imagination." This connection began the controversy about vaccines and autism proposed by Andrew Wakefield several years ago. If anyone's interested they can search Andrew Wakefield on SOTT. There's an interview with him about vaccine dangers. He got the message out there because that's what he focused on, children with autism who had major gut issues. One surprising thing with the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) everyone thought it was an issue with mercury but the author of this article, Keith Bell, says there's actually no mercury in the MMR vaccine or Thimerosal. So there's something else going on where the vaccines harness the body's immune system beginning in the gut, making some individuals their own worst enemy.

Perhaps that's why some children are affected more by the MMR vaccine than other children. The author talks about how the fetal gastrointestinal tract was wrongly considered sterile and that's why vaccination is given 12 hours after birth because they assumed there were no microbes in the gut. It turned out to not be the case and as Doug said about the bleach, even in pregnant women, this could have an effect on a newborn child.

He specifically mentions the rotavirus vaccine which actually caused intestinal injury and was recently added to the government compensation program for adverse events. One more thing he shared under a heading "How can gut injury lead to brain injury?" where he focuses on serotonin imbalance related to glutamate, it's excitotoxicity, to answer the question about 95 percent of the body's serotonin is produced in the gut, not in the brain. "Gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea are associated with serotonin imbalances in blood. In constipation, serotonin is retained in mucosal cells of the intestine leading to low levels in blood. In diarrhea, serotonin is released and inflammatory." He talks a little bit about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). He speculates there that SIDS is associated with serotonin deficiency. He also mentions Dr. Russell Blaylock who has a great video about excitotoxicity in the brain and glutamate-based microbial enzymatic interference, which is a little bit technical, but it's an interesting listen. Dr. Blaylock is also on the SOTT page.

In conclusion he says the one-size-fits-all approach to vaccinations does not factor in individual immune systems regulated by gut bacteria. "In order to assess potential risk of vaccine injury, meconium and stool testing pre-vaccination to identify microbial balance or imbalance is justified. Unfortunately, vaccine scientists are concerned only with improving vaccine effectiveness, not safety."

Jonathan recommends based on personal experience, the judicial usage of probiotics and 5htp, Hydroxytryptophan is helpful in producing serotonin and stabilizing mood.

Tiffany talks about what we look like on the inside without giving an exhaustive explanation of the digestive tract, but just a picture. You can picture the digestive tract as one large, long tube that goes from your mouth out through your anus. It goes mouth to throat, to esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. So even though this tube, the digestive tract is technically inside of your body, it should be considered as outside of your body because the contents that you put into this tube are not all incorporated into your body.

So if you want to follow a chunk of food through your digestive tract, picture putting food in you mouth, chewing it where the enzyme amylase in your saliva, breaks down carbs and then you swallow it. The bolus of food passes through the esophagus and lands in the stomach where it churns and mixes with the acidic gastro juices which include hydrochloric acid (HCL), renin which digests dairy proteins if you're eating dairy, pepsinogen which digests proteins, gelatinase digests collagen and gelatin, gastric amylase is for further break-down of carbs or starches and gastric lipase which digests fats.

After about an hour of churning in your stomach, the bolus moves on to the small intestine which is about 22 feet, or seven metres long in adults when it's stretched out. Its diameter is about one to one-and-a-half inches or two-and-a-half to three centimetres wide. The entire surface area is about 320 square feet or 30 square metres. The most extensive parts of digestion and absorption take place in the small intestine and it can be broken down into three part, the duodenum, the jejunum and the ilium. The duodenum, unlike the stomach, is an alkaline environment and secrets bile juice, pancreatic juice and intestinal juice for further digestion and absorption.

The jejunum contains villi which are small hair-like projections where sugars, amino acids and fatty acids are absorbed into the bloodstream. The ilium also contains villi and it absorbs vitamin B12, bioacids and other remaining nutrients. After several hours in the small intestine the food moves into the large intestine which is about six feet long or two metres.

The large intestine is about three inches or 7.5 centimetres wide and its job is to extract water and salt from your waste as it solidifies, as it's moving through the ascending colon. Picture the colon as an upside down U, the ascending colon goes up, the transverse colon is the top of the U and then the third side is the descending colon, down to the sigmoid colon which is attached to the rectum, and that's where the feces or poop is stored for expulsion. Hopefully it's not stored for too long.

The whole process of one meal is supposed to take about 72 hours to clear. If you wanted to track your transit time, I wouldn't advise anybody to eat corn, but that's probably the best thing you could see. (Laughter) If you ate a meal of corn and then watched your bowel movements to see how long it takes for you to see corn in your poop, that will give you an idea of your transit time.

In the small intestine itself, your waste matter is in there for about 16 hours, so that's how long it takes to move throughout the large intestine. So the large ingesting doesn't play a major role in the absorption of food, but in a healthy gut there is good flora or bacteria in there and this bacteria actually creates vitamins. The large intestine does absorb the vitamins that your bacteria creates.

That's it from the shooter to the tooter. (Laughter)

There is a neurological component to the digestive system. The digestive tract has more nerves than the entire spinal cord, so it is constantly communicating or talking with the brain. It's called the enteric nervous system or the second brain. It is our digestive system. It also has a certain degree of independence just like our brain; the ability to work in the absence of input from the brain or the spinal cord.

The second brain/our digestive system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters used by the brain. Ninety-five percent of the body's serotonin, our "happy" chemical, is found in the bowels. Our digestive tract contains 80 percent of our immune cells. There are trillions of bacteria living in the gut and they are also able to communicate with our second brain. In fact our gut bacteria is capable of affecting how our brain works. To illustrate this some researchers in Canada studied gut bacteria. They concluded the presence or absence of conventional ____ microbiota influences the development of behaviour and is accompanied by neurochemical changes in the brain.

So gut bacteria informs the behaviour of serotonin, dopamine and GABA which are three brain chemicals that are involved in many psychiatric or mood problems.

Another intriguing aspect is the reverse nature of the signallings from the brain and second brain. Traditionally we think that the brain is like the headquarters, signalling the rest of the body. However research has found that the second brain more commonly sends signals to the brain. Over 90 percent of the nerve fibres in the vagus nerve send information from the gut to the brain. Information about the vagus nerve is available at It is the heart of our relaxation system and this is what Éiriú Eolas stimulates. The vagus nerve connects the second brain to the brain and when we stimulate it we can control things from epilepsy, depression and stress, improve our memory centres in the brain.

Many benefits have been reported using Éiriú Eolas from relieving anxiety to better dreaming, better sleeping, enhancing learning and memory, improved higher cognitive abilities, regulating emotions. The vagus nerves bring centres in the brain back online which help deal better with stress.

Researchers are discovering more and more connections between the vagus nerve and healing many conditions from arthritis to heart disease. Research also shows that a diet high in fat stimulates the vagus nerve, that there is a direct relationship between the intake of fat and the level of neuro activity in the brain; for example increasing fat, statins can be reduced because by eating fat powerful anti-inflammatory pathways are activated which are mediated by the vagus nerve.

Stephen Porges, a neuroscientist pioneered the polyvagal theory which talks about the mental role of the vagus nerve in our feelings and emotional states. He realized that there are several aspects to the function of the vagus nerve, so he named it poly from the Greek term many and vagal from the vagus nerve. He refers to the smart vagus as the parts of the vagus that are its best conducting part, and are coated by fat. The smart vagus is finely tuned and intertwined with the muscles of the face, the middle ear, the throat, our voice and speaking capabilities, our heart rate and with our breathing. These are all aspects that come together through the smart vagus nerve stimulation. When it is stimulated we have higher social and communication capabilities, feel more compassionate and are able to work better. This is in contrast to the state of fight or flight when we're shut down because we have so much stress and our perception of the stress is individual for each person.

When we respond in a primitive, reptilian, fight or flight way we shut these capabilities down. Porges call this immobilization by fear, when you are in survival mode and do not have input from the higher cognitive centres in the brain. The smart vagus is shut down, put to sleep, so to speak. It's important to stimulate the smart vagus nerve and can be done most effectively with a high fat diet and Éiriú Eolas.

There is research that shows that people who stimulate their smart vagus nerve are better at regulating their emotions.

Stephen Porges also talks about the vagal tone, which can be seen in people's faces, from the eyes and the nose. The higher the vagal tone, the more smart vagus activity a person has. It also correlates with better in children who have autism. They are more social when they have higher vagal tones.

If the gut is irritated, that irritates the vagus nerve thereby irritating the brain and causing emotional ups and downs and poor social connection. A crappy diet is interpreted by your body as a state of maximal stress. It can actually have the effect of pirating a person's capacity to involve the smart vagus nerve. For example, gluten can decrease blood flow to the prefrontal cortex which is where the captain of the brain resides. This is related to the smart vagus, so a crappy diet is really bad for the gut and therefore for the brain.

Eating a lot of wheat products provides opioids for the brain which may seem like it is relieving stress but really the brain is just getting an opioid hit then it goes away and a person goes into withdrawal symptoms. Seeking the next hit, it becomes a vicious cycle, up and down. "Chasing the dragon".

Regarding Éiriú Eolas, people think they have to do the whole program every time, which is very beneficial and highly encouraged, but doing aspects of the program throughout the day are beneficial, like pipe breathing for a few minutes, even at work or in a stressful meeting, if you can find a quiet spot to do the pipe breathing for a few minutes, it really helps in those moments. Éiriú Eolas can be used throughout the day on a daily basis.

Erica, Doug and Gaby are EE teachers as well. Erica also teaches yoga so can combine the pipe breathing in her classes. She can see the vagal tone in their face change by the end of the class and there is a social connectedness where people are open to share their experiences. There is enormous benefit to practicing EE regularly, even in moments of stress before a presentation or while driving.

If you pay attention to your breathing in stressful moments you'll notice that you start breathing into your upper chest, almost hyperventilating which tightens all the muscles in the chest, shoulder and around the neck and causes further tension and headaches. Focusing on the diaphragm moving up and down give is like giving the guts a little massage throughout the day and keeps them toned. Pipe breathing also helps with pains in the belly and gut.

A lot of the disorders of the gut are issues with bacteria. There are approximately 500 to 1,000 different species of bacteria that reside in the bowel. They total in the trillions and make up about a pound of your body weight. There is some bacteria in the small intestine as well, but not nearly as much as in the colon. There are more bacterial cells in the body than native cells, which brings up interesting philosophical questions about how much of us is actually us. Who are we?

Beneficial bacteria are referred to as probiotics, pro meaning for, biotic meaning life, so for-life, as opposed to antibiotics which are against life. Bacteria are present on every surface around us and most are benign but some are beneficial and some are pathogenic. They're introduced to our digestive tract through the food we eat and other interactions in our environment. Infants exploring their world are always sticking things into their mouths. This introduces all this different stuff to their immune and digestive systems, having a direct, tangible interaction with the environment.

These days they are discouraged from doing this. Kids aren't allowed to play in the dirt anymore which is actually to our detriment because there's no more intimate interaction with our environment. The immune system learns what's good and what's bad by being introduced to it. The more we stop ourselves from being introduced to it, the more detrimental it is to our immune system.

Bacteria are destroyed by heating and processing of food. This is one reason why we're not getting as much of this native bacteria as we used to get. Sometimes the balance of the gut bacteria can go off. In a proper functioning gut the microbial balances are in favour of the benign or beneficial bacterial species. Pathogenic bacteria are always present to some degree, but they're usually kept in check by the good guys. There's so many good guys that they just kind of cordon off the bad guys and they don't make too much of a fuss.

But many things in our modern world can actually upset this balance; prescribed antibiotics, anti-bacterial products like bleach or anti-bacterial soaps; passive anti-biotic exposure from foods, particularly meats. The agricultural industry likes to feed antibiotics to their animals like they're candy which does end up on your plate and does end up destroying your own gut bacteria. Alcohol use, and chlorinated water also upset this balance. It's a good idea to drink filtered water or spring water. Also pesticide and herbicide residues on fruits and vegetables, GMOs, a poor diet, particularly sugar encourages the growth of the pathogenic bacteria and the resulting death of beneficial bacteria.

There is also a lack of exposure to good bacteria. People don't eat things like fermented foods very often anymore. Yogurt isn't the only one available. There's also fermented sauerkraut and kimchee. There are different fermented foods that we should be eating quite regularly but have gone out of favour. And when people do eat them they tend to be in jars and have been pasteurised so all of the bacteria is actually dead.

Bacteria is picked up by getting outside touching dirt and trees and plants. Eating plants right out of the ground, without disinfecting before eating them is another good way to expose ourselves to good bacteria, which is frowned on now. People used to pull up root vegetables and eat them. Even the eating of raw meat has grown out of favour; people are terrified of pathogenic bacteria that people have an extremely low likelihood of getting if they get their meat from a good source. People don't have a taste for raw meat anymore.

When a baby is born naturally through the birth canal, the baby is picking up the mother's natural probiotic. When they're born by a C-section they miss out on that kind of inoculation which is why we seen C-sections being associated with things like childhood asthma, eczema, the sorts of things from not receiving the native bacteria from the mother.

Environmental pollution is another thing that can affect people's probiotics. Just a note for those afraid of using antibiotics; there certainly are some situations where antibiotics are good thing. People need to do their research and make sure it's not some over-zealous doctor prescribing antibiotics for every cold. Make sure the antibiotics are truly needed and mitigate some of the bad effects of antibiotics by taking a probiotic in conjunction with them. Take the probiotic a few hours away from taking the antibiotic so the antibiotic is going into your body and killing off what it's supposed to kill, then you take the probiotic to replace all the good bacteria that was killed as a side effect. It actually helps the antibiotic work better.

A chronic problem in this day and age, a lack of the production of stomach acid, can lead to undigested food getting lower into the digestive tract than it's supposed to which will feed pathogenic bacteria. This can be a cause of negative bacterial overgrowth. When there's a significant die-off of the good bacteria, pathogenic bacteria and fungus which tend to be more opportunistic than good bacteria start to spread. This leads to a state known as dysbiosis, which means there's a microbial imbalance where there's an overgrowth of the pathogenic bacteria in the digestive trace.

This can lead to a vicious cycle because the pathogenic bacterial species take over and begin to crowd out what beneficial bacteria actually remain. Microbial colonies also excrete many different types of waste by-products. When there are not too many colonies the body is capable of taking care of these waste by-products but when the pathogenic bacteria start to grow and populate, they excrete more and more of these by-products which can overburden the body's waste removal mechanism. The gut becomes more and more toxic, it can alter the pH of the gut which in turn leads to other problems.

Dysbiosis has been associated with illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, cancer and colitis. It's also the likely issue in any number of digestive issues like chronic gas, IBS and even chronic bad breath. It's also likely part of the cause of leaky gut syndrome (LGS) which is a huge topic so it won't be covered too much except to say that usually the gut is very selective about what it absorbs but in a case where there's leaky gut, that might mean that there's inflammation in the gut or damage to the gut, there ends up being holes in the gut. Things that aren't fully digested or aren't supposed to be absorbed will pass through these holes into the bloodstream.

An overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria with by-products can damage the gut which leads to an inflammatory situation and the passage of undigested matter into the bloodstream. This activates the immune system which treats these as invaders, mount a defence which can lead to the immune system reacting to things it shouldn't react to, causing allergic reactions to things that should be fairly benign.

Another potential problem in the gut is small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, or SIBO for short. This happens when the bacteria that are supposed to remain in the colon end up backing up into the small intestine. These may be bacteria that are beneficial in the colon, but they're in the wrong environment and they start to overgrow in that area. The small intestine usually has significantly less bacteria than the colon, so overgrowths in the small intestine can start causing all kinds of problems.

One big problem is that conventional probiotics all tend to contain lactobacillus strains which are the ones that are causing the problem. They should be in the small intestine. So conventional probiotics can actually make the problem worse because they're feeding the problem.

Alternative healthcare practitioners who are familiar with it, and there aren't very many, tend to supplement with non-lactobacillus species, particularly soil-based probiotics. There's a couple of brands available, one call Prescript Assist, another by a company called AOR, called Probiotic 3 and another one called Primal Defense Ultra by a company called Garden of Life. That one does have some lactobacillus in it, but it has a lot of soil-based species as well.

Some people online are talking about something called resistant starch in order to heal SIBO. It's called starch but it's actually a type of fibre. You don't absorb any of the carbohydrates because we're not able to break it down. The bacteria actually feed on it. The bacteria in the small intestine actually jump onto the starch to eat it and ride it down into the colon. They hitch a ride on it and it takes the bacteria back where it's supposed to be. One popular source of resistant starch online seems to be unmodified potato starch. Apparently if you eat it without cooking, there is no carbohydrate to it. It is all fibre. One caveat, potato is a nightshade so you need to be careful with it and watch for any inflammation that might come along with it. If you do tolerate it, that might be a good way to get those bacteria back into the right place.

Bob's Red Mill in North America has modified potato starch, which you need rather than regular potato starch which will not work.

Tiffany wants to talk about poop. (Laughter) Can't talk about the gut without mentioning poop at least a little bit. There's an incredible book available at Amazon called Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky that will tell you all you need to know about your gut function, probably more than you thought you needed to know. There's also a corresponding webpage called and at the webpage and in the book Fiber Menace, they feature something called the Bristol Stool Form Chart where poo is broken down into several different types. The chart gives the most ideal type.

Type 1 is separate, hard lumps of stool like nuts or like rabbit pellets. They're very hard to pass and can be very painful. Type 1 is not a good type of stool to have. Type 2 is sausage shaped but lumpy. They're kind of firm, impacted in a single mass. There's a lot of fibre in there and some bacteria. Type 3 is somewhat like type 2. It's like a sausage but it has cracks on its surface. Type 4, which is getting more into what the author of the book would call normal type stools, like a sausage or a snake. It's smooth and it's soft. It's not very wide. It comes out in about the shape of a colon that's not too stretched out. Type 5 is soft little bobs of poo with clear edges and this is passed very easily. Type 6 is fluffy pieces with ragged edges and it's somewhat mushy. Type 7 is a watery stool with no solid pieces and this is otherwise known as diarrhoea.

So according to people in the know about poo, types 4, 5 and 6 are acceptable. Type 5, according to the author is ideal. That's what you want to aim for. So when you take a poo don't be afraid of it and flush it down without looking at it first. Get to know your poo. Look at it, see what type you have and based on that, you can decide whether or not you want to change your diet or if your diet needs changing. If you have gut issues you really want to know what type of poo you're passing; are you eating too much fat, not enough fat, too much fibre and what is being digested and what is not?

People with a gut that is damaged through a lifetime of bad diet might not be able to achieve the ideal stool type, which is the soft blobs with the clear-cut edges. Some people because of overeating carbs or having a lot of fibre in their diet become dependent on them. Too much fibre stretches out the colon and if you switch to a keto diet really quickly the colon is still in that stretched out condition and it loses its sensitization. So the bowels need a chance to catch up and revert back to their normal shape.

Normal pooping shouldn't require any more effort than urinating. It isn't normal to have to strain or grunt to muster up the strength to move your bowels.

Not only is getting your diet straight important, but there's actual mechanics of pooping that people need to keep in mind. If people are having bowel issues or not and just want to maintain bowel integrity there is a proper poop position.

Kevin calls in with a question about high blood pressure medication. Gaby talks about changing diet, reducing sugar and carbohydrates which cause retention of water in the body and inflammatory effects which raises blood pressure. People who restrict their carbohydrate intake, even moderately will lose so much water in the first few days that they have to take minerals and more salt because their blood pressure drops and they feel like fainting. Sometimes people have to come off of their prescription medicines because of this.

So one of the main things to look at is dietary changes. Tiffany tells Kevin that if his blood pressure is back in the normal range or lower to definitely follow up with his doctor and collaborate with him/her to see if he can get off of his medications. If the blood pressure is too low the dose may be too strong or he may not need the medication at all.

A request came in from the chatroom to talk about helicobacter pylori which is estimated to live in the digestive tract of about half of the world's population and its connection to the development of ulcers, can it be eradicated only by antibiotics or are there alternative treatments. It's very common in Japan, Costa Rica. In theory and practice it is related to stomach ulcers and cancer and acidity/reflux. It is treated with a very strong triple therapy of antibiotics. That's the only way that doctor say they can eradicate it.

Actually there is data that suggests that with good gut health you can get rid of this by strengthening the body with proper nutrients, with diet, with detoxing creates a stronger defence system that can help protect against infection by these types of bacteria. Gaby has read about some probiotics and good gut health being able to eradicate helicobacter pylori. The problem is that most of the world's population have a crappy diet.

An overgrowth of helicobacter pylori may be similar to what you see in dysbiosis in the gut. There was a study back in 2008 with only 19 people - so more research needs to be done on it - but they found the blueprints of 128 different bacterial types that actually live in the stomach. So if there is an overgrowth of a pathogenic bacteria, chances are the good bacteria is being killed off and then the helicobacter pylori is just growing out of control. So getting the diet back on track, taking a probiotic supplement, can be very helpful.

Some people inherit the bacteria and never have problems. It's specific to populations with stomach ulcers and really bad digestive problems and eventually with gastric cancer. So taking care of gut flora is the first thing to try. Fermented foods also help enormously just because it helps the gut re grow good gut bacteria.

Apple cider vinegar with meals helps because a lot of times overgrowth of helicobacter pylori has to do with a lack of stomach acid which allows that bacteria to thrive. And adding healthy salt.

Building on the information about the bleach and the obsession with cleanliness, the hygiene hypothesis is a hypothesis about being too clean. According to Wikipedia lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms in the gut flora and parasites increase susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing natural development of the immune system. A BBC Nature Journal article in 2009 talked about children being allowed to get dirty. Being too clean can impair the skin's ability to heal and dampen down over-reactive immune systems. The study's finding explains the hygiene hypothesis and Dr. Levy goes into the idea of being obsessively clean has boosted allergies in developing country. Exposure to germs is a good thing, especially children. They need to have dirt and bacteria and be exposed to it, either being barefoot or rolling around in the mud which builds the immune system by being exposed to these things.

There was a good article on the SOTT Science and Technology page about how "Clean was sold to America with fake science". The Cleanliness Institute was established in 1927, originally the Association of American Soap and Glycerine Producers and promoted keeping clean with soap consumption. School children were the primary targets. It talks about the advertising campaign about halitosis and deodorants so that we've come to this place now where people are massive germophobes with obsessions with hand sanitizers.

Children like to get dirty and it's important that they're exposed to these type of germs which brings to mind people who go down to Mexico and drink the water and get sick but the people that actually live in Mexico can drink the water and not have the same issue. Our gut bacteria adapts to our environment. It's also an important part of eating foods in our environment like people eating the dirt that's still on the lettuce. These things all help build the healthy bacteria in the gut and strengthen the immune system.

The book Virus Mania describes an interesting situation where they tried to raise mice in a completely sterile environment. Here's a quote from chapter 2 of Dr. Köehnlein's book about how micro-hunters seize power. He talks about Pasteur. The Virus Mania show is available here.

Pasteur had a downright fanatical hatred of microbes and actually came from the ludicrous equation that healthy tissue equals a sterile germ-free environment. He believed in all earnestness that bacteria could not be found in a healthy body and that microbes flying through the air on dust particles were responsible for all types of possible diseases. In a book called Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif he says that trumpeted his hopes out into the world, that it must lie within human power to eliminate all disease caused by microbes from the face of the earth.

Dr. Köehnlein then goes on to describe the sterile mice who only lived for a week and then in other experiments some mice lived a little bit longer, but the environment was so artificially generated and their food was so sterilized, he even poses the question if they tested for any bacteria at all. There was no way they could find it. He says "If nature really wanted us to be bacteria-free, nature would have created us bacteria-free. Germ-free animals, which apparently aren't really germ-free, can only exist under artificial lab conditions and that's not nature. The ecosystems of animals living under natural conditions, be it rodents or human beings, depend heavily upon the activities of bacteria and this arrangement must have a purpose."

Back to our fear of bugs and germs, it really is a symbiotic relationship that we have with the environment that we live in. As covered last week, the ideas of earthing and getting our hands dirty, there's so much information coming out that this is an integral part of developing a healthy immune system. As stated earlier, we have 100 trillion bacteria and it's those bacteria that we can thank for good health.

Adding to Tiffany's poop discussion, half of our poop is actually microbial biomass. Dead bacteria should make up most of our poop with some trace amounts of fat and trace amounts of other undigested stuff, but it's mostly bacteria in your poop.

Back to the proper pooping position, has anyone tried the squatty potty? In the western world we have toilets but in Asian country where Tiffany has visited, they had just a hole in the floor and you squat down and do your business. So the squatty potty elevates your legs on the sides of your toilet and puts you in that position where it makes it easier for the poop to come out. So people who have any intestinal issues, have reported benefits from pooping in that position.

It's a natural position to be in, when you think about it. Sitting at a 90 degree angle is not conducive to how we evolved as far as pooping goes. So being in a squat position your legs are elevated and your thighs are actually in contact with where the ascending and descending colon are, so they're supporting it. At a right angle that's a weird turn for your business to be coming out of.

The group ordered a squatty potty and will report back on how it works.

If your bowels are backed up or you're not feeling relaxed enough to move your bowels while you're sitting, try some pipe breaths. Doug reports that he has experience with squatting and it works much better. You feel completely cleaned out and like you've actually gone as opposed to just getting rid of a little bit of what you had in there. If you can't do the squatting position on the toilet, you can put a little footstool in front of the toilet to get your feet up. Squatting in the woods while camping is much more efficient.

Healing of the Gut

Gut issues manifest as constipation, diarrhoea, uncomfortable digestion. Your digestion should be going on in the background without your awareness.

Several steps can be taken. Returning the microbial environment back to its normal state is essential. One recommendation is hydrochloric supplements or apple cider vinegar. Anything that adds acidity to the stomach. Low acidity is chronic in this day and age from poor diet, chlorinated water and low zinc levels interfere with stomach acid production. Digestive enzymes ensure that everything is getting broken down the way it should and will do wonders for making sure the microbial environment is not being damaged.

Taking probiotic supplements is always a good idea. There are a couple of strains that are very beneficial. Avoiding conventional meats and vegetables due to antibiotics, herbicides and pesticides contamination is also beneficial; avoiding things that damage the gut like sugar, grains and legumes. At the very least go paleo, if not fully ketogenic. With the paleo diet you avoid a lot of the damaging foods that tend to hurt the microbial environment.

Fermented foods is also a good idea. The best way to enjoy fermented foods is to ferment them yourself because a lot of the fermented foods from the grocery store are pasteurized, meaning they have no probiotic content whatsoever.

There's a protocol called fecal transplants where fecal matter is taken from a healthy subject and transplanted into a person suffering from some sort of dysbiosis. It's still in the experimental stages. It makes sense because 50 percent of the fecal matter is bacteria. It's a way to introduce the entire bacterial environment from one patient into another.

It gives new meaning to the phrase "putting up with someone else's shit". (Laughter)

Leaky gut is a huge topic and there could probably be an entire show about it at some point and probably will. Bone broth is very good for the gut. It has so much in it that is good for healing tissues in general and specifically healing the digestive tract. Anything that's causing inflammation in the diet needs to be gotten rid of, grains, legumes, dairy products, coffee (unfortunately). Going paleo is a great way to heal the gut.

A few supplements such as glutamine and aloe juice are good for healing leaky gut. Whole leaf aloe juice does have a laxative effect. Going with the inner filet is a better way to go because it still has the gut healing properties but doesn't have the laxative effect. You can also do anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric, or the extract of turmeric, curcumin, boswellia.

There are a couple of beneficial probiotic strains. One is saccharomyces boulardii, shortened to s.boulardii which is a strain of non-pathogenic yeast. It has decades of use in the treatment of inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases, both acute and chronic. It modulates the host immune response, both locally and systemically, so it helps with things like allergies or autoimmune disease. It prevents pathogens from adhering to the intestinal lining. Saccharonmyces boulardii is found in a lot of travel probiotics, ones where you're going to a tropical place where they tell you "don't drink the water" and you're always worried about getting some kind of food poisoning. Taking saccharonmyces boulardii can give you a prophylactic effect those things. So start taking it a couple of days before you go on a trip and continuing to take it throughout the trip can be very helpful.

It also regulates microbial homeostasis and stabilizes gut barrier function, so is protective against leaky gut as well. It's also really effective against almost any type of diarrhoea, including from antibiotic usage, acute or persistent diarrhoea, food poisoning, traveler's diarrhoea, even HIV associated diarrhoea. A study has shown s.boulardii is effective against it. Also good against helicobacter pylori, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and parasitic infections. Definitely a good one to have in your repertoire.

Another strain that's getting a lot of attention recently is lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. There are other strains of rhamnosus, but the GG is getting a lot of studies done on it and they're finding some pretty amazing stuff. It has villi, or hairs which help it to attach to the colon wall. It encourages the growth of other species of beneficial bacteria. It survives stomach acidity and is bio-stable, so it remains alive all the way down the digestive tract. It modulates the immune system and allergic-type condition. It reduces the symptoms of gut permeability. It's been found to be helpful in weight loss as well so it got a lot of press recently because Dr. Oz talked about it as being a good thing to do for weight loss which probably shot its popularity through the roof.

It decreases the incidence of eczema in children. There is a huge list of benefits. It's basically the miracle probiotic it does so much good stuff.

The clinical research on the GG strain of rhamnosus is massive. Children with very serious conditions were able to heal just by taking this probiotic without changing their diet. It will reduce C-reactive protein levels which indicates that it's actually an anti-inflammatory and also has beneficial effects on blood lipid profiles.

Another strain is lactobacillus plantarum which is found in a lot of fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut and homemade kimchee. It produces biotin in the colon and reduces intestinal permeability, another word for leaky gut. It improves symptoms in IBS patients and also improves profiles for hypercholesterolemia adults, so helps get cholesterol levels back on track. It may offer protection against upper respiratory infections. It also produces folate and like the other strains mentioned, it encourages an environment that will help to grow other beneficial species.

The last strain covered is bifidobacterium bifidus. It's really good at adhering to the intestinal wall and keeping out pathogens and protecting against their negative effect. It increases gut mucus production because it feeds on the gut mucus which in turn leads the gut to create more mucus which increases protection in the gut from pathogens or anything damaging. It repairs damage and strengthens the intestinal tight junctions, again dealing with leaky gut by closing the holes. And finally it alleviates or significantly improves IBS symptoms.

These are four strains to look for when you're in the store looking at probiotics.

Time for Zoya's Pet Health segment and then a recipe for homemade sauerkraut since we've been talking about fermented foods and probiotics.

Zoya's Pet Health Segment

Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today we are going to talk a bit about vitamins, fat soluble vitamins in particular and also about doggie feces. First some general historical facts. As many of you know, there are fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins and while water soluble vitamins can be accumulated in the body, fat soluble vitamins do indeed accumulate in the body and are being stored primarily in the fat tissue and liver.

Interestingly enough, these facts have been known to humanity for a very long time. For example, Hippocrates advocated using liver to cure night blindness. Now we know that lack of vitamin A causes night blindness. There is also the liver cure that suggests placing drops of crushed and roasted ox liver in the eyes of people suffering from night blindness. We don't know if Egyptians were aware of vitamin A specifically, but somehow knew that liver has high levels of the vitamin which helps maintain normal vision in dim light. There are also many stories and documented cases that talk about soldiers suffering from similar problems and deficiencies when butter and eggs were excluded from the rations.

Another example would be beriberi a paralytic disease of many Asians due to their dietary habit of eating polished rice. It is now known that the unpolished rice is rich in vitamin B1, thiamine. Low thiamine levels were the real cause of beriberi and a simple dietary change could cure the paralysis.

So what vitamins are fat soluble? These would be vitamin A, D, E and K. So some facts about vitamin A. Vitamin A has many roles. It is important for vision and other functions. Deficiency can lead to poor low light vision, as I said before termed night blindness, retarded growth, muscle weakness, poor quality skin and hair development. Vitamin A has several forms and it depends on the source. Retinol is one of the animal forms of vitamin A, meaning you can find it in this form only in animal products such as fish oil, eggs yokes, liver, butter and others.

Plants also have vitamin A but in the form of carotene, for example beta carotene. Carotene is the substance in carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. This colours them orange and is the most common form of carotene in plants. The catch with carotene is that it can be utilized by the organism as vitamin A only after being converted in the body. The problem with that is that carnivores can't assimilate plant carotene and have to get their vitamin A only from animal products such as liver, meaning that you can give your dog or cat tonnes of carrots and they can still suffer from vitamin A deficiency. That's why when your pet is on a raw food diet, or any diet for that matter, it is important to make sure that 10 percent of the diet contains foods like beef liver and egg yoke.

Vitamin A is also necessary to the growing puppy. Infants are born with no liver storage of the vitamins. The colostrum, meaning first milk is rich in vitamin A and provides and important first dose. So if your puppy didn't have a chance to have colostrum consider supplementing with vitamin A, but as with everything else, do it carefully because over-supplementing can cause toxicity.

Now let's talk about vitamin D. Unlike humans who get vitamin D both from exposure to sunlight and certain foods and dietary supplements, dogs don't produce vitamin D in the skin so diet alone must supply all of their vitamin D requirements. Vitamin D is essential for proper function of the human heart and research has found a direct link between vitamin D deficiency and congestive heart failure. Canine heart disease is either acquired or congenital, with the vast majority of cases, about 95% in the acquired category. It is estimated up to 60 percent of aging dogs have a heart problem.

Food sources of vitamin D include halibut and other fish, cod liver oil, liver and eggs and it's best to supplement your pets with vitamin D through food than giving them synthetic vitamins because despite evidence that dogs with heart disease may benefit from vitamin D therapy, what every dog owner should keep in mind is that vitamin C deficiency is actually more common than vitamin D deficiency.

As for vitamin E, it is also highly concentrated in meats such as liver and fat. All of the functions of vitamin E are not known, but it plays a role in the formation of cell membranes and cell restoration. It is an antioxidant and protects various hormones from oxidation. Deficiencies of vitamin E will cause cell damage and death in skeletal muscles, heart, testes, liver and nerves. It is essential in keeping the cells of these organs alive and functioning. Vitamin E deficiencies have been well documented in both dogs and cats. The brown bowel syndrome is a condition usually used to describe a dog or a cat suffering from inadequate vitamin E. These animals have bowels which ulcerate, hemorrhage and degenerate. In addition the cells of the eyes and testes can also be affected. It is known to also be good for skin and coat and it is also usually part of the milk thistle oil supplement, a very good hepatic protector.

As you can see, beef liver and maybe cod liver oil in your pet's diet is essential and also other internal organs. Don't forget that in the wild, carnivores eat their prey whole and this way they get all the necessary nutrients.

Now about the last fat soluble, vitamin K. Vitamin K comes from different food forms. Vitamin K1 is found in green plants. Vitamin K2 is high in fish meal and can be synthesized by the bacteria in the intestines. Vitamin K3 is a synthetic precursor of the others. Vitamin K3 is the form usually utilized as a supplement. Vitamin K is essential for normal blood functioning. Without vitamin K blood cannot clot. Most rat and mouse poisons kill rats and mice by eliminating their ability to clot blood, hence the rodents internally hemorrhage to death. Contained within the poison is the active ingredient Coumadin, or a derivative of Coumadin. It is the Coumadin that binds to and depletes the body of extra vitamin K. Without vitamin K in the blood, it cannot clot and the rodents die. Unfortunately dogs and cats, well maybe cats less, also can ingest this poison.

So if it happens, it's important to know that in case of rat poisoning by anticoagulant agents, supplementing with K3 is essentially useless and you must use K1. Since the bacteria in the intestine can manufacture vitamin K it is not needed in high levels in food supplements but it's also good to remember that vitamin K is more similar to water soluble vitamins in that it can't be accumulated in the body and is being assimilated only in the presence of bile. Therefore if your pet has problems with the gastrointestinal tract and problems of malabsorption, it can affect absorption of vitamin K too.

And this is where you may have a problem, especially when you're trying to save your pet from the ingestion of rat poison. If your pet's body is already compromised due to bad diet, it may affect their recovery chances.

Well, this is it for the vitamin part. And now I would like to share with you information from some very interesting research I read about the other day. A team of researchers at the University of Arizona is setting out to determine whether dog saliva can be good for human health. Everyone who has a dog knows the positive effects it can have on their mood and wellbeing but this new study will focus on the boost dogs may have on the human immune system. The researchers involved in this study believe that microbe exchanged between dogs and people may have a positive probiotic effect on the human body and overall health. Essentially they think that dogs might use this probiotic to enhance the health of the bacteria that lives in our guts. This bacteria, or microbiota is increasingly recognized as playing an essential role in our mental and physical health, especially as we age.

Other studies have shown that dogs and their owners share much of the same bacteria over time, which helps people ward off allergies. Another study by Finnish scientists found that babies in homes with dogs were found to have fewer colds, fewer ear infections, and need fewer antibiotics in their first year of life than babies raised in pet-free homes.

Well as positive as the effects of microbes might be from dog saliva, other studies have shown that there are also potential negative effects from keeping a pet. Some research indicates that kids with pets could pass on the gum disease whereas others investigating the potential for animals to pass on antibiotic-resistant infections to humans. That said, the multi-disciplinary study planned at the University of Arizona surely sounds fascinating, that dogs may actually help humans feel better on the biological level is an exciting notion.

Well this is it for today and I hope that you found the information interesting and useful. Goody-bye and have a nice day.

Recipe : Homemade sauerkraut

It's incredibly easy to make. It's a bit of a process, but the ingredients are very simple.

For material you need a large bowl, preferably stainless steel or ceramic bowl, or glass will work fine; a crock that the cabbage is doing to go into. A crock is a tall, wide-mouthed round container that can be made also from ceramic or glass. Oftentimes the general store will have crocks or you can order them online. Look for something that two or three gallons, for a larger batch. But this can also be done in mason jars, if you have mason jars lying around.

Sauerkraut is an anaerobic fermentation, which means that the vegetable matter does not come into contact with the air. It needs to be submerged underneath a brine.

So start with two medium white or red cabbage heads, about 2-2½ pounds each, so about four to five pounds of cabbage. You can increase or decrease this recipe to your liking. Red kraut is really cool. It comes out this deep, violet colour so it's kind of fun as well. Remove the core from the cabbage and then finely shred or finely chop the cabbage with a knife and get it into strips or you can shred it with a grater or something similar.

For this four to five pounds of cabbage you want two tablespoons of sea salt or Real salt. You don't want to use table salt because you want either a mineral salt or unrefined sea salt.

Take the cabbage, put it into the large bowl, sprinkle the salt that you have over the top of it and mix it together with your hands. While you're mixing it you want be squeezing the cabbage as firmly as you can because you're breaking down the cellular structure of the cabbage then you'll see the water that's held inside the cabbage. So as you do this the salt and squeezing action on the cabbage releases the moisture and sometimes it's not necessary, but some people will salt the cabbage first and let it sit for about ½ hour to an hour until it begins to sweat and then start massaging it. You can do it either way. If it sits first it's a little easier. The salt breaks down the cabbage and makes it sweat its moisture.

Once you've thoroughly massaged the cabbage in the bowl with the salt, put it into the crock and use your fist to gradually mash it all towards the bottom so that the moisture comes up and covers the vegetable material. So as you're doing this you'll notice that, if you do it properly, the amount of moisture or water that's in the cabbage is enough to actually cover it in the crock. Sometimes you need to add a little bit of water at the end, but you shouldn't really need to. Use distilled water for this, just to make sure it's clean.

After mashing down the cabbage, you want to release all of the air that's held up in the pieces of cabbage under the water. So you don't want any bubbles underneath. Sometimes it's hard to get it all packed down. You can take a sterilized wide stone (by boiling or heating in the oven). Once it's cooled down you can put the stone on top of the cabbage. You can also use a plate or glass plate or something that's weighted to hold the vegetable matter under the water.

Cover the crock with a cloth like a towel or cheesecloth with a rubber band around the outside to hold it down. You want to keep as much material as possible from coming into the jar but you do want it to be able to breathe. An option is to use an airlock like is used in brewing beer and wine where you have a big glass jar with an airlock at the top which allows pressurized air to escape the container without allowing anything back in. The difference between these two is that if you use a cloth over your jar you'll notice that every few days you get a little bit of scum on top of the water which is completely natural and you can go in there with a spoon and scrape that off, discard it. You can flush it you can put it in the compost and then put the towel back on. If you do use an airlock you'll get less of that scum showing up, little to no scum and you can just let it ferment and not have to worry about that very much.

Some people do like the taste of kraut as it's fermenting so if you're using an airlock and you remove it, you've defeated the purpose of using the airlock. So if you use an airlock it's hard to get in and taste it as it's fermenting.

Let it sit in a cabinet or corner out of the way and let it sit for anywhere from one to two weeks up to even six months. As long as the vegetable matter says out of contact with the air, stays below the liquid, you're going to be fine. The lactic acid that's created in the fermentation process kills off the harmful microorganisms and other bacteria that are in there and creates its own beneficial culture. This fermentation creates a lot of probiotics that are beneficial for healing the gut. This is a really rewarding way to make your own.

It's popular in the German sauerkraut recipe to include caraway seeds in the solution. Throw a couple of teaspoons in. You can also experiment with carrots, ginger, anything else that lacto-ferments. Look up lacto-fermentation on Google and you'll find a lot of results for that.

Cabbage is cheap. Salt is cheap and it's very easy to make.