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The Peter Attia Drive

Gut health & the microbiome: improving and maintaining the microbiome, probiotics, prebiotics, innovative treatments, and more | Colleen Cutcliffe, Ph.D.

The Peter Attia Drive
The Peter Attia Drive

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Colleen Cutcliffe is an expert in molecular biology and co-founder of Pendulum Therapeutics, a company working to develop treatments for a variety of diseases by targeting the microbiome. In this episode, Colleen delves into the complexity of the microbiome, how it is tested, and how it changes over time. She explores how probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics affect the gut and makes a compelling case that well-developed products have the potential not only to enhance gut health but also to positively influence overall metabolic well-being. Colleen emphasizes the significance of a high-fiber diet in sustaining a thriving gut microbiome, shares insights on minimizing microbiome damage during antibiotic use, provides tips for fostering and preserving a healthy gut, and much more.

We discuss:

  • Colleen’s background and current focus [4:45];
  • The basics of the microbiome [7:15];
  • The study of the human microbiome [15:15];
  • Categories of bacteria, and the implications on health of the rapid evolution of bacteria [19:45];
  • Methods for measuring and understanding the microbiome, and key indicators of microbiome health [28:30];
  • The important role of fiber for promoting gut health through the production of butyrate [38:30];
  • The case for manipulating gut bacteria via fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) [45:00];
  • Dynamics of the microbiome: the gut-brain connection and how antibiotics, nutrition, stress, and more impact the microbiome's diversity and function [50:15];
  • Factors that influence the vaginal microbiome [55:15];
  • The effect of gut microbes on obesity and challenges with fecal transplants in people [58:45];
  • Beneficial strains of gut bacteria and strains commonly found in probiotics [1:01:15];
  • The difference between a probiotic and prebiotic, and how CFUs are a measure of the “active ingredient” [1:09:45];
  • Considerations about how probiotic strains are produced, and more on the meaning of CFU [1:14:15];
  • Mitigating the effect of antibiotics on the microbiome [1:22:30];
  • What do we know about the effect of artificial sweeteners on the gut microbiome? [1:30:00];
  • Why Akkermansia is a keystone strain with implications for metabolic health and an individual’s response to dietary interventions [1:36:15];
  • The essential steps necessary to develop a robust probiotic for optimal health support [1:45:45];
  • How Akkermansia helps control blood glucose, and potential implications of Akkermansia in weight loss, diabetes management, and more [1:48:45];
  • Pendulum Therapeutics’ commitment to rigorous product develop [2:06:30];
  • Details about the probiotic “Glucose Control” and other probiotics developed by Pendulum Therapeutics [2:13:00];
  • Further studies of Akkermansia that have been proposed or are underway [2:20:30]; and
  • More.

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The Peter Attia Drive
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