Why I started ThinkBiome
I have been an asthma sufferer since I was three years old, and over the ensuing 30+ years I have developed an increasing number of allergies. This has worsened to the point that I have to take 4 or 5 different medications per day to be able to breathe. I am the poster child of modern immune disease. It’s miserable, and I know I’m not alone. At the same time I am a research scientist, trained in genetics, molecular and cellular biology. Buoyed by a desire to understand the underlying faults and mechanisms driving the development of immune-mediated diseases, I have been fortunate enough to spend the last 7 years studying the relationship between humans and bacteria in the context of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) at one of the worlds premiere research institutions.
There are a number of conclusions that my time in this field has led me to:
- There are a number of genetic mutations that are associated with increased risk of developing IBD.
- Genetics alone do not account for all of this risk; an environmental trigger is also required.
- Some of the genetic risk factors associated with IBD are shared between multiple immune-mediated diseases including diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
But the thing that stands out the most to me, my Eureka! moment if you will, is that the composition of the microbes in the colon of people with a myriad of these problems is different to that of healthy people.
Every time I attend a conference I see more and more data from research in animal models and from patients that reinforces this point. Researchers are finding that altering the composition of the microbiome is relatively simple and can have dramatic effects on health. Doctors around the world are transplanting the feces of healthy people into IBD patients in order to change their microbiota and relieve their symptoms. This works. It doesn’t work 100% for everybody, but it does work. Unfortunately this is considered a last resort treatment and the FDA doesn’t know how to regulate it. It is also only used to treat severe IBD. I’m not going to be able to convince my doctor to give me a fecal transplant for asthma. But, that doesn’t matter. Why? Well it turns out that the gut microbiota is highly plastic, it can be changed rapidly (within a day!) simply by changing diet. It turns out that fiber is the key.
That is why I started ThinkBiome. By making simple little changes to our diet and lifestyles we may be able to set right the damage done by modern living. I wanted to create a community. A place for people to share, discuss and understand the implications of cutting edge research into the human microbiome. Finally, to provide the best-in-class nutritional supplements for optimal digestive health. Supplements designed around the latest, greatest research into supporting a healthy, balanced gut microbiome.
Come and join us at ThinkBiome.com
Lets learn, share and grow together.
Be good to your gut!
Robert Heath Ph.D.
CEO ThinkBiome LLC.