Your gut is an astonishingly clever piece of engineering (lined with more brain cells than the skull of a cat!). It is home to an army of microbes that control your mood, metabolism, weight and immune system. In his book Dr Mosley reveals how junk food and overuse of antibiotics have wiped out many “good” gut bacteria, leading to a modern plague of allergies, food intolerances and obesity. From prebiotics to probiotics, fermented foods to fasting, he explains what you can do to improve the diversity of your microbiome so that it works for you rather than against you.
If you'd like to ask him about anything on this subject simply add your questions to this thread before midday on Tuesday 6 June.
Hello, Dr M! I have enjoyed your TV programmes. Someone else has asked you to define junk food and I would like an answer to that, too, please. I have not eaten meat for years and years but occasionally eat quorn products, which are very tasty. My question is, does quorn in the prepared forms we can buy at the supermarket count as junk food?
I have had IBS for years, but now it's become more frequent, I hardly dare leave the house for any length of time, a day out is impossible, I have to plot all the loos! I take Imodium by the handful! Help please.
I'm very sorry to hear that. IBS is incredibly common, particularly in women. In the Clever Guts Diet I describe a two stage process, called "Remove and Repair", which has been shown to help IBS sufferers. It involves removing certain foods from your diet for a period of time, giving your gut time to repair, before reintroducing some of those foods, along with certain gut friendly foods. There are also certain probiotics that may help. The book and the website, cleverguts.com, contain more information.
I used to get urgent diarrhoea but started taking soya milk and that has helped, but I still get terrible wind that goes on all day,for days. My stomach bloats. I'm always tired. My face has got spotty and rashy. My whole body aches. I want to know if probiotics would help. I've suffered for years. Age 52
A similar answer to the question above. It looks like you need to repair your gut before you start adding in more bacteria (ie probiotics).
I have been taking omaprozole daily for many years following a stomach ulcer. I get very vivid dreams at night and wonder if this a side effect. Also been told another side effect could be to make bones more brittle and breakable. Any truth in either of those and are there side effects from daily long term use?
Have you been screened for helicobacter pylori? If you are currently infected by this organism you should see if you can eradicate it as that is likely to improve your symptoms.
I had a first-time attack of diverticulitis last year, possibly caused by severe stress at the time, but have started making fermented veggies and making whey from organic goat's milk and drinking it three times a day. What's your opinion on whey?
I am a fan of fermented foods and I think if you are making the whey yourself then it is likely to contain lots of "good" bacteria. I am less convinced of the benefits of whey which comes in big plastic tubs, as it is highly processed.
I suffer from heartburn and take Omprozole every night. This controls the symptoms very well. About two years ago I had a scan and was told I have a fatty liver. I have been given no advice from my GP about this. Can I do anything to help myself?
I'm sorry to hear that. One of the main causes of heartburn and fatty liver is carrying a bit too much weight around the middle. It is called visceral fat and is much, much worse for you than having fat around the hips or upper body. I wrote a book, The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet (there is also an accompanying recipe book by GP Dr Clare Bailey), based on the work of Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University. Immodestly, I believe this is the best rapid weight loss diet out there (in clinical trials patients saw an average weight loss of 14kg in 8 weeks) and Professor Taylor has shown that people doing it rapidly drains the fat, not only from their stomachs, but from their liver. Typically it goes down from 38% to 3% in 8 weeks.
I am very interested in the fact that the state of our gut makes it easier or harder for us to lose weight. It makes total sense and alongside other factors may explain why it is so much harder for some than others. I find it very difficult to shift extra pounds and so would love to know how I can tell whether what's going on in my gut is part of the cause and if so what I can do about it
We know that people who are overweight have a different mix of microbes in their gut compared to those who are slim. They not only have a different mix but also a reduced range. My Clever Guts diet is all about what those microbes do and the best ways to ensure that you have a healthy mix. This includes feeding them with the right sorts of foods (a Mediterranean style diet, with fermented foods as well), plus the right sort of exercise and maybe a bit of intermittent fasting (cutting down on the snacks and going a bit longer overnight without food). As the creator of the 5:2 diet I am naturally very interested in intermittent fasting.
My question follows on from the one about weightloss. I assume that what is good for one gut isn't necessarily good for another so how do we programme our own guts to optimise being able to lose weight?
You can send your faeces off to be analysed but I don’t think it is going to make a lot of difference in the long run. The main thing is to follow the advice in my book, which in turn is based on lots of conversations with leading scientists, including Nobel Prize winners.
when I was growing up no one seemed to have allergies and now they are so common. is there a reason for this? and is there anything that can be done? My 7 year old granddaughter has a type 2 (gastro intestinal) allergy that is very acute - at first she was told to take tiny amounts of the substances she was allergic to (wheat and tomatoes) in order for her body to learn to tolerate them but when she continued to be unwell they told her to avoid them altogether and this has been helpful. But is she destined to be like this forever? Might she grow out of them? And would changing the microbes in her gut make any difference? She eats a healthy balanced diet and takes a probiotic every morning
That is tough. There is strong evidence of a link between gut bacteria and an overactive immune system. It sounds as if you are doing the right things, but she might also benefit from fermented foods in her diet. As for probiotics, there are lots out there but very few have been shown to be effective. I list the ones that are in my book.
For anyone in the Manchester area on Monday 19th June 2017, I have just added a FREE Core event on What's On. It is all about gut health, led by professors with sessions on IBS, the microbiome and a patient's perspective. 5-7pm, Manchester Central Convention Complex.