Josh Dech
Healthy Gut Biome

Our gut has a huge impact on our health. By nurturing and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, you can impact and improve everything from brain function to physical health.

Josh Dech
Listen Now
Show Notes

Josh Dech, a holistic nutritionist specializing in gut health, initially embarked on his career journey as a paramedic in rural Newfoundland. His early experiences exposed him to the shortcomings of reactive medical practices, often treating the same patients repeatedly without achieving real health improvements. This realization spurred his transition from emergency care to a more proactive approach to health.

Seeking to make a deeper impact, Josh pursued personal training, where he discovered his passion for holistic wellness. His success stories in fitness, particularly with clients overcoming significant health challenges through dietary and lifestyle changes, solidified his interest in the interconnectedness of the human body’s systems. This interest led him to further his education in holistic nutrition, focusing on how gut health profoundly affects overall well-being.

Josh emphasizes the importance of understanding the gut’s role not only in digestion but also as a pivotal element of immune function and mental health. Through his podcast, “Reversible: The Ultimate Gut Health Podcast,” Josh explores the dynamic relationship between our environment, our food, and our internal health, providing actionable insights for achieving and maintaining optimal gut health.

“93% of the leading causes of death, as per the CDC, are in some way related to your gut.”

– Josh Dech 

Key Takeaways:

  • The Critical Role of Gut Health: Gut health is pivotal for overall well-being, influencing everything from mental health to immune function, and is central to managing physical and psychological conditions effectively.
  • Role of Inflammation: Inflammation acts as both a protective and a harmful physiological process within the body, and its dual role in both helping the body heal and potentially leading to chronic health issues when uncontrolled.
  • Gut Bacteria and Mental Health: Gut bacteria and mental health are connected. Imbalances in gut microbiota can affect mental health conditions like anxiety and depression due to neurotransmitter interactions.
  • The Impact of Lifestyle on Gut Health: Your lifestyle choices impact your gut health. Diet, exercise, and exposure to different environments, can support or hinder gut microbiome balance. 
  • Understanding Beneficial Bacteria: Probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics have different roles and impacts in maintaining a balanced gut ecosystem. It’s important to foster beneficial bacterial activities for health.

Sponsors and Promotions:


To experience the ultimate blend of style, comfort, and performance in your denim, head to shopduer.com/DIVINE and get 20% off sitewide on DUER’s revolutionary stretch jeans and apparel.


Unlock your metabolic potential with Lumen, the world’s first handheld metabolic coach; visit lumen.me and use code DIVINE to get $100 off. Start optimizing your health today

SealFit ElectroGreens:

Fuel your body and conquer your limits with SealFit ElectroGreens – a USDA organic superfood packed with over 25 organic fruits, vegetables, and electrolytes. Head to Amazon, search for “SealFit ElectroGreens,” and use code SEALGREENS25 at checkout for 25% off your order. 

Links for Josh Dech: 





[00:00:00] Mark Divine: Coming up on the Mark Divine show, 

[00:00:03] Josh Dech: 70 to 90 percent of your immune system actually resides in your gut. It’s where your immune cells grow and develop and matures and circulates. If you look at your small intestine, it’s only one cell. Between things traveling between your intestine to your bloodstream, your lymphatic system, to cells in your large intestine.

[00:00:22] Josh Dech: So if you have anything in that it’s inflamed, you get these leaks; these gaps. Things pass through and circulate around the superhighway, which is your bloodstream, causing issues, inflammation and affecting other areas. So to say your gut’s connected to everything is absolutely no stretch. I argue our gut bacteria are more important than our DNA.

[00:00:44] Mark Divine: Welcome to the Mark Divine Show. I’m your host, Mark Divine. Thanks so much for joining me today. Super stoked to have you here. On the show, I explore what it means to be fearless through the lens of the world’s most inspirational, compassionate, and courageous leaders. I speak to folks from all walks of life, martial arts, grandmasters, CEOs, Navy SEALs, and folks on the cutting edge of holistic health, such as my guest today, Josh Dech. We’re gonna be talking about how the gut is connected to all things in your life. Your mood, your sleep, your energy focus, your mental health, your physical performance, and more. Josh is a former paramedic. He’s a holistic nutritionist. He’s a lecturer on the gut and a specialist whose progressive work in the field of inflammatory bowel diseases has connected him with some of the world’s leading doctors and researchers, and his mission is to help the world understand how the gut is integral to every aspect of our bodies, minds, and daily lives.

[00:01:36] Mark Divine: Super stoked to have Josh on the Mark Divine show. Thanks for joining me, Josh. Before I get into the show, I wanted you to know that I’m opening up slots for our Unbeatable Coach Certification and our Unbeatable Team for 2024. The Unbeatable Team is an amazing year of transformational training. It’s where I direct my full attention and time in coaching and training. I don’t do it anywhere else. It’s here in the Unbeatable Team that I can give my full attention to help. Those deeply committed to transforming to become uncommon in a world that, is rapidly collapsing into fear, moral relativism, and mediocrity. We meet virtually every month as a team, come together four times during the year for three days of powerful in person training and practice, and I’m here to help you break through any barriers and to crush all of your goals for 2024.

[00:02:21] Mark Divine: So if you’re ready to go deep with me and willing to do the work, I can guarantee amazing strides will be made. Go to unbeatableteam.com and unbeatablecoaching.com to learn more about these unbeatable events. Now, back to the show.

[00:02:39] Mark Divine: Give us a little bit about what’s your origin story. What shaped you as a young individual? Who were your mentors? What were your parents like? Why did you end up going down the road that you went, as a first responder and then getting really into the medical path and working with gut health and everything. Let’s not take all of that in one chunk. Give me some stopping points to ask so I can ask some questions and probe a little bit deeper. 

[00:03:03] Josh Dech: Sure. I like the origin story. I think if I was like a supervillain, it’d be a much more fun story. But this one’s all right. You can embellish it.

[00:03:09] Mark Divine: Everyone else does. 

[00:03:11] Josh Dech: yeah. I’ll just leave the serial killing and body locations. I’ll leave that aside. Yeah. We’ll talk about that separately. It’s interesting, so I used to be a paramedic, like you said, and I realized that very quickly it was sick-care, not healthcare. I worked in rural Newfoundland and it was a small community about an hour and a half drive from the hospital.

[00:03:28] Josh Dech: I’d see people all the time, same patients every other week for the same conditions. We pick them up, we take them to the hospital, and the doctors would give them more of the same drug or they change their drugs and send them home. A couple of weeks later, we’d pick them up until one day they just stopped calling because they’re dead. And so it wasn’t what I wanted to do. 

[00:03:46] Mark Divine: Let me pin that. So like in America, are these the individuals who either didn’t have insurance or had just learned to rely on the first response for their full-on medical care to go to the emergency rooms? 

[00:03:58] Josh Dech: I was just leading to that exact sentence that I found I became a glorified taxi for the general public. 

[00:04:04] Mark Divine: Okay. 

[00:04:04] Josh Dech: And we pick them up and take them in. And a lot of them just wanted a ride to the hospital because it was covered by the government or whatever it was because it got them into town. They could do their thing and, get a taxi back. So that’s exactly what it was you would be shocked. 

[00:04:19] Mark Divine: Did you ever have anyone try to take an ambulance back home? 

[00:04:21] Josh Dech: Yes. I’ve been asked all the time, like you guys are going back that way anyway, can I just hop in the back? No, you cannot. It’s just, oh yeah, there is an immense amount of abuse of the medical and ambulance system.

[00:04:35] Josh Dech: You’d be shocked to ask any paramedic, I guarantee they’ll have stories for you. So you know, it was this glorified taxi and through a chain of what I’ll call happy accidents. I ended up getting into personal training, in my early twenties and I loved it. I know when I started out, one of my first clients that came to see me, one of my biggest success stories still to date in that fitness world. Her name was Lynch, she was 57, she had 17 pills and insulin for breakfast, nine pills, and insulin before bed, high blood pressure.

[00:05:04] Josh Dech:  She had a CPAP machine, she was on disability on her work list. She was 57 when we started by age 59, she was off all but two medications, which were due to a surgery. And she ended up breaking her first world record in the raw powerlifting division as a weightlifter. It was incredible. Yeah. It’s to this day, over a decade later, one of my favorite stories. 

[00:05:25] Mark Divine: Was she athletic coming into the coaching relationship or did you go from zero to hero? What’s the opposite of athletic? Nonathletic? 

[00:05:33] Josh Dech: I was looking for an embellishing word, like we talked about, but very nonathletic.

[00:05:37] Josh Dech: If you’re going to take the athletic prowess of an orangutan, you compare it – I say this with all love because she’s amazing – but compared to a walrus, that was the ability I would say from where she started to where she was, but she’s an incredible woman who’s done so great. She kept breaking world records till she was 61, 62 when she retired.

[00:05:56] Josh Dech: And it’s just amazing to see that trickle down. And that really hooked me on the ability for the human body to then heal itself to see what it can really do and its potential. And so one thing led to another. And I went to more conferences, I heard somebody speaking about the gut. I was immediately just taken back by its potential and its power, went back to school, became a holistic nutritionist, and I fell into what I’m doing now in gut disease.

[00:06:20] Mark Divine: Oh, that’s pretty cool. Like back to your training days, what were you doing that was different than other trainers that was able to have such an immediate or quick impact on this woman and some of the other clients you work with? 

[00:06:32] Josh Dech: That’s such a good question. I’ll tell you this, the fitness industry, most people don’t know this, but it’s incredibly oversaturated and anybody can become a personal trainer. It cost about 200 bucks to get an actual license, takes you a weekend course, and you’re effectively a day or two ahead of your average client who’s, looked around Instagram for fitness inspiration.

[00:06:51] Josh Dech: And so there’s really not much to it unless you’re in Australia. The accreditation process is really embarrassing. And so the only difference was a love for and a passion for watching people get healthy in whatever way that was and actually spending my time, my free time, my downtime, my leisure time was actually spent enjoying courses or going to seminars or going to weekend events and learning from other coaches and trainers who had already been ahead of me.

[00:07:14] Josh Dech: And that’s what was different was just learning and being open minded. In many cases, in any field of expertise, we can often find ourselves getting stuck in an echo chamber. We surround ourselves with people who are just as smart as us. I want to be the dumbest one in the room. And so you always get to learn something. And if we surround ourselves with people who already say the things we already know, you never learn. My entire goal from early on was just to shut up, speak less and listen more. And it’s been the greatest decision of my life. 

[00:07:41] Mark Divine: I love that. It’s going through my mind right now. I was like, the only time that doesn’t work is when you’re with another person who’s trying to be the dumbest person in the room.

[00:07:50] Josh Dech: That’s true. Hey, you got anything to say? No, I’m waiting for you to say something. By the time you’re both done, you’re both speaking through soft puppets, hoping the other has something good to say. 

[00:08:00] Mark Divine: So again, back to… You learned about the importance of the gut through kind of your conferences or whatnot, but what was the evidence that you gleaned on the client side that led you to reinforce your decision to go deep into that area? Into gut health. 

[00:08:17] Josh Dech: So when I got to the personal training space after Lynn, after these great successes she had, breaking world records, I was really into strongman. I was into powerlifting. I did a lot of that myself. And the deeper I got into the industry, the more clients started coming to see me for various things.

[00:08:30] Josh Dech: And they have just happened to have other health conditions because when somebody is sick or they’re overweight or they’re inactive, they’re going to have other medical issues, be it now or eventually. And so I saw people all the time coming in with anxiety, depression, asthma, psoriasis, whatever it was.

[00:08:45] Josh Dech: And in general, we started addressing basic health, basic fitness. With just one thing that happened to be at the center, I’m not a systems guy, but I’m an observation bird’s eye view. And so I noticed very quickly all the moving parts like to make little spreadsheets and circle things on my paper and I’ll mark they had this issue with that problem.

[00:09:04] Josh Dech: But the one common denominator and overlap in all these papers was always the gut improving. Now, whether it was a happy accident or intentional, it came back to the gut. And so I always had this seed planted until I went to this conference and started talking about the gut and its power. But I had people coming in, like I said, anxiety, depression, diabetes, memory issues, ADHD.

[00:09:24] Josh Dech: I had ADHD myself. I was diagnosed with moderate to severe. I was actually medicated for that, which again, caused a whack of other issues, suicidal thoughts. It was just, it was like pharmaceutical-grade crystal meth. It was just terrible. But as things started to develop, it always came back to the common denominator of the gut. And so I was just absolutely entrenched right from the beginning.

[00:09:44] Mark Divine: So little understood still. That’s why I’m excited to get into, the sciencey stuff. I think I’ve only had a couple of conversations with gut/biome kind of professionals. One of them was with the founder of Viome, the company is proposing to test your biome and recommend, supplementation or dietary modifications, to optimize it.

[00:10:04] Mark Divine: And that was a little bit beyond my pay grade to try to understand. And then I really couldn’t figure out that to me, the biome seemed like it could literally be changing almost every day. So how are you going to manage something like that? I don’t know. Is it inflammation or what is it that could possibly be causing all these different or be related to all these different seemingly unrelated diseases or imbalances?

[00:10:30] Mark Divine: You talked about a mental and cognitive imbalance of ADD or ADHD and then all these other things which seems to be completely unrelated. How are they related to the gut? 

[00:10:38] Josh Dech: Just to establish how dramatic this statement actually is, I mean it like we look at 14 of the leading causes of death as per the CDC, that’s 93%. Those are in some way related to your gut, whether your gut’s responsible for these conditions or has a large player in it. So if we look at leading causes of death like heart disease, cancer, strokes, respiratory issues, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, kidney, liver disease, Parkinson’s, all these different things, blood pressure, all comes back to the gut in some way, shape, or form, and the gut has a role to play.

[00:11:07] Josh Dech: At the most basic level, you are what you break down, digest, and absorb, right? The old adage, guys make fun of each other, you are what you eat, but it really is what you break down, digest, and absorb. And if you have inflammation, be it for any reason whatsoever, eating things you shouldn’t be, Maybe you have gut bacterial imbalances and these bacteria produce toxins, which leads to inflammation.

[00:11:27] Josh Dech: Whatever it is, it’s no different, functionally speaking, than having a sprained ankle. I’m sure in all your years of training, you’ve messed up your ankle, had to run on it. I know in your book, Unbeatable Mind, you actually talk about one of the sergeants who got his honors from training, breaking his leg, and finishing out the race or finishing out his training.

[00:11:44]  Josh Dech: And so imagine how compromised you are with a broken bone. You’re not ambulatory. And so the same instance, if you have this high level of inflammation inside your gut, you can’t digest, break down, and absorb appropriately as well as you should. 

[00:11:57] Mark Divine: Okay, hang on. Let’s pin that. Explain what inflammation is to the layperson.

[00:12:01] Josh Dech: So inflammation is exactly what you’d expect it to be. Picture arthritis, right? It just means inflammation. Arthro is joint, so it’s joint inflammation. If you have acne, that’s a sign of inflammation. Anything that’s red, hot, swollen, painful to the touch, compromised, spraining an ankle, that swelling is all inflammation. So it’s an injury. It’s an injury. But inflammation is actually a good thing. So it’s not the injury itself. The injury injures the tissue and your body triggers an immune response, which actually dilates your blood vessels to bring increased blood flow. Okay. Increase nutrients, all these good things to repair the tissue as quickly as it can, but it’s a heightened tissue, or that heightened pressure response from dilation or from increased blood cell activity that actually sensitizes the nerves bleeding to pain, which it’s a byproduct of the inflammatory processes.

[00:12:50] Josh Dech: But as a second, it’s also a nice signal back to your brain and be like, Hey man, that leg is broken. Walk on it. So it gives you a chance to actually recover. And so a lot of that same stuff happens inside the gut when you become inflamed. It doesn’t get used properly. You can’t break down, digest, absorb properly. And it’s also a sign to say, Hey, slow down. We just need some time to repair. It’s that chronic inflammation that’s nonstop, longstanding. That wreaks havoc and creates issues that, almost every disease under the sun we can connect back to the gut. 

[00:13:20] Mark Divine: And so that imbalance, which leads to inflammation, generally caused through dietary and environmental shocks, right?

[00:13:28] Yeah. And that could be acute or it could be chronic. 

[00:13:30] Josh Dech: You nailed it. And that is the two ways things develop really in the digestive system. It’s acute, like you said, whether that’s to the gut bacteria, I’d love to get into gut bacteria and talk about the importance and how vast they are. 

[00:13:42] Mark Divine: Like traveling could be an acute, like if you travel to, like I went to Egypt, I came back, we had the normal kind of situations going on in the bowels and whatnot. So that’s like an acute shock when you go to a radically different culture and. Your biome is getting invaded with all those bugs. Totally. 

[00:13:57] Josh Dech: . Totally. Or antibiotic use or surgery or psychological trauma, PTSD, those heightened stress responses actually wreak havoc on your gut as well. So anything acute or it’s long term where you spent a lifetime drinking, eating fast food, junk food, sugar, processed foods. Your diet’s been really imbalanced. You have a long history of taking antibiotics once a year for the last 20 years. This is that long term wear and tear. It’d be like, Going for a run in a brand new pair of boots without wearing socks, right? It wears a heel down until it blisters and it bleeds. We see the same thing starting to develop inside the gut.

[00:14:29] Mark Divine: Is that where autoimmune disorders arise from that chronic imbalance in the gut? 

[00:14:34] Josh Dech: So it’s interesting. There’s a lot of really great doctors, functional medicine specialists, like Dr. Amy Myers has a book called The Autoimmune Solution. And in there she says that you’d be hard pressed to find a single person with any autoimmune condition, whether it’s lupus or MS or whatever it is, who doesn’t have some kind of tie in to gut health or gut imbalances.

[00:14:53] Josh Dech: And so it’s remarkably connected. 70 to 90 percent, depends on what studies you ask, 70 to 90 percent of your immune system actually resides in your gut. It’s where your immune cells grow and develop and mature and circulate. If you look at your small intestine, it’s only one cell between things traveling between your intestine to your bloodstream, your lymphatic system, two cells in your large intestine. So if you have anything in that it’s inflamed, you get these leaks, these gaps, things pass through circulate around the superhighway, which is your bloodstream causing issues, inflammation and affecting other areas. So to say your gut’s connected to everything is absolutely no stretch. I argue our gut bacteria are more important than our DNA.

[00:15:34] Mark Divine: This is probably not something that we can really go deep on, but there has been some kind of suggestion that a good chunk of your subconscious behavior is driven through the biome and through the gut’s programming or whatever, interacting with the environment, and you might call that intuition or I’ve always thought the gut, at an instinctual level was a beautiful source of information if you’ve learned how to listen to it.

[00:15:57] Mark Divine: I had some profound experiences in the seals, which I know were driven by that biome’s desire to survive when my head was too slow to, to recognize the danger. 

[00:16:07] Josh Dech: It’s really interesting you bring that up because there is a science to it. There are actual neurons. We have your central nervous system. Your central nervous system is your brain and spinal cord. And so that’s where all your signals transmit from and your peripheral will be basically everything else. But we also have what we have is called your enteric nervous system, which is inside your gut. So if you think about the rate things process, your conscious mind process about 2000 bits of information per second.

[00:16:32] Josh Dech: So it’s like real time when you look and think and analyze. But the subconscious mind, right? That’s a part of your brain. You’re talking about here, making decisions almost instinctively. Without any real thought process is about 400 billion bits per second. So if you’re to break that down in comparison of 200 or 2000 to 400 billion, it’s like the difference between a hundred miles an hour and a hundred thousand miles an hour.

[00:16:53] Josh Dech: So it’s like your conscious mind is a three-legged turf just trying to crawl on land and your subconscious of the Millennium Falcon jumping to hyperspace . And so if we look at the density of neurons, look at what’s in your gut, right? In your brain. It’s tightly packed a supercomputer. There are.

[00:17:09] Josh Dech: Something like 30 to 60 billion hours worth of TB can be compressed inside of your brain, inside all those neurons. And there’s billions and billions of neurons in your brain. It is something like 200 to 400 million neurons in your gut. Where are they, by the way? All tied in everywhere. They’re just all throughout the intestines? They’re all weaved in and woven. If you look at what’s called, if you’re familiar, of course, you’ve done a lot of work through your own breathwork and training with the vagus nerve, right? It’s one of the 12 cranial nerves that actually innervates like your heart and your lungs, your intestines, your everything.

[00:17:40] Josh Dech: And that’s this big, thick, you can actually pluck it like a guitar string. If you were to cut someone open, it’s very thick. But as it comes down, these branches branch out to little dendrites. They have these little fingers that reach around and wrap all through your intestines. And it’s so deeply woven. It’s one of the reasons in medicine having digestive pain or abdominal pain is one of the hardest things to [00:18:00] diagnose because it could be coming really from anywhere, referring out to anywhere. Like one of the textbooks of a gallbladder issue is pain in your shoulder blades. 

[00:18:07] Mark Divine: That’s interesting. So you just really helped me because I was imagining like these neurons like independently growing within the intestine, but they’re actually part of that vagus nerve and that enteric nervous system which wrap around and interpenetrate the intestines. They are interacting with the gut bacteria at some level. With everything. Yeah. Oh, it’s remarkable, you’re gut bacteria. You have about 100 trillion of them. It’s 98 percent of our genetic makeup is in our gut, right? Or something like that. I read somewhere. 

[00:18:37] Josh Dech: Yeah, you’re on the right track. So our gut bacteria outnumber our own cells 10 to one. I’ll take a look at the stat you’re quoting, but if we look, for example, at the genes in the human genome, there’s 23, 000 genes in the human genome. There’s 3 million genes inside your gut. So you have 130 times more genetic material inside your gut bacteria. Insane. It’s bizarre. And so We talk about how they interact.

[00:18:59] Josh Dech: They produce vitamins and they help digest food and break things down and balance hormones. They produce neurotransmitters. 90 percent of your neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin, GABA, these things are all made inside your gut. And so it’s no wonder people with gut issues have mental health issues.

[00:19:14] Josh Dech: You get leaks and things that get to the bloodstream, which cross the blood brain barrier. And you’re lacking proper neurotransmitters so your nerves and your nervous system, your brain don’t fire properly, you end up with all these crazy imbalances and stuff just goes haywire, which it hits the fan and people just get sicker and sicker.

[00:19:30] Josh Dech: Now you have anxiety, which increases stress, which messes up your gut even more. And now that messed up gut precipitates anxiety and now you have this, perpetual energy machine. 

[00:19:40] Mark Divine: Okay. So how would I know, let’s just speak in the first person here, if I had a gut issue, something not going well. A lot of people aren’t great at self self diagnosing mental, imbalances or they’re going to point to everything else besides the gut. So how would I know? What are some of the symptoms, especially hopefully early symptoms that would tell me I’ve got a problem? 

[00:20:01] Josh Dech: There are two ways we look at the gut. There’s symptomatic gut issues and asymptomatic gut issues. And so symptomatic, the ones who get gut issues are lucky. Because you can identify quickly, you’re gassy, you’re bloated, you’re not having one or two easy fully formed normal bowel movements a day.

[00:20:17] Josh Dech: If you have acid reflux, if you’re burping, you’re really gassy and it’s really smelly, that typically indicates imbalances in gut bacteria as well. So those are your symptomatic gut issues, like a straight digestive problem. So when you eat something or you get nervous or you get anxious, it goes right to your gut, things run right through you.

[00:20:32] Josh Dech: That’s a digestive or symptomatic digestive problem, asymptomatic digestive problem. So people deal with gut issues not circulated or not surrounded to the gut. So they come in and you’ve got skin issues, you’ve got acne, you’ve got psoriasis, you’ve got irritability, you’ve got anxiety, you’ve got insomnia. Any of these things can be connected back to the gut. Somebody with fatty liver disease is probably dealing with a gut issue in some way, shape or form. Because there’s definitely obviously a tie in there being digestive organs. It’s really interesting to ask how does somebody know? Unless you have gut issues directly where you feel it in your digestive system, you probably don’t know until you speak to a gut specialist or a functional medicine practitioner of some kind who can draw that line for you.

[00:21:12] Mark Divine: Okay, so you just softballed the next question. If I were to come for you, I’d say, Hey, Josh, I don’t know this to be sure true, but I listened to this podcast and this divine guy was saying that I should go get my gut checked out. So what do I do? 

[00:21:26] Josh Dech: So it’s really tough because obviously there’s a gut issue directly.

[00:21:30] Josh Dech: We can look at that and say, okay, how do we patch it? Where’s it coming from? We always have to go to the root. And so there will be a time, probably the next 20 years when AI replaces half my job. It’s on the track right now where people are piecing things together. When it’s such a vast amount of knowledge and information to pull in, it’s really hard to say.

[00:21:46] Josh Dech: So if someone comes to me with very obvious digestive issues, acid reflux, gas flow, like really basic stuff, which 72 percent of Americans complain of having some kind of minor gut issue like this at least once a week. And we know the gut is an open doorway to other diseases. Number one, if someone comes in with an obvious gut issue, we can just look at basic stuff like diet and lifestyle that has to be assessed.

[00:22:07]  Josh Dech: It’d be very difficult for somebody who doesn’t have a basic knowledge of digestive system and functional medicine to assess their own gut health. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult. And even if you go to your doctor, you have acid reflux. In my practice, I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of cases of acid reflux.

[00:22:24] Josh Dech: The number one cause of acid reflux is actually low stomach acid, not high stomach acid. What the doctors do is they give them antacids and so we’re further suppressing the stomach acid which creates a bigger problem or precipitates the issue but instead we want to be increasing it. So even going to your doctor to ask for fixing your gut issues isn’t usually the best option because their job is to assess your symptoms.

[00:22:47] Josh Dech: Give a word, a diagnosis as one word that the medical community across the board could look at and understand what’s going on. It’s all should have colitis. It’s gird. It’s whenever we can identify quickly. But with that [00:23:00] diagnosis comes a drug, but there is no drug on planet Earth. Unless it’s an antibiotic, of course, to deal with a bacterial infection, but there’s no drug on earth that actually heals a chronic inflammatory condition or disease process.

[00:23:13] Josh Dech: They don’t exist. They only exist to mask the symptoms. Any symptom you have is a byproduct of dysfunction. So if you’re lacking stomach acid on a very basic level, then you end up having acid reflux because you need both acidity and pressure, that fluid volume to keep that sphincter closed. And so if it’s opening up and flopping about, you’re going to get that reflux.

[00:23:34] Josh Dech: But the doctors go, acid reflux, kill acid. Bacterial issues, kill bacteria. We didn’t even recognize bacteria existed until about 1856. I don’t know if you know the story of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered hand washing. 

[00:23:48] Mark Divine: Yeah. He was ridiculed for a long time.

[00:23:49] Josh Dech: Horribly. People hated him. So it was 1856. We just learned that bacteria even exist. It wasn’t until late eighties, early nineties, we started understanding the vastness of the gut bacteria. And even today with the ability to assess, like you mentioned, stool samples and other things, we are just learning or scratching the surface on the gut. We talk about a hundred trillion different microbes individually living in the gut.

[00:24:15] Josh Dech: We can argue there are up to 20 million different variables of bacteria. One to two thousand species, seven to nine thousand strains, gives you about 18 to 20 million different bacteria. All this genetic material. Even on a GI map, which is a stool sample, to assess your gut bacteria, to dive in and look at individual genus and species.

[00:24:34] Josh Dech: Maybe we can see a hundred out of 20 million. So it really is a grain of sand on the beach. But even that is so extraordinarily actionable and what we can do. Like I specialize in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which is both considered autoimmune. There’s nothing we can do. Take the drugs and maybe we don’t cut out your colon.

[00:24:51] Josh Dech: Maybe we do. And we’re reversing cases left and center, previously thought to be impossible, by looking at this grain of sand on the beach. So imagine what we can do one day, 50 or 100 years down the road, when AI gets involved and we’re reading this bacteria on a different level, the power of what we can do and how we can actually aid human health. It’s going to be remarkable.

[00:25:15] Mark Divine: What would the perfect biome be? And is it the same for me or as it is for other people? Or does everyone have a unique kind of biome fingerprint or DNA print?

[00:25:34] Josh Dech: So it’s really interesting because you and I as total strangers. From across the globe, we share about 99, arguably 99. 9 percent of our DNA, right? That’s all of our genes and all of our DNA. If you were to break it down, I knew you seemed familiar to me, just a brother from another mother. But if we break down the gut bacteria, we have, we share about 20 to 30 percent of our DNA and our gut bacteria. Interesting. So it is so vastly different from person to person.

[00:26:02] Josh Dech: But you ask what makes a good bacteria, a good biome, it’s somebody on a perfect scale who was born vaginally, not c section, who is strictly breastfed, never bottle fed, and was raised in nature, on a farm, interacting with animals, traveling, eating different things, putting their fingers in their mouth, all these introductions. Diversity in other ways. Diversity, exactly, and all the ways we get it from birth to death. That makes a healthy bacteria. 

[00:26:26] Mark Divine: So I was under the impression that biomes were constantly like transforming, changing, that we know that cells in the body, they used to say that every seven years your cells have been completely, rejuvenated or transformed. I think they’ve moved up that timeline even. So I was under the impression that my biome today will be a completely different biome than it is next month at this time. 

[00:26:47] Josh Dech: Yes and no. So you’re going to have your staples, right? So between the ages of three to five is when your biome sort of sets like a fingerprint. Think of it like a new meadow. I describe it kind of seeds going in and small rodents and insects and bugs and animals coming in and germinating and growing, painting a kind of a gnarly picture of what’s happening down there.

[00:27:02] Mark Divine: Lots of things seeding, if you will. And then they replicate, right? So it’s not yes, you have to consume your biome. It’s actually they’re living and replicating, creating their own biosphere. 

[00:27:18] Josh Dech: So the species have made it their home and now they are growing and developing. And if you were to take this ecosystem like Yellowstone National Park, you could introduce new species to it. Some thrive, some die, some make it, some don’t, some contribute, and the ecosystem can be ever-evolving, but you will always have the staples that you develop from age 3 to 5.

[00:27:34] Mark Divine: Are there like predators down there? Are there like, is there like an apex species bacteria that like dominates, kills off some of the, the bacteria that might be more, tend to overpopulate. 

[00:27:45] Josh Dech: I look at it this way. Every bacterium, all 20 million varieties operates in harmony. No different than your neighborhood, right? There are police, there are workers, there are government officials, or all these different things that carry a certain amount of weight. But even the crackhead at the gas station contributes to the economy in some way. So even the ones that we don’t want, like E. coli, clostridium bacteria, clostridium difficile, or candida, these other ones, they actually in normal levels contribute that they do their own part.

[00:28:13] Josh Dech: It’s when they become overgrown. Imagine going to the grocery store and all they saw was crack, right? It’d be a pretty bad day and this neighborhood would fall apart. And we see that a lot in the gut bacteria, where it’s all about harmony, less so dominance, where everything does its job, and they kind of police themselves.

[00:28:29] Josh Dech: And the good news is that when other bacteria start to overgrow, there are bacteria specifically that bring them down. For somebody dealing with a condition like SIBO, it’s called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, there are different kinds of SIBO, but a common one is bacteria that produce methane gas.

[00:28:45] Josh Dech: So you can detect with a methane breath test. Certain lactobacillus reuteris, there are these specific strains, you can buy them in probiotics, they’re actually known for suppressing methate. Or certain, Saccharomyces is a great one for bringing down Candida. [00:29:00] There’s all kinds that do certain jobs and certain things. And so we can actually use bacteria to correct bacterial issues, which is very cool. 

[00:29:07] Mark Divine: So I can see how, let’s just take recently I had probably a gut issue, but I was mistaking it for an infection in my upper respiratory system that also got into my larynx. And so I, for the first time in my life, I had Awkwardly had laryngitis.

[00:29:23] Mark Divine: I don’t need to name it, but I couldn’t speak very loud. It’s pretty funny because I was actually on a phone call or a zoom call with a client that wanted to hire me for a big speaking engagement. And I’m like, they’re like, you don’t always sound like this, dude. 

[00:29:38] Josh Dech: I’m like, no, it’s funny. You mentioned that we actually had ourselves booked in you. And I thought a month ago we had to reschedule because that’s what it was.  

[00:29:48] Mark Divine: So at any rate. I couldn’t kick it. I was like, why is this? It lingered like for three weeks. So I finally broke down and took some antibiotics and I haven’t had antibiotics in 15 years. So what happened to my biome when I took those antibiotics? Did I kill off a good part of the forest? 

[00:30:04] Josh Dech: You may have. And so it’s really interesting because in my experience, there are a lot of studies suggesting this as well. The more diverse and the stronger the biome, the more it can handle. Where a newly seeded meadow, where we’re just starting to grow, you’re three years old, you’re a baby, you’re ingesting antibiotics and you didn’t get a good planting of microbes from the beginning, you’re going to be at a bit of a deficit.

[00:30:25] Josh Dech: And so any fire, brush fire flood that comes into that forest is going to wipe it out and you’re going to have a really hard time recovering. But the Amazon can burn down a couple years later, it’s building itself back up again. So that diversity, what you have, you can withstand antibiotic treatments more and more with the diversity, with the power, eating well, exercising, traveling, having that diversity really helps.

[00:30:46] Josh Dech: So to say exactly what had happened, the only way to know to as accurately as we could see would be to get a GI map, which would be a bacterial stool test. I’m going to be talking about the four and after antibiotic use. On the other hand, I got one done in January this year. [00:31:00] I actually had a sinus infection, fun fact from a root canal, 15 years ago that infected and caused a staph infection, climbed up to my third sinus in my forehead.

[00:31:07] Josh Dech: I had to go in and actually get surgery. And I am vehemently against antibiotics and my wife made me do it. So I didn’t take some and my gut biome, otherwise very healthy. I got a GI map back actually just last night and it looks as good or better than it did in January. That was in the summer I had those, so a couple of months back, so I was really able to withstand those antibiotics and that’s measured. And so to answer your question, probably not much. 

[00:31:33] Mark Divine: How long does it take for a biome to recover after an external shock like antibiotics or a major stressor? When the acute stuff, 

[00:31:41] Josh Dech: it depends on a lot of factors. You could argue it comes back within a couple of weeks at minimum, if not a couple of days. And the reason I say that if you look at how we culture probiotics, so a lot of my clients all have to make their own probiotics to order one bottle, but you can spend 50, 60, 80 on, I’ll have them actually culture induce at home. So it might be 5 billion today, could be 200 billion by the end of the week.

[00:32:02] Josh Dech: So they do culture very quickly. So if you feed your bacteria the right things, if you provide them with an environment where they can live and grow happily and, live their best life, then they can actually go back relatively quickly. It just depends on how quickly those antibiotics get out of your system.

[00:32:16] Mark Divine: You have to talk nicely to them.

[00:32:18] Josh Dech: have to sing lullabies and rub them, absolutely. You have to be very gentle. Probably doesn’t hurt, actually, now that I’m thinking of it. Hey, man, you talk about the self-talk and all that. I’m sure there’s something to it with your bacteria. I wonder, maybe they can hear you. I don’t know. 

[00:32:29] Mark Divine: So probiotics versus prebiotics, what’s the difference? Antibiotic is going to kill it. So pro is going to support it and bring life to it. But what does pre mean? What is that all about? 

[00:32:41] Josh Dech: So there’s actually three biotic words. We’ll learn here. So the first one is probiotic. Like you said, prebiotic and even postbiotic. I like in these two fish in a fish bowl. Your probiotics are the living things. They’re the fish, right? They’re the ones that swim around and do all the things. The prebiotics are the fish food. That’s what you feed your bacteria to help them grow and do what they do. Postbiotics are fish poop. That’s what your bacteria actually produce. I thought they just ate whatever we ate. They do. And which is why so they will eat whatever you eat, but they produce good things or bad things. So if you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria because you’re eating, we’ll say bad foods, you’re eating fried foods, processed foods, alcohol, sugar, things that you’re less than desirable bacteria actually liking, enjoying, can thrive with.

[00:33:23] Josh Dech: then the bad ones will start to grow. And so our good bacteria, they poop postbiotics, which are good things. They will poop out short chain fatty acids, which are great for inflammation in your immune system and gut lining and all kinds of stuff. They poop of vitamins like vitamin K and certain B vitamins that are produced by your bacteria. But if you’re consuming junk food and other things, You’re feeding the bad, they will poop bad things, they will poop endotoxins, which leak through the gut, get into your blood, get into your lymphatics, circulate around and wreak havoc on the body. And so prebiotics are food, probiotics are living organisms that do things, postbiotics are bacteria. You poop, so do your bacteria. 

[00:34:01] Mark Divine: So just randomly taking a prepo or pro or post biotic, you’re just like tossing, fish food in the ocean or, that’s a horrible metaphor, but I know what you’re saying. It doesn’t do anything, in other words, unless you just get lucky. What I’m hearing is you want to get that map or that kind of like snapshot of what’s working, and what’s not working. And then tailor your pre, pro, and post to rebalance, right? 

[00:34:24] Josh Dech: Let’s go with that ocean analogy, because I don’t think it’s actually as bad as you thought it was. Say there’s, you got a plot of ocean and there’s sharks and piranhas and all kinds of stuff in the water. And you’re trying to catch a sturgeon, you’re trying to catch a tuna, something you can actually eat, if there’s only one of those fish, one good fish amongst hundreds of thousands of other bad fish, you’re going to throw it in, the bad are going to eat that. And so if somebody comes in with an overgrowth of these bad bacteria, we feed a bunch of prebiotics like bacteria food, those dominant ones will eat first.

[00:34:52] Josh Dech: So we have to actually throw some dynamite in the water and start clearing the bad fish out. So you can then repopulate, add the good fish in to change that ecosystem. Then when you feed it, the good will consume first because they’re more plentiful. And so the aeonology wasn’t off at all. And so when we look at these ones, a lot of probiotics, unfortunately, don’t culture.

[00:35:12]  Josh Dech: So they don’t get into the system. They don’t grow. They’ll just pass through. Even if they’re dead in capsule, they still have a lot of good postbiotic or bacteria poop will say that can actually pass through and on their way through your body can use those postbiotics for good benefits. The challenge then is of course making sure your bowels isn’t packed and a lot of people against 72 percent of Americans on average complain of gut issues once a week. Gas, bloat, diarrhea, cramping, pain, acid reflux, constipation, whatever it is. And so for them to arbitrarily take probiotics or, prebiotics, you might be putting gasoline on the fire without actually recognizing it. And so this is where getting to a professional does help. But on the other hand, if you just work to eat more of an animal based diet, I’m a huge advocate for animal based.

[00:35:56] Josh Dech: I’m not against those either. That will, in general, start to, sharks prefer blood, they prefer meat, right? The other fish will eat whatever, they can eat kelp and they can eat seaweed and other things. So you can feed those good foods and eventually the other guys will go away and look for another pond. And so you can see that with their food. If you just generally change your diet, generally exercise, generally get out to nature and expose yourself. To animals and living things and people and travel, you can start to re inoculate shift either quickly or slowly the landscape of your microbiomes. 

[00:36:27] Mark Divine: Most of the people listening to this are living pretty healthy lives, but, we all, myself included, have certain things we’re like, yeah, I probably could do a little less of that. Let’s take some of the normal vices, so people maybe tend to eat too much red meat or drink too much wine or beer, or maybe they mostly quit smoking but, still like to have a cigarette every other day or when they’re feeling anxious. So can you tell what is going to happen to the biome if someone consumes too much alcohol or smokes too many cigarettes or eats too much red meat, that kind of thing?

[00:36:58] Josh Dech: Oh, we absolutely can. And so we know through all the studies we have available in this day and age, we know certain things due to the body. We know that, for example, smoking depletes a lot of your vitamin C. It depletes a lot of your B vitamins. It rips through all the things you need to have healthy tissues, healthy immune systems, all these vitamins and minerals. These are the fuel. We talked a lot about calories, right? Everybody in the fitness world goes through calories, eat less calories, lose weight. That’s not necessarily the case. We need vitamins and minerals. They are the oil in the machine. You can press that gas pedal as hard as you want, but it will burn out if it’s not lubricated or fueled properly.

[00:37:33] Josh Dech: And so when we’re dealing with, vitamins and minerals and these things that are made in the gut or that your gut needs, your nervous system needs to have a healthy gut flow and that peristalsis, that’s that movement of food through the digestive system. We need these vitamins and minerals and they’re depleted by certain actions.

[00:37:48] Josh Dech: We know that smoking depletes those. We know that drinking alcohol, for example, causes inflammation in these different areas. It actually, alcohol actually slows your digestive tract down. And so if you picture Henry Ford he got famous less so for the motor car, more so for the assembly line because everything functions just so imagine taking somebody out, slowing the assembly line down, and everybody’s still trying to do their job at the same pace. Where you get one guy and he just up and leaves his station, and now everything starts to pile up. We see that in the gut. Because he’s drunk on the job. Because he’s drunk off the job.

[00:38:20] Josh Dech: That’s right. And so these things pile up, and it’s not getting done as it should, and now we develop issues. And it’s very predictable. I’ll bring people in with health issues and it’s actually creepy to them how easily I can read their mail. They’ll come in and they’ll tell me about their gut issue and they had this problem growing up, blah, blah, blah.

[00:38:37] Josh Dech: And I fill in all the blanks. It’s okay. So you had this trauma or this event or this surgery, whatever it is, when you were 12 years old, by the time you were 14, you developed gut issues. They said, yep, it’s okay. So between 15 and 16, things got substantially worse. You had looser bowels, blah, blah, blah.

[00:38:50] Josh Dech: Yeah. Did you develop a skin issue, asthma or anxiety or depression? Oh, it’s actually two of those ones. And when that happened and we start building this timeline based on an A and a Z, we can fill in the blanks because it’s a very predictable breakdown process of systems that are all interconnected.

[00:39:06] Josh Dech: And so you could easily, as a mechanic, I could say, yeah, I haven’t treated my oil in three years. You go, okay, here’s how this happened. You sludge to this, to that, you burn that out, blah, blah, blah. Here’s where you’re at now. It’s the same thing in the body. There are nuances that will change that outcome, but it is a very predictable step by step outcome that we can easily track in nine out of ten people.

[00:39:25] Mark Divine: That’s pretty cool. You should put that into a book. I think people would love to be able to self diagnose their history and see what, how it’s affected their biome and see if they can unwind it. I’m working on it. I know that’s the work you do. So if you put it into a book, then you’d be out of 

[00:39:40] Josh Dech: My goal here. I do a lot of things for free. I got my programs because I specialize in Crohn’s and Colitis. That’s my specialty. There are a lot of other gut issues. I actually have free programs on my website for that reason. I just want people to be healthy. This is my job. This is my calling. This is what I believe I’m supposed to be doing on this earth. And so there are people who don’t need the specificity of what I offer on a professional level, but they need the knowledge I do have in the back of my brain. And so I do make a lot of that available for free and I am working on, have been for years writing a book. I just shopped it for the last three.

[00:40:11] Mark Divine: Yeah. Time to dust that off. What is your website? Where can people find that information? 

[00:40:16] Josh Dech: The best place to reach me is on reversiblepod. com. My podcast is Reversible, it’s spelled Reverse Able, the ultimate gut health podcast. And on reverseablepod.com, there’s all kinds of information there. There’s free stuff they can access, free programs. Of course, They want to learn more about the gut. It is a gut health podcast where we talk about, this is the interesting thing, like you and I talked about so far, Mark, it’s the things our guts connected to. It’s how our gut affects our world and how our world affects our gut, whether it’s food and farming and agriculture or stress and anxiety, if it’s illness and diseases, how it’s all connected.

[00:40:48] Josh Dech: We explore these from all different walks of life with some really amazing professionals and some very famous doctors. And it’s been a real blessing to be able to actually meet with them and talk to them and interact. It’s been cool. 

[00:40:58] Mark Divine: No, that is cool. So reverseablepod.com. Awesome. And do you have any social media where you connect with people or you interact with folks?

[00:41:07] Josh Dech: They can definitely  reach me at joshDech. health through Facebook and Instagram. Josh Dech is spelled DECH dot health. You got it. 


[00:41:25] Mark Divine: Josh, this has been a really fun conversation and very informative, and I want to follow up with you and probably good idea to get the old biome, divine biome checked out. See what’s going on down there. 

[00:41:26] Josh Dech: Amen. If there’s anything going on ever, it’s all connected. And truthfully, it’s been a really interesting conversation because I’m used to speaking on more like health specific, more medical based podcasts and to really dive into the depth. We’ve hardly scratched the surface.

[00:41:40] Mark Divine: And so it’s a very exciting conversation. I’m a huge nerd. I love this stuff. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing. And we start diving into how it works, where it comes from, what creates it, how we get it from birth, how All the way back to like how we share bacteria from the dinosaurs, like how your mom and your parents would have gotten it from there provided that explains a lot in my lineage, at least.

[00:42:02] Josh Dech: your forehead and brow aren’t that prominent, Mark. It’s a fascinating conversation. I’m sure honest, even your personality. How social you feel like being is actually governed in part by your biome. And diving into this stuff, people who are you talk about mindset and health and, talk about having your witness and being able to actually take a look at yourself and having control over emotions. So much of that comes back to our gut bacteria. It’s actually astonishing. And it’d be a whole nother hour or two podcast to dive into how all that stuff works. But if your listeners email you in and they say, Hey let’s hear more, I’m happy to come back. 

[00:42:37] Mark Divine: No, let’s do that. But you got to get working on that book. So yes, sir. You got to promise to me, you’re going to get that book done. And then we’ll come back on and have another conversation or sooner. I’d love to do that. I do feel like we just scraped the surface. Josh, man, it’s been great to talk to you. Thanks so much for your time. 

[00:42:52] Josh Dech: Oh yeah, likewise. Mark. Appreciate you having me. 

[00:42:54] Mark Divine: Yeah. Likewise. That was a fascinating and very fun conversation with Josh Dech. Thanks so much for joining me, Josh. Fascinating. What a great guy I am going to definitely dig into the gut and we’re going to be learning a lot more as Josh hit as AI starts to help us really plumb the depths of how important the biome is to everything in your life.

[00:43:16] Mark Divine: Once again, thanks Josh for joining me on the Mark Divine show. The show notes are up at our [email protected]. YouTube is up at our YouTube channel, and you can reach out to me on Twitter slash x at Mark Divine and on Instagram or Facebook at Real Mark Divine or through my LinkedIn profile. If you’re not receiving Divine Inspiration my weekly newsletter, please consider going to mark divine.com to subscribe and share it with your friends.

[00:43:40] Mark Divine: We have the show notes for the week’s podcast, a book I’m reading, a practice, and other interesting things that I think you would find valuable. Thanks so much to my amazing team of Catherine Divine and Jeff Haskell and Jason Sanderson who will produce this podcast and the newsletter, bring guests like Josh to you every week.

[00:43:57] Mark Divine: Ratings and reviews are very helpful. If you haven’t done so, please consider rating and reviewing it wherever you listen, especially Apple, Amazon, or Spotify. It helps other people find the show and keeps us relevant and at the top of the rating pile. Thanks so much for being part of the change that you’d like to see in the world. We can all do that by changing our worlds one at a time and co-create a more positive future together. So let’s do that. Hooyah. Until next time, it’s your host, Divine.


ContactLEAVE A

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *