Why Gut Health is So Important and How to Improve It | Lucinda Miller

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Episode 134

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“What we find in a lot of people, especially neurodivergent people, people with mental health challenges, and people with chronic illnesses, is that there is some compromise with the digestive tract. It could be that they don't have enough stomach acid to break down protein. It could be that their pancreas, which is meant to break everything down into small components, isn't working as efficiently as it should. And that means that even if you have the best diet in the world, less of those nutrients are going into the bloodstream.” - Lucinda Miller, Leading Naturopath Specializing in Functional Medicine

It’s no secret that our gut health is extremely important for our overall health.

Despite that, our modern lifestyles aren’t doing our guts any favor.

We eat the wrong foods, we eat at the wrong times, and we even chew wrong! So, how can we improve our gut health and increase our overall health and longevity?

Here today, to answer all these questions and more, is the naturopath and expert in functional medicine, Lucinda Miller!

Lucinda is the founder and clinical lead of NatureDoc and runs a team of nutritional therapists specializing in family nutrition. Her passion is supporting people with neurodivergent brains through nutrition, and she is the author of the bestselling books The Good Stuff and I Can’t Believe It’s Baby Food!

Join Lucinda and me as we dive deep into the gut in search of health and longevity!




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Show Notes 

It’s no secret that our gut health is extremely important for our overall health.

Despite that, our modern lifestyles aren’t doing our guts any favor.

We eat the wrong foods, we eat at the wrong times, and we even chew wrong! So, how can we improve our gut health and increase our overall health and longevity?

Here today, to answer all these questions and more, is the naturopath and expert in functional medicine, Lucinda Miller!

Lucinda is the founder and clinical lead of NatureDoc and runs a team of nutritional therapists specializing in family nutrition. Her passion is supporting people with neurodivergent brains through nutrition, and she is the author of the bestselling books The Good Stuff and I Can’t Believe It’s Baby Food!

Join Lucinda and me as we dive deep into the gut in search of health and longevity!


“Avoid ultra-processed convenience foods. They're devoid of all the essential nutrients for the brain and the gut. They lack iron, zinc, omega-3s, etc., or they are artificially fortified. Secondly, since you can't eat that much in a day, if you're eating those, they will displace the good things that would nourish your gut. And thirdly, they're pro-inflammatory. They use preservatives, emulsifiers, and artificial sweeteners, and these are all known to disrupt the gut and cause inflammation.” - Lucinda Miller, Leading Naturopath Specializing in Functional Medicine

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Claudia von Boeselager: Welcome to another episode of the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host, Claudia von Boeselager. I'm here to uncover the groundbreaking strategies, tools, and practices from the world's pioneering experts to help you live your best and reach your fullest potential. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to always catch the latest episodes.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note, to avoid any unnecessary headaches, Longevity & Lifestyle LLC owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as the right of publicity. You are welcome to share parts of the transcript (up to 500 words) in other media (such as press articles, blogs, social media accounts, etc.) for non-commercial use which must also include attribution to “The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast” with a link back to the longevity-and-lifestyle.com/podcast URL. It is prohibited to use any portion of the podcast content, names or images for any commercial purposes in digital or non-digital outlets to promote you or another’s products or services.


Lucinda Miller 0:00
Some people call the gut the second brain because of the neurotransmitter production. Some people call it the second immune system because it helps control immunity. So it's really really key for the rest of our health.

Claudia von Boeselager 0:15
Are you ready to boost your longevity and unlock peak performance? welcome to The Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host, Claudia von Boeselager, longevity, and peak performance coach. Each week, we'll explore groundbreaking science, unravel longevity secrets, share strategies to grow younger and stay up to date with world-class health and peak performance pioneers. Everything you need to live longer, live better, and reach your fullest potential ready to defy aging, optimize health, and promote peak performance. Visit LLinsider.com for more.

My guest today is Lucinda Miller. Lucinda is a naturopath and trained in functional medicine. She is the clinical lead of NatureDoc and runs a team of UK-wide nutritional therapists specializing in family nutrition. Her passion is supporting people with a neurodivergent brain through nutrition through her clinic books, blog, and online course. She has been practicing as a naturopath for over 20 years and is the author of The Best Selling Cookbooks: The Good Stuff and I Can't Believe It's Baby Food. Lucinda, it's such a pleasure to welcome you to The Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast today. God,

Lucinda Miller 1:31
thank you so much for inviting me on. It's just great to chat to you. Yes, I'm

Claudia von Boeselager 1:35
I am very excited to dig in. And I'd love to start with how gut health affects brain function.

Lucinda Miller 1:42
I think that we all realize that when we eat our food, it will nourish the whole of our body and our brain. And I think that most people will have a really efficient system. So that means when you eat your breakfast, probably 90% of that food will be digested and absorbed, you're going to get, you know, the iron deficiency, the magnesium, whatever it is from that food, and then you'll just pass out into the loo the bits that you can't absorb. However, what we find in a lot of people, especially neurodivergent people and people with mental health challenges or just chronic illness, is that there is some compromise with that digestive tract. And that could be that, you know, they don't have enough stomach acid to break down protein, it may be that their pancreas, it is meant to break everything down into the small components, isn't working as efficiently as it should do. And that means that even if you have the best diet in the world, it can mean that less of those nutrients are going into the bloodstream and ultimately to the cells. And that more staying in the gut and then ultimately being passed down into the loop. And there are many other factors within the gut that can enhance that digestion. So it's not just the kind of acids and enzymes. They're also there's something called the gut microbiome. And that, again, helps to control how we make neurotransmitters, which are the hormones in our brains that help us think and learn, sleep and stay calm, etc. And they also made B vitamins. And they also helped to control something called inflammation. And inflammation is something that, if it builds up in the system, can lead to chronic disease; it can, you know, make the aging process faster, it can, you know, all sorts of things can happen. So it's important to get all of these things right. So the gut is really key. So it's not just a hose that goes from one end to the other. There are an awful lot of systems that go on, and some people call the gut the second brain because of the neurotransmitter production, and some people call it the second immune system because, again, it helps control immunity. So it's really, really key for the rest of our health.

Claudia von Boeselager 4:07
What would you say are some of the key factors for people who are struggling with gut health issues? How should they ascertain, you know, where their gut health is? What would you recommend? Where should they start?

Lucinda Miller 4:20
So, let's start sort of at the top. So obviously, if someone really struggles with chewing, so maybe they walk their food down too fast, or they just, as they said, they've got problems with their teeth, etc., then there can be an issue with just simply they're not breaking down those foods to begin. So there's a lot more pressure further down. Then if there's not enough stomach acid, stomach acid is this really strong acid that you might feel sometimes if you get a bit of reflux, and that primarily helps with digesting protein. It also sends signals to the gut to absorb things like iron, B, 12, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, all of which are really important nutrients for bones, brain energy, and so forth. So if that's not working really well, it's going to make it harder further down to break things down. So then you've got the pancreas, as I said, which breaks down these foods with enzymes. But if there's a fault along the way, then guess what? There's going to be a problem with digestion, and you're not going to optimize your nutrition. So, as I said, you can have the best diet in the world. But if that digestion is not working well, and I think the signs that you might have to think that your digestion isn't working well, is possibly reflux, possibly some sort of pain or bloating, whether it's sort of in the stomach, which is just between your breastbone, or just below, which is more sort of small intestine where most of the absorption occurs, or further down. So there are problems with, say, constipation, etc. But I think one sign that a lot of people find is they've got poor, something called malabsorption. So poor digestion is that they might see undigested food in their store quite regularly. Obviously, everyone has sweet corn in their stool, but if they have lots of sweet corn, but it's other foods as well, that can be a sign or if it's very pale yellow, so almost sort of like an oak or a yellow color, then again, that can highlight there's a lot of fat in the store, which means that hasn't got through to your system, which we need these oils and fats for our brains and our hearts and so forth. So that may be a sign that there may be some malabsorption going on.

Claudia von Boeselager 6:34
And so, how should that best be tested? What would you recommend if someone's listening like okay, yes, I have bloating, there's constipation at times? Where would you send them to? Where should they go?

Lucinda Miller 6:45
First of all, I would see a medical doctor, see the GP if they're in the UK, and see medical doctors throughout the world. And I would say that I definitely just asked for a basic stool test to check for gut inflammation. Possibly, you know, a parasite or a nasty bacteria. And also something called celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where you have a reaction to gluten, which can cause malabsorption in the gut and cause these sorts of fatty yellow stools. So those are the sorts of things that should be checked out. If nothing comes up with those tests, then someone like a nutritional therapist, functional medicine doctor, naturopath like myself, or one of the nature Doc's in, my team can help to organize a full stool test. And that would just test for things like greater inflammatory markers are the kind of microbiome issues or malabsorption issues. And then, once you've got that information, then you can be very targeted. But you know, some people can't stretch to that, I totally understand that you know, the, the, you know, some people don't have the time capacity, the money to be able to stretch that. So some things that you can do to really help is to your food really well, is to be mindful, not sit down when you eat rather than eating food on the run. Also, just simple things like 25% of your gastric juices are created by smelling food. So if you're cooking in the kitchen, those digestive juices will have got crap cranked up. And if you've got a child who's a little bit fussy or quite has a limited diet, then it's quite good to get them to be sitting in the kitchen whilst you're cooking or get them involved in the kitchen. So they've got those kitchen smells, and that again, will help to rev up their digestion.

Claudia von Boeselager 8:40
That's a great idea. Beautiful. You mentioned about chewing. Can you break that down a little bit? My audience loves specifics: what is the right way to chew foods?

Lucinda Miller 8:52
Well, I think that if you went to one of the famous detox retreats, they'd be asking you to each month or 30 times. I think that's quite hard for anyone to do on a daily basis, and probably quite, you know, unrealistic. I think the big thing is to think when I've eaten that food, it is mushed up enough to think that it's going to help with my digestion. So with some foods, so something like soup, you might just need a couple of twos just to sort of break it down a little bit. All you need is smoothie saying, but with something like a piece of meat, like a piece of steak, then you'd want to do it quite a lot to really break it down. Otherwise, there's a lot of pressure further down to do the job. So, really, it's I don't like being too prescriptive. using common sense to think so what happens is when the foods in the stomach are imagined a bit like a washing machine, it goes churning around, runs around, around around around, and it turns into something called chyme or chime, which is kind of a soup like a mixture. So you don't, you know, so that's really what you're if you can and get that food to that kind of texture before you swallow it, then that's going to put less pressure on your stomach, and it's going to be able to do a really good job quite quickly. But, you know, as I said, at the end of the day, you know, just sort of like, did I just swallow out a whole load of nuts without chewing properly? And if so, it's probably going to cause a little bit more distress on the gut than if I chewed them well, or I had some almonds batter or ground almonds, which I've broken down already.

Claudia von Boeselager 10:27
So the goal is really to have a sort of soft paste, if you will, from the mouth so that it's easier for them. Yes, absolutely. You touched on the word parasites before, and I know when some people hear the word parasites, they're shocked to know that it couldn't be me etc. Now that people are traveling more and living in different places. I know personally, I was shocked when I turned positive to have not only a couple of parasites but also H. Pylori. This is going years back that was well, I mean, I've lived in places like Bueno's itis and Shanghai and I like to travel in third world countries. So I'm not totally surprised, but I'm still a little bit shocked. So, for people who may or may not have parasites, you know, what is it to look out for? Are all parasites bad? Or are some just normal parts and parcels? Can you expand a little bit on that?

Lucinda Miller 11:15
Well, the reality is pretty much everyone is carrying some sort of parasite. However, it's probably only a very small part of the gut microbiome, and therefore it hasn't taken over and caused a problem. So, a significant parasite that can cause long-term problems is something called giardia. And Giardia is a microscopic parasite that's usually picked up through water and contaminated food. Often, you know, when people go trekking, or something like that, and that is very distinctive in that they usually lose a lot of weight, usually have very sort of sulfurous Eggy, belches, and farts. And, yes, you do usually feel pretty unwell. And so that's quite obvious. Sometimes, what happens is you have that period where you feel unwell, and then it sort of settles in. And so that's where you can have longer terms of malabsorption issues; like everything I eat, I just don't get the energy from it, I feel really kind of tired after eating. So it's often parasites can if you think they steal nutrients from the food you're eating; they love iron, they love zinc, and getting energy. Zinc is a very important healer; it helps with skin, it helps with, you know, kids to grow, it helps, you know, with your gastric juices. Yeah, so very often, things slowly start to shut down. I mean, obviously, some people do experience worms. But I think they probably realized if they had those because there would be, you know, itching or wiggling or whatever. But that tends to be thread one more than anything, and those are easily treated by the canta parasite treatments. But I'd say what tends to be more prevalent amongst people with kind of low-grade gastric issues is a couple of parasites; one is called blastocyst is hominess. One is called the Entamoeba fragilis. These have been identified as potentially being part of an IBS picture. So that could be, you know, like a loose picture or a more constipated picture or altering the state of bowel or gut pain. And that is very often what people are diagnosed with when they go and have some sort of gastric kind of investigation. It's because they haven't found the inflammatory bowel. And they don't know what it is. And it's often these microscopic, as I said, they're very difficult to detect. And they're not tested in the UK, as a matter of fact, when you go to, say, a medical doctor, and you would have a stool test, and they are tested if you go to, say, the hospital tropical diseases, and you have significant symptoms, there seem to be different strains of these, especially the blastocyst is and I think the ones that are Asia tend to be harder on the gut than some of the more European ones. And this is why, in Europe, it's not seen as such a problem because those strains don't seem to cause any problems. Now, you speak to some professionals, and again, you know, what blastocyst is is good to have because it can help with that blood sugar after a meal. However, there are other studies to show that in adults, it can cause poor executive function, and executive function is something that is a real struggle for lots of people. You know, it's getting organized. It's, you know, being able to just get through a day together could be a real challenge, lots of brain fog and so forth. And these are parasitic in nature. So, as they said, they can steal nutrients from the food you're eating, the good food you're eating. So you know, a lot of people do end up finding these parasites and thinking, Well, you know, I do think that this could be why I'm feeling so tired and my guts out of sync, etc. And actually, working on those can make quite a difference.

Claudia von Boeselager 15:12
So you mentioned neurodiversity and gut health. Can you expand on the link there and what you are seeing, and for some people, maybe who are struggling with ADHD, or you know, Autism Spectrum condition, or otherwise, what are the obvious links with gut health and what can be done?

Lucinda Miller 15:34
So this is really interesting and something that we do an awful lot of work with at NatureDocks. So we see an awful lot of kids and adults with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder, etc. And quite a lot of the time, we will either do a stool test or there's a urine test that checks for vitamins and minerals, as well as gut. So you kind of one, one, or one or both of those tests. And almost always, there is some degree of, you know, imbalance in the gut. And he said, Well, maybe the general population will have that, too, will possibly, however, the neurodivergent brain tends to be very sensitive, very sensitive to, and it's very difficult to get the balance. So, for instance, with ADHD, there are genetics involved, which can mean that it's very, very difficult to regulate dopamine, very, very difficult to regulate norepinephrine, for instance. And so if your brain is that sensitive to that, then any other sort of minor disruption can exacerbate that. So in terms of gut health, it's basically a massive, massive part of science that is emerging; you would not be able to go to a pediatrician as far as I'm aware, definitely not in the UK. But I would say worldwide and say Hi, I'd like to do a microbiome test. But you can do them privately if you sort of mean so even though the research is there, it's still not there as part of mainstream. However, you know, even I mean, because of the pandemic, etcetera. I'm a little out of date on how many papers because, obviously, the Pope's got delays and papers being published and so forth. But in 2019 alone, there were 16,000 papers published on the gut microbiome linking to all sorts of things from neurodiversity to Parkinson's to dementia, etc. I mean, a huge, huge amount of research. And why is this the case is this gut microbiome helps to make your neurotransmitters, and neurotransmitters are sort of the brain hormones that help us learn, think, sleep, keep us happy, etc. So we've all heard of serotonin serotonin 90% of serotonin is made in the gut. And this helps us sleep, helps us be happy, and helps us. Okay, so without enough serotonin being made in the gut, then we're just it's not gonna end up in the brain. So, basically, it gets made in the gut. And then people think that's probably it's heading up through the vagus nerve to the brain. But you know that the gut is seen as this sort of second brain, but equally, other neurotransmitters. So dopamine, for instance, which is a key one for ADHD, is made in the gut by things like bacillus, and bacillus is a really important bacteria that you can get from eating lots of cultured foods. So things like sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. Kefir, water, kefir, etc. And all of these foods help to nourish and make dopamine. The other one that makes dopamine is actually a type of E. coli. So we all hear of Ecolab being a bad bacteria that makes UTIs, etc. But there's actually good ecoli, which has been known for over 100 years. It was it was first first found in Berlin over 100 years ago. And so it's one of the most well-established bacteria in the gut. And again, that's really enhanced by eating a Mediterranean diet. So that's fruits, vegetables, salads, pulses, whole grains, lots of healthy meats and healthy fats and so forth, eggs, herbs, spices, etc. And so you know, this is where the nourishing through food to nourish the gut bacteria then therefore makes the dopamine, but you know, the gut bacteria also makes other neurotransmitters. So, we've all heard of lactobacillus. It's in yogurt, it's and kefir. It's kind of in every probiotic you'll probably ever buy. And lactobacillus helps to make acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for working memory, learning, self-regulation, and emotional regulation. Now you can create acetylcholine through your diet of choline, rich foods, things like eggs, liver etc. But you know what, I don't know many kids who will eat liver these days. Eggs have a funny texture, you know, you know, you know, you can see where these things are not necessarily coming in as a normal part of the diet. So you know, if you've got poor but got bacteria and it's not coming through the diet, you're going to really struggle to make that acetylcholine which is so critically important for the neurodivergent brain and then lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which is the other one that everyone's probably heard of that's, it's brilliant it makes B vitamins brings down inflammation, it helps with immunity, it's like stop you getting superinfections, birthdays, amazing stuff. But the Bifido and lactobacillus also make something called GABA. And GABA is our inner yogi, it's our cool, it's our calm, it's that feeling you have had had a lovely meditation session or massage or yoga session, you feel amazingly zen-like, and, you know, again, if you don't have enough of those gut bugs, then you're not going to make enough of those. And guess what? so if you don't have enough GABA, you become anxious, you can't sleep. So, you know, there's an awful lot of people in this constant fight or flight state that are also neurodivergent. So I'm not saying these things, make the ADHD or make the autism or you know, there's dyslexia or dyspraxia, what they do is they contribute to making everything a little bit about it worse, you know, so there's more anxiety, the working memory is not so good. The processing is not so good. So it's kind of exacerbates it because we all know absolutely genius, amazing neuro divergence who've done incredible things. I mean, most people that rule the world right now in terms of industry, or creativity, or sport, or neurodivergent, so you can be amazing, but there are an awful lot of people who have neuro divergence, and they're two to three to five years behind with their learning. You know, a lot of nonspeaking really struggling with their mental health, can't sleep, can't form a relationship. You know, there's a lot of difficulty when it comes to neuro divergence. And so our work is very much there to help to kind of even out those tricky sides to it so that you can really thrive with your neurodivergent brain. And getting gut health is so important. And the toggle is our diet is really, really key to feeding, as you heard for the Mediterranean diet, the cultured food. But with GABA, you know, GABA-rich foods are amazing things like chamomile tea, oats, yogurt, and even cups of tea. So green tea, Matcha Tea, even black tea, or something called theanine is great for your GABA. So, but the trouble is the opposite of that is all the highly processed foods. So ultra-processed foods that is a big buzzword right now. And those all contain something called glutamate or glutamic acid. So all the processing like the yeast extract, citric acid, you know, all these sorts of additives often contain high levels of glutamic acid. And that's the opposite to GABA. So that makes the brain really excited, which is great in terms of learning sometimes, but it can make the brain go too fast. And so many people with ADHD, their brain wants far too fast. They cannot process things because everything jumps too quickly, like jumping ahead, just like a brace is full of so exciting things. And actually, they need the GABA to calm down. And if they've got glutamate from that, you know, takeaway pizza, or a packet of crisps or whatever, that's going to really imbalance things. So when you're in a high glutamate state, you can be very anxious, you might not sleep, and you might have very risky behaviors. So again, you've got these kids who are hyperactive; they get into addictive tendencies, you know, whether it's gaming, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, you know, online, whatever it might be, you know, these things can, and especially in the teenage brain is really big. So that's where you, that's an indicator that there's too much glutamate and not enough GABA. So that's a very long-winded, but it's something, as you can see, I'm rather passionate about

Claudia von Boeselager 24:34
well, and as we are here to find out more. So, thank you so much for sharing that as well. And I think the beauty of it is that there was a way to solve it and to fix it or to support it, I should say not necessarily solve it but to have an awareness of what is actually going on the underlying and to act accordingly. What would you say are some of the essentials for improving gut health for someone who you know might be suffering a little bit or feels, you know, maybe chronic symptoms, chronic fatigue, something like that? We know a lot is interlaced with our gut. Where is it a good place for people to start? Do you know what are your top five recommendations?

Lucinda Miller 25:14
So, the first one is to get outside as much as possible because our microbiomes are nourished by fresh air. There's a lot of great bacteria and all sorts of things in the fresh air. So getting out in nature is really important. If it's a child, getting them really muddy, you know, spend the time they're gardening with dirt, so it's okay to have dirty hands. So these are really simple things you can do. And then with a diet, try your hardest to get fresh ingredients; it could be frozen ingredients, but you know, fresh, simple ingredients, cook from scratch, eat the best quality food you can, and variety you can. So try and avoid those ultra-processed convenience foods because the problem with them is they're devoid of all the key nutrients that are so important for the brain and the gut. So you know, they don't iron zinc Omega three, very little anyway. And it might just be with synthetic fortification, as well. Secondly, you know, they displace, because you can't eat that much in a day, you know, if you're eating those, then it's going to displace the good, good things that are going to be nourishing the guts. And thirdly, they're quite pro-inflammatory. So they use, as I said, these preservatives, emulsifiers, and artificial sweeteners, and these are all known to disrupt the gut and cause inflammation. So again, you want to avoid those ultra-processed foods, and then pick out, just as I said, the best foods you can in terms of maybe a Mediterranean diet, you know, give her that olive oil that garlic makes some pesto, you know, get some whole grains and lovely, lovely lentil salad was sun-dried tomatoes and thyme, and, you know, really, you know, try and do everything fresh and joyous and tasty. But those are the sort of key things, and then, you know, you can think about cultured foods. Some people get on with them. Some people don't. So it's really important not to go head-on with those and to be a little bit cautious. So I was thinking, let's start with a bit of vinegar, you know, a little bit of dressing on the salad, or a little bit of vinegar like balsamic in the Polonaise just to sort of add a little bit of vinegar. And then things like lemon juice, and so forth, again, on the fish or on the salad dressing. And that, again, helps with the digestion. Think about bitter leaves, things like you know, lovely, different kinds of lettuces, and salad leaves or a little bit bitter, and that helps to stimulate digestive juices. So there's an awful lot of things that you can do gently, and then think, well actually, I might put a little test teaspoon of sauerkraut on the slide and see what I think of it or a little bit of kimchi on my noodle salad or whatever, and just see if you like it, and if you suit it, and if your gut likes it because sometimes you go a bit into fast you can get rather bloated and gassy. And some people are a little bit sensitive in terms of histamine, but that's that's a very complex subject. but it's just something to be cautious that it doesn't suit everybody. But I do think that, and if you've got an incredibly sensitive gut, start with quite more blended foods, so things like soups, or slow cook stews a little bit of omelet soft fish, rather than going overboard with the sort of hard crunchy, you know, vegetables and hard nuts and things just to give the guy a little bit of space,

Claudia von Boeselager 28:45
a bit of a chance to catch up. Yeah. So we talked about some foods to focus on eating, but what would you say in terms of when to eat?

Lucinda Miller 28:54
I think this is really personal, I'm going to say, and I'm not particularly dogmatic about this. Um, I especially because I guess we work very closely with lots of neurodivergent people who really struggle with maintaining a regular routine, especially the ADHD, so you know, if someone's on medication for ADHD, for instance, that can suppress the appetite all day. So suddenly, they're really hungry all evening. And you know, that medication probably has made such a difference to them during the day, you know, that actually, you know, that's okay to eat in the evening because they do need to get the nutrition in. And equally, you know, a lot of kids we see they wake up in the morning, so hungry because their blood sugars are so low, and actually they really need nourishing first thing in the morning. So I don't, as I said, I'm not that dogmatic, but I think what it is is if you know this is you thinking about yourself. So whoever's listening today thinking, you know, I really want to improve when I think when are you may He's hungry. When does your body say you really need that nutrition? When does your stomach really, really ask for nutrition? And what are the times they don't and sort of just always diarize it over a week and just see, gosh, that was really interesting, you know. So, you know, I'm the sort of person for instance, me, I'm very hungry in the morning, I could absolutely eat just to lunchtime, and then not eat to the next day. Easy peasy. Once again, lunch isn't so important for me. But breakfast is something I just cannot exist without, you know, it's just the way my body works. Now, that's opposite to many people's advice right now is, you know, wait until after midday to have your breakfast or brunch. Try not to eat too late. I think that's the key if unless you are, as I said, on ADHD medication, and you really are struggling to get your nutrition in the window when you do feel hungry, I'd say for the typical person to try and eat relatively early in the evening so that the food has been mainly digested before you go to bed. And that's not something that your gut has to do overnight. Yeah.

Claudia von Boeselager 31:12
What are some of the supplements you think are very effective for gut health? I mean, personally, I obviously have probiotics, and I really tried to have a diverse diet as well, as I specialize in this area, but I need to take digestive enzymes. I need support in breaking down foods. What are some supplements that you'd say are pretty important for gut health?

Lucinda Miller 31:34
Well, I'd say this isn't really a supplement; it's a food, but it's so important is apple cider vinegar. I talked a little bit about everything here just now. And that can really help is people struggle with protein digestion, or that's up a gut issue. It will either make you feel amazing, or if it feels a bit Bernie and a bit kind of difficult, then just take a little bicarbonate of soda, and that will neutralize it. So sometimes people don't get on with it. But Apple Cider Vinegar is a really good beginning start

Claudia von Boeselager 32:02
one question on that: what's the best way to ingest apple cider vinegar? Because I've definitely done it the wrong way. So what would you recommend, just drinking it straight? Or mixing it with water? What do you recommend?

Lucinda Miller 32:14
So I think probably the nicest way of doing it is in water with a little bit of apple juice, just to give kind of or a little bit of honey just to give it a little bit of sweetness, but to drink it through a straw. Because some people have a problem with their tooth enamel being broken up by the vinegar. So I would drink it down by a straw. And so I would definitely be diluted. I think it's too strong on it. So you can now, which I think you can get worldwide now, a little kind of apple cider vinegar drinks, which are like it all kind of with nice sort of tasty flavors and things. So yeah,

Claudia von Boeselager 32:47
and for those who sort of pro tip with teeth enamel issues, I've actually invested in, and I have, and you can get them on Amazon, even our glass straws, which can really bypass your teeth because I drink a lot of lemon in water and things like that as well. So I guess prolonged my teeth would be decaying faster than most, which we don't want. So yeah, glass straws are a great workaround.

Lucinda Miller 33:10
That sounds really great. I'll have a look at those. So, in terms of supplements, I do think digestive enzymes can make a massive difference. If you feel there is some sort of Mal digestion malabsorption and you feel you're not getting that full energy from the food you're eating. And yeah, I think it can be a game-changer. I do think that going back to the stomachs of bitter herbs is great, and you can get combinations and things like artichoke, turmeric, nettle, and so forth, which are really good at kind of settling the stomach. And then in terms of prebiotics, so prebiotics feed probiotics, so the whatnot, and if someone doesn't have an appendix, they had their appendix removed. It is thought that the appendix, even though no one thought that it had any role whatsoever, was a channel for storing prebiotics so that there was always food for the probiotics. So, if you've had it removed, then you might need to consider having prebiotics on a regular basis. The great thing is lots of foods are prebiotic bananas, chicory, things like that, you know, full of prebiotics, so they're great. But in terms of supplements, you can get prebiotic supplements. And these are great. So there's a particular one called Ph. D. G, which is wonderful if you get a little bit constipated, and it's very gentle. So someone's got a kind of very sensitive stomach they need to be concerned low FODMAP diet or you know, they've got, you know, they just don't get on very well with most that's a very good one to start with. And PhD G tends to feed most of the gut microbiomes. It helps with diversity. So it's a really good one. And then you've got The probiotics; as we've mentioned, most of them tend to be lactobacillus and bifida of some combination. There are some more specific ones, but they'd be the ones that you would probably only go on if you knew you had that information from a stool test. And then you would go in with sort of more personalized probiotics. But these, you know, as I said, lactobacillus, what's great is that, even though it's lactobacillus, it's got Bifidobacterium. Okay, so it's going to feed those two, it doesn't just feed those two, these two also help to feed that entire diversity of gut microbiome. So it's almost like they all piggyback on each other and help to grow each other. So you don't have to think, oh, my gosh, I've got to get the identity exact strain that my stomach has said. But I would say that it's a good way to identify if anything extra really needs a boost. A little tip from me is that we have run 1000s of stool tests through our clinic over the years. And if someone said what are the key things that come up, as in almost without a shadow of a doubt, very few people have lactobacillus, and they got. So it's something that I would probably if I didn't have a stool test hat; I would definitely add some lactobacillus because I do think that that seems different. It seems to be a bit stronger, it seems to populate a little bit more easily. But lactobacillus seems to be really easy to wipe out. And that can be through antibiotics or whatever.

Claudia von Boeselager 36:32
Okay, that's a very good point to start with. What about exercise and gut health? Are there any particular exercises or routines you would say that are very beneficial for maintaining a healthy gut?

Lucinda Miller 36:44
Well, this is really from a child's perspective, but it can help adults as well. So lots of adults and children experience constipation, obviously, things like, you know, herbs and probiotics and brooms, and plaques, and things can help things to flow through. But a lot of people find that their peristalsis, their motility is very sluggish, for whatever reason. And they find it really difficult to eliminate. And often, because we work with neurodivergent kids, you've got constipation, and also you've got, you know, lack of speech, low tone and math, difficulty chewing, etc. And so there are some exercises, but this is not the sort of exercise you'd anticipate be talking about. These are using a straw. So you talked about your glass straw. And so basically, if you drink out of a straw, and I'd like everyone to try and just do this now, what happens to your bottom, it tightens. And then, when you blow out of a straw, it relaxes. So basically, when you suck out of a straw, it will help your oral tone. So speech, chewing, etc., swallowing, but also help to trigger the bowel to say, Oh, I'd like to empty, please. And you can step that up by using, you know, not just straws, but whistles and blowers, and blowing up balloons is the hardest one, obviously. But this is really good for people who find it really difficult to pass a stool, and it can really help. So I know that wasn't what you were probably expecting you to say. No, absolutely. But in terms of general exercise, you know, things like, you know, again, constipation, trampolining can be great, again, people going. And, you know, I think any kind of exercise, again, will help with a more constipated state. But you know, I actually had someone this morning who got in touch saying that their child had a real problem because they got, you know, a loose bowel after doing a lot of exercise. And because exercise really, really speeds up the gut. So I think it's just important to think, you know, exercise can impact how fast things go through. I think the great thing about outdoor exercise is you're getting the benefit of breathing in this fresh air with the microbiome. So that's really, really helpful, and you're also sweating out the sort of, you know, the pollutants and things out of your system. So all in, it's a good way of but I don't I haven't seen any sort of direct research specifically about specific exercises and

Claudia von Boeselager 39:26
specific microbiomes are a cool, interesting area that needs to be researched. I guess a bit more. I mean, we know exercise for the brain and promoting BDNF as well, which we've talked about previously on the podcast, is so important, but I think it's just getting everything moving, I guess, is one of the main points. What would you say are some of the biggest gut health myths? What doesn't work, or what do you sometimes hear or just, you know, shake your head saying this is completely false?

Lucinda Miller 39:52
I'm gonna say something you're probably not expecting is, I don't believe in these myths. Whenever I read one on Say Instagram, it makes my blood curdle. And the reason is, is because, you know, I've been doing this for 27 years, we've seen seven 8000 people through our clinic, and everyone has their own story. And I think it's really important to listen and to really understand that individual situation because we're all unique. And I think if someone says, you know, whenever I eat tomatoes, I go at least well, you've got to take that into consideration. Rather than say, there's no evidence that tomatoes can caught, you know, or whatever it might be. And it really, I people with sweeping statements, you know, people are very good at making sweeping statements on their social media or whatever. And actually, they're not thinking. They're thinking in a very narrow way. And this is a bit like diet, you know, people say, you should eat this, you shouldn't eat that, this is the way you should wean your baby or whatever. And then you think, okay, if I wasn't in London right now, I'm actually Welsh right now. But if you want an underlying, if I was sitting in Beijing, or if I was sitting in Delhi, or if I were sitting in Rio de Janeiro, I would have a completely different view of what I'd be eating. Because every country and every culture is different. And it's not like one culture has got it. Right. One culture has got it wrong. You know, some people, you know, I got someone yesterday saying to me, you shouldn't recommend coconut oil. It's so bad for you, you know, it's so bad for your cholesterol. And, you know, think, well, that's, you know, how about most of Asia, exist on coconut oil? And they seem to be alright, on most of them. You know, some, yet some, do have cardiovascular issues. Some do have cholesterol problems, but not all of them. And I just think people are very dismissing. It gets to me because I do think we are so individual, and everyone needs to be heard. And actually, this is why these individual stool tests are so important, because they go, Yeah, absolutely. You will probably be absolutely right when you say that. And let's work with that. Because that's one, you know, one thing that really, maybe you've eaten that food five times, and each time you've eaten it, you've been on the loop for two weeks, two days, you know, you're not going to watch it even if someone says that's not possible, it might be possible for them. So anyway, sorry to not have a myth, tada. No, but

Claudia von Boeselager 42:27
that's a perfect response as well. And I think, you know, every symptom is valid that people might have. And that's the beauty also of personalized medicine and having these tests, right, so that you know what your gut bacteria is like, and your gut health, and then use that as the baseline to optimize it or to solve any issues that might be there. So I completely agree on that point. And listen to how improving your gut health, in your view, helps you achieve better well-being and to be then a more peak performance state.

Lucinda Miller 43:01
So I think that if you're optimizing your immunity if you're optimizing your neurotransmitters, isn't that going to help you? So your karma, you're more focused, you sleep better, you're more relaxed, you're learning more easily. You're, you know, you're having better social contact, you're getting less. You just know everything is coming together, then surely, that's great, isn't it? So I think it's really worth doing it. But I think what's really important is gut health can help you on a daily basis, but also that long-term health as well. And I think it's really difficult to imagine, well, if what I ate today is going to help prevent, I don't know, breast cancer or something, when, in 20 years' time, that's very hard to take on board. But you can if you think what I ate today gave me loads of energy, what worked, whereas yesterday, I felt really lousy. And was it because I hadn't slept very well, it was it because I ate that, I don't know, sweet bagel or whatever it was at breakfast rather than my eggs? And to try and sort of just generally just look to see what patterns, and I think most people would say when they're having a day where they're low, they're slow. They've got is probably low and slow to or saw or painful or just out of whack. And very often, you can sense a sort of different energy in your gut when you're having a low or slow day. And people to connect with that and think, what can I do to help my gut?

Claudia von Boeselager 44:31
Are you familiar with continuous glucose monitors? And what is your view of them?

Lucinda Miller 44:35
I have not tried one yet. My mom was both type one and type two diabetic, which is quite rare. It was the first thing that I had to tackle when in my early 20s When I realized that life wasn't going the right direction for me in terms of my health. And it was the best bit of advice I'd ever been given to balance my blood sugar. I do that really quite well. out, I think, and every time I've been tested, you know, I've got good HBO, one sees and all that. So I think I'm okay. But I would love to do one, just to see. I know that, for sure, if I were to eat pizza, if I were to eat a banana, if I were to eat a whole load of grapes, I would be ALL OVER THE SHOP because that's how I feel. So, I've learned to connect with that. But I think a lot of people wind up at the beginning of this journey. Or they need reassurance that it's not just all up in their brains that they that actually, I think it's a really good idea, um, you only need to do two to three weeks to really see a pattern. And it's got to be a time when you're really there to focus. Because I think, you know, you've got to be able to say, Gosh, I hate that this happened to my blood sugar. So it's a time when you've got enough brain space to be able to do it rather than in a time when you've got a lot on your plate. But I think I think they're a really good idea. And I think that more and more people will really benefit from that information. Yeah. And it's not prescriptive, you know, you know, you will have days where your blood sugar's, just because you haven't slept very well, you've got a bit of a virus. So it's not just about the food. But I do think it's really good in terms of giving you a pattern to see. Am I quite good at blood sugar balancing? Or am I all over the shop?

Claudia von Boeselager 46:26
It is, indeed. I mean, I did a trial a few times myself. There is in the UK, it is non-prescriptive. You can even order it on Amazon. My preference from Abbott Laboratories is the Libra sensor I think, has the best readings for it. there are obviously more and more products coming out on the market in the US, and actually, they're doing beta here in the UK; it's called Levels Health. I've had them on the podcast as well. And they have a beautiful interface for interpreting your insights. And also, you know, you can even take a photo of your food just before you eat it, and then just make yourself like a memo. And then you can just track your blood sugar. For me, for example, one of the biggest insights I was eating sweet potato and having a sweet potato soup and assuming it was super healthy. And I was just watching my blood sugar go into the reds and completely peak. So, I needed much more moderation. Now, I'm completely cutting it out. But it's so personalized. And that's the beauty, beauty of personalized medicine as well. So very interesting. Listen, if you could live to 150 years old, assuming excellent health, how would you spend your time hopefully with

Lucinda Miller 47:34
my great, great grandchildren? And mixing with lots of wonderful, interesting, beautiful people. You know, I'm in my mid-50s now. And, you know, I'm lucky because I've got three kids, and you know, I love hanging out with their friends. And we're very lucky, a lot of our clients are much younger. So yeah, you know what I mean? Um, we work a lot with teenagers with big mental health challenges, and I find them all fascinating. And I really bar on that young mind. So I hope I'll always be in touch and not too frail to be able to have fun with them.

Claudia von Boeselager 48:13
Brilliant. This is what trends and developments in the longevity and health optimization space do you find most exciting? I think

Lucinda Miller 48:21
microbiome testing and personalized nutrition testing are so key. And I'm just excited that this is being opened up to a wider audience and more people are investing in this as a priority. And yeah, let's see what happens. It's exciting

Claudia von Boeselager 48:41
time. I agree. For my listeners interested in understanding gut health for longevity better, which online resources or books would you recommend they start with?

Lucinda Miller 48:52
So, I love the work of Ted Deinen and Kryon. They're based in Ireland. They've got a really good book called psycho biotics, something like that, which is great. There's a very simple book called Guts. I can't remember the author now. She's great.

Claudia von Boeselager 49:13
I'll link it in the show notes. Yeah, we'll find it. Yeah,

Lucinda Miller 49:15
absolutely. And so those are two really good. they would make a really good start. I think they're very accessible.

Claudia von Boeselager 49:22
Beautiful. Where can people learn more about what you're up to and what you're doing on your social media websites,

Lucinda Miller 49:29
so yes, so our main website is naturedoc.com. We do have another website, which has NatureDoc dot shop, which is UK-based. We sell supplements and stainless steel water bottles and extra creams and all sorts of things. Everything is very natural and lovely. And then I do Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Facebook, and so you'll find this to be Cinderella or niche or dark or niche doc kids, you know, they're slightly different handles. though, yeah, your niche is health. So you'll find us but basic typing NatureDoc, and you'll find

Claudia von Boeselager 50:04
us we'll link those in the show notes as well. Is there synergy of a final ask recommendation or any parting thoughts or message from my audience to them?

Lucinda Miller 50:13
I think Be true to yourself. Don't hop on every little trend that you are going to see. Does this work for me? Because individualized nutrition individuals gut health is the most important thing. And even if your twin is doing something, it may not suit you. So do something that you feel is right for you rather than something that you should be doing

Claudia von Boeselager 50:36
beautiful. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today and sharing your wisdom, Lucinda. I

Lucinda Miller 50:40
appreciate it. Thanks, Claudia. It's been absolutely wonderful.

I’m Claudia von Boeselager

Longevity Coach, detail-loving educator, big-thinking entrepreneur, podcaster, mama, passionate adventurer, and health optimization activist here to help people transform their lives, and reach their highest potential! All rolled into one.

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