The Gut: Giulia Enders, All About Women 2017

[ Silence ]>>Wow. Full house, fantastic. All of you obsessed
with the gut [laughter]. Hi, welcome to All
About Women here at the wonderful
Sydney Opera House. I’m delighted to be here too. My name is Natasha Mitchell
from ABC Radio National. I’m a science journalist and
broadcaster in various things. Now, who would have guessed that
a refreshingly frank field guide to your faeces, a road
map to your intestines, a rollicking good
read about your gut and all its machinations; a
book that takes toilet talk to the masses [laughter]. Who would have thought that this
would become an international publishing sensation? It has. Millions of copies
around the world sold in at least 18 countries;
probably more by now. That’s what’s happened
with “Gut, the Inside Story of Our Body’s Most
Underrated Organ”. German student and scientist,
Guilia Enders was 24 years old when she published this book, chuck full of intriguing
research and facts about the gut, about its
function, about its health. It’s beautifully illustrated
by her cartoonist sister. Before that, she was just 22
when a science lab that she did, or a public communication, science communication
event went totally viral, and prompted the book writing. And so, a store was born. Guilia is a physician. She’s finishing her doctorate
in microbiology at the Institute for Microbiology in
Frankfurt, where she just looked at one very particular bacteria. She may or may not talk about. So, to talk shit
with us [laughter], and I know you don’t mind,
because you have paid to be here, please welcome
Guilia to Australia. [ Applause ]>>Hello. I’m very excited to
be here today and to talk to all of you, and I think I want to
do two things; in the next 20 to 25 minutes, I want to let
you in on like three things that had the most impact on
me after learning about them when I was researching for the
book, and I also want to let you in on some background
information on the process of producing and
writing this book. And the most important, I think, background information is this
probably; this is my sister, Jill Enders, and she
was not only my first and most honest reader, and
also illustrated for the book. But, she was also somebody very
important to be in my back; to have my back; I think
is what you say in English. Because, I was very young
when I was writing this book, and the publishing world is
already a fully developed business world, and I was
kind of like thrown into that. And to really to bring the book, to publish the book
the way I wanted; to have the tone I wanted that
I thought was most authentic, it really took many fights
actually and many arguments, where I would have surrendered,
if I wouldn’t have known her by my side, because she
really understood me. And she would question
me very honestly, and so I think the book
became what it became because we were sort
of together, and I knew her by my side. And otherwise, I think
in Germany, for example, the book would have been
called like, 8 metre wellness in the tummy or something
[laughter]. And they wanted me to have
like all these lists; do this, do not do this, and so, she’s
very important in this process. And just gracious, being, drew
things like this [laughter]. This was actually meant to be in
the very beginning of the book. We were sitting down
brainstorming, and after awhile, actually pretty quick; I had
like this idea, and I said, ah, I know how we’re going
to start the book. We’re going to be like, dear
reader, please follow me like Alice in Wonderland follows
the white rabbit [laughter]. So, don’t ask which hole we’re
going to fall into [laughter], and we both had a big laugh. And we felt like, oh, this
was easy, and it’s so good; and we have the beginning of the
book, and that’s it we’re done; and you know, high five. I think it took us about 20
minutes when we realised; no, we can’t pull this off,
because it wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be fair
to our readers, because this wasn’t the way
this had started for us. We were just as embarrassed
as everybody else; if you’re like going
to the toilet, but your roommate’s standing in
the hallway right next to it, and you’re like aaagh, or like
you know, all these things. We just like; this was a
taboo topic for us just when we were growing up;
basically like everyone else. So, it was a very different
effect that made us open up to this topic; and actually
starting like loving it and like worshipping
it in a way. So, I think the effect is that
you can look behind façade of skin, because you see
where it’s hidden from us; all those amazing things
that have been done for us. And I think once you learn about
them, you get more information, you cannot like value and like, and admire this organ that’s
very responsible and smart, and like, I would
even say, delightful. It’s a very, once you get
closer and closer and closer, it’s hard to not like look up
to it and be somewhat impressed. So, I think even the toilet
business deserves this respect, and this was the way this
whole started for me; because my roommate once
came into the kitchen after he had a night of heavy
drinking, and he bluntly like asked me bluntly,
Guilia, you study medicine, how does pooping work? [laughter] I was standing
there, and I did study medicine, but I did not know how
pooping worked and I had to go up to my room and look it
up in three different books. And it turns out us humans
actually have a very complex and very clean way of delivering
this business compared to many, almost all other animals; and
I was very surprised to learn that there’s not only this outer
sphincter that we all know. We kind of know what’s going on. We can control it. We can be like, what
did come up with? [laughter] And there’s
also like, another one, and I didn’t know this, and
the process is actually kind of interesting. So, let’s just like
go through it once. When we’re like, when the rests from digestions are
delivered there, the inner sphincter will
open up, and like let through a little
bit for testing. So then, sensory cells can
analyse what’s being delivered. Is it solid, is it gaseous? And then they tell the brain,
nervous cells; neurons, and this is the moment
you realise, oh, I’ve got to go to the toilet. And then brain does what it’s
supposed to do, it connects us, and adapts to the outer world. We like look and check
[laughter], and you know, think, and be like, well, this
is the opera house, solid would probably
be a provoking thing, bad to do [laughter]. Gaseous, maybe if I sit
like on the side [laughter], and I can trust to
pull this off silently. And then, when the
brain then communicates with the outer sphincter,
because those two are like close, and then the outer
sphincter can say like, well, you know, opera house,
let’s just put it back in the waiting line,
or if you’re at home, and you have really
nothing better to do; you know, let it go [laughter]. So, yeah, and as funny as
this might sound in the first like few minutes, it was really
was one of the three things that changed a lot for me and
how I live on a daily basis. And I think one effect was
that I just acknowledged; I got to know this inner
sphincter, and I thought, well, it’s actually all so nice. Like this one really cares
about just me and my insides, and the nervous information it
gets, is really just what needs to be out so I feel good. This is all I get. It’s not connected to the brain, what other people think,
how they react to me. It really just has this info. Just cares about me for
once; that’s a rare thing. And so I got promoted;
I believe, in my, yeah, in my worshiping it. And after that, I used to never
like to go to public restrooms so much, but after
that, I could anywhere. I could go on the
train, on the plane. I just liked this muscle, and
I would like listen to it more, and like, be okay, if you say
so, well, I’ll try [laughter]. I’ll try to arrange that. And also, it a thought
occurred to me now, almost, because it’s this subject of
how much do I do to be good to my inner self, and how many
compromises do I do to be okay with the outer world
as well while I do so, and this is a very
human question. Sometimes I feel like this is
also a very female question, between the balance between
inner and outer sphincter. In the book, this is how this
looks, and I show you this because I want to tell you
about; it was actually one of the hardest drawings in
the book, because we sat for three days, and
I was never happy about the way the artist’s
sphincter looked [laughter]. It looked so strict, like it was
just like push back everything; be like a party pooper,
so strict. And I thought, this
isn’t fair to him, because he has his task too. He’s important too. There has to be like
a balance out of two. And then I had to sit down
and like to adjectives and characteristics
over and over again. My sister would listen, and
she would ask more questions; and then afterwards, she was
like, ah, I think I have it. The way you talk about
it, it reminds me so much of the roommate of my
boyfriend [laughter], because he would
always read books on how to behave well, how
to eat correctly. He would read the
news all the time. He would like mediate
with the afterworld on a very professional world. So, it’s now how he looks. He basically really looks
a lot like him [laughter]. He even has pants like him. And, I mean, we of course, had to tell him before the book
was published, which was sort of an awkward breakfast. But, I guess in the end it was
good, because we could explain to him that for us, it
could also be a compliment to be the asshole [laughter]. Yeah. And knowing about your gut and how the things look
actually can be very helpful. In this scenario, when you know
another muscle, you understand that it’s actually
better to go on the toilet in a squatting-like position. Researchers have shown this by
x-raying people who had just like swallowed liquids and
like lightening things, and x-raying them while
they’re on the toilet. So, understanding that there’s a
muscle that when they pull back and then make a turn in
the end of their colon, and this muscle is loosening
up a bit when you put your legs up on a stool or something. It’s something that
you understand when you know all
this, you know, how the anatomic relations are. And I’m very glad, because
my sister made me sit to modify this story,
and I’m very thankful that she changed my hairstyle
so nobody would know, but now you know, but yeah. And this is something that goes to the whole purpose
of the book. It’s really the question,
why does this look so weird, and what’s the gut for. Maybe do I start liking it
more now that I know why it’s like that, and this goes
for things like oesophagus? Why does the oesophagus
go like on the side into the stomach, not straight? Well, it saves you like swelling up when you’re laughing
really hard, for example. When you apply pressure,
it all goes up, and not to the side so much. So, that’s a smart design. But, it also creates this
bubble right here that will for some people be
a bit uncomfortable after they’ve eaten too much, and the air bubble will be
pressed up against the nerves that are close to the heart,
so you might feel nauseous, up to like even having pain. It also explains really
nicely why it’s easier to burp when you’re laying on the left
side, compared to the right. And then other things,
how does the architecture of the small intestine have to
be; an organ that’s responsible for us being living beings. Like, how does it
have to be structured, so that it has this
amazing process of taking something
energy has put together; like the nature has used
energy to put together an apple or a cake, and then to say it
roughly, when we chuck this up, the energy is free, and we can
be living beings because of that process, so
how does an organ that mediates this
process have to look like; and all the intolerances and
things that come with it? And then there’s just
simple questions, like, why do we have an appendix,
and an actually new hypothesis on questions like these that I think haven’t been
spread too much to the public. So, why the first part
of the book looks, part of it looks like. The second is looking at the
things in action, how they move, with the nerve cells
directing them. And we follow a piece of cake through like the
digestive tract, through like the
digestive tract, and I like understanding
all the processes, because many movements of our gastrointestinal tract
seem a bit overwhelming at time; like having reflux or
vomiting or constipation. You feel like you can’t
really do much about it, and it kind of feels
uncomfortable at times, and I think understanding
the knowledge and reasons and the whys behind it often
helps a lot with those feelings, and then makes you
cooperate towards them. I think for example with
constipation, this is very true, because many people give
you all kinds of advice, but once you’ve really
understood what type of constipation, for example,
is the one you’re having, you can really make a clear
decision on what could work for this type of constipation. So understanding the movement
to be able to work together with it better is something I
like, but that’s not the thing that changed the most for me. Oh, and then for example,
like misunderstandings. Like the rumbling
of the stomach; you think like you’re hungry,
but actually this is just in between digestion, so the small intestine
has time to clean up. The small intestine is a
big level of cleanliness, when there’s more food to be
process, and you create this like strong muscular wave
to like clear out everything that doesn’t need
to be there anymore. And this, like the
mrrrr, mrrr, mrrr happens, so when you’re little
embarrassed at your office that you make all these
noises, it’s actually because there’s a very
eager organ cleaning up. And I like this also,
because it shows nicely that we have sometimes a raw
picture from the 8 metres of intestines, really one that
has to do with faeces business. All the other seven are
very clean after digestion. They hardly smell like
anything, so this is something to reconsider, I think. So, the second thing
that changed for me a lot was really
getting into the whole topic of the gut/brain access. And this was the start
of me getting into this, was actually a classmate
of mine at the University who had killed himself, and I had just sat next him
one day before he did that. And, at that point in
time, I already read a lot about the gut, and I knew it
was connected to so many things, hormones, immune
cells and whatever. I really didn’t know that
there was a gut/brain access, and I thought maybe it
would be more interesting to know more about it. I had noticed that he had
like a very strong bad breath, and I wasn’t sure
that could just be like a hint or something. So, I started trying to
find information on that, and then I found
there already was lots of very interesting studies. And one of them; one
of the researchers that impressed me a
whole lot was Bart Craig. When he, he has like for
20 years following nerves to the brain; where
exactly they’re going, and showing where it has
effects, and for example, information from the gut could
never reach the visual cortex, otherwise, while you’re
digesting, you’d see all kinds of colours and shapes, but it
can actually get to other areas that are quite interesting. It can be fear or
self-awareness, plus emotions for example too. So, this was interesting,
and he also showed that the nerves could go to a
part of the brain, the insular, that in his theory produces
a picture of the whole body; like saying, my feet are cold. I had a nice sandwich. I’m a bit worried, and you
put together a picture, and you do this every few
seconds, creating sort of like a movie of your
self-awareness, how you feel, but that has nerves
that can go there, and when you can find
this with research, for example with Emerson
Meyer, who showed that people with irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel
disease have higher risks of having anxiety or depression,
even when you compare them with other people who
have chronic diseases that aren’t much fun either. This starts to like form an
interesting picture, I think. And we’ve seen some quite
interesting animal studies, where like animals
would change behaviour when they were given
different bacteria, and in the positive direction;
so making them less stressed, learning better, and
things like this. So, this altogether started
to form a new picture for me, and it was actually one of; so,
the second thing that changed, is that I changed my
perspective on mood. I look at my mood differently
now, and I think many of us externalise a whole lot
when you think about our mood, and often times, you find
this very understandable, during the day, you
often feel like the brain under screen, I think. And then, we try to
find reason outside that are making us feel the
way we feel, and with knowing that mood also comes
together from other places, not only around you, but
signals that your gut might send up to the brain to
inform how the whole rest of your body is do, but not only
information from eyes or ears, but like all kinds of hormones or how the immune
cells are doing, or what the bacteria
are producing. Just so like give some
information, and to put this in the insular within the
creation of how am I doing, then I think makes sense, and
makes you think a bit more about well, how did
I treat my body. And now when I wake up
fairly early sometimes; I do this a few times a year,
and I worry, and I’m like, ah, did I do this right or should I
do this more, and was that okay. And then now, I think,
okay hold on a second, what did I eat last night? Did I eat too late? Did I stress my body? Did I stress my gut,
and then I get up and like eat something light,
and have a tea or something, and it’s surprising to me how
well this technique has worked, because it sounds
so simple, but yeah, this is one of the three
things that changed. And the third thing is probably
like my absolute favour, and I get very excited
about this every time; it’s the bacterium, because
I do my doctrine thesis in microbiology, and this
is something popping up. And, I’m sure you’ve sort
of heard of it somewhere. We have about like 2
kilogrammes; up to 2 kilogrammes of bacteria in our guts that
produce all kinds of things. They will help us digest. They will teach our
immune system. They will protect us from
bad bacteria that come along, and many of them
are very mysterious. We don’t know a lot about
them, but what I try to do in this third part of the
book; I want the readers to understand why researchers
are even looking into questions like how these bacteria
influence our body weight or our risk for diabetes
or mental health or things like inflammatory diseases,
like rheumatic, arthritis, and one question that I
was asked, like very often, in talking about this
was our body weight, how this could be
influenced by bacteria, and this was actually one
of the topics that started to draw a lot of attention
for microbiomes research. And what they saw in
the beginning with mice, who got bacteria from
overweight people, and they would suddenly
put on a lot of weight, and then when they got bacteria
from normal weight people, this could be reversed. And then they started thinking
that there’s some bacteria that can harvest calories
better from our food, thus making a low carb diet,
at least for a limited amount of time, actually a bit more
rational, and may be working, and then after awhile, they realised this could
not have been the case, because some mice put
on 60% more body fat, and they were eating
the same thing, that it was just
mathematically not possible. So, they had other theories, like the bacteria could
probably influence other areas, like our thyroid gland, by
producing tiny molecules that go into the blood stream,
or even up to our brain and influencing processes to
build up an appetite, cravings and satiety, because they
were chemically capable of doing that, and by being so
small, diffusing in the blood, and through the blood brain
barrier in the brain also. And I like this area
of research; not only because it makes you
have a new perspective on how to get the bikini body you want, but also because I really
admire how this field of research is starting
to build up, because one side
is really looking at what bacteria could be
wrong, what could be broken, so people put on more weight
with what kind of gut bacteria. But the other side of research
is looking into what did we used to have that used to protect
us from putting on body weight, or what good bacteria can
we take from people that eat and eat and eat and
don’t put on much weight. And so, I like this. I’m not saying the other
one is bad, that for decades and centuries, this
was very good for us in curing many diseases
by looking at what’s broke and what’s wrong, but also
looking at what’s good, and what you can take from this. I just find this to be a
very interesting and pulling, like in a teasing way, a good
way to pull new knowledge and ideas to also
look at it this way. And then the third part, and
the part changed for me again; things in my life, was
looking at cleanliness, and what actual new or modern or
the right cleanliness would look like when you think
about the gut. And in the beginning
when I wrote this text, I didn’t think it would
change much for me at all. I knew the hygiene hypothesis, so people would get
more allergies, because things would
maybe to clean. So, I thought I’m just
going to put this together, and I know what it’s about. But then I started reading more
about the history of cleanliness and our perception of it, and
I realised, we start it off on a very interesting
foot knowing bacteria when tuberculosis started to set
on, and people suddenly knew, okay, bacteria, other
things that are responsible for tuberculosis; they’re
invisible, they might kill you, so there was a big fear
building up, and we would like get all these
rules on hygiene. There were some really nice
pieces of paper that were handed out in the 20s in Germany saying like don’t use the
same toothbrush, don’t use the same towel. Some even had the
wordings limit kissing to the erotically
unavoidable [laughter]. I really like that also. So, you can see, we started
having this perspective on cleanliness, which very
much sticks to our society; the Western societies
to this day. It’s in a way fear based, and
this continued on in the 50s, 60s, when fear became,
like cleaning became a way of having some like some
sense of structure and order in a life feeling sometimes
a bit chaotic at times. So, you would like generate,
yeah, structure and comas, and order, and to this day, I think it’s becoming
more and more extract. We now buy disinfectants that
when you’ve cleaned with them, everything looks exactly
how it looked before, but you still think it was
really worth paying the money. So what’s behind, what other
extract ideas behind that? I think that’s a very
interesting question. And when we look at the recent
science, we see that 95% of all bacteria on this
planet don’t harm us at all. Either they help us, or
they don’t have the genetic possibilities to
do anything to us. So, this is a perspective
on cleanliness that is not very effect
oriented, and in fact, when you look at
cleanliness in the gut, you see that really cleanliness
is about a balance all the time and you can’t put an
energy to stay away from the bad all the time. This is not how it works. It’s nice to this also that
this is the not the whole idea. The whole idea of having enough
good bacteria and then some bad, even more wide, to get the
immune system some sightseeing, some training, to know what
they’re looking out for really. So, I started having this
different perspective, and then a few weeks after I’d
written the text, I held a talk at my university about
my doctorate work, and I made a mistake by a
thousand, and I realised it like just when I was
done, and I walked home. And I was like; I made a
mistake by a thousand, whew. And then I like calmed myself. Okay, that’s alright though;
most of the time I said like useful good things,
so there was this mistake, but I think it was
still balanced. It was like still the
clean thing, you know, and that’s when I
realised, oh wow, I believe I took my perspective on cleanliness to
a further level. Maybe we all do. I don’t know, it’s my
theory at the moment. We take how we handle
cleanliness, sometimes a bit also
like a life hygiene, and knowing that this is
not always about changing from the bad, but fostering
the good; like in the gut, was something that was very
easing and comforting to me, and it helped me in a way. So, in this meeting, I
hope I told you mostly good and useful things today. I thank you very much
for your attention, and I’m looking forward
to the questions. [ Applause ]>>You wrote this book
Guilia when you were 24?>>Yes, 23.>>23, as a student.>>So, the age, like
it mattered [laughter]. I should have said like
23-1/2 or something, sorry.>>Very precise. Millions of copies later, and
I’m thinking, so who’s going to get to play you in the
Hollywood blockbuster? I wonder. Who would
play you in the film?>>Oh, oh, that’s
a good question, especially because
I don’t have a TV, and I don’t watch
that many films.>>And who would play the gut? [Laughter]>>Oh, I think I like
having different aspects of the gut being like persons,
but not the gut itself, because everyone has one, right? So, we all have our own, and then there are
quirky characters in it. The small intestine
being like always eager and being pushing
everything forward, and the larger intestine being
like, oh, come on [laughter]. Let’s just be calm and get all
the difficult things out of it. Like, they have different
characteristics, but they’re like
unique for everyone.>>Yeah, I mean this is,
this is what’s, sorry, likely such a rich way,
you’re playful with ideas, and you give your biological
beings personalities, and I think that’s a really
interesting approach to take to science communication. I mean, it’s obviously
had a tremendous impact.>>Yeah, I mean, that’s I feel
it starts to become, you know, what you’ve learnt, you forget, and you like really take the
knowledge of a part of you, I feel like it just becomes
a soul or a personality. Like that’s the way I memorise
how to treat the small intestine or how to treat the
large intestine. I memorise the correct
characteristics are when I learnt about it.>>What interests me, this work
around connecting gut and brain, and of course, you explained in great detail how the
gut has its own brain. It’s the largest sensory
organ in our body. This interconnectivity
is something that Chinese medicine has talked
about over many centuries. It’s part of their
yoga tradition as well. Mainstream contemporary medicine
has been reluctant, and even.>>Ignorant.>>Resistant.>>Yeah.>>Resistant even to
exploring this connexion. Why do you think that
resistant was there? It’s shifting now, but why
do you think it was there?>>Well, I think for some part,
maybe it’s something [laughter]. Sometimes I feel
like it really is to always state they’re
different from alternative medicine. I think there is
something like this. Where you feel they’re just
like drawing very strong borders to show the difference,
because there is harm, or there has been harm caused
by alternative medicine. They’re trained to
like fend it off. And then, many years, we didn’t
have the technique properties to like look into
this area of research. We’ve just like had machines
to analyse those millions of bacteria for maybe
10, 20 years now, and it’s still very
expensive to do so. So, we really didn’t have
the technical equipment, and then also, I think
in the science world, it probably wasn’t the coolest
thing to say at the Sunday tea, you know, my husband
researches poop. Sorry. You know, so I think
there are probably more aspects, but for me, it had
something quite like peaceful when I saw this. Because my mum and my
grandma are always very much into alternative medicine, and
I never thought it was crazy, because I grew up like this,
and many things helped me. But, there was always
like a contrast between what I was studying
and what I had seen at home, and then seeing when these
two things suddenly start to overlap, and find places where they actually meet was
very calming for me [laughter]. I couldn’t forget.>>Yeah, that’s right, the
meeting of paradigm if you like. There still though is anxiety
about some of the claims that get made about
the gut and gut health. You know, scientists
feel like, you know, too many claims are made when the evidence isn’t quite
there yet or is way off.>>Yeah.>>And so there’s a
fine line, isn’t there? There’s a real gut obsession, and some of the claims made
aren’t necessarily based on evidence, but people have
their own experiential story around their gut as well, so there’s a tension
there, isn’t there?>>Yeah, and I absolutely
understand this, and for me, the most important, the
most difficult chapter in the book really was
the gut/brain access, because at the time
that I was writing, there was basically
just like animal studies and some very interesting
theories. And I had like a month
of sitting in front of a blank page, because
I thought, I don’t want to make false promises. I don’t want people to like
think now they can cure their mental health problems by just,
you know, doing this or this, and I felt very anxious about
putting it in the wrong words. And it took me quite awhile
until I’d get to a point where I was okay with it. Because I wanted to tell people
about this, and I wanted to tell about the forts that are in the
room, but not making it sound like now this is now the
wonder healing method to cure everything. And this is why now, in Germany,
at least, I updated the book and put it more like the
researches that have been in the last two or
three years with humans. Real humans.>>Which is nice.>>Yeah, it’s nice to
know how to relieve.>>We don’t share all the
same gut flora with mice.>>No.>>So, all those mice
studies have been done.>>It’s nice to know how to
relieve your pet mouse’s stress, but you know, it’s really
in the end about your own, and there are differences
in the results, and you can see them now; like
with very few studies only. But I think the problem for me mostly is
explaining the theories, being clear that they are how
they are, and what we have in human studies, and
trying to not get people to be too anxious about it. I feel like many people
would then start to believe; now I need to buy all the good
bacteria and put them in my gut, because otherwise, I’ll
be, you know, whatever. I would also like
to explain that all of us already have
probiotic bacteria in our gut; maybe inherited from
mum, grandma, from the nice plant we ate from
something good, already there, and just like come and tell what like how the actual
science is at the moment.>>Yeah, because there’s
potentially a multi-kazillion dollar industry, isn’t there, in selling people products
that they don’t need. I mean, mostly, it’s not harmful
to you, so I don’t want people to think their body is weak and
doesn’t have enough good things. And now they need to
go out and buy this. For some things, it really
makes sense; for diarrhoea, especially for children
and the elderly, probiotics are a very nice
thing, but then others, you really have to know, do
I want to do this experiment, or is my body good enough itself if I had the good
bacteria in there.>>One of the really
interesting things in this for me was reading
about the idea that different people have
different gut types, you know, that you can kind of classify
different people according to their gut flora
that they have, which makes it an intriguing.>>They’re already like starting
to criticise this model of mine.>>Tell me some more.>>Well, they say that when you
look at different types of data, you can try to make a gut type
out of everything sort of, so they’re saying, they’re not so sure this is a stable
way of looking at it. But I think it just generated,
in the beginning at least, a clear way to look at it, so
people would have less fear of going into this research,
because it’s really scary. Our immune system,
bacteria and hormones, so much like what the people
eat; it’s very complex, but having this generated,
I think easiness in the beginning for
many researchers. And then again, people do have
different genetic profiles. How many genetics in
the bacteria are coming in different guts that they have for processing meat,
for example. If you eat lots of meat,
you’ll have bacteria, because they specialise and foster eating
most different meats, and then others eat more plant
base, and so they have bacteria that have enzymes to digest
those plants for them, because really what the
bacteria are, is like a huge; how do you call this thing where you’ve got a
hammer and a screwdriver.>>Toolbox?>>A toolbox. It’s really like a huge
toolbox of genetics that we can very fastly
acquire [inaudible], and to do things
ourselves are incapable of.>>I was fascinated, and I would
like to come to all of you; I was fascinated with also
the comment that you made at the very beginning, and
this is, there’s, you know, interesting debates
around this too, but knowing the way you came
into the world, either Caesarian or through birth canal, you can
then in a sense make a guess about what health
afflictions you might grapple with later on in life.>>Yeah.>>Fascinating work, isn’t it. That process of being birthed
exposes you to really sort of interesting sort of
bacteria, courtesy of mum.>>Yeah, and also like,
because when you’re born, you can like be delivered
vaginally. You get all this lactic
acid bacteria that are there to protect; you know
up to the uterus, they get more dense
and more acidic. So, then the baby comes out;
it gets a layer of bacteria that make acids, and acids are
very protective, which you see in like sauerkraut, which
takes a long time to go bad, because the acid
really protects. Bad material usually don’t
like to live in the acid, so the baby gets this protection
layer from the mum to really, yeah, you know, have a
good start in the world, and also the way of delivery. You can be turned with your
head to the upper front, or you can look to the
back when you come out. And it’s far easier to be born
the way to look to the back, so you even get a bit of
gut material this way, so it’s really a smart design.>>Yeah, it’s interesting,
isn’t it? Let’s come to some
questions and comments. We might just need the
lights down a little bit so we can see our questioners. Number one, thank you.>>Hi.>>Hello.>>I have probably a
pretty basic question. I don’t have a large intestine. It was taken out three years
ago, and I was just wondering when you’re referring to the
gut and gut bacteria and all of that, is that
the small intestine, or is it both, or just.>>Yeah, where does
the bacteria live? Yeah, so, what happens
is when you go through the gastrointestinal
tract, the density of material will
grow and grow and grow and grow, and really the biggest part
is in the large intestine, and we have concentrate,
it’s like 10 to the 12th, but it builds up in
the small intestine? It’s not too good when
they’re too many bacteria in the small intestine, because
that’s when people feel bloated, or they can even be nauseous,
because they’re not meant to like disturb the digestive
process there too much, but they produce
gases and stuff. And the thing is, when the large
intestine has been removed, what scientists see is that actually the
whole system adapts, and the small intestine
will start to like take over some bacterial tasks that
earlier used to be in the colon. So, some bacteria that
used to be like typical in the colon will
grow up a little bit, and the small intestine
also will usually add some surface area.>>Yeah.>>When this happens, and
the bacteria will then be in this last part of the small
intestine like take over. It takes a while. It takes time to.>>Yeah.>>Balance and balance,
but after awhile, it develops quite nicely.>>Cool. Thank you very much.>>Oh, I’d like to ask more
questions about what it’s like to live without a large
intestine, but we might need to save that for later. Thank you very much. Hi, number four.>>Hi.>>Hello.>>Is this working?>>Yep.>>So, there a lot of dietary
recommendations are around, you know, eat two pieces of
fruit or one bread a day. A couple of years ago, the
Brazilian government came out with recommendations
around eat slowly and focus on your food or try not to
eat in front of the television or when you’re in a rush. I wonder if you have
thoughts on the importance of not just what we
eat, but how we eat it? Yes and how government
institutions agency can tell people how important both are.>>That’s a great question.>>There’s strong opinions
of both [laughter]. One is about how to eat. I think is; the thing
is when we’re stressed, and we’ve known this
very early on, actually, is that the whole
gastrointestinal tract will save energy and give it to the
brain or the muscles to run from something dangerous
or to solve a problem, because that’s usually
what stress is caused by. So, it will take down
all kinds of energy. It will have less blood flow,
so if you put in a camera, you could actually see
the walls like going from a pink colour to more pale. You could see this visually, and
then it will produce less mucus, which is our thick skin in the
gut, like our protection layer, and you will have less immune
substance, where sorting out some bacteria will not
like happen as effectively. So, stress in a way draws energy
from your gut, and that’s okay, because sometimes there is
a problem we need to solve, or there’s something that we
need to run from, and it’s okay that our body works this way. Just when we overstretch
it, and we sometimes tend to like sacrifice our
body all the time, but hardly ever sacrificing
something for our body. So, when you get out of balance,
and by now, you’ve maybe heard that I’m a big fan of balance. But yeah, if you like in
general, we say osmosing. You’re mean, if somebody
is really nice to you; he’s like doing all
these things, and you’re taking advantage, and then I think this
gets out of balance. So, eating in a calm way,
giving like back the energy that your gut owes you
all the time when you have like little stress moments,
it’s just fair, I believe, and then this emerges with.>>Have compassion for your gut.>>Yeah, because it sacrifices,
and it’s one of the organs that does this on
a very high scale, because it’s very connected due to its neuronic similarities
to the brain. It’s very much engaged
in stress the brain has, so it will do this very vividly;
compared to other organs who are not that impressed
by how stressed you are. Mean, but like that’s
why the gut’s great too. But, yeah, the other thing was, how should we tell those
advices, and I myself, that’s why I said in the
beginning, I want to write like a typical advisor book, because I really dislike
people telling me, do this, do this, do this. But what I like is when somebody
explains something to me. Like the stress thing. Oh, okay, so there’s less
blood flow, there’s less mucus, there’s less immune protection. I get it now. You know, if I get it, if I
understand it; that’s all I want from people, and then I
make my own decisions. Then I say, okay, this
week, I’ve totally blown it. I’ve stressed myself out
over this, and this and this. I know it, and it’s okay, but
I will now be fair to it again. I can make my own decisions. I can know when I want to
sacrifice my body for awhile, and not, nobody tell
me when or how to eat, but explaining why you
want to tell me this, and then I will handle it.>>Yeah, that’s refreshing,
isn’t it? If only all public
policy was like that. [laughter]. Number three, thank
you, upstairs.>>Hi, Guilia. I just wanted to ask.>>Hello.>>Firstly, if you have a name
for the condition that you had as a young girl, where you were
covered in spots, and secondly if in your research you
came across any association with the numbers of appendicitis
in Australia and in the UK. It sounds like a genetic,
or perhaps cultural or geographical association
with that at all.>>Yeah, that’s intriguing,
isn’t it? Did you get that?>>Not entire. Are appendicitis?>>In Australia, there’s like a
high incidence of appendicitis.>>Is it, hmm?>>And in the UK as well?>>I think so, but I don’t
know, but I would think so, because the fibre
content is especially low, I think, in England.>>Lard.>>Okay, lard too. So, one of the things
that I found from one of my paediatrician professors
is that many times in children, they will like have a type of
constipation, and then pieces of the various solid stool
will then clog up the appendix, and then the inflammation
really starts to get going. So, if you don’t
eat a lot of fibre, then this will probably be more
likely to happen, but then, I don’t know if this is the
whole explanation for it. It could just be a part of it. It could just be
for some people, and then other people it
might be microbiotic related, or something I don’t know. So, this is that. And the other thing,
my skin condition; I don’t know the English word. In German dermatitis
hepatiformis, so it’s a part of the celiac disease. So, not eating gluten worked
well, but that isn’t the case for everybody with dermatitis.>>Yeah, interesting.>>Thank you.>>Actually, when I read
this book first a couple of years ago, I just
had my appendix out.>>And you know, it
takes a bit of time to get everything moving again after you’ve had your
appendix out, I’ve discovered, and as soon as I read your book, everything got moving
again [laughter].>>Ah, ha, nice to see.>>Do we have anything
at number two? We’ve got one at four
there, thank you.>>A very short one. Do you have anything that
you do on a daily basis or any suggestions for one
thing people in this room can do to help their gut; just on a
daily basis, something simple?>>Something, simple.>>Dr. Guilia.>>Turn around; look
in the toilet, because that’s what
comes out in the end. You can check out; that’s why
I like to put this in the book. We put like a little
lecture on faeces. I’ll have to show you,
because I find it so lovely. I just gave my sister the text, and she made a little
frame around it. I was like really? From the small intestine. I just really liked
it [laughter]. So, there’s a scale. We call it the best of stool
scale, and you can just like see the consistency. And you can do this at home,
like comfortably, because I feel that many people
don’t talk about this, and I’m not saying they have to. But some people go for their
whole lifetime thinking what they produce is normal, and then
they find out it’s actually not, and it’s because of some food
intolerance, for example, that can cause diarrhoea
or constipation. Milk sometimes can do both, and
then just looking and turning around and seeing, like the
consistency, colour alright? They feel very uncomfortable. You can flush. It’s very like safe [laughter]. So, this is one thing
everybody can do, and then I like listening
to gut. I think this is a nice and
easy once you know about it. Because some people and some old
doctors will even still do this. They will say, oh, having a
tummy ache, you know once week, or having diarrhoea every
other time is normal. And I’m like, what, no it’s not. You know, if we communicate
and ask how you’re doing. Have I treated you okay? Are you craving something,
and then I think listening to your appetite is
something that I like, because our appetite’s
actually very smart. The people that usually
don’t believe that, because they think it’s stupid. It’s like wants chocolate
and fries and chips, and all these bad
things, but when you look at the science behind it, the reason why you
want those things; the food industry tricks
us just really smartly, because for when
example, crispy things, those are big on what we like. It’s like when you bite a plant
or something that’s very fresh, that hasn’t laid on the ground,
but just like fallen off, then it will be like crispy, because all the cells
will explode, because they’re still very
full, and this is why our body and body like, whish, the crispy
feeling of things for example. And then other combinations like
fat and sugar or acid and sugar, just like acid and sugar is
actually natural on things, very healthy, like fruit
or fermented fruits, but when we take Coca
Cola, for example, if we take out the acid, I
think none of you would like it. You would find it disgusting. You would not drink
a second glass. So, your body is not stupid
wanting so much sugar, it’s just being tricked
by putting acid to it. Because we know it’s from fruit
or we know it’s from fermenting, and then so I like following
the appetite, but knowing the where the food industry
tricks us, so when you know these few
areas then you can listen to all the other appetites,
and they’re really smart, and we especially see
this in pregnant women. My sister just gave
birth to her first baby, and while she was pregnant,
it was amazing to us, because in each different
time zones, she was craving exactly the
foods that were necessary in the development of
the child at that time. We kept looking up,
and it was insane, so I was very amazed by that. I believed in appetite before, but I think I even
more so do after this. I think that’s it, like
be nice to your interior. Be nice.>>I like the fact that when I
found that we’re more bacteria than human, I think
everything changed to me. I had much less existential
angst after that [laughter]. Number three, thank you,
and then I’ll come to one.>>Hi, Guilia, I just
wanted to get your thoughts on colonic irrigation and on
detoxing, whether these are good for your gut, and I just
wondered, many women now who deliver their babies by
Caesarian ought to have a swab of their vaginal bacteria
and placed on the baby to get their bacteria. What are your thoughts on that?>>Yeah.>>Thanks.>>So about the cleansing, I believe at first
it’s very important to know how your
gut cleans itself, and once we have the rumbling
from [inaudible] test, you don’t have to hear that. You just hear it if
there’s a lot of like air, but also all the cells lining
the surface of the colon and small intestine will renew
themselves every like days up to weeks, so after
like say three weeks, everything is completely
new and shiny in there, and when you just eat
healthy and not too bad, and treat your gut right for
three weeks, it should be like a pretty clean thing. Like, watch your bowel
movements a little bit so everything gets out. If you’re like the constipated
type, of course, take care, but then like your gut really
cleans itself on a normal basis. So, I think for regular
recommendations, I would say know this and
trust and work together. And then I know they’re
some diseases where people like kept telling, like when I
saw patients in the hospital, they just kept telling
me it helped them so much with migraines or other things. So, I would not be the one to
tell them they’re not right, because they’re in their body, and if they feel it helps
then, I’m okay with this. There was a medical study
showing that if you do this like for all kinds of things,
there can be side effects. There can be destruction
sometimes when it’s done not proper or
when the pressure is too high, but you have to be
careful with those things. But if there are people who
really say it helps them, I’m not saying they
shouldn’t do it. Just like, also know your
body cleans itself too. And then the other.>>There was the taking
the swab from the vagina.>>Yeah true. When my sister was pregnant, we
were talking about this also, because we said, what if
it’s a Caesarian section. We’ve both been birthed, like
born by Caesarian section, so I would have done this
if it had been the case that my sister could have
not delivered naturally. She did. It was a 10 pound baby.>>Owie.>>And my sister has my
physique, so we were like, how, how did this baby pass. It was, but like we were
prepared it would be the other way maybe, and with that, you
just have to also know you have to know some things behind it. If it’s stored away
for too long, because you don’t go
all the way to the end where it’s the most safe. The most safe is at the entry
of the wound, because that’s where the bacteria are
really organising to protect like watchdogs, so they
are like the best acidic and the most protective ones,
but you have to go there by going to the front first,
and this is the other way around from the birth. So you maybe get some bacteria that aren’t just
good and protective. There will also maybe be
others one, so the thing is, it can’t be stored for too long, and because they might
overgrow the other ones, and then it’s really not a
nice thing to do for a child, so there’s some things
to watch out for, and I know they are trying
it now in a few hospital, at least in Germany, and they
do this on a scientific basis, and they test everything
before they apply, and so there are
already signs happening, and I hope this progresses fast
enough so we can do this safe. But to be honest,
I would have done if my sister would have had a
C-section, because I feel safe with like handling bacteria.>>Very interesting, I could
just imagine the baby going, oh, mum, what is that for. A very quick question from you.>>I was just wondering what
you feel the importance is of the way you chew
your food, the rate, and how much you chew your food when you’re eating,
and would that help.>>And just before, I’ll just
grab your question while you’re there too, or did
you just ask one.>>No.>>So chewing the food. I’ll grab the last two thanks.>>I just want to say,
Guilia, thank you so much, because I’m a psychologist,
and one of the things that really stands out to
me about what you’ve done with your work has
really started to dismantle shame
around the body. We run into a lot of
clients with trauma and other mental
health issues that mean that they have a very negative
relationship to the body. I think you’ve kind of
answered some questions for me a little earlier when
you started talking about some of the behavioural things that
we can do when we’re eating, and it’s certainly going to get
me thinking with my clients. Often what we do as
psychologist as we ask patients to get their brain to relax
their body, and for someone with a history of trauma,
that’s very confronting, because it means dealing
with whatever is going on. What some of the things
that you’re saying is that if I actually just
tune into my body and eat in a different way,
those are the questions that I think I’m going
to start asking about? I guess one of the
questions was, if we do, if people are slowing those
things down and working out what their body needs more,
do the bacteria start to change or at what rate when the stress
response starts to quiet down, how fast does that
flora start to shift.>>Thank you very
much, and we’re just out of time, so quick answers.>>Alright.>>Thank you, great
last question.>>Drink, I think it
probably is important, also because when you
eat in a calm way, you might take more time
or not, but I don’t know, because I don’t have like facts
or have read about this more, so I’m very vague
on this actually. One of my professors stated
that the amount of enzymes in our saliva is
actually really too little to really start digesting much,
and that it’s more to keep up the dental hygiene
after you’ve eaten. I don’t know if that’s true, but
I find it interesting, but yeah, I guess that’s all
I know on this. Yes, and.>>And if you do change
some of behaviours.>>Oh right, how fast
does the bacteria change? We see for example with
changing their diet, this is surprisingly fast, so if
you eat a very meat based-diet and you suddenly to change
to a vegetarian diet, this happens even
after a few days, that the first changes
really become visible. So, it’s actually with
some like crucial things like eating protein
or like meat or plant, this happens quite fast. With stress for example,
I don’t know. I know that people who
are stressed and have like a long period of stress,
and could sometimes even slip into depression because of that, it’s proven that they have
different gut bacteria. Probably also other things like the immune system
being different then, and insulating this, so it’s not
only a one thing, but I do not about the [inaudible]
things, how fast those change, but when you look at the
food, it’s pretty fast.>>Pretty fast. Look, this is the
all about festival, and I was really struck as
we were speaking outside that you think that your
mother and your sister and your grandmother, who you
said really had given you a great love of learning for the
sake of the love of learning, and I can just feel it in you
as you talk, as we all do. And just briefly and finally,
what are you going to do next.>>Well, I’ll just
be at the hospital with a white coat, and work.>>Really?>>And just is probably
the wrong word, because I’m very nervous. I hope I’ll learn fast,
and get the technique and the craft right
as fast as possible, because that’s all ahead of me,
like getting all the experience.>>What a wonderful
treat to host you here at the All About Women Festival. Thank you so much, Guilia.>>Thank you so much. Thank you. [ Applause ] [ Music ]


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