BiotiQuest® Gut Health & Probiotics Blog with Martha Carlin

The Health Detective Podcast with Evan Transue: Parkinson's: A Brain Disease OR a Gut Problem?

Martha Carlin | Dec 22, 2023 | Podcast


[00:00:00] Detective Ev: Well, hello my friends. Welcome back to another episode of the Health Detective Podcast by Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. My name is Evan Transue, aka Detective Ev. I will be your host for today’s show discussing a gut problem with Parkinson’s Disease.

We are talking to an absolutely brilliant woman who is on truly the cutting edge of science, if everything that she said today is accurate. And I have every reason to believe it is. I just mean that some of it is so darn cool that it’s almost incomprehensible to me to believe that this actually is going to exist soon. I’ll make sense of that in just a second. I’ll read her bio first and then I’ll explain what we’re talking about today.

Martha Carlin is a citizen scientist, systems thinker, wife of Parkinson’s Warrior, John Carlin, and founder of The BioCollective, a microbiome company expanding the reach of science.

Since John’s diagnosis in 2002, Martha began learning the science of agriculture, nutrition, environment, infectious disease, Parkinson’s pathology, and much more. In 2014 when the first research was published, showing a connection between the gut bacteria and the two phenotypes of Parkinson’s, Martha quit her former career as a business turnaround expert and founded The BioCollective to accelerate the discovery of the impact of gut health on all human health, including Parkinson’s.

Martha was a speaker at the White House 2016 Microbiome Initiative Launch, challenging the scientific community to “think in a broader context”. Her systems thinking background and experience has led to collaborations across the scientific spectrum from neuroscience to engineering to infectious disease.

A Glyphosate Eating Product

She is a respected out of the box problem solver in the microbiome field and brings a unique perspective to helping others understand the connections from the soil to the food to our guts and our brains.

In today’s episode, we are talking about primarily the formula that was created, which is now multiple products, and a lot of them have the main formula in it. But a formula of sorts that was created with people who have Parkinson’s in mind. It’s also something that could affect a lot of people in terms of microbiome health in a very positive way.

What we will also be mentioning today, which I find even more revolutionary than this, is she’s working on a company and they’re filing patents and stuff like that. Apparently, this could be out as early as 2023. It’s going to be a product that has certain bacteria in it, microbes, that can consume glyphosate.

What this would mean is that, in theory, you could put this in your backyard for a garden and it would eat up glyphosate, Roundup, and then you would have a much purer garden. Of course, there’s bigger issues because it comes from the rainwater, it comes from a lot of different things. But this would still be a huge product for a variety of reasons.

I just thought it was fascinating. I have never heard of something like this. I’ve never heard of it being developed. Then supposedly the person that is really on the front lines of this and actually going to offer something to the market was lucky enough to come on our podcast. Really, we are lucky enough to have her so that we could bring this message to you guys. I think you’re going to love her.

The Start of An Amazing Journey

She’s passionate, very intelligent, extremely well read. I mean, there’s nothing to not like about this podcast. It fits in perfectly for what we try to do here. Without further ado, let’s get to today’s episode.

All right. Hello there. Martha. Thanks so much for being here with us today.

[00:03:20] Martha Carlin: Thanks for having me, Evan.

[00:03:22] Detective Ev: Yeah, I’m excited to talk to you.

There was a lot of interesting things when I was reading your bio. I’m like, okay, wow. A lot of different routes we can take. I’m especially interested in the whole Parkinson’s side, and I know that’s a huge aspect of your family’s story.

I don’t know if this will just organically get into that, but I always start with the same question on this podcast. You said that you were listening to a couple of interviews, so you probably know this.

I’d like to just know what the heck got the person into this space to begin with. Because no one gets into this by accident, not yet at least. This is intentional because of something that happened to us or someone we care about. So how did you get into this?

[00:03:52] Martha Carlin: Absolutely. I got into this 21 years ago. My 44-year-old husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He had been a very healthy endurance athlete. It just didn’t make sense to me that someone like that would get an old person’s disease.

I actually had a background in accounting and business operations. I was a business turnaround expert.

Antibiotics Causing a Gut Problem

I just looked at how the neurologist sort of looked at him and said, you have Parkinson’s, which I had already figured out. Gave him a pill and said, come back in six months. I was like, this doesn’t make any sense.

So, I took my business turnaround approach, which I was trained in something called Transaction Flow Review, how you identify risk in a business. You look at everything that’s flowing through the system, and you try to figure out where the break points are that cause business risk.

I said, okay, we should look at the body like a system. What’s flowing through it? Like food and water. I started first 21 years ago looking at the food and water system and all the things that might have been contributing to that. Just totally threw out the pantry and started over. It’s taken 21 years of increasing into different areas of the science and connecting the dots.

Then in 2014 I read a book called Missing Microbes by Dr. Martin Blazer, that was talking about the age of antibiotics that we’ve all grown up in. How that was destroying something called the microbiome, which I really hadn’t heard much about. That made a lot of sense to me cause I knew my husband and other people with Parkinson’s who had taken a lot of antibiotics in childhood for infections like strep.

Six months later, a scientist from Finland showed that he could divide the two primary types of Parkinson’s by the gut bacteria. Some people have tremor more dominant, and some people have posture and gait problems. He could separate that just by looking at the gut bacteria.

I was like, Eureka. This is it. The gut is the general ledger, and I quit my job.

Looking at Common Microbiome Functional Loss Patterns

We started funding some research at the University of Chicago. About six months later, I formed a company called The BioCollective to start collecting fecal samples from people to not only look at Parkinson’s but look across what we call diseases for common functional loss patterns in the microbiome.

[00:06:38] Detective Ev: I love that you brought up the antibiotics thing because it’s something I mention occasionally on this show. It’s sometimes tough to see what came first, the chicken or the egg, at least for me.

I know I had severe sinus issues, which maybe shouldn’t have always been treated with antibiotics. However, it’s still a symptom, right? So, something else was going on to trigger that even. Martha, I mean, by the age of 18, I had been on 20 courses of antibiotics in my life, some of which lasted a month. Then I look back, I’m just thankful to be as normal and healthy as I am now because we really don’t know fully what that does long term.

That’s amazing that that researcher could differentiate these Parkinson’s people into two different groups based on that. That was something I’ve never heard of, so that’s already hugely valuable to the audience. Thank you.

One thing I gotta ask is, we’re going 21 years back, 44-year-old husband, this is happening. From my understanding, because you have this business background, were you a health person at all? I mean, was this something you had ever even considered?

Fear Hit When First Diagnosed

[00:07:30] Martha Carlin: No, I was not a health person at all. I was very business focused, down to the brass tax. Although it’s kind of funny. Because in college, I went into college, and I was going to become a chemical engineer.

I got there and I had a terrible chemistry professor. I saw that I was not going to get to have any fun if I studied chemistry. So, I changed my major.

[00:07:55] Detective Ev: My question is that, especially with someone without the health background, and I’m thinking 21 years back. Cause I know from me, I’ve been in this space about nine years now. Even myself, I have seen such a dramatic transition in the way that people approach this mostly because of the internet, because this information spreads rapidly now.

You have no health back background. Obviously, you’re a very sharp person, but that doesn’t mean that necessarily translated over into knowledge about health right away. You figured out the Parkinson’s thing before the doctor even said it. I gotta ask, what the heck’s going through your head though, seeing a 44-year-old husband with Parkinson’s without a health background?

I mean, are you like freaking out? Are you scared? Like what’s happening at the time?

[00:08:33] Martha Carlin: At first, we were both really scared. I look back at some of the journals that I wrote and the things that we said to each other. You know, we didn’t think he’d still be around now.

Parkinson’s is Not Necessarily Progressive

In 2011, which he was diagnosed in 2002, we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. When we were on top of that mountain, we were both standing there crying because when we heard that diagnosis, we thought there’s absolutely no way he would have any kind of life at that point.

I mean, that’s what the doctors sort of tell you. You know, this is progressive. There’s nothing you can do about it. I’m here to tell you that’s just not true.

[00:09:10] Detective Ev: And that was kind of my point because it doesn’t really matter per se, how smart the individual is. If you don’t have this functional health background, then yes, you would typically take what the doctor’s going to say at face value or what society says at face value.

So that’s why I was like, wow, this must be kind of scary at any age, but at 44. To think this is my husband and he’s just going to get progressively worse. I didn’t want to ask this, so I thank you so much for saying that cause I was hoping.

Well, you seem pretty happy. You seem like you got a lot of this figured out. Like he’s still with us today, right? That’s amazing, 21 years later. So what? 65 years old?

[00:09:41] Martha Carlin: He’s 64 and he’s doing great. We had a rough bout with COVID last year. We had to kind of get back from some of the long-term effects of that. But all of the skills we’ve developed over these 21 years, and people that I’ve connected with who’ve been able to help me, has gotten in fact in good shape there too.

Clean Food Heals Up a Gut Problem

[00:10:01] Detective Ev: Amazing. Actually, I’m interested in one thing first because we kind of already alluded to this. But I really like to dissect this point, which you might already be aware of.

To have the ability to clearly eventually say, whether it was directly to the doctor or not, that you are going to do different things. You must have done that, otherwise your husband wouldn’t be in the condition that he is in today. How long did it take to get to the point where this goes from, oh my gosh, like this might get progressively worse over time and I’ve kind of lost my husband, to, no, I think I can take proactive action with this?

I understand that you came across some research, but how long did it take to find that stuff?

[00:10:35] Martha Carlin: You know, early on we just changed the food supply, and I focused very much on clean food, which in 2002 was kind of hard to find. There wasn’t a lot of organic, there wasn’t a lot of that. But just through cleaning up the food and not eating processed foods, we saw a pretty immediate improvement.

He was a marathon runner, so he’d been sucking on that goo stuff that they make for marathon runners and drinking soy protein shakes. I got him off soy protein and got him off a lot of that stuff.

I would mention diet to the neurologist, but they didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention. But there was kind of a big inflection point after the gut stuff, really making that connection. That sort of leads into a product that I made.

A Gut Problem: Measuring the Microbiome

I went to a research conference, and they showed that the sugar alcohol, mannitol could stop the aggregation of the proteins in an animal model. I came back from that meeting. He’s had some ups and downs over the years. So, we always kind of tweak and work on things.

At that time, he was walking with a cane and not able to navigate through a crowd. So, I came back and bought a mannitol chemistry book and started looking at this amazing molecule. Humans don’t use it, but bacteria do.

I got with a friend of mine who’s a fermentation chemist, and we looked at the bacteria that make mannitol from glucose and fructose. We made this little formula for my husband to try. Within a month we were measuring his microbiome. We could see that getting back closer to the healthy human microbiome. He was no longer walking with a cane, and he was able to navigate a crowd. We’re like, wow, we really have something here.

At that point, they used something called the UPDR score to show how advanced your Parkinson’s is. The higher the score, the worse you are. About that time, his score was a 35. After about a year on that, his score had improved back down to a 20 and was stable at 20 for about four years until he had COVID in December.

[00:12:51] Detective Ev: Wow. Oh my gosh.

I know he probably did some work too, but I feel like he’s pretty lucky to have someone like you that’s this dedicated to trying to figure this stuff out, two decades later, still sharing. And this is a fraction of you guys’ lives at this point still out here sharing information with others.

A Gut Problem: Chronic Constipation

You know, we’ve had a lot of people come on and we talk about a variety of conditions. But I feel like Parkinson’s might have only really been dove into once before in almost 200 episodes.

Again, I told you about our audience. We do have a lot of people maybe in their thirties and forties listening and perhaps of all the things they’ve dealt with, Parkinson’s hasn’t been one of those things yet. I know our audience is going to love this just for prevention or working with clients.

So, you guys have really nailed this down to the gut microbiome being one of the biggest things.

[00:13:31] Martha Carlin: It is. What’s interesting is I started digging into the data about the incidents of Parkinson’s. Cause you know, I’m like, this is an old person’s disease.

We were in a young onset group. I started digging into the data, and the number of people under the age of 40 being diagnosed with Parkinson’s has nearly doubled in the last decade. Now it is more men. It’s about two-thirds men and one-third women. But one of the other kind of key indicators is chronic constipation precedes a diagnosis of Parkinson’s by 10 to 15 years.

Out of a cohort of people who have IBS and IBD, which a lot of younger people do have, about a third of those people go on to develop Parkinson’s. So, dealing with your gut now while you’re young, can really help maybe stop it or certainly push it further out.

Do Most Sick People Have a Gut Problem?

[00:14:31] Detective Ev: It seems like, obviously, we’ve come a little farther in functional medicine now. I mean, you know, Hippocrates said all disease begins in the gut, which is extraordinarily profound for his time. We know it’s a little more complicated than that now. But I mean, really, it seems to be a necessary component at the very least, in almost everything.

I’ve never had someone hop on here that has done the testing like you guys have and actually tracked this stuff with any condition, whether it’s cancer, autoimmune, anxiety, depression, whatever, that had an optimized gut. You just don’t see someone that has an optimized gut with health symptoms. So, man, we’re playing with some fire here in today’s world and we’re basically Guinea pigs, right?

Because yes, in 2002, you’re right, we were coming off of the main stretch of like GMOs where they were just being used in the US completely unrestricted. I mean, not that they’re as restricted as I’d like to see now. But I mean, no one even knew what the heck these were, right? They’re just being added to the food supply. No one knows what’s happening.

And we’re seeing that the glyphosate is starting to be utilized, the antibiotics are getting handed out like candy even for a cold. Well, it could be something more, so you might as well take these for a cold. Thank God we’re moving away from some of that, but we still got quite a bit to do.

So, of course, in addition to what you’ve created, what other things have you found to be most effective for impacting people’s gut microbiomes in a positive way? Like what are some things people can do?

Exercise is Good for a Gut Problem

[00:15:52] Martha Carlin: Well, you know, exercise turned out to be one of those surprising things.

Back in 2008 we got connected to a researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. J. Alberts. He had discovered kind of by accident, riding the bike ride across Iowa, RAGBRAI, that a friend of his with Parkinson ‘s when riding a bike, his symptoms disappeared.

So, he’s ended up spending more than a decade studying the impact of exercise on the brain and also starting to look at the gut. And there’s a number of researchers that have shown how exercise can improve the gut microbiome.

[00:16:30] Detective Ev: Does this depend on the type of exercise? Because I’m thinking immediately about your husband. I’m like, okay, well, a marathon runner and he got it. I don’t want to be quoted on this by anyone listening because I only like to say that if I know it for sure.

But I recall reading something that the average life expectancy of marathon runners is only like late fifties. The theory behind it being, there’s so much stress on the body. Whereas something like biking might be considered a more moderate activity, generally speaking. So, does it depend on the type of exercise?

[00:16:56] Martha Carlin: I don’t know that Dr. Alberts has studied the extreme part of the exercise. But what they do is a low impact cycling program where you cycle at a certain RPM three times a week. That is, I think, much better for the mitochondria. The stress side of marathon running, that’s another area that I really just started focusing a bit more on this year.

Too Much Exercise Can Be Too Stressful

You know, a lot of marathon runners, historically, were consuming high carb, high glucose. They convert themselves into like anaerobic fermenters, which basically produces lower ATP. I think that’s part of the problem.

Then, like you were saying, that excessive stress creates basically a dumping of magnesium. You’ve gotta get that magnesium back in to handle that excess stress. I do think that extreme exercise, like that is just too much stress for the body long term and converts the whole system in the wrong direction.

[00:17:59] Detective Ev: It’s probably one of the things that tricks up some of our clients the most when our FDNs go work with people. Because if we look at a hormone test and we’re seeing them in a very exhaustive phase of HPA axis dysfunction, one of the recommendations that we might suggest to a client, and by the way, this was suggested to me at 21 years old.

They were like, hey, maybe back off the exercise for a little bit. Like, don’t not move your body. That’s ridiculous. They really said, just give walking a try for a little bit. I’m like, what? Like this is crazy.

I was in a position at the time where I had just broken my foot, so this was actually highly motivating cause I couldn’t even really walk. I could only do my crutches. So, I wasn’t doing any extreme exercise. I said, all right, I’ll just take it easy. I had planned to go to the gym before and like at least do what I could, upper body wise. But I said, whatever my foot needs to heal, fine.

A Gut Problem with COVID & Parkinson’s

I just remember a week went by, Martha. I woke up the one day, I just had so much energy, like drive. I just felt good cause I never really stopped exercising.

Of course, we want to be able to get back to that exercise long term, just so it’s clear to people that might be listening and be a little confused by that. But the point is, sometimes, yeah, it is a stress on the body and people forget that.

So, if your body is already super stressed out because of a chronic illness or disease, we need to make sure we’re balancing that while we get you healthy. Then we can get you back onto a reasonable amount of exercise that is sustainable long term.

Does your husband now, is he able to, Cause I mean he climbed the mountain with you. That’s ridiculous. Is he able to move around a lot or did COVID prevent that?

[00:19:21] Martha Carlin: No, he’s able to move. I mean, he’s fully mobile. I will say, I think there’s another researcher I’m working with who’s looking at the microbiome in Parkinson’s, but also in COVID. There were some similarities in loss of bifido bacteria in the gut of people who did poorly in COVID and that’s also associated with Parkinson’s.

Those bifido bacteria are highly sensitive to antibiotics. One of the main ones is what we get from breast milk and of course, most of our generation were fed on formula, so we didn’t really get that underlying microbiome piece. But yeah, he’s doing great.

Biotic Quest, Sugar Shift

[00:19:59] Detective Ev: Awesome. I want to just highlight it a little more. So, you guys have a product or is it a series of products with the mannitol in it? Can we explain that a little more?

[00:20:07] Martha Carlin: We have a series of products, but the initial product that I made for my husband was a product that we eventually named Sugar Shift. It’s Biotic Quest, Sugar Shift, because it shifts how your body metabolizes sugars. It takes the glucose and fructose that we’re getting way too much of in our diet, converts it to mannitol, which humans don’t use, but is really a prebiotic fiber for bacteria.

So, we saw what was going on in him is it’s shifting the metabolism back to supporting energy production, restoring that TCA cycle. In that process, of course, it was affecting blood glucose. I didn’t know at the time, about 65% of people with Parkinson’s have some, there are some research papers that have called it like Type III Diabetes, same with Alzheimer’s. There’s this glucose dysregulation.

That’s one of the primary mechanisms of action. But we’ve since designing it to make the mannitol, we’ve found it increases bifido bacteria, it improves energy production, it helps with bacterial melatonin production, so improves sleep. I can’t really say this, but customers tell me they lose weight. It helps them if they want to do intermittent fasting, they’re not as hungry in the morning and can eat later.

I have a chief scientific officer of my company, is a microbial ecologist that was a professor at Cal Poly for 30 years. We worked together with another scientist building a computer model that can predict how bacteria worked together to sort of put back functions, if you will, into the gut.

Bioremediation of Glyphosate: Good for a Gut Problem

We have one that supports better immunity. We have one that supports cardiovascular. We just released a sleep product that helps in the production of tryptophan and bacterial melatonin. But a lot of the formulas have at their base, our core formula that does that sugar conversion and mannitol production.

[00:22:09] Detective Ev: That’s what I was wondering. Cause I’ve seen many great companies that have this core thing, and a lot of the things are centered around that. I understand that this is doing stuff in the gut, but this is fascinating to me cause it’s, again, honestly, very new information in a sense.

Would you suggest that other people look into like probiotic usage, or can this replace this? Do you still need to utilize probiotics elsewhere?

[00:22:28] Martha Carlin: Yeah, it is a probiotic. It’s eight strains. Four of those are strains we isolated ourselves and did the work.

One of those strains happened to be, it’s a lactobacillus plantarum that was resistant to glyphosate. It has a pathway called the third pathway that breaks down glyphosate without producing AMPA, which is more toxic to the brain. I mean, that’s maybe a little too technical for most people. So, we think part of how it helps people is through that bioremediation of glyphosate and detoxification of the body.

But what most people don’t realize when they go to a store and they look at the shelf of probiotics, probably 90%, 95% of those formulas on the shelf are pretty much the same. They have a very limited number of strains of bacteria in them.

Probiotics in Fermented Foods: Good for a Gut Problem

There are 12 widely grown strains in the industry and only three major producers globally. You’re not getting a lot of diversity.

We actually figured out the strains we wanted, isolated them ourselves, worked on what we needed to do to get them down the path of production and all that. One of them is actually a species called Leuconostoc mesenteroides. It’s found widely in fermented foods around the world. But you don’t see it in very many probiotics and it’s a really amazing microbe, I would say. So, fermented foods will help support you as well.

But you know, I do know there are people who have FODMAP sensitivities who are kind of working through that. That’s the only people that have had occasional issues if they’re really FODMAP sensitive to the formula.

[00:24:14] Detective Ev: Well, this is cool because like you said, so many of these in the stores, there’s many problems with them, right? They’re lacking in diversity. The other issue is half of these things are refrigerated, and so there might be a good chance that a lot of it dies once it even goes into the GI track. There’s many controversial things with it.

One of the things I’ve always wondered too as a consumer, is because a lot of the research is fairly new, and the gut microbiome is so complicated, I kind of wonder, are there going to be unintended consequences sometimes from these people that go to the local health food store and just take this stuff over and over and over again?

A Gut Problem: Fix Your Nutritional Profile

It sounds like yours is more, one diverse, so you have that. But also, two, kind of like utilizing something the body would do naturally and just kind of supporting it. That seems more sustainable to me long term if I had to put my money on something.

[00:25:01] Martha Carlin: Yes. I believe so. I do think it’s always good to take a periodic break.

The other thing, cause you’re on the nutrition side, you talk to a lot of nutrition people, is the food that you give those bacteria will impact what they produce. You can’t just fix a problem by taking a probiotic. You gotta fix your nutritional profile and be getting those trace minerals that we’re so depleted of. That glyphosate depletes from the food, from the animals, from us.

[00:25:34] Detective Ev: The glyphosate thing is still crazy to me. That was one of the first topics that got me into this space.

I remember I wasn’t like in it, in it yet, but I was 16. I wasn’t doing too well, felt terrible. Then I learned about what, Monsanto at the time, Bayer now, was doing with glyphosate or whatever. Then the craziest part, Martha, is the fact that they basically ruled that, oh, yes, it is carcinogenic, so we’re going to have to remove it from the market. But they give them a time limit.

If you and I were running a company with a product that they proved was causing cancer, we would have to remove it the next day. They say, oh yeah, no problem. Yeah, you just take your time and get it off the market. We’ll just keep infecting the water and the land every single place.

Removing Glyphosate from the Soil and Water

But you know, you take your time getting it off the market. I mean, what kind of craziness is that while people are out there suffering with these things?

But you know, you take your time getting it off the market. I mean, what kind of craziness is that while people are out there suffering with these things?

[00:26:15] Martha Carlin: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.

In fact, if I go all the way back to the 21 years ago, the earliest thing I was looking at was the genetically engineered food and the chemicals that were used on it. I had in my head; how can we fix this?

Well, back to my chief scientific officer. He was a pioneer in using microbial mixtures to clean up oil spills. So, we actually have another company called PaleoBiotica that has a product that breaks down glyphosate in the soil and water. It can remove glyphosate from the soil and water.

We’re just bringing that to market this coming year. But we’ve done quite a bit of research on that, and we have some new data coming out in December that we’re going to be excited to share as well.

[00:27:03] Detective Ev: Wait, so would this be something that people could, I have a garden in the backyard. I could use this in a garden? Is that what it would be used for?

[00:27:09] Martha Carlin: Yep. You could use it in a garden.

We’re talking to organic farmers, because most people don’t realize this, but the fertilizer on most organic farms is conventional manure. The conventional manure, we’re working with a farmer right now who had a problem with one of his crops.

A Gut Problem: Glyphosate Throughout the Organic Food Supply

We’re working with the scientists who traced it back to the poultry manure that he was using.

He puts four tons an acre on the land as fertilizer, but each ton of manure had something like eight tenths of a pound of glyphosate. Because they’re eating the feed that has glyphosate, their manure has glyphosate. It’s not broken down. We’re just spreading it through the organic food supply as well.

[00:28:00] Detective Ev: I’m not wanting to be pessimistic on here and there is hope. Look, there’s great people out there like you doing stuff, but I mean, man, what a mess, right? This is something that they will look back on one day and just say, what the, you know what, were we thinking? This is a nightmare.

That’s one of the reasons too, like, I always suggest to people. I’m like, okay, organic is great. It might be a little better than your truly conventional stuff, but if you really can, local. I mean, that’s still not going to avoid everything. Cause if you live in an even mildly population dense area, I mean, it’s in the water, it’s everywhere.

My girlfriend, she’s from Washington State and like I said to you before we got on air, I’m in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t that she was even challenging me on it. It was almost like disbelief. I told her, I’m like, Babe, there’s glyphosate in rainwater everywhere in this country.

And she said, well, it’s not in the rainforests in Washington and the national parks and stuff. I said, I bet it is. She looked it up. She couldn’t believe it. She’s like, it’s in the water in these places that they’re not even spraying it anywhere close to directly in those areas. And it’s still there.

Microbes: Great Fix for a Gut Problem

This is going to take a while to clean up.

[00:28:58] Martha Carlin: It is.

But microbes are amazing. I love microbes because they make so many things. Most of the pharmaceuticals actually are made by microbes. They make vitamins, minerals, hormones, neurotransmitters. They can do all that and they can break down all kinds of toxic things and fix problems you wouldn’t even imagine. They eat plastic and concrete.

[00:29:26] Detective Ev: I got hope in them. I appreciate you actually bringing it back up cause I never ever want to leave people on a pessimistic note with some of this stuff.

But it’s a real problem. It needs be treated with seriousness and people that can do something about this should go do something about this. Sometimes it’s as simple as you might be able to vote in a local township meeting on usage of these things. And I encourage everyone to do those things and just help spread awareness.

But beside the point, please reach out to me and get you back on once that company is fully good to go and everything’s on the market. Because I know our audience, including myself, would love to use that product.

I mean, my girlfriend and a couple friends and I, we have wanted to do this for a while, and we finally got it together. Spring of 2023, we’re finally going to be trying to settle on a property that not only would act as like a retreat center, best case it’s a retreat center that we host out, or worst case, it’s like our compound if anything hits the fan, right?

We want like a self-sustaining place. I would love nothing more than to be able to utilize your guys’ product and know that we could.

Grow it Yourself

Because wherever we buy it doesn’t really matter, there’s going to be something there. So that’s amazing! I think that’s going to be a revolutionary product, my friend. I mean, that’s pretty big.

[00:30:31] Martha Carlin: We believe so.

And actually, my husband and I moved to a farm. We’ve been in Colorado for the last 25 years. I grew up in Kentucky and we moved back east to a farm in the area where I grew up so that we could grow our own food, have our own animals, know what they’re fed, know what they eat, and be able to protect our own food chain.

[00:30:55] Detective Ev: There’s a quote that I’m probably misquoting. But it was something along the lines of like, the greatest act of rebellion against all this health stuff and like the crappy food in the grocery market and all these things is to be self-sustaining. Grow it yourself.

That is the greatest act of rebellion is to say, cool. Well, I don’t need your crappy grocery food store. Ideally you wouldn’t need a lot of the pharmaceuticals, although they are lifesaving in certain circumstances. So don’t be a martyr. Go use it when you need it.

But that is one of the greatest things that we can do and encourage people to do is try to get this stuff on their own. Much easier said than done. But the last two to three years, for me, that was all the push that I needed.

I’m like, you know what? Airbnb is so popular anyway. I’m like, worst case scenario, we have this great investment and we rent it out as that. Then again, worst case is we could use this for something really important if need be.

Tweaking the Diet for Parkinson’s – a Gut Problem

With all that said, you had mentioned certain foods being able to feed bacteria or rather have the bacteria do different things in different ways. I know this is not a recommendation for everyone, but is there a certain type of diet, if you’ll even call it that, that maybe you have your husband and you follow?

Is it more ketogenic? Is it paleo, is it vegan? What’s worked for you guys?

[00:31:59] Martha Carlin: So, in fact, he jokes about this a lot. It’s like the no fun diet version, whatever. We’ve tried a lot of different things. I think, currently, really a whole foods, low carbohydrate diet has been extremely helpful. You know, shifting more to the ketogenic side and away from those grains.

I mean, I can’t believe in all these 21 years, we didn’t find out until last year. We did the wheat zoomer and he had eight, like four gluten and four gliadin antibodies that were focused on that.

But we’ve also recently been looking at a low sulfur. There’s evidence in the microbiome of people with Parkinson’s in a longitudinal study that there is dysregulated sulfur metabolism. So, we’re looking at that.

Then also a high lysine, low glycine diet. Those are a little bit tricky, but we actually just started working on that with our functional person this last week sort of trying to lay out how we might try that.

But definitely no sweets anymore. I mean, John stopped drinking beer or anything like that about 10 years ago maybe. Just laying off the grains and that’s been a big one. And no soy.

Molecular Mimicry

[00:33:16] Detective Ev: Yeah, definitely not.

When you said you guys did the wheat zoomer just last year, it was part of the story where I feel like I do this literally every sentence. We were kind of almost going back and forth in our sentence and I didn’t get something a hundred percent. Were you suggesting that he had been consuming gluten in some way for the last 20 something years?

Martha Carlin: Yeah.

Detective Ev: Oh my gosh.

[00:33:40] Martha Carlin: That actually tied out in a sort of odd way to my microbiome data. I had started working on a hypothesis of something called molecular mimicry where we could see the different bacteria that were more present in people with Parkinson’s, that your body produces an antibody to those, but they have molecular mimicry with human proteins.

One in particular we had been looking at was these heat shock proteins called Alpha crystalline. In human alpha B crystalline is part of the proteins that help manage misfolded proteins. Anyway, I had this like whole table of looking at the bacteria and what heat shock proteins produce, and I came across two papers.

One connecting the alpha crystallin. Wheat actually makes an alpha crystallin that has close histamology to the human alpha B crystallin. So that kind of tied out and we ended up getting the test.

But then also spinach, corn, and soy, I believe, they have an antibody to something called aquaporin. That manages like fluid in and out of tissues in the brain. So, these antibodies related to aquaporins could potentially be involved.

Making Metabolic Water While Fasting

We figured out there was a water homeostasis problem in people with Parkinson’s from the girls in my lab, when we were collecting fecal samples. They could tell someone had Parkinson’s just by looking at their stool sample. No information, they would know.

They said it’s like parts of it are like concrete. So that, I sort of tied back into this aquaporin and what could be going on with water back and forth across the cells.

[00:35:32] Detective Ev: Wow! How literally did you mean that? Did you mean like a hundred percent of the time they can tell this or like 60% of the time? Either way it’s impressive, but I’m curious about that.

[00:35:41] Martha Carlin: I don’t know if it was a hundred percent of the time, but it was a lot. And we couldn’t believe there was nothing in the scientific literature about it at all.

The other thing about that though, in the literature, mitochondrial dysfunction is part of what’s going on in Parkinson’s. And your mitochondria make metabolic water in your body when you’re fasting. So, the other thing that we’ve done over the last nine months, getting him back in shape from COVID was doing the fast-mimicking diet from ProLon.

[00:36:15] Detective Ev: Oh, nice. Yeah, we love those guys.

The first time I did that was for FDN, a few years back. You know, it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but man, it’s such a better way to fast. It’s like sustainable actually.

I’m someone, I’ve done these 72-hour water fast and like it works. But man, I mean, it is so mentally and physically challenging to do that, where ProLon.

A Gut Problem: Kicking Off That Autophagy

Would I rather be doing something else? Yes. But will I make it through? Also, yes. And they have the data to back it up. I suppose, for someone like you who clearly loves the data, I feel like that must have been cool to find something like that. Like, all right, this works.

So, are you guys going to be using that regularly now?

[00:36:43] Martha Carlin: We do. He did it about every five weeks leading up to get ready for our daughter’s wedding. That was in July, and now we’ve sort of spread it out like maybe it’ll probably be every six to eight weeks.

But he definitely by the end of that five-day fast looks a whole lot better, feels a whole lot better. And of course, autophagy’s not working well in Parkinson’s, so that kicking off some of that autophagy is probably a big part of what’s helping.

[00:37:12] Detective Ev: Yeah. It almost can’t be, right? I’ve really started to study over the last few years this idea of the mitochondrial dysfunction as a part of many chronic diseases.

Are you familiar with the guy, Dr. Doug Wallace?

[00:37:23] Martha Carlin: That name is familiar, but you know, I look up so many different people.

[00:37:28] Detective Ev: I could tell. Yeah. Geez. I could tell.

Anyway, someone like you would probably love his stuff. You could just go on YouTube even. And I encourage everyone out there to do this, Dr. Doug Wallace.

It’s pretty technical. Maybe even above my pay grade. I feel like you, honestly would have a much deeper understanding of it than myself if you listened to him.

Epigenetic Regulation of Mitochondrial Genes by Antibiotic Exposure

But he was the guy, he’s out of CHOP, believe it or not, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for those that don’t know. The reason I say that like that is cause it’s close to me. I guess Martha and I know that, but the audience might not.

This guy was really one of the main people that figured out this whole connection between mitochondrial dysfunction and this chronic disease epidemic. If I’m not mistaken, his initial research showed a correlation between this and like 85% of chronic diseases, including cancers, autoimmune, everything, right? Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s. Well, I guess I could have blanketed that with dementia. But you know what I mean? It’s like almost everything.

Then, at that time, it was still believed that that other 15% probably is still relevant, but he just hadn’t gotten there yet in the research. It was amazing to see how this could correlate.

[00:38:28] Martha Carlin: There’s an interesting connection there too. Back at the beginning of my understanding of the microbiome and reading Martin Blazer’s book, I actually found a paper out of, I think it was the University of Oregon, where they showed basically the epigenetic regulation of mitochondrial genes by antibiotic exposure.

They showed the impact of antibiotics on the mitochondria and the post antibiotic expression of the mitochondria. It was changing the genes of the mitochondria, and they showed that that was, I believe, through the impact in the microbiome.

Because what you get left behind after you take the antibiotics, is a microbiome that is resistant to antibiotics. Well, that’s basically bacteria that can produce antibiotics. But then you get a factory in your gut that could potentially, you know, be making more antibiotics.

Does Soy Affect LPS Trafficking?

There was more impact on the mitochondrial gene expression post antibiotics than during antibiotics, which was kind of a mindblower for me.

And also tied back to one of the early books I read was on nutritional epigenetics, where I was able to kind of tie into how soy was maybe potentially regulating a gene involved in LPS trafficking, which is an inflammatory protein.

[00:39:59] Detective Ev: Wow, you are sharp as a tack, my friend, by the way. This is very impressive.

Well, we get a lot of smart people that come on, but like, I mean, the fact that you weren’t even in this space. I don’t care if you’ve been doing it for 20 years. The fact of the matter is you were not in the space for the first 40 something years of your life, not even close to that, and then have accumulated this amount of knowledge.

It’s both admirable just for the reason that you did it to begin with, but also just extremely impressive and cool that you could sit here on a camera with me and just be like, oh yeah, this, this, this, and this, this doctor, this thing. That’s pretty amazing.

Then I watched her, for those just listening and not watching on the video. I watched her jot down the Doug Wallace thing. So, I know you’ll be catching that lecture probably pretty soon. So that’s really cool.

As we kind of have our last six, seven minutes here together, what is the mission for you now? Because I am sure you guys are at a point where you don’t need to be doing these podcasts.

Fixing a Gut Problem for the Whole World

You could probably go figure out something else. Yet here you are about to launch a whole new product in the upcoming year. So clearly that passion’s never died. What’s the mission for you now?

[00:40:51] Martha Carlin: Well, my mission is to bring healing to the gut, to like the whole world if I can.

What I’ve said to a lot of people is we can sort of make a temporary fix on the gut. And I think we’ve got some good solutions for that at BiotiQuest. But ultimately, we’ve gotta fix the soil and the water and the food. I tell people all the time, they’re like, well, what’s your mission? What’s your purpose? And I’m like, saving the world.

[00:41:19] Detective Ev: That’s cool. And you’re actually out here doing it. I think it’s kind of brilliant. I always tell people, and any functional practitioner would, you try to utilize the foods and sources of water that might have less exposure to glyphosate.

But I know if I take a urine test right now, of course I’m going to have glyphosate in me. Which is really scary in a sense. Like I can’t get away from this. It’s almost like in the world of functional, we don’t focus on the symptoms necessarily, we focus upstream. It sounds like, yeah, you’re playing chess cause you’re on that next upstream thing.

Like great, we can educate people. But the truth of the matter is, if this isn’t out of the soil and stuff, it’s an uphill battle for sure. And I think this is almost like just weird timing for you guys to come out with this. I think it’s amazing because I know in 2023, I think they’re required to ban it residential, for glyphosate.

Lighten That Glyphosate Load, Fix a Gut Problem

[00:42:03] Martha Carlin: Yeah. But that’s not where most of it’s coming. I think that was sort of a gimmie. It’s still being sprayed. I think I saw somewhere it was like 400,000 tons a year or something just in the United States.

[00:42:17] Detective Ev: I totally agree with you. It sounds cute and it sounds nice, but you realize, that’s not the main problem.

Nonetheless, I know like my dad, he had landscaped his whole life and now we don’t use it thankfully. But he didn’t know any better at the time and so he’s walking around just spraying Roundup.

So, to some degree it’s probably going to impact at least somewhat positively, which is great. We have a lot more work to do. But I think, truly your product that you’re working on, that’s going to be something that could put a dent in it. I have never heard of anything like that.

[00:42:45] Martha Carlin: We don’t think there is anything like that.

We have filed a patent. It’s moving forward, but that process is kind of slow. And the same thing with our human product. I mean, we need to do some kind of study where we can see and prove what it’s doing, either through urine metabolites or some of that. But we do know that those bacteria specifically do that breakdown. We do believe that it would help.

There’s another health group that makes yogurt out of our probiotics. They take a capsule and make it into high fat yogurt. I think some of the mechanisms there are that it makes the vitamins, especially the fat-soluble vitamins, more bioavailable.

There’s a lot of different things, tricks and tips, that you can do to make a difference on your glyphosate load, I guess.

Where to Find Martha’s Products & the Signature Question

[00:43:36] Detective Ev: Sure. All right.

Two more questions for you then today to finish up. One is where can people find your products that you currently have available if they wanted to purchase these things?

[00:43:45] Martha Carlin: So, they’re available direct on our website, BiotiQuest. That’s B I O T I Q U E S, Also, some of them are available on Amazon. You can get the Sugar Shift product, the Ideal Immunity, and Heart Centered on Amazon. I think they’ll have the sleep product, which is Simple Slumber, probably in the next 30 days.

[00:44:10] Detective Ev: Okay. I’ll have this in the show notes.

Last question, and you might already know this if you listened all the way through. But my signature question on the Health Detective Podcast to finish up today is if I could give you, Martha, in this case, a magic wand, and you could get every single person in this world to do one thing for their health, what is the one thing that you would get them to do?

[00:44:29] Martha Carlin: Oh, wow. Trust their gut. But take care of your internal ecosystem. Take care of your gut.

[00:44:40] Detective Ev: Excellent. Thank you so much for coming on with us today.

[00:44:43] Martha Carlin: Thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed it.


[00:44:45] Detective Ev: All right folks. That’ll do it for today’s episode with Martha Carlin. I hope you guys enjoyed this one and are as excited for some of the things that she’s working on as I am.

I am someone who wants to have a self-sustaining property for a variety of reasons. And a couple friends and myself are looking to have that done early-ish, spring of 2023. Not done in terms of like, it being built. But done in terms of the land and the space has been purchased so that we can actually pursue this.

And to think that there might be a product coming out soon that would help us make the soil even better, that excites me a lot. I love the idea of this, and I will be the first consumer of it for sure.

Of course, if this does all go through as is planned, then we will be having Martha back on to talk just about that because that deserves at least one podcast episode in and of itself.

If you guys enjoy the content that we’re sharing, please consider leaving us a review on Apple and or Spotify. If you’d be so kind as to do that, we would love you even more than we already do.

I’m looking forward to talking to you guys again soon. But until then, please take care.

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With gratitude,

Martha Carlin photo Martha Carlin, is a “Citizen Scientist”, systems thinker, wife of Parkinson’s warrior, John Carlin, and founder of The BioCollective , a microbiome company expanding the reach of science and BiotiQuest, the first of it’s kind probiotic line. Since John’s diagnosis in 2002, Martha began learning the science of agriculture, nutrition, environment, infectious disease, Parkinson’s pathology and much more. In 2014, when the first research was published showing a connection between the gut bacteria and the two phenotypes of Parkinson’s, Martha quit her former career as a business turnaround expert and founded The BioCollective to accelerate the discovery of the impact of gut health on all human disease. Martha was a speaker at the White House 2016 Microbiome Initiative launch, challenging the scientific community to “think in a broader context”. Her systems thinking background and experience has led to collaborations across the scientific spectrum from neuroscience to engineering to infectious disease. She is a respected out of the box problem solver in the microbiome field and brings a unique perspective to helping others understand the connections from the soil to the food to our guts and our brains.

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