If you’re eating probiotic-boosted yogurt or taking a daily probiotic, but you’re still tired, bloated, and experiencing the spectrum of digestive issues, don’t be disheartened. It’s not you, it’s that your probiotic is missing a key ingredient: good fungi. Good bacteria — what a traditional probiotic contains — is essential, but it can’t right your digestive health on its own; it’s only half of the equation.
Mahmoud Ghannoum, Ph.D., the scientist who coined the term mycobiome, has spent his 40 year career researching how fungi affects the body — including the digestive system. “Up until now, good bacteria has been the focus,” he says. “The critical role fungi play in our health and wellness has largely been ignored.”
Largely due to his research, that’s starting to change. “We have to study fungi, because when you disrupt this balance you are causing other problems,” he says.
Dr Ghannoum, The Scientist Who Named The Mycobiome
In terms of digestive health, a deficit of good fungi can cause issues like bloating, cramping, gas, and other gastrointestinal issues. When fungi in the gut are off balance, says Dr. Ghannoum, “It can actually slow down the time it takes for food to move through your system, which disturbs your gut’s ability to absorb and process nutrients.” Meanwhile, the presence of good fungi improves nutrient absorption — which allows you to actually derive the full benefit you assume you’re getting from the foods you eat.
In the case of good fungi, it’s not possible to have too much of a good thing. Your body is constantly, naturally recalibrating — and more good fungi can only help improve system function. In part, because there’s another factor here: digestive plaque.
The product of bad bacteria and bad fungi, digestive plaque lines your gut and functions as a protective barrier for those bad microbes. And it’s something that no amount of good bacteria can eliminate on its own, but rather requires good fungi as well as good bacteria, plus an enzyme capable of breaking down plaque.
Finding no probiotics on the market that could address those issues, Dr.Ghannoum created BIOHM, a suite of probiotics specifically engineered to address the gut’s total microbiome of bacteria and fungi. Based on a decade of his research studying the DNA of the microbiome, he also created a suite of microbiome tests, including the BIOHM Gut Report Kit— the most comprehensive gut analysis that’s ever been available to consumers, and the BIOHM Candida Report, which allows people to get specific insights into the Candida species and levels present in their digestive systems.
So what can you do to optimize your total microbiome?
In addition to supplements like BIOHM, it's critical to eat prebiotic and probiotic foods that facilitate the growth of good microbes (e.g. fermented foods, garlic, avocados, peas, whole grain breads and unpasteurized soft cheeses) and finding ways to manage stress can help balance the fungi in your gut, says Dr. Ghannoum.
So grab that green smoothie, opt for the grilled salmon, and feel even better about that avocado toast. But if you want to make sure you’re actually absorbing the nutrients from healthy food choices, don’t forget about the fungi in your gut.
Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum
Dr. Ghannoum is widely considered the leading microbiome researcher in the world. He is also the scientist who named the mycobiome. He is the founder of BIOHM, the first company to engineer elegant products and tests that address the total microbiome of both bacteria and fungi, allowing consumers to maintain total digestive health.
During his career, he has published several books on fungus and over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers. His work has been cited almost 18,000 times by other scientists. He has received over $25 million in funding for his research from the National Institutes of Health.