Andrea Samadi with Dr. Momo Viyusich recorded October 31, 2020
Welcome back to the neuroscience meets social and emotional learning podcast. Episode #93,
With Dr. Momo Vuyisich, the co-founder and chief science officer of Viome a healthcare disruptor that's using to analyze your gut microbiome, to make personalized nutritional recommendations. I am so excited to introduce you to Momo usage. The chief science officer at Viome, who leads their efforts in product development and clinical research. Momo knows all too well of the importance of the gut brain connection and how we can take control of our own life and health by testing our gut microbiome with personalized nutritional recommendations, using biome testing.
My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you're new here, I'm a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research along with high-performing experts. Who've risen to the top of their field was specific ideas or strategies that you can implement immediately, whether you're an educator or in the corporate space to take your results to the next level.
Andrea Samadi: If we want to improve our social, emotional and cognitive abilities, it all starts with an understanding of our brain.
Before we actually get to meeting Momo, I want to give you a little bit more background on Momo and Viome and what you're going to learn from this episode, because this episode is quite far off from any of the episodes we've recorded in the past
Before co-founding Viome in 2016, Momo spent 12 years at Los Alamos national laboratory where he was the leader of the applied genomics team. His research focused on applying modern genomics to the area of gut microbiomes, host pathogen, and microbial inner species interactions, pathogen detection, cancer, biology, toxicology, infectious diseases, and antibiotic resistance.
In this episode, you will learn how Momo the co-founder of Viome.com reversed his rheumatoid arthritis with a change in diet. You'll learn forward thinking strategies for taking your health into your own hands. You'll learn what your poop can tell you about your health, what exactly is microbiome testing and how it works, and a vision of the future where chronic disease is preventable and diet is personalized.
Welcome, Momo, thank you so much for taking your time to be here today with us. My pleasure. Well, MoMA, when we first were introduced,
I talked to you about the fact that the past few episodes I've done focus on some of the top five health staples that have been proven to prevent some of the major diseases that are out there like Alzheimer's. And I'm looking just to dive a bit deeper into these, like, you know, daily exercise, getting a good quality, sleep, eating a healthy diet and optimizing our microbiome and intermittent fasting. And so that's why I contacted you because I don't know a lot about the microbiome. And after listening the podcast that you did with Luke DePron. I'm so thrilled for this introduction, because there's so much more to the microbiome that you can help us understand, but, can you just give us your background and what brought you to where you are today, inspiring your work with Viome and why you see this gut-brain connection
Momo Vuyisich: Yeah, so, so the, the relevant background of mine is that I was diagnosed with an early onset rheumatoid arthritis in my twenties. And for about 15 years, I suffered greatly until I found a diet that completely prevented the root cause of my disease. And it took about a year for my body to heal. And since then, I've now been many, many years completely disease free, like zero symptoms. And so that journey combined with my background in chemistry and microbiology and understanding the human body at the chemical level and my training as a scientist, simply I rejected the idea that today's healthcare system, which is basically a sick care system, is what we need. So today, you know, when they say healthcare, what they really mean is sick care. They wait until you get sick and then they manage your illness. Right If you look at any chronic disease, it doesn't matter what it is.
Momo Vuyisich: Is it diabetes Is it obesity Is it Alzheimer's Parkinson's skin problems Anything you can imagine, IBD IBS, there is no cure. Literally there's no cure as if it's some kind of mystical thing or a creature magic. Right And so, you know, for rheumatoid arthritis, it was the same thing. Basically, you're going to suffer, we have drugs that cost a lot of money that have massive side effects. And we're going to give you a huge run around at the hospitals, insurance, paperwork bills. And all that that's going to do is slow the disease down, but you're still going to progress and you're still going to suffer and things are going to get worse. To me, that was simply not acceptable, right So I worked extraordinarily hard for many years. I changed my entire scientific career. I spent days and nights and evenings and late nights reading about everything about the human body.
Momo Vuyisich: And I'm not the first to invent this idea, but, but I'm, I'm definitely, one of the leaders in the field that the idea is that our health and disease is determined by many things, that if your kidneys are sick, the traditional medicine says go to a nephrologist, right And the nephrologist is going to try to figure out what's wrong with your kidney. Well, that's not how it works. The reason why we don't have cures for any chronic diseases, because people have looked at the wrong place. And so if you look at Alzheimer's 20 years has been spent on different drugs that have targeted the brain and all of them had failed. And the reason is because the disease Alzheimer's, as we know, it started 20 or 30 years ago in the gut and in the immune system and in the gums and in the oral cavity and the final culmination of all that is the symptoms that we seem to bring.
Momo Vuyisich: And so attempting to actually fix that disease in the brain is completely futile because that's not, that's just the final stage of the disease. You really have to go way back. And so the, the human body is an ecosystem that is mostly consisting of microbiome, and then some of human genes thrown in there. So, you know, we thought 20 years ago when we sequenced the human genome, we'll know the secrets to all the diseases. Well, that turned out to be wrong. We don't know the secret to our diseases because chronic diseases are not genetic. They're mostly environmental, they're impacted by diet and lifestyle. So the microbiome plays a major role in whether that's oral microbiome, our gut microbiome, or vaginal microbiome, all of those microbiomes jump play a major role in our health. And then the nutrition plays a massive role in our health. And so it's the I'm going to now sort of mention the big piece of, so let's start at the a hundred thousand foot level, what determines our health and disease.
Mom Vuyisich: And that has to do with mental health and physical health. Everything one is nutrition and I'll delve into a little bit more, what nutrition is, the second one is the microbiomes. So, you know, today when a woman has a preterm birth, that's not magic. It's not bad luck. It's not her genetics. It's the vaginal microbiome that determines that, right And so we just need to tease that apart. So the second part is the microbiomes oral vaginal gut microbiome. The third part is the human immune system, very complex system. That's supposed to prevent all infectious diseases and fend, you know, defend us against all infectious diseases. Yet it needs to learn to tolerate thousands of different species of microbes. In fact, thousands of different molecules. In fact, tens of thousands of molecules that are found in food that are good for us, right So you have an immune system that doesn't have eyes, doesn't have ears, doesn't have a brain doesn't think like a human being.
Momo Vuyisich: It doesn't know what a chemical structure means, but it has to distinguish good from bad. And that's why we have this massive increase in autoimmune diseases because we're confusing our immune system as to what's good, what's bad, right Because we haven't evolved to deal with what, what the current onslaught is. The chemical laws Oslo next is the hormones. They're very important, obviously for our functions. Next one is neuro-transmitters. Those are very important for our functions. Then we have mitochondria. All of these are human systems, you know, immune system, mitochondria, neurotransmitters hormones. And so we have to study the human side as well, meaning the human genes. And so when you put all of this together, you realize that a human body is an ecosystem. It is influenced heavily by its own genes, by the microbiome genes, by nutrition, by fasting, by exercise, by sleep, and any disturbance in any of this huge network can lead to departure from health.
Andrea Samadi: Nope. That sums it up. That's, that's what I've been learning that you mess up your sleep, you mess up your diet and this is where it all begins.
Momo Vuyisich: Yes, exactly. And then, and then I also want to mention a really emerging field of mold illness. It's sort of on the fringes of science and medicine, and most doctors don't even recognize that it exists. There's very little scientific literature. What there is, is that in the United States, we have millions and potentially tens of millions of people who have undiagnosed illness, right And so this, the spectrum of sort of Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, myalgia, CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome, brain fog, and then a full spectrum of neurological disorders that doctors can't place into a bin of, of a known disease. There's this huge spectrum that is caused probably by multiple things. But I am starting to believe that mold illness is actually a major cause of these neurological disorders and, and physiological disorders. And that, we advise them, at my company where we're putting a major effort into actually understanding mold and understanding the connection between human health and mold.
Momo Vuyisich: one, one sort of theme that I would like to emphasize is that many people have companies and those companies job is to make money. Right And so I'll give you a couple of examples where, a company like Everly, well, it's a great company. they sell tests that they don't offer any tests of their own, they sell tests. So they're basically a marketing company that offers third-party tests that are mostly at home desks. Right Great concept. I'm sure they're having a commercial. However, when they do a million tests of a kind, they don't actually learn anything meaning that their millionth customer is not given any more information than the first customer. And to me, that's a huge shame, right The same thing in the mold testing company, right There are many mold testing companies and they're providing mold tests, but there are millions of customer is not going to be provided with any more information than the first customer.
Momo Vuyisich: So what we have to do is we have to do several things. One is we have to start thinking differently. We have to say, you know what, we're going to start a company. And we are going to offer products and we have to make money to survive. But why don't we build in a learning portion so that my million customer is going to be given far more accurate information, far more relevant than my first customer. Let's use these million customers to actually learn something that modern medicine doesn't know, and science is going to get there in 20 years. Why don't we do that quickly Right. And so one example that I give that's very related to neurological disorders is, you know, we talk about depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, things like that, schizophrenia, we're now starting to realize that that inflammation is actually the likely root cause of these diseases, right
Momo Vuyisich: And inflammation can be often caused by sensitivity to foods, specific foods, right And I'm not talking about food allergies, like peanut allergies. I'm talking about food sensitivity, meaning that for a variety of reasons, certain foods trigger the immune system to become hyperactive because it thinks that something is wrong so that the it's, the body's being attacked and that inflammation leads to depression or anxiety. Right And so there, there have been many, many, many people who have done a food sensitivity test. They remove the specific foods and their anxiety and depression goes away or symptoms of schizophrenia. Right. And so, what I, what I want to say here, the point is that there have been millions of food, sensitivity tests done, and yet it's still considered fringe science. It's still considered by most scientists and doctors. There's nothing there, right When in fact there is something there, but we haven't put as scientists, we have not put our back into it.
Momo Vuyisich: And under to understand the connection between nutrition, immune system and mental health, right. We have not done that. So we, as a scientific community have failed to do that. And so sure we can continue with our careers and keep saying this is on the fringe, but the fact is mental diseases are on the rise. And we have no explanation for that. We have no cure for that. So to me, it's the responsibility of scientists and doctors to actually figure out what is wrong and not just, you know, not just state the fact that they're on the rise, right. And all this technology available. And we say, well, it's on the fringe. We'll use it to figure out what is wrong. And it's one of the tools you have. Right. and so, so this is, you know, if there's one thing I want to say about Viome is that everyone we work with after a while, they realized that volume is a fundamentally, completely different company from every other company that they've ever worked with.
Momo Vuyisich: And the reason is because every other company for them to priority is revenue and making money and, and money, money, money, right. That is the primary objective of the company. And, you know, I can't say that I blame them because companies who don't think about those things, they're, they're no longer around, right So as a company, you obviously have to worry about money. You have to worry about revenue. But what we do is we not only do that, but we are a socially responsible company. Every single interaction we have with every single clinical research participant or every single customer or every single partner is about how can we maximize learning so that our millionth customer is going to be far, far, far more informed than our first customer. And so everything we do, there's a, there's a learning component integrated into it. And, and this is really to me, a social responsibility.
Momo Vuyisich: And so when it comes to mold, for example, is going to start offering what I believe is the best mold test on the market. And I feel that none of the mold tests today are good. And so we're going to fill that gap with the best mold test on the market. But at the same time, when we ask people, when we sell them a kit for mold testing, and when we send them the results, we're not just going to do that. We're actually going to ask them, what are their symptoms How long have they had the symptoms for, right. have they tried any kind of intervention or any kind of detox and did it work And so we're going to then, have a test that tells us exactly what mold is growing to, what degree in their house. First of all, second of all, we're going to know which mycotoxins, each one of these mold is actually producing.
Momo Vuyisich: We're not going to measure my mycotoxins chemically. We're going to measure the production of mycotoxins by these molds. And now we're going to collect the symptoms information. Right, right now, at the beginning of when we launched the product, we're not going to be able to say, Oh, you have these symptoms and they're caused by this mold. And this is how you're going to treat yourself. And this is how you're going to treat the mold. We're not going to do that. But I guarantee by the time we get a million of customer, we're going to know all of this. We're going to know exactly what to tell them. This is what you have. This is what's causing it. This is how you need to treat your mold. This is how you need to treat yourself and your family members. Right
Andrea Samadi: Well, no, this is fascinating because you're talking about mold here. And some of my past podcasts we've actually discussed this. we, my husband and I got our brain scans, just to see the health of our brain, just to figure out what was going on. And one of my friends had their brain scanned at the same clinic. And I asked him some questions, you know, why did you go in And he was experiencing brain fog, was doing everything he could do. And it turned out that he had mold exposure in his home and he had to go the route of a brain scan, which was quite expensive for him. And only go run around way to get the answers like you're talking about. So how would people even begin to think I might have mold in my home if they have brain fog. So you're saying that Viome is trying to bring to light, to pinpoint some of the problems to take out all the guessing and the doctors and the frustration that people are experiencing.
Momo Vuyisich: Yeah. I mean, mold currently in the United States, and I think that's probably happening worldwide, but you know, people are not as open about it and, and, willing to share. and, and, you know, Facebook groups are not necessarily, as prevalent elsewhere. But what I do know is in the United States, when people get mold exposure, what happens typically is that they will have months or years of an extraordinarily frustrating and expensive journey where their health is either not getting better or it's actually declining. Their family members are declining in health. They're experiencing extraordinary difficulty in working in performing social functions and performing family functions. They're developing extraordinary difficulty with interacting with their family members, where, and friends where they cannot function normally, but there are family and friends since they reject the idea of mold as, as an illness, because the medical community rejects it, they say, this is voodoo.
Momo Vuyisich: This doesn't exist. It's all in your head talking about then making things worse emotionally and mentally, right. Only to go through the healthcare system where they're bounced from doctor to doctor, from test to test not to know what's happening to then make a full circle, come back around and actually do the research on their own and find out, Oh my God, I have mold illness, right And so you have spent months or years just with this emotional journey only to find out that you actually are the best doctor for yourself. And so, you know, when there's this phrase now, you know, don't, don't, don't, you know, don't tell me you're a Google doctor. Cause I went to medical school. Well, it turns out that unfortunately the medical school is really not a good training for a lot of these chronic diseases. And that Google, Google doctor is actually far more powerful.
Momo Vuyisich: And once you connect with the community and find out, Oh my God, there are hundreds or thousands or millions of people out there who have suffered similar things. And they've gone through the same journey. Then you actually have to find out how to detox online from like common people who have never gone to school of any kind. And that's actually, what's helping you. So really we're finding out that again, healthcare has a very, very minor, minor contribution to human health. There. The system is meant to keep you sick and to manage your illness. And it's really not there to cure you. And so people have to take care of themselves. So mold is a growing problem for several reasons. One is that, global warming is allowing mold to grow more places. Right Second is that every time there is a flood in the house or a water leak into house and mold set, you know, sets foot in that house.
Momo Vuyisich: Now there's, there's potential for more mold, right The third is that there's no awareness of it. People simply don't know. They're surprised that they have mold in their house because it, science of mold is very, very immature. and so there are all these factors that are contributing to the spread of mold global, you know, globalization and global trade and all that. And so we really, really quickly have to bring hardcore science to this and understand it so that we can help people live better lives because it's literally destroying people's lives. I mean, I have seen many, many stories where people are homeless because of mold exposure, their families and friends rejected them because they don't believe them. There are people who've who are mentally sick because, you know, they're so frustrated with the situation that they're sick and that the society's rejecting the idea that they're sick.
Momo Vuyisich: They're told to go to a psychiatric ward. And so this is real it's, it's affecting real people in a real way, and it's terrible, terrible to read these testimonials. So I'm working extraordinarily hard to bring this test to the market. We're in the final stages of beta testing, we should be releasing it soon. and then, like I said, immediately from day one, we are going to be tying the presence of specific mold strains, the, the, the PR the, the production of specific mycotoxins with specific symptoms, so that eventually we, and, and specific detox so that we can eventually pinpoint exactly what is going on. And what I really want is as everything we do at Viome is really, we want to have a program where every indoor space, whether it's professional or, or home is tested on a regular basis so that when mold shows up, we can actually get rid of it before any symptoms come on, because you have a situation right now where a teacher is sick for months or years, and they don't know what's causing them only to find out that there is mold at their place of work in their classroom only to then have to fight the system because they, you know, no one wants to deal with remediation, because guess what remediation costs money.
Momo Vuyisich: First of all, second of all the professional mold, the term professional means nothing. All that it means is that you're making money off. It. That's what the term professional means. It doesn't mean that, you know, science, you don't know microbiology. You know, I've seen pro P you know, professionals chime in on some of these boards and they're making completely false scientific statements because they have no microbiology training. They have no technical training. They have no scientific background yet they're making assertions because they're professionals, this is how it's supposed to be done. And so they're actually doing things the wrong way. So we really have to bring science to all this.
Andrea Samadi This is very important work because I know many people there, there isn't one person I know who has not been impacted in some way by chronic disease, whether it be mold, whether it be depression, anxiety, all of the chronic diseases that you mentioned that you're, you've got an eye out for, with a test and some sort of strategy or idea to prevent, is that correct You've got your eye on.
Momo Vuyisich: Absolutely, absolutely. That is, we are focused on prevention because we, so this is probably the most important statement I'm going to make in this podcast today, we have hundred percent of science and technology needed to prevent every chronic disease and every cancer. Okay. And so it's a shame that we don't have solutions because there are things in the way there are barriers in the way, you know, two of the major barriers are that majority of the scientific funding is spent on academia and pharma, academia are not solving practical problems. They're publishing papers and writing grants. So they have no incentive to help you. And I live a better life. They have zero incentive in fact, to do that, right. Pharma has no incentive to cure my disease because I was supposed to be on a biologic that costs a hundred thousand dollars a year for the rest of my life.
Momo Vuyisich: Right. And bouncing from doctor to doctor and getting MRIs and x-rays. So I was supposed to contribute enormous amounts of money to the healthcare system, AKA sick care system. I cured my disease completely with a diet change. So why would they be interested in losing a customer and telling me how to cure my disease Of course, they're not, that's not their business model, right And I'm not saying people who run a pharma companies are evil or bad people. It's just a bit, that's their business model. You can't work at a pharma company. If you're going to be looking for curative solutions, that's not their business model. Right So that's one major problem is that today research dollars are spent on things that have nothing to do or very little to do with curing and preventing chronic diseases. Second is all the bureaucracy and all the rules we have, right
Momo Vuyisich: We have so much bureaucracy, you know, universities used to be sort of agile and used to be able to run things quickly. We now have too much bureaucracy at every single layer. If you look at, for example, any kind of a chronic disease, 99% of all studies are done in mice. We know how to make mice live longer. We know how to make them live healthier. We know how to cure every disease in mice, but that doesn't help me at all. And the re one of the reasons why, why so much research is done on mice is because people don't want to do human research because there's this thing called IRB institutional review board. That's supposed to review clinical research and, and give it a green light. Well, these guys are just mostly, again, mostly pure bureaucrats that are stalling research. And so when, when a researcher is faced with, you know, what I can do my work in mice, get my publications and get my grants, or I can do my work in, in humans and have to deal with these bureaucrats who are slowing me down.
Momo Vuyisich: Of course, they're going to choose to work in mice. They're not going to deal. They're not going to want to deal with aircraft. Everyone. I talked to everyone at universities at biotech at big pharma, everyone I talk to, they're afraid of IRB. They're like, Oh, that's just an impossible. It's like, they just slow down every little thing they possibly can. And so one of the major efforts that I would like the government to do is that the purpose of IRB is not to slow down research to bring barriers to research. The purpose of IRB is to enable research. Meaning when an IRB committee is reviewing a research proposal, they should focus on what can we do to enable and accelerate this research instead of what can, what are the problems with this research Right And so, you know, this is what I used to tell all the IRB committees that I used to work with.
Momo Vuyisich: I am not asking you to come up with problems to my solutions. I have offered a solution. I, I'm not here to hear from you what the problems are with my solution. I am here to listen to your solutions, to my problem. And when you turn the IRB people's minds around and they have this attitude, Oh, we're here to help Momo. We need to enable this research so he can get started and help people. Now they start to think differently and things completely go the other way. And so I used to be afraid of IRB, but then I, then I became not afraid because they started working with me. And if we can teach both sides, the researchers and the IRB is how we, how we can do this more efficiently. Then I think research will flourish. I think this is diverting a little bit from your topic, but it's a, it's a very important thing.
Andrea Samadi: It is because that's what you're involved with over there. And it helps people to understand. And when, when I was listening to Luke podcast, I got a, quite an understanding of the gut microbiome, which was the first reason why I was looking at, to come on the podcast. And you gave some great suggestions for people who might be like me, that didn't have a background on, you know, what is the connection between the gut and the brain You suggest to look up dr. Robin Chutkan for books and microbiome solution. She's got a new book out the gut bliss. And so I'll put all those links in the show notes for people that might be like, what exactly is the gut microbiome What do I need to do But can you just give a quick overview on why it's so important for us to understand this gut brain connection and why to health begins in our gut
Momo Vuyisich: Yeah, of course. So let me, let me give you, a couple of examples. Well, three examples really that are just extraordinary. So one example is a woman had bipolar disorder. And if you asked today a hundred doctors, if you have a bipolar disorder, what is wrong with you A hundred doctors will say, something's wrong with your brain. And those hundred of those hundred doctors likely all hundred are actually wrong, or maybe one of them is, is, is right, but 99 are wrong. And I'll give you an example. That's really striking a woman had bipolar disorder, completely dysfunctional, not able to hold a job, not able to function as a human being. She tried every pharmaceutical. There was, she was in Australia. At that time, tried every pharmaceutical. There was nothing worked. Her disease was basically not improving with the drugs. So her doctor agreed with her.
Momo Vuyisich: She pushed for a fecal microbiota transplants. And so for those people who don't know a fecal microbiota transplant is a fancy term for poop transplant. You basically take poop, literally raw pooped from a person, and you put it inside your intestine, either from the bottom up or from the top down, there's both methods. And, you know, we don't know yet which one works better. Anyways, this is a so-called miracle by the medical community because you know, this woman proposed that to her doctor. The doctor agreed to oversee her progress. And so she started taking FNP from her husband and six months later, her bipolar disorder disappeared. And three years after that, her doctor wrote a peer reviewed article stating for all practical reasons. She has no more bipolar disorder and she is, no, she does no longer. She no longer needs any pharmaceutical, right She's completely drug-free.
Momo Vuyisich: And she has no symptoms of bipolar disorder three years later. Right And so the reason this happened was microbes in our gut are essential for physiological functions in our body. And one of those is generating the right neurotransmitters. So majority of the neurotransmitters generated in our body are actually generated in the gut, not in the brain. So serotonin is generated in the gut, not the well it's 10% is in the brain. 90% is in the gut. It turns out that microbes stimulate the production, these neurotransmitters, well, if you don't have the right microbes, they're not going to stimulate anything, which means you're going to lack your transmitters for the normal function of your brain. And so this woman for either antibiotic overuse or eating food that had, you know, preservatives or gastrointestinal infections or whatever, most likely antibiotic use, she wiped out these healthy microbes and she was sick.
Momo Vuyisich: And when she obtained the right microbes from her husband, she restored her physiology and she was normal, right So this is a very striking example. Another striking example is that a person with Alzheimer's disease had a Clostridium difficile infection. This is a very severe gastrointestinal infection. He was treated with an FMP. So with poop transplant for that gastrointestinal infection, and guess what, six months later, his Alzheimer's went away. And so something that medicine would say, Alzheimer's not curable. You know, bipolar order is not curable. You can't cure them. That's not true. What's true is that modern medicine and pharmaceutical solutions do not have those tools, but it's certainly curable. There's no magic or mystery or bad luck about it. It's just chemistry that we don't get to understand. And so these are just some of the examples where miracles do happen. And by the way, speaking of Clostridium, difficile, that's not a mental disorder.
Momo Vuyisich: It's an infectious disease. That's actually very deadly. People can look up the statistics, but it kills something like 12,000 Americans every year. this disease is, is a bacterial disease and it's treated with all kinds of antibiotics, but it's becoming more and more antibiotic resistant. Guess what people who have been treated with every known antibiotic and they are not treatable anymore by traditional methods, they would be sent home to die. When they receive a fecal microbiota transplant, 95% of them recover within three days. So it's this miracle cure, right But it's not approved by the FDA because it is not a defined drug. It's just a poop transplant. You pick a random person that you think is healthy, just inject some poop into a sick person. And three days later, they're good. Right So one of the very disturbing things that's happening today is that the FDA is now currently not allowing poop transplants, because there is a chance that SARS cov two viruses and the stool.
Momo Vuyisich: And so they're saying, well, there's a tiny chance that you'll get transmission of this virus. So just go home and die, right That's literally what people are told in today in the 21st century with all the science that technology we have, they're literally sent home to die. So what they do is they go on YouTube. They find DIY solutions for doing poop transplants, and then they perform it themselves. And so if you, if you just search YouTube, you will find many examples. And one typical example would be where a woman was literally sent home to die. She was told tomorrow morning, you may not be alive, but there is nothing can do for you. She bought $50 worth of supplies on YouTube, you know, on Amazon, based on a YouTube video, she took coop from her son or daughter. I don't remember. She injected into her intestines and three's lays three days later, she was walking and she was normal symptoms free.
Momo Vuyisich: so we really have to come to the term that we have to realize that doctors know very little about the human body. Doctors know if you have a known illness, how to place you in that illness box, meaning they diagnose you and they know how to reach into the pharmaceutical options to treat you for that illness, which is not really treatment. It's really management of that illness. That is the state-of-the-art in medicine. What we are doing at Viome is we are absolutely not trying to change that medicine model. We're not trying to improve it. We're not trying to convince any doctor of anything. We're leaving it alone. We are going to create an alternative healthcare where we can help people directly take care of their own health, create preventative solutions and create curative solutions for every known disease. That includes all cancers. And when we create that space, guess what's going to happen with the current medical system it'll fall apart completely because do you really want to wait until you have a heart attack and then be on medications for the rest of your life and, and, and jump from hospital to hospital
Momo Vuyisich: Of course not. Do you want to do the same thing with Alzheimer's with Parkinson's with IBD, with IBS Of course, no one wants that when there's a solution to actually prevent every single chronic disease and every cancer, of course, everyone's going to want it, and you don't have to go to the hospital. You don't have to pay for you. Don't have to deal with insurance and all that stuff. So that's what Viome is about. And I'm just hyper excited to wake up every day. And my phrase that I wake up with every day is the only way to predict a future is to invent it. And so every single day, I don't spend time thinking about, gee, what's the future going to hold You know, I don't speculate. I am inventing actively what will be the future I'm making it happen And I know exactly what's going to happen because I know what signs that technology is available. I know we can use it to, to bring all these solutions to everyone. It's just a matter of time before it happens. How exciting is that
Andrea Samadi: This is crazy because I've mentioned on some of my other podcasts that I also reversed something. back in 2005, I was in my late twenties. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries. And my doctor said, when you are, it's time to conceive and have kids, you probably will have to go on, you know, in vitro. And, and it's going to be rough for you to conceive for children. And so I always had that in the back of my head and thought, Oh no, you know, when, when I married my husband, I thought I'd better. Tell him before we get married, it's might be a rough time with me. And then by chance, I went, I was having problems with my feet with exercise. I went to this doctor, a podiatrist here in Arizona, and he said, have you thought about cutting out sugar of your diet
Andrea Samadi: See if it will help your feet. And I thought, no, this is all I did was cut out sugar and added fish oil. And within three months, the polycystic ovaries was completely reversed. I wasn't even that wasn't even the goal. I was just trying to stop my feed from going numb when I was exercising. And then I, you know, my husband and I were ready to have children. I went to the doctor and I said, you know, what's the scenario she looked. And there was a certain number that I had to have to be considered to have this syndrome thing. And she said, no, there's nothing there. What have you done And I said, is all I did was cut out sugar and added fish oil. And she said, well, I firmly believe that you can reverse these conditions. And I hear people all the time on, you know, podcasts and shows, talking about the fact that they're struggling with these things. And I'm thinking just cut out sugar. It's not difficult, but you know, when going on to my next question for you, you know, how do we know I discovered that by chance, how would we know that, that I need to do that
Momo Vuyisich: Right So that's, that's a very complicated issue. And that's why, so for you sugar and fish oil worked, if you take a hundred women with the same condition, chances are, you'll need maybe 50 different changes for those hundred women. Right And so that's because we are highly, highly different. And so the same physiological manifestation, which is CEO, you know, whatever it is, polycystic ovary or anything can be, can be a manifestation of way, way too many different things. And so what we have to do is as scientists, we understood, we need to understand what exactly is the root cause of any conditions. So let's, let's talk about IBS. So that's a, that's sort of a fresh example at Viome. So, I assume you know about IBS irritable bowel syndrome, right It's this again, mystical creature, right Doctors don't know what to do with it because they can't, they can't, they can't give you a drug for it.
Momo Vuyisich: And so even if they diagnose you with IBS, they don't know what to do with you because they don't know what's wrong with you. And the reason why they don't know that is because there's nothing actually wrong with you. There's something wrong with your gut microbiome, right And is a medical community and pharmaceutical companies. They have not come up with a solution, but if I own we've paid attention to it, this being one of the reasons that nothing is known about it and that 45 million Americans have it, it's like one of the most prevalent disease in the United States and people are really suffering. So what we've done, we've looked at thousands of people who have IDs and thousands of people who don't have IBS and we've analyzed their gut microbiome. And because we have a test, a microbiome test, that's very unique. No one else uses this kind of a test.
Momo Vuyisich: Every other microbiome company uses a DNA based test, which is the only thing they can tell you is, who is there, which microorganisms are there. And so they have not been able to find a solution because the, the difference between the microbiome composition among two people who have IBS is it is different as between people who have IBS and healthy people, meaning that I can't walk up to someone and say, Oh, you have an IBS microbiome. You're going to have IBS because that's not true. What is true is that the microbiome, the gut microbiome is like a chemical factory. And two people with IBS can have very different microbiomes, compositionally, meaning the names of the microbes are very different, but both of those microbiomes are doing two things that are different from healthy microbiomes. On one side, their microbiomes are producing biochemicals. I call it sometimes micro poop, right
Momo Vuyisich: They're producing biochemicals that are, that are causing IBS symptoms. And on the other flip side, they're failing to produce chemicals that are keeping us healthy, right So that's the difference. So people need to stop thinking of microbiome as a collection of microbes that we've given names to my brain, my intestinal cells, my muscles, my bowel movement cares zero about
the fact that there is a little microsphere that humans call bacteria and have named it, you know, bacteria, these vulgatus right. That makes no difference to my human physiology, right My human physiology. My physiology only depends on the chemical signaling from nutrition and from my gut microbiome and my own genes and how they work together. Chemically, it's all about chemical signaling. And that's sort of the fundamental concept that I struggle. I have a PhD in chemistry. So for me, that's a simple concept to talk about chemicals and chemical reactions.
Momo Vuyisich: But for a lot of people, you know, when, when people think of food, they think of what you see at the grocery store. Broccoli is food, right When I think of broccoli, I don't think of broccoli. I think of it's a sack of a thousand different type types of molecules that when they hit my intestines, my body and the microbiome are going to say, Whoa, food has arrived. And each microbe in every person is going to say, Oh, I'm going to take this molecule. I'm going to process it. And I'm going to take energy from it. That's how I'm going to live. And another microbe is going to say, Oh, but I like this molecule. I'm going to process it and make energy out of it and use it. Right So both humans, humans, and the microbiome are taking these molecular ingredients of are processing them into byproducts.
Momo Vuyisich: And during that process, we're extracting energy, right And so when we feed yeast, for example, to make bread, we feed a sugar, right They're taking that sugar yeast, don't just grow and produce carbon dioxide out of thin air, right They're actually taking the sugar. We give them, they ferment it. And during that process of fermentation, why are they fermenting Because that's their food. That's how they extract energy. They produce carbon dioxide, which makes bread fluffy. The same thing. When we make beer, we're feeding yeast, the sugar to produce alcohol. But that's their, by-product, they're not, they're not making alcohol because we're, they're nice to us. They're making alcohol because they, they that's their by-product, that's their micro poop. It just happens that humans like alcohol, right But this is exactly what's happening in our gut. It's a chemical, it's a, it's thousands of chemical reactions that are consuming molecular ingredients and foods.
Momo Vuyisich: And because you have a very different microbiome from mine. If I introduce Keno in my microbiome and you introduce Keno into your microbiome, your microbiome may use it to produce byproducts that are actually harmful to you. And my microbiome can use the exact same ingredients to produce byproducts that are actually good for me. And so we have to understand that every individual has a different microbiome and that they, that microbiome has to be combined with a highly personalized diet that cannot be binned into Mediterranean ketogenic and three others. That at volume, for example, if we take a hundred random people and we ask what is their diet All of those hundred people have a different diet. And none of those diets can be binned into ketogenic or Mediterranean because microbes don't know anything about ketogenic diet, my human physiology and my mental health, and my neurotransmitters have nothing to do with Mediterranean diet or ketogenic diet. They only understand the chemical signaling and that chemical signaling has to do with serotonin production. In my gut, that is induced by chemical signals, coming from the bacteria that is regulated by molecular ingredients in our food. Is that complicated
Andrea Samadi: It is complicated. So, but, but I understand where you're going with this. And I wanna, I want to understand it deeper to help people with their productivity because here's, here's where our basic knowledges in our household. We have a probiotic that we take at night. We're just randomly guessing. This is where we are. Who knows we take it. We say, did you take your probiotic We were trying to fix our gut that we, we know we need to improve for productivity. I know there's prebiotics. There's things that, that I think harm my gut, but I I'm guessing again, I haven't done your test. I don't what foods are harmful to me personally. ones that I should enjoy at once.
Momo Vuyisich: Well, let me comment on this. So let me comment to this. The state of today's supplement industry is they are a marketing industry. They have no science. They have no, they have no, they have not attempted to bring any science to it. Right They are buying a truckload of vitamins and probiotics and prebiotics. And they're trying to get you to buy as many of them as possible. Okay. That is it. I mean, whether you know that or not that as the truth, right. But you can also do your own research and find out that the top 10 major suppliers of supplements have zero science. Okay. So that's one thing. The second thing is two years ago, we had machine learned models for molecular data that can figure out exactly which supplements, prebiotics, and probiotics, every person needs and which ones they don't. In fact, they would be harmful.
Momo Vuyisich: And so two years ago, we went to the top 10 supplement manufacturers and told them sidedly and negatively, Hey, we now have mathematical equations that can tell for every person exactly what they need and nothing. They don't. Right. Okay. And they said, well, that's great, but that's not going to work for us. That's not our business model. Our business model is to shove as many supplements down people's throats as we can. Our model is not to reduce our revenue by telling people, Oh, you only need this, but you don't really need these other things. So for a year we knocked on every door. We tried as hard to inspire people, to motivate people, to say, look, we now have the science to figure it out. They said, that's not our business model. Our business model is sell, sell, sell. So a year ago we had to make a very difficult decision to pursue this on our own.
Momo Vuyisich: And so a month ago, so a year later we came out with precision supplements. So today everybody I'm customer can actually buy our supplements. And those supplements consist of, you know, traditional, minerals and vitamins, but also food extracts and then prebiotics and probiotics that that person needs everything they need and nothing they don't. And those things that they need they're given in the amounts they need, because not everyone needs the same amount of everything. So these are true precision supplements. And the beautiful thing about it is that the formula for every person is computed using the chemistry we measure with our tests and mathematical equations. There is no human involvement. There is no anecdotes, there's no experience. There's nothing human. It is hundred percent chemistry and mathematics to get to what a person needs, right And so that's really the revolution we're bringing we're objectifying because today, if you go to three highly qualified nutritionists and you're present to them, the exact same set of symptoms, you're going to get three different recommendations guaranteed.
Momo Vuyisich: And the reason is because your attritional sciences are not science-based they're experience-based, every nutritionist has had their own experiences, and they're going to make recommendations to you based on their experience. They have no measurement. They're not measuring anything. They have no science, they have no chemistry and they have no math, right And so it's a guesswork. So we advise them really one of the reasons that I founded the company and I worked really hard for many years prior to that is to really objectivize the human body, digitize it into objective, chemical reactions and chemicals, and understand what is health, what is disease, and then really use food and supplements to modulate the gut microbiome and our own physiology to be healthy.
Andrea Samadi: So let's just say, I go to your website, Momo. And I'm really interested because I want to improve my health, my productivity. I know my stomach doesn't feel right. I want to do something like I'm on a mission. What is, what do I have to do Do I have to send in a sample Yeah.
Momo Vuyisich: So currently, currently we have two, testing products or services on the market. One is based on solely the stool sample, it's called the gut intelligence test. And that comes with a stool test. And three months of recommendations for food and supplements. The other test is called a health intelligence, and it includes a stool and a blood sample. The blood sample is collected at home. It's finger prick. It's just really easy to collect and we only need a hundred microliters of blood. And so, that's collected at home, shipped at room temperature. There is no refrigeration, no freezing. And depending on which test, which service you choose, Europe is still going to be given on the app, food recommendations, exactly what you need and how much of it you need and which foods to avoid and what supplements we recommend. and so that's been the default service for the last several years, diet and supplement recommendations.
Momo Vuyisich: Now you can upgrade either. So you can go ahead and go on your own and buy the supplements. the challenge with that is simple supplement like calcium. I want to buy calcium. It's very difficult to buy calcium on its own. They bundled it with like three other things. It's very difficult to buy vitamin D three. It's very difficult to buy what you need. They always bundle it with other things. And by the time you bundle, you're going to spend more money than what our service costs. And you're going to be ingesting things that are not necessarily good for you. So either one of these services can be upgraded to a plan that gives you monthly, precision supplements. And to be a hundred percent honest, since I'm not on the commercial side of the company, I don't actually know what this looks like and how you would do that. I get my kids for free, of course, but, but I don't, but, but, you know, just go to viome.com and explore, and it should be very self-explanatory as to how to sign up and how to get the supplements and all that
Andrea Samadi: It is. And I just want to understand it. So when, once I've sent in my sample, the app, the actual phone app is going to tell me what foods are super foods for me.
Momo Vuyisich: Yeah. So, so you can actually, as far as I know, you can download the app and you can go into the demo mode, which will show you exactly what it looks like. And yes, so our computers will sort all foods into four different categories. They range from avoid, meaning never eat. And then three categories that you're supposed to eat, minimize, enjoy, and super foods. And so minimize means maybe eat one serving per day or less enjoy meaning, eat a lot of these foods every day. And then super foods. You know, some people unfortunately get only a list of like three superfoods, but some people get like 25 superfoods. You're supposed to consume these all the time. And then if you have a list of 25, you're really supposed to alternate them. You're supposed to maybe each day of the week, you would eat three superfoods so that because your body needs all of those, nourishments for maintaining a balance. So, and all of that is explained in the app and the Apple. So explains there are some foods that everyone should avoid and, you know, added sugar is, is definitely one of those, but there are some others, you know, highly processed, preserved, you know, foods that just contain absolutely nasty chemicals. yeah.
Andrea Samadi Yup. Well, what's your vision Where are you going in the next 10 years I know we're getting close to the end of our time, so I don't want to keep you too long.
Momo Vuyisich: Yeah. So our vision is very clear. so you guys have all seen, I mean, everyone's seen like the instrument panel for an airplane, right And the pilot on a, just at 24 hours, I mean, constantly throughout the flight has a very visual view, meaning a gauge for every single system on the airplane, right Volume is going to bring that kind of a concept of human health, meaning that as we grow, we already have some of those instruments, but as we grow, the final vision is that for every chronic disease and for every type of cancer, we're going to have a gauge. That's going to be displayed on the dashboard, on the app. Where today, if you ask anyone, will you get pancreatic cancer The answer is I have no freaking idea today. When a person gets pancreatic cancer, it's literally in the 21st century considered bad luck.
Momo Vuyisich: That's like going back 700 years ago during the bubonic plague outbreak, right Where whether you get plague, I don't know. Right. But today we have the tools to understand who's going to get the plague and how to treat it. But 700 years ago, we did it today. We are literally 700 years old in terms of cancer. We don't know who's going to get what, what really get multiple sclerosis. You don't know. And then once you get it, it's bad luck. I mean, how can we, how can we, how can we think that a disease as devastating as multiple sclerosis, as bad luck, it's not bad luck. And we have all the technology to actually prevent it. It's just that no one's doing it. And so the dashboard will basically be for diabetes, for heart disease, for multiple sclerosis, for all timers, it'll show you your current risk and your cumulative risk of that disease.
Momo Vuyisich: And if it becomes high, it'll tell you exactly what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, when to exercise, how to sleep, when to sleep, whether to fast, what type of fasting, right It'll tell you, it'll guide. You. It'll tell you how to cook. It will tell you what to cook. You know, we're going to have a, a module on our app. That's called chef via, via sort of the theme of our app. Chef VI will be like, Alexa, it'll talk to you when we develop it. And you'll, you'll be driving home for work. And you'll say, Hey, buy, I want to, I want to go home. And I want to cook Thai food with chicken. and you know, what should I do Right And chef buy is going to immediately make your recommendation and say, Hey, I know what's in your fridge because there's a camera in your fridge and I can see it.
Momo Vuyisich: And I'm going to compute the recipe for you. And when you got home, I'm going to tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. And today, for example, we do this manually. So I have, three, three family members and all three of us have different diets. Now there's an overlap. And so we will often make, not often every single meal we make, we will make sort of a core meal that satisfies all of our requirements. But then we'll subtract and add things based on what individual requirements are. I can't have tomatoes. My wife is super food tomatoes, and my son has enjoyed tomatoes. So they eat them. And I never touched them. Like, literally I don't touch them. Sweet potatoes are under avoid list, but they're my super, so I eat sweet potatoes all the time. I can't have potatoes, but they can.
Momo Vuyisich: So they eat potatoes. And so these are the kinds of modifications that we make where, you know, we will, we, whenever we make Thai food, we will make two dishes. When we make pasta, we will make two dishes. But the core, like Thai sauce with coconut milk, with chili spice, with like baby corn, with things like that, and rice are all common, but then we will add, we will then split into two parts and make two different dishes. And so, you know, you can say, unfortunately, no, that's what it cakes, but that is what it takes. We have two different foods in order to stay healthy. And so we don't have a choice.
Andrea Samadi: Yep. They makes sense to me because I'm already cooking for me, everyone in my family eats something different. So I'd rather know that what I'm cooking is healthy than just guessing. This takes the guesswork out of everything. I want to thank you so much for this information memo. It's mind blowing what you're doing over there. I'm so excited. I would like to learn more about this. I'm definitely checking out your website for others who want to learn more. They just go to viome.com. Learn more about the process of this simple testing, learning, score, the supplements, things to enjoy. Thank you so much. Is there anything else that, yeah,
Momo Vuyisich: Yeah. So if people, so we also have an active studies, research studies, they can go browse and see if they qualify for any studies. And currently we're recruiting beta testers for our mold testing. So any of your, in the audience would like to do it, to do a free beta beta test of their house or their workplace. we're happy to do that. Just send an email to email@example.com. and, we'll ship them a, a mold collection kit. I surface swabs and they can collect them and we'll get them the results. So that's pretty exciting.
Andrea Samadi: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for this moment or a wonderful day, and I wish you luck on this. This is an exciting 10 years to get to where your vision is. Thank you. Have a good day. You too.