Leaky Gut: An Interview with Dr. Zach Bush

Leaky Gut

I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Zach Bush, MD regarding the much sought after topic of leaky gut. Although I did write a very comprehensive article on leaky gut in 2014, Dr. Bush pointed out many interesting facts that I know will be of much interest.

Dr. Bush is a triple board certified physician and the founder and director of Revolution Health Center in Virginia. Dr. Bush has had much experience with gut inflammation and resulting symptoms. Because of the needs of his patients, he was looking for answers regarding healing the tight junctions (cells whose membranes join together forming a virtually impermeable barrier) of not only the gut, but of all the organs and glands. As a result of exhaustive research regarding how to facilitate the rebalancing of the ecosystem in the gut, he is the co-founder of a novel product called ION that I have been using very successfully with compromised clients.

Before the creation of ION, because of recession and budget cuts for his cancer research, Dr. Bush moved to a very small town to educate the residents on how to change their diet. There was no grocery store in the town, and most residents were eating fast food from the gas station mini mart. Needless to say, Type 2 Diabetes ran rampant, and he spent 2 years educating his patients about the need for a healthy diet.

Many complied, but he didn’t always see the results he hoped for: some Type 2 patients responded well to the changes in diet, but some of didn’t. Why? Because some patient’s cells were not able to do the necessary cell repair: in other words, they didn’t have enough mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) to do the job.

Miracle Mitochondria and Gut Health

As discussed in past articles, inside every cell the mitochondria act as the powerhouse. The reason why our body is able to repair is because the mitochondria are functioning at top performance. And the more mitochondria we have, the healthier we become.

The mitochondria are also vital when it comes to feeding our bodies. If you eat kale, the body can’t directly absorb those nutrients. Friendly bacteria liberate the kale nutrients; those nutrients are transported to the liver where they are turned into fat and sugar. The mitochondrion consumes the fat and sugar, turns the fat into electrons and pumps them through the electron chain to produce ATP energy. It goes without saying that if you want to fix the cell, you have to fix the mitochondria.

Redox Molecules

But the mitochondrion’s work doesn’t stop there. As they produce ATP energy, they produce redox signaling molecules. When these redox molecules are stable, they are a vital part of healing the body. They act as the 911-communication system to your immune system. But the loss of mitochondria equals advanced aging. And with each decade that passes, we lose precious mitochondria.

The electrical charge of the mitochondria (the making of ATP) pulls water and thus nutrients into the cells. The higher the electrical charge, the more water enters the cells. As we age, all our organs and glands, including the digestive tract becomes increasingly more dehydrated. And of course, compromising dehydration is partly due to the dramatic loss of mitochondria from unhealthy foods and toxic exposure. Dehydration is also due to the opening of tight junctions, which I will review shortly.

Friendly Bacteria and Redox Molecules

As most of us are well aware, a balanced gut microbiome, with a multitude of friendly bacteria is vital to the healthy workings of the gut. Redox molecules and friendly bacteria work as a team to protect the gut. The communication of these bacteria with redox signaling molecules is the front line of defense for the tight junctions (the firewall between us and the outside world).

Gut in Review:

But let me back up and give a brief overview of leaky gut. Leaky gut encompasses many different challenges, but certainly uncontrolled inflammation leading to the opening of the protective tight junctions in the gut is primary.

Tight junctions function as an intelligent gateway for the intestinal tract. Its job is to keep out toxins, inorganic fiber, chemicals and foreign invaders. Gluten’s gliadin molecules and glyphosate from pesticides (specifically, Roundup and GMO foods) are its biggest enemies and loosen those tight junctions causing intestinal permeability known as leaky gut.

Learn more about glyphosate’s impact on the gut here and here.

In these instances, the gliadin molecules and/or the glyphosate causes widespread inflammation to the gut lining and the tight junctions remain open. If the tight junctions remain open long term, it can lead to a compromised immune system and/or autoimmune responses, where the body starts attacking itself.

How Do We Protect Against Glyphosate?

Right now in the US, we are dumping 300 million pounds of glyphosate on our soil per year: two times as much as last year. But can we keep ourselves safe from glyphosate and by eating only organic foods? Unfortunately, that does not provide 100% protection. It is estimated that approximately 65% of all the rainfall over the globe contains glyphosate. So what can you do to protect yourself and your precious tight junctions from the devastating effects of glyphosate?

Close Those Tight Junctions

Tight junctions are not limited to the intestinal tract. They are found everywhere in the body, including the brain, blood vessels and renal (kidney) tubules (they reabsorb selected materials back into the blood and secrete, collect and conduct urine: Mosby’s Medical Dictionary: 9th Edition: 2009).

Anywhere that tight junctions remain open, glyphosate will compromise that area. When the tight junctions open, you start leaking water out of your body and into your colon. The colon is supposed to absorb the water from food and direct it back into your body. But when you have a leaky colon, you have a little bit of water tracking back into the colon, which leads to even more dehydration in your cells and then chronic dehydration.

If the tight junctions in the kidneys remain open, toxins can get stuck, and it may be difficult for certain people’s kidneys to flush adequately. When the kidneys are weak, the kidney mitochondria can’t mount the electrical charge across the renal tubules, so the kidneys become a dry sponge for toxins, and that can be a disaster. It is obvious that we need protection for our tight junctions. Can probiotics offer a solution?

Probiotics: Friend or Foe?

The probiotic industry is huge, with sales of $30 billion per year. So many of us have read about the glories of probiotics and many of us have a bottle sitting in our refrigerator. And it is true that in certain instances, they can help. But, unfortunately, what we know is that if you take the same 3-7 species of friendly bacteria over and over again, your gut will turn into a monoculture of limited species.

Why is that a problem? Because in a healthy gut microbiome it is estimated that there are between 20-30,000 different species of friendly bacteria working their magic and keeping our whole body balanced and healthy. In a gut species study Dr. Bush noted, it took 44 participants to collectively get to 10,000 species!

As we are exposed to pesticides, herbicides and chemicals of all sorts, we are devastating our gut microbiome and killing off the good guys. And if we have the wrong bacteria proliferating like e Coli, klebsiella, pseudomonas, candida, etc., it can wipe out our whole ecosystem. Add to that an unhealthy diet, and that is a recipe for an inflamed gut that never seems to heal.

So again, if we just keeping take the same probiotic products over and over again, we may have an improvement for a while after antibiotic use or an infection. But over time, it does no good to repeat these same cultures. We need to find a way to re-populate our gut without the overuse of probiotics. How is that possible?


It all comes back to the communication between redox molecules, the mitochondria and our friendly bacteria.

We know that we need many stable redox molecules to improve health. But how can we provide them in supplement form? Dr. Bush knew that carbon redox molecules were present in healthy soil and he needed an ecosystem of carbon redox molecules that was huge. But unfortunately, our topsoil has tragically degraded over the years. In yesteryear, when soil was healthy, the topsoil was 8 feet deep. Now it is mineral deficient, saturated with pesticides and herbicides, and only 12 inches in depth. He knew this denatured soil could not provide the kind of carbon redox molecules needed to change the ecosystem of the gut.

Ancient Soil Lignites

After searching far and wide for a good source, he went to the desert where ancient fossil soil called lignites, estimated to be 50 million years old, existed in abundance. Not only is this lignite soil rich in minerals: it is rich in carbon redox molecules.

Through a special water extraction process and the addition of other minerals, and amino acids passed on from a brilliant colleague in New Mexico, he was able to “wake up” the carbon redox potential of this rich soil mix, and created the liquid product called ION.

These carbon redox molecules communicate with the 30,000 potential species of microflora in a healthy gut. And in a sterile gut (with very few friendly species) these carbon redox molecules have the potential to mix with bacteria that is present in our every day environment. In fact, most of the ecosystem (multitude of friendly bacteria) that we depend on every day does not come from probiotics or fermented sauerkraut. It comes from walking out into your garden and turning over some soil and planting your seeds; all the airborne bacteria are there and you breathe them in. Or you reach over and you pet your dog and bacteria go airborne. So pet your dogs more often and kiss your cat! Remember: ION is a communication network of carbon redox molecules that form the front line of defense for our gut. It is NOT a probiotic.

Documented Changes

Sixteen minutes after taking ION, the product closes tight junctions and changes their integrity. In 6 days, tight junctions in the small and large intestines become stronger. But what does this mean in the body? Because the tight junctions are closed, you can absorb water and nutrients much faster, there are better tissue integrity, and tissues, glands and organs throughout the body get rehydrated because of the closing of the tight junctions. When you take ION, the difference is in the hydration state. Also, closed tight junctions stop the over-production of zonulin, a protein that modulates their permeability.

But the best news is that ION can protect our gut from the toxicity of glyphosate and gluten. Taken 30 minutes before a meal, tight junctions will NOT open if these damaging substances are ingested. It also has the potential to repair the gut wall after glyphosate insult.

How to Take ION

The label suggests taking 1 tsp. 30 minutes before each meal. But if you forget to take it before your meal, you can take 1 tsp. 3 times a day. However, if you have a toxic or inflamed gut, it is suggested that you START VERY SLOWLY. Begin with 1-2 drops per day and ease your way into using this amazing product.

With re-hydration of organs, glands and your brain,  you may experience temporary symptoms. If that is the case, reduce the amount taken. For Dr. Bush’s sickest patients, 1 drop per week was tolerated and then very slowly they increased to tolerance. But for many, the recommended dose is causing rapid changes in gut health. One of my chronically constipated docs saw dramatic changes in her bowel movements in a matter of days. Before she had to take many things to assure regular bowel movements, but now has 2-3 bowel movements per day taking only ION. I’m excited for you to try ION and please let me know what you think in the comments below. Here’s to your healthy, happy gut!

To purchase ION now, click here.