Transcript EP 280 – Rethink Your Relationship with Alcohol with Zack Abbott


Transcript EP 280 – Rethink Your Relationship with Alcohol with Zack Abbott

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Dr. Taz: Welcome back everyone to another episode of Superwoman Wellness, where we are determined to bring you back to your super powered self. And every week we tackle new topics. And I know you’re going to be excited about this one because every day in practice, somebody asks me if they have to give up alcohol.

Dr. Taz: Well, to break it all down, I have brought on Zach Abbott. Zach has a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of Michigan. And holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where he double majored in immunology and classical art and archeology. That’s an interesting combo. I want to know how those go together. Prior to starting ZBiotics, Zach worked in clinical trial design, as well as researching HIV vaccines and pursuing novel antibiotics in both academia and industry. Before his career as a scientist, he was a bartender and a rugby player. Just microbiology, immunology, architecture, bartending, we put it all together here. And he has done a lot of thinking as well as his fair share of field research on the intersection of science and lifestyle, particularly as it relates to alcohol consumption. Welcome to the show.

Zach: Thanks yeah, I’m excited to chat to you about this topic.

Dr. Taz: Yeah, this should be fun. I’m thinking like, “Have I had a bartender on the show before?” I think the answer might be no, so. And I’m thinking you’re going to be skewed pro alcohol. So I’m interested to see where this goes. So I wasn’t kidding, I get to see amazing people in practice every day that I’m there and alcohol is a big part of our lives, right? It’s a big way that we celebrate, it’s a way that we sometimes relax. And I think sort of the messaging out there that I’m hearing from both women and men quite honestly, is that, “Oh, a couple glasses of wine every day is a good thing. I think the wine industry did a really good job with that messaging.” But for me on my end right, where I’m looking at lab work and digging into chemistry, I’m seeing things like Candida, which is yeast overgrowth, or a lot of inflammation, or a lot of liver sluggishness.

Dr. Taz: And then Chinese medicine, we call it liver stasis. So it’s always like, “I know we need the alcohol for fun and I definitely don’t want to take anyone’s fun away, but what do we do about the effects on the body?” So I’m super curious. So first of all, I actually majored in microbiology and immunology-

Zach: Oh, wow.

Dr. Taz: … I did. I found the whole thing super fascinating and in my mind it was more English and journalism. So again, that’s a split brain so to speak. But you bartended, I never did that. And how do you reconcile all of this? What would you say to people who are sort of in this quandary?

Zach: Yeah, absolutely. And I totally empathize and to be clear, I would not kind of categorize myself specifically as on the pro alcohol side per se. I think that people are making their own decisions about their lives. And I think that the most important thing is striking a balance that you can sustain, right? And that’s meaningful for you. And so for some people, not everybody, giving up alcohol entirely can to some extent be isolating. That might be the way that they typically socialize. I know if I call some friends, the easiest thing to say is like, “Hey, do you want to go grab a beer and watch a game or, or whatever?” And there are lots of other things you can do. You can go for a hike and you can go get food and all those things.

Zach: And of course, I do all those things as well, but it’s just a common part of how we socialize. And for some people it’s an important part of unwinding or relaxing, or even if not just the alcohol itself, but just the sort of psychological triggers that happen when you’re kind of enjoying a drink with friends in that sort of setting. And so it may not always be practical or reasonable or sustainable to completely give up alcohol. And I think that that’s fine. I think that the most healthy thing you can do is make good decisions every day, right? And focus on your health and your wellbeing in a way that’s sustainable, right? All or nothing mentality is… You see it with dieting a lot. That people go on crazy diets that are all or nothing. And yeah, you have all this momentum and energy when you start, but then you kind of… It gets hard to maintain that.

Zach: And then you kind of fall off the wagon and you go back to your bad habits. Whereas if you had just slowly kind of cycled in better behaviors and better decisions that were more sustainable, then you might have been able to maintain a more healthy lifestyle for longer. And so I think that the same mentality should be approached with drinking too. And you’re obviously right. That alcohol, I mean, it’s toxic, it’s not good for you. There’s no debate on that, right? But in moderation, that damage can be minimal or not at all, especially if done with a lot of healthy drinking practices. And so therefore you can make alcohol part of a healthy lifestyle as long as you build in the right habits. And then therefore it could be more sustainable as well, rather than trying to do this all or nothing kind of mentality like, “Oh, I have to give up drinking if I want to be healthy. Well, I can’t because I have a party I want to go to, so I guess I’m not doing that.” And then you kind of make no good decisions at that point.

Dr. Taz: So when you talk about having a good environment around, making that choice to drink alcohol every now and then what are you referring to? Are there certain things that should be in place so that you can indulge every now and then, can you give us a sense of what that landscape looks like?

Zach: Yeah, so I would advocate for not even thinking of it as indulging, it’s more like, “What are my…” I think setting up a framework of things that you consider to be healthy forms of drinking, I think is the best approach and the best strategy. And the one that’s the most sustainable says something like, “When I drink, I’m not going to drink more than this many drinks.” Or like, “I’m not going to drink more than this many times in a week. Or I’m not going to see this many drinks in a week.” Or whatever it might be. And then you sort of set up other rules and things that you think you can realistically follow. So that, like, “I will make sure that I never drink on an empty stomach. Or that I never drink more than one drink an hour. Or when I am drinking… Or I make sure I always stop drinking three hours before I go to bed to make sure I can sleep well, even if I’ve had drinks.”

Zach: And so I think there are a lot of things… We can get into the details of things that I think are some good rules. But generally speaking, I think that if you approach the mentality of drinking, I think a healthy way of approaching dieting, which is setting up rules for yourself that you think you can realistically follow and stick to. And then you do better than having no rules and having no guidelines. And then just hoping you’ll always do the right thing without actually setting any kind of expectations for yourself. And I think that becomes a healthier way to approach integrating good decisions into your social life. I think diet is a good example like, “If you’re hungry, you’re going to make a bad eating decision, right? But if you make decisions when you’re not hungry and then it becomes a lot easier to kind of follow those rules.

Dr. Taz: I think that’s all super helpful. So we do want your rules, but before we go there, let’s talk a little bit about the science behind all of this. What specifically is alcohol doing to us, if we’re thinking more scientifically versus just saying it’s bad? What are we seeing?

Zach: Yeah, absolutely. And to be clear, I mean, this is all coming from me thinking a lot about this science and then also thinking about kind of the other side of my life, which is the social aspects and kind of lifestyle I’ve had. And like you said, kind of how to reconcile those things. So knowing from a scientific perspective that alcohol… When you drink, kind of walking through kind of the metabolism of alcohol and kind of how those things affect you. You consume the alcohol and most of that alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream from your gut, and then it kind of circulates throughout your bloodstream and it has different effects throughout your body. And then it’s eventually processed by your liver. It’s processed in two main stages from alcohol to acetaldehyde using one enzyme.

Zach: And then a second enzyme breaks the acetaldehyde down into acetate, which is essentially vinegar. And from there, you’ve essentially detoxified the alcohol obviously, or maybe not obviously. Then from there the acetaldehyde is further metabolizing the other molecules relative to your kind of metabolism, but that’s when the kind of alcohol stops being toxic. But the alcohol itself is toxic, I should say. And then as well as the intermediate acetaldehyde, which is actually much more toxic than alcohol itself, but sort of a necessary intermediate step to getting the acetate, which is innocuous. And so that’s kind of the general gist of what happens when you drink alcohol. And so when you’re dealing with the toxic effects of alcohol, it’s really your exposure to alcohol and your exposure to acetaldehyde that can be a problem.

Zach: There is the alcohol itself while circulating in your body and creating the effects that it creates. It’s also causing pendulum swings and monkeying around with your endocrine system. And you have endocrine bowels with your insulin and hunger hormones like glargine. And you have lots of effective binds and nerve transmitters in the brain. And creates issues with wait fullness and excitation and so if you have alcohol, for instance, it’s still in your system and in your brain, while you’re sleeping, it’s really going to affect the quality of your sleep, because it’s going to constantly be pulling you out of the deepest levels of sleep. And so we know that’s a problem. So it’s also making effects on your hunger and your satiation and so your decisions to eat and the way your body processes sugar from the food you eat are all affected by alcohol.

Zach: And so all those things you can probably extrapolate to things you notice when you’re drunk and then the next day. And then acetaldehyde as a separate molecule, right? Is a really toxic molecule. It binds to different proteins in your body and it binds to DNA directly. And so it can create lots of problems and sort of the functioning of your cells. And it’s sort of toxic, meaning it can kill cells. And it creates at least a lot of habits in the body. Luckily you’re not exposed to a lot of acetaldehyde, but it does end up creating a lot of, kind of the next day misery you feel sometimes. If you’re consuming alcohol or even maybe not totally miserable, but some of those next day effects you’re experiencing, all those things can often be tied to a combination of the poor sleep that you’re dealing with from the alcohol. And then some of the kind of toxic effects of acetaldehyde.

Dr. Taz: So does acetaldehyde and not to geek out here, deplete glutathione? And if any of you guys have been listening to my podcast, we’ve had some episodes on glutathione, it’s a potent antioxidant. But do we find in research that it is depleting it to a certain extent? So it’s making mitochondrial function weaker overall? Are we seeing that or is that something you’ve seen as well?

Zach: Yeah, I mean, I think there’s literature to suggest that. We do see glutathione levels are stressed when you drink. And I think it’s both through the oxidation of alcohol and of acetaldehyde. So it’s two simple oxidation reactions that require NAD NADH transition which have glutathione kind of steps in there as well. So there is stress put on glutathione. So there is a hypothesis that supplementing your body with glutathione when you drink, can kind of help that metabolism happen more quickly. Not to say it doesn’t exist, but I’m not personally aware of any data to definitively suggest that hypothesis has been validated. But glutathione is certainly an important part of alcohol metabolism. So it could be-

Dr. Taz: Is it fair to say that alcohol is aging to a certain extent?

Zach: … That’s going to cause cell damage is-

Dr. Taz: That’s aging?

Zach: Without a doubt, it’s creating inflammation, which we know is also very aging, right? The more stress you’re putting in your body and the more repair it’s having to do, it’s just wearing things down. So there’s no doubt about that for sure. But again, it’s sort of in moderation. Everything is aging, right? To some extent, right, we’re aging. So in moderation you get to argue… And again, this is a hypothesis, the same is very hypothetical, it’s not validated in the literature, but the psychological benefits that people experience could be considered as anti-aging as well. So it’s not to say that… I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s not necessarily all one thing or the other, right? That every person is going to be a little bit different in both biologically and psychologically, how they respond to anything they do and including drinking. So it’s striking that right balance, I think.

Dr. Taz: So how do you set… What is moderation? Actually, before we even get to that, is alcohol worse for women than it is for men? Should women be… Because there were some studies early on that talked about that and then it sort of equalized everything and said it’s bad for everyone. So is it worse for women? Do we have a harder time with it and are there certain populations that should be more wary of it than others?

Zach: Yeah, that’s a super interesting question that I’ve never considered in a sort of absolute term like that. But I mean, I think you can make a biological argument that it is worse because women have on average less percentage water in their body. So they’re usually experiencing effects of alcohol for longer, because it’s basically less dilute and they don’t process alcohol on average as quickly as men do, it expresses less alcohol androgen enzyme. So theoretically you could say you’re being exposed to on average those toxins for longer per unit you drink. That being said I mean, I think that’s also counteracted by the fact that women typically will drink less volume than men because they’re experiencing the effects of the alcohol sooner. And so, at the end of the day, I don’t know if you would really see that much of a difference in the damage between the two.

Dr. Taz: So moderation and balance, what does that look like? What are the rules? Do you judge when you get a buzz? How do you figure that out for yourself?

Zach: Yeah, I think again, it’s sort of to some extent, the hard line has got to be personal experience and experimentation to an extent. But the general concepts that I follow I think are concepts that could be applied more across the board. So, like I said, I think one of the biggest things that people really undervalue is how important sleep is to your health and wellbeing and what you feel the next day. And I think people really don’t appreciate how much damage alcohol can do to the quality of your sleep. And so for instance, if you go to bed and you still have say three drinks in your system, you are probably not going to be completely sober. Your blood alcohol is probably not going to be zero for about five or six hours of an eight hours of sleep. In the best case scenario that you’re actually in bed for eight hours, which means that you basically got two quality hours of sleep.

Zach: And so think about staying up till six in the morning and then going to bed and then waking up at eight in the morning, you’re not going to feel very good. So I think that one of the biggest things is really trying to stop drinking earlier in the night. And in an ideal scenario, the goal should be to have your head hit the pillow, right as your blood alcohol hits zero. So that your sleeping quality is great and not affected by the alcohol. So timing that out. And so a good rule of thumb is that people often say it’s one drink an hour, but really the data shows it’s closer to half a drink an hour, which is probably more realistic. So timing out, when you have your last drink and knowing how many drinks you had and then giving yourself at least an hour, if not two hours to metabolize that last drink that you had.

Zach: So that’s a big rule. And in terms of how many drinks you have in the night, I think it’s really watching your blood alcohol content. And again, that’s hard to… If you have a breathalyzer or something, you can measure that alcohol-

Zach: But I know, not everybody’s kind of-

Dr. Taz: I don’t know if anybody can do that, honestly wait for a second.

Zach: … Right, totally. So I kind of might look like a weirdo. So, but in general, yeah. I think again there are charts that you can look up that roughly kind of give you based on your weight and your gender, roughly what your blood alcohol would be. And what we know from kind the literature is that typically kind, the next day of effects of drinking start to really kick in right around where you shouldn’t be driving right around 0.08% to 0.1%, blood alcohol content. And so just speaking, if you keep your blood alcohol content below that you’re probably setting yourself up for more likely to have a better next day. Like you said everybody’s experience is different. I definitely have friends and have talked to lots of people who say that even one or two drinks where realistically your blood alcohol is probably not getting above 0.04 or a 0.05, that they definitely are feeling things the next day, which means… And that’s really just a readout, right?

Zach: What’s actually happening biologically? The damage that’s created is not always correlated with how bad you feel the next day. So that’s only kind of a rough readout, but generally speaking, if you kind of… I think it’s good to listen to your body and the way you feel the next day, and then also setting somewhat arbitrary limits on where you want your back to be. I mean, if you’re planning on driving, I would say having no drinks or setting a very hard limit because you put yourself in tons of risk there. But if you’re not planning on driving, then setting limits that you feel are limits that your body responds well to.

Zach: And so, if your desire is to feel the effects of the alcohol, to some extent, which I think for many people it is, that’s kind of the point then know what level or how many drinks do I have before I feel some of the relaxing effects or whatever it might be or some of the social effects? But then don’t push them past that and make sure that you know what those limits are. So if it’s two drinks, then I have two drinks and I have to take a break before I have any more drinks again or something like that. So kind of, I know that’s not a hard number, but-

Dr. Taz: Does drinking water in between your drinks help? I know a lot of people do that. They’ll have an alcoholic drink, a couple glasses of water and an alcoholic drink. Does that do anything?

Zach: … I mean yeah. In a sense that… if that’s a good tool for you to paste yourself reasonably, then I think it makes sense. So for me, I respond better to a watch. So because I’ll just drink the water quickly otherwise. So, because I’m not thinking and I’m just sort of going. So I have to be a little more conscientious myself. So I like to set it so that I never have more than one drink an hour and that I never exceed three drinks in a night. It’s sort of my rules because based on my size and my body and how my body responds to the alcohol. And if I want to do more than that, then it has to be a conscious decision. I’m saying that because of this night I will do more, but that’s sort of my limit. And so I think that works for me. But you could say for instance, I’ll have one drink of alcohol and then I’ll have two glasses of water before I have another glass bottle or something.

Dr. Taz: Got it. And then the other question I get all the time is, “If I drink hard liquor, versus wine, versus beer, any differences?” I know what my answer is, but any differences across those different types of consumption there?

Zach: Yeah, so the short answer is no, that alcohol is alcohol. That being said, there are differences in the way you’re drinking them, right? So for instance, if you are taking a shot, then you’re getting a full drink in a matter of seconds, right? As opposed to, if you’re drinking a beer, you’ll get that full drink over the course of 20, 30 minutes or whatever. And so the slower the alcohol’s absorbed, the better your body can keep up. And the less the exposure is to acetaldehyde alcohol.

Zach: So generally speaking a shot is worse because you drink it more quickly. And so your liver isn’t able to drink it all down as fast. You’re exposed for a longer period of time. But for all intent purposes, a cocktail, a glass of wine and a beer of drinking, the same taste are roughly going to have the same effect. There are some interesting things around like for instance, carbonation forces you to absorb the alcohol more quickly. But at the same time, it also fills you up more, so you might drink slower. So there’s sort of these counterbalanced things on that.

Dr. Taz: Goodness, just trying to beat the system here. So what about wine? There’s a lot of talk with French wines or, European wines are fermented more or in the Oak barrels so that they have a better probiotic or microbial profile to them and therefore they’re metabolized. I mean is there anything to that? That’s Just wine people just trying to make right.

Zach: Exactly from my personal opinion as a microbiologist is a hard no, but there’s no… Yeah, or such a minimal amount of benefit that is not worth thinking about. I think in my opinion, more healthy thinking about alcohol is alcohol and then setting your rules and limits on that, yeah.

Dr. Taz: So Oak barrels don’t matter guys, just do it yourself.

Zach: For your experience of it, that’s really important. Do not think they matter from a health perspective.

Dr. Taz: Okay, but speaking of probiotics, like what is the role of probiotics? I mean, I know from what I see in the exam room and from our testing, people that are over consuming typically have Candida, which is sort of what I read. And Candida, for those of you who don’t know, is yeast, we all have it, but it’s when yeast overgrows, then we see all kinds of health implications to that. Everything from brain fog and constipation and bloating to hormone disruption, there’s a whole list of things. So, that’s what I see most frequently. What is the role of microbial health as a microbiologist? From your perspective, in terms of metabolizing alcohol a little bit better or balancing all of this out, or just starting out with a healthier gut so that when these toxins right, kind of enter the body, we do a better job with it. What’s on there?

Zach: Yeah, definitely. I hear there’s a lot in there and I’ll try not to nerd too far. But yeah, I mean we know for instance earlier I mentioned, and I’ll circle back to kind of the alcohol metabolism explanation, the science there. So as I said at the time, most of the alcohol you drink is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and then it is broken up by the liver. But we do know that a small amount of the alcohol you drink is actually metabolized directly in the gut in large part by microbiome, before it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. And it’s not typically discussed when we talk about alcohol metabolism, because from an alcohol perspective, it’s a small percentage, just maybe 10%. But it’s very important because most of the alcohol that’s metabolized in your gut, by your microbiome is converted from alcohol into acetaldehyde, but not subsequently from acetaldehyde to acetate.

Zach: So you actually get a buildup of acetaldehyde in the microbiome or in the gut. It ends up being a major source of acetaldehyde in the body. So blood acetaldehyde concentrations, after a night of heavy drinking, let’s say like five or six drinks, you might see 60, 70 micromolar acetaldehyde. But colonic acetaldehyde, so the acetaldehyde that forms in the gut or the colon reached 300 to 500 micromolar. So much higher levels than the blood, even though it’s only a minor source of alcohol metabolism. And so it’s interesting to know that and that sort of demonstrative of the fact that the microbiome is really important for kind of the way you feel-

Dr. Taz: Got it.

Zach: … And it also is probably partially to blame or the explanation for why you and a friend who may roughly weigh the same and seem… And drink the same amount and eat the same things, have a very different experience of alcohol, especially the next day.

Zach: And in part that’s probably a junior microbiome or the fact that one time you drank, you didn’t feel anything and you were fine the next day. And then some other time you maybe drink almost exactly the same thing and you feel terrible. And there’s a lot of things that go into that. But one of the things is that your microbiome is constantly changing. And so all that is just underscore the importance of what’s happening in your gut as kind of the gateway or the entry point into your body. And so when you drink frequently, or I shouldn’t say frequently, but on a regular basis, to your point Candida, I mean you’re ingesting a lot of simple carbohydrates and alcohol, which are all energy sources for different kinds of microbes.

Zach: And so, yeast can grow on very simple carbohydrates which… And they can bloom out really quickly. And so that can create really real problems and alcohol can kind of foster that. So that is probably why you see in your practice, that to be the case that you have. Kind of like Candida blooms and things like that. Generally speaking, you’re absolutely right, that the best way to prevent that is to have a good microbiome to begin with. So that’s all the things you do when you’re not drinking to set yourself up, to kind of have this very nice, protective, healthy layer of the microbiome. And so the best way to do that is eating lots of fiber, also fresh fruit and vegetables of all different varieties and whole grains are always to get different kinds of fiber.

Zach: So you have to have a very robust and diverse microbiome that is resilient to kind of temporary blooms of Candida and some simple carbohydrates and alcohols. But being very clear about alcohol itself… We sterilize our hands right, with alcohol, because alcohol is damaging the microbes. And so when you drink, you are going to create shifts in your microbiome and that’s something to consider as well when you drink the effects you’re having on the health of your gut microbiome.

Dr. Taz: I got you. So is it helpful then? I’m just imagining everyone’s going to go pop probiotics now, before they go out drinking. But is it helpful to take probiotics in a consistent fashion in addition to healthy foods? Or where do they fit into the picture here?

Zach: Yeah, so this might stop strain from somebody who has a probio’s company, but mine are a little bit different than your standard one. In general, I don’t think the hypothesis around probiotics as a form of gut health is very strong. I think that it’s a much stronger hypothesis around probiotic food. So to distinguish the two probiotics are live bacteria that you eat either in your food or in a supplement. And the idea being that those live bacteria go into your gut and somehow enhance the live bacteria that are already in your gut. As opposed to a prebiotic, which is essentially think of it as fertilizer for good bacteria or food for good bacteria. These are fibers.

Zach: And so there are prebiotic supplements. But generally speaking, I think the best way to get prebiotic fiber is from foods like fresh fruit and vegetables. And so when you eat prebiotics, they feed the given bacteria in your gut and those grow out and form a really protective kind of network that creates better gut health. So I would personally advise for better gut health rather than taking probiotics. I don’t think I have a very strong hypothesis about taking prebiotics or even better eating lots of different kinds of fiber in your diet.

Dr. Taz: So is fiber the main source of prebiotics? What are your favorite probiotic foods if you had to rattle them off for a second?

Zach: Yeah, I mean, I like lots of different kinds of vegetables and then whole grains of beans. Those are the best ways to get… So there are probably really realistically infinitely different kinds of probiotic fibers. So fibers are not all the same, they’re all very different. And each different way that… So basically fibers are just a bunch of sugars stuck together in different shapes. Each way that sugars are joined together is different enough that a certain bacteria can recognize it, and then another bacteria can’t. And so you’re trying to feed the good bacteria in your gut. You want lots of different kinds. You want lots of different ways that those sugars are stuck together. So lots of different kinds of fiber is the best way to feed.

Zach: And so you’re just taking a prebiotic supplement. You might not get that many different kinds. So the best in my opinion is, yeah beans. I like garbanzo beans personally, and hummus is a good one because edamame and soybeans have good fiber and broccoli and cabbage and cruciferous vegetables, all really good. And then carrots, and then whole grains like oats and whole wheat all have really good fiber. So those are things that I kind of… Or chia and flax, those are the things I use. So all those are really good ways for you to kind of support a healthy microbiome. That’s everything.

Dr. Taz: Awesome, well tell us about your company. Tell us about ZBiotics and you do they produce prebiotics sort of supplements or what’s the premise behind that?

Zach: Yeah, so ZBiotics is a little different. So we basically take probiotic bacteria, so the good safe bacteria that you eat. But like I said, I don’t think there’s a really strong hypothesis for that really benefiting your microbiome on its own. And so what we do is we take those bacteria and then we engineer them to do something useful for you and form a function that would benefit you in some way. And so our first product is a probiotic that’s engineered to break down acetaldehyde. Which as we were talking about is a really important part of the way you feel the next day. And a lot of that acetaldehyde forms in the gut. And so we basically engineered a safe bacteria that you likely already eat every day of your life. It’s on fresh fruit and vegetables in the environment.

Zach: And we just had it perform this one extra function of breaking down acetaldehyde the same way your liver does using the same type of enzyme that your liver does. So you take our probiotic bacteria before you drink, then that probiotic will basically help your body deal with the acetaldehyde forms in your gut while you’re drinking, so that it doesn’t get absorbed into the bloodstream and wreak havoc out your body. So that’s kind of our approach, which is really unique. It’s actually the only genetically engineered probiotic to exist on the market. We were the first one when we launched, the world’s first ever. And so, it’s a very different approach to both the probiotic and probiotic industry. And then also to this kind of age or question about-

Dr. Taz: I love that you took your bartending and your microbiology background and merged them together to create a product for folks so that they could drink.. I love that. I think that’s awesome.

Zach: … It was all about wanting people… This is my dilemma. Right? They are like, “I really value my health and I want to make all the best decisions I can. And so I always try to make good decisions about how much I drink and when I go to bed.” And in graduate school I was always going through the literature and trying to find things I could do to help myself do better if I’m going out and having drinks with my friends, which was an important part of grad school.

Zach: And there wasn’t anything good out there. And the more research I did, the more I realized, “This is really related to acetaldehyde, or at least a way we could make a big dent in this problem is by attacking acetaldehyde.” And so I thought, “I could build this, with the skills I’m learning right now. And so it was really kind of, to be clear, the first of many. We have lots of ideas of things we are going to genetically engineer probiotics to do to benefit you. But that was kind of the first one, yeah.

Dr. Taz: Wonderful. Well, this has been fascinating, honestly, because I think no one ever really… We just hear alcohol’s bad. We don’t really break down the science or what it’s doing, overall to liver into the gut and what the health effects of those are and even how to navigate it. And you’re right, most people have an all or nothing mentality. And then the ones that don’t want to give it up, they just block the information, right? Because they’re like, “I have to give everything up. So I’m just not going to do this.” So hopefully this is encouraging for everyone trying to maintain balance and trying to find a happy medium, and be able to celebrate and use alcohol in an appropriate way. So I appreciate it. Thank you for coming on the show. If anyone watching or listening today wants to connect with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Zach: Yeah, I mean, so we have a lot of information obviously about our product, but even more on our blog, around alcohol and tips for safe drinking and all kinds of stuff unrelated, and you just want to learn at, on our blog. So that’s a great place to just kind of get more information about kind of healthy, responsible drinking behaviors. And so I’d recommend kind of doing that or if you shoot us an email with any questions you have or anything like that at info@zbiotics. We get lots of questions about the kind of alcohol and alcohol safety and how metabolism is. So if you have further questions or anything, please feel free to shoot us emails and we’ll do our best to answer any of those kind questions too.

Dr. Taz: Wonderful. Well, thanks for being on the show. I appreciate it so much. And for everybody else watching and listening to this episode, remember you can rate and review it and share it with your friends. And I will see you guys next time.



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It’s no wonder you feel like you’re stuck, while at the same time jumping from one shiny thing to another and never really feeling satisfied.

But I’m here to remind you that having the right support can change your life.

I designed this Circle to be your wellness home to support each other as we put healing methods to work. This is where we meet you where you are on the journey to the best version of you. Inside, we focus on personal growth, wellness, and understanding yourself in the deepest ways.

This Circle is where desires meet actions. We are a community that supports one another to experience better, healthier, happier lives.

Each month, we share enlightening workshops and insightful wisdom from myself, and experts in their field. We set goals together, and make this wisdom actionable in your life—no longer will you be a passive participant in your journey. If you have dreams you’re chasing—this community is for you.

To learn more about The Superwoman Circle and sign up to join this amazing community, click here!