#32: Roland Pankewich – What You Need to Know About Your Microbiome and How to Stress Less

health & fitness podcast Jul 02, 2019

Listen to it on your favorite podcast provider: 



 Microbiome health has been getting into the consciousness of most of us lately. People talking about that microbiome, the gut, poop. Yep, it is not your normal dinner conversation, but it’s starting to become so. 


So I found one of the really cool experts in this space that knows a ton about that. It is Roland Pankewich, CEO of Health Optimization Medicine (Canada).

Roland has been advising pro athletes to reach their top level. He focuses on the clinical practice of health optimization utilizing a framework that detects and corrects nutritional deficiencies, subtle toxicities, and excesses at a biochemical level. Roland shares what you need to know about your microbiome and how to stress less. 

“The window into the health of the gut is a window into the health of the individual.” 

– Roland Pankewich


During our discussion, you’ll discover:

What got Roland into microbiome optimal health? [01:43] 

  • Roland has always been really interested in health. He was a competitive athlete at a younger age,  training people, and learning how to optimize his own training for performance. 


Why the need for microbiome health? [04:06]

  • It made him think that the foundational principles of what governs your health and wellness and energy production is always the base. 
  • “I took it upon myself to go elbows deep in shit and figure out what’s going on inside the human GI system.”  as Roland stated


Understanding microbiome to get the idea of the whole matter [04:47]

  • The microbiome is the combination of the organisms that live inside of our gut, the cells of the GI system, the immune system, the new layer. It’s the entire network of the organ and of itself, and it’s all the interactions of those things that dictate the overall function of the microbiome. 


The leaky gut – what is it about? [06:39]

  • When the cells of the gut have a breakdown of these protein structures, the cells start to move apart a little bit and when they move apart, there’s essentially a gap between what is meant to be a barrier and then things that are in the gut can get between this gap, get into the bloodstream, and then the immune system has to be called upon because they’re not meant to be in the bloodstream in the first place. 
  • The body has essentially a foreign invader and those things could be food antigens and completely digested food proteins or amino acids. They could be bacterial markers, they could be environmental toxins, they could be internal toxins that are from dead bacteria.
  • And the problem becomes, if this happens chronically over the course of weeks, months and years, it’s always going to signal an inflammatory response inside the body, which the body is going to have to respond to. 
  • Overall, it’s going to have, a compromised effect on the overall health of many people. 


Indications of a leaky gut. How would you figure out whether you have a leaky gut or not? [08:53]

  • “You have to assume that if someone has a long-term chronic inflammatory scenario going on in their gut, there is a degree of leakiness that the body might be able to remedy but likely not if it’s never remedied itself.”, as Roland reminded us.
  • “With an autoimmune disease, the connection there usually is that if proteins have specific foods or specific origins get into the bloodstream and digested, the immune system becomes overburdened and becomes confused and if the protein structure looks like that of body tissues, this phenomenon called molecular mimicry can take place where the immune system constantly poked and stimulated starts to turn on its own body tissues because it loses the ability to distinguish self from not-self.”, Roland added 


You have to be aware that there is no perfect microbiome test [11:24]

  • “What was something that we took to be true a year ago might actually be shown to be something not valid today. The 16S method is the most longstanding way of doing genetic model sequencing. But even when you’re testing someone, there’s still no such thing as a perfect microbiome or an ideal microbiome it’s even as far as to say a certain strain of bacteria and one person is a big problem, that same strain of bacteria and another person might be totally problem-free.”, Roland added 
  • “What I like to look at are the trends and patterns of what the person is presenting to me in terms of the overall health of their system. And what you can measure from the metabolic arm of the microbiome, is, there is an imbalance to which you can actually do something about and improve that person’s overall condition and health status.”, Roland explained. 


Probiotics and Prebiotics fix microbiome health [13:48]

  • “Probiotics is essentially organisms or specifically live organisms that are bacteria that you’re introducing into your microbiome. Prebiotics are the fiber that you consume that ends up being the food for the bacteria to sustain.”, Roland explained. 
  • “They’re like temporary vacationers.”, as Roland clarified.


The plant kingdom is the food that feeds the probiotics [16:29]

  • Anything in the plant kingdom. So any kind of fiber that you’re consuming is good for probiotics.
  • Some of the most prebiotic-rich foods are Jerusalem artichoke, high-fiber vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, things of that nature. 
  • “There’s also a lot of people who do things. They report an amazing benefit. And then they tell the world that this is the greatest thing ever, and then someone else tries it and it could be the potentially worst thing ever.”, as Roland warned us.


Common ways to get probiotics [20:48]

  • “The most common way to get probiotics is through supplements but you can also get it from fermented food.”as Roland shared.


What to do if you have leaky gut problems [24:09]

  • “The thing that I would suggest that most people can instantaneously do is if you have issues with leaky gut, the first thing you do is support your digestion.”, as Roland explained.
  • “The digestive process is essentially the thing that helps them neutralize any pathogens from entering your body.”, as Roland clarified.


Additional things you need to know about the microbiome and digestive system [28:09]

  • “The average bowel movement should be between 12 and 16 hours from the time you eat food to the time that you go and do your business. It’s like emptying a septic tank or cleaning out a sewer.”, as Roland reminded.
  • “You can also use a stool, which is a much cheaper and easier option. The reason is that when you’re sitting on a toilet and your body’s at a right angle, the bowel is kind of just laser only hanging in the torso. Whereas when you squat, it puts the bowel in a better position for the muscles to force your waste out. So anatomically it’s a more optimal scenario.”, as Roland suggested.
  • “Fasting is actually very healing and therapeutic for the gut”, as Roland pointed out.


Roland’s morning activities that are worth emulating (37:37)

  • Roland expresses some form of gratitude and starts his day in a good state. 
  • And watches what he eats and does some fasting
  • And he’s not being rigid about life in general.



  1. Getting rid of toxic relationships or toxic environments is a way that you can improve your health.
  2. Try to prioritize not getting too crazy with all this technology and gadgets and getting back to the basics with spending some time in nature, spending time with good people.
  3. If you have the goal to optimize your health, have the commitment to do it.





Get access to news and updates!

Join the mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.