The Science Behind Healing Your Gut
The Science Behind Healing Your Gut
Kiran Krishnan doesn’t want you to be on medication for the rest of your life for chronic health problems. He believes that most chronic illness can be treated and managed with lifestyle and dietary changes. This belief comes from his many years of study and in a career in the probiotic industry, which he found lacking. So he set out to change the industry as the first step to delivering truly effective microbiome therapeutics. His passion for science, medicine, and business will be eye-opening for his fellow entrepreneurs.
- Tell us about your business – what’s your mission; your soul’s purpose and why you created your wellness business or service?
Over 12 years ago, we realized that your microbiome, holds the key to true health and wellness. We set out to become a company that would lead the charge, in some way, in microbiome therapeutics. Hence our name, Microbiome Labs.
A logical place to start in microbiome therapeutics was in probiotics. After exhaustive research, with a purely scientific approach, into existing probiotic products, we made some alarming discoveries. We learned that the probiotic industry was simply lacking innovation, scientific substantiation, and even a basic understanding of how the microbiome is structured and functions.
We then set out to change the probiotic industry as the first step to delivering truly effective and well-substantiated microbiome therapeutics. The company was born out of great need. During our research into the probiotic industry, had we found a company that we felt were taking the correct and most effective approach, we would have never entered the market.
We have no interest in emulating others who are already doing things well. If there is a need, we will be there to offer the best solution. With the great promise that probiotic therapies hold, it was simply unacceptable to us that the market lacked innovation and significant science; thus we set out to fulfill that role.
Simply put, our mission is to save lives by developing necessary, highly-effective, microbiome therapeutic products. We currently have 4 products, over 8,000 doctors and practitioners that we support, have 20 employees, and are working in a dozen countries. I personally attend over 50 conferences each year and I lecture in over 40 of those conferences.
- Tell us about your journey and your story….what got you to this point today?
I have always had a deep, scientific curiosity and was attracted to medical science. My mother is a physician and when growing up in Malaysia, I used to go to her clinic with her and would often watch her treat patients, change lives, and save people. Ever since I could remember, I wanted to do the same thing.
When I started college, I was decidedly pre-med, but still had to pick a major. On my second day in the dorms, I watched the move Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman. In that movie, microbiologists were chasing a deadly epidemic and working on a cure for the disease. The next day I applied to the School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology.
As I continued my education and training in microbiology, I fell deeper in love with the science and developed a stronger passion to pursue an understanding of our relationship with this invisible, complex, world of microbes. I decided to put medical school on hold after graduation and pursue post-graduate research instead.
I then left University research to chase down this burning feeling that I could impact a larger number of people if I took my scientific knowledge and creativity into the business world. I started by working for a therapeutic enzyme company in product development, marketing, and business development. That experience gave me a rapid and thorough education on the business and operational side of our industry.
Next I went on and founded my own clinical research organization where I did contract clinical research for nutritional companies. My focus was to bring better and affordable science to the industry I loved. Clinical research is unaffordable to many nutritional companies as studies are structured on a pharmaceutical model. I was driven to change that model and create platform where nutritional companies could have high-level scientific research completed for a fraction of the typical cost.
During my research work I came across numerous effective and interesting ingredients, some of which had poor positioning in the market or poor representation in the market. To service those types of ingredients, I co-founded a development and distribution company. We became a highly-respected product development, research, and ingredient supply company in the dietary supplement industry. That company is Nu Science Trading and we are still actively involved in bringing new nutritional technologies to market.
It was through Nu Science Trading that we studied the probiotic industry and its products, finding significant gaps in science and technology and subsequently discovering the amazing bacillus endospores.
- How are you changing the face of healthcare and/or the wellness industry? How do you create, innovate or break the rules in healthcare?
To begin with, our focus in re-education is changing the way thousands of health practitioners approach patient care. The general understanding of digestive health in the healthcare industry has numerous misconceptions. Thus, we focus on educating, making new research, and a new understanding of disease process available to doctors and practitioners. This allows practitioners to achieve better health outcomes for their patients.
Understanding the microbiome and how to utilize its influence to alleviate and prevent disease is the future of holistic and integrative medicine, but also encroaches into allopathic medicine as allopathic doctors are increasingly turning to the gut as a potential therapeutic target.
In addition, there is the development of highly efficacious and novel therapies. Just a few years ago doctors could not effectively reduce triglycerides with a safe probiotic, they could not treat low testosterone with a probiotic, they could not treat diabetes with a probiotic, and the list goes on.
We research and develop highly-effective and safe tools for doctors and practitioners to offer their patients the best possible health outcomes. We’ve made a number of new discoveries on the function of dietary ingredients in the body. These discoveries expand our collective knowledge and propel nutrition science forward. We have reached over 7,000 health professionals and over 3 million patients thus far.
- What personal and professional legacy or impact do you want to leave on the world?
I want to raise the bar on what qualifies as an “effective” or “quality” product in the dietary supplement world and I want to give people the tools and knowledge to heal from many of the disorders that plague our society.
- In your opinion, what is the most significant factor in healing or overall wellness?
A proper understanding of the disease process. The true causes and the main factors driving disease pathology. Without those, we are simply guessing and taking shots in the dark trying to achieve wellness and health. We could also inadvertently cause harm when we think we are doing good.
- What do you wish people realized when it comes to their health or about the wellness industry?
I wish people realized that they hold the power to heal, they can be well, and they can live the life they dream. They don’t have to be medicated for the rest of their lives to be “well”. Most chronic illness can be treated and managed with lifestyle and dietary changes. I also wish they realized that their best outcomes will come from working with several different disciplines in medicine. No one discipline has all the answers.
- How long did it take you to reach important milestones in your wellness business?
And, what has really helped you move the needle in making your vision a reality?
One day! The first day I decided to take the first step to build my company, follow my dreams, with no fear of the outcome, was one of the most important milestones in the evolution of my business. After that first day, the rest is just gravy! Silencing self-doubt and fear of failure and taking baby steps each and every day in pursuit of my dream job and dream life pushed the needle for me. We need to get out of our own way.
- Tell us about the start-up scares: Was there a moment where you ever seriously contemplated giving up?
I was always willing to give up my strategy but never my dream. We don’t know everything or always have the best plans, so I was always open to realizing I was wrong on a particular approach or strategy, allowing myself to fail and then pivoting to a different approach. I never once was willing to give up my dream, no matter how gloomy things looked. I also lean on logic over emotion and that has allowed me to take a pragmatic approach to my decision-making rather than making a decision that may not be wise because my thoughts are clouded by emotions.
In the first 6 months of launch our business, things did not go the way we had planned or hoped and we thought we would have to take drastic, painful steps to continue to fund and prop up the business. Upon evaluation of our strategy, I realized that we were on the right path, but we had to make a few small changes to make it work better and we pivoted.
The next 6 months went better than we imagined and it’s been amazing ever since. We did not pre-judge any new relationships or opportunities and often found incredible partners and supporters in people we may have assumed would not be a fit. I explored all avenues for success.
- Did you ever fail or make a substantial mistake in business or organization? Any serious challenges? How did you overcome and resolve it?
One thing that will hold true for any successful business is that you will fail more than you will succeed. In fact, if you don’t fail you, will never succeed. Think of it like baseball: a highly successful and Hall of Fame batter only hits the ball 40% of the time! Conversely, he is failing 60% of the time during his entire career.
I have made numerous mistakes in personnel, partnerships, customer acquisition strategy, and even in our general approach to the market. However, each of those failures did honestly bring us closer to amazing success. Each time you fail you really do learn a lesson that will propel you towards success. Each time I made the wrong decision or I failed on execution, I went back to basics. I went back to what I knew to be true, what our purpose was and often simplified our approach in order to succeed.
One major issue to contend with in your own start-up is the urge to do everything yourself. There is a control component because it all means so much to you. But one thing I had to struggle to realize is that there are many tasks and roles in a developing company that I am and would be terrible at doing. It’s just not within my skillset. Being willing to find people that can do those tasks well and trusting and empowering them to do that work is a major step towards success.
Again, I was always willing to give up my strategy, my approach, and my thinking on how to make my business a success, but I was never willing to give up my dream.
- What action has the most impact that you’ve taken to reach your goal/s?
Leaning on logic vs emotion. Emotion clouds sound judgment and causes people to make ineffective decisions. Our personal lives are full of emotional decisions; I didn’t want to bring that into my business.
- What would you tell your younger/earlier self about following your dreams?
It was because of my younger self that I have the great fortune to be where I am today, so I would tell him nothing, except maybe the following… “Do what you do buddy, it will work out.” I would give him a pat on the back for being persistent, for having grit, and for laying the ground work for the amazing life I get to live right now.
- What’s the #1 piece of advice you would give a new Wellness professional who really wants to make an impact in healthcare and people’s lives?
There are many “formulas” out there to follow to build a successful business and there are many people willing to advise you and teach you those formulas, often for a fee. Although learning a system to success can have some value, you will never have success unless the system you adopt has something different added in that only you can bring to the table.
Figure out what you are best at doing that is part of your business and do that extremely well, then find others to help with the rest. As I mentioned above, people don’t buy what you do (the services or products you offer), they buy why you do it. Your purpose has to come through in your approach to your market. If they can’t figure out why you do what you do, they will not pay money to work with you.
I mention these two things because you can’t have an impact on a person’s life or in healthcare if people aren’t willing to listen and work with you. So you have to be uniquely you and make it obvious why you do what you are doing and you will impact many lives and inspire people.
- What does a typical work day look like for you?
There is no such thing in my life, by design. I don’t have anything typical, certainly not a typical work day. On any given day, I could be spending most of it working on an airplane, I could be in Europe working from a café, I could be in the park with my kids and doing some work on my phone, I could be in a studio recording something, I could be in front of an audience of 500 doctors giving a lecture, I could be in a boardroom negotiating a deal, I could be on a beach working on my laptop, or I also could just be on my couch losing myself in some mindless reality TV.
What I do is such an integral part of me and my life that there is no separation from a workday and a non-work day. Every day is a work day, every hour in the day I could be doing something to advance our purpose but none of it feels like “work” to me. It is my purpose; it is who I am.
The same as being a father or a husband, I don’t have designated hours in the day when I am a father or husband. Everything I do, every hour of every day, has the best interest of my family. In the same way, everything I do, every hour of every day has the best interest of my company, my employees, my clients, and my purpose. Every day is different, but every day takes me towards the same goal.
- Stevie Wonder or The Beatles? (this, I personally must know.) 🙂
Kiran comes from a strict research background, having spent several years with hands-on R&D in the fields of molecular medicine and microbiology at the University of Iowa. He left University research to take a position as the U.S. Business Development and Product Development lead for Amano Enzyme, USA. Amano is one of the world’s largest suppliers of therapeutic enzymes used in the dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industries in North America.
Kiran also established a Clinical Research Organization where he designed and conducted dozens of human clinical trials in human nutrition. Kiran is also a co-founder and partner in Nu Science Trading, LLC., a nutritional technology development, research and marketing company in the U.S. Dietary Supplement and Medical Food markets.
Most recently, Kiran is acting as the Chief Scientific Officer at Physician’s Exclusive, LLC. and Microbiome Labs. He has developed over 50 private label nutritional products for small to large brands in the global market. He is a frequent lecturer on the Human Microbiome at Medical and Nutrition Conferences. He conducts the popular monthly Microbiome Series Webinars through the Rebel Health Tribe Group practitioner training program, is an expert guest on National Radio and Satellite radio, and has been a guest speaker on several Health Summits as a microbiome expert.
He is currently involved in 9 novel human clinical trials on probiotics and the human microbiome. Kiran is also on the Scientific Advisory Board for 5 other companies in the industry. Kiran offers his extensive knowledge and practical application of the latest science on the human microbiome as it relates to health and wellness.