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The INSANE DIET & NUTRITION Guide To Ending Inflammation & REVERSE AGING | Dr. Steven Gundry | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "The INSANE DIET & NUTRITION Guide To Ending Inflammation & REVERSE AGING | Dr. Steven Gundry".
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Probably about three months ago, I started getting really itchy. And then just like in my chest, it's like crazy, my back would itch like crazy. I'm like, what is going on? Because I'm really religious on my diet. I don't cheat on my diet, but a couple times a year, I'm really hardcore about it. And then it started with a little spot on my neck. And then it was like I had to wear long sleeve everything. I was just one big rash. It was insane. And I've never had anything like that in my life.
Healthy Living And Disease Prevention
Where do you go with information like this? (00:27)
And so I was like, I know this is something I'm eating, just like in my gut, I can feel that that's true, but I haven't changed my diet. So I was like, what could this be? And before I give you the punchline of what I think it is, when you hear stuff like that, where do you go? Well, the best way to think about your skin is the lining of your gut is actually your skin turned inside out. That's fascinating. And so you have from your mouth all the way down to your anus a tube that's got the surface area of a tennis court. And everything that you swallow is actually outside of you as it's moving through. The inside skin has to do the same functions as the outside skin, and that is kind of keep things away from us. But it's got a fatal flaw, it not only has to keep things out, but it has to let things in like the proteins and the fats and the sugars that we eat. So that's where the mischief can happen. But when I see someone with an external skin problem, it's always a reflection of what's actually happening in the gut. What is that process? What does it look like? How can people that are watching this now, if they're struggling from something, how do they begin that process of repair?
How do you begin the process of repair? (01:48)
So I think the first thing you do is get major lectin containing foods out of your diet. You won't like me for a couple of weeks, but most people, even within a couple of weeks, begin to notice a difference. Now, what are those? They're foods that we actually evolutionary were not designed to eat. Beans are so lethal raw that there's very good published studies in humans that they can cause massive bloody diarrhea. And there's some pretty good studies in monkeys, rhesus monkeys and red velvet monkeys that they can actually cause heart disease and even kidney damage from the lectin content. What's fascinating from a human evolution standpoint is that humans, up until the dawn of agriculture, were actually very tall creatures. Most humans were about six feet tall. And our brain size was about 15% bigger than it is today. And if you look chronologically by 2000 years, 2000 years into grain and bean eating, we actually shrunk about a foot. And our brain size has never recovered from 10,000 years ago. So these are anti-nutrients, grains and beans. That's number one. Number two, 2000 years ago, northern European cows suffered a genetic mutation, spontaneous mutation where they stopped making the normal protein in milk casein A2 and began making casein A1. Now casein A1 has electin-like protein that is converted into a compound called beta-caseomorphing, which can cause a direct immunologic attack on the beta cell of the pancreas, the insulin-producing cell of the pancreas. And there's some pretty good evidence, and it's accumulating every year that one of the causes of type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes is casein A1 milk. And it actually correlates very well in countries that have casein A1 cows. They have much higher incidence of type 1 diabetes than countries that have casein A2 cows. Cheeses, for instance, are safe from France, Italy and Switzerland. Sheep, goats and water buffalo are all casein A2. And what is it about that? That's so problematic. It actually makes a, it's a electin-like compound that stimulates an immune response. So just as I would get from the beans or whatever, I'm getting a- Exactly. You'll get the same thing. So it's a very new addition to our diet. Now the newest addition to our diet is some of our most precious foods are American, North American or South American foods. For instance, in the nightshade family, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and goji berries. So the nightshades, the peel and the seeds have the lectins. Native American Indians in the Southwest always peel and deseed their peppers. They char their peppers, they deseed them, and then they either grind it into chili or eat them that way. But they always do that. The Italians always peel and deseed their tomatoes before they make sauce. And is this like a cultural intuition kind of thing? Yeah. What I like to do is I go around the world studying cultures and figure out why did they do this? How did they detoxify lectins? For instance, rice was invented 8,000 years ago. Four billion people use rice as their staple. Yet four billion people take the haul off of rice and eat it white. And surely there can't be four billion dumb people who don't know any better that white rice is bad for them and brown rice is good for them. In fact, they've been taking the haul off of rice for 8,000 years. Same way, believe it or not, up until William and Harvey Kellogg in the early 1900s did the idea that whole grains were good for us. And if you look back 50 years when the whole grain goodness really caught on, you'll notice that a lot of our current health issues, including this epidemic of autoimmune disease, didn't occur. This epidemic of dementia didn't occur. So whole grains are one of those wonderful myths that got perpetrated by a few individuals. The other individual that perpetrated this English surgeon by the name of Dr. Burkett. Dr. Burkett did some missionary work in Africa in the middle of the last century. And he is a colon surgeon, a guy who would operate on colon cancers.
Eating Fiber (06:56)
And he went down there to do some work and nobody had colon cancer. And he actually went around and watched and looked at the bowel movements of these Africans who were eating huge amounts of tubers, things like yams, for instance, or celerac root or hecoma. And their bowel movements were huge. And he goes, "Wow, look at all, they're eating all this fibrous stuff. And it must be that the fiber in their diet is keeping them from having colon cancer." So he came back to England and he espoused the fiber theory of preventing cancer. Now the problem is in England they didn't have a lot of these sorts of tuborous foods, but they had tons of what's called insoluble fiber in the form of wheat and rye and barley and even oats. So he didn't know the difference between insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. And so he said, "We should all be eating fiber." And so that's actually where that whole idea that the hall was actually good for you. Now the ironic thing is he actually died of colon cancer. That is very ironic. Very ironic. There's a saying among surgeons that we always die from the disease we treat. Well then, so there's so many interesting points in there. Talk to me about how animal meats end up, because you don't eat hardly any.
How Does Lectin Find Its Way Into Animal Meat (08:31)
How does lectin find its way into animal meat? We raise animals with antibiotics. And this was discovered by accident years ago when they were thinking that antibiotics might be needed for crowded conditions of stockyard animals. But the researcher found out that by giving antibiotics to these animals, they grew faster and got fatter much quicker than the animals who didn't get the antibiotics. So it was approved by the Department of Agriculture and the FDA to give antibiotics to animals for the purpose of growth. Those what we didn't know is that those residual antibiotics are incorporated into the meat. The beef, the chicken, the pork, you name it. And so we actually, every time we ingest factory raised meats or even farm raised fish, ingest microdoses of antibiotics. Microdoses of antibiotics are incredibly effective at killing off your microbiome. So in the last 40 years, we've had this incredible, the worst storm that could possibly happen for our microbiome and for our leaky gut. So then are lectins, there are lectin-like substances in the meat, but is there actually lectin itself? Great question. There was just a paper published from Ohio State a few weeks ago that shows that lectins and soybeans can be found in the meat of animals that you feed them to. Now I used to think that this was kind of fanciful in the alternative medicine world. You are what you eat, but you are what the thing you're eating ate. And as I started seeing more and more autoimmune patients, we had case reports of, particularly there's a woman psychologist in LA that I talk about in the book who had horrible lupus, was on two drugs. And we got her off of all her drugs by following this program. And her lupus cleared, she had rashes. And she came back to see me and she said, "You know, everything's great, but I've got this eczema, this little rash on my upper eyelids." And so we're going through the list. I said, "Well, something's getting into you." And we get to past your raised chicken. And I said, "Now you're eating past your raised chicken." She said, "Oh yeah, I eat organic free-range chicken all the time. It's my go-to food." I said, "Free-range chicken?" And she said, "Yeah, yeah, organic free-range." I said, "Well, the federal government in 2007 passed a law that says you can keep 100,000 chickens in a warehouse, feed them organic corn and soybeans, and not let them out of the warehouse except open a door for five minutes every 24 hours and the chicken has the potential to go outside." And that is the current government definition of organic free-range chicken. So she was eating the lectins of soybeans and corn in the chicken that she was eating. I trained in London, England for children's art surgery, and my kids were four and six years old, and they missed Kentucky Fried Chicken terribly. And a Kentucky Fried Chicken opened in London. Now in those days, there was so much fish available in England that the chickens were fed ground up fish meal. And the chicken breasts were actually translucent like fish. And so we got a Kentucky Fried Chicken, they both grabbed a drumstick and they bite into the drumstick, and my four-year-old goes, "Oh, you tricked us. This is fish. Oh, this isn't chicken." And I'm going, "No, no, no, no. Drumstick, you know, corn and sanders. That's chicken." "Oh, it's fish." Well she was right. It wasn't a chicken. It was a chicken with feathers that was actually a fish. So we have to realize that our chickens are no longer chickens. They're an era of corn with feathers. Americans are 70% carbon atoms from corn, a substance that we were never exposed to until 500 years ago. Europeans are 5% corn. In fact, France in 1900 banned corn as unfit for human consumption. Wow. So what I want people to do is eat and party like it's 9,999 years ago before we started all this mess. And when we do that with people and teach them how to do it, it's amazing what happens to them. And I'm going to talk about that because if I had only heard some headlines about you, I would have thought, "Oh, red meat. I'll get after it because I eat a ton of red meat and think I'm doing healthy things." So you don't need a lot of meat. Why not? So we found that there was a molecule, a sugar molecule, on the wall of pig blood vessels that's totally different from the sugar molecule that's in ours. But it differs by only one actually atom. And it's called nu5GC in pigs, cows, and lambs. And we carry what's called nu5AC. And I have nothing against red meat. But if you look statistically, the red meat eaters do have significantly more coronary artery disease and significantly more cancer. Now why cancer? Well, it turns out that cancers, tumors in humans use nu5GC to shield themselves from detection by the immune system. The problem is we don't manufacture nu5GC nor can a cancer cell, which means they acquired it from external sources, namely beef, lamb, and pork. Now fish doesn't carry it. They have the same molecule that we do and chicken have the same molecule that we do. So I urge people, if they're going to eat animal protein, and I do, to use wild shell fish or wild fish as their main source of animal protein. Do I eat meat?
Yeah, I mean, do I eat beef? I do. But I get grass-fed and grass-finished beef. And I use it as a treat, not as a mainstay of my diet. And then what's your take on eggs? The yolk of the egg may be the most beneficial food that has ever been invented. And as long as the chickens are fed what they're designed to eat, I actually ask people to mainly throw the whites away. So we'll do a 4-a gauntlet, but four of them are yolks and just use one white. And what is it in the whites or about the whites that make them problematic? Okay, it's animal protein. And let's look at another reason not to eat animal protein, sadly. So animal protein, there's a sensor in all of our cells called M-Tor. And it senses energy availability, and it senses sugar availability, but it senses certain amino acid availability. So if you avoid or lessen your amount of animal protein, your M-Tor will fall. Now, we have no way of measuring clinically M-Tor, but we can use a surrogate for that, which is insulin-like growth factor, IgF1. And in my super old people, and I study a lot of super-olds, 95 and above, they all have extremely low insulin-like growth factors. And why is that a number you want to get down? Because super old people always run low insulin-like growth factors. They always do. And in my upcoming book, The Long Jevity Paradox, if you look at societies of the blue zones, the longest living people on earth, the common factor that they all have in their diet, they have very diverse diets. There's no universal diet that these people follow. And I was a professor at one of the blue zones, Loma Linda, for most of my life. The thing that separates or unites all of those various diets is they eat very little animal protein. And one of the things we notice about super old people is they run low body temperatures. They're running 96 degrees, whereas you and I are running 98.6. And they become incredibly efficient creatures. My mentor, Dr. Morrow, always said that you only have so many heartbeats. And when you use those up, that's the end. And he's actually writing a lot of ways, but the corollary to that is, let's suppose your design is that you only get so many calories in your lifetime. And you can use them quickly or you can spread them out. And that's why fasting is so useful and intermittent fasting is so useful because it's actually an easy way just to reduce your calorie intake. And once you learn how to do it, it's an easy way to make this system work. How do you pull it off? So I'm a huge proponent of intermittent fasting and fasting in general. How do you make it an easy process? So I started 11 years ago at January 1st to June 1st. But during the week, I would eat all my calories in a two-hour window from six to eight o'clock at night. So the 22 out of the 24 hours every day, five days a week, I was fasting 22 hours. Now why six to eight o'clock at night? Because that's when my wife and I were at home. Now this is, as you know, for a professional driver on a closed course. But most people who try to do this don't realize about 80% of us in America are insulin resistant. We have much too much insulin production. And I won't bore you or the listeners, but most people can't do prolonged fasting for even more than a few hours because they can't access the fat that they've stored. And they crash and it's often called the Adkins flu or the low carb flu where they have to be able to transition over to using ketones as a fuel. Now you can get there fairly quickly and we have tips in the book on how to do that. You actually have to use exogenous ketones for a while, things like MCT oil, things like coconut oil, even red palm oil. There's a little bit of exogenous ketones in butter, it's called butyric acid. Yeah, intermittent fasting is really, really powerful for alleviating brain fog, for changing a relationship to hunger is how I always think of it. It's just fundamentally different and then getting your machinery used to actually accessing your body fat and all that. We're designed to use up fat.
Super Longevity (20:43)
We just have to use the tricks to get to that fat. For most people who are overweight or obese, what's so frustrating for them is they try things like intermittent fasting and they're pretty miserable, they get headaches and they're very hungry, their brain is going, "Hey, what's the deal you've cut me off?" It's water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. We see so many overweight and obese people and I was 70 pounds overweight. I was obese. Running 30 miles a week and going to the gym one hour a day and going, "Why?" "How come I'm such a fat guy?" I couldn't get to my fat stores because I had an elevated insulin level. When I first got my insulin level, "Wow, what's that?" Now I have a very low insulin level. Now that stuff is fascinating in terms of the complexities of really breaking through and figuring out for you, what do you have to do to lose fat, keep it off and yeah, it's a very complex thing. To that end, not necessarily my question is not really about fat loss but given what we've been talking about, lectins and autoimmune and all of those joints, aches, pains, all the things that come along with it, psoriasis, all of that, what should people be eating? We've got a rough sense of what we should be avoiding but what should we be actively pursuing? Okay, so the only purpose of food is to get olive oil into your mouth.
Olive Oil (22:03)
There are three long-lived societies in the Blue Zones that use a liter of olive oil per week. That's about 12 to 14 tablespoons a day. Can I use it to saute? You can use it to saute. Believe it or not, there's a wonderful paper from the NIH showing that olive oil does not break down into harmful compounds. That's amazing. But bring olive oil to the table. So if you're going to have a steak, please pour it on your meat. As they do in Italy, they always bring a bottle of olive oil so you can have steak Florentina and just drench it with olive oil. The steak is there to get olive oil into your mouth. Broccoli is there to get olive oil into your mouth. A salad is there to get olive oil into your mouth. So there are wonderful cruciferous vegetables. You can have all the bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, have cauliflower pizzas. There's a great recipe in my cookbook for cauliflower pizza. Can I have Japanese sweet potatoes? Yes, please. Oh, they're so good. Yeah, but the purpose of the sweet potato is to get olive oil into your mouth. Yes, which works for me just fine if I can saute or use an air fryer. Yeah, have you done the air fryer? Indeed. Oh my God, they're like french fries. They sure are. So, those are great for you. Things like yuca or yuca make phenomenal french fries, but parboiling first and then put them in the air fryer. Also any tuber, so like celerac root is fantastic. Heacama. So get some guacamole. Believe it or not, true guacamole does not have tomatoes in it. It's an American, whatever. And get yourself some heacamistic, Trader Joe's has them, lots of plain old grocery stores have them. Use that as your dipping chip. Other thing I like people to get is vegetables in the chicory family. The more chicory you can get in your life, radicchio, that kind of Italian red lettuce is pure inulin and your gut bugs will love it for you. I want to believe that we can sort of age in reverse so we can get stronger, better looking, more robust as we age, but that is not conventional wisdom. But you debunk it right off the bat. Yeah. Hit us with it. We want to be a Benjamin Button. You know, we want to actually deage. And I really think it's possible. In fact, when people look at my pictures really at the height of my surgical career in the mid-90s and then compare those pictures to me now, there's actually no doubt that I'm actually a younger man than I was almost 30 years ago. Better skin.
Better Skin (24:50)
Like, what are we judging that by? Better skin, better, yeah, better texture my skin. One of the things I talk about in the book extensively is your skin is actually a mirror of the lining of your gut. The lining of your gut, which is the surface of a tennis court, is actually your skin turned inside out. What is it that makes you think that the gut is so influential in aging specifically? Because people think of like, "I'm going to get arthritis. It's wear and tear. It just is what it is. I've used my joints so much that they're going to be tapped out." It actually does make intuitive sense. And so what you talk about in the book is really sort of kicks people into a new way of thinking about it. So why is the gut so tied to what we think of as actual aging? So here's the deal. There's a wonderful animal model for aging that involves a little worm called C. elegans. It only lives about three weeks. So you can do an intervention in it and instantly know what's going to happen. So in this model, the influence of the bacteria, the microbiome and the wall of this little creature's gut, the lining of the gut is only one cell thick. And they're all kind of held together with what are called tight junctions, locked arm and arm like a game we played red rover and red rover that kids don't play anymore. So the bacteria are foreign, if you will, and there is an interaction with the bacteria and the gut. And what this model shows is that as those bacteria begin to break holes in the gut, break down the gut, then you can show that that is when aging starts. And the more the wall breaks down, the faster you age. The truth is hitting your career goals is not easy. You have to be willing to go the extra mile to stand out and do hard things better than anybody else. But there are 10 steps I want to take you through that will 100 X year efficiency so you can crush your goals and get back more time into your day. You'll not only get control of your time, you'll learn how to use that momentum to take on your next big goal. To help you do this, I've created a list of the 10 most impactful things that any high achiever needs to dominate. And you can download it for free by clicking the link in today's description. Alright my friend, back to today's episode. So let's break down what is aging exactly? Like what are we, so I think most people would sort of go to mobility, aesthetics and maybe accumulation of disease, like how would you define aging specifically? So aging to me is the either quick or slow breakdown of the gut wall. How do we know that? Well we can take a look at 105 year old people around the world. You can look at their microbiome, the collection of bugs in their gut. They will have a very diverse set of bugs. They'll have, you know, it takes a village. It's really incredible tropical rainforest. And those microbiomes, that collection, will be identical to a healthy 30 year olds. So what that says is that these healthy 105 year olds are healthy because they have the microbiome of a 30 year old. And it's this microbiome that is not attacking the wall of their gut that's actually existing with the wall of the gut. And we, I talk a lot about this crazy bug that may be the key to longevity and it's got a great name, Ecker-Mancia-Musin-Aphilia. Say that three times. Say that once. Yeah. So this bug lives in a mucus layer that lines our gut. And if we're lucky in the way we're designed, we're supposed to have a layer of mucus lining our gut before we get to the cells. And that mucus is there to number one trap my favorite subject, lectins, which are plant proteins that are looking for sugar molecules. And number two, it's to protect the wall of the gut from bacteria that might do its harm. So Ecker-Mancia lives in the mucus layer and it actually eats the mucus. Now here's the best part. So more mucus it eats, the more our gut cells produce mucus. And it actually increases the mucus layer. And the book is actually a lot of tricks on how to make this guy happy because the thicker our mucus, the younger we are. In fact, fun fact, metformin, we now know works by increasing the amount of Ecker-Mancia in our gut, not by some magical mystical thing happening in our body. In fact, interestingly, about 25% of people, when they start metformin, get diarrhea. And it's actually because the gut microbiome changes dramatically on metformin. And one of the reasons is that Ecker-Mancia becomes predominant. Interesting. So at a cellular level, what's happening with metformin, something that simply triggers the body to produce mucus in general? Is it changing the microbiome, you called it a rainforest earlier? Is it changing the makeup of that rainforest? Or is it just actually compelling the body to create more mucus? No, I think it's actually changing. It's selecting out for Ecker-Mancia. Now, how does it do that? Because there's actually kind of a shag carpeting on the lining of our gut. So plants have roots going into the ground.
Root System/Microvilli (31:17)
We know the roots actually absorb nutrients because of the soil microbiome. All the bacteria, all the fungi actually deliver the nutrients into the roots of the plant. Well, we have a root system. And that root system is this shag carpet that makes the lining of our gut a tennis court. So the reason it's so big in surface area is it loops around itself with little one-cell thick protrusions called microvilli. These are our roots. They literally are our roots. At the bottom of these microvilli, or what are called crypts, at the bottom of the crypts, there is a pocket of bacteria that are essential. And they're down there in storage. In fact, fun fact, we now know the appendix is not useless. It's one of these storage systems to repopulate our gut. If you lose your appendix, you're screwed for that part of your story system. But down at the bottom of these crypts are these little collection of bacteria. And at the bottom of these crypts are our stem cells that actually repopulate these microvilli. So what happens is if we damage this lining, and boy do we damage this lining swallow an ibuprofen, it's like swallowing a hand grenade, take some food with Roundup in it. Roundup will destroy the lining of your gut. It's really good stuff. Roundup in itself will destroy your bacterial population. All right, really fast, because I think this is important. And for some reason, even though I've had you on the show before, I've read your other book, the way that you've started talking about some of the places that you're going to find, also known as glyphosate, in the system that basically they're part of why they're doing it. It was originally created as a, or patented as a antibiotic. Which that was already shocking. And then you said they use it as a way to be able to dry the crops out so they can harvest them on a specific day. But then you said they don't, no one wipes them off. And so it ends up in Cheerios and other things. And I was like, what? Like I thought if I was washing my vegetables, I was going to be fine. So this was a little bit startling to me. Yeah, you know, you know, a little off subject, but they've looked at recently a study of 35 OAT products in the United States, and all of them had glyphosate in them.
Watch Out for Foods Containing Glyphosate! (33:52)
Some of them at very high levels. Some of our breakfast cereals, most of our granolas, most of our granola bars, most California wines, including a couple of organic wines, have glyphosate in them. Because the fields are sprayed, the weeds are sprayed with glyphosate between the vines. To kill the weeds. Research at MIT has shown that not only does glyphosate kill bacteria because bacteria use the same reproductive pathway that plants use, it's the shicomate pathway. Humans don't use the shicomate pathway. And so Monsanto, when they invented it, said, hey, this kills plants, but don't worry, it doesn't kill humans because we don't use the same pathway for life. And everybody said, oh, that's great. You know, this is a miracle. What they didn't tell anybody is the bacteria use the same shicomate pathway. And again, they patent this as an antibiotic. They didn't patent it as an herbicide. What else are people doing that is breaking the bonds or killing the bacteria? The antibiotics in their food or that they're taking themselves. In fact, study just out this morning shows that women who take antibiotics just because in urinary tract infection, sore throat, have a much higher incidence of heart disease than women who don't. That's scary. Now, this gets into something in your book that was super freaky. I've never heard somebody say, and I'm not saying that no one has ever said it, I had never heard anybody say until reading this that heart disease is an autoimmune disease. So because it ties into this point, how is heart disease, autoimmune disease, how does that start in the gut, what is that whole chain reaction?
Heart Disease Is an Auto-Immune Disease (35:55)
Okay. So Michael DeBakey, one of the premier originators of heart surgery from Houston, Texas, would always say that cholesterol has nothing to do with causing heart disease, that it's an innocent bystander that literally gets sucked into inflammation at the wall of the blood vessel. And I use the example of, let's say I'm an alien and I'm circling above LA and I report back that I'm pretty sure that ambulances cause car accident because every time I see a car accident, there's an ambulance there and the ambulance must have caused it. Well, you know, association, association is not causation.
What causes heart disease? (36:50)
So the fact that we see cholesterol in deposits, and I see it every day in the operating room, there's cholesterol in these plaques, doesn't mean that the cholesterol caused the plaque. So I learned this as an infant heart transplant surgeon. What we found was, we thought, naively, that if we got these hearts in as a newborn, that the immune system of the newborn would not be mature enough and would say, "Oh yeah, that's my heart. I don't know any better," and it wouldn't attack it. Now we were partially right, but as the years went and we studied these kids, they started to get coronary artery disease. Their blood vessels got thicker and thicker. That is super interesting. And we're going, "Oh, what the heck?" So did they look just like somebody who we would have associated with too much cholesterol in their diet? It looks just like diabetic coronary artery disease. Interesting. Just like it. And so when you actually look at the blood vessels, the kids, the lining of the blood vessel is from the donor, from a foreigner. The blood going through is from the kid. And the blood says, "Wait a minute. These are foreign cells." And they're, I'm going to attack them. Just think of a splinter under your finger. You know, it gets all red. So that's inflammation. And what was happening was then cholesterol was basically coming as a patch, an ambulance. And it was getting caught up in this inflammation. So then we look at these adults who obviously don't have heart transplants. And you go, "Oh, that's funny. This looks just like a kid who has somebody else's heart." And there's an attack on the blood vessels that looks identical as if that was a foreign object. So that got me going, "You know, this is an immunologic reaction." And in just a few weeks, and I can't tell you the paper because it's embargoed, I'm doing a paper at the American Heart Association Vascular Biology Meeting that makes a pretty good case that lectins, which are a foreign protein that can stick to sugar molecules on the surface of blood vessels, are the cause of atherosclerosis in humans. And that removing lectins reduces the markers for that.
Understanding Lectins And Inflammation
What are lectins? (39:36)
All right, really fast. And we talked about this in our first issue or first episode, but I think it bears repeating, like, "What's the real quick breakdown of lectins?" And the rhetoric you started using around kidney beans, I found really interesting. Yeah, so lectins are the plant defense system. One of the plant defense system. I'm pretty doggone. Good one. Plants do not want to be eaten. They don't want their babies eaten. And they have evolutionary pressures to keep being eaten. And if their babies not being eaten, and lectins are one of the ways to do this. They are sticky proteins that look for specific sugar molecules to stick to. And that incites an inflammatory response wherever they stick. We talked about joints wearing out. Joints do not come with a cell by date or used by date. There is no evidence that the wear and tear theory has anything to do with a human body. We can constantly rebuild cartilage, but like I talk about in the book, cartilage is broken down by certain cells and rebuilt by other cells. And if you had arthritis, we could stick a scope in you, suck out some of the fluid. We could actually find bacterial particles in your joint fluid. Wow. Okay, so really fast because I know where you're going with that, but now connect those dots. How did those parts get into the joint? Lechten's broke down the wall of your gut. And on the other side of your gut is 65% of all your white blood cells, 65% of your immune system is lining your gut. What are they doing there? Because the gut is where the outside world gets through. And they're there to sound the high alert and attack them when they get through. One of the reasons we store fat in our gut, one of the reasons we have a beer belly or a wheat belly, is we are actually putting fat down where the action is. It's to supply the troops. That's why we put it there. In fact, when I operate on people with advanced coronary disease, there is a layer of fat that is on the surface of the blood vessels. And there is a perfect correlation to the amount of inflammation and disease in the blood vessel with the amount of fat surrounding the blood vessel. This is in humans, published studies. This is not conjecture, and I reference this in all my books. Wow. Okay, so here's my understanding of fat 45 seconds ago, which may now be changing. Then that fat is essentially an organ, but I think of it as an energy storage unit that we can certainly access and break down and turn it into energy that the body is very efficient at burning ketones, certainly the brain. So what exactly is it doing at these areas of inflammation? So maybe 15 years ago, we thought the fat was actually causing the inflammation. Because wherever we found fat, there were lots of white blood cells. What I think recent information has proven is that the fat is not the evil guy that we thought it was, that the fat is there because of the inflammation, and the inflammation is there because you have a leak in your gut. You have a leaky gut.
What is an inflamed gut? (43:13)
Your white blood cells require huge amounts of energy to do their job. And so it's just like any army.
Attacking the passengers and inflammation (43:27)
You've got to have a supply line. You have to have food for the troops. All right, now let me ask a really difficult question. I have no idea if this even makes sense, but it makes sense to my layman's mind. So many people have gotten to a metabolic point of dysfunction so extreme that they really never access their fat stores. So if they're existing in that state and they have metabolic syndrome, and the body's like, "Yo, here's the fat. Take it. We have inflammation. Get ready white blood cells. You're going to have all the energy that you could ever use. But the body doesn't know how to click over into that mechanism because insulin levels are elevated. Is the fat getting there and the white blood cells are unable to use it? Or that's a whole different thing and they're still able to use it. That's part of the problem. That's part of the problem. Yeah, let me use an example I used to use with my patients. The flu virus. So the virus has a barcode on it that our immune cells scan literally and say, "Oh, you know, that's a nasty virus. That's the flu virus. We know this guy. We need to get ready to attack this." We need to get all of our immune system up and running and we need to make sure that the immune system has enough power to do this. So what do we do? We actually make you, me, hurt. Hurt to move because if we move, the muscles are going to take all the energy. If you lay down, then all the energy is available for this battle to go after this virus. Our immune system literally reads barcodes to tell whether somebody is a friend or a foe. And lectins have fascinating barcodes that mimic other proteins in our body. And when this immune system is ramped up, the immune system goes around the body and looks for proteins that are lectins. And let's say they come to thyroid and they go, "Oh my gosh, you know, this poor woman's thyroid is full of what appear to be lectins." They're not quite the same, but it's close enough and we should shoot to kill and we'll ask questions later. Okay. So I'm going to walk through the process that we've just discussed because, wow, for me anyway, and for anybody listening that's like me, once I can picture it, once I can understand it, then it's like I can begin to manipulate it and predict what I should do and not do.
Attack on the immune system (45:52)
Okay. So you eat something. It could be lectins, which you'll find in the skin and seeds of nightshade vegetables is one example. Which is, yep. Or peanuts. Or peanuts. So you eat these things. They like glyphosate, like ibuprofen, apparently. They will go in and they'll disrupt my microbiome. They break down the bonds between the single cell lining of my gut. That allows either entire elements of proteins in the case of lectins or pieces of bacteria. Yup. I'm assuming dying pieces, dead pieces, is a broken arm. There's just so many cell wall bacteria. It turns out when bacteria divide and they do all the time, I mean, there's trillions and trillions and trillions of them, you make about anywhere from half a pound to a pound of dead cell wall bacteria every day. And so those pieces are normally excreted with your poop. Most of your poop is actually bacteria. That's so weird. That's what it is. Anyhow, our immune system is so afraid of bacteria. They're supposed to stay on their side of the wall. That if they see the signature of that bacterial cell wall, it doesn't know that it's not a whole bacteria. It doesn't know that it's dead. So we can take in human volunteers, LPSs, dead bacteria and inject them into your bloodstream and you will go into septic shock as if we put living bacteria in you. Whoa. Because what's actually happening is my immune system is going crazy. Exactly.
The immune system doesn't know any better. It's a holy cow. There's thousands and millions of bacteria all of a sudden in us. And we got to do something. And they just start attacking. Ah, like crazed monkeys going nuts. Exactly. And so those particles, whether they're the lectins, which by the way, on lectins really fast, the whole notion of thinking about plants, not as these inert things, which until starting to read you, I always did. I just thought of plants as completely inert. When you talk about them as being sort of the world's most sophisticated chemical war fairest, that's where it's like, whoa. Then you begin to realize maybe what's really going on. Okay. So these lectins or particles of bacteria get into the bloodstream, immune system scans it. Maybe they've ended up in the thyroid, maybe elsewhere, and it just fucking goes nuts. Starts attacking. You get inflammation, which has a whole host of knock on effects from could be cholesterol trying to patch, could be the fat wrapping around the blood vessels or the arteries or whatever the case may be. And we're now, most of us are now convinced that Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and dementia is neuro inflammation. And what people are picking up on, because they're all going to talk about the beta amyloid plaques. And you've talked about how some of the companies targeting that may actually be accelerating your onset of dementia, which is really terrifying. Really bad. Is that this is again the alien blaming the ambulance for car accidents. Yeah. So most amyloid is actually produced by bacteria in the gut. And Dale Bredesen keeps saying he says, it's not the amyloid in the brain that we should be looking at. And no wonder $40 billion of investment in anti-amyloid drugs has been a total. And he used this failure, $40 billion. He says, because amyloid is produced in the gut by bacteria. And we know certain bacteria that make it and certain that don't. And why would we give the amyloid producing bacteria what they want to eat, which is simple sugars and saturated fats, the Western diet. Plus the amyloid can't get out of the gut unless your gut is leaky. It's too big a protein to be absorbed. So Dale and I for years have been saying, hey guys, you're looking at the wrong spot to go after all. So really fast, let me ask, are you saying that beta amyloid plaques are not actually created in the brain and that they would never make their way to the brain?
Leaky Brain, Cholesterol & ApoE4 Sharing a Strong Connection (50:31)
You won't make them unless they get to the brain and then stimulate more production. That's so weird. How would the brain have the ability to produce something in the brain that would never be turned on unless it started from a problem in the gut that seems way counterintuitive? It's basically, so we now know we have a leaky brain and there's increasing. Meaning things are crossing the blood barrier that should not. It would have never done it. There's actually a beautiful new paper that probably explains why cholesterol and amyloid and dementia actually coexist in people with the apoE4 gene, the quote Alzheimer's gene. I got interested in apoE4, which 30% of people carry, is a heart surgeon because it causes heart disease. And Dale Bredesen got interested in it because it causes dementia, Alzheimer's. And lo and behold, we now know there's an intimate connection between carrying the apoE4 gene and how cholesterol can be mischievous to you and your brain and not necessarily somebody who doesn't carry that gene. What is the apoE gene? What is it doing? Great question. So it's a carrier molecule among other things cholesterol. And if you carry a four mutation or a double four mutation, you do statistically have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's. You also have an increased risk of developing heart disease. Because it's doing well. It changes the way cholesterol is transported. It's more efficient? So it's getting more ambulances to the scene? It's actually worse. Let's suppose the apoE4 is a subway and it's carrying cholesterol. And it stops at a subway stop and cholesterol gets off. And it goes into the cell, does its thing. And the cell says, "Okay, I've got plenty. Thanks a lot. You can take the rest of the cholesterol back and take it someplace else." So it gets back on the subway and the subway moves on. With the apoE4 gene, what happens is it carries the cholesterol to the cell on the subway. But when the extra cholesterol tries to get back in, the subway doors are closed. Super clear. All right? And that's the problem. This is a transport problem. It's dropping the stuff off just fine, but normally it'd be picking up the stuff that is needed. So it builds up. So it's kind of a double whammy. So now let's walk people through step by step.
Diet And Chronic Inflammation
3 Gut Problems That Cause Chronic Inflammation (53:30)
Because we haven't even gotten to mitochondria in detail yet, which we'll get there in a minute. It's such an important part of this story. So first, I want to begin to help people to understand what it is that breaks the junction in their gut. Because that's such a huge part of this. What is it that triggers the breakdown? Let's start with that. Well, so there's three major components. So first of all, and we don't need to talk about this extensively, but lectins are plant paradox. We go all into that. They're plant proteins that were designed by plants to protect themselves and their seeds, their babies from being eaten by making their predator ill to pay attention. Number two, particularly if we're eating a typical American diet with lots of saturated fats, lots of fats in general and lots of sugars, we in our gut have classes of bacteria and we have 10,000 different bacteria. And I divide them into gut buddies, good bacteria and gang members. Gang members love saturated fats and simple sugars. The problem with these gang members is that they divide and die and pieces of these bacteria called LPS's lipopolysaccharides and in all my books I call them little pieces of shit because that's literally what they are. These guys actually hop on fat molecules and ride through our gut even without a leaky gut. And when they get to the other side, the immune system cannot tell the difference between a living bacteria and a bacterial cell wall. It's so impressive that for instance, we could take you or me and inject these LPS's into our bloodstream and both of us would go into septic shock as if living bacteria had been put into us. So believe it or not in the American diet, 24 hours a day, we're causing leaky gut, we're assaulting our immune system with these LPS's and it's no wonder that just from fat, we all are just a giant ball of inflammation. Okay, so for my own sake, it'll be interesting to tease out some of the ideas around fat.
Are Fat or a High-Fat Diet Inherently Inflammatory? How Saturated Animal Fats Create (56:06)
But first, I want to stay on this point just for a second of how people end up getting in a state where they're prone to having that junction break. So I'm going to make some asortations you tell me or assertions. You tell me if these are correct assertions or not. So one that part of the problem is a breakdown in the actual microbiome. So the integrity of a well-balanced microbiome. So you've probably done something to assault that microbiome for a long time. It could be a very non-diverse diet. So some of the bugs are just dying out and so because they're starved to death. And so you get some dysbiosis there. You've got people just shoveling sugar in their face that comes in a gazillion different forms that causes all kinds of havoc, not only in the microbiome but elsewhere. And we'll get into some of the other ramifications I'm sure later. Antibiotics, which are causing that glyphosate, which is causing that. So there are so many things that are assaulting our guts. And the reason I'm prefacing all of this is because one thing that I've had tremendous success with in my life is high fat low carb. So I'm curious to see it in my n of 1 experience, fat of certain kinds anyway, do not seem to be problematic n of 1. I'm well aware of that. So everybody freaking out that that is not empirical data I understand. But there's also obviously a pretty interesting carnivore movement. So is it certain types of fat? Is it only fat when you've compromised your microbiome or is it in the know-know? Fat is in and of itself an assault upon even a healthy microbiome. So I'm the guy who's famous for saying the only purpose of food is to get olive oil in your mouth. So I'm absolutely not anti-fat. And in all my books I have a ketogenic plant paradox chapter of exactly that. But having said that, interestingly enough, most fats, even including olive oil, are transported across the wall of our gut using these carriers called chylomicrons. And it's the chylomicrons that these LPSs hop onto. So interesting. Are the chylomicrons a metabolite of some kind? No, chylomicrons are the moving van that literally carries fat across your gut wall. Fat transverses your gut wall in a totally different way than sugars or proteins. The exception to that is medium chain triglycerides. Now medium chain triglycerides, MCT oil, are a saturated fat. But they are a unique saturated fat in that they're water soluble. So they transverse the gut wall without chylomicrons number one. And they don't enter our lymphatic system where chylomicrons go. They go directly from our gut through our portal vein into our liver. And in the liver, MCTs actually tell the liver to make ketone bodies. So whenever you eat MCT oil or eat MCTs in other forms, you will automatically do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200. You will automatically make ketones in your liver. And they'll be released. So help me understand the difference then. So if not all fats are bad, what are the fats that are bad that are causing this problem? I didn't get that. So sadly, a lot of the saturated animal fats are some of the biggest mischief makers. But the other fats. Specifically because they're feeding the wrong bacteria. They're feeding the wrong bacteria. And if you don't have these gram negative bacteria in your gut in huge amounts, you will not produce LPSs, lipopolysaccharides. So you could have a very high fat diet as long as you don't have these gang members in your life. And those gang members got there quite frankly by eating a lot of sugar.
Carnivore Diet (01:00:43)
So help me then understand. So there is a time for a carnivore diet. I'm guessing there's a pretty narrow band where you would recommend that. But what would that narrow band be? So we will use it for an elimination diet where we've got someone who is really intolerant to plant lectins in general. And we do see these people. They're totally intolerant to raw plants. Most of the time, the lectins in plants can be cooked away. There are exceptions. Beans you cannot cook the lectins away. Wheat you cannot cook lectins away. You can't pressure cook wheat to get rid of the lectins. Oats have a molecule that mimics gluten. Corn has virtually identical molecules to gluten. In fact, 70% of people who are sensitive of gluten react to corn as if it was wheat. And so many patients that I see on a gluten-free diet for celiac disease, for extreme leaky gut, they're eating corn because it's gluten-free. And when we take corn away from them, so many of them resolve the problem. And it's like, "Oh my gosh, I've been eating corn chips and corn muffins and corn bread." And I thought that was gluten-free. Well, it is, but it cross-reacts. So if you combine a carnivore diet with what I recommend in the book, which is time-restricted eating or compressing your eating window, you can, I want to say, get away with a carnivore diet for a period of time. There's a very famous young lady who follows a carnivore diet who really wants to get off the carnivore diet, but you can't. And I think we've seen this. And if we were going to really simplify why she can't, I'm guessing it's... It is simply a question of the microbiome, right? Like if we could repopulate her microbiome, whether through fecal microbial transplant or magic, whatever, but if we could repopulate her gut, then theoretically she would be able to get off it. The only reason that people get trapped in something like that is because of the changes in their microbiome. Yes. One of the things that I think is critically important for our health in so many ways that I talk about in the energy paradox is we now know that the microbiome, number one, has to be diverse. We know that the Western diet produces the worst kind of non-diverse microbiome that you could possibly wish for, and you don't wish for that. That's number one. Two, if you don't give the microbiome plant fibers, which are prebiotic fibers, these are soluble fibers that we can't digest, but the microbiome eats, the microbiome can't produce what are called postbiotics. And I spend a lot of time in the book talking about this exciting discovery of postbiotics.
The Difference Between a Postbiotic and a Metabolyte (01:04:17)
Yeah, help me understand what the difference between a postbiotic and a metabolite is. Okay. So, literally when bacteria ferment fibers, then the fermentation process produces both short chain fatty acids like butyrate, like acetate, like propyrinate, and they produce a series of gases. Hydrogen gas, hydrogen sulfide gas, the rotten egg smell, methane, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide. We used to think that these were just farts that everybody made and they didn't do anything. But about 10 years ago, I usually present a talk at the World Congress of Microbiota, which happens in Paris before COVID. And the organizer is a professor from Paris, Dr. Marvin E.D. 's. He pulled me aside about eight years ago and he says, "You know, the microbiome talks to mitochondria." And I'm going, "Well, that's interesting. How do you know that?" He says, "Well, it has to because mitochondria, the little energy producing organelles and all of our cells, are actually engulfed bacteria. And the bacteria of the microbiome talk to their sisters." And they control what happens to the mitochondria. They either tell them to produce energy or things are bad in the engine room, cut back on energy production. I'm going, "Well, this is fascinating, but why hasn't anybody discovered this?" He said, "You watch. We will." And sure enough, he was right. So we now know that these, they're now called postbiotics. The gases are called gasomethors or gasotransmitters. And the short chain fatty acids, we now know, nourish the gut wall, number one, and also nourish brain cells, number two. So the discovery of this language, and it's literally called a trans-kingdom language where set of bacteria talk to us, in particular, our mitochondria. And it won the Nobel Prize for medicine a few years ago with the discovery of the hospital. Is it specifically the gas or is it the gas and the postbiotic? So the gas is a postbiotic. Okay. Are the short chain fatty acids considered the postbiotic? Correct. Okay. Yeah, they're all classifiers. And what do they do? It is a nitric oxide has arrived, therefore do this, and the flip side nitric oxide has not arrived, and therefore do that. Correct. So for instance, we know that hydrogen sulfide, the rotten egg smell, if you produce the right amount of hydrogen sulfide, you will not produce atherosclerotic disease plaque in coronary arteries, despite a monstrously high level of cholesterol in the diet. But if you don't produce the right amount of hydrogen sulfide, it's as if, you know, let the hell loose from LDL. Hold on. Oh, yeah. That sounds like a life-changing revelation. I've never heard that before. So I can have freakishly high cholesterol, but if I get the right signal from my microbiome in the form of gas, then my body's like, we're good. We're not going to form the atherosclerotic plaque. That is like the hardest word in the English language.
Statin Drugs (01:08:12)
Oh, you know it. That's crazy. Why are people not talking about that? Because there's no money in it, you know, as statin drugs make a lot of money. You know, and this is, you know, when I look back at the man who changed my life 25 years ago, big head, and watched him clean out the, you know, inoperable plaque in his coronary arteries. Did you see him under the knife or was he not surgical? So interesting enough. He had so much plaque in all his blood vessels, you couldn't put stents in them. You couldn't do bypasses because there wasn't any place to land. And like so many people, he would go around the country looking for idiots like me to operate on him, to take him on. That's kind of what I did. And he spent six months going to major centers, and I've named them before, and everybody turned him down. Said, "No, go away. Nothing we can do for you." Well, during the six months, he went on to diet, and he started taking a bunch of supplements from a health food store. And he lost 45 pounds in six months. Now he was still a big guy. I call him big head because he was 265 when I met him. So he arrives in my office carrying his angiogram, the cardiac catheterization, from six months previous. And I look at it and I go, you know, everybody's right, nothing we can do for you. You know, sorry. And he says, "Wait a minute. You know, look. I'm not going to diet. I'm taking all these supplements. Maybe I did something." And I said, "Well, you know, good for you, for losing weight, but that's not going to do anything in here." He says, "Look, what have we got to lose? Let's do another angiogram." And I said, "Okay." So in six months-- And that's putting a camera in his veins. Yeah, he's doing-- putting dye in his veins and taking a 3D picture of where the blockages are. And in six months' time, 50% of the blockages are now gone. Now, he still got blockages, but now there's open spaces where I could land a bypass. So if I knew what I knew now, I'd say, "Great job. See you in six months. It'll probably be all cleaned out." But I didn't know that. So I said, "Great. We're going to do an operation on you." And we did a five-vessel bypass and I'm pretty smart. And then I said, "Tell me about this diet and let me look at those supplements." And son of a gun, this guy had actually put himself on a diet-- that was my thesis as an undergraduate Yale-- on what turned a great ape into a human being. And I was so shocked that this guy did this that I put myself on my thesis and I lost 70 pounds. I was a big, fat, art surgeon. Even though I was running 30 miles a week and going to the gym one hour a day.
Angioplasty vs Diet (01:11:07)
So that's a long way of saying that he actually was the guy who opened my eyes that we've got this all wrong. Yeah, it's-- it's banana-smen. Every time I talk to you-- I mean, forget your book, which is already just chock full of enlightening things. But that's really crazy. What is up, my friend, Tom Billie here. And I have a big question to ask you, how would you rate your level of personal discipline on a scale of 1 to 10 if your answer is anything less than a 10? I've got something cool for you. And let me tell you right now, discipline, by its very nature, means compelling yourself to do difficult things that are stressful. Boring, which is what kills most people, are possibly scary or even painful. Now, here is the thing. Achieving huge goals and stretching to reach your potential requires you to do those challenging, stressful things and to stick with them even when it gets boring and it will get boring. Reaching your levels of personal discipline is not easy, but let me tell you, it pays off. In fact, I will tell you, you're never going to achieve anything meaningful unless you develop discipline. All right, I've just released a class from Impact Theory University called How to Build Ironclad Discipline that teaches you the process of building yourself up in this area so that you can push yourself to do the hard things that greatness is going to require of you. Right, click the link on the screen, register for this class right now, and let's get to work. I'm going to guide this workshop from Impact Theory University. Tell them, my friends, be legendary. Peace out.
Understanding Mitochondria In Relation To Health
Gut Brain Connection (01:12:36)
You say in the book, you make a prediction that in the future we're going to realize a couple things. One, you say that you refer to the gut as the first brain and not the second brain, but the other thing is this gut-gas brain axis. I've never heard anybody talk about it before. Just to re-anchor everybody, we're talking about energy and your body's ability to generate energy. You've got your gut, which is far more complicated than anybody could possibly realize. It's communicating to the organs inside your cell or the organelles inside your cells that generate the actual energy that are themselves bacteria, that have their own DNA, which is fascinating unto itself. All of this then is also having an effect. I won't just say communicating because I think it's more than that. Having an effect on the brain, which is then having massive effects, whether it's fatigue, whether it's the foggyness, which was the worst part of what I went through. You just blew my mind with the whole gas communication thing and how it can even play out with plaque. Now, mitochondria, we have to talk about the idea of the traffic jam that ends up happening.
The "traffic jam" of mitochondria in our body (01:13:44)
It's really important for people. You've already mentioned time-restricted, but now talk to me in the context of that traffic jam because this to me was a big player in why you feel lethargic if you feel like you're lacking energy. Yeah. So, mitochondria produce energy from either glucose, which comes from the carbohydrates we eat, or amino acids, proteins that we eat, or from free fatty acids, fats that we eat or that we have stored that we produce. And normally, mitochondria use one of those substances at a time. And quite frankly, if we actually ate whole foods like I talked in the book, like our great grandparents did, normally carbohydrates, sugar molecules would arrive first for processing. And mitochondria are really good at using one thing at a time. Then, after the carbohydrates are gone, protein takes a long time to digest into amino acids and they arrive second. Fat literally takes a circuitous root. It's not even absorbed into our bloodstream. It's absorbed into our lymph system. And then comes around later. But what's happened with our processed foods and our ultra-processed foods is that we have had made perfect, pre-digested sugar, amino acids, and small fat molecules that literally, instantaneously enter our bloodstream and wham into our mitochondria simultaneously. And it's literally, since both of us live in the LA area, it is like rush hour traffic in LA with all of these streets leading into our freeways and nothing moves. And what we're doing now, the average American work by Sachin Ponda at the Salk Institute in San Diego, is showing that the average American is eating for 16 hours a day. And 60% of the food we eat is processed. So we're just constant in rush hour. It's like the 405, 24 hours a day, as you and I know, and nothing moves. So if we look at energy production as literally cars moving down through a freeway, it's no wonder that even though we're eating huge amounts of calories, we have no energy because we literally log jam the mitochondria. And just as a fun side note, the first pre-digested food that was actually advertised as a benefit was Kellogg's corn flakes. It was actually advertised as the first pre-digested food and why anybody would want to have their food pre-digested, like most of our food is now. You can thank Kellogg's for doing that over a hundred years ago. DNP, dinitrial phenol.
Polyphenols and mitochondria (01:17:07)
Phenol. Hmm. Where have I heard that word before? Polyphenols. Polyphenols are used by plants to protect their energy-producing organelles, which are their mitochondria, but they're called chloroplasts. So let's go back to us for just a second. Oxygen, we have to have oxygen to make ATP normally. Oxygen is very damaging to our mitochondria, all these free oxygen radicals, blah, blah, blah. So we can't live without oxygen, but we can't live with it. And so we have to, you know, stop up the damage the oxygen does. Plants on the other hand have to have sunlight and they kind of reverse engineer. They take photons from sunlight, combine it with CO2, and they make glucose and ATP. Sunlight is damaging to the plant mitochondria, the chloroplasts. So they actually generate polyphenols to protect their mitochondria from damage, their chloroplasts. We get to see every fall the polyphenols in plants because the green chlorophyll goes away and all those beautiful colors of yellows, oranges, reds, dark colors are the polyphenols that the plant generated to protect and uncouple the mitochondria plants. And it turns out the way they protect the mitochondria is to uncouple them, to make them work less hard. And the less hard their mitochondria work, the less damage sunlight does to them. Now we plants and the polyphenols in plants do two things. Number one, we don't sort polyphenols from plants very well. But our bacteria actually love polyphenols. They're actually a prebiotic fiber for bacteria. And the bacteria then convert those polyphenols into absorbable polyphenols, which then go to our mitochondria and uncouple them. Every time I say this, I hear the Lion King, the circle of life playing in my head, "Oh, we eat the plants, but then we die and the plants eat us." So the plants are protecting themselves with polyphenols. And we eat the plant polyphenols. We uncouple our mitochondria the same way. There's the benefit of polyphenols. Okay, so they are technically we're getting like a metabolite of the bacteria processing the polyphenols. Great. It isn't showing up as a ketone. So how many things trigger the uncoupling? So we know ketones do it as a signaling molecule. We've got a whole host of polyphenols or some polyphenols better. So a whole host of polyphenols. You choose the polyphenol. I'll show you a paper that shows the action of that polyphenol is to uncouple mitochondria. I'll give you from last week. One of my compounds at Gundry MD is called total restore, which is my humble opinion, a really good gut repairing compound, gut wall compound. One of the things that I used long before I used that was a compound called wormwood. And people probably have heard of wormwood. It's in a lot of compounds to repair the gut. And just for fun last week, I saw a paper that a type of wormwood worked by uncoupling mitochondria. And I went, "What the heck? I didn't know wormwood could do that." So I started googling wormwood and uncoupling mitochondria. Do this in your spare time. Great fun. And lo and behold, five papers come up. That wormwood mechanism of action is uncoupling mitochondria. And so you start going down this rabbit hole and you find out that there's literally just one thing that makes all the difference in a person's health. And that is hitting the right dose of mitochondria uncoupling and getting the compounds that will do that. And just to peak everybody's interest, there's an interesting theory of aging called the rate of living hypothesis. Basically you only have so many calories that you're granted in your life. They have a process. Yeah. If you use up those calories quickly, that's the end. If you use up those calories slowly, that's great. And it fits pretty good. Little tiny animals don't live very long. They have really super high metabolic rates. Big animals like an elephant live a long time and they have fairly low metabolic rate. The problem with that theory is birds. Birds are very small in the scheme of things.
Mitochondria and life span (01:22:47)
But a hummingbird in captivity, which has one of the highest basal metabolic rates measured, can live 10 years. A parrot can live 80 to 100 years. What? Birds do better than any creature. Mitochondrial uncoupling? Bingo. They have the most uncoupled mitochondria of any species. Okay. Now because I've read the book, I feel like I'm cheating a little bit. So birds probably are dinosaurs that crossed. And so are we assuming that due to asteroid impact, they became birds because they were already good at mitochondrial uncoupling? And that's how they were able to survive that period? I think it's this beautiful theory. I don't think anybody's actually, you know, actually spouted that out loud. But yeah, I mean, they are the last dinosaurs. Very interesting. So given that we are descended from mammals that also survived that period, it's certain that it certainly makes a lot of sense that we would have survived if we already had that ability. And then I know humans, like by the time we became humans, there were twice that I think we were forced through these really narrow periods where there were very few humans left. Yeah, we were down 6,000 years ago. We were down probably to one woman and probably a few guys. You got that small? Yeah. And so we really, all of us can be traced back to one female. Whoa! Yeah, all of us. And you know, just so everybody knows, mitochondria actually, they have their own DNA, their own genome. Mitochondria are only transmitted from the female. You and I know we're just drones. We have no useful purpose than being a drone. So we don't give any mitochondrial DNA. So you can actually look at mitochondrial DNA. So there's mitochondrial DNA in the egg. Yep. That's crazy. Yeah, but there's none of the sperm. No mitochondria go into the egg. That's really cool. And what's really cool, and I've talked about this before, I mean what's really doo doo doo doo. We get all of our microbiome initially from our mother passing through the birth canal. Hopefully. Yep. And so our bacteria are female and our mitochondria are female. And as I've talked about and other people have proven, these female bacteria talk to their sisters, the female mitochondria, and they literally text each other. And that language was discovered, you got the Nobel Prize, of postbiotics. And I talk a lot about postbiotics as well, the communication system between the microbiome and their sisters, the mitochondria. And it's like, I mean, it's crazy. I mean, the design, you just have to sit there and marvel at the design. And then you start marveling at, okay, how do we tweak the benefits of this design? How do we maximize the benefits of that design? And that's why one of the cool things is, yeah, we can uncouple mitochondria via a ketogenic diet, a high fat ketogenic diet. No question about it. But do we want to do that 24/7? No, because eventually, like you mentioned, you will become insulin resistant to stop the muscles from stealing the calories, and you'll eventually start losing muscle mass. Eventually, if you continue 24/7 ketosis for a long time, so you want to cycle in and out of ketosis on a 24-hour basis. And the book shows, okay, here's some tricks. Let's do intermittent fasting, time-restricted eating. Let's stay in ketosis for 15, 16 hours a day. So what window do you recommend?
The ideal fasting period for optimal health (01:27:10)
So Dr. Mathson from the NIH, from the National Institutes of Aging, wrote a beautiful paper a couple of years ago that shows probably six hours is the best window. Six hours of eating. 18 fast, 16. Yeah, fast, six hours. Does he have an opinion on a number of meals in the six hours? It actually doesn't matter. And I go into that, again, there's a lot of fun, nerdy stuff in here. A guy by the name of Raphael Dacabo, also at the NIH, showed that all the calorie restriction literature and calorie restriction, cutting 30% of all the calories you eat every day, is really the only bona fide proven way to extend lifespan across multiple species. But the problem is it's unsustainable. There is a calorie restriction in society in the United States. It's hilarious. They're miserable individuals. They're cold. They're miserable. They're hungry. Why aren't they warm? Because if they're putting themselves in starvation mode, they're triggering this whole thing. They've literally now gone into a thrifty gene mode. They're so far down the line. So you pass through this. You pass through this. Correct. Then they're so far down the line. But Tacabo said, "Hey, wait a minute. I think we've got this calorie restriction wrong." Because we're controlling the animal's food. And we're putting the food in their cage. And we're giving them X amount of food. I wonder if the time of day that we put the food into the animal's cage and the time they're eating the food and the time they're not eating the food was really what the difference was. So he designed an experiment, which is really kind of cool. The design experiment based on the Rhesus monkey studies of the University of Wisconsin and the National Institutes of Aging. And these were calorie-restricted monkeys, but only the University of Wisconsin studies showed extended longevity. The NIA studies showed no extended longevity. And they had different diets. And he said, "I'll tell you what. I think you guys are both wrong. I'll bet you it's the time of eating." So he designed an experiment where they had a calorie-restricted group of both diets for rats. But he had a third group that all their food came out at three o'clock in the afternoon. And the animals ate it quite rapidly. And they still actually ate up all their calories in about eight to twelve hours and then they were fasting, about twelve hours at least.
The different types of eating styles and how they differ (01:29:54)
And that's a long time for a rat. They compared them to rats who got their food all day long and all night long. The rats who got food all day long, all night, had no metabolic flexibility. They couldn't make a change between burning sugar and burning fats. The rats who got full calories but had it put out at three o'clock in the afternoon had metabolic flexibility. The rats who were calorie-restricted also had metabolic flexibility. So then they looked at longevity. The rats that had a full day's calories but eight at three o'clock in the afternoon lived eleven percent longer than the rats who got a full days of calories that they ate all day and all night. Now for us that equates to a ten year increase in lifespan. Now is that on the same amount of calories? On the same amount of calories. That's crazy. Well it's not so crazy because the Italian athlete study proves the point in humans. And what's that? This is a really cool study. They took Italian cyclists and they put them on a training table for three months. And most people know what a training table is. You guys, here it is. This is the food you're getting. And everybody had the exact same food, the exact same amount of calories. All they did is change how often the guys got to eat. One group, they got three meals a day. One group got breakfast at eight o'clock in the morning, got lunch at one o'clock in the afternoon, had to finish dinner by eight o'clock at night, a twelve hour eating window. Other group, same food, got breakfast at one o'clock in the afternoon, lunch at four o'clock in the afternoon and had to finish dinner at eight o'clock at night. Same amount of calories followed for three months, same exercise program. The group that ate at twelve hour window stayed the same way. The group that ate in a seven hour window lost weight, lost significant amount of weight. But their performance was the same. Here's the best part, maybe the take home message. You and I know there's probably our best method to predict longevity as a blood test called insulin-like growth factor one, IGF-1. Probably the best indicator whether M-Tor is activated or not. The guys who ate the seven hour window, their IGF-1's plumbed. The guys who ate the twelve hour window had no change in their IGF-1. The take home message was it wasn't the calories the guys were eating. It was the time period that they were eating the calories. Now why is that? Early on I mentioned that most of us, if we have metabolic flexibility, start making ketones about eight hours after we stop eating. By twelve hours we've really started kicking up our ketones. Those are the twelve hour guys. They're just kicking into ketone big time and then they stop the ketone production. The other guys, they're kicking into ketones and then they're waiting another five hours to get their first bite of food. They're producing ketones five additional hours. They've got five hours every day to uncouple their mitochondria before they go back and stop the process. It's the cycling in and out of getting the benefits of ketosis without full ketosis that makes all the difference. It's amazing. Now that we understand the mechanism, which at least for me is huge, once I understand it, I don't know, there's something that happens in my brain and I can really get behind it. Give us a quick thumbnail sketch, animal meat, plant.
Dieting Lessons And Misconceptions
What living in a blue zone taught Dr. Gundry about dieting (01:34:01)
How should we be eating? What's that look like in a rough nutshell? Here's one of the big revelations for me. As you know, I'm the only nutritionist that spent most of my career living in a blue zone, Loma Linda, California. It's the only blue zone in the United States, by the way. One of the things that shocked me when I moved to Loma Linda was the amount of fat and particularly dairy fat in the Adventist diet. I met with the nutritionist at the hospital because the food in the hospital, the Adventist are vegetarians and more vegans, about 36% of Adventists are vegetarians, about 5% are vegans, number are Pescatarians. A great deal of the Adventists are vegetarians, or at least Pescatarians. Yet 50% of their diet was dairy fat from... Wow. Yogurt. 50%. Yogurt. A lot. And cheeses. And I'm going, "You're killing my patients. I'm a heart surgeon. I'm a cardiologist. You're killing my patients." I think, "No, we're not. We're the longest living people in the United States. Do your homework." I go, "Here. You're killing our patients." So as I was researching this book, I said, "You know, the Adventists eat a lot of cheese and dairy." Let's look at the other blue zones. So you look at Sardinia, which is another blue zone. You look at the Nagoya and Peninsula, in Costa Rica, which is another blue zone. You look at the Caria, which is Greek island. And lo and behold, the Sardanians are unique in that the Sardanians are basically two populations. There's the folks who live up in the mountain and the folks who live down by the sea. It turns out only the people who live up in the mountain have long jovic. That's interesting. And they're sheep herders and goat herders. And they eat huge amounts of goat and sheep cheese. The folks who live down by the sea aren't goat and sheep herders, and they don't eat goat and sheep cheese. So there was a beautiful paper. I didn't put it in the book, but I'll tell you that showed that the difference was the fact that these guys were eating goat and sheep cheese. So now you go, "Wait a minute. What's so cool about goat and sheep cheese?" And then in there, that's uncoupling mitochondria. I have a hunt. You got it. It turns out that 30% of the calories in goat and sheep milk are medium chain triglycerides, MCTs. In fact, most of the MCT fats are named after the Latin word for goat, Capra. There's capric acid, caprylic acid. Goat, because goat milk and sheep milk have tons of MCTs. And remember, MCTs are unique in that they go directly to the liver and generate ketones. So these guys were generating ketones just by eating goat and sheep cheese. Let's jump to the Nagorian Peninsula. Now, a lot of bean eating and corn eating in Costa Rica and on the Nagorian Peninsula.
But what's so unique about the Nagorian Peninsula is that they're goat and sheep herders. And there's a beautiful paper that showed the difference is the goat and sheep cheese, not the beans and corn. But cows don't do it for some reason. No, they don't make MCTs. Let's jump to Acarya. Two factors in Acarya. They're goat and sheep herders. They have yogurt every day. They have goat and sheep cheese every day. And they eat a weed, a common weed called persilane, as a major part of their diet. People see persilane growing in sidewalk cracks all the time. It's moss roses, portulaca that people have in their gardens. They eat it as salads. It turns out that persilane has an amazing short chain omega fat called alpha linolenic acid, then a profile in the book. Alpha linolenic acid is magnificent for uncoupling mitochondria. So it turns out that four of the five blue zones get their benefit by uncoupling mitochondria. And it turns out that the Okinawans, 85% of the ancient Okinawan diet, was a purple sweet potato. It wasn't rice. They don't do it. It wasn't soybeans. They only use miso. It was the purple sweet potato, which is full of the purple polyphenols. Do they not have that anymore? Now the Okinawans are eating a western diet. So all of these guys were uncoupling their mitochondria. All right. So eating goat and sheep cheese, purple, Okinawan potatoes. And we're going to uncouple until the end of time. Basically, yeah. So I mean, the great thing is you don't have to suffer eating an incredibly boring, high fat diet if you have goat and sheep cheese. My wife and I literally have a goat or sheep cheese every night before dinner now. But you're plant leaning, right? So. Oh, yeah. Yeah. But, you know, again, when we talk about eat the rainbow and everybody talks about eating the rainbow, what we're actually saying is eat polyphenol laden plants. That's literally what we're saying because the rainbow are those polyphenols. And I go into the ancient spice trade from the Middle Ages. Yes, you do. And it turns out you look at those spices that people were ready to pay exorbitant amount of money for. In fact, you asked an interesting question in the book and you said, was this the original drug trade? Yeah. And that's interesting because when you start to learn the history of like the spice wars, like people were killing people in like genocide levels for spices. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And in fact, 50% of the people on these ocean voyages on for the spice trade died. Jesus. And so. Had to be something pretty worthwhile. This was drug trade and they were the trade they were actually doing was for polyphenols. I mean, for instance, cinnamon was huge, clothes were huge. And I even have a fun chuckle. The gift of the Magi in the Bible, two of the three gifts were actually frankincense and mr, which are polyphenols and both are shown to uncouple mitochondria. So interesting. How people brought the little baby Jesus mitochondrial and couple words. Yes, they did. Yes, they did. I was on my way to Orange County to a PBS fundraiser. And I get a call on the phone on the way down to Orange County that the person, a young millennial who was going to do the fundraiser with me called in and said she didn't have it in her to come in today to do the fundraiser. And I got, Oh gosh, anything wrong?
Fatigue and Malaise. (01:41:56)
They said, no, she's just, you know, she's exhausted and she's tired and she just doesn't have an inner, but don't worry. We got another person will be fine. But that phrase stuck with me for days afterwards that, you know, a millennial would be calling in and saying, I don't have it in me. And I realized that when I first started my restorative medicine practice over 20 years ago, at least half the people I saw would we would use a medical code, a diagnostic code called fatigue and malaise. And it never really, they always went away. So it never really occurred to me that I was, you know, treating an energy problem. But when she said that, I said, Oh my gosh, you know, I'm an energy doctor all along and I need to tell people what's going on. So if that was the impetus for the book. All right. So one of the things you go into in the book is around cellular energy and so and mitochondria specifically. And I've been asked a lot about how I maintain my energy levels, you know, whether it's running a company or speaking or whatever I once stood and answered questions for 11 and a half hours. And one of the questions was, you know, how do you generate the energy? And my answer was, well, the only real truthful answer to that is it's at a cellular level. So it has to do with diet, it has to do with exercise. And you do get some benefit from psychological energy. But I'd always been, you know, since my sort of mid to early twenties, I've been working out. I've been very conscious about my diet. And so it just sort of felt second nature until during COVID, probably, I don't know, this was maybe six months ago now, I started to get psychotically fatigued, brain fog, I was like, so tired, I was like, am I losing my will to fight to live? It was really unnerving. And I thought, okay, what would you tell somebody if they were asking you this question? And I said, well, my answer would be, I don't know what's going on with you, but I promise is your diet. And so I was like, okay, well, if that's true, what's going on in your diet? And for me, I started thinking about the only thing that I was eating a lot of was this like pecan pudding, and it was delicious. And I loved it the most. I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this thing. And because it was like raw pecans and everything, I thought, you know, it can't be that, but it's the only thing I need a lot to let me cut it out. And it changed in like 48 hours. It was surreal. So I know the punchline because I've read the book, but walk people through how it's possible that something I'm eating simply by removing it could restore my energy. Yeah, the about 80% of the patients I see now are autoimmune disease patients who have kind of been all over the country, all over the world and have not gotten a resolution in their autoimmune disease or they're on immunosuppressant drugs, they don't want to be. And what we find 100% of the time, and I can assure you, it's 100% of the time, that all these people suffer from leaky gut and or, you know, intestinal permeability, if you want the exact term. And 2500 years ago, which is just for people that don't know it is is literally the aligning of our intestines is the same surface area as a tennis court. We only one cell thick, right? It's only one cell thick. And the cells are stuck together with what are called tight junctions. So everything we including all the bacteria that live in us are only one cell away from us from an 80% of our immune system. Tight blood cells are sitting right behind this wall waiting for troublemakers to come through. And your example is actually really good hidden in one of my books, the Plant Paradox Cookbook, the original one. There's a little line that says pecans have a very interesting lectin. And I can't tell you the number of people who are sensitive to the lectin and pecans, particularly if you eat them raw. So you, quite frankly, undoubtedly are one of those people who are sensitive to pecans.
Lectins Gaslighting Your Brain (01:46:23)
And these little proteins, lectins, actually made your gut porous. So what? Well, the whole book is literally about that. Your immune system requires huge amounts of energy to do battle with whatever is coming across your border. But it's really fast on that. That was one thing from the book that I was wondering, is there data coming out? Because in the book you talk a lot about the HODSA tribe, the studies that are coming out, how people compared. You've got the HODSA moving around all the time, hunting and gathering. And then you've got somebody sitting at their desk. And when you measure the energy output of those two people, you would think the sedentary person was way lower in energy output, but they're actually the same. Now is it just your hunch that that isn't true? Or is there actual data around the energy requirements of the inflammation, basically? I'll use a great pre-COVID example that I use in the book. You catch the flu. The everybody gets really achy. You feel awful. You don't want to move. You don't want to read. You don't want to think. You just want to binge watch Netflix laying in your bed. And everybody says, well, yeah, of course, that's the flu virus. The flu virus is causing that to happen. And in fact, it isn't. There's nothing in a flu virus to do that. But our immune system recognizes the flu virus as a troublemaker and mobilizes the troops. And the troops, if you will, require huge amounts of fuel. So we ration fuel to energy-hungry muscles, and we ration fuel to that energy-hungry brain. How do we ration fuel the muscles? We make muscles hurt so that it doesn't feel good to move. How do we ration fuel to the brain? We make the brain not work. And so your immune system takes all this fuel for the fight. And it's fascinating to see that what we thought was the flu virus causing the problem. In fact, it's our own immune system saying, you lay back, sit down for the count. I need all this energy. And in fact, that's, I think, and other data shows that that's what happened to these sedentary workers. Their energy expense was just the same as if they were walking 10 miles a day.
Leaky Brain (01:49:03)
But they were burning the fuel of inflammation, the fire of inflammation, as I call it. Yeah, one thing that, you know, sort of bringing these pieces together in my own life, my wife went through a really brutal gut problem many years ago, which frequent listeners of this podcast will have heard many, many times. And I remember she used to say, it just feels like my gut is inflamed. It feels like my gut is inflamed. And I had heard people talk about that the immune system is right there. And I was like, why would the immune system be in the gut? That seemed so bizarre. And then when you think, okay, well, if that junction breaks, something gets in, now the body has to go crazy. You really are inflaming that whole area. Now the question becomes, is that what's causing the fatigue or like the just the energy reallocation? Or is this something that has to do with leaky brain and foreign substances are getting into the brain that cause like that brain fog? Like how does this all begin to manifest as symptoms? Yeah, that's you're exactly right. Number one, it's enough in and of itself to steal enough energy to have to be tired. But I think more importantly, we're now realizing for the most part, if you have leaky gut, you will have leaky brain in one of two potential ways. And I outline them in the book. And which is probably the most frightening is that we have a blood brain barrier, which is a single set of cells that keeps really anything in your bloodstream away from your brain, which is kind of a sacred space. It's so sacred that let's suppose you get a brain tumor or you get an infection in your brain. We can't give you chemotherapy through your veins and it won't get in your brain. We can't give you antibiotics through your veins and it won't get into your brain. It's that protected. Yet what we're now able to do with blood tests is actually find disruption of the blood brain barrier. And number two, we actually see inflammation in the brain itself, particularly with these heart service protecting agents of the brain, the microglia. They are actually the immune system of the brain. And they're handlers for the neurons, which are the real important cells of the brain. And the body guards the handlers. And if the microglia sense that there's problems in the gut, that already there's, like I know, a better word, an army that's penetrated our borders, that the army will soon be up to the brain. The microglia actually cause neuro inflammation and literally begin to preemptively preemptively. Here's, as I talk about in the book, neurons send out these dendrites to talk to other neurons, very much like an airport as a central terminal and then satellites where you go out to catch the planes. Think of the neuron as the central terminal and the satellites are where you're going to catch a plane or talk to another neuron. If the microglia think that an attack is imminent, they go, "Oh my gosh, we got to call the guys back from the satellites." So since the dendrites are actually how we talk to another nerve, how we think, how we create memory, imagine if microglia are actively popping these guys away, no wonder we have brain fog. And it was something so we're 80 years old and you don't think as clear as you did when you were 30 and we go, "Eh, you're 80 years old, that's okay." But now we have 30-year-old women, particularly, who have brain fog. And so many times their physician goes, "Oh, you're a young mother, you have two kids, you're not going to sleep, of course you have brain fog." But when we see these people because they're not getting any better and we actually do these tests, they light up their blood-brain barrier with all these inflammatory markers and we see this neuro-inflammation that we can now measure. This morning I saw a 48-year-old woman who has Parkinson's disease, 48 years old. Yeah, healthy as a horse, you know, kind of out of the blue after, started after a funny viral illness a couple of years ago, but long story short, we've been working with her for about six months and I saw her back for a visit. And when we first checked her, she had not only leaky gut, she had markers for an autoimmune disease, lupus, anti-nuclear antibody, and she had leaky brain and she actually had an attack on the movement center of her brain, anti-seribellum antibodies. And we're going, "Well, no wonder, you got this, let's get after this." And we've now been six months, each time we check her, her leaky gut is better and better, it's about halfway to where we want her. Her autoimmune markers are gone, her leaky brain is about half of what it was when we started, and her anti-seribellum marker is pretty much gone, still mildly positive. And so you can kind of track what's happened to her by looking at how leaky your gut is and we've gone through what she's sensitive to and some really healthy food she's sensitive to, like you were sensitive to a really healthy food. And once you get a leaky gut, even what would normally be a healthy food, if it can get past this lead, your immune system says, "Hey, wait a minute, this isn't supposed to be in here in this form, it's supposed to be digested." And what are you doing there? And it literally makes an antibody. Just like if you've got a shot for COVID, you made an antibody to the spike protein in COVID. So we make an antibody to pecans and it's like, "What the heck?" So every time you eat pecans, your immune system goes, "Whoa, we've got to sum of the troops, this is awful.
How the Ketogenic diet was discovered. (01:56:06)
We've got to take all the energy to help Porton." I used to struggle profoundly with inflammation and when I discovered keto, it changed everything for me to change my relationship to hunger, to inflammation, to all of it. And in the book, you make it very clear that we don't understand some fundamental things about ketosis and ketones. And so let's start with what don't we understand? Well, I guess the best place to start is what we thought we understood about ketones. And ketones and ketosis have been known about since the late 1800s. And I hope that a lot of people in the keto community know that the ketogenic diet, the actual word ketogenic diet was founded in 1930 at the Mayo Clinic as a treatment method for children with seizure disorders, epilepsy. How did they figure that out? Because that does not seem like a super obvious, at least for me, as a lay person, not a super obvious conclusion to draw that that's sugar-based. Well, what they found was that children who had severe epilepsy spent so long, post-seizure, and it's got a medical term called post-ictal state where they're okay, they're not seizing, but they're not really waking up. And they spent so many hours in this post-seizure state, repeated seizures, and then just kind of in a coma that they didn't eat very much. And they were literally starving. And they made the observation that kids who were starving because they had so many seizures paradoxically had less seizures the more they were starving. And so researchers first at Boston and then at the Mayo Clinic said, "Wait a minute. We know that ketones happen when you're starving, that's when it happens." So it must be that ketones are doing something to these kids' brains. And are there other ways other than starvation to produce ketones? And one of the ways they found was, "Well, look. If you deny carbohydrates and really cut back on proteins and give kids mostly fat to eat, then they will make ketones even though they're not starving to death." These kids did very well on a ketogenic diet. 50% of them had complete seizure control. And we got a young man who's an high school student who despite two meds was still having seizures so bad he was in special ed and falling way behind. His mother brought him to me in my clinic in Santa Barbara. And we put him on my ketogenic diet, which is kinder and friendlier. And the kid woke up, he's off of his medications. He's now playing... Was he doing any kind of keto before that? No. Not at all. So it went from meds to meds and keto or keto only? Keto only. We took him off his meds. He woke up, wasn't, you know, drugged. And now he's taking advanced classes and he's actually playing soccer for his soccer team in high school. And he could not do any of this. I mean, can you imagine a kid with a severe enough seizure disorder to be on two meds, now actively playing high school soccer? That's crazy. Just by changing stuff. When did this come back into vogue? So I had somebody on the show when this was still Inside Quest. His son had seizures epilepsy and he said they didn't even tell him about ketogenics because they said compliance was so low that they didn't even mention it to parents anymore.
Understanding Ketones And Fat
What is MCT oil and how does it work? (02:00:02)
And he had to like go to his own research and he found some obscure article in like a journal from the 1950s. And he was like, hold on a second, did the same thing, put his son on, boom, total remission has not had a seizure in like 20 plus years. Yeah, well, that's a great point. So the ketogenic diet, the high fat ketogenic diet for seizures, once phenobarbital and diolan came and the new seizure drugs came, it died because kids couldn't do an 80% fat diet. They actually had growth retardation and they just wouldn't follow it. So what happened actually in the 80s was people discovered medium chain triglycerides, MCT oil. And this oil was the miracle oil that some of these TV shows were done. And what they found was that MCT oil could convert into ketones in the liver and will get into why that happens. And they found that if you put kids on a MCT oil based diet, you could give them far less MCT oil, far less fats and you can give them tons of carbohydrates, which I'm a parent and grandparent now and you cannot deny children carbohydrates as much as we think we should. So these kids could have more carbohydrates, more protein they could grow and develop normally, but they'd still stop their seizures. How much do you have to reduce the carbohydrate intake if you're using MCT oil? You can't just, you can't just add MCT oil, right? You still have the modify. Really so no matter how much carbohydrate I'm in taking. What's amazing is, and this is human studies, you can take a tablespoon of MCT oil, which is not much, and you can actually, within a half an hour, generate a generous amount of ketone body production from the liver. At least .5 .81 from one tablespoon of MCT oil. I've never tried it so I can't deny it, but man, knowing how hard it is to produce ketones without it, that's scandalous. Yeah, and that was the beauty of this. So when I actually started writing this after I wrote the energy paradox, which we've talked about, and I was trying to explain where ketones fit into all this in terms of energy production.
The Benefits of Ketones for Energy Production (02:02:31)
And as you know, I like to back up what I say with research, either my own or somebody else's. And as I was trying to explain how beneficial ketones were for energy production, for protecting mitochondria, for turning mitochondria into fat burning efficient machines, when I started looking at the research to back up what I was saying, I went, "Holy cow, I'm wrong about this." And so is everybody else. Ketones aren't some fantastic. How'd you deal with that? Most people cannot, especially if they've talked about it publicly, they can't change their position. Hopefully, that makes me one of the more believable nutritionists around because I'm always willing to say I was wrong. So what was the first thing that made you go, "Wait a second. I don't think we were on the right path." Well, one of the most amazing things, and I've had a ketogenic diet in all my books. So for the last 20 years, I've had a ketogenic program for my patients. And looking back, when you actually look at the list of things I allow on my ketogenic diet, there's tons of carbohydrates, and yet it works extremely well. And I've been using MCTO for my program, from kind of day one. So I've written that ketones make you an efficient fat burner, and I firmly believe that. So I was going to prove how ketones actually make your mitochondria incredibly efficient at making energy. And probably the best way to explain this is we know that ketones were discovered during starvation. And nobody quite figured out why they were produced until the 1930s. But then how ketones came about to be known what they did really started in the late 70s 80s, up to the year 2004, at both Harvard with George Kale and Dr. Owens and Dr. Veach at the NIH. And they wanted to know, "Okay, what were ketones doing? We don't do things by accident." So they started to look at, "Okay, human beings clearly have starved for multiple times." We didn't have-- As a species. As a species. We didn't have 7-11s next to us. We didn't have fast food. We didn't have refrigeration. We didn't have storage systems. And we had to find or kill food. And there were famines, and there were times not much food. So we were designed, when we found food, to store a lot of it as fat. And I've written about this in previous books, "Great Apes," interestingly enough, only gain weight during fruit season. And fruit season doesn't happen year round in a jungle. It really only happens in the summer and early fall. We gained weight because the winter and spring was actually times of less food. So it became beneficial to take fruit and convert it into fat so we could make it through the winter. And that defect, it's actually a genetic mutation that allowed Great Apes to do that, we inherited it as well.
Storage of Fat (02:06:12)
So we're really good at storing fat. In fact-- Yes, we are. Yes, we are. In fact, we're-- I'm better than most. We're called the fat ape for a reason. We best all apes at storing fat. So when we don't have any food, normally-- and I talk a lot about in this book and you and I've talked about this-- most of us should have metabolic flexibility in our mitochondria. And mitochondria are the little energy producing organelles that take the food we eat and produce ATP, our energy currency. And mitochondria, for anybody that doesn't know, are like aliens. They are. They are. They have their own DNA, which is crazy. And I still don't understand how this is possible, but nonetheless, it is true. And at some point, two cells combined and they were able to handle oxygen by the mitochondria wrapping inside of the cell, which is bananas. And there's actually a gaggle of them inside of every cell. Yes. There's a bunch of them. Unlike our high school biology textbook that might have said shown one or two mitochondria for cell, there can be thousands of mitochondria. And they're actually in golf. It's crazy. They're all bacteria from two billion years ago. And they actually carry, right, their own DNA. And the cool thing about that, an important part of the book, is that mitochondria can divide and make more mitochondria without the cell they're living in dividing. So if a mitochondria gets the right stimulation and that's part of the book, they'll make lots more of themselves and to share the energy load. So getting back to starvation, normally, you and I, hopefully, when we run out of sugar, we can immediately start burning free fatty acids. And that's the flexibility you're talking about. But sugar can burn fat. Yeah. We should be a hybrid car. If we burn gasoline, we'll call that sugar. When the gasoline runs out, we've been storing energy in our battery. And when the gasoline runs out, we switch over to battery power until we go fill up at the filling station. Unfortunately, here's the weird thing. 50% of normal weight individuals have no metabolic flexibility. 50% of us. Just because of modern diets. We're eating all the time. We are never in a quote unquote starvation phase. Correct. If you're overweight, 88% cannot shift between burning sugar and fat. If you're overweight, if you're obese, 99.5% of people cannot shift to burning fat.
The brain's favorite fuel is fats, ketones, glucose (02:08:58)
And what does that mean? Why does that matter? Well, you normally, if you and I stop eating tonight, whenever, about eight hours after we stop eating. We should actually run out of glucose as a fuel. And we should shift over to burning free fatty acids and ketones as a fuel until we get our next meal. That's normal. And by 12 hours of not eating, we actually ramp up ketone production to pretty much take over our brain's need for fuel temporarily. And your brain actually runs out of sugar and starts dying. So the implication for this. So the brain is never without sugars? Believe it or not, the brain normally would run out of sugar in about eight hours after we stop eating. Normally runs out of sugar. And it shifts over to using ketones as a temporary fuel. The reason it can shift over is once we stop eating, we start liberating free fatty acids fat from our fat cells. So you're saying it would die if we didn't have ketones? Correct. Got it. Okay. So normally those free fatty acids come out of fat cells. Every one of our cells, except the brain, can use free fatty acids as a fuel and use them very well. And this has been again proven at Harvard in the NIH. Our muscles love free fatty acids. My research on the heart years ago showed that the heart prefers burning free fatty acids instead of sugar. It's favorite fuel. In fact, we protect the heart during heart surgery by putting fats into the heart. How? Through the veins and the arteries. I invented it. You inject fat? Yeah. Well, we dissolve it in our cardioplegia. Yeah. Whoa. Um, without that metabolic flexibility, then what happens? What happens is what we're discovering right now is that your brain cannot get life-saving ketones to burn as an alternative fuel. And your brain runs out of glucose as a fuel because you don't have any available.
Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and memory loss (02:11:17)
And your brain for several hours and night until you eat again, neurons die. And there's no doubt that our epidemic of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and memory loss is laid at the feet of our metabolic and flexibility. Hmm. Okay. So that is certainly terrifying. Yeah. But means that we can do something about it. Yeah. So going back to where we left off. So we go into starvation mode, we start kicking off these ketones. That feels like the sort of story up to before this book. Correct. People understood that. So where do you begin to go? Wait a second. We have a problem here. Okay. So we can make ketones. We make ketones from free fatty acids. They go to the liver and the liver generates ketones. Now the liver, interestingly enough, can't use ketones as a fuel. They're incapable. They don't have the enzyme to do it. Can it use free fatty acids? Yes. Okay. The liver loves free fatty acids. Which it gets as fat as oxidized. We get free fatty acids and we can snatch them out of the bloodstream and use them. Right. And they're a great fuel, fabulous fuel. So what everybody thought. But they can't cross the blood brain barrier. That's the problem, right? Because they're too big in fat, if you will. So as luck would have it, ketone bodies, ketones are water soluble, small fats. And they can get through the blood brain barrier. So the brain can use ketones until glucose arrives the next morning or for several days.
Starved bodys love ketones (02:13:13)
Now that piece of the puzzle wasn't known. So people like K. Hill, people like George Beach said, "Wow, ketones are clearly what made humans survive for a long time because we could use them as a fuel without burning up our muscle to make glucose. We can convert muscle protein into sugar." It's called gluconeogenesis. And they actually showed that if you literally had to live on glucose as a fuel, your muscles would be gone after about a week of starvation. So the only way for gluconeogenesis to happen is for muscle tissue. Yeah, but you can also make gluconeogenesis from breaking glycerol molecules off of triglycerides and convert that into glucose. Okay. So there is a way to get sugar from fat. Got it? We're really good at turning sugar into fat. We're really bad at turning fat back into sugar. We just don't have the enzyme system to do it. So when this ketone was found, everybody said, "Wow, that explains everything. We can run on ketones and be great. Not so fast." Dr. Owens at Harvard showed that at full ketosis, human beings can only meet 30 percent of their calorie needs by burning ketones. The rest have to come from free fatty acids and glucose. So that's kind of weird if they're such a great fuel. The brain, it turns out, even at full ketosis, only 60 percent of the brain's needs can be met by ketones. And the brain still needs 30 to 40 percent of its fuel as glucose, even at full ketosis. So when I read that research, I went, "Well, wait a minute. This is not some super fuel. The body doesn't even view it as a super fuel. But we don't do things for not a good reason. What the heck are ketones actually doing that's so beneficial?" And that's when I went down the rabbit hole and came out with unlocking the keto coat. Because ketones are not a super fuel. They are actually a signaling molecule that tells mitochondria to protect themselves at all costs from damage and to save themselves at all costs if you are starving to death. Because quite frankly, if we're starving to death, if you don't protect your mitochondria that make energy, that's the end of us. You die. You're done. So I read a silly little paper. It's actually maybe one of the most important papers I've ever read by Dr. Martin Brand in the year 2000. And it's a simple paper called "Uncoupling to Survive."
Understanding Brown Fat And Weight Loss
Uncoupling to Survive. (02:16:27)
And I hope all your viewers and listeners dig it up, check with Google, it's there. And what he said, it just talked about a paradox. He said, "Look, inextremous the mitochondria has to survive." So the mitochondria is instructed by ketones to literally start wasting a lot of the calories that it would normally process into ATP and throw them away. My brain broke when I read that part of the book. I know. I'm going to go down the note. I was like, hold on. And I know you answer it. But I was like, there has to be an evolutionary advantage to this. I cannot see how in a moment of starvation we would want to kick off extra energy and quote unquote waste it. At least for me, this is all coming together at a moment where it feels like there's these breakthroughs in science which are all pointing to the depression of the mitochondria and their ability to produce energy in a good way, which is weird. Yeah. Yeah. I and most ketogenic diet experts have always taught that ketosis, you teach your mitochondria to be energy efficient to get energy out of every last calorie because you're starving to death. You need to turbo charge and supercharge your mitochondria to eke out every last drop of energy. And that makes incredibly intuitive. It feels right. It feels really good. But what brands said, no, you're wrong. They do the exact opposite and you go, no, no, no, no, no. There's no food. Why in the world would you waste food? So what he showed was, and I have a fun time in the book talking about the Mito Club.
The Mito Club (02:18:35)
Yep. Let's hear about it. Yeah. So mitochondria make energy by energizing electrons and protons in this long tube called the electron transport chain inside a mitochondria. And I liken this long tube to the hottest hippest club in town where people go to the club to couple to meet someone to hook up to hook up. And if they hook up, they exit the club and let the imagination run. It's energy gets a man. Get some eggs. Make some energy. And this club is it's hot. It's crowded. There's hormones through the roof. There's alcohol flowing and everybody's bumping into each other and everybody's trying to couple with everybody else. Normally oxygen should couple with a proton and exit the back door and make ATP. Oxidative phosphorylation some people have heard. But because it's crowded and there may not be a lot of available protons that people want to couple with electrons could also couple with oxygen and they're not supposed to. And they make nasty free radicals and reactive oxygen species and punches start being thrown, chairs are flying and beer is flying. And there's bouncers in the club to try and calm this down. And everybody knows about antioxidants. Turns out there's only two antioxidants in mitochondria. Surprise surprise. Melatonin which most people don't even know is an antioxidant. The sleep hormone and glutathione. There's only two. So they're the bouncers. So getting back the club is hot. It's energy. There's damage being done. You got to keep this club under control. So everybody's trying to, there's only one way out of this club through this back door. But people are getting frustrated and they want to leave because it's a bad day to couple and they're not coupling. So it turns out there's emergency exits in the club where if things get too hot, if people get too frustrated, they can push open an emergency exit and leave the club. So mitochondria have emergency exits. There's actually five emergency exits in our electron transport chain. And they're controlled by uncoupling proteins. I spent six months trying to figure out a better word for uncoupling because people think of uncoupling like a what a ball throw getting divorced. I uncoupled my marriage. That uncoupling means that instead of joining a proton with an oxygen molecule to make ATP, the proton leaves the club, leaves the mitochondria without making energy. So what brand showed and others have subsequently confirmed is that mitochondria at rest, you and I sitting here, 30% of all the calories that enter our mitochondria right now are going through these emergency exits and never making ATP. 30% just here. Normally. Normally. And you're sitting in starvation mode just normally. You and I sitting here and you go, what a stupid idea. You and I have to eat 30% more calories every day just to make our normal amount of ATP. And you go, oh, why would I do that? Well, it turns out generating heat is what those calories do. And you and I are warm blooded animals. And if that's the only way we generate heat? It's actually the only way we generate heat. Okay. So the emergency exit is how we stay warm. Correct.
Brown Fat (02:22:49)
And it turns out that brown fat, which a lot of people have heard out, brown fat is our energy, our heat producing fat. Does that mean that brown fat has more mitochondria in it? It's so many mitochondria that it looks brown under the microscope. They are crammed in there. And we thought brown fat only existed in babies to keep them warm. There is a lot of brown fat in babies. But we now know that you and I actually have brown fat and the more brown fat we have, the healthier we are. And we'll get to that. And what brand eventually showed is if you look at the super old people, folks 105 and above who are thriving, they have the most uncoupled mitochondria of anybody. And you go, what? So wait a minute. Uncoupling mitochondria must have huge benefits that none of us knew about. Let's get back to ketones. So ketones tell mitochondria that trouble is a foot and to protect yourselves at all costs. So the first thing you do, mitochondria, is don't damage yourself by making energy. And making energy is very damaging to mitochondria. So waste, making energy, waste more calories, protect yourself, cool it a bit. But secondarily, that makes no sense because you've got to have enough ATP to survive. So simultaneously the mitochondria is instructed to make more mitochondria to share the workload. Now think about this. The Iditarod is being run. And let's have one dog dog sled. Well yeah, the dog can pull the sled, but he's not going to go very far before he tuck his out. But if you hook six dogs to the sled, each dog has a sixth of the workload that one dog has. So they can go a lot farther with six of them doing less work. Now the consequence of that is they actually are going to eat more food than the single dog to accomplish the same thing. So now you go, wait a minute, a ketogenic diet is a really good weight loss diet. It can't be because the mitochondria are more efficient. Because if they're more efficient, they can get more calorie, more food, more energy out of the buck. And in fact, you lose weight.
Weight Loss (02:25:42)
So what happens is you actually in a ketogenic diet, if you do it right, and a couple of your mitochondria, you waste fuel. You feed six dogs instead of one. And that's where the benefit of ketosis comes from. Okay. So now I'm trying to pin down the evolutionary advantage. So I'm in starvation mode. Yep. That's when I'm producing ketones. Yep. Why on earth would starvation mode trigger my mitochondria to waste more energy and become less efficient? To protect themselves at all costs. So it's purely a protective mechanism. It's an evolutionary protective design to save the mitochondria at all costs. Dear human body, I cannot keep taking this rate of damage for you. I have to conserve. The only way to conserve is to release more of these out of the emergency exits.
So I don't have to process them, take on the free radicals and all the damage. So go out. My temperature theoretically should feel like it's going up subjectively. Believe it or not, a lot of people do and we'll get into the ammunition workers in France and Germany and World War I, which actually proved his theory. Nobody knew that that proved his theory, but that's what happened to them. Yeah. You actually should raise your temperature. Just as a fun fact, ever notice when you have a cup of coffee or tea, even if it's iced coffee or iced tea, many of us go tea. I'm kind of glistening, even though I'm having a nice coffee. You actually produce more heat having a cup of coffee because both the caffeine and the polyphenols in coffee and tea uncouple your mitochondria and have them generate heat.
So interesting. Okay. So my mitochondria is protecting itself by uncoupling. They're getting rid of this stuff. They're making more of themselves to share the workload. Each one is working less hard so that they aren't being damaged, but you're recruiting more mitochondria. And the amazing thing is during ketosis or other things that stimulate mitochondria to uncouple. You actually generate more mitochondria and mitochondria in starvation will devote all the protein manufacturing in the cell to make more of their proteins and they'll actually not make muscle protein. Screw the muscles, their energy hogs. We're not going to build muscle if we're starving. We are going to build more mitochondria to work less hard. Screw everybody else. All right. Here's where this gets complicated for me though. So that all makes sense. I'm tracking with that in the book you talk about how it does the way that it further stops the muscles from taking the energy is that it makes you insulin resistant. And when you look at what happens with fructose and uric acid there's a similar thing going on which is, hey, raise insulin which seems like it's bad in a modern context, but from a survival famine context it's actually brilliant because it traps the fat, makes you use it more slowly. It's hard to get out to make sure that you don't burn through the energy and end up dead. But the munitions facility that you alluded to, the way that we end up dead real fast, is this process on a runaway train. Is it just that I can exit people out the emergency exit way faster, way more dramatically than I can stop the fat from pouring out? Walk people through what happened in the munition factory. Okay. In World War I it was noted that munition workers in France and Germany who were assembling shells and working with gunpowder were extremely thin. Even though they were eating huge amounts of food and they could not keep weight on and they were running a temperature 24 hours a day. And it wasn't until the late 1920s when they realized that these guys basal metabolic rate BMR was elevated and it took a couple of doctors at Stanford in 1930 to say son of a gun we've discovered the compound that did it in these munition workers. And it was called 24-dinitrial phenol and keep that word phenol in everybody's mind.
Fecal Transplants And The Microbiome
We'll come back. Oh yes, it will. It's called DNP. So they actually said oh my gosh, DNP raises the metabolic rate and it is the world's best weight loss drug that nobody's ever heard of. So in the 1930s in America alone over a hundred thousand prescriptions for DNP were written by physicians and it was a miracle weight loss drug. You took a little bit of DNP every day. You'd lose a pound a week. That's insane. But if you took a lot of DNP you could lose five pounds per week. You talk about a miracle and just a little bit more and you can be dead. Yeah, now here's the problem. What happened was as more and more and more and more people got on the bandwagon and saw they could lose a huge amount of weight. People were running temperatures. They started noticing that thyroid were having a problem. Then a lot of people developed cataracts and this was before cataract surgery. And as I joke, can you imagine being able to fit into your skinny dress and not see how good you look in the mirror? Because you're blind. And then people started dying, dying like flies. And so the FDA in the late 1930s, 1938 is one of the first official acts banned DNP for sale. But it turns out that in 1978 it was discovered that DNP worked because it was the first known oral mitochondrial uncoupler.
Fecal microbial transplants (02:32:05)
And DNP was so effective because it literally turned human beings from being Toyota Priuses which are very fuel efficient to being Ferraris which are incredibly fuel inefficient. Now as I talked about in the book, there might be reasons you and I would want a Ferrari rather than just wasting fuel. But the point is, these people through fuel out all these side exits of their mitochondria. What does it become when it takes the emergency exit? It actually produces heat. That's why all these people were running a ticket. Kicks off is just nothing else. In fact, looking back at Gundry MD, we have a number of products with thermogenic compounds, that we've known for years produce thermogenesis and make heat. Lo and behold, every one of these compounds uncouples mitochondria. And lo and behold, that's why they're thermogenic compounds. They make heat. Teacol microbial transplants which are really interesting. So I think we have sort of a really basic understanding. Your book goes into a lot of detail so people should definitely check it out because it's so interesting the more that I understand this stuff. But we have a basic understanding so far in the time that we've had together today. Now how can fecal microbial transplant help with that? Why does that work? And why didn't it get widespread adoption? So back in the 70s when broad spectrum antibiotics came out, they were truly miracle drugs because before that we had to actually culture a bacteria, find out what antibiotic it was sensitive to and then give that antibiotic, you know. And that would take, oh gosh, 4872 hours to do. When broad spectrum antibiotics were invented, it was a shotgun approach. No worry, we don't have to know what you have. Here, take this, we're going to wipe out everything. Which was great in a lot of ways. But what we didn't know was that we also wiped out every last living bacteria for the most part in our gut. And we're so naive back then that we didn't realize that that microbiome was incredibly important. And so we developed a lot of people all of a sudden with what was then called pseudo-membranous intercolitis. It's now called C-difficile, a Clostridium difficile. So these guys got horrible infections in the lining of their gut. And nobody had any treatment for it. These people were dying in hospitals after getting broad spectrum antibiotics and we're going, what the heck? So one of my mentors who was the chairman of the department of surgery at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta said, you know, this has got to be, we've wiped out most of the bacteria in the gut. And this is an ecosystem where there are checks and balances. So all of a sudden now we've wiped out most of the checks and balances and there's probably a rogue bacteria that's taken over. It's party time. You know? So clever. So he said, we've got to get good stuff back. And he said, where are we going to get that? And he starts looking around at the medical students. True story. And he said, you know, medical students are pretty healthy. So once a week, this is the mid-1970s, they would pass around this plastic bucket. It was called the honeypot and we'd take it into the john and take a crap. You actually had to hold it. Get to school and take a crap. And he'd take it to his lab, and I don't forget, we had wearing blenders. And homogenize all this medical student poop and put it in enema bags and give these people fecal enemas. This is in the 70s. And he would have the foreign after pictures and he'd go to meetings and show, you know, this horrible inflammation, this horrible infection in the colon and then a week later, this pristine, it's beautiful, you know, the people are singing kubbaya inside the colon. And everybody goes, oh, he's making this stuff up. That can't happen. And so people did not believe it because we had no idea. No one had sequenced the human microbiome. That was really only five years ago. Well, now, since the sequencing of the human microbiome, it's, you know, you go, well, of course. There were 10,000 different species of bacteria in you and me. In fact, a month ago, they found another thousand. And normally, there are beautiful checks and balances. But it's when these checks and balances get disturbed by taking around of antibiotics or as simply as eating meat where the chicken or the pork or the beef was given antibiotics. You know, when we eat that, they have residual antibiotics.
What do our saliva clouds decide for us? (02:37:48)
And then we eat the antibiotics. Talk to me about the whole home, whole microbiome. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So there are a number of researchers that think we should use whole-o-biome rather than microbiome. Microbiome pretty much attempts to define the bugs that are living in our gut. We have an oral microbiome. And we actually have a cloud of bacteria that live in the air around us. And there is this theory, which I really do like, that our personal space is actually determined when your whole-o-biome, your cloud bumps up against mine. Dude, that would be so weird if that's true. Well, I mean... Because you feel something like... Yeah. Yeah, you feel that. And there are certain people that you're allowing in closer. Right. And it gets so twilight zonie that I always play that music in my head. We know that kissing, for instance, is a universal human, great ape and often animal characteristic. And there's some pretty cool wacky suggestion that I really like that kissing, you are exchanging your oral microbiome and your bacteria are actually deciding if your person next to you is compatible with them. You've heard of that whole study where they have women just smell these t-shirts and rank them in order of desirability. And the women are like, "I have no idea why you're making me do this." But they put them in order of most genetic diversity or difference from their own to most similar to their own. That's surreal. Yeah. And women, you know, and I say this as often as anyone will say, women have a gut feeling far better than men. And that is because women actually are far better capable of listening to their microbiome. And I get kind of deep into the fact that our microbiome is inherited from our mother, we get it from our mother. And all of the mitochondria, the little energy producing organelles in us, are actually engulfed bacteria that are inherited from our mother. And they have their own separate DNA and their maternal DNA. And there is now actually very good evidence that the bacteria in our microbiome communicate via text messages that now have been measured to mitochondria. They're sisters. And about how things are going in the body and the outside world. It's so crazy. So women trust your gut. Going back to the microbiome coming from your mother, I've become probably a little oversteppy. Like I normally like, hey, whatever you want to do, until I hear somebody saying that, oh, I have a plan C section. So look, if you need one, obviously get one, Jesus.
The Links between Autism and the Microbiome (02:41:11)
But if you don't need one, I'm like, make sure that you smear the baby in the vaginal fluid at a minimum. And people always like, whoa. But just trying to pass that microbiome on, and you said there was a recent study that came out about autism and fecal microbial transplants and how the link between a successful, maybe the wrong word microbiome and an unsuccessful one can manifest as autism. Talk to me about that study. Yeah, there's, we've known for actually a long time since the microbiome was identified and sequenced. And we know that number one, kids with autism have a lot more irritable bowel. They have a lot more GI issues. And they actually have a very different microbiome than quote normal. And there has been a suggestion for years that maybe it is that microbiome that is contributing, not what I say cause, autism. There's even more exciting work in gynecology and obstetrics that there is a microbiome in the vagina that we know about. But there is a microbiome of the placenta itself. And there's some actually exciting work that perhaps the microbiome of the placenta is the most important in terms of educating the neonate, the fetus, is immune system. Do you only encounter that as you're actually born and you go through it? No, it's the whole time you're washing it. Then why would a C-section be so problematic? Well, so one of the theories of autism is that this is an in utero problem that happened to the kid before he was born or she was born. A reason I say he is that boys have it far more than girls. And that now there is interesting evidence that we should be working on the maternal microbiome before pregnancy. And certainly during pregnancy, we need to start early in making sure the microbiome is right. So getting back to autism. There was a recent study just published and don't quote me on the exact details, but it comes out of Australia. And because of this connection with autistic kids having funny bowels and a funny microbiome, they with an institutional review board permission did oral fecal transplants in a large number of autistic kids. And they did this for about six weeks. Plus immediately 50% of the autism symptoms subsided. 50%. Man. And the paper has now followed these kids for two years. And the 50% reduction in symptoms has continued. And if that doesn't make the case that the gut and the microbiome has such an incredible effect on the brain, I don't know what. No kidding. Now that we know that, and your book goes into great detail including recipes and all kinds of stuff, what's a quick overlay of lifestyle and dietary choices that people should make if they want to die young at a ripe old age as the sub headline of the book goes. So we know that there are ways to give these good guys like Acramancia what they like to eat.
Dietary & Lifestyle Recommendations with Microbiome in Mind (02:44:45)
And they love resistant starches. They love tubers like yams like heakama like tarot root like yucca or yucca. They love mushrooms. And there's a beautiful recent study out of South Asia of people basically having a 90% reduction in Alzheimer's if you eat two cups of mushrooms a week. What? What is this incredible compound in mushrooms? I'll probably fracture it. Urgo, thionine, thionine that actually crosses the blood brain barrier better than tumor curcumin and actually protects against neuro inflammation. And it turns out that mushrooms absolutely positively feed these friendly bacteria. And mushrooms contain this compound called spermidine. It's a polyamine that study after study shows promotes longevity. Okay, so those are some of the things. Also, inulin containing compounds. So inulin is present in chicory. You can buy inulin, made out of yaycon root and many stores as a sweetener. So inulin feeds Acramancia. So it's present in chicory. It's present in radicchio, Belgian endive, Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes. They're just pure inulin. So the more of this stuff you eat, the more of this bug you're going to grow. So that's number one. So eat for them. Number two, exercise. Beautiful study in women. Women have more Alzheimer's disease than men. So you look at an exercise program in women. Women who exercise regularly, routinely, kind of from midlife on, have a 90% reduction in Alzheimer's. Whoa. And compared to women who don't exercise routine. And in the women who are going to get Alzheimer's, it's 11 years later than if they did an exercise. So I mean, think about that. We had a drug that had a 90% reduction in Alzheimer's. How much would we pay for that? People who are going to use it. It would pop them in. It would not. Every day, we wouldn't have $40 billion wasted on amyloid drugs. It's available by housework, by gardening, by getting a dog and walking it twice. Okay, that's interesting. So when you say housework, why do you say that? I think people will be confused by that. It turns out that, give me an example. My mother actually scrubbed her floors until the day she died at 90. Even though there were swifters and things like that. And she did it as an exercise program. Exercise changes the gut microbiome. That's interesting. Too a friendly microbiome. Meditation, yoga changes the gut microbiome. It seems impossible. It's so interesting that they're in a two-way communication. Yeah. Yeah. And there's even some really cool stuff that yoga postures actually move this microbiome around in your gut. They actually get signals, probably electrical signals. So all these chakras that, you know, in Eastern medicine, it's probably all this part of this really amazing communication system that Western medicine is just going, "Oh, come on. That's all food." Because we couldn't measure it before. So exercise is really important. Lastly, I really want people to have a brain wash day at least once a week. So in the last couple of years, we've learned that there is a lymph system in the brain called the lymphatic system. And no one actually believed it existed, but now it exists. And the brain actually in deep sleep, which happens very early in the sleep cycle, goes through a literal wash cycle. It shrinks by about 20 percent. And all of these toxins, like amyloid, like tau, like bad pieces of protein, are actually squeezed out of the brain, like ringing out a sponge. And it happens in deep sleep and it happens early in the sleep cycle. So we have to have a lot of blood flow to our brain to do that. The brain uses huge amounts of blood flow, but we have to have even more. So the evidence is that you need about a three or four-hour window before it will ask me all of your day before you go to sleep. Why? Because digestion is actually really energy expensive. So we put huge amounts of blood flow down into our gut. And if you eat near the time you go to bed, that blood flow is down in your intestines and it doesn't go up to your brain. So there's actually a recent study of men who had unstable angina or heart attack. And they followed those men who ate late at night, had a much higher incidence of a new angina or new heart attack. And so they're all really actually interconnected.
The Health Food That Isn't Making You Healthy (02:50:35)
So one day a week I ask people, finish your last meal at six o'clock. If you go to bed at say ten. If it's eleven, finish it, etc. Do not snack before bedtime. And allow yourself to have brainwash better yet, skip a meal. And that gets in probably to the fourth point. You've got to have periods of extended lengths of time between eating. We were supposed to go for long periods of time before our next meal. And break fast, we've talked about this before, it ruins your morning stuff, was you break your fast. And there's no definition of when it's supposed to be breakfast. That was from the Dural Kellogg's Corn Flake Company telling people they had to eat breakfast. Yeah, that the whole lifestyle that you just painted makes all the sense in the world. When you start looking at the research, even just like, so one I can certainly speak to the anti-inflammatory properties of a lot of things that you're talking about, which that has been revolutionary in my life. Intermittent fasting has had a whole host of benefits for me anecdotally. And then certainly I think there's a lot of data backing things up. We've talked a lot about how eating is just an excuse to get olive oil in your mouth. Man, I hope you write about that one because I have really taken that to heart. There does seem to be some pretty tremendous benefits to that. It's really pretty extraordinary. Yeah, I mean it really is. And I show a lot of studies. I think probably the best one is the Predaman study out of Spain where just simplistically they took 65 year old people, divided them into three groups. One, they all eat a Mediterranean diet in Spain. One group had to use a liter of olive oil per week. The second group had to eat the equivalent calories in walnuts primarily. The third group had a low fat Mediterranean diet, followed for five years. The initial study was look at memory. The olive oil group and the walnut group had improved memory after five years. The low fat group lost memory. The people in all groups with known coronary artery disease or stroke. The olive oil group had a 30% reduction in new events. The low fat group had an increase, continued in events. So this stuff is miraculous. It actually grows neurons, the polyphenols and olive oil. And here's another crazy fun fact. Now there's a chemical that I talk about called TMAO. Discovered by the Cleveland Clinic, TMAO is made by our gut bacteria primarily from animal proteins, particularly choline and carnitine, cholines and egg yolks. We need choline for our brain, but our gut bacteria love it. They make it out of these and TMAO damages blood vessels. Do the Cleveland Clinic's credit? They said, "Well, wait a minute. Mediterranean diet seems to be very good for preventing heart disease. And yet these guys eat fish. They, you know, they eat cheeses, they eat salamis. What gives?" So they actually discovered that there are polyphenols in certain olive oils, balsamic vinegar and red wine, that paralyze these enzyme systems in the bacteria. It doesn't kill the bacteria. It rises the enzymes. So you could eat all the choline and carnitine you want, but you will not make TMAO. So olive oil, balsamic vinegar, make a spritzer balsamic vinegar and sparkling water. Yeah, you got me on that. Yeah. And have glass red wine. And so you will prove, you can still have your, you know, your meat and eat it too.
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Connect with Dr. Gundry (02:54:42)
Not much. I like that. All right. Tell people where they can find your book. Anywhere on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com. Audible. I actually did the audible of this book. So if you want to hear my voice longer and longer, I read the book. You can find it at GundryMD. You can find me at Dr. Gundry.com. Come to my YouTube channel. I've got a podcast that Dr. Gundry podcast. Yes. I'm on Instagram, Facebook.
Dr. Gundrys Top 2 Supplements (02:55:16)
What's the one change that people could make that would have the biggest impact on their longevity? The one change. And I, you know, I get on my soapbox is you got to get your vitamin D level up. Take at least 5,000 I use of vitamin D. A day? A day. The University of California, San Diego has shown that the average American to have an adequate vitamin D level should have 9,600 internationally in today. The average American will. If you look at cancer patients, they almost always have a low vitamin D. Every one of my patients without immune disease walks through the door with a low vitamin D. If you look, if you like the telomere theory of aging, where the little caps on the end of chromosomes, and it's a good theory of aging, the higher your vitamin D level, the longer your telomere source is then. And vitamin D, getting back to those little crypts down in our shag carpet, those stem cells actually have to be stimulated to move by vitamin D. And if you don't have vitamin D, they will sit there and you will have a leaky cut. There it is. That's number one. Number two, take time to release vitamin C twice a day or chew a 500 milligram vitamin C four times a day. We're one of the few animals that don't produce vitamin C. And you got to have it for so many functions, particularly women, they have to know that collagen will not repair all their wrinkles without vitamin C. Instead of trying to patch up these problems, I think the idea of letting our genes keep us healthy is really its kindness. It's really about reconnecting to that incredibly beautiful gift that we've received from all who have come before us.