Introduction: In this podcast: High Protein Diet Damage, Ancestral Beer, Irradiated Fish, Getting Fit in Four Minutes, And The Ultimate Gut Reboot podcast.
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Ben: Hey! It’s Ben Greenfield here, and in case you didn’t notice from the announcements, I am podcasting all by myself today. And no, Brock didn’t disappear into the Mayan jungle wilderness during last week’s Mexican podcast. And as far as I know, he wasn’t involved in any kind of freak horrible Canadian fracking oil accident or hockey or curling or beer or poutine gulping accident. He is simply not here podcasting with me today, because I had to record today’s episode one day early. Tomorrow I’m heading down to Bradenton, Florida to the IMG Sports Academy to train with the elite triathlon team I race for, Team Timex. So, I will be down there swimming, biking, running and learning all about the wet suits and the bicycles and the Timex timepieces that we’ll be using during this year’s race season. And I definitely still wanted to get a podcast episode out to you today. So in today’s podcast episode, you’re gonna get some killer news flashes, a few special announcements and an amazing podcast with a special guest named Dr. Tim Jackson. As usual, all of the show notes for this episode are gonna be over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/274 and I gotta tell yah there are a ton of resources for today’s podcast so head over there to get access to everything and let’s go ahead and jump right in to today’s news flashes.
Ben: Well, in case you do not yet follow me on twitter, over at twitter.com/bengreenfield let me fill you in on something, everyday I read over 50 different blogs and blog articles along with research journals and studies that get sent to my email inbox. I sift through this stuff, find the best, most practical, most applicable stuff that’s gonna change your life, your fitness, your waistline and your health and put it out there. So be sure to tune in to twitter.com/bengreenfield if you’re not already. Now today I’ve got a handful of really helpful news flashes for you and some stuff has piled up in the past couple of weeks so typically we cover three or four news flashes every podcast episode. I’ve got a few more than that to go into for you today. Now first I want to talk about an article that came out on a really good website called suppversity.blogspot.com and that article actually featured nine very simple diet rules that I think are pure weight loss gold. Now I’ll link to this article in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/274 if you wanna dig into more of the reasoning and the research behind each of these rules, but drum roll please, here they are. Rule Number 1 is to stick to step-wise reductions in total energy intake. What that means is that if you’re going to restrict calories you would start with about a 10 to 15% drop in calorie intake over and above what you’re currently eating okay so you drop calories by about 10-15% and then you gradually increase that by dropping calories in 5-10% increments okay that would be as opposed to doing like a crash diet in which you subtract a huge number of calories all at once. So you start small and you gradually decrease the amount of calories each week rather than starting with one big all-or-nothing calorie cut. Now, Rule Number 2 is that no matter how many calories that you cut, you should never ever limit your energy deficit to anything more than 40% calorie reduction. Okay what does that mean, that means that if you burn say 2000 calories a day for your resting metabolic rate and you can figure out your RMR by going to a website like getfitguy.com and discovering your metabolic rate calculators over there. Let’s say that you find out that your metabolic rate is 2000, well you would never on any day want to limit your energy deficit to more than 40% of that so you’d never wanna take in fewer than 1100 calories per day, because that’s where you risk metabolic damage or else hitting a weight loss plateau.
Okay, Rule Number 3 is to keep lifting heavy while you’re dieting to minimize muscle loss. So what does that mean? That means, that you should never when you’re dieting stick to or get stuck in a rut of just doing like body pump classes or high rep low resistance type of weight training. It turns out that based on research the best way to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time or lose fat and maintain muscle which means tones and curvature is to lift heavy. One of my favorite ways to do that is something like a 5×5 weight lifting protocol. Where you choose 5 different exercises and you do 5 sets of 5 reps for those exercises and each of the exercises is the type of exercise that allows you to lift heavy, squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, pull ups or pull downs things of that nature. Okay Rule Number 4 is to use your diet and not only your diet to generate an energy deficit, so what that means is that rather than simply restricting calories what you want to also do is to burn calories preferably through a mix of both high intensity interval training as well as (shocker here) low intensity steady state exercise. Now the best way to do this is to do your low intensity steady state exercise in the morning in a fasted state preferably, and then the high intensity interval training on a different day or on a same day but later on in the day and that has been shown to accelerate fat loss versus just restricting calories or restricting energy intake through diet. So Rule Number 5 is to increase your protein intake to be somewhere between 20-30% of your total energy intake. Yes it turns out that, that is good for weight loss versus going much much higher in protein or going extremely high in fat and low in protein. So 20-30% is your magic window based on research for maintaining again a very good muscle to fat ratio and getting long term sustainable weight loss. Okay, rule Number 6 is to consume about 30 grams of protein per meal and to me that rule seems like it could potentially be pushing a lot if you’re a very light person, I would say that if you weigh about 110-120 pounds or less that 30 grams of protein per meal might be a little bit low the other issue I have with this rule is that if you’re doing that much protein right before you go to bed at night you might get a little bit of an insulin spike that could potentially pull you out of fatty acid oxidation but in most cases that general rule of right around 30 grams of protein is pretty good, and that incidentally is about the most protein that you’re going to be able to absorb and utilize per meal anyways, so 30 grams. Okay, Rule Number 7 is to implement regular refeeds whenever your total energy deficit is greater than 25%. Alright, let me say that again, implement regular refeeds when your total energy deficit is greater than 25% what this means is that if you’re restricting calories pretty significantly, like were talking to the point where you’re going to bed hungry every night and you’re chewing on the inside of your cheeks staying awake looking at the ceiling and really being careful and not overeat that can potentially cause some metabolic damage or it can influence what’s called your leptin sensitivity unless you’re doing some refeeds. So I’m a fan if you really are getting down and dirty and engaging in some pretty significant calorie restriction to doing a refeed day or refeed meal every week, where you just go out and treat yourself and eat as much as you want basically push yourself away from that table not being hungry anymore and that can have a really good effect at keeping you from experiencing a weight loss plateau. Rule Number 8 is to eat your veggies.
No surprises here. Research shows that when you’re eating a high amount of vegetables particularly from dark leafy greens and nutrient dense foods that you’re going to vastly accelerate weight loss, don’t worry it’s not going to pull you out of fatty acid oxidation, carrots aren’t going to be too high on sugar neither are parsnips or uh kale or bok choy or spinach don’t worry about the carbs in those foods that’s silly. And then rule number 9 is to avoid post starvation obesity by working your way up to habitual energy intake progressively, so what does this mean? This means that it’s important to avoid the formation of new fat cells by making sure that when you increase your energy intake you do it in small incremental steps. So if you’re going to diet and restrict calories when you reach your, your goal weight and perhaps you increase your level of physical activity and subsequently increase your level of calorie intake, don’t do so in big steps. Okay so what that means is don’t lose a bunch of weight and then you know go from a 2000 calorie diet to training for ironman and eating 3500 calories per day. Instead what you wanna do is gradually increase your energy intake to whatever, starting from an energy restricted 1500 calorie per day diets to gradually getting up to 1750 to 2000 to maybe you know let’s say you need fine you need 2250 or 2500 to support your daily levels of physical activity. So, big picture here is don’t shock your body by dumping a ton of calories into it all at once as you pull yourself out of a calorie restricted diet. Okay enough talk about calories and diet, let’s move on to another study that looked at whether or not you can actually get fit in just a few minutes a week and this was an article, over at New York Times, a link to it in the show notes as well. And what this looked into is two recent studies that came out investigating high intensity interval training. The first study actually compared a group that combined high intensity interval training that consisted of four 30-second bouts of all out maximum efforts on a bicycle and alternated that with uninterrupted intervals that lasted about 4 minutes. Now both the four minute interval training that they did on one day and the stop and go type of interval training that they did on the other day both burnt the same amount of energy the same amount of, of calories. But what they did was they compared a group that did this stop-and-go plus continuous interval style training with a group that just did continuous style interval training. Well, it turns out that even though both groups experienced gains in fitness the group that mixed the high intensity interval training stops and go style with the continuous style interval training actually experienced greater fitness improvements and less of a loss in fitness after stopping the training compared to the people that just did the continuous interval training. So the big takeaway message from this first study is that if you’re gonna do high intensity interval training and you’re going to rely on these very short bouts of exercise to get fit with the minimum amount of time, that you should mix up your workouts and have a few different types of interval training sessions that you do each week. So for example, one of my favorite things to do is to take somebody who’s limited for time and give them one day where their doing some very short 30 to 60 second hard efforts another day where they’re doing some also short but slightly longer two to four minute efforts and then another day where they’re doing one long, for example, 10 to 20 minute kind of tempo effort that’s a very good scenario for sustainable weight loss or sustainable improvements in cardio vascular fitness. Now the second study that they looked at compared a group who shoved a bunch of high intensity interval training sessions into just three weeks versus another group that did the same amount of training but put it into eight weeks. Now what they found was that the group who shoved all these high intensity interval training sessions into just three weeks, meaning that they just killed themselves for three weeks they actually did not experience any improvement in their endurance capacity and in many folks in that group their endurance capacity actually declined until they had gone through about 12 days of rest. Whereas the group that spread all of their high intensity interval training sessions out over eight weeks experienced consistent improvements in endurance and fitness.
So what this goes to show is that there’s two different ways you can get fit with high intensity interval training. You can either, do a bunch of it all at once completely destroy yourself and then allow yourself to rest so that you bounce back and this might be a scenario you’d experience if you were, to say, go off and do a really hard fitness camp like say a triathlon training camp or something like the SEAL fit camp that I’ll be going down to do in August down in California. You would do something like that but then you would allow yourself anywhere from one to two weeks of complete rest and recovery so that you absorb those improvements in fitness. Now, the other way to do it would be to simply give yourself a good 48 to 72 hours of rest between high intensity interval sessions and just spread them out week after week throughout the entire year. Now that latter scenario is a much more sustainable type of way to do high intensity interval training and to experience the fitness gains that you can get with it but if you ever do decide to immerse yourself in a very tough camp or week or multi-week series of high intensity interval training, understand that you’ll probably gain zero fitness and you may actually lose fitness unless you also program or plan for a period of sustained rest and recovery after that high intensity interval training block. Okay, next. I tweeted out that for all you out there stuffing your faces with coconut oil and butter indiscriminately it may come as a shocker to you but it turns out that a recent study that appeared in The Journal of Diabetes shows that overfeeding on saturated fat can actually cause liver and visceral fat accumulation. In other words, risk of developing fatty liver and a beer belly. So what this study looked at was a comparison of overfeeding on polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils and overfeeding on saturated fats such as you would find in things like grass-fed beef and coconut oil and butter and things of that nature. Well it turns out that when you overfeed on saturated fat you actually get even more of a metabolic health risk effect compared to overfeeding on polyunsaturated fat sources. And the important thing to realize here is that although you actually do need adequate saturated fats in your diet for everything from cholesterol, steroid and hormone formation, to the integrity of your cell membranes to the ability of your body to absorb other fatty acids like Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. The fact is that once your saturated fat intake begins to creep over and above 30% of your total fat intake it begins to become a health risk. So understand that when you’re looking at your total fat intake during the day you need to make sure that no more than about a third of it is from saturated fat and then the rest of it can come from things like extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil, olives, raw seeds, raw nuts, things of that nature. But the solid type of saturated fat that you’re gonna get from coconut oil, and butter, and the marbly-ness in steak, and things of that nature you definitely don’t have an unlimited ceiling as far as how much you can eat. And unfortunately, that also includes bacon. So, just be careful if you’re that person walking around with, bacon and butter on every plate of breakfast. You can indeed overdo it. And I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. So another interesting article that came out was over at eartheasy.com another blog I subscribe to, and this article asked whether after Fukushima if it’s safe to eat seafood and this article makes some really good points for example: Fukushima-derived cesium that you’ll find something like Blue-Fin Tuna it still remains 600 times lower than the levels of naturally occurring ocean radionuclides that you’ll find in the fish and many other commonly eaten Pacific seafood species have yet to show any contamination from radiation. Now the article also goes into the actual half-life of many of these radioactive compounds released from Fukushima for example, Iodine-131 which is something that they talked about a lot especially after the tsunami well it has an eight day half-life so most of that isn’t even present on the fish or on the water anymore. Cesium which is another radionuclide that has a longer half-life but it behaves kinda like a salt and it goes in and out of fish and in and out of humans pretty quickly, so it doesn’t really have the ability to bioaccumulate in your tissue. Now there are other radionuclides like there’s one called Strontium-90 and that is a bone-seeking isotope that could find its way into human bones.
But the fact is, that we’ve seen zero evidence that Strontium-90 is actually winding up in the bones of any of these small fish or finding its way into human bones. So once again, it’s just speculation and there’s no actual consensus that there’s really any increased fatal cancer-risk or radiation-risk at all of eating seafood, while at the same time we know that there is a greatly elevated heart disease risk when you have a lack of fish intake, as well as an increase in the risk of overall mortality. So my recommendation when it comes to radiation is to not completely quit eating seafood or enjoying your favorite sushi restaurant but to just make sure that you’re getting adequate minerals in your diet which will help to counteract any effects of potential radionuclides in the fish that you’re eating and that would mean getting enough zinc, getting enough iodine, and getting enough magnesium and we talk about all of these in today’s podcast interview with Dr. Tim Jackson. And then also to realize that there are other much much bigger sources of radiation that you can control; so for example, when we travel most of us voluntarily expose ourselves to about five millirems from a single cross-country flight across the country and that’s equivalent to eating about six pounds of contaminated tuna daily for an entire year and medical x-rays aren’t very far behind. So, you may want to consider before you stop eating fish to perhaps fly a little bit less and not take as many medical x-rays. Ultimately the article is really good, a link to it in the show notes, I’d recommend that you go and read it. Okay and then finally, we get to the high protein diet and cancer study that seems to have taken over the media lately. So, let me fill you in on this study really quickly. What they did was they looked at protein intake in folks who were from 50 years old on. They found that from age 50 to 65 that high protein could modestly increase mortality, especially cancer and diabetes related mortality. And then once you got above 65 years old there’s actually a slight decrease in mortality and a high protein diet appeared to be somewhat protective. Now, in conjunction with this study there is also another study that was done in mice that actually appeared as part of this paper. And in that study they actually looked at mice that had tumors and found that the mice with tumors that were on a higher protein diet actually experienced a greater growth in those tumors and an increased risk of mortality compared to the mice that were on a slightly lower protein diet. So, I am going to put a link to the best three breakdowns of this study that I was able to find on the internets. So the first, paper or the first article that reviewed this study was over at examine.com, and examine.com brought up a few good questions that weren’t asked about this study. The first was exercise, we know that exercise elevates your protein needs but this study didn’t look into exercise at all and whether or not exercise actually exerts a protective effect against higher protein intake or whether or not exercise may actually increase your need for protein. This wasn’t looked at, there maybe people in the population who actually similar to these 65 plus year olds actually need higher protein intake or benefit from a higher protein ceiling the study didn’t really measure anything above and beyond whether or not the protein came from animal or plant-based sources and didn’t actually compare the quality of the protein. The study didn’t look at all at people who were younger than 50 years old so we don’t know any data about that. The study did not look into vegetable and fruit intake and whether or not that actually had a protective effect against high protein intake. The study did not look at what was eaten in place of protein in the low protein group so what that means is that we don’t know if whatever macronutrient whether its carbohydrates or fat that was used to replace the high amounts of protein had a protective effect or not. The study didn’t look at fast-food base sources of protein versus home-cooked base sources of protein because it was all based off questionnaires and not based off of actual measurement of foods or controlled food intake. The study didn’t look at other elements of lifestyles such as smoking or exercise, like I mentioned earlier, or environmental toxins and pollutants, anything above and beyond simply protein intake. So those are some questions raised by examine.com which also went into a very good scientific look at the study as a whole.
Now, another really good article was over at Mark’s Daily Apple and in that article they made a really good point and that is that low protein diets have been shown to slow your metabolism, increase insulin resistance, cause body fat gain, impair your immune system, make infections more severe, reduce muscle function, impair nitrogen balance, increase the risk of osteoporosis, and increase the risk of sarcopenia, which is muscle wasting. Unfortunately, the media didn’t take into account any of these previous studies that have been looked at in terms of adequate protein intake and simply took this single study, that again, only showed that high high amounts of protein between the ages of 50 and 65 years old might increase your risk of mortality from cancer and from diabetes, and simply ignored all these other studies. And when you think about it, if you eat a bunch of protein and you already have a tumor, then it’s pretty likely that that protein might assist in the growth of that tumor. Since the protein and the insulin release that you get from protein can indeed cause cell growth, whether it is a growth of a muscle or a growth of a tumor. And then as far as diabetes risk goes, it also makes sense that if you’re eating way more protein than you actually need you might indeed experience an increase in the risk of diabetes. Since you not only get, as I just mentioned, that insulin release from a protein but you also get gluconeogenesis from protein that’s not used to repair muscle or to synthesize muscle; gluconeogenesis meaning that that protein gets converted into glucose which can spike blood sugar levels. So that’s a really good point that this article Mark’s Daily Apple goes into and something else to take into consideration. Now, the last article that I thought was a great breakdown of this study was over at rawfoodsos.com and while it repeats a lot of the same things that are said at examine.com and at marksdailyapple.com, this article which is written by Denise Minger goes into the fact that in many cases we see that methionine-based sources of protein such as we might get from lean red meat and from the muscle of animals is actually relatively low in glycine which is necessary to balance out methionine. Now both glycine and methionine are amino acids which technically in your diet should be taken in balanced ratios and this is why we see when we look at ancestral diets a lot of times the lean muscle and the meats that we’re traditionally used to in our modern diet being thrown to the dogs. Instead things like bone marrow and organ meats which are high in both glycine and methionine being favored over those lean cuts of meat. But nowadays when our meat based protein is just coming from steak and muscle, we are getting way more methionine unopposed by the type of glycine that we’d find in things, like organ meats and bone marrow. And unopposed methionine can indeed increase risk of mortality, cancer, diabetes, etcetera. So, this highlights the fact that it’s important if you’re gonna be eating adequate amounts of protein to include things like organ meats, bone marrow and you know what we might consider to be offal and that’s o-f-f-a-l not a-w-f-u-l in our diets. And I’m actually going to publish an article over at bengreenfieldfitness.com the Monday after this podcast is released that goes a little bit more into the type of things that we should be including in our diets that we don’t anymore and the type of things that are in our diets that probably shouldn’t be there anymore. So I’ll link to all three of these breakdowns of the high protein study over in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/274.
Ben: Just a few quick special announcements before we move in to this week’s interview with Dr. Tim Jackson. The first is that the 10 years that I have spent in the trenches working with professional, recreational and weekend warriors, all the tips that I have learned from the thousands of articles that I read every year on nutrition, on health, on fitness, on human optimization, all of that is wrapped up in my brand new 540 plus page beautiful hard cover manual that’s now available as a book over at beyondtrainingbook.com. Now there was a little delay in shipping, those of you who pre-ordered through Amazon already know this but the book actually is shipping to actual homes next week and you can get it now at beyondtrainingbook.com. There are also a ton of bonuses if you grab a copy for your friends, your family or your co-workers.
So if you get three or more copies, there are tons of goodies that you get when you upload your receipt using the special form when you click on bonuses at beyondtrainingbook.com. If you order ten plus copies, there’s literally over 5,000 bucks worth of swag that you get put into a raffle for. So a lot of really cool stuff over there and, you can get it all at beyondtrainingbook.com. You can also, if you just wanna download a bunch of freebies that go along with the book, and you don’t feel like getting the book at all or you just wanna get a taste of it, go to the bit torrent for the book and that’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/torrent and I’ve got extra videos, audio chapters and free hidden chapters that go above and beyond what’s actually in the book. So that’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/torrent and also when you get the book at beyondtrainingbook.com there are currently six hidden chapters and eight different training plans that you get access to as part of that book so, a lot of cool goodies in there. A couple other things, if you’re listening in and you haven’t yet subscribed to the podcast over on iTunes, I would highly recommend that you do so. It’s a great way to automatically get the podcast download it to your phone or your computer right when it comes out. It’s also a really really good way to support the podcast and help with the ranking in iTunes. So, go over to iTunes click subscribe, and you could just do a search for Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Click subscribe if you haven’t yet subscribed and leave a quick review if you’re able to do so. And then finally, if you want the brand new Ben Greenfield fitness gear: the tech t-shirt, the BPA-free water bottle, or the cool beanie that is way way better than a hat in my opinion. The beanie is just a high quality tech fleece-based beanie that just looks good whether you’re a guy or a girl. It’s a pretty cool beanie to rock. You can get that all at bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear and it’s a great way to support the podcast. Alright, so that’s it for special announcements and let’s go ahead and have a quick message then move into today’s interview with Dr. Tim Jackson.
Finally a solution for healthy living that actually makes sense. Ben Greenfield and his wife Jessa have cracked the code on healthy living and revealed their entire system inside the Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle where you’ll get instant access to 24/7 forum interaction with Ben and Jessa, a live monthly webinar, meal plans, videos, Ben’s body transformation club archives and much much more. If you or your family wanna learn how to achieve the ultimate healthy lifestyle on a budget, then the Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle is for you. Get four free videos to get you started and full access to the inner circle at bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle. We’ll see you inside.
Ben: Hey folks, we’re just about to jump into today’s special gut reboot interview with Dr. Tim Jackson, but I wanted to let you know about a mistake that I made when recording this interview. I actually mentioned that you get a 100 dollar discount on services from Dr. Jackson when you mention this podcast or use the code “ben” on his website and just so you don’t get upset or unpleasantly surprised when you go to do that, I actually misspoke. It’s a 50 dollar discount not a 100 dollar discount. Still significant but, I wanted to make sure that I give you that correction just so you know. So, that being said I promise it’s still a really good interview and that’s still a really good discount. So enjoy this episode, I learned a ton and I think you will too.
The Ultimate Gut Reboot interview with Dr. Tim Jackson
Ben: Hey it’s Ben Greenfield here and a few weeks ago at bengreenfieldfitness.com, there was an article and it was actually a really popular article, it was called “Broken Gut to Big Butt: How a Busted Digestive System Can Make You Hormonally Fat” and that article, which I’ll link to in the show notes for this episode over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/274, was written by Dr. Tim Jackson. And Tim Jackson is actually on a call with me today, we’re gonna be going into the nitty gritty details of everything that you need to know about how to reboot your gut and why there’s such an intimate connection between your gut and your digestion, your hormones and the way that you look, the way that you feel, and the way that you perform. Now Tim has a really interesting bio.
He’s educated in Nutritional Biochemistry – Digestive Health and he studies the systemic effects of digestion as well as something called functional endocrinology, which is kind of a fancy word for the way that your hormones work. Now, he’s well versed in everything from active release technique to adjust your spine and take care of musculo-skeletal trigger points to help expedite the healing process in your digestive tract, your gut or your spine. He is currently working on his Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist Certification. He’s trained with a fellow named Dr. Kendal Stewart, who’s kind of an expert in the realm of genetics to learn the far-reaching implications of what are called methylation deficits and their role in your neurology and your immunology. And so, he actually does a lot of long distance consultation with folks to help guide them through the process of their genetic testing results. So for example if you’ve done testing through something like 23andme.com, Dr. Jackson is really good at looking into what are called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or other genetic markers that might also affect the way that you look, feel and perform. Now, we’ll be talking more about digestion and hormones today then we’ll be talking about digestion, but whether you’re interested in in kind of working with Tim on a digestion standpoint or a genetic standpoint we are, at the end of our discussion today, going to give you some special codes that you can use to get a discount off of any consultation or service from, from Dr. Jackson. So, I will I will go ahead and shut up now and turn things over to Dr. Tim. And first of all Dr. Tim is it okay if I call you Dr. Tim or would you prefer Dr. Jackson?
Dr. Tim: Absolutely yeah, that’s perfectly fine.
Ben: Okay, we’ll go with Dr. Tim. And second, just, is there anything before we jump into digestion that you want to add to the intro that I just gave?
Dr. Tim: No, I think you nailed it. I think you know me as well as I know me.
Ben: And where are you living at now? Just so folks know where …
Dr. Tim: I’m in South Carolina.
Dr. Tim: I’m located in South Carolina right near the post.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. Cool. So there’s that South Carolina. Are you from South Carolina originally?
Dr. Tim: I am. So you’ll notice a little bit of an accent.
Ben: I was gonna say I thought I detected a little bit of a drawl there.
Dr. Tim: Hahaha. That’s right.
Ben: Cool. So Tim, a lot of people including myself have had digestive issues, complained of digestive issues. It’s something that I think a lot of folks experience are issues with their gut. Is there a reason that you think digestive issues are so common nowadays?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, I think it all starts with the health of the mother. When you look at the average number of chemicals, endocrine disrupting chemicals and immunosuppressive chemicals found in the average umbilical cord is well over 200. So you’re sort of coming into the world with immune imbalances, some hormonal imbalances, known carcinogens, and it’s very common obviously for another reason for moms today, to have gut imbalances from antibiotics being over prescribed, that’s one of the most common; stress, high cortisol levels that obviously contributes because, you know, high cortisol levels will thin out the digestive tract, which we’ll dig into more later. But it starts there and you know antibiotics are pretty much handed out like candy, and if you look at the percentage, I dunno the exact number, of kids being born via C-section and then the percentage of children who are also not breastfed. So you’re starting out sort of behind the eight ball in terms of your immune health and hormonal balance.
Ben: So, are, is there evidence that women’s umbilical cords or their gut flora is actually different? I mean have they done studies that looked into stuff like that? Or is it kind of a case where we just know that based off of current, like, floral status in mothers that’s looked at in hospitals before birth?
Dr. Tim: I don’t know if they’ve looked, done studies to look at floral content during the gestation period but, they, I think it was nine different cities where you know they had a large sample size and they averaged out or measured the average number of endocrine disrupting chemicals and immunosuppressive chemicals and I think it was right around 210 in those, eight or nine cities. So that definitely has a negative impact on the hormonal status and the immune status and what people tend to forget with chemical toxicity issues is that the whole is really greater than the sum of its parts.
So, you know this is kind of a, another topic but heavy metals you know you’ll read a study where it says this level of mercury is safe, and another study will say this level of aluminum is safe but they never looked at them together and there’s a synergy where it’s sorta like one plus one equals ten. And we really don’t know how, have any idea of how dangerous they can be when you know that the effects are kinda summated over time.
Ben: Do you think that the number of C-sections versus vaginal births kind of affects this?
Dr. Tim: I think it absolutely does. From everything I’ve read you can make up for it during the first two years of life. You know, if you supplement with high dose probiotics, obviously, if you’re breastfeeding, and you can certainly make positive changes after that but I think the first two years of life, are you know kind of the standard in terms of trying to balance out any negative repercussions of having a C-Section versus being born vaginally, and…
Ben: Both my kids were born via C-Section, I didn’t give them high dose probiotics because I wasn’t convinced of the safety but they were breastfed, do you think that breastfeeding is enough for moms out there who have kids who were born via C-Section for when they don’t want those kids to wind up with gut issues later on in life or do you think that there’s like a safe probiotic out there for moms to give babies?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, you know there’s a few different ones out there, Claire Labs, Pharmason Labs, that tend to be pretty good achieving formats, pretty good in terms of safety. A lot of times some of the claims that you see made about probiotics, they may have actually studied one strain, and then you know the bottle is claiming, oh you know, this benefit or this other benefit. But if you look at the studies, a lot of times that wasn’t the species that was in the study in the research literature but definitely, you know, the overall immune health not just digestive health but, you know, the number of t-cells and natural filler cells and your immunoglobulins are all possibly impacted through breastfeeding.
Ben: Okay. And that brand that you mentioned that that you think would be okay for like children would be like a Pharmax child probiotic?
Dr. Tim: Yeah. What can happen, actually in children and adults is it’s kind of the same thing if you cut your skin, you know you put a band aid on it to protect it from the outside elements and it’s sort of the same thing if you have a leaky or breached gut barrier. You know whether it’s a child or an adult if the bacteria leak into the bloodstream, and your body will sort of use that as a foreign invader and so it can create an immune response or what’s called a cytokine storm where, you may have fever, fatigue, skin breaking out. It’s really no different than, you know like I mentioned, the cut on your skin so repairing that gut barrier, you know, is the first thing to do before even supplementing and you know people often times wanna know what’s the best test to determine if I have leaky gut. And 99.9 percent of time I tell people don’t even worry about testing for it, you know. You could just have treated it more cheaply and safely than, than having gone to the expense and time of submitting a test sample.
Ben: So how do you know then? Like if you have a problem with your digestion, like I know that a lot of don’t get necessarily constipation or diarrhea but they may still have digestive issues going on where they might not be absorbing something properly or perhaps getting a micronutrient or nutrient deficiency from a lack of enzyme production or something like that. Like what, what do you look at and and how do you recommend people know if they have a problem with their digestion?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, so there’s kinda two basic categories of stool tests out there, one being the CDSA, the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis where they essentially try to culture the bugs in the digestive tract.
Ben: No, that’s that’s the what did you say it’s called the CDSA?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, yeah exactly. The Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis.
Dr. Tim: And so what they try to do with that test is basically culture the anaerobic bugs from the large intestines and in a sense obviously it’s in the aerobic environments that can lead to some of the bacteria or a lot of the bacteria being killed off or dying off and from a practical stand point that can lead to a false negative test result, where you get your test back and it kinda leads to a false sense of security. Where you probably do have some … or some issue going on but it’s not being detected. The other category of stool tests out there uses a DNA probe so it’s looking for the DNA of the various microbes and so whether they’re dead or alive it’ll pick them up.
Ben: And where do you, where do you find a test like that?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, Metametrix. It’s called the GI Effects Profile.
Ben: Okay, yeah. I’ve had that one done before gotcha.
Dr. Tim: Yeah, and so that one you know, none of the tests are perfect they all have flaws and can miss things. But in my experience the Metametrix, typically gives you more information and it’s gonna give you a better plan of action in terms of, you know, whether you need probiotics or whether you need to take an antimicrobial to address any pathogenic bacteria, yeast, anything along those lines.
Ben: Now I know that the GI Effects Panel, like if people already go to like Direct Labs and order the GI Effects panel, there’s different ones out there. They go by different numbers, do you have a particular number that you tell people to look for?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, so and since they’ve merged with Genova it’s the 2200, the GI Effects 2200. But you ask for it by, that you, if you want H pylori to be measured you have to do that as an add-on. It used to be just included automatically with the GI Effects Test but now you have to select it as an add-on if you wanna have that measured.
Ben: Okay. Okay. Gotcha. So, so that’s a good way to find out if you have a problem with your digestion if you’re going to test and you weren’t actually looking at stomach discomfort or or constipation or diarrhea. But kind of above and beyond these symptomatic issues one of the things that I mentioned we were gonna talk about of course is what goes on systemically. Especially from a hormonal standpoint when you have poor digestive health. Can you explain which hormones are most impacted when you have poor digestive health?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, so what I tell people is that whether we’re talking about the guts or a systemic issue basically anything that creates uh, inflammation or an inflammatory stressor to the body will activate your adrenal axis, meaning that it’s pretty much viewed by the body as a stressor. So, cortisol your adrenals get stimulated to produce cortisol which is you know, its whole point basically is to calm down that inflammatory stressor. And you know external stressors we can see those you know if I have a cut on my skin or if I’m involved in a trauma like a car accident and we can see the damage from that. But an internal stressor is just as harmful and we kinda feel the downstream effects but we don’t necessarily feel the, you know, the primary issues that are going on. So, the bad – if you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria or you have a malabsorption or a parasite you know you’re certainly gonna have constant strain on your adrenals and so basically you know conceptually you can think of it as if all my energy or a large percentage of my energy is going towards fighting that pathogen then I’m gonna have less energy to do things like workout or you know go for a walk or read a book. So, cortisol is one of the primary hormones but long term those low levels of inflammation that are created by something that we’ll talk about more later but the lipopolysaccharides, they’re part of a cell wall some of the gram-negative bacteria that can live in the colon. Those nodules they create lots of inflammation. They can dull thyroid hormone receptor sites so that can lead to downstream effects of you know feeling cold all the time, weight gain or difficulty losing weight. It can also contribute to insulin resistance, so when you started out with a gut issue here it’s led to downstream inflammatory stress that resulted in high cortisol eventually probably low cortisol and some impaired thyroid hormone metabolism too.
Ben: Interesting, so in terms of the cortisol picture, how much cortisol is too much? Because a lot of people are going to produce cortisol when they exercise or and obviously when you wake up in the morning you get even high amounts of cortisol produced. Like when you say high cortisol, what are you referring to exactly?
Dr. Tim: Well you know I look at it within the range that is given within like an adrenal stress index. Obviously you know it’s kind of like the Goldilocks phenomenon, too little has negative effects and too much have will have a negative impact as well. So, you know it’s very common I’m sure you’ve seen this and talked about this but you know at one point during the day you may have very low cortisol but at another point you know 4 hours later or 8 hours later you may have the opposite situation. So I think the goal being, you know, short term, to supplying adaptogens or hormone replacement to get you through some of the symptoms and the long term goal being to address those very stressors the body is under with gut pathogens, parasites, candida falling under that category.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So when you’re looking at something like a let say someone’s done a blood panel for cortisol which I know isn’t ideal but there are a lot of people out there doing like wellness fx panels or blood tests that are giving like a one offer cortisol. And for example I’ve done that having trained for Ironman Triathlon or been in a state of heavy training and I’ve seen cortisol values you know up in the upper teens kinda like lower twenties for blood cortisol in the morning. Are those numbers that would be red flags? Do you think or do you have a certain number that you look for if you’re looking at like a one off blood test?
Dr. Tim: If you’re going off on a one off blood test, uh yeah, I think you know when you start getting in to the low, definitely the in the mids, twenties, you know you wanna find out obviously what stressor is causing that and you mentioned you know X shot and triathlon training and things like that I think that gets into you know where the dose determines the effectiveness. A lot of people when they’re going through a stressful period they’ll try and work out more but exercise is just another stressor to the body so that the dose and the timing and the amount is so important to those things. So you know if you have if you’re doing a one-time blood test whether it’s in the morning or early afternoon definitely if it’s high or you know it’s in the mid-twenties using things like ______ [00:51:33], glycine, etcetera. Usher down that’s gonna lower cortisol you know the good good strategy in the meantime while you’re figuring out what stressors are leading to that abnormal result.
Ben: Yeah, and in my case adaptogenic herbs helped out a ton. Like I started taking this stuff called TianChi and then also a big big component for me was not hopping out of bed early in the morning but instead laying there in bed for a good five to ten minutes doing journaling, and then doing deep breathing, and also taking my heart rate variability measurements. I probably could’ve still gotten decent results by just laying there and being really relaxed, relaxed my mind, closing my eyes, calming my thoughts before I got out of bed but I’m kind of a nerd so I wanted to throw in the quantification as well and also do some of the journaling but for me that was huge, that I think that made just as big a difference as doing something like taking adaptogenic herbs.
Dr. Tim: Sure.
Ben: So, high cortisol levels and high stress levels are going to damage the gut and it sounds like vice versa like a damaged gut can also raise cortisol levels. But how do low hormone levels negatively affect the gut or vice versa?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, so as far as the high cortisol you know that definitely puts you in a more catabolic state where you’re breaking down tissue and the gut has a high rate of turnover in the colomicides. So you’re more likely to have a breached gut barrier where you know you’re mounting an immune response to common foods that you eat, more frequently than others and you’re also gonna have, probably a greater chance of dysbiosis just because I think the simple word to explain it is that some of the pathogenic bacteria that that in low numbers they are helpful they have receptors for some of the fight or flight neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and so in that HPA or adrenal access is constantly going you’re kinda telling those bad bacteria to grow grow grow; and so that is one way in which cortisol negatively impacts the gut. Thyroid health, obviously that affects your every tissue in the body the gut being no exception and if your thyroid is not working optimally, your mitochondria, your batteries of your cells won’t work as well as they should. You won’t recuperate from injury or any sort of inflammatory stress on the body very well and that goes for the gut too.
Ben: Really there’s a link between thyroid and injury healing?
Dr. Tim: Yeah. So every cell and if I remember correctly every cell in the body has a receptor for two things both Vitamin D and Thyroid. So if you think about it, your knee it’s kinda like one of those bidirectional relationships where they influence one another. So the thyroid will influence the mitochondria, the mitochondria influence the thyroid but yeah it absolutely affects the, you know that anabolic catabolic state and how well you can repair tissue.
Ben: Interesting. Okay so what else is are we looking at from like a low hormone perspective?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, definitely when you have that imbalanced cortisol to DHEA ratio, you know optimal being around five to one, six to one.
So with hormones and with other biomarkers in the body it may not always be about the absolute number. It may be equally about the ratio of various hormones. So there are 24 hour urine hormone panels out there where you can see in an entire day’s time how much are the amount of various hormones that you’re producing.
Ben: Are those something that you have to get through a…
Dr. Tim: And you have to kind of prodding scale of the more anabolic…
Ben: Do you have to get those through a doctor? Those 24 hour urine panels or do you, do you get it through self-management?
Dr. Tim: Oh, you can get those through Direct Labs now, I believe. There are certain Genova is an appealing one. There’s another one Dr. Jonathan Wright’s lab, Meridian Valley that’s in Washington State.
Ben: Okay, and that’s a 24-hour hormone panel? 24-hour urine hormone panel?
Dr. Tim: Exactly. Exactly.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. I’m by the way, for those who are listening in, I am madly taking notes and putting them up on the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/274 for those of you who aren’t writing this stuff down. Okay, so that’s what we can look at the hormones. What about testosterone? What’s the link between testosterone and the gut?
Dr. Tim: Yeah. so there’s not a lot of studies but a couple of studies that have shown you know those with higher testosterone levels or administering testosterone was actually shown to benefit and improve the ratio of good to “bad bacteria” in the gut. And you know the researchers for this is purely theoretical at this point say that that’s probably one of the reasons why women are more predisposed to “autoimmune disorders” is because you know there’s such a strong gut component with that and women obviously are gonna have lower testosterone levels which negatively impacts the gut flora. I think if I remember correctly 74 percent of people with autoimmune disorders have an infection of klebsiella. So you know various correlational studies between…
Ben: An infection of the what?
Dr. Tim: Klebsiella, it’s just a harmful bacteria.
Dr. Tim: And correlational studies have just found that people with RA, you know have a strong or have a high level of that particular bad bacteria. So testosterone influences the bacteria in a positive way helping to balance those out.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Are there any other hormones that are affected by a, by gut damage?
Dr. Tim: Yes. So basically conceptually, everyone who’s listening can kinda think of it this way that if you have a malabsorption or poor absorption of macronutrients or micronutrients that basically you know there’s a direct connection via the portal vein from the GI tract to the liver. So if you have imbalanced gut flora, you’re not absorbing food correctly, not low stomach acid things of that nature you will negatively impact the liver’s phase one and phase two detox pathways. So basically, you know that sends a larger workload to the liver and you know there are already that kind of, the liver’s working around the clock to detoxify both outside and inside toxins and specifically they found that those lipopolysaccharides from the gram-negative bacteria they inhibit that phase one detox. You know that you have that good chart in the article on your site and you know that phase one takes things that are fat soluble and phase two makes them water soluble. What happens is that you develop problems when there’s an imbalance between phase one and phase two because those molecules are just sitting around and they’re highly reactive. So, some of those lipopolysaccharides and other bacterial anti-toxins can negatively impact the liver. Slow those detox phases down and that officially will negatively impact the thyroid. The statistic, you know, that’s kind of accepted as around 16 percent of your T4 to T3 is converted in the liver so if you have a sluggish liver it can lead downstream to thyroid issues and also estrogen dominance. So, the way that works and the mechanism for that is that the enzyme beta- glucuronidase typically gets produced in higher quantities when you have a dysbiosis or a bacterial floral problem. And so, if you have a higher estrogen or estrogen dominance in men or women that leads to elevated thyroid thyroglobulin and more thyroid issues.
So you can see it’s just kind of a vicious cycle where the liver slowed down thyroid is negatively impacted, estrogen increases and then thyroid is infected again.
Ben: So how exactly can people go about taking care of their liver in terms of the cleaning it up so to speak? If it’s been damaged or if gut damage has resulted in a liver that needs cleaning?
Dr. Tim: Yeah so, now there’s a great list of food you have in the article but outside of that…
Ben: And you’re, when you say the article you’re referring to that article you wrote a few weeks ago over on the site.
Dr. Tim: Yeah exactly.
Ben: Got it. And I’ve got that linked for folks who wanna go check it out over in the show notes. So what else, are there like, because you hear people talk about everything from L-Glutathione to N acetylcysteine to Calcium, Calcium Glucarate. What do you recommend as far as cleaning up the liver?
Dr. Tim: Yes, so the first thing would be you know fixing the gut obviously because that’s gonna indirectly impact the liver but outside of that from a more practical standpoint, you know having some of those genetic polymorphisms that you mentioned earlier, having those tested to see, you know if you have the MTHFR where you don’t, you know, methylate very well. And that negatively impacts or slows down your phase two detox in the liver. You mentioned glutathione, you can have polymorphisms in that pathway where you’re not producing as much glutathione as you should and glutathione is needed for many many different reasons but the liver detoxification is a big one.
Ben: Got it. So walk me through this this link between genetic testing, discovering polymorphisms and healing the gut. Like if someone wanted to practically kinda go through a process like this, how would they do it like would it be a 23andme genetic type of test or is there something else?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, the 23andme is the most economical and you’re looking to get what’s called the raw data from 23andme so the results when you first get them you know aren’t gonna mean very much to anyone its and RS and then a number, but you can use one of the various programs out there like MTHFR Support, Genetic Genie, and what that does is that it translates data into a usable form.
Dr. Tim: And it’ll generate a PDF or a report. The one from MTHFR Support is the most comprehensive, it gives you about 18, 19 pages worth of polymorphisms, so…
Ben: Are those, are those free or are those cost-based websites? Once you’ve aid for your 23andme what’s it cost to import the data into these other sites?
Dr. Tim: For MTHFR Support it’s 20 dollars and that’s the most comprehensive report.
Ben: That’s right.
Dr. Tim: Genetic Genie I believe they ask for a 5 or 10 dollar donation.
Dr. Tim: And the other ones I think it’s along the same lines, somewhere around 10 dollars.
Ben: Okay, that’s not too bad.
Dr. Tim: Right. So the 23andme task, 99 dollars one time test takes about five weeks maybe six to get your raw data back and then you can use one of these programs that will give you some more practical information like do you have one copy or two copies of these polymorphisms. Where that comes into play is that you know when I say methylation, it’s a series of about a hundred or more reactions could have happened in the body that’s responsible from everything from producing some of your neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin to producing glutathione which we talked about earlier and also synthesizing or helping balance your immune cells like your helper T-Cells and your suppressor T-Cells. So that methylation pathway, there’s many cofactors involved but the two major players are methyl folate and B12. And so, you know if you have the 23andme and you find out that you have one or two copies of one of the MTHFR snips or polymorphisms, you know you would want to supplement or make sure that the supplements you’re taking have L5 methyl folate which is the active form.
Ben: L5 methyl folate?
Dr. Tim: Yes, L5 MTHF.
Ben: Okay, so you would get tested. You’d find out whether or not you actually have this deficiency in being able to convert folate and then if you do, you’d want to take an L5 methyl folate type of supplement.
Dr. Tim: Right, exactly. And so that’s where you know now most of the supplement companies especially the professional ones out there now are including the L5 methyl folate versus folic acid because the whole point of MTHFR is that you that in time is not working at the rate that it should be.
So if you have one copy the percentage is at 30% decrease in function, if you have two it’s about 70 but you would not be able to process folic acid very well.
Ben: Now would that also manifest if you were to get a blood test like low blood folic levels or anemic-like symptoms or things of that nature?
Dr. Tim: Uh, it can. Usually the folate or blood folate levels will actually be high kind of like B12.
Dr. Tim: Usually that’s what, it’s a high in the blood as a general rule that it’s gonna be low in the cell. But you also have to look at our reference ranges compared to somewhere like Japan, you know, everyone here every test I see pretty much has high B12 and I think a lot of that has to do with our kind of ridiculous reference ranges. In other times it might have to do with it’s not getting transported into the cell like it should be which could involve a cofactor or a mineral something to that nature.
Ben: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay.
Dr. Tim: So the 23andme test once you find that out, find out that information it can help guide some of your supplement decisions and you know you can be proactive in terms of in preventing future problems because one thing we know is that as you levels of glutathione decline, your risk for every disorder out there increases.
Ben: Uh huh, Okay. Gotcha. Now this is something that you do, that you’ll actually, because this is obviously for a lot of people a little bit intimidating to go through this process. One of the things that you do, you said that you were involved with the MTHFRsupport.com website, do you actually do consultations where if someone does their genetic testing and imports that data, will you get on the phone with them and walk them through it?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, so you know what I tell people is that you know all these polymorphisms you know can be imported but at the end of the day they’ve all been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. What’s most important is that you have a healthy lifestyle behaviors to feed the correct information to those genes so if you’re staying up all night, eating fast food everyday all those harmful genes are probably gonna be much more likely to express themselves. But you know I’d try not to get into minutiae with all the polymorphisms but try to address the major ones like related to MTHFR and glutathione. And, yeah we go through major ones and kind of like put it into context and you know how it’s fitting in to their individual health picture.
Ben: Why would somebody have a polymorphism like this? Like what’s the evolutionary advantage to having like a like a double copy that would affect you’re your methylation?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, so if you look at one and you probably have heard of this one APOE is one that is connected to detoxification and there’s four types so if you have the APOE4, they’ve shown that you are more likely to have a higher IQ, a greater level of intelligence but you also had an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. So there seems to be, there are some trade-offs at some point. I think where these, a lot of these things get triggered especially in regards to MTHFR is once they started fortifying foods with folic acid, you start seeing these higher blood folate levels and that’s been correlated to your risk for different types of cancers.
Ben: Uh, interesting. So what about this this methylation issue, why would someone actually have an issue with methylation? Is it because we are living in a different environment than we used to or would there have been some kind type of an ancestral advantage to having methylation issues?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, I don’t know a ton about ancestral advantage. As far as why they get triggered, any sort of stressor it could be in one person a car accident. It could be a traumatic birth to someone else or it could be a reaction to a very potent medication they were maybe put on for a short period of time. So, any of those types of stressors in the body, heavy metals especially mercury can really block or inhibit methylation along with inflammation. So there is an inverse relationship between inflammation and methylation as your inflammation levels increase your methylation pathways continuously slow down so, technically you can even show up as having no copies of MTHFR but if you have enough heavy metals and enough inflammatory stress your biochemistry may behave is if you did have one.
Ben: Interesting. Got it. Okay, cool. So let’s talk about some of the most important action steps that you think people can take to optimize digestion in terms of things that you’ve really found to work very very well. What are some things people can do right off the bat to ensure that they just have a superhuman gut.
Dr. Tim: Yeah, I mean I think one of the most basic things is managing stress, just because of the cortisol connection to causing both a leaky gut or a breached gut barrier but also leading to a catabolic state where you can’t repair the GI Tract and also contributing to the dysbiosis level there. And what people have to remember is that when you’re under that fight of flight response all your parasympathetic activities slow down. So your digest absorb assimilate feel any reactions related to that are decreased and that includes producing stomach acid. So a lot of times I hear people kind of you know exchanging stomach acid for enzymes and enzymes for bile but you know that they’re really three separate entities. And the top of the cascade beginning in the stomach should be very acidic, pH one to two, so meditation, journaling as you mentioned, getting to bed on time those can all possibly impact how well your body produces stomach acid. The second thing would be to make sure that you know if you’re over the age I would say of 30, definitely over 35, you will probably need to supplement with something like Betaine Hydrochloride which you know is essentially replacement stomach acid and I tell people that you know if you’re taking all these…
Ben: Really, at 35 years old?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, and I think a lot of it has to do with some mineral deficiencies so zinc and iodine. If you’re deficient in those balancing those out may help you produce more of your own stomach acid but heavy metals especially mercury and or a low thyroid function definitely slows down your body’s own production and so any sort of stressors whether it’s internal or external contribute to that HPA access dysfunction and may require that you supplement with something like either Swedish Bitters or which I don’t use much but Betaine Hydrochloride because you really wanna correct the environment.
Ben: But would you know, wouldn’t you be getting like heartburn and stuff like that?
Dr. Tim: Sometimes not always. So you know, I’m sure your list – most of your listeners know it’s more common to have low stomach acid versus high and it’s really about the amount, it’s kind of like real estate: location, location, location. And so the lower esophageal sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus if there’s a lot of pressure in the GI tract from floral imbalance that can lead to that sphincter relaxing and acid moves up into your esophagus and then you would get – heartburn, indigestion, things like that but sometimes it may show up as fatigue, you may not notice any benefits form the supplements that you’re taking or the dietary changes that you’ve made, it could be you know that you show up you do a vitamin or mineral profile and you have every deficiency known to man that’s kind of like a red flag that something else is going on and that you need to fix something you know upstream of what’s showing up at the test.
Ben: Uh huh, got it. Interesting.
Dr. Tim: And so, you know balancing stomach acid for me is the primary thing because if that’s off it kinda creates an environment’s positive or a healthy living environment for the microbes but not for you. And so you can go in with antibiotics or herbs and kill off whatever bugs you find but if you don’t correct the terrain and the environment there is a good chance that they’ll return.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. So, betaine hydrochloride, stress management, anything else for optimizing stomach function?
Ben: Do you generally recommend folks get through food like consumption of sea vegetables and things of that nature or do you have specific dietary supplements that you recommend?
Dr. Tim: For zinc, I usually tell most people to make sure that they’re getting at least 15 to 20 milligrams a day of you know zinc glucolonate or chillated zinc. If there’s someone who does eat a lot of seafood then I tell them that they probably don’t need iodine they can get it from their foods, but I’m kind of in the middle you know the dosages on iodine out there are either really low or really high and I’ll kinda fall right in the middle.
Ben: Yeah, what I do is I eat a lot of seaweed, nori, kelp or stuff like that when I’m travelling, I use a little dropper full of this stuff called Nascent Iodine and I simply take about six drops of that on days that I’m not able to eat seaweed derivatives which is typically when I’m travelling like when I’m in airports or airplanes and stuff like that. Though I try to get it from natural food sources when I can and then when I’m not able to I’ll use the Iodine supplement kinda the same thing with food like I try to eat shellfish and seafood whenever possible to get some of that zinc, you know especially from, you know we talked with Dr. Jack Kruse a few weeks ago in this podcast about going out of your way to eat oysters and things like that but in the absence of those, yeah, any type of multivitamin or supplement that has about that 15 to 20 milligrams of zinc in it could be helpful for sure.
Dr. Tim: Right. Right.
Ben: So what about probiotics, when it comes to taking a probiotic do you recommend that folks take a daily probiotic or what’s your take on restoring good bacteria or addressing bacteria in the stomach?
Dr. Tim: I’m not a big fan, uh, at least for the long term meaning more than say eight or nine weeks supplementing with probiotics. Certainly it’s common to have low or imbalanced flora out there but I also see a fair number of people out there who on their Metametrix test they have very good levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidal bacteria. So, what people tend to forget is that you can take, let’s take a product like Culturelle that has Lactobacillius Ephedophlus, well too much of that you can crowd out the other good probiotics in your digestive tract as well and you end up creating large amounts of delactate which can create brain fog, impair your mitochondria the battery of your cells, so as far as taking a daily probiotic, you know, if you’ve been on an antibiotic it’s probably a good idea but I don’t recommend doing it for more than say eight to nine weeks without testing and kinda seeing where your levels are. There is a probiotic out there called Prescript Assist which has some of the lesser well-known bacterial species outside of the Bifidal bacteria and Lactobacillus. You know a lot of people have had good success with that supplement.
Ben: Does that include stuff like the s. boulardii in it?
Dr. Tim: That one I don’t think it has any s. boulardii. But the same thing it kinda goes back to what you mentioned with your kids is that someone who has had high cortisol for a while or we know there’s a good chance that they have a leaky gut, then you would want to try and repair that barrier prior to supplementing because you know you can have cytokine storm where you kinda get the signs and symptoms like if you have a low level flu.
Ben: Uh, gotcha. So do you think when it comes to probiotic supplementation that, lemme ask you this because this is what I tell a lot of my clients. I tell them to eat fermented foods like Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kaffir Yogurt, and things of that nature and when they’re travelling and in the absence of fermented foods which happens a lot again when you’re travelling you know some of the like mineral deficient foods to travel with a probiotic supplement and to use something like that when they’re travelling.
Dr. Tim: Right. Yeah, so I tell people to definitely try and do that and I think you know it goes back again to repairing that barrier so even if you’re taking a probiotic supplement or eating a lot of the fermented food some people will react negatively to those and it gets into that person’s immune status and lymphatic or lymphoid tissue that contains the immune cells in the guts. But the bacterial whether it’s from a supplement or from fermented foods their behavior can be modified in the presence of a lower or a higher pH. So that’s where, you know, optimizing stomach acid levels is really important.
Ben: Gotcha. Now what about small intestine bacterial overgrowth? Where does that fit in to all of this?
Dr. Tim: Yes, so when you have impaired stomach acid levels or low levels of the stomach acid and or constipation, what happens is that you know most of the bacteria when we talk about good and bad bacteria should be in the large intestines or colon, while they can sometimes go on a little field trip up to the small intestines where they hang out, they impair micronutrient and macronutrient absorption, they can produce a gas called hydrogen sulfide that impairs your energy production and your mitochondria, creates brain fog and fatigue.
So SIBO you know it’s pretty much impossible to have SIBO if you have good levels of stomach acid. So, there are antibiotics, some herbs that can be helpful for it but you always wanna make sure that you’re restoring the digestive sequencing starting with the stomach acid.
Ben: Do you give your patients or the folks that you work with like a bacterial overgrowth test like a breath test?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, so with that even with the breath test, and this is about 25 percent of people out there. So you know obviously it picks up on 75 percent but a kind of a diagnosis or a _____ [01:20:48] of exclusion where you know you tested and corrected all the other markers in terms of stomach acid, bad bacteria in the large intestines, and you’re still having fatigue and you’ve ruled all these other things out. Some of the antibacterial herbs things like ______[01:21 06] and coconut oil, can be helpful to kind of eradicate the SIBO and prevent it from coming back.
Ben: Why would bacteria actually move from your large intestine to your small intestine?
Dr. Tim: I think it has to do that they’re smart little critters even though we don’t give them much credit and so they’re looking out for themselves in terms of trying to get the most from the nutrients out there that you’re ingesting. So it has a better chance of doing that if it can move up to the small intestines and impact the breakdown of fats, protein, and carbohydrates directly.
Ben: I’ve had some patients or some clients test positive for SIBO the bacterial overgrowth breath test from Direct Labs and one of the things that has responded really well to that I find is oddly enough enteric coated peppermint oil, have you used peppermint oil much or had experience with it?
Dr. Tim: I have, I’ve read good things about it and I’ve heard some really positive reports but you found that to be pretty helpful?
Ben: Yeah, I have quite a bit. And I actually had SIBO at one time and went through like a peppermint extract treatment for about 90 days and it works really well. So…
Dr. Tim: Oh cool. I’ll have to try that.
Ben: That along with oil of oregano which I find…
Dr. Tim: Right. Yes, that’s a bit potent…
Ben: To be helpful for a lot of digestive issues. So it’s good stuff. The show notes are getting along as far as all the resources I’m putting together for folks here. Okay, so another thing I want to ask you about, I know we’re coming up on time here pretty soon, but I wanted to ask you about biofilm because I’ve heard you talk about biofilm before. What exactly is biofilm and how does that affect optimal digestion?
Dr. Tim: So biofilm, we have it all over systemically in our mouth the plaque on our teeth is composed of biofilm and it’s basically where microbes especially bacteria they kinda create a shield around themselves to protect them from the immune attack, and so they are more likely to survive and live another day if they live under the shield of a biofilm. Sometimes, you’ll have other microbes in there as well and sometimes they’ll come and sequester heavy metals like mercury, lead, and other tox metal like aluminum but if you don’t address biofilm, let’s say you show up positive for you know klebsiella or pseudomonas and you take whatever herbs or antibiotics you’re much less likely to eradicate it if you don’t address the biofilm. In addressing the biofilm there’s a few products out there one called InterFase from Klaire Labs and there’s some systemic enzymes like Nattokinaise that can also help to kinda break up the biofilms and it allows whatever herbs or medication that you’re using better access to those microbes so that you stand a better chance of eradicating them.
Ben: So back that up just a second, how would you actually know if you have a biofilm?
Dr. Tim: There is, to my knowledge, no really accurate tests out there if you show up positive like on a Metametrix or CDSA for whatever microbes, it’s probably a good idea to just address it.
Dr. Tim: Because the bacteria they’re gonna do whatever they can do to survive. You know whether it’s moving up to the small intestines to get more nutrients and they’re smart that they exchange genes so they have like a gene transfer between themselves and other bacteria that makes them more potent and that takes place inside the biofilm.
Ben: Okay. In the actual supplements that you recommended for biofilm what were they again?
Dr. Tim: It’s InterFase plus from Klaire Labs, you should take that one on an empty stomach.
And systemically addressing those biofilms things like Nattokinaise or Seropeptase, those can help to break up some of the systemic biofilms.
Ben: Okay, gotcha taking a few more notes down for people here. So InterFase plus or Nattokinase. Okay, got it.
Dr. Tim: Yes, those are both very helpful.
Ben: Okay, now I know that you are one of the featured presenters at Dr. Jack Kruse’s Optimal Reset Program, I’ve talked about that before in this podcast you can go check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/optimal. I’m also presenting there on Bio-hacking Human Performance and that’s gonna be like a really really good like online conference that you can go to but like I mentioned for those of you who want Tim to walk you through everything from your 23andme.com genetic testing results to gut issues, he is available as an online consultant and as I promised we do have a discount to give you on this podcast. So what you need to do is you can either go to healyourbody.org which is Tim’s website and simply let Tim know that you discovered him through this podcast or you can pretty much order anything over there and use code “ben” and you’ll get a 100 dollar discount on any consultation or service from Dr. Tim. So hopefully that helps you out a little bit, as far as being able to interpret some of these things ‘cause I know that this this especially when it comes to the methylation and the genetic interpretation it can get pretty confusing and Tim is one of the experts in this stuff and I actually, I’ve talked to Dr. Jack Kruse a little bit about this and he always recommends Tim as like the guy to go to when it comes to getting your genetic testing results interpreted. So, highly recommend Tim. Again his website is healyourbody.org and you get a 100 dollar discount on any consultation or service from him when you mention this podcast or you use code “ben”. Tim anything else that you wanted to cover in today’s podcast, as if you hadn’t given us enough to think about?
Dr. Tim: Yeah, I think we hit a little bit of everything, the epigenetic components. One thing that I didn’t mention is if you know you have a leaky gut barrier now glutathione is important for a lot of reasons, but it can definitely affect your ability to heal that gut barrier. So, just another reason to get your glutathione levels up.
Ben: Do you mean that if you use a glutathione supplement it can inhibit healing or do you mean that it can help?
Dr. Tim: It can help. So if you need glutathione, to control the redox status notching the stress, so that’s just one more thing that can help with the healing.
Ben: Also, very very useful for hangovers.
Dr. Tim: Yup.
Ben: Alright, well cool. A ton of show notes here so again folks go around to bengreenfieldfitness.com/274. I’ve pretty much been writing furiously the whole time Dr. Tim was talking so, a lot of really good notes for you over there in the resources section and then Tim’s website is healyourbody.org and if you mention this podcast he’ll give you a discount on consults with him. So Tim, thank you so much for joining us on the call today.
Dr. Tim: Absolutely, thank you for having me. I really enjoyed it.
Ben: Alright folks so this is Ben Greenfield and Dr. Tim Jackson signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
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