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Episode 176
The Doctor's Farmacy

How The Most Important Superfood You’ve Never Heard About Will Rejuvenate Your Immune System

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

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It seems like everywhere we look these days, there’s chronic disease. Our bodies are extremely intelligent, so why are they acting so dumb and having so many dysfunctions?

Using the lens of Functional Medicine, we can see that a disease is so much more than its location. With inflammation smoldering throughout the body in many people, we need to zero in on the immune system, how it’s functioning, and what factors are negatively impacting it. We’re in an exciting time for research in this area, as we continue to learn how to fix the problems behind an aging immune system.

There’s no better person to talk to about this topic than the one and only Dr. Jeff Bland. Dr. Bland and I take a deep dive into how the immune system works and why we don’t want to “boost” it, but actually modulate it. He explains the importance of bone marrow and stem cell production and how when our environment damages this process (through things like toxins, poor diet, lack of sleep, etc.) the immune system becomes dysregulated and the door opens for chronic disease.

While the immune system regenerates every two months in a healthy person, senescent cells can carry injuries onto the next generation. This is aging of the immune system, and Dr. Bland and I talk about the science of reversing it. Emerging science in this field means we have the ability to measure our biological immune age from home with a simple blood spot test; Dr. Bland shares which tests he recommends the most.

Like me, Dr. Bland is all about food first. We discuss the incredible world of phytochemicals that science is just starting to crack open, and how these plant compounds are the key for avoiding and reversing chronic disease. Dr. Bland’s research in this field led him to what he considers one of the most immune-active, nutrient-dense foods in the world: Himalayan tartary buckwheat. This super-powered seed has the ability to rejuvenate the immune response, helping immune cells clean up their old and tired mitochondria to revitalize energy production and immune balance.

We also talk about rhythmic eating, how to discover your own immune identity, and other exciting nutritional discoveries, like pro-resolving mediators found in fish oil that appear to regulate inflammatory processes, modulate infection, and influence cellular repair after tissue injury. This episode is full of so much groundbreaking information that will change the way you think about the immune system. I hope you’ll tune in.

Listen Here

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn:

  1. Why diseases don’t exist and inflammation may not be the primary driver of chronic illness
    (0:25 / 11:26)
  2. Our body’s ability to combat (or succumb to) the most common insults to our immune system
    (6:57 / 17:58)
  3. How stem cell damage drives inflammation and can alter our genes
    (14:22 / 25:23)
  4. Supporting the body’s innate ability to renew and rejuvenate its immune system
    (25:49 / 38:29)
  5. Using food as medicine to prevent and reverse chronic illness
    (38:36 / 51:16)
  6. The superfood you’ve probably never heard of: Himalayan tartary buckwheat
    (41:38 / 54:18)
  7. Flavor is connected to the medicine in food
    (52:49 / 1:05:29)
  8. How Himalayan tartary buckwheat rejuvenates your immune system
    (55:43 / 1:08:10)
  9. Actionable steps to maximizing your immune system
    (58:43 / 1:11:10)
  10. The way our food is grown affects our health
    (1:08:09 / 1:20:36)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dr. Jeffrey Bland

Dr. Bland is the founder of Big Bold Health, a company on a mission to transform the way people think about one of nature’s greatest innovations—the immune system. Through Big Bold Health, Jeff is advocating for the power of immuno-rejuvenation to enhance immunity at a global level, often through the rediscovery of ancient food crops and superfoods. To get there, Jeff is building a network of small farms and suppliers throughout the US that take a clear stance on regenerative agriculture, environmental stewardship, and planetary health. Jeff’s career in health spans more than 40 years. A nutritional biochemist by training, he began in academia as a university professor. Jeff then spent three decades in the natural products industry, working alongside other pioneers.

 

Show Notes

  1. Learn more about Big Bold Health
  2. Follow Big Bold Health on Twitter
  3. Follow Big Bold Health on Facebook
  4. Follow Big Bold Health on Instagram

Transcript

Speaker 1:
Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
You can have 40 birthdays, but you can have an immune system that’s like a 7-year-old. Or you could have your 7-year-old and having an immune system like a 40 year old, depending on how much of these collected injuries your immune system is carrying forward.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey everyone it’s Dr. Mark. We’re living in a time unlike anything before and that comes with both pros and cons. We’re able to video chat with people we love all across the globe and many of us can work from home, thanks to computers and the internet. We can walk into a superstore and buy everything we need anytime, day, or night. But all that technology and convenience means we’re constantly exposed to artificial light from sources like LEDs, fluorescents, and digital devices. A certain amount of light exposure is good, and it’s good for us, especially when it’s from the sun. But overexposure from these man-made sources disrupts our bodie’s highly intelligent systems. And that’s because the body is biologically programmed to follow distinct light dark cycles, which help regulate vital hormones, energy, and sleep. But all this exposure to artificial light what my friend, Dave Asprey calls junk light can throw those programs out of balance and completely disrupt your sleep.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That might not sound like a big deal, but it can lead to headaches, weight gain, depression, insulin resistance, and many other health problems. But there is a solution and it doesn’t mean throwing out all your screens and putting them in the trash. The blue light blocking glasses from TrueDark are designed to help you get just the right amount of light at the right times. TrueDark has a day timeline with clear yellow lenses called daylights that allows some blue light to filter through so you can stay awake and focus when you need to. The twilights have red lenses to more thoroughly blockout blue, green, and violet light at night to optimize melatonin production and promote deep restful sleep.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
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Dr. Mark Hyman:
Starting the morning off right has a huge effect on the rest of the day. Personally, I love having a super nutrient dense gut healing smoothie for breakfast so I can feel energized, focused, and balanced all day long. I like to use a ton of green leafy veggies, healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds, a handful of antioxidant rich berries, and then some good gut foods like pre-biotic fibers and collagen peptides.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, you might’ve noticed that collagen has gotten a lot of hype lately, and I know a lot of nutrition trends come and go without the science to back them up. But collagen is one we can all actually get excited about. It’s great for supporting healthy bones, nails, skin, and joints. And as we get older collagen production slows down. So, I love using collagen peptides to support connective tissue and my gut health, but quality is key.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
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Dr. Mark Hyman:
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Dr. Mark Hyman:
Anytime you spend more than $49 you’ll get free carbon neutral shipping. Just head over to thrivemarket.com/hyman to use the offer. That’s thrivemarket.com/hyman. And now let’s get back to this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman. That’s farmacy with an “F” a place for conversations that matter. If you care about your health and your immune system, you better listen up because we’re going to have an incredible conversation today with one of the most extraordinary minds in medicine science today, Dr. Jeffrey Bland. Welcome Jeffrey.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Dr. Hyman. Thank you. What a treat. I think there’s lots to talk about on this topic of immunity side so thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I know. Yeah, of course. So, we’re going to start with your bio, which could be read any one of a thousand ways because you had a thousand different careers. And really, as I was saying to you last night we were driving just visiting in the Maui. We were talking about his impact on science and medicine. I said, “I don’t think there’s anybody in modern medicine today that’s had a greater impact on our thinking and the future of healthcare than you, period.” And I don’t say that lightly. I know a lot of people, but I think you have through your unique talents and brain, which synthesizes enormous amounts of data and has done so over 30 years. And every time I see you’re carrying around a big stack of journals like this, I’m like, I don’t even know how you read voluminously and your mind is just connected the dots on stuff that we’re just beginning now to see in traditional medicine that we talked about 30 years ago in functional medicine. Things like inflammation and the microbiome, and mitochondria detoxification.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
These are concepts that now are entering the mainstream of healthcare. And you were talking about things like insulin resistance and inflammation, decades and decades ago. And you’ve had a quite a varied career. For those who don’t know Jeff, he is a nutritional biochemist. He was a student of Linus Pauling. Was a two time Nobel prize winner. And really wrote the first paper that set the stage for functional medicine called orthomolecular psychiatry in science magazine, 1969, which laid out how we use nutrition to change our biochemistry, to optimize our health in this case mental illness. And you’ve just taken that to the next level. And now we’ve trained hundreds of thousands of practitioners around the world. We have a center for functional medicine at Cleveland Clinic. And without you and your vision, none of that would have been possible.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And people would be suffering from all sorts of conditions that have solutions, but were not being applied. And so I’m just so grateful to you as my mentor, my teacher, as a leader in functional medicine, and Jeff lately has been up to some new stuff. He’s just turned 75 years old, the ripe young age of 75. And he has started a new company as if he hadn’t done enough already. It’s called Big Bold Health. And it’s a tremendous company that mission is to transform the way people think about one of nature’s greatest innovations, the immune system. And we all are thinking about the immune system at the time of COVID and particularly the time of chronic disease, where all these diseases are connected to inflammation. So Big Bold Health is a place for Jeff to advocate for the power of immuno rejuvenation. And we’re going to get deep into the conversation of what immuno rejuvenation is and how we enhance immunity at a global level.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we do that through the use of many techniques, but one of them is ancient food crops and super foods that are powerfully immuno rejuvenating. Which is not something we think about very often. Just building a network of farms and regenerative, agricultural operations, which is so exciting. And supplies throughout the United States that really takes a clear stance on regenerative culture, environmental stewardship, and planetary health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we’re connecting the dots between food as medicine and regenerative agriculture and climate health. I mean, all the pieces are coming together. It’s sort of a logical conclusion that I’ve come to over the last years, as well. Has taught in, I don’t know, probably 150 countries have flown 6 million miles and has really been the leading edge of this thinking in functional medicine over 40 years. And he’s been for the last bunch of decades, just continuing this work at the Institute For Functional Medicine, which we are both a part of.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You were the chairman, I was the chairman now we’re both on the board. And we started that in 1991 when you started with your wife, Susan. And it’s really the educational arm of functional medicine. And you also started another company called Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute, where you’re bringing together incredible thinkers from all over the world and talking about the future of healthcare medicine. And my book of yours is my favorite just as many of them is called the Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life. Welcome Jeff to The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Wow. Wow. Wow. So Mark, first of all, obviously, thank you. Thank you. And the years, and actually now decades of friendship that we’ve shared has continued to infuse me with the vision of what the future can be. And I want to acknowledge your contribution to my growth and development through this phase of my life. It’s been huge. And I also want to make sure that I make a special shout out to Dr. Linus Pauling and his wife, Ava Helen. I had the most remarkable transformative couple of years as a sabbatical professor running one of his research labs at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto in 1981 through three. And it was a absolutely an epic shift in my whole belief. I gave up my tenured professorship. I decided with a fairly young family that I was going to do something to dedicate my life to teach doctors how to do nutritional medicine and their practice and apply the principles of orthomolecular medicine that Dr. Pauling was the developer of.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And at the time it seemed like a crazy idea. I had a pretty nice life. I was a well-respected professor. I had a good research group. I had tenure, but then I kind of threw my hat in the ring and said, let’s start over again. And it was the best decision that I’ve ever made. It gave me the opportunity to meet people like you. People that have expanded my belief system, my understanding, my basic concepts as to how people get sick and why some people are so well and have such high vitality. And more and more I started to recognize that health is a system. It’s not a single point. It’s not one therapy. It’s not just one thing we do. It’s relationships. It’s thinking, it’s the environment, it’s our culture, it’s our sense of being felt that we have attribution, that we have love and the feeling of support. Plus, it’s a way we eat. It’s a way we move. All of these things are part of this universal connection to our genes, which gives rise to who we are.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So you and I have been forging ahead through the Institute of Functional Medicine to make systems thinking, become a dominant field and concept in medicine. And I just want to acknowledge you. You have been a central feature in achieving that objective. There’s lots of room and opportunity ahead of us. But literally I wouldn’t even be able to speculate on how many hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from the Mark Hyman contributions. And my small part in getting this thing started, it’s a movement.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, thank you, Jeff. No, we both have sort of influenced each other, I guess, in different ways. You’re talking about the HEIDI of systems. What does that mean? And functional medicine is paradigm shift, big one around our understanding of disease. And that’s the title of your book, the Disease Delusion. And often in my lectures, I say, “Diseases don’t exist.” That they’re basic constructs that have been made up by medicine to describe symptoms among groups of people and label them according to those symptoms or lab tests or their exam. You have rheumatoid arthritis, you have depression, you have diabetes, you have asthma, whatever. And all those terms are helpful. They help us navigate a little bit. They’re just the tip of the iceberg. And below that is really where functional medicine goes to understand the root causes and the similarities between all these diseases.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so that’s what I learned from you, Jeff was that with functional medicine, we have a different set of lenses and a different set of perspectives on interpreting the same information. So when I see a patient with a particular condition, I don’t just see them in that specialty. I go, well, someone might have arthritis, but it might be coming from the microbiome or they might have dementia, but it might be coming from the fact that they ate tuna fish all their life and they have heavy metals, or the fact that they might have a neurological problem. It might be from an absorption issue in their gut. They’re not absorbing certain nutrients.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I basically am able to see the patterns that connect everything together. And all we really come to learn is that there are very few basic physiological systems in the body that are all interconnected, that are all influenced by our lifestyle and by our environment, and by our genes. And the expression of… The interaction of our genes and environment, including an environment, meaning what we eat, or sleep, exercise, rest, all that stuff. That determines what happens in these basic systems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so as a practitioner and functional medicine, what I’m focused on is looking at these different systems and how to analyze them. And there’s just a few. There’s your immune system. We call it defense and repair. Your gut or your microbiome, we call that assimilation. Your energy system, which is how your body makes energy. Your detox system is how you get rid of waste and environmental toxins. Your communication systems, such as hormones and neurotransmitters. Your transport system, circulation of paddocks, and your structural system, everything you’re made of. And all that is influenced by our lifestyle, and environment, and genes. And that is really what we focus on. And so when we start to look at diseases today, we see this tremendous amount of inflammation across the spectrum of diseases in places we really weren’t expecting it. Yes. We know that if you have eczema, it’s a rash it’s inflammation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes. We know that if you have allergies or our immune disease has inflammation. But it turns out that it seems like everything that we’re suffering from today is inflammation. Even things like depression, and autism, and cancer, and diabetes, and heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, and I could go on and on. And so the question is what the heck is going on with our immune system is creating all these chronic illnesses that affect six out of ten of us now, and four to ten have more than one.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What went wrong that led to this explosion of inflammatory diseases. Because it seems like, whether you believe we were created by God or just basically natural selection or whatever you believe somehow our bodies are intelligent. So why are they acting so dumb right now?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So I think you have opened to me what is the focus of the remainder of whatever my professional life is going to be is that question. And I want to take a little bit of a heretical concept here and maybe be a little bit controversial. Because I’ve come to recognize this construct that inflammation underlies all diseases is actually partly wrong. What I would like to say is imbalanced immune systems are behind virtually all of our chronic illnesses that later take away meaningful years that we’re living.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So dysfunctional immune system, as opposed to just inflammation.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Right. Because we have people with allergies, that’s not inflammation. Allergies is actually an underactive immune system that’s imbalanced that is reacting to its lack of what we call a need system proper control. So sometimes what we think is inflammation is the body’s last mechanism to protect itself against injury, because the other stuff that was upstream was not working right. It didn’t have the right balance between the two basic systems of immune, which is the innate, this old ancient system. And then the adaptive, which is the learning system then relates to antibodies.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I see, antibodies, right?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When you get a vaccine that’s why you require antibody. It’s a very specific, I guess, particular invader.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Precisely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Whereas the other kinds of immunity is more of a generalized immune response. It’s not specific.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s exactly right. So for me, rather than just focus on inflammation in and of itself, which is a downstream effect, I like to go upstream and say, “What were the imbalances within that immune system for what we’ve learned in the last 10 or 15 years?” Because the immune system sciences rev is exploding right now. So what are the new things that we’ve learned through this interrogation? And of course it’s been accelerated by [inaudible 00:16:18] COVID two virus because so much is now in the immune front piece in our mind. It’s a little bit for me, like what happened with HIV? I was in San Francisco at the Pauling Institute in the early eighties with HIV/AIDS. And that was a period of time where everybody wanted to study the immune system. And we went through that explosion for 15 years between say 82 and 97 of immune system activity.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Then it kind of got a little bit more classic. We moved over into cancer with immunotherapies, and precision cancer therapy, but now we’re back to re-exploring the virus connection to the immune system and how it is that some people overreact and some people under-react. But we all heard about cytokine storms. What are those about? That’s an overreacting immune system because the first part of the immune system was underreacting. So now we’re starting to reframe our understanding of what I call immuno balance. And immuno balance relates to having a young, vital, or responsive immune system that doesn’t under respond but there’s an over respond. That’s the nature of what we’re learning to do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, so clearly there’s a lot of things that cause your immune system to go awry. And if you just look at the litany of behaviors and exposures that we have in the 21st century, it’s no wonder. A horribly inflammatory diet is number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, probably on the list. And you were the first one that ever to me express this notion of food as medicine. And food as inflammation. As food as instructions, as literally code that programs are biology and relates directly to immune system. We’re going to get deep into that. But the thing that fascinates me is that the immune system is being assaulted by our inflammatory diet, by environmental toxins, by chronic stress, by lack of sleep, by social isolation. I mean, by disconnection, from the natural world. All these things are driving our immune systems to go awry. And they’re degrading our immune systems. And they’re putting them out of balance. And your philosophy and your perspective now is how do we fix that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s the key to successful approaches to chronic disease. If you don’t understand that, then we’re going to keep failing and by renting, putting bandaids or rearranging the vectors and the Titanic, and not really getting to the real cause of these problems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So talk about this idea that happens of immunosenescence. Which is a big word, but essentially it means… Senescence means aging. So it’s the aging of your immune system. Why does that happen. What is actually happening?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes. So-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And by the way, for all those who listening, Jeff might say stuff that’s a little hard to understand. I’m going to stop him and interrupt him. I’m not being rude. I’m just trying to recap. So you all get it.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Got it. So let me go back to first principles real quickly. So let’s talk about what is the immune system in a broad kind of general perspective, because I think everybody uses the term immunity and immune system, but what does that really mean? So there are really three ways that our body, 24/7, 365 communicates with the outside world. And those are the nervous system, the gut microbiome, and the other microbiomes of say the lungs, because we have a microbiome that sits on the mucosal surfaces of our lungs. Every time we breathe that’s getting information. And the third is our immune system. Our immune system is sampling what’s going on in the inside and outside world all the time continuously.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Now we would say, well, but the nervous system does that and also the microbiome, but the one that most rapidly can change and reconstruct itself is the immune system. Now, why do I say that? Because it’s no one that of the cells that we call the immune system cells that flow around in our body they’re being made in real time at a very rapid rate. Every 10 seconds we make a million new white cells, 20 million new platelets and 30 million new red blood cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay, hold on here. You just said that every 10 seconds, your bone marrow stem cells produce a million white blood cells-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes immune cells. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… and millions of platelets, and lots of red blood cells.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So now my question, and this is what set me few years ago onto this journey. I asked myself, well, okay, if that’s happening all the time, silently in our body are those new cells that are being formed. Are they as good as the cells that they’re replacing? Are they worse than the cells that they were replacing or are they better than the cells they were replacing? And once you ask that question, good or better, then you have to say, “What does good and better mean?” And what it means is, is that immune cell that’s being formed that will go out in our body so that every two months we’re replacing our immune system with what it means. Every two months you have a new immune system based upon that turnover. And that’s not when you’re ill. Your immune system is even more activated when you’re ill, and you have an immune reaction.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So let’s say every two months you have a new immune system. What does it mean that it’s as good or worse than it was before? What it means is that the immune cells are carrying either injuries into the next generation, bad memories, things that make them when they make the next generation less active than when you were healthy and young.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, are these mutations or they just?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
You’re jumping ahead. Hold with me just a second. I’m going to come to that, because there are two ways at that might be-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Because stem cells basically are these cells that produce all the baby cells that are actual cells. So they’re like the-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Potential stem cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A grandmother or grandfather cells.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
They’re sitting into bone marrow. I think we need to remember the bone marrow is and bones are more than just skeletons. The bones are there that are generating all of our red and white blood cells continuously throughout our life. And they are patterned by our genes as to how they’re going to do that. But they’re modulating and modified by the environment we’ve been living in.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So we all know that a few of those… Let’s let’s use exposure to radiation. That can produce cancers like leukemia. How does that occur? Because it injures, the radiation injures the bone marrow cells, so that they undergo injury. And then they become a different kind of cell that rapidly proliferates, it forms of leukemia.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So what we say is the integrity of these bone marrow cells throughout the course of living a hundred years, we want to protect them very carefully so that they don’t get injured. And we want to also make their products that they come out of our bone marrow, go into our bloodstream and our, all the cells in the tissues of the body. We want to make them as young as possible. What does everybody say? They say, when I’m young, I could get away with all sorts of things.
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:23:04]

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
What does everybody say? They say, “When I’m young, I could get away with all sorts of things. I could be immortal. It seems like I didn’t get sick. But now when I’m getting older, I’m responding to other things and I’m having allergies and I can’t tolerate this and I get sick easier and I get the flu and cold.” Yes, because that immune system is what you said, becoming senescent.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Becoming aged, because it’s remembering bad experiences you had in your earlier life and it hasn’t gotten rid of them. But now we have learned, there’s a process the body has, to reverse that. It’s always-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Before you get into how we fix it. So what are the kinds of things that screw up your stem cells in your bone marrow? Radiation, environmental toxins, diet?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
… yes, yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Stress?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Let’s talk about Michael Fenech. Michael Fenech, I followed his work. He’s a good colleague and friend at CSIRO, the Scientific Research Organization in Australia. He worked in Adelaide at a big lab there. He’s been studying the impact of nutrients on hemopoietic stem cells for 35 years, published hundreds of papers. And he has found, that if you get a diet that’s in balance with regard to certain micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and other factors, that it will increase then, the formation of these polynucleated cells, they’re funny immune cells. Right?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And you can actually see them in the microscope with specific staining and he’s actually developed a lab test that can do that. And what he actually found is, that aging of the individual and their-inflammatory conditions that they experience later in life, are related to the number of these damaged cells that are associated with undernutrition for that individual. So, not just poor folic and vitamin B12, but zinc and chromium and magnesium and vitamin B1-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
… and vitamin B2, all these things play a role in modulating the integrity of those cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Amazing. So, we’re going to get into what happens when these stem cells start producing funky offspring and the implications for our health. But for those listening, I want you to understand that we are going to go deep into this topic. And we’re going to talk about not only how we can reverse our immune age, but specifically, what to eat and what to do to fix it. So stay with us for the podcast, because I want you to get to the end of this because we’ve got some real wonderful take-home things that can drive this in the right direction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, let’s go back to this story then, where we’ve got all these insults we’ve created to our bone marrow, through the course of living in this modern world with poor diet, environmental toxins, radiation, you name it, who knows what’s affecting, glyphosate, this and that. And so then all of a sudden, your stem cells start producing these funky little offspring. What are they called? What happens to them and what do they do once they get in your bloodstream?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah. So, there’s two ways. You already started me down this road, so now I’ll come back and rejoin the road. And there are two ways that our processes by which these stem cells can carry forward bad messages. One, you already mentioned the word, mutation. That’s an actual injury to the nuclear material, the DNA, that’s in an immune cell, that changes the way that it is going to tell its message. So that would be a mutational injury. And we carry those mutational injuries in ways and actually again, can be analyzed in the laboratory. It leads to a very long-winded word and I promise you, I’m only going to use it once. It’s called clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential, so that’s abbreviated, C-H-I-P. So these CHIPs-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’ll just call them CHIP cells.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
… yeah. These CHIPs are debris that form within cells, that then have a different personality. And the personality, where these injuries occurred in the genes of these immune cells, happens to be in regulation of areas that are associated with inflammation. Particularly, a gene called, 10;11 translocates, and another gene that’s related to epigenetic modulation of gene expression and that’s a lot of words.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What you just said, epigenetic modulation of gene expression, that means, that when your genes are getting read by your body, we can tag those genes in different spots to turn on or off messages, that regulate health and disease. So it’s a whole new field of understanding, of how not just our genes can be altered, but these posts, gene products, can be modified and actually cause them to be damaged in a way that leads to really bad outcomes for our health.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Or good outcomes. Right?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And that they’re passed on in ways that we didn’t really understand. That if your grandmother was exposed to a toxin, that that toxin can injure the cells in a way that creates an epigenetic mark on those genes and then leads to changes in the grandchildren, that have a profound impact on their health.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right. So now, you turned on my whole limbic system because this to me, has been such a discovery path for me. And I hope I can share this in a way that makes sense to those that haven’t spent the hours that I spent getting into this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Mark. I think this past year has gotten us all thinking about immunity unlike ever before. But COVID aside, I regularly see so many patients who struggle with recurrent infections. Now, one of the most common infections is urinary tract infections and these are actually the second most common infection in the United States, especially in women and they result in 10 million visits to the doctor each year. Not only that, but the number of antibiotic-resistant UTIs has doubled in the last 10 years.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, I was really intrigued to hear about a line of products my team discovered called, Uqora. They make UTI relief products with non-cranberry urinary tract health supplements, and well-researched ingredients like de mannose, vitamin C, and probiotics. Now, two of my team members have been using Uqora themselves and have been completely blown away with the results. Uqora also has over 10,000 unfiltered reviews. If you have a UTI, Uqora has a UTI emergency kit with an at-home UTI test strip and pain relief.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Uqora also makes several products for proactive urinary tract health that you can get in one comprehensive package in their complete system. This contains their no sugar added target drink mix to flush and cleanse the urinary tract. Their controls supplement to eliminate biofilm and they promote probiotics to rebalance the vaginal microbiome, which is a crucial component of urinary tract health. If you’re looking for a new effective way to tackle UTIs, I highly recommend checking out Uqora. Right now, they’re offering doctors, pharmacies, listeners, 20% off, when you go to uqora.com/doctor. That’s, U-Q-O-R-A, that’s U-Q-O-R-A.com/doctor. Now let’s get back to this week’s episode of The Doctors Pharmacy.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
I read a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine several years ago, by one of the principal investigators at Harvard Mass General Medical School and Hospital, G. S. Wall is his name. And this was a paper of his group’s report that they had been looking at patients that have blood-borne cancers like leukemias, that they suffer from a precursor to that disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Now, what does that mean, MDLs? It’s a syndrome where the blood cells actually start to change their shape because they’ve undergone injury, these mutational injuries. And it was thought that myelodysplastic syndrome was only a precursor of blood cancers. But his work then found, that when they started to study this in more detail, way before this person would ever get a blood cancer, that those injuries were also associated with incidents of cardiovascular disease. When I read this paper, I thought, “Oh, my word. This is an epic new discovery.” Because what this says, is that it’s a route to many different chronic diseases, not just to cancer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So these CHIP cells that you’re talking about-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… we thought, were just maybe causing cancer but you said, that they’re now maybe, causing heart disease and all kinds of other diseases.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And so I asked Dr. G, as well, to come and speak to our group, the Personalized Lifestyle Medical Group. And I knew it was going to be a very high-level research presentation and a lot of the docs in our group might not get it. But what has happened now, as I follow Dr. G, as well as many others, that are now getting into this field, to recognize exactly what I had predicted would occur, or I forecasted what might occur. That the more they looked at this, the more that they would find these CHIPs were associated with many other diseases, diabetes, hormonal problems in post-menopausal women, which has just been reported, dementia.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Auto-immune disease.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes. Thank you. Auto-immune disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Diabetes.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And so now we’re saying, “Well, hold on just a minute, this is a fundamental process that precedes, way early, where a person’s going to end up 10 years later, when they start getting these increased injuries to their immune system.” By the way, this process falls under the term, training the immune system, you can train the immune system to be better, or it can be trained, the immune system to be worse. Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. So, let’s just take it back a little. So the bone marrow stem cells get injured?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Produces these CHIP cells-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… otherwise known as zombie cells?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, Jeff, zombie cells are a little different. They’re closely related, they’re also a mutation, but that’s a slightly different story.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
They relate to one another.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So they’re connected? And then they go into the bloodstream?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A million every 10 seconds?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they start creating this havoc of a dysregulated immune system, that’s linked to all these chronic illnesses?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right. That’s like the bad news story and oh, by the way, you used the term, here’s where we reintroduced the term, immunosenescence, aging the immune system. There’s a direct link between the number of these CHIP cells and the age of your immune system. So you can have 40 birthdays, but you can have an immune system that was like a 70-year-old, or you could be a 70-year-old and have an immune system like a 40-year-old, depending on how much of these collected injuries your immune system is carrying forward. And lastly, just so I can come back to the epigenetics because that’s the second mechanism, is if you’re changing then, on your messaging of your genes and your immune system, the epigenetic, this thing that regulates how the immune system has got to function. You’ve got two ways then, one mutational injury and the other epigenetic modulation, both of which combine to give rise to the biological age of your immune system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So now, we can actually measure your biological age through telomeres, but also through looking at your immune age. Which is new, this is a DNA methylation test? Right?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah. So, now it’s finding the extraordinary work that Blackburn did, and the discovery of the telomeres and with Alyssa, and won the Nobel Prize. It’s a very, very important part of our understanding of the aging process. But in terms of the immune system, telomere shortening is probably not as important as is this epigenetic and CHIP formation that I’m describing. That then really, is more sensitive to how your immune system is aging, than as TLM shortening.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And now we’re able to measure that with a finger stick, blood tests? Right?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes, yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That you can do at home?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah. So now, people are starting to actually examine, I call this a surrogate marker. What does that mean? It means that it’s not directly looking at the age like your birthday comes up every year. It’s looking at a marker that tells you about the function of your immune system that’s associated with your age. Steven Horvath at UCLA has been studying what he calls the clock mechanism for assessing your biological age.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And this is based on these patterns of epigenetic regulation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So if people want to get a test for this, how would they get it?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, there’s a number of labs. TruAge does home testing. DNAge, D-N-A-G-E has a home testing thing that you can mail in with a finger stick of blood.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And I recommend it, in terms of this measuring, that it would better to do it with a finger stick of blood than do it with saliva. Saliva, is you’re measuring the age of your buccal cells, which are not directly related to your immune cell. So your blood, if you’re measuring, 10% of a blood drop is your white blood cells, so you’re more measuring your immune cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it sounds depressing. So our bone marrow gets injured, it creates all this damage to our stem cells, puts all this havoc in our immune system, creates all these chronic diseases. Sounds like a disaster?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And it is for a lot of people.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The good news story here, which we now understand, actually how to reverse this process.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s called immuno-rejuvenation.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And that’s what big, bold health is all about. Is the science of immuno-rejuvenation.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And discovering ways, using food as medicine.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
To reverse your biological age of your immune system and actually, creating immune rejuvenation instead of immunosenescence. That’s what we’re going to get to at the end of this conversation.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Here, here.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I have a few more steps I want to understand. So these CHIPS, those get in the bloodstream. What is the mechanism by which they cause all these problems? What are they doing?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah. So these injuries, these mutations, as we talked about, turn on and alter specific genes to function within the immune cells. And the genes that are principally, seemingly altered are those that control a process called inflamm-aging. And I know you’ve spoken at length about inflamm-aging, and this is one of the mechanisms of inflamm-aging. It’s a chronic inflammatory state. It’s like a simmering pot that is always boiling of Rubric, Kohler, and Dolor.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So this is, the CHIP cells are communicating with your DNA?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, the DNA in the CHIP cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The DNA in the CHIP cells is driving inflamm-aging?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
It’s driving this inflamm-aging because what it does is, it regulates the way that our immune cells see themselves. They think now, that they’re in a hostile environment and when they’re in a hostile environment, they do exactly what our body’s supposed to do in a hostile environment, fight back.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And fighting back is inflammation. And that’s to me, why I say, don’t label inflammation, bad. Inflammation is agnostic, it’s not bad or good, it’s all related to balance.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
But if you’re in a constant state of inflammation because you’ve got this chronic inflamm-aging going on, now you’ve got collateral damage and you’re paying a price.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And that inflamm-aging is across all spectrum disease. So that’s sort of the bad news and it seems like the people that don’t understand exactly what we’re talking about. What happens is, your DNA basically, codes for proteins. That’s all it does. It’s got a four-letter code ACTG and any three-letter group is a protein. It’s a gene that codes for proteins and those proteins do stuff in the body. And most of your immune function happens through these proteins.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yep. Antibodies and proteins.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And so basically, you’re screwing up your messages produced by your genes that are turning on all these inflammatory downstream products that go through your body.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That is correct.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And it can be different from cell type to cell type. So, you might have inflammation principally in the liver, or you might have it principally in the muscles, or you might have it principally in the brain, in the astrocytes. So, there’s a regional specificity of the inflammation, based upon where the immune system is injured.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. So this is a great story. So basically, we’re down this rabbit hole of our nasty lifestyle, environmental chemicals, our bad diet, causing the aging of our immune system to these CHIP cells. It creates inflammation throughout the body and creates all these secondary diseases that we’re treating with all kinds of drugs and procedures that really are missing the boat. What you’re saying is, there’s also a science, not just of immunosenescence, but I mean, of rejuvenation?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A way in which, we can work with our biology to help get rid of these CHIP cells and clean up our blood and end up rejuvenating our immune system, so that it works better and we don’t end up with all these chronic age-related diseases that are driven by inflammation?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah, that is absolutely correct.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, tell us about the body’s own innate mechanisms for dealing with this? Because it seems like it’s not working very well and that there are other things we can do to really rejuvenate our immune system, which we’re going to get to in a minute. But the body must have some way of handling this kind of injury. It’s just, why isn’t it working?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So, let’s start the good news here. The good news is that, in every person, the body is renewing its immune system all the time and that’s really good news. The problem is, particularly for the reasons you’ve already described, that for many people, the rate at which the immune system is picking up bad memories, exceeds the rate at which it is renewing itself.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So it’s not like you have no renewing, it’s just that it can’t keep up the pace with the things that are being damaged.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And so, as we learned from Dr. Sidney Baker so many years ago in Functional Medicine, there’s two things that you do. You take the thing away that’s causing the problem and you add the thing that’s missing. Right? That’s the basic concept of Functional Medicine. So what do you need to take away, are all the factors that are enhancing and increasing the mutational injury and the epigenetic modification of the immune system, while you’re giving the things that lead to immune cell housecleaning. And that process of immune cell housecleaning, won a Nobel Prize in 2013 for its discovery. It has another term that we have put now into our lexicon called autophagy. Autophagy is self-eating of debris. The body has that process. It has these magical ways that it can restore itself. And if autophagy, is present at the proper rate and balance, and it’s not exceeded by the rate of injury, now, what are you doing? You’re immuno-rejuvenating.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And this is what people are talking about when they talk about time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… ketogenic diets, fast mimicking diets. They’re all working on this process of activating the body’s own garbage disposal system-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Precisely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… and the cleanup projects that have to happen. And when you’re eating all the time, your body doesn’t have a chance to rest and renew and repair or immuno-rejuvenate.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So, can we stop right here for a second?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
You and I are fast-paced thinkers and talkers, but I want to take just a deep cerebral breath here for a moment. Because what you just said, I’m taking a breath, as I’m saying it. What you just said is a paradigm shift of major magnitude in the way we’ve been thinking in this field of science and the body’s function for the last 200 years. This is a threshold with this crossing, that is so dramatically important for us to learn because it puts us back in control. We’re not just a victim. We now have some gears or some knobs and switches that we can manipulate, if we understand who we are individually and what we need to do to exact what you just said. Before it was like, “I’m just the luck of the draw. Poor me. I got a damaged immune system, there’s nothing I can do about it.” Now we’re saying, “No. There are processes that we can hold on to and manipulate immuno-rejuvenation.” That’s powerful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That is powerful. Okay. So let’s go down the list practically, of what are those things that cause immunosenescence, that we need to get rid of according to Sidney Baker.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And what are of those things that we need to add into our life or diet or whatever, that will help us rejuvenate our immune system?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, what is the first?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, I think you’ve done a very good job of putting together the laundry list of the things that we know.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Just to recap.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Okay. So let’s start with radiation. So particularly, ionizing radiation, and that includes even UV exposure because we know that the skin undergoes cellular damage, and then we get these actinic keratosis, that’s an example.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Of some kind of scubaing, Hawaii in most of the winter.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Depends on how you protect yourself, so that’s one. Number two, as we already mentioned, has to do with toxins. So toxins could be a variety of types. They could be persistent, organic pollutants, POPs, from the chemical industry, or they could be-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Pesticides, chemicals, plastics, BPA, all that stuff.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
… yeah, exactly. They could also be internal toxins produced by endotoxemia from our own microbiome because if we have funny bugs growing in our bodies, gut, that can induce then, the production of secondary substances that are toxic, that our body has to manage. So it could be a gut endotoxic problem.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Familiarly, your gut microbiome, when there’s bad bugs in there, produces nasty chemicals and molecules that leak into your bloodstream and create inflammation throughout your whole body.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So if your guts not happy, your immune system is not happy. That’s because 60% of your immune system is in your gut.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s exactly right. So, the third area, which may be a little bit more confusing for the average person but let me try to make it hopefully, understandable. Is a form of body fat accumulation that’s called central body fat or body fat that’s around the midsection.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Belly fat, yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
It around the organs. Right? It’s not subcutaneous fat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Organ fat.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
It would be organ fat. Organ fat turns out to be a very big contributor to this process of inflamm-aging and injury to the immune system. And in fact, there is a paper, a study just done at Harvard that I think is really fascinating. It was done in post-menopausal women, looking at their risk of later stage cardiovascular, heart disease. And it found that there was a correlation between CHIPs and their immune system and their post-menopausal heart disease risk, if and only if, they had a lot of central body fat. Meaning, all the immune cells that are clustered, because our fat is an endocrine organ that has a lot of immune cells in it, our central fat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And how do we get belly fat, by the way?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Eating starch and sugar.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Precisely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Which is what I’ve been talking about and you taught me decades ago, it’s all about insulin resistance, which we’ve talked about a lot this podcast. And this idea that when you eat this diet of starch and sugar, this is our diet in America, it’s about 60% of our calories, that it drives this belly fat growth. And that is like a fire in the belly, literally.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Fire in the belly, that’s driving all this inflammation and that inflammation, in turn, will cause damage in the bone marrow too.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Absolutely. So it’s a cyclical crosstalk because if you look microscopically at that organ fat under the microscope, what you’re going to see in there, are a bunch of immune cells that are right inside the fat cells, the adipocyte cells, and those immune cells are having a conversation with the fat cells. And if the fat cells are unhappy and they’re saying, “I’m fed up. I’m fed up with what you’re doing to me.” They tell the immune system that they’re fed up and the immune system then goes out into the bloodstream and it tells the rest of the body it’s fed up. The immune cells in the gut are now telling the brain it’s fed up.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, wow.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So there’s this inner connection that you talked about, this web, is what we’re learning about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What about stress and exercise?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, you’re jumping ahead. Just a second, I’m going to get to that.
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:46:04]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… Exercise.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, you’re jumping ahead. Just a second. I’m going to get to that. Because next you talked about time restricted feeding or about intermittent fasting or something like that. So what does that do? And you already said it beautifully, that what happens to us as humans because of the availability we have a food and celebration around food and often foods that are not so good for us with a lot of immune activating substances, like sugar, that we then find ourselves overdoing a good thing. And as we overdo a good thing, our body, as you said it early, doesn’t have a rest. The immune system doesn’t have a rest. The immune system likes to have a rest, just like the brain likes to have a rest when we sleep. When we’re sleeping and our brain is renewing, our immune system is renewing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So the answer is one of the things that causes damaged immune system is eating all the time, and eating before bed, not giving yourself a break for 12 hours.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And lack of rest. Rest is a very powerful therapeutic tool that allows rejuvenation. If you’re constantly stimulating a friend in with things that could injure the immune system, you don’t have the activity in the backend to rejuvenate it effectively. So the sleep cycle is connected to the way and the frequency we eat and what we eat. It is, again, a lifestyle pattern. It all works together, not just like I’m going to do one thing.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So now let’s go to the big one, which is the one that I think has had the biggest controversy, but it’s also the biggest area for discovery. And that is how does the experience in life speak through our immune system to our function of our immune system? And we used to think that kind of the immune system was over here and our brain was over here. And so our bad life experiences, they would be over here, but our immune system was kind of insulated because of the blood-brain barrier. No. No, it’s not true at all. What we now recognize very clearly is the experiences that we have in life, the harmful post-traumatic stress syndromes, let’s say, lock into our immune system, these specific mutational injuries, these epigenetic changes, in such a way as they can dysregulate our immune system. So we can, months or years later, still be carrying that bad memory in our immune system that shifts us over into this inflammatory state. So never should we think that the experiences and living, the relationships we have, the love and appreciation, that sense of fulfillment is not a direct important component of our immune system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So our relationships can be inflammatory, our thoughts can be inflammatory. There’s a whole term we used to use called psycho neuro immunology. We keep having to change it. Now it’s psycho neuro endo microbiomo toxico immunology. And everything is all connected.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And I think of the word joy. I’m having joy right now. I’m having an emotional joy being with you and having this conversation and it just lights me up. So what is it doing to my immune system? If I could go in with my microscopic eyes and travel through my immune system, I’d have lit up excited immune cells that were celebrating. I wouldn’t have depressed, anxious, injurious immune cells. So I think that this construct that we’re describing is a model for living of what’s the immune system because it’s constantly sampling our environment and feeding back to us what it sees is a good entry point for health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not an abstraction. I mean, your thoughts and your feelings, your emotions, your relationships, all literally speak to your immune system in real time and regulate their function for good or bad. And I think most of us don’t understand that. I mean, even the field of social genomics is so fascinating to me. You can be sitting in a room with someone and having a deep, heartfelt connection, and you will turn off all the inflammatory genes in the body. If you’re having an argument with somebody or you’re not connecting with them, it’s the opposite. So it’s not just some vague theory. It’s actually well-documented science.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And that is part of the word that you used earlier of immuno rejuvenation. If every day you had the greatest part of your day in that state that you’ve just described, I guarantee you you’d be rejuvenating your immune system because you’d have less injured cells, immuno senescence cells, and you’d have more immuno rejuvenating cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Amazing. Okay. So basically, to summarize, we have to get rid of toxins in our life as best as possible. I always go to the environmental working group, ewg.org to learn how to avoid most of these toxins. Can’t avoid all of them obviously. We need to make sure we’re not eating a diet that’s inflammatory, that causes visceral fat, which is [inaudible 00:50:35] and sugar and processed food, eating a whole foods diet. We need to make sure we are very conscious of our thoughts and relationships and connections and emotions because they have a big impact on us, and practice techniques that can help with that, like meditation or yoga or various kinds of practices. Exercise also is important. Sleep is important. Not eating all the time is important. Having a break for 12, 14, 16 hours a day. These are really simple, practical things that anybody can do to rejuvenate your immune system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So that’s the good stuff. But there’s another layer to this, which is what are the things we can do proactively in addition to avoiding the things that cause immuno senescence to actually cause immuno rejuvenation? And this is where the conversation is going to get really interesting because what we’ve discovered is that there are compounds in food that we thought were become secondary compounds. I mean, it almost sounds like your second cousin. It’s not really that important. And these compounds in food are not protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, vitamins, minerals. They’re something else, which it turns out we’ve evolved with for millennia that are critical if we want to be healthy. You don’t necessarily get a deficiency disease like scurvy or rickets if you don’t have it, but you get chronic disease later on in life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so what’s really exciting is this world of phytochemicals, which is a weird word, or phyto nutrients. Phyto, not the dog, but phyto, P-H-Y-T-O, which means plant. So plant compounds that are in plants that somehow affect our biology in real time. And this is what I think we mean when we say food is medicine or food is information. I mean, the macronutrients are information, the micronutrients are information, but the phyto nutrients are also information. And it turns out they’ve been a completely ignored area of medicine that may turn out to be the most important discovery of our time of how to use food to heal chronic disease. And I see this all the time in my practice. And it’s a miracle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, literally, if I saw this in medical school, I would have won the Nobel prize because you don’t see this. But now we see it all the time for people who are doing functional medicine with real transformations. And I’ve told these stories over and over, I’ve had guests on the show, we talked about the … It’s tremendous. So what you helped us understand over 30 years is this field of food is medicine. And now we’re getting more and more granular about it. And one of the exciting areas is how do you use food as medicine to rejuvenate your immune system? And that’s what I want to get into.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we’re going to talk about a bunch of compounds, and there’s a lot of them. There’s 25,000 or so of these compounds. The Rockefeller Foundation is spending hundreds of millions of dollars creating the periodic table of phytochemicals. We’re learning about how they regulate everything in our biology, from detoxification, to our microbiome, to our immune system, to our mitochondria, to hormones. I mean, pretty much everything. And we don’t really even learn about them in medical school. We don’t talk about them. And they are probably among the most important things we can do to regulate our biology. And we’ve heard about super foods. Well, what makes them super? It’s these phytochemicals. Blueberries. We’ve talked about that. We know about catechins in green tea or [inaudible 00:53:52] in berries or glucosinolates in broccoli. Maybe you don’t know what that is. But anyway, they’re all good stuff that’s in the food. And it turns out that with this immune story, there are a bunch of compounds in food, some of them recently discovered, that have powerful effects to turn the clock back of aging of your immune system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And these compounds, you’ve come across through your research. So I want you to tell us a story of this product, this compound, well, not a compound, but this food called Himalayan tartary buckwheat. And there may be other foods that help us rejuvenate our immune system but I want to go down the trail of this buckwheat because it kind of illustrates the science behind what we’re talking about.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah. I think this is so powerful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So before you start, I want to tell the story because what would they say, [inaudible 00:54:47]. So our genius is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration. And you have been reading the science and you’re reading all these weird papers that no one else bothers to read and end up with three readers. But you read this stuff and you came across something in one of these papers that sort of caught your attention about a molecule that you never heard about. Tell us about that day and the discovery.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah And this was one of those ahas and one of the reasons I really liked the primary literature because often, you’ll pick up little tidbits and you’ll say, wow, that’s interesting. I never thought about that. So this was an article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2017 from Vanderbilt University. And it was describing a new way of managing blood pressure by using the immune system because the immune cells speak to the walls of the blood vessels and they can cause them to relax and lower blood pressure. And this compound that they were studying had a name, scientific name, called two hydroxyl benzylamine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Something everybody has in their kitchen cabinet.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Two hydroxyl benzylamine.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
The abbreviation is 2-HOBA, H-O-B-A. So 2-HOBA. And I was reading the paper, I thought, well, that’s really interesting how the immune system could be connected to blood pressure in ways that I hadn’t thought about. So then I went to the experimental part of the paper and I was reading the fine print and there was a little paragraph saying that there’s only one place in nature that this 2-HOBA can be found. It’s in this Himalayan tartary buckwheat. And I thought, well, hold on. I don’t know anything about it. What’s this, Himalayan tartary buckwheat? I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about food, but I never heard about this. So I think that you hit on an incredibly important part of this story, because at first I thought, well, this Himalayan tartary buckwheat, this 2-HOBA story is kind of interesting. But then as I started to do more research into what was known about Himalayan tartary buckwheat, I found out that this 60 to 100 times more phytochemicals had to do with over 100 different phytochemicals, not just 2-HOBA. It was one of the most immune active, nutrient rich plant foods ever discovered in the world.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it was the most amazing new super food we’ve ever found.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right. And then to make it historically interesting, I traced the history and I found out that that particular food had come from Asia across to Northern Europe and then it had gotten on the boats to come to colonial America. And it was one of the first foods that was used in colonial America because it doesn’t require pesticides, herbicides, irrigation. It fights off weeds, it’s very, very good in different climactic, and it likes toxic soils that are rich in aluminum because it has an aluminum detoxifying gene. And I thought, oh, my word, why didn’t this product stick around if it was already in the American food supply system? And I came to the conclusion, I don’t know if this is absolutely for sure, but I think it’s because new cultivars of higher yielding wheat and other grains, because Himalayan tartary buckwheat is not a grain, it’s a seed, and these new grains from the [inaudible 00:57:51] family, which are genetically entirely different than Himalayan tartary buckwheat, and that’s why Himalayan tartary buckwheat has no gluten whereas grains have gluten, those products had higher yields. They were much more mild tasting. They could be built into different baking products more easily, and people like the ability to put different flavors and not have that flavoring of the tartary buckwheat because of all those chemicals.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Interesting. Interesting. So let’s talk about these phytochemicals because here’s a plant that was grown in some of the harshest conditions in the world, in the Himalayas, for soils, cold weather, no water, just-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Solar. A lot of sun, high altitude.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
High altitude, lots of sun. And what happens to plants when they’re stressed like that? What happens to them?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, that’s very important. If you take a plant that its genes are not used to those hostile conditions and you try to plant them there, they won’t survive. But if over the largest experiment of plant development in history, which is called natural selection, which is millions of years, that plant has become capable of being prosperous in that hostile environment, it now has the genes that can regulate its response to stress. A plant has immune systems. This was an aha for me because-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So phytochemicals, in a sense, are the plant’s own defense mechanism.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s exactly right. And they are the active principles of the immune system in the plant. The plant doesn’t have the same kind of immune system we have with circulating white blood cells. It has a different set of immune active components, much of which relate to their phytochemicals that are serving as the immune system in the plant. So a hardy immune system in a plant that is resistant to stressful and hostile conditions, when eaten, transfers those principles to the human.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Which is amazing. So basically, we’re borrowing the defense mechanisms of plants to help regulate our biology.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And this is true, not just for Himalayan tartary buckwheat, but for all foods that we eat that are real whole foods and have different molecules in them that are not the traditional protein, fat, carbs and all that. And what’s fascinating to me is that the tougher the life of the plant, the more powerful these phytochemicals are. And that’s why this Himalayan buckwheat that’s grown in the most difficult conditions on the planet is among the most powerful super foods. And it explains, for example, why when you eat a wild food, like a wild strawberry, it might be the size of a peanut, is actually way more tasty than a strawberry you buy, [inaudible 01:00:35] grown, this is a big, red strawberry, because of these phytochemicals, the phytochemical richness of the food.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it turns out that these phytochemicals are ubiquitous in plants that are so important for our development and our growth and our healing and our repair systems. But we’ve basically bred them out of our food supply. So the phytochemicals in the modern food supply are so much less than they used to be. We used to eat more wild foods, we used to eat foods grown in more difficult conditions, we used to eat foods that weren’t all hybridized for starch and yield and drought and all this that actually removes those. And what we’ve removed also is flavor. I mean, an heirloom tomato that you grow in your vine, you pick at the end of summer, it’s this explosion of flavor in your mouth.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, Karen Washington was on the podcast, talked about the first time she had a tomato like that. It blew her mind and led to a whole life of gardening and urban renewal and urban community gardens. And those phytochemicals are the things that actually help us stay healthy. And they somehow figured out our bodies are lazy, basically, and so we only make the things that we got to make. We don’t make vitamin C, we don’t make a lot of things. We get them from our food. But we’ve evolved, I call it symbiotic phyto adaptation. We’ve evolved symbiotically with the plants, so we borrow their defense mechanisms. And it turns out we really need these if we want to really have robust health. We need these to create optimal health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so our whole food supply is basically denuded of these phytochemicals. It’s terrifying. And it turns out they’re way more important than we thought in terms of our health, and particularly in terms of our immune health. And these secondary compounds, they’re what the plants use to help regulate their health and biology and we borrow them for ours. And it’s just an incredible story of our intricate and intimate relationship with nature. What was even more fascinating is that the food that we’re eating today is so lacking in these compounds, it’s all so flavorless, like a flavorless cardboard tomato. Even your vegetables that we’re eating are not necessarily as nutritious as they were 50 years ago. And they are unfortunately the majority of our diet today and that’s why we’re seeing all this chronic disease. So I have a theory that it’s the lack of phytochemicals over a long period of time that’s really driving a lot of the chronic disease.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So I interviewed in one of my audio magazines years ago a professor at a university in Britain. And he had just written a series of papers in the British Journal of Medicine, talking about what happened to the health of the British people when they moved away from the agrarian living into urbanized city living. And this would be the Victorian period. And he said it was thought that the people before, who were living on farms, had really poor health habits and they were not achieving good nutrition. But when he went back and looked at the health records, because it turns out in England that they have detailed, hand written health records on individuals going back several hundred years, they were really good at keeping these records. And when he studied these records, he found out that actually, it was a misnomer, that people that were eating these traditional diets, these kind of poor people’s diets, the thick brown bread and the vegetables from the garden, they were actually very, very healthy. And if they didn’t die of an injury or infection, they actually had a very much longer life expectancy than people who lived in the more modern Victorian era that were starting to eat the more processed food.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And he attributed this all to what you just said. Because he did a quantitative studies showing the reduction in phytochemicals that had occurred when they moved into this more urbanized eating environment. 80% loss of phytochemicals based on his calculations. So I think that your point is very well taken because … Let’s use the word vitamin. Everybody knows the word vitamin. What is vitamin derived from? Vit, life, amine, some compound that has an immune structure that promotes life. So we have vitamin B1, 2, 3, 6, and so forth. And what we reckon is that those are essential for life because if you don’t get them, you die of a deficiency disease, scurvy, beri-beri, pellagra, [inaudible 01:04:59], ricketts. But there’s no deficiency disease that you can identify for the lack of these phytochemicals. They just then set the tone for age related disorders like senescence, which are much harder to study if they come on 20 years later than something in two months, you’d have scurvy. So this is the problem we’ve had. We don’t have a good biomarker for people getting nutrient deficiencies of phytochemicals, where we have a good biomarker for vitamin C deficiency.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I value the whole idea of food is pharmacology, eat your medicine. The name of this podcast is Doctor’s Farmacy, with an F. I think the whole idea is that these are our medicinal compounds and flavor is what they produce. So when you eat really flavorable foods and plants, they’re rich in phytochemicals. And that is just a fascinating observation. So flavor and the medicine in the food are totally connected.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Okay. So let’s stop just for a moment. This is a way station. What is flavor connected to? Taste. What is taste connected to? Taste is connected to a neurosensory mechanism through a variety of different specialized cells that respond to specific tastens; sweet, bitter, salty, umami. We know about the sour. These are unique feature sets within our neurological system that then regulate to our brain some sensation saying pleasant or unpleasant. Now, let me take this a step farther. What we now recognize is that many of these phytochemicals, which have a sensory flavor of bitter, that those bitter sensors are not just on the tip of the tongue. They are distributed throughout our whole body. We have taste receptors in our gut. Our gut is tasting. And what happens if the gut tastes a specific bitter phytochemical? It turns on an activity to release into the bloodstream hormones, this is called the intro endocrine system, that regulate blood sugar and inflammation. So we have drugs now to treat diabetes, don’t we? And those drugs that treat diabetes are called endocrine active hormonal drugs and incretin drugs. What those drugs do is mimic bitter taste mechanisms.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Interesting. It’s so funny, Jeff, because in Chinese medicine, bitter melon, which is a melon that’s really bitter, is really good for diabetes.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And it’s been studied that those phytochemicals activate a specific cell type, actually in the intro endocrine system of our gut, to release what’s called a GLP-1, Glucagon-Like Peptide 1. Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 is a hormone that is now being used to activate and treat diabetes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Amazing. Incredible. Okay. So this is an incredible story and Himalayan tartary buckwheat is full of over 130 of these phytochemicals, some which are found nowhere else in nature, that have powerful properties, regulate our biology and rejuvenate our immune system. And again, there are many other compounds that can be beneficial for [inaudible 01:08:03]. There’s 25,000, as I mentioned. And in my book, The Pegan Diet, I talked about the role of these compounds and how powerful they are. But the Himalayan tartary buckwheat, how does it work on these [inaudible 01:08:13] cells? How does it work to rejuvenate our immune system?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So that has been a really interesting story that’s emerging. Because generally what scientists will do, and you know this very well, is they’ll look at those hundred different phytochemicals and they’ll say which ones are doing the heavy lifting. So they’ll go and they’ll find-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The reductionism.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Exactly. They’ll find a molecule and then they’ll study the heck out of that molecule. Well, that’s been done with Himalayan tartary buckwheat. We could go down the list, [inaudible 01:08:36]. These are some of the major of the hundred or so phytochemicals in Himalayan tartary buckwheat, along with 2-HOPA. And each one of those has been individually studied and has been found individually to have effects on immuno rejuvenation by activating this process of autophagy selective to the immune system. And in fact, now we have seen all sorts of papers being published on quercetin. It’s the darling right now.
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:09:04]

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Coming up. See all sorts of papers being published on Quercetin, it’s the darling right now. And of course it is an important member of this family. So I don’t want to undersell it. But Quercetin doesn’t work the same when it’s working by itself as when it works with 99 other pharmaceuticals that are all in the same-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s a team effort.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right. And so, here as we get into fractionalized foods saying, “Oh, let’s just pull one nutrient out and then we’ll make that the nutrient of the month,” versus saying, “No, it’s the combination that makes the orchestration of effects that’s causing immuno-rejuvenation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So Michael Pong called nutritionism the reductionist approach to studying nutrition. That’s all we have saturated fat and salt and this and that, instead of looking at the whole composition of the diet.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So important. So, basically what you’re saying is this compounds in the Himalayan Tartary buckwheat helped to get rid of all these old cells and rejuvenate our immune system.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes. And et me say one thing to loop back to a point you made earlier, and you did so eloquently, by the way, when you were talking about the fundamental processes that people start having problems with as they get older and get more ill. One of those you mentioned was mitochondrial function, which is the energy powerhouse of the cell where our energy is produced. Well, it turns out that our mitochondria, within immune cells, can undergo injury and when they do so that produces a senescent immune cell.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So, the mitochondria itself can be the seat of the initial injury that then creates the damage to the immune cell to make it senescent. Now, what do you do to get rid of bad mitochondria? Because the mitochondria can rejuvenate themselves in the absence of this cell rejuvenating. The mitochondria has a life of its own within the cell. And that process is called mitophagy. It’s a subset of the big process called autophagy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And it turns out that these phytochemicals that are in Tartary buckwheat, specifically had been found to have migophagy influences on immune cells.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Amazing. well-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So it re-energizes the cell.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, you’re kind of cleaning up your energy system.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like cleaning your carburetor.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Exactly. Yeah. And the spark plugs or whatever.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Amazing. This is an incredible story. So you read a lot about immuno-rejuvenation, and you talk about a stepwise process to help rejuvenate your immune system. Can you kind of break down a little bit, these four steps of rejuvenation program that you’ve developed?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And by the way, all this is on bigboldhealth.com. You can read about it. You can listen to podcasts, read the articles, read the science. It’s just fascinating.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah. I think what’s happened. You can hear it probably in my tone of voice is, this is just sucked me in full-on. It’s like I opened the door and it was a vacuum and it just sucked me right in-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
To the wormhole.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Because there is so much here that I think will help people once we learn how to really apply this in a personalized way. This has really personalized immunity. And we now recognize that people have different immune identities. Just like they have different fingerprints. They have different immune identities that requires different approaches towards their immune identities to maximize their immuno-rejuvenation. So, it starts with some fairly simple things.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
The simple things are the things we’ve been going through. Maybe they’re simple to say, but not so easy to do. That’s changing some lifestyle principles. So you start looking at things like your sleep. You start looking at your activity level. You start looking at how much are you eating out of rushed habit patterns of things you know better than to eat, but it’s just convenient to eat them.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And, one of the things that has been very useful for me, and I found when I did a series of little Instagram posts on this, are these biometric devices that we wear. These wearable devices that give us information. And I happened to be wearing an aura ring because after being a biohacker and wearing all sorts of different pieces of equipment, this one I found gives me the most interesting information. And what I found is, from a personal experience now I’ve done really a kind of a pilot study, and I think it’s more general, is our aura ring is actually a surrogate marker to measure aspects of our immune system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Because what happens is when you’re under immune stress, it’s eating. You realize over 50% of your metabolic energy can be met by your immune system when you’re under immune stress? So what happens is your body temperature goes up, your heart rate variability goes down, your respiration goes up, your heart rate goes up, your sleep patterns go down.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So, when you see these very low scores in the morning from an aura ring that says, “Ooh, geez, what’s going on?” It’s probably something that happened to you last night that it affected your immune system. Could be alcohol. It could be stayed up too late. It could be stress. But your immune system is fighting, is telling you that it’s under demand.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
So these tools, to me, are useful for supporting your coaching system, right? Because you need to coach yourself through these behavioral changes of improving your sleep, your activity, your diet. Things that you need to rhythmically figure out about your life that are directly being manifest through your immune system, into your function. Your immune system is directly connected 24-7 to everything you’re doing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So what are these four steps that you talk about?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, I just told you the first step. It’s assessment, right? It’s understanding where you are. What’s the base? Then, from with-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Immunotype in a way.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right. It’s your immunotype. And we have a questionnaire on the Bidwell Health website that gives a prost look see. So, we start off with the first thing, which really you get very well stated, and that is finding those patterns of behavior that tie to your immunotype. Are you an allergic type? Are you an inflammatory type? Are you a type with tends to get everything that comes along? So you have an immunosuppressed state. So you understand a little bit about what your own immuno personality is. And we have a questionnaire on our website, this called the Immuno Identity questionnaire, that gives a little bit of a help for a person identifying their own specific immunotype.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Then we go from there. Say, well now you have your immuno type, what are you going to do to move you from an imbalanced immune state, to a balanced immune state? That’s what we’re all hoping for. Because what we want to do is we don’t want to shut off our immune system, where we don’t want to hyperfunction it. People always say, “Boost your immune system.” But hold just a minute. If you’re already in an inflammatory state, do you really want to boost your inflammation? No, you want to rebalance your inflammation. And so, when people say I’m just going to take a bunch of immune system boosting nutrients. Well, no, no, no. That may actually only exacerbate the problem and make it worse. So the second step then is you modulate your immune system based upon what you’ve learned about your first date. Are you immuno underactive, immuno overactive? Do you need to bring your immune system down? You need to bring your immune system up?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And we have a series of ways that that can be employed with diet and lifestyle. I would again go back to where you took us earlier, and that is make sure when you introduce the program, you’re using food as a friend and you’re using rhythmic eating. So the time becomes your friend. Your circadian rhythms doesn’t become your enemy. Don’t overindulge. Don’t too frequently snack. It used to be, “Oh, we want to take seven, eight meals a day.” Those are the days of hypoglycemia. That’s probably not a good idea and with regard to what we’ve learned about circadian rhythms.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Then the next level, the third step, is how can I optimize my immune system by utilizing some of these specific nutrients that we’ve been describing. The Himalayan Tartary buckwheat phytochemicals I would also put into this family.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
There are three families of nutrients that are very important. The phytochemicals we’ve been discussing a lot. Second are pre and probiotics because the gut plays such an important role in modulating our immune system. 70% of our immune system is clustered around our gut, the so-called gut-associated lymphoid tissue. So we want the friendly microbiome. So pre and probiotics would be step two. And then the third are omega-3 fatty acids. There are more and more papers coming out to show the important role that omega-3 fatty acids have in balancing the immune system. And I might add, it’s not just omega-3s in and of themselves. It’s also in concert with vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and what are called pro-resolving mediators. Pro-resolving mediators are part of the omega-3 family that activate the immune regulation process and the inflammation regulation process. And we find that some fish oils, and marine oils, have much higher levels of these pro-resolving mediators, these PRMs, than others. So we want to high PRM, omega-3 rich oil, we want pre and probiotics, and we want the proper phytochemicals. And I think the point you made-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You now have created this fish oil. This Dutch Harbor fish oil, which comes from Alaska, right?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Right. Yeah. Dutch Harbor Omega DHL. And it has the highest level we know of PRMs of any natural oil.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So this is some of the beneficial stuff that’s in fish oil that reduce inflammation, but it’s a separate class of compounds. They’re just omega-3s. They’re called pro-resolving mediators. Basically, your immune system has a way, a break way of resolving inflammation. That’s called pro-resolvents. And they come from these certain sources of omega-3s. And you’ve got those access from Alaska. And now you have a product that’s called Dutch Harbor Omega-3 Oil, which you can get on bigboldhealth.com, right?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Exactly. And I might say that the reason that we haven’t heard more about these pro-resolving mediators and these commercial oils, omega-3 supplements is that when most omega-3 oils are manufactured, they’re cleaned up through a very complex process that strips out the PRMs. It removes them. So, people don’t talk about them because they’re not in their products.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They’re not there. Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And so you have to have a very mild process to retain these ingredients within fish oils, which we’ve been able to develop.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So aside from all the lifestyle factors, let’s just sort of summarize, that will help us to remove the things that are causing damage to our immune system, and immunosenescence, and age. In addition to sort of enhancing our immune system with sleep, and exercise, and timing of eating, and whole foods diets, there’s some super hacks, right? Things like phytochemicals from Himalayan Tartary buckwheat, pre and probiotics to help our microbiome regulate itself. And these pro-resolving mediators that come from special kinds of fish oil.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s powerful.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, thank you. Now, let me just say one thing about what we’ve learned. Because a lot of this, people would say, it sounds interesting, but where’s the proof? And fortunately now, the phytochemical portfolio in Himalayan Tartary buckwheat has been studied clinically now in studies with humans for a number of years. So we have an idea how much you need to get in order to produce this. And, it’s equivalent to something like a hundred grams a day. That would be something like three and a half ounces of Himalayan Tartary buckwheat flour delivers the level of these phytochemicals that have been found to be associated with improved immune function. So people would say, “Well, I really don’t eat Himalayan buckwheat flour every day.” Well we try to produce other ways of getting it, like through a shake mix or through a capsule that’s concentrated in these phytochemicals, knowing that not everybody’s going to-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Say, I had like four capsules a day and it’s like a quarter pound of the-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… of the flour, which is pretty amazing. And by the way, I’ve used this flour, made best pancakes, chai, Himalayan buckwheat pancakes from my book, the Pegan Diet. We made soba noodles. We made dumpling skins for dumplings, which are amazing. And it tastes so good. It’s so good. And what’s fascinating about it is that, not only are you developing a product or series of products that take advantage of these phytochemicals, phytonutrients to rejuvenate our immune system, but it’s tied into the bigger ecosystem, which we live. That, it’s not only important what you grow, it’s how you grow it.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you can grow this in a way using chemicals and poor soils that are eroded, that don’t have organic matter, and you wouldn’t necessarily get the same product.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What you’re finding is that, using practices that we call regenerative agriculture, which we’ve talked a lot on this podcast. So it’s a way of regenerating ecosystems, joining the soil and building the organic matter in the soil that you can not only help rejuvenate human health, but planetary health.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That we can address the ravages of using all the industrial agrochemicals, the fertilizers, the pesticides, the herbicides, the high amounts of irrigation that deplete our water resources. And the depletion of the soil microbiome through these chemicals. And tillage and all these practices that have been so destructive and may account for a significant part of climate change. And that the soil itself is a sink for carbon and can draw down carbon through the power of these plants that suck carbon into the atmosphere, because they breathe carbon dioxide. But you can’t do it if you don’t use regenerate agriculture.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And the beautiful thing about the Himalayan Tartary buckwheat is that, not only are you growing it to produce these phytochemicals for human health, but the very way you’re growing it is also helping planetary health using regenerative agriculture. And there’s very few regenerative products out there on the market now. And this is one of them. And it’s amazing. And it’s gluten-free, it’s organic, it’s non-GMO. And what’s really fascinating about this packaging, Jeff, is, and you can buy this now on bigboldhealth.com, right? Is not only do you talk about the nutrient content is way higher in protein than most other grains, way lower and its impact on blood sugar. So very low-glycemic index. Much higher levels of magnesium and zinc and iron and all kinds of nutrients. But what’s amazing is it, and I’ve never seen this, it says total polyphenols, which are the antioxidant levels. These are the phytonutrients. Which is amazing that we now have, it’s almost like a medicine. It’s almost, you’re seeing a flour package that has a drug on it. Which is so cool. Except these drugs aren’t phytochemicals.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Well, I think the poorest group in the flour area to actually be certifying on each batch, are phytochemical levels that are these immune active phytonutrients. But, Mark you said something and I think is really important. I want to take a moment because, I know we’re fast-paced and we say a lot of things really quickly. It can fly over people’s head. But ,I think that there is a story here that is very substantive, and it’s really what’s drawn me in at 75 years-of-age. My wife has asked me, “Why in the world would you want to start another company, Jeff, at 75? That’s ridiculous.” But it’s not ridiculous to-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You mean you’re not into golfing?

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
No, I’m not into golfing. It’s the furthest [crosstalk 00:14:39].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For you pro golfers out there. No offense.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
But the reason for me is, you and I share this in common, I was drawn in 1970, for my first professorial job at the university, on Earth Day, I was actually hired with a dual appointment in 1970, which was the first Earth Year, Earth Day, to start an environmental studies program of animal science program out of the chemistry department. So it was a dual chemistry department and environmental science professor. And I always felt that these things were tied together, all these years. As I know you have as well throughout your career of medicine and food and how you got started with environmental stewardship.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And now what I’ve recognized through the immune system, through this interesting path that I got drawn into, is that the immune system of the planet, the planet has its own immune system. The plants have their own immune system. The microbiome microbes have their own immune system. Microrisal communities in soil have their immune system. Animals have immune systems, and we as human animals have immune systems. And they’re all interconnected. They’re all speaking to one another.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re part of a bigger ecosystem. We’re not separate.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
That’s right. And once I got that-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re not separate from nature. We are nature.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
This is like, if you think I started in 1970 and now it’s 2020, that’s a 50 year learning curve to me to go full circle. And this now, why we’re invested in owning farms and doing regenerative Himalayan Tartary buckwheat cooperative farming, and having a miller that has got a milling technique that allows us to preserve the final chemical without injury to heat, and all sorts of things that I’m learning. I never thought I would ever do, that all feed back on this process.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so important. And I think, as you’ve taught us all, Jeff, food is medicine. But then that begets the question of, well, what foods contain the most medicine and how do you grow foods to contain the most medicine? And turns out that regenerative agriculture is that method. That we’ve seen a 50% drop in, lots of minerals and other nutrients, in vegetable crops over the last 50 years. So even if you’re eating your broccoli, it’s not as good as it used to be. And using regenerative methods, we finally can actually bring back some of this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I think, exploring the role of, and flour is so great because flour, you can take the capsules, you’re getting a shake and all that’s great and that’s kind of an easy way to do it. But, people are wanting to be gluten-free. They’re wanting to eat low starch products. They’re wanting to eat fun stuff too. They don’t want to give up noodles. They don’t want to give up pancakes. And you don’t have to, which is the beautiful thing about this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I can’t tell you how excited I am. Full disclosure, everybody, I’m an investor in Big, Bold Health. I’m helping Jeff with this project. I believe it brings together things that we both have been passionate about for the last 50 years for you, 30 years for me, which is food is medicine. And regenerative agriculture and restoring ecosystems. And it’s just, it’s such a beautiful idea for this moment in time. And I’m so excited to see how we’re going to build this and grow this. And everybody should check it out. Go to bigboldhealth.com. Learn about Himalayan Tartary buckwheat. You can get the products. You get the flour, and you can make the pancakes from my book, Pegan Diet. They’re really good. And you can also get the HTB Rejuvenate, which is the supplement or the shake.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I encourage you to check it out. There’s also the Dutch Harbor Omega there, which is great. And I think Jeff is someone who doesn’t need to do one more thing in his life to have a successful career in life. And the fact that Jeff has gone back, at 75 years old, to do this, because it is a key solution to our chronic disease pandemic and our immune dysfunction and aging. And I’m just so excited about it. I can tell you, Jeff, so thank you.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
I’d like to just say one last thing that I’ve learned, which I think is a metaphor, everything we talked about. And, it’s actually been captured in our little graphic that we have on the front of the Himalayan Tartary buckwheat flour, which is a flowering Himalayan Tartary buckwheat plant. So, when I was at the farm for our first harvest with our farmer, Sam Bayer, who is a former Cornell University ag professor researcher, and we were walking in the field and the flowers were in bloom. It was pre-harvest. And, as I looked in the field, I saw all these bees.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Bees.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Bees. They love Himalayan Tartary buckwheat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
And I was then thinking about the interconnection. That here we have bees who are then having their community, taking this information back to their hives, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
From the pollen, which is rich in all these phytochemicals, to bolster the immune defense of the bees.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
To be part of this system that we’re then creating an ultimate seed, that’s going to go out to humans to improve their immune system. And it just really hit me very hard.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s incredible.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
When you start doing systems thinking, as we started this discussion with functional medicine, it goes to everything.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But that’s what regenerator culture is. Ecosystem agriculture and functional medicine is ecosystem medicine.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s really that is what it is.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we’re being an ecological doctors, both for human and planetary health. It’s beautiful.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Jeff-

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
What fun this has been.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you, Jeff. I want to recap, but I think it would take an hour to recap. So basically, the good news is, even though our immune systems age, we can reverse that aging and we can do it through a comprehensive lifestyle issues, but also using the power of these phytochemicals in particularly this amazing new superfood, Himalayan TarTary buckwheat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Jeff, thank you for what you do for all of us and for what you do to make the world a better place. If you’ve been listening to this podcasting and you loved it, please share with your friends and family on social media. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Leave a comment. How’s your immunity system doing? And what can you do to make it better? And we’ll see you next time on the Doctor’s Pharmacy.

Dr. Jeffery Bland::
Thank you so much. Enjoyed it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey everybody. It’s Dr. Hyman. Thanks for tuning into the Doctor’s Farmacy. I hope you’re loving this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and introducing you to all the experts that I know and I love, and that I’ve learned so much from.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I want to tell you about something else I’m doing, which is called Mark’s Picks. It’s my weekly newsletter. And in it, I share my favorite stuff from foods to supplements, to gadgets, to tools to enhance your health. It’s all the cool stuff that I use and that my team uses to optimize and enhance our health. And I’d love you to sign up for the weekly newsletter. I’ll only send it to you once a week on Fridays. Nothing else, I promise. And all you do is go to drhyman.com/picks to sign up. That’s drhyman.com/picks, p-i-c-k-s, and sign up for the newsletter. And I’ll share with you my favorite stuff that I use to enhance my health, and get healthier, and better, and live younger, longer.
Speaker 2:
Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their ‘find a practitioner’ database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your house.
PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:31:14]

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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