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Episode 438
The Doctor's Farmacy

Why Our Neglected Lymph System Is A Key To Optimal Health

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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You’ve probably heard of the lymphatic system, but do you really know what it does? It does more for us than you might think.

The lymphatic system is a critically foundational system in helping us feel well and age better. It’s actually part of both our circulatory and immune systems, responsible for fluid regulation, cellular clean-up, detoxification, inflammation mitigation, and more.

I’m excited to talk more about this neglected part of the body on today’s episode, with Drs. Mehmet Oz and Gerald Lemole.

Dr. Lemole provides us with a detailed overview of the many ways we rely on the lymphatic system to feel our best. We talk about how it works as the body’s garbage disposal by supporting autophagy, taking out the old, tired cells to make room for new ones. When it’s not functioning properly, due to things like dehydration or stress, our cellular “junk” builds up and we feel it.

Dr. Oz shares some really interesting points about the role of lymph in Traditional Chinese Medicine, something I’ve always been fascinated by. The lymphatic system has been a part of this framework for thousands of years, and Drs. Oz and Lemole shed some light on why it’s something we should be thinking about more deeply in the Western world.

We also get into how to support your own lymphatic system daily, through things like exercise, deep breathing, polyphenols, massage, and hot baths. The really beautiful thing is that the things we do to support our lymph also support the heart, brain, gut—you get the picture! It’s just another piece of creating whole-body health.

This episode is brought to you by Rupa, BiOptimizers, and InsideTracker.

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If you’re curious about getting your own health program dialed-in to your unique needs, check out InsideTracker. Right now they’re offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners 25% off at insidetracker.com/drhyman.

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

Here are more of the details from our interview (audio):

  1. Discovering the importance of the lymphatic system
    (6:11)
  2. The role of the lymphatic system and how you can support it
    (11:43)
  3. Scientific research on the lymph system
    (16:34)
  4. Puffiness, inflammation, and poor function of the lymph system
    (20:31)
  5. Understanding the lymph system through a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective
    (29:11)
  6. Creating health using the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine
    (34:36)
  7. Foods and lifestyle practices to optimize and enhance the lymphatic system
    (42:07)
  8. The connection between fatigue and lymph flow
    (50:50)
  9. Supplements to support the lymphatic system
    (58:57)
  10. What your tongue can reveal about your overall health and other learnings from Traditional Chinese Medicine
    (1:00:48)

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. Mehmet Oz

Dr. Oz has won ten Daytime Emmy® Awards for The Dr. Oz Show and is an Attending Physician at NY Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center. Dr. Oz received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and obtained a joint MD and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School. Dr. Oz is also the proud author of eight New York Times bestsellers including his most recent, Food Can Fix It.

 
Dr. Gerald Lemole

Dr. Gerald Lemole is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon and integrative physician. Dr. Lemole served as chief of cardiovascular surgery at Christiana Care Health Services from 1986 to 2006 and subsequently served as the Medical Director for the Center of Integrative Health at the Preventive Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute. In 1968, he was a member of the surgical team that performed the first successful heart transplant in the United States. He has since served as professor of surgery and chief of cardiac surgery at Temple University School of Medicine and chief of surgery at the Deborah Heart and Lung Center. His books include After Cancer Care, The Healing Diet, An Integrative Approach to Cardiac Care, and Facing Facial Pain. His latest book Lymph & Longevity: The Untapped Secret to Health was just released.

 

Show Notes

  1. Get a copy of Dr. Lemole’s book, Lymph & Longevity: The Untapped Secret to Health
  2. Get a copy of Dr. Oz’s book, Yin Yang You: Biohacking With Ancient Codes

Transcript Note: Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

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

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
There are clearly connections within parts of our body that we don’t understand with the traditional Western model you and I, all three of us, participated in. It doesn’t mean they’re not right, and we haven’t discovered them yet. We will one day, but why wait?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, and that’s Farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And we’re going to have a very interesting conversation today with two renowned cardiovascular surgeons, both friends of mine, people I have admired a long time. And have been part of my larger medical, and social family, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who almost needs no introduction, and Dr. Gerald Lemole, who’s actually his father-in-law, but also an incredible doctor. And actually was part of the reason Dr. Oz is Dr. Oz, I just have to say, because he all originally was interested in functional and integrative medicine, and got Mehmet thinking about it, right? Is that true?

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
100%.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, for those of you that don’t know Dr. Oz, he’s Dr. Oz. He won 10 Emmy Awards for his Dr. Oz Show. I’ve been on many times, and he is an attending physician at New York Presbyterian Medical Center. He went to Harvard, got his MBA and MV from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Wharton. He was obviously on the Oprah Winfrey Show, has won innumerable awards. His last book, Food Can Fix It, was amazing. New York Times Bestseller, and he’s got a new one out we’re going to talk about in a minute. He is been listed as one of the hundred most influential people by Time Magazine, and Esquire Magazine named him 75 most influential people of the 21st century.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he’s just an awesome dude, and I love him, and he’s helped me, and really inspired me in so many ways. And Dr. Gerald Lemole is also a cardiovascular surgeon and integrative physician. He was the Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at Christiana Healthcare Services from ’86 to 2006, and Medical Director for the Center for Integrative Health and Preventative Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute. And he’s just done so many amazing things, including being a member of the surgical team that performed the first successful heart transplant in the United States. That’s a big deal. He’s a professor of surgery, and just written hundreds of articles, and written many books.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And his latest book, Lymph and Longevity: The Untapped Secret to Health, was just released. We’re going to talk about that. So, welcome Doctor-Doctor.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Thank you. Thanks.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Welcome Doctor.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This is such a treat. This is such a treat for me because Mehmet, you’ve had me on your show so many times, and helped me so much. And I’m just so grateful to have you on my show. And thank you. So, let’s start with Lymph and Longevity. First of all, lymph is something that people barely understand, including most doctors. We don’t really have a lymphologist as a specialty. And you have come upon the lymph system as one of those critically foundational systems that has to function in order for us to be healthy. And when it’s not, we age quickly. So, Doctor Lemole, tell us about how you came to understand this is true, that it’s not just about our cardiovascular system, or neurological system, or musculoskeletal system, that there’s this whole other system in there that’s pretty much ignored, and we don’t really have a lot of treatments for.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But that actually responds to a lot of things that you talk about in your book that are available to everybody. So, tell us how did we miss this? And why were you interested in lymph system, and how it impacts every aspect of their health? I mean, you’ve called it the secret river of health. What do you mean?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, when we were doing the heart transplants back, way back when then, we took … I was involved in the first five, and they became very personal friends because we stayed with them for months. We didn’t know what the heck what to expect, what was going on. So, within a short period of time we had given these people good, healthy hearts, with wonderful blood vessels. And within a short period, a year or two, year and a half, they developed … All died from Galloping Atherosclerosis. Their vessels had turned to 90-year-old vessels, and it was not only a professional failure, but a personal loss. And so, it always stayed in the back of my mind. And when I left Houston I was Chief at Temple University School of Medicine, and we had a Professor of Pathology there, [Betty Lousch 00:04:37], who was interested in foam cells.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
So, we got together and did a project on Rhesus monkeys, we ligated their lymphatics from their heart, and sure enough they developed early Atherosclerosis. So, I always kept this in the back of my mind, and I’d observe when we did coronary bypasses we’d have sclerotic little white vessels following along the veins. And so, I biopsied them and they were sclerotic lymph vessels. And they were not there in the aortic vale, or the mitral valve, with no coronary disease. But it’s so hard to measure the lymphatic, so you can’t measure a level of something, or … It’s a low pressure system, you can’t … It’s very difficult. So, consequently, for many years, nobody really did a whole lot up until the last 10 years or so. There was nothing really said about the lymphatics.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
In 1981, I wrote a paper, I figured the best paper I knew [inaudible 00:05:34] thoracic surgeons. I should’ve been in some other channel, because the surgeons weren’t too interested in what … We showed that there was reverse cholesterol transport, was the relationship with the lymphatics was important. And that’s how the actual cholesterol got out of the arterial wall into the venous system, to the liver, by way of the lymphatics. And that was 40 years ago.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, your blood circulation, and your lymph circulation are connected, and they’re interacting, and moving things around, like cholesterol, all the time. And if one’s not working, the whole system kind of breaks down.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, the whole beauty of the lymphatic system is that it is responsible for re-regulating our fluids, because we lose about 10% or 15% of our fluid for outside our vascular system into our interstitial, or this tissue between the cells. So, we have to get that back in. The lymphatics are responsible for getting it back in. The lymphatics are responsible for getting every fat molecule back into the system. They’re responsible for getting large proteins. Things like when you have a leaky gut, and you have, say, casein, or gliadin, the only way it can get away from the sampling mucosa is to go through the lymphatics and get tested by dendritic cell to see if it’s good, bad, or ugly.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
And that’s what it’s all about. And if we don’t have the lymphatic system, it just doesn’t happen.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow. So, essentially what you’re saying is when you have all these molecules that run around in your blood, and they go out in your tissues, and your body has to clean it up, and then it has to check that if it’s okay or not, and then it gets back into your lymph system, and your blood system. Then you can kind of regulate it.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
So, it’s very difficult to measure the … Anything, because it’s a very low pressure system. So, we can’t measure the arterial wall pressure, the lymphatic pressure. The flow depends completely on the motion of exercise, what your muscles are doing, squeezing them. The arterial pulsation, and the … Its own innative pulsations. It has its own pulsation, it has smooth muscle in it. It has sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. So, it sends signals all throughout the body to have a general inflammatory response. And then the important thing, it has to shut off that inflammatory response. And if it doesn’t shut off that inflammatory response, and if it doesn’t shut it off, you get autoimmune, or chronic inflammation.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
And that’s what we’re facing in the pandemic now. [crosstalk 00:08:17]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I want to get more into its functions. But for those of you who don’t know what it is, I’d love, Gerry, for you to explain what is actually the lymph system? Where is it? How do we find it? What does it look like? What does it do? Give us a background, because I think most people don’t understand it. You have a liver, and a kidney, and a brain, but where is the lymph system?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
That was the problem, in fact, that it really deserves … It’s a system that deserves, but it’s always used as an appendage to something. It says, “Oh, the lymphatics are …” With cancer, they think a lot of people that it gets attracts attention, because of the cancer. But it’s a system of its own that is usually lies between the artery and the vein, the lymph channel does. But when we was in medical school we didn’t talk about the lymphatic, we talked about nerve, artery, vein. That was the neurovascular bundle. But the lymphatics are in there, and they have to … If they go into spasm they are not clearing the toxins, they’re not sending the messages of the immune system, they’re not getting the signals of protein and fat that will send messages out to body.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
And then the messages aren’t going back that shut off the inflammatories response. The beginning of the response you want. Acute inflammation is a good thing. It kills everything in sight. It also attacks the normal tissue as it’s getting rid of the toxins. But at some point we have to send in cells, and proteins to come in and stop that inflammation. And if it’s delayed there’s more damage in the area. So, everything that causes it to delay is caused by the lymphatic system, not either being stagnant, not getting good water supply, not being pulsatile, being dilated or being constricted.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
For example, if you smoke cigarettes you will get sclerosis of the lymphatic systems, and cortisol release does it, and adrenal release does it. So, over the long haul, that’s why stress … And stress creates problems. And what’s interesting to me is we always say when we do these studies, we say, “Oh, look what … People do better if they exercise, they do better if they have stress management, they do better if they eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. Point of fact is all those three things increase lymphatic flow. The exercise goes thorough the thoracic duct, and you breathe, the diaphragm sweeps it up, it’s got one-way valves, and makes the fluid go into the venous system, into the liver.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Polyphenols and flavanoids are strong lymphagogues. I mean, they suppress inflammatory markers, they do wonderful things. And that’s why we know that vegetarian type plant-based diet is helpful. And the same way with stress modification. If you are relaxing your body, you’re not secreting the hormones that will cause sclerosis of the lymphatic vessels. So, it’s interesting to me that all the three things that increase lymphatic flow are things that will help every chronic degenerative disease. But it gives you an understanding, and if you get that understanding you’ll be more apt to do what you’re supposed to do, because it’s not a mystery then why does this happen when …

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Because you can explain what happens with lymphatic flow when you do these things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, so what you’re saying is really striking, that there’s this system in the body that’s been mostly neglected by medicine, that is incredibly important for almost every function of the body, that’s our waste disposal system, that’s part of our immune system, it’s part of our cholesterol transport system that it samples everything from the environment that we need to manage and determine if it’s us, or something else. And that there’s no way to measure easily, there’s no test really we can do to see how it’s working. But from the science we know how much it can be damaged by our lifestyle, and by our diet, and by smoking, and by stress, and all these things that we don’t really think about are related to our lymph system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we know if someone gets cancer, and they have surgery, and they get their lymphs taken out, they get the swelling, and the big edema, and it’s kind of nasty. Or there’s this thing called lymphedema where you can’t clear all that. But most of us really have never really thought much about the lymph system, other than okay, well, we have one. And maybe we should be getting a massage once in a while. But what have you seen directly from the science that says that the lymph system is actually helping to prevent all these chronic diseases? Because it’s not something that I think most people know. This book is really radical, because nobody’s really written a book about this before. And I’ve looked for this information because I’ve been really interested in how …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, I was working on a book on food, and trying to see how foods influence the lymph system, and it was really hard to come up with a lot of information. So, you’re really uncovering a treasure trove of wisdom about how to care for our bodies in a new way that allows us to actually activate and heal our lymph system to create health and longevity.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, what I did was I recognized that the chronic degenerative diseases that we’re most fearful of, for example, cardiac, or cancer, or neurologic diseases, all had a basis in the lymphatics. And going through, researching the literature, I’m talking about the PubMed, and the medical literature is very clear, at least in the research areas in the arenas that you can create lymphatic spasm by oxidative stress. There’s a paper like in 2014 by Taggart in New England Journal, that showed that what happens to the … The macrophage can actually carry cholesterol through the arterial wall, and when they get stressed with oxidative stress, the cytoskeleton of the macrophage actually freezes.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
So, the way it used to snake through was being very plastic, and could work its way through the wall. But when it gets its cytoskeleton frozen by oxidative stress, it can’t go anywhere and it just causes more inflammation in that tissue. What can obviate that is NAC. And it gets rid of that, and they show, at least in the research, that these macrophages start moving again. And the literature, the research literature is replete with not … These are researchers, not clinicians, and so consequently the next move has to be to move it from the research area into the clinical world. And the same thing with inflammatory bowel disease, they’ve shown … The University of Washington has shown that actually there’s lymphatic obstruction of the lymph channels coming from the colon, or the gut that are blocked.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
And they actually can see that on the studies. And so, it’s getting into our world, but it’s still not there yet because it’s hard to measure, it’s a low pressure system, and you can change it with many things. Same way with the lymphatics and the fat cells. The adipose tissues now and the endocrine tissue. And it works very, very closely in relation to the fat tissue, to the lymphatic tissue. And in the research labs, they found that diabetic mice, for example, you can get 130 times the amount of leakage in the lymphatic system, and how do you get a big gut? A big belly? You get porous lymphatic, and the triglycerides, and the IgA, and all the fat and stuff, instead of going where it should be processed, goes into the fat and stays there, and compresses the lymphatics, and compresses it, and creates a situation where you have bad hormones come out of the fat because they’re in a chronic stage.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, what you’re saying is super interesting, because clinically we see people who are puffy. You feel them, they’re puffy, and they have fluid retention, and they have puffy faces. And that’s inflammation. But what we’re really seeing is an example of how the lymph system isn’t properly working to clear all the fluid in the tissues. Is that right?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
That’s exactly right. And once you get that concept, once you think about that in that way, you can’t go back to the other way and say, “Well, what is it causing it?” It becomes clear then, you say, “Well, it’s just not enough clearance of these toxins from the tissue, and not enough response.” For example, the heart, what looks like in the research, is these resolvin and protectin, the fat that’s coming in and blocking any of these inflammasomes. And the lymphatics, the articles, there’s several articles that show the relationship between the inflammasome and the lymphatic clearance, and the resolvin and protectin. There’s articles already written on that in the medical scientific literature.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, basically the system that turns on inflammation turns off inflammation, is all regulated by the lymph system.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And if that’s dysregulated you get puffy, and swollen, and you look in the mirror and you’re like, “Why am I so puffy and swollen?” Well, that’s a big part of it. You know, I want to get into how we can help our lymph system, which nobody talks about. I’m sure you’ve done, Mehmet, on your show, a little bit about this. But it’s really a obtuse area. What do we eat? What are the nutrients? What are the supplements? Where are the lifestyle factors? I want to get into that, but before we do I want to talk about why is this so important for longevity? And why it’s in the title of your book? Because I want to live to be 120, I don’t know what you guys are shooting for.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m maybe going to go a little longer if I can. If everything’s working. Why is the lymph system so important to longevity.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, as you know the longevity’s related to how much damage you do in your local tissues. I mean, basically you measure the tips of the chromosomes, and you say, “Well, if they’re short then I’ve had it.” And so, everybody’s trying to extend the chromosomes. And the point is that the best way you can avoid trauma to the tissue, and autophagy, and the idea of cleaning up the tissue, we now know, and it’s been shown in a lot of the journals, that the dead cells don’t go away, they just cause an inflammatory response. And it’s up to the monocytes to come in and pick those dead cells up, and take that away by way of the lymphatics.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Now, if the lymphatics don’t have a signal and don’t present that signal to the immune system, it’s not going to be able to send anything in there. And the way they come in and out of it is through the lymphatic system. So, if you keep your tissue in good shape, and avoid the damaging that occurs over the years through chronic inflammation, you’re going to be in good shape when it comes to 125.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
All right. So, basically it effects everything, and so you mapped out how it affects the gut, how it affects the brain, how it affects their immune system and cancer, how it affects your heart disease risks. All of these things are things that we don’t really include lymphatic system as part of our framework for thinking about it. But you’re introducing this idea, and saying, “We have to,” right?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, we didn’t know 10 years ago that the brain had a lymphatic system. We were taught all in medical school there was no lymphatic going to the brain. We know now that there is a lymphatic system that goes through the … It’s called glymphatics because it includes the microglial cells. And-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Those are the immune cells in the brain.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
The immune cells in the brain, and they actually shrink, along with the neuron cells so they can get more fluid into the interstitium, and they sweep away the beta-amyloid, and it goes on the other side, it’s picked up by the dural lymphatics, down the deep cervical lymph channels, and cleared that way. Now, if you sleep on your side it clears better than if you sleep on your back, by the way, if you’re a mouse. But there are ways that this can be ameliorated, and these are things we’re just learning year by year. And the whole thing is changing.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
So, I think that people are going to get interested in the lymph system. But all these are interrelated.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So, it reminds me of when I was in Hawaii last year, and I had moved in this house, and the local garbage collectors had a rule, which they wouldn’t collect your garbage unless the lid was off the garbage can. And so, I had all these people over, and [inaudible 00:22:26] I had so much garbage, and I put it out with the lids on. And they didn’t come. Week after week. And what happened was terrible. All the maggots came, and everything started rotting, and smelling. And so, basically your lymph system is like the garbage man.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it cleans up all the waste that’s happening in your body, all the metabolic waste, autophagy is this important idea that we self clean, and we take all the old parts, we recycle them, we renew ourselves and we get rid of all the garbage. But without your functioning lymph system, you can’t do that.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Can’t happen.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
That’s exactly right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, we’re going to get into a little bit about the specifics of how do we create a healthy lymph system, but Mehmet, Dr. Oz, I want to ask you about your book for a minute, because it connects to this. And you wrote a book called Yin Yang and You, which I love the title. Or it should be Yin Yang and You. But anyway, Yin Yang and You. If you use the right Chinese tones. And by the way, Dr. Oz once had me do a Chinese speech in Chinese, to a group of Chinese doctors, and it was a lot of work. But I did it, because I love you.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
They were very impressed. I was impressed. I was impressed, everyone was. He broke into Mandarin by mistake. He lost himself for a moment.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I was pretty fluent, and then I forgot it a lot. I mean, I forgot a lot of it. But I still remember how the sound of it, and how to speak it, and the tones. So, if I can read it, it sounds like I know what I’m talking about. But then people come up to me after and start being fluently talking to me, and I don’t know what they’re talking about. So, anyway. So, Chinese medicine is a system of healing that I’ve studied in college, not from an academic … I mean, not from a clinical point of view, but an academic point of view. And it really is a framework for understanding all the dynamic systems of the body, and how they interrelate, and how they connect.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And essentially what you’re talking about, Dr. Lemole, is that the lymph system is this network that connects all the networks in the body. And we have to have those systems in balance, and function, to be healthy. So, what was your insight in writing Yin Yang and You that helped you understand lymph from a Chinese medicine perspective? Because you also have that Western biomedical perspective, and you bring those together. I’m curious about what you thought about as you learned your father-in-law’s work, and what you were doing.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Well, the big epiphany is that we give lots of health advice, and we try to explain why these bits of advice make sense using whatever biomechanical models we have, like the heart’s connected to the lungs, connected to your mouth, and the air moves in, all the stuff who are listening to this podcast know about. But there are often bits of advice that are really important where we don’t truly have that depth of insight. And it turns out that the lymph system, which is a forgotten system that’s vitally important to the body, is a way of explaining it, but the Chinese had their own way of explaining it.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
They had a 5,000 year old model developed by farmers long before we had deep insights into some of the mechanical structures that we have today. But it still seemed to work. I mean, after all something works for 5,000 years, you weed out the bad stuff. And so, in the traditional Chinese medicine they based it on five elements. And basically five of everything, five seasons, and the chakras would move around. And you end up with this wisdom. And again, the seasons were important because they had the four seasons we know of, but they also had a early summer, late summer, because in the central Chinese plains where a lot of traditional Chinese medicine, the philosophy arose, there was a early dry summer, and a late wet summer.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
So, they had five seasons. Then they had five elements, the wood, fire, earth, metal, water. These were how they thought about why porridge is good for you, why a certain type of activity, why deep breathing, or Tai Chi, or any of these actions that you’re recommended to do were all based on these five elements. So, it’s another way of envisioning the body. And I’ve always believed in … Mark, you’ve been a great guest on the show, and my goodness, you’ve moved a lot of books educating America on [crosstalk 00:26:26] advice. But I believe that a lot of the advice that you and other experts give can be explained in ways that go beyond what our traditional understanding is.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
So, it actually gives them more credibility. And the reason we wrote the book now was based on a couple insights. First off, 17% of American in a RAND Report, 17% of listeners right now report excellent health. One, seven. And so, 83% of us aren’t really feeling like we’re getting an A in the game of life. And when you look around for reasons for that, part of it is because Western medicine is really good at some things, like gunshot to the chest, or doing a bypass operation. But we’re not so good at some of the more chronic issues that plague people.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Libido problems, sleep, GI problems, depression. And traditional Chinese medicine approaches actually do offer solutions, because of 5,000 years of experience with those very issues. And understanding the lymphatic system is part of that also opens up doors of potential treatments that might get us to where we need to be. Now, I was blessed to have an opportunity to work with the Dean of the major traditional Chinese medicine institute in the world, which is Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. He’s my co-author, so that’s his name is Anlong Xu. And Dr. Xu, who actually has a PhD from the United States, he trained at the University of Illinois. So, his English is great, but he also bridges the gap well because he was trained in both East and the West.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
And I’ll share an epiphany that he told me early on, that I didn’t think I was allowed to say but I’ve gotten permission.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Because a big question I had is, “Where the heck has traditional Chinese medicine been for the last six, seven decades?” Why didn’t we know more about it? Why is this Yin Yang You book the first real effort to translate it into Western approaches? It’s not the first book on traditional Chinese medicine, there have been many of those. But they’re always written only thinking about traditional Chinese medicine, and not translating it to the Western mind in a way that could be accessible. And the reason was Mao detested traditional Chinese medicine. Mao felt it was a throwback to colonialist China, it was a remnant from the Imperial Age, it needed to be expunged from the history books.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
He wanted China being a modern country, without the burden of its history. And so, the Chinese went underground. Traditional Chinese medicine continued, but it was actually not endorsed in any capacity. There were no universities that were big and growing, there were no research programs, et cetera. And China, as part of its discussions with other countries, would never bring it up. Where the new Premier Xi, the current leadership of China has said, “You know what? We can’t erase our history, we’re going to embrace it.” And they’ve allowed traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to speak more openly, which is why this book could be written in the first place.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
So, now we’re able to go into China, provide scholarships to learn more about these approaches, do research on which ones work or not. I mean, there’s a whole thing, for example, around preventive chi, which is the … This is the energy force that gives you more resistance to infections. Well, you know, we all know people who get sick all the time, people who never get sick. These kinds of approaches explain that. And as a student of Chinese culture, you understand why these ideas resonate. But I love the fact that it takes us into a deeper understanding that might help the 83% of Americans who want to feel better about their health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, that’s so interesting because I am so glad you said that, it’s really about how do we create health as opposed to just treat disease. How do we create balance in all these systems? The Yin Yang is a dynamic balance, that’s the concept. It’s not about whether you have a disease or you’re not, but what’s in balance or out of balance in your system. And the lymphatic system is one of those systems that’s in balance or out of balance, like every other system. And I think it’s such an important concept. I actually wrote an article a bunch of years ago about how functional medicine was mirroring a lot of the ancient concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is systems thinking.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How is everything connected? How does everything interact together? It’s not just a bunch of separate organs, it’s all connected. [crosstalk 00:30:19]

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Underline that, Mark. Interestingly, Traditional Chinese Medicine, because it was created by farmers, is based on ecosystems, and a more holistic approach. Western medicine is more about hunter gatherer approaches, more like sniper shots. They want to shoot that cancer, and I’ll kill it. But if I miss then I don’t kill it. But in Traditional Chinese Medicine, you never even talk that way. And that actually, I think, goes back to what Dad was saying about the facts. My father-in-law, I should just brag on him for one second, because one of our earliest interactions, we were playing Trivial Pursuit. You ever play that game?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
All right. So, I was playing Trivial Pursuit, there was a question. It was which famous heart surgeon was called Rock Doc by Rolling Stone Magazine, because he was the first to play rock music in the operating room?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Gerry Lemole.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Gerry Lemole. My father-in-law slammed his chip down, he knew the answer because he was the answer, but he was always thinking out of the box. And so, so often in medicine you’re barely keeping up. You try to memorize and learn just to stay up with the professor. Dad was always willing to challenge orthodoxy and say, “There’s something more there we’re not seeing,” as exampled by the fact that he was failing at heart transplantation, not because of anything he did technically wrong, but because there was some unexplained process that was closing down arteries.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Which, by the way, if it closes down arteries of people who have had transplants with 22-year-old hearts, what’s it doing to 80 year olds? And why do the conductors never die of heart disease? It seems that maybe they’re milking their lymphatics with their arms. So, all the-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right, the thoracic duct, right?

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
So, all these insights start to pile up, and you begin to think, “Well, there’s more wisdom here.” And this is funny, I’ll give you just a completely out-of-the-box idea. So, people getting piercings all over the place, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Well, it turns out that piercings might not be the wisest thing to do in some parts of the body. So, as an example, Traditional Chinese Medicine, you would never pierce the pinna, because the pinna has very … That’s the outer part of the ear, that has very specific purposes. So, if you pierce the wrong part of your ear, you might actually create some issues for yourself. And this is again based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. If you’ve already gotten it pierced, don’t take it out, but I mean, think about maybe the lobe of your ear is the best place to get pierced, because that’s okay with Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
And these are the kinds of insights that you want to at least know about before you start doing stuff.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s so true. I mean, there’s a couple anecdotes. I traveled to China in 1984 when it was still Mao suits and bicycles, and donkey carts. And I was waiting in the North, and my girlfriend I was traveling with at the time had a terrible migraine. She had some really bad migraines. So, I ran to the find the local doctor, the Chinese doctor, grabbed him, we rode back to the hotel in a donkey cart. He comes in, he feels her pulse, and it was extraordinary, Mehmet. I mean, he literally told her … He didn’t ask her any questions. He just told her everything about her, about her period, about her symptoms, about where it was, about how …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I was like, “Whoa,” that was really mind blowing. And then he gave her a prescription, which was a bunch of herbs, and we went to the local herbal pharmacy, we filled it all. It was roots, and bark, and who knows? Animal parts, I don’t know what it was. And it tasted disgusting, but she drank it and got better. And then, 10 years later, I went to … And I was like, “Oh, there’s something here.” And then I went to China after I worked in Idaho, and I had had back surgery, and I had a really bad disc problem. I had severe pain, I had constant pain for two years, just was miserable. And nothing really worked. And I had physical therapy, everything. And I was sitting in the hot tub in the international hotel with some other foreigner.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he was talking about this Chinese doctor that he saw from Sino-Japanese hospital, who fixes shoulder. And I’m like, “Oh, what’s her name?” And I wrote it down, I called her immediately. I went to see her, and I went three times a week to her apartment, which was in Beijing at the time. It was winter, it was cold. It was kind of illegal to see her as a foreigner, but I paid her under the table. And I would lay on the floor of her Chinese apartment, in my underwear, which was basically concrete, with her family watching Chinese soap operas, and she did all these procedures on me. Like cupping with these glass things with hot fire in it to suck out whatever.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then she used gua sha, which is this scraping thing, would just scrape all the … And then she put acupuncture needles everywhere, the ends of my toes. I mean, it was so intense. And literally within a week, my pain [inaudible 00:34:44] was gone. And within six weeks my calf, which it was shrunken because the nerve damage, grew back. And I was like, “Oh, there’s something here. There’s definitely something here.” And I think she wasn’t treating a disease, she was enhancing probably lymphatic flow, and blood flow, and nerve conduction, and all these different modalities that we don’t take advantage of in traditional medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, it’s just such a beautiful model for complementing what we do.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Well, Mark, the things you’re describing that you had done to recover from back pain are what world class athletes, like Mike Phelps did, in the Olympics last cycle around in order to get cupping marks all over his back. The foreword to the book is written by Lindsey Vonn.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes, I read that.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
The best U.S. female skier ever, and she uses Traditional Chinese Medicine for some of the pain from her multiple … Tons of knee operations. So, I think when world class athletes are trying out new techniques, when they’re using lymphatic massage it’s because they find they can run faster, or jump higher, or shoot better, whatever it is. And so, the way we learn in Western medicine is we take a thousand poor people and put them into a trial, and figure out … But they’re not 1,000 similar people, they’re all kinds of different kinds of people. Maybe that’s not the right way to always figure out subtle changes, when you’re looking at more of an ecosystem of …

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Because what the Traditional Chinese Medicine folks are doing is preparing the soil so you can plant the seeds.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yes. Yes. So, that’s exactly right, Mehmet. And that’s the whole concept of health creation, which is what functional medicine is. It’s not the science of diagnosing and treating of disease, it’s the science of creating health. And what both of you are talking about are systems of thinking, whether it’s lymphatic science, or whether it’s Traditional Chinese Medicine, that aren’t about treating a specific condition, but about optimizing the function of your own healing mechanisms. And that’s really what has the biggest impact on creating health for people. So, now I want to switch you, Gerry, because … Can I call you Gerry? I just [crosstalk 00:36:37]

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah, please do. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, you’re in Trivial Pursuit, so maybe I should call you Dr. Lemole. But-

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
I never get to call him Gerry.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, you get to call him Dad, which is [crosstalk 00:36:49]

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Even better.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, tell us about what you’ve learned about how do we optimize our lymph system, because it really is the key to optimal health, longevity, and feeling good. Because by the way, when your lymph system is full of crap, you feel like crap. Right?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, how have you found that we can enhance our lymph system? What are the dietary, nutrient, lifestyle factors, and other factors, that you’ve discovered make a big difference?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, exercise is a big thing, and it’s not necessarily extreme exercise. But deep breathing, for example, walking, lifting light weights are all good exercise that will contract the muscles, and pulse forward the lymphatics. So, in the exercise realm I think it’s very important with your deep breathing, with your movement of the muscles will increase lymphatic flow. The other thing is plenty of good, pure water, because you need … There’s a sol-gel system there, the lymph can turn kind of sticky, like a gel, and you want to keep it pure, and flowing. So, plenty of good, clean water. As far as foods, the plants and the fruits … I’m not saying that you have to be a vegetarian, but you should have the majority …

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Thinking about plant-based diet, like [crosstalk 00:38:27]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I call it plant rich.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Plant rich.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah, plant rich we want to call it, and green, leafy vegetables, ginger, turmeric, spices, things like that, will always make … We have a recipe guide we had made there, that is all lymphatic stimulating. So, you keep the polyphenols from, for example, in olive oil, polyphenols of olive oil are very important. And that’s one of the things that we look for in pure virgin olive oil is the polyphenols. So, you have green, leafy vegetables, you have herbs, and spices, you have onions, garlic, things like that will all increase lymphatic flow, and then certainly the idea of stress modification to suppress the … epinephrin, and things, and ACTH and stuff like that, which constricts the flow.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
So, these things, and spirituality, doing yoga and meditation, and things like that, get the lymphatic flow going. Yoga’s called an internal massage. The plans of the yoga are to increase the massage of the internal organs. So, those are the things you can do, and there’s a whole … We have a chapter on meditation, and yoga. We have a chapter on exercise, and a whole bunch of recipes that you can use. And we tasted some of them, and they’re pretty good, aren’t they, Mehmet? We tried-

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
They’re fabulous.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Actually fabulous.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
So, I think those things-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m sure.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
… those epigenetic, those are things you can do to change your gene … Change what the genes produce. And it’s important to do that, things we have control of, and once we understand why we’re doing it I think we will apply it more fervently, and we’ll have better control of our health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, you mentioned yoga, and I think yoga’s one of those things that’s sort of under appreciated for its effect lymph flow. And I created a detox program years ago, and I work with a yoga teacher to create a lymph yoga program to actually help move lymph through the body. There’s twisting, there’s bending, and all the-

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… massaging you do, it’s really one of the most powerful tools, I think, aside from just walking and regular exercise. But it really can be a powerful factor. And you mentioned the spices, and the polyphenols. We don’t use them much in this country. It’s just amazing to me. Most of our food is so awful and bland, it’s flavored with salt, sugar, fat, additives and chemicals. I just got back from Turkey, where you’re from, Mehmet, and I went to the spice bazaar in Istanbul. It was just like a incredible kaleidoscopic bonanza of colors, and spices, and I brought some of them back with me, and are just used every day as part of their cuisine. And we don’t do that here.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But those cultures really have understood the role of these things in our diet as health promoting factors. And the olive oil you mentioned, I was … Where your dad, I guess, Mehmet, had a olive oil orchard.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I was being schooled on the ways in which you have to actually maximize the polyphenol content, because most people when they pick olives, they shake the tree, and then it falls to the ground, and they pick them up, and then they smoosh them, and then you get olive oil. They have them handpicked, every olive is handpicked so it doesn’t hit the ground and start to become acidic and lose its polyphenol content. So, I mean, we have such an amazing world we live in, with all these tools, all these foods, all these spices, we have all these potential therapies that we don’t take advantage of that help enhance our health. And I think that if people just pay a little attention to what does mess up their lymph system, and what enhances the lymph function, their health and their life will be a lot better, right?

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Yep.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, do you have a daily lymph practice? Or how do you think about incorporating it into your life? I mean, there’s so many things we have to do, right? Eat right, meditate, exercise, but how do you start to make simple changes that could help people say, “Okay, I’m going to do this”? Because this is [crosstalk 00:42:51]

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, at my age I’m limited to walking three miles an hour for a mile or two in the mornings. And then I lift five pound weights just to get them … So I can play golf with this guy, otherwise he tries to embarrass me. [crosstalk 00:43:14]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What do you mean? He’s not competitive. I’ve never seen [crosstalk 00:43:17]

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Hold on a second, let me just be clear here. Dad is 84 years old, and for any golfers out there, he shot his age two weeks ago [crosstalk 00:43:25]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, wow. Okay.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
And that was the warmup. The next weekend we played, Dad and I, against my two brothers-in-law, and we beat them, which is unheard of.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
And Dad, as he hit the winning putt, winked at them with great joy in his eyes. So, I know that [crosstalk 00:43:40] to win.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I might achieve hitting my age when I’m maybe 140 [crosstalk 00:43:47] I’m not very good at golf. Well, that’s [crosstalk 00:43:52]

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Mark, can I offer … The thing is, that these common ailments that you’re talking about, that Dad was listing through, I mean, they exist because we don’t have good solutions for them, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
So, if we had a great solution for libido, and there’s some pharmaceuticals obviously that you can start using now, especially for women. But the Chinese say Goji berries, nuts, Siberian ginseng, they have their game plan. Lychee berries, lychee, the fruit is sort of reminds you of something. It looks like testicles.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Really?

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
But things like sleep, the Chinese use congee, they use a lot of congee, which is a grain. But they also use massage. And the main tip for massage is it stimulates lymphatic flow, which Dad showed, and others have proven, you massage your feet you stimulate thoracic duct lymph flow. So, that’s very hard, if you connect those two structures, how does your feet effect lymphatic flow in your chest? On the other hand, the Chinese do acupressure, and acupuncture in the feet, and they can stimulate parts of the brain that coincide with that spot.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
So, there are clearly connections within parts of our body that we don’t understand with the traditional Western model that you and I, all three of us, participated in. Doesn’t mean they’re not right, we haven’t discovered them yet. We will one day, but why wait?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, it’s so true. It’s so true. I think the ways in which these ancient systems have developed models for maintaining health, and optimizing health, and creating health, is so foreign to how the three of us were trained in medical school, which was find the disease, kill the disease, and then move on with … Just that was it. And it’s exciting that you both are sort of coming at this in a different way that help us understand a new way of dealing with some of the challenging conditions that we suffer from.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I think fatigue is another one that people have, and I think fatigue is probably really connected to lymph flow, because fatigue is connected to the toxic burden, and to inflammation, and oxidative stress, and if your lymph is not working it’s hard to function with that.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
And a hot bath will also stimulate lymphatic flow most likely. It also happens to be the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment of depression and fatigue. If everyone listening now, if they’re by a computer, Google, “Why am I,” it will auto-complete, “So tired.” Do it. I mean, that’s amazing. The first several entries-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Why am I so tired?

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
… are all going to be … Right? But why am I sounds like a philosophical, a spiritual quest. Why am I will auto-complete on Google, “So tired,” or, “So exhausted,” because that’s the number one thing we search.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Well, I think you mentioned a lot of things, Gerry, that were good. But there a few things you didn’t really talk about, like Traditional Chinese Medicine has Tai Chi, which I think is an interesting form of exercise that, I imagine, because of the kinds of motions in there, does move lymph around quite a bit.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, I believe the problem was once you start thinking this way, everything is expressed in the lymphatic clearance. And the fact of the matter is there’s no question that Tai Chi can get us into positions, like yoga does sort of, it doesn’t look like you’re going to anywhere, but in the internally, the lymphatics are being massaged, and milked, and there’s no obstruction to them. The other important thing is the spasm of the lymphatics is significant because with cortisol and epinephrine, and stress, they go into spasm. So, consequently it’s not going … Nothing’s going anywhere while … So, relaxing, like in Tai Chi, or yoga, it will increase the flow.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, that’s something I didn’t know, that your actually lymph vessels have muscles, smooth muscles. I thought they were just passively massaged by your own muscles, by regular muscles, to get the flow back. But that’s fascinating. So, they’re basically listening to your thoughts.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
They have [crosstalk 00:47:49]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Your lymph vessels are listening to your thoughts, and if you’re stressed they’re not happy.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Exactly. I mean, they have their own peristalsis, they have nerves ending, sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves, going into the brain and sending signals out, both protein signals, and nerve signals, to instruct the rest of the body, whether they want to release complement, or general inflammatory response from the liver. So, they’re in touch with all these organs. That’s the beauty of the lymphatics. It’s not just doing one thing, and having the brain respond. And the other thing you were talking about was the skin. There’s a lot of lymphatics right in the skin, and also right in the other skin we have, which is the GI epithelium, because there’s more lymphatics in the GI tract than there is anywhere else in the body. There’s more endocrine than there is in any other endocrine organ.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
There’s more neural than there is in the spinal cord. So, these are things that we don’t recognize, but the lymph integrates that. It’s leading the symphony because it does communicate with every other system, you see?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s amazing. So, you’ve talked about a lot of things that can really help. What you eat, polyphenols, a plant rich diet, walking and exercise, yoga, stress reduction, meditation, phytochemicals. All of these are great-

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Massage.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Massage. And I’m pretty lazy, so I actually wanted to ask you about a few things that I do, that I think might be good. And so, what I do is I basically like to take a steam and an ice bath. And I get really, really hot, and then ice cold.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Is that good?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah, evidently the BDNF and things like that get increased when you do that. And the fact is that using a sauna, for example, will draw out toxins through your sweat, and that all comes from lymphatic cooperation with the cells to get at the extra fluid, to get you sweating on your skin. So, it all has to be in accordance with a systematic approach to it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And massage is my other favorite thing.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Oh yeah. We use-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I just lay there. So, tell us about the difference between regular massage, and lymphatic massage. Does regular massage work? Or do you have to do a special lymphatic massage? What is lymphatic massage?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Lymphatic massage is very light. You don’t press hard, like we usually do with the … But it’s always directed towards the heart. It’s always directed upwards towards that. And you know, when we were doing experiments years ago, we would cannulate the animal, it was a dog animal, we don’t do that anymore. But we used to cannulate the lymphatic duct to measure the flow, and when things slowed down all we had to is massage the back of the neck of the dog, and it would just increase multiple … Yeah. In fact, there are papers that show lymphatic flow with massage in animal lab scientific papers. So, it’s very, very productive.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, if you just got a regular massage does that work? Or does it have to be special?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, regular massage works great. I mean, lymphatic massage, people are specialists in that, they do that. For example, things like macroglossia, when some of these kids, unfortunately kids have enlarged tongues and stuff, they say they can help their speech by lymphatic massage reducing the side of the tongue that is interfering with their normal speech.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s really, really impressive. So, we have a whole new thing to think about. But the good news is, the good news is, is that the things we have to do for our lymphatic system are the same things we have to do to basically treat everything else, to keep our heart healthy, and our brain healthy, and our … Prevent cancer, and-

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… deal with energy, and fatigue, and stress. So, it’s beautiful. You don’t have to add a whole bunch of new things, but there are new things. What are the surprising new things in your book that people maybe haven’t heard of, that will help them to enhance the function of their lymph system?

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Ted Spiker, the professional writer, he helped … He kind of dumbed this down for me. I kind of put in words that may not be the easiest thing to read. And he wrote it out nicely. But so, the idea is that it’s important to get, for example, these inflammatory setups that by leaving a toxin on your tissue too long, not only does it delay the healing of that, but it also prevents the cells coming in that … Reparative ones, too. What’s interesting to me is that we have this inflammatory situation that can be changed by things like NAC, N-Acetyl Cysteine, can be changed by antioxidative stress. So, what impressed me with the research is that in fact certain …

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
That oxidative stress causes bad problems in our tissue, and that certain supplements, I want to say, can help obviate that, and get our tissue back to health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s great. So, there’s things you can take also that would be helpful.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Besides N-Acetyl Cysteine, which is actually I think one of the most important things we can do, both for just general health, for detoxification, for inflammation and oxidative stress, and even helping with COVID, what else have you found that-

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Well, let me give you an example. Pterostilbene. Pterostilbene is like resveratrol, but it’s about … It’s four, five times more absorbable, and it’s the stuff in the blueberries that you get. Pterostilbene. So, you can take the Pterostilbene and get a antioxidative effect. You take resveratrol, or quercetin, things like that, those are all in that same polyphenol family. And then what’s interesting is, and one of the reasons I got interested in this, there’s a chemical called Daflon. It’s 40 years old, it’s made in France, it’s sold for varicose veins and hemorrhoids. If you look at what it does, it does the same thing in the venous system that we need to do in the arterial system, and what is it? This miracle drug is got diosmin, and hesperadin, two flavanoids, that’s all it is, that you [crosstalk 00:55:12]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Those are plant compounds.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Just plant compounds. Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Amazing. Amazing. Miracle, miracle. Well, this is incredible. I think everybody needs to get a copy of your book, Lymph and Longevity: The Untapped Secret to Heath. It’s available now everywhere you get your books. And I think you will not be sorry. And I think, Mehmet, I just want to spend the last few minutes of the podcast talking about Yin Yang and You, because for me the origin of my thinking about health and disease was from studying ancient Chinese texts. The Yellow Emperor’s classic internal medicine textbook of Chinese medicine that was written thousands of years ago, that I read in college. And it helped me to think about how diseases begin, how the body’s organized in a different way.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it really, in a way, was the foundation of me leading towards functional medicine. And it allowed me to actually be in Western medical school without being too brainwashed. And I understood there was a bigger framework. So, how have you gotten more into this as you learned about it? And what are the take-homes that you want to share with people about how Traditional Chinese Medicine can intersect with traditional Western medicine?

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Well, one very visual response, and I’ll show it on the screen for anyone who’s watching this, but you can … I’ll send you a picture of this. But this is from page early in the book. And you can see it’s a picture of the tongue, and an ear, and it is designed to show you that there’s a reflection of every part of your body on the tongue, and likewise on the ear. So, if you go into a Chinese facility, they will have you stick your tongue out, and then they will diagnose you based on that. Now, my first exposure to this, Mark, it was 1993. I was just finishing my training … No, 1992. I wasn’t even done yet. I remember this, because I was uncertain what I was doing.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
And Dad took me to China with him. Now, Dr. Lemole was an iconic figure over there, because early on he was operating in a major center in the U.S. that some of the Chinese leading physicians were allowed to go train in. And remember, this is back in the ’80s when they … You couldn’t get out of the country. So, they all come and trained under him. So, they all admired him, they treated him with respect, and they weren’t doing bypass surgery at the time in China. They weren’t having bypass disease, they were eating Chinese food that at that year was free of saturated fats, not a lot of sugar, they were eating healthy meals. And they were all, as you mentioned, in their Mao suits riding their bikes to work.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Everything you said you experienced in 1984, I experienced six, seven years later. And so, I was sitting there, and I went to a hospital that was a traditional western hospital, but it also had an Eastern hospital element to it. And if you went in, and went to the West, you went to the operating suite where I was doing … Teaching them bypass surgery ostensibly. And if you went to the Eastern wing of the hospital, they had thousands of people waiting in lines, I mean, there’s about a billion and a half people, everything’s big. But they’re waiting in line. You step up to the front, you stick your tongue out, they look at all the subtleties of your tongue.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Is there a coating? What kind of a coating? Is it beefy red? Things that in the West we don’t [crosstalk 00:58:12]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Is there a crack? What’s the shape? Is there scalloping, right? All that.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
All that matters. And you think about it, if everyone sticks their tongue out now, looks in their rear-view mirror, or their bathroom mirror, wherever you happen to be, don’t stare if you’re driving. But the tongue shapes are all different, and why would we ignore that as a clue? Why would you not want to take that into account when you’re figuring out … So, they would look at the tongue, then they’d check your pulse. And as you know, the pulse is much different. In America, we check the pulse to see if it’s regular. But we don’t get into the subtleties of it too often. Sometimes at crisis you might look for a thready pulse, or some other subtlety. But most doctors don’t know anything about pulses, we’re not taught it.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
So, in China, they put three fingers on the pulse, they look at subtleties, like how fast it goes up, how fast it goes down, is it a flat top or a pointy top? All these things, like a mountain range might be described by someone who knew about mountains. And so, all this subtlety would come together, and they’d start diagnosing how those five elements that I described to earlier, and we walk you through this in the book in a non-intimidating way so you actually understand the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine taught by the world leaders. People who know things really well can make them accessible. [crosstalk 00:59:18] If you don’t know it that well, it gets confusing.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
And that’s why when people tell me, “Oh, it’s confusing,” what you really are saying you don’t really understand it all the way. Because Einstein didn’t think physics was confusing. And they’re not going to be Einsteins, I get it. But this stuff, if you understand it well, it becomes to come alive. So, that experience steeled me for a lifelong interest in how the Chinese people treat their ailments amongst themselves. And I think that as we learn more about the parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine that can be added to Western medicine. So again, it’s not alternative, it complementary. You use them together. Depending on what your problem is, you want both. I mentioned libido earlier, there are medications that can help with erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
There are medications that can help the female brain with libido. But a lot of times it’s more subtle than that. And sometimes you’re better off taking Siberian ginseng, and Lychee nuts. And it’s even richer in the GI system, because there’s so many unknowns in our intestinal system, where there are more bacteria, there are 10 times more bacteria than cells in our body, that it makes sense that a holistic approach, where you don’t say, “I’m going to sniper shoot two trillion bacteria.” Doesn’t work so well. Maybe we’re better off saying the bamboo shoots, or bergamot in our congee is a better gentle nudge. If you need something more urgent because you have ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease, well then obviously. We have more aggressive approaches that can be used.

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
But shouldn’t we nudge first before we push?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. And there’s a lot of techniques in Traditional Chinese Medicine, from Qigong, or Tai Chi, to acupuncture, to gua sha, to cupping, to massage. And obviously the herbal medicines. But what really struck me when I went there was that they really, in the culture, understand that food is medicine. And actually, in the Chinese language, to say … You know, we say, “I’m going to take my medicine,” they don’t say that. They say, “I’m going to eat my medicine.” [Chinese 01:01:11] Like [Chinese 01:01:14] is eat rice. [Chinese 01:01:15] is eat your medicine. That’s literally how they talk about [crosstalk 01:01:20]

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
You learn a lot from a language, right? Eskimos have several words for white.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right. And I think what you’re describing is that it’s easy to dismiss, oh, this is just a bunch of Pagan, traditional stuff, that may not really be that scientific. But when you see it in action, and when you see the results, and the outcomes, and I personally have experienced it over, and over again, and you can’t ignore it. Just because we don’t have a billion dollars of randomized trials on it doesn’t mean it’s not worth incorporating, because one, it’s low-risk, two, it’s relatively inexpensive, and three, it makes sense now given a lot of our scientific understanding about how the body is truly organized.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, I’m really glad you did this, and bringing it to light. Your voice on this is going to be important, because I think we need all the tools we can get. We are a very sick society, like you said, what is it? 83% of Americans don’t feel good? 88% are metabolically unhealthy. I mean, we’re 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the COVID cases and deaths. Why is that? It’s because we don’t know how to take care of ourselves. And both of your books are essentially roadmaps for how we engage in self care, and help create a better foundation for health, a better soil, as you said. And that’s really the whole work of my life, which is functional medicine, is clearly what you’ve been doing. And I think it’s awesome, it’s really awesome.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I thank you both so much for the work you do. Any final thoughts you want to share about lymph, or Chinese medicine?

Dr. Mehmet Oz:
Well, let me commend you for stretching our brains. I appreciate you hosting Dad and I. I love having you on the show, and a lot of the wisdom that you’ve taught America, I think has been on the cutting edge. So, thanks for all that service.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
Yeah, thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you, Mehmet. Thank you.

Dr. Gerald Lemole:
It’s really good seeing you again, and speaking with you. And we appreciate the time we spent. Thank you, Mark.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. Well, absolutely. Everybody, right now, go to Amazon, or your book store, or wherever you get your books, and make sure you get both of these books. Lymph and Longevity: The Untapped Secret to Health, and Yin Yang and You: Biohacking with Asian Codes. They’re available now. I love the title, Biohacking with Asian Codes. That sounds so fun, I’m going to check it out. Share this podcast we everybody, because everybody needs to hear about things that they probably don’t know that are the going to make their lives better. Let us know how you’ve benefited from fixing your lymph system, or Chinese medicine. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and we will see you next time on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

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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