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Episode 526
The Doctor's Farmacy

Activating Your Natural Healing Systems

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.

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When we think about optimizing health, we need to think about redesigning life in a way that supports a healthspan that matches our lifespan. That means feeling and functioning at our best until the end of a long healthy life. 

But sadly, most of us know more about our cars or iPhones than we do about our bodies. One of the greatest downfalls of that is that many people don’t trust our bodies’ natural ability to heal. 

Today on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m so excited to talk to an old friend and pioneer of integrative medicine whose work has guided my path as a doctor, Dr. Andrew Weil. We take a deep dive into the body’s innate healing capacity and how food is our greatest ally to support that process. 

Many people don’t realize that health isn’t created by our doctors—we are the ones in control. Our bodies come equipped with some pretty amazing mechanisms to heal and rebalance, but they need us to give them the right inputs to work optimally. Think about the way a cut on your finger will heal; that’s just a small example of the body’s healing systems at work. 

Dr. Weil and I dig into the power of food and lifestyle practices like walking, meditation, and strong social connections to positively affect our biology. At almost 80 years old, Dr. Weil looks exactly the same as he did when we met over 25 years ago and is as sharp as ever. I’m excited to learn how he leverages these areas in his own life to age so well. 

He also shares his favorite daily supplements, why he’s fascinated with medicinal mushrooms, the power of laughter, and so much more.

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

BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough formula contains seven different forms of magnesium, all of which have different functions in the body. Go to magbreakthrough.com/hyman and use code hyman10 at checkout for 10% off your next order.

InsideTracker is a personalized health and wellness platform like no other. Right now they’re offering my community 20% off at insidetracker.com/drhyman.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

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 details from our interview (audio version / Apple Subscriber version):

  1. How studying botany at Harvard shaped Dr. Weil’s perspective in medical school and beyond
    (7:31)
  2. Activating the body’s own healing mechanisms to create health
    (15:26)
  3. Inflammation as the common root of chronic disease
    (19:26)
  4. Anti-inflammatory diet and foods
    (25:41)
  5. Understanding the mind-body connection
    (33:52)
  6. How to start incorporating healing practices into your life and your patient’s lives
    (38:54)
  7. The backwards economics of our current healthcare system
    (44:27)
  8. Staying healthy as you age
    (47:32)
  9. Dr. Weil’s daily health practices
    (54:45)
  10. Emerging research on the therapeutic effects of mushrooms
    (56:42)

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. Andrew Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, he is the founder and director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he is a clinical professor of medicine and professor of public health. 

A New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Weil is the author of 15 books on health and wellbeing, including Mind Over Meds: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better, and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own; Fast Food, Good Food; True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure; Spontaneous Happiness; Healthy Aging; and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health. He is the editorial director of DrWeil.com, the leading online resource for healthy living based on the philosophy of integrative medicine. He is also a founder and partner in the growing family of True Food Kitchen restaurants.

Learn more about Dr. Weil and his work at https://www.drweil.com/.

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.

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

Dr. Andrew Weil:
We see that when people get past the age of 60, 65, lot of them develop heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, is that inevitable? And I think it’s not, I think it is possible to separate the aging process from age related disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, that’s pharmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And if you were at all interested in exploring your health, we today have the godfather of health. Dr. Andrew Weil on, who’s been a critical, important figure in my life influencing so much of my thinking and actually getting me started on this path. He is an icon, cover of Time Magazine, he’s a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, he went to Harvard and then took a left turn from the traditional medical academic world, and started to looking into other ways of thinking about creating healing. And he then magically somehow, I don’t know how you did this, but you got to create an integrative medicine center at the University of Arizona with a colleague of yours, I think it was Jim something, I forget.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Dollon.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Jim Dollon and I talked. Basically was smart enough to see the future and actually invited you to start as program, you’ve authored over 15 books, many have been hugely influential to me. Most people don’t know that your first book was From Chocolate To Morphine, which is all about the influence of plant compounds on our mental functioning and on our health. And now we’re seeing this Renaissance of the psychedelic movement, which is really presaged by a lot of your work. And one of your important books that I think really highly spoke to me was Spontaneous Healing And Healthy Aging and Eight Weeks Optimal Health. What most people don’t know is that you were also a doctor at Canyon Ranch and preceded me by many years and actually started the whole initiative there of integrative medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I piggybacked on that and started to work at Canyon Ranch many years after you started. And you were always, your presence and your thoughts and your influence really has always influenced me in a really remarkable way. And you also were really instrumental in getting integrative medicine programs started all around the country, the consortium of academic centers for integrative medicine was hugely funded and has really impacted healthcare in such a beneficial way. So, Andy, I’m so happy to have this conversation with you.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Thanks. Good. I’m looking forward to it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, you’ve been such a leader and icon for me. And I don’t know if you know this story, but I was asked to help as an on-call doctor for Canyon Ranch in Lenox, many years ago, in the early ’90s. And I didn’t really know about it, I never visited the property, but they said, “Well, you can use this health resort and you can use the spa and you can use the fitness facilities.” I’m like, “Okay, it’s like a gym membership.” So I started it. And then I was at the local bookstore here in Lenox, and I was buying Spontaneous Healing. And this woman, Christine Huffman, came up to me who had a tag on that said Canyon Ranch. And she’s like, “Oh, that’s a great book. I know Andy Weil.” Was like, “Yeah, I just got on the call schedule at Canyon Ranch.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She’s like, “You want to come over and take a tour.” I’m like, “Sure.” So I went over and talked to her about my vision for healthcare and medicine and how important your influence was on me and the thinking I wanted to be doing around integrative medicine. And she’s like, “Well, why don’t you come for a tour?” So I came for a tour and next thing I know she offers me a job as the medical director, after I met the owners. And that was the beginning of my career in this whole field, so you’ve got a lot to do with it.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Great. Thanks for telling me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So Andy, you went to Harvard in the ’60s, you were in the era of the ’60s revolution.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yep.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you had a different way of thinking about things and something led you to take a left turn and not pursue the traditional medical path. And you went to South America and you discovered some things that set you on the career you’re on. So take us through that story briefly and tell us how you got inspired to do that and what happened and what you were led to come to think about.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well, I think I took a left turn long before I went to medical school. I was always interested in plants and that led me to be a botany major, as an undergraduate at Harvard, which was a very unusual choice of major in those days and that gave me a unique perspective when I entered medical school. I was really tuned into the natural world, and it was a real shock to find that the people teaching me pharmacology in medical school knew nothing about the plant sources of the drugs that they were teaching about, much less about how they differed from isolated compounds.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And also I had a long standing interest in the mind and how the mind influenced the body. And I tried to study that as an undergraduate, but it was not possible in those days. And the mind was simply left out of the equation in medical schoolers as you know.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
When I finished my internship in San Francisco in 1969, I decided I didn’t want to practice the kind of medicine that I had learned. First, because I saw it do too much harm, mostly in the form of adverse drug reactions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And secondly, because it really didn’t equip me to keep people healthy. I learned nothing about health, healing, how to keep people from getting sick. And I thought that should be my main function as a doctor.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow. You just said that basically in medical school you learn nothing about how to keep people healthy, which is such a statement.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I know, and much less have time or incentive to keep myself healthy, going for medical school. Anyway, I dropped out of medicine and I made my living for a number of years as a writer, I found ways to travel around the world. As you mentioned, looking at other kinds of medical systems and medical practice, I spent time with shamans, I was interested in psychoactive plants and drugs and foods and other cultures. So I did that for about three and a half years. I saw a lot of interesting stuff. And then my car broke down in Tucson in 1973 and I never left, I never would’ve thought that I’d be living here, but it turned out the person I had most to learn from was in Tucson. And he’d actually been here the whole time and I didn’t know about him. And that was an old-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Osteopathic.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Osteopath.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Robert Fulford-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Fulford.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
He was in his 80s when I met him and I think was the most effective healer I’ve ever met. He used hands on manipulation, no equipment, he charged $35 for a visit. He didn’t say much, but it was so good to be worked on by him and people would say, “When should I come back?” And he’d say, “You don’t have to come back, you’re fixed.” And he also would say things like, “You just make these adjustments and let old mother nature do her work.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Anyway, I saw him affect remarkable cures of everything from recurrent ear infections in kids to chronic GI conditions. And he really made me of the healing power of nature. Again, something missing from my medical education. And how possible it was to use low tech medicine to produce, to facilitate healing. So that was a revelation to me. And I began giving talks to medical students and I began lecturing in the medical school on alternative medicine. Nobody even knew what alternative medicine was in those days. And nobody knew the difference between osteopath and a chiropractor for example.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. I’m sure you remember.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I remember the holistic health handbook, which kind of-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yes, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Was the first, it was published in the ’70s and I took a course in holistic health I got in college in a summer program and we had this handbook that had everything from crystals to osteopathy, [crosstalk 00:07:49], it was really interesting.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. And there was a holistic medical movement in Arizona, I’m sure there was another parts of the country, but no doctors were members of it. It was nurses, psychologists, social workers. And for through the ’70s, I was talking, began writing about my ideas about health. None of my medical colleagues paid any attention to me. I got a larger and larger following in the general public, but really no one in medicine cared about what I was saying. And that didn’t change until the early 1990s, that was when Jim Dollon came to be dean of the medical college, but it was the time when the economics of healthcare began to go south. And the conclusion that I draw from that is that no amount of ideological argument moves anything. It’s only when the pocket of pocket books of institutions gets squeezed, that they begin to open to new ideas. So I was calling what I did natural and preventive medicine and then I came to use the term integrative medicine, which seemed to be more acceptable.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And the whole idea was that there are all these modalities out there, that are incredibly effective, that have basically been in the diaspora of healthcare for centuries and maybe actually be central to the most important idea that we’ve ignored, which is how do we create health?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yep.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Not how do we treat disease-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
How do we facilitate healing, which I think comes from within, but there’s also a lot of the nonsense out there. And I think the job of people in integrative medicine is to sift through it all and sort out what is useful and sensible from what isn’t.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well you’ve catalyzed literally millions and millions and millions of dollars of research on integrative medicine by bringing into academia and saying, “Look, there’s value here. Let’s look at it.” Whether it’s acupuncture and you spawned a whole generation of doctors from Ryan Berman to Tracy Godad, who worked at the VA. I mean, she tried to get me to come and run your program in Arizona, because I was at your program in 1997 at Canyon Ranch, made a week long program there and you had the white beard there, you looked the same, you don’t look any different than you did.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
That’s what people tell me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Like 30 years ago, I don’t know what you’re doing. It’s like you’re frozen in time. And so Tracy tried to get me to work for you, she ended up running the VA. Now she’s running the Whole Health Institute for Alice Walton where they funded 200 million, you’re building a new medical school, you’ve got so many people that I know that are in my network that have been your students, who now are actually driving the future change. And I imagine that’s got to be so satisfying for you to see. And you’re just not this guy at the end of the road in some ranch in Tucson, who’s telling people to go to the osteopath, you really catalyzed an entire transformation in healthcare.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. Next week on the 16th of March we are having a groundbreaking at the university for our new building, for our center-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Amazing.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Which is a big milestone. And I’m very proud of the accomplishments, it’s now called the Andrew Weil Center, which I find it hard to bring myself to say, it’s the Andrew Weil Center of the University of Arizona in integrative medicine. But we now have graduated, I think, upwards of 2,500 physicians from our intensive fellowship and they’re in all specialties, all ages. And then we’re training residents, I think 100 residencies have now put our curriculum into the residency training in a number of different fields. I think it’s a realistic goal that one day, every practitioner will have had basic education in nutrition, in mind, body medicine and the strengths of weaknesses of these other medical systems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. I think the new generation of doctors is really changing. I’m reached out to all the time, as I’m sure you are by people who want to go to medical school, who are in medical school or residency, who are like, “I don’t like this. This is not what I want.” What’s out there? And they want support and guidance and I think it’s so important. I’d love you to talk about this book, Spontaneous Healing was so influential for me. And it talked about the healing power of nature and the healing power of the body and how to activate that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we both went to medical school and we didn’t take a course on creating health 101, it just didn’t exist. And yet it’s so central because when you learn how to activate the body’s own healing mechanisms, the body knows what to do and most diseases can be taken care of by providing the right conditions. And the science of creating health is so central to integrative medicine. So talk about how do we start to think about defining health? How do we measure health? How do we create health? How have you used both food and mind, body practices and other alternative modalities to help activate the healing that you say we all possibly have access to without knowing it?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
First of all, it’s hardly a new idea. Hippocrates said, “We should revere the healing power of nature.” I mean, that was this verse precept. So to me when I ask many medical colleagues to define health, a common answer I get is the absence of disease and that’s not very helpful. I think health is a positive state of balance, equilibrium, wholeness, and major quality of it is resilience, so that you can go through life and not get thrown off balance by all the things out there that have the potential to harm you. It is remarkable that most people are mostly healthy, most of the time, when you think about all the things that can go wrong, both within the body and outside the body. I mean, it is marvelous and we never stop to think about that.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And as you said, it’s absolutely true that most diseases end by themselves and they end because the body’s healing mechanisms take care of them and we can take credit for that, but it’s not usually our doing. And I would love to see a course at the beginning of medical school, on the healing system of the human organism. I didn’t learn anything about that. It makes use of the immune system, the nervous system, circulatory system, but there are these internal healing mechanisms that keep us in balance and good medicine should start from thinking about, why isn’t healing happening here? What can we do from outside that might facilitate it, remove obstacles to it, that seems to me is our main job.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. And I think most people don’t realize there is a healing system in the body.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Actually our innate mechanisms for repair, regeneration, renewal, fighting infection, it exists and we see it. I mean, if we cut our skin, it heals.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
You cut your skin, it’s easier to talk about this with kids than it is with doctors, watch what happens when you get an owie and that same thing happens throughout the body.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And my experience is that most people have no confidence in that. And I think that’s one of the great things we can do for people, if we understand that, is to give them greater confidence in their body’s healing ability so that they can be less dependent on practitioners of all sorts.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So can you break down what are the elements of our body’s healing system? So people understand what we’re talking about.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well, clearly the immune system is central to that. That’s our major defense system, which protects us against infection and pathogenic organisms and cancer and foreign things that can harm us. But I think the nervous system is key that regulates the immune system, the nervous system connects to the mind and you can’t separate the mind from the body. And there are all sorts of ways that what goes on in our mental, emotional sphere influences what happens in our physical sphere. So it’s all connected, but at any level of biological organization that you look at, you see inherent mechanisms of repair, even in the DNA molecule itself, which if it’s injured, it begins to make repair enzymes to correct it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And one of your books was on healthy eating on how do we eat. And it was a huge influence on shifting my thinking on what to take out of my diet, what to put into my diet, how to rethink what we should be eating and how food is medicine. And that is a huge component of activating our healing system.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Absolutely. And you had asked me some questions about inflammation and its importance, and you know that I’ve developed an anti-inflammatory diet and an anti-inflammatory pyramid. And this to me is one of the great revolutions in medical thinking. When I was in medical school, I was taught that this diseases like coronary artery disease and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer were completely separate disease entities that had nothing in common.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And now it turns out that they may have a common root in inappropriate, chronic, low level inflammation. Coronary artery disease begins as inflammation of the lining of arteries. Alzheimer’s begins as inflammation in the brain. And cancer is connected also because anything that increases inflammation, stimulates cells to divide more frequently and you can’t separate those two things. Anything that is pro-inflammatory also drives malignancy. So the good news is that if all these disease processes, which are the big things that kill and disable people prematurely, have a common root, then there’s common strategies for dealing with them.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And that is to contain inappropriate inflammation. Inflammation is a critical function of the body. It’s critical to healing. It’s the way the body gets or immune activity and nourishment to an area that needs it and we all know it on the surface of the body, it’s local heat, redness, swelling, and pain, but it’s very important that inflammation stay where it’s supposed to stay and ends when it’s supposed to end. If it doesn’t, it becomes productive of disease and this is a problem I think many of us go through life, in a pro-inflammatory state. There’s lots of influences on that, but diet is a big one and it’s one that potentially we have control over.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So I think that’s really true. I remember recently I had a patient who had autoimmune disease and she said, “Dr. Hyman, would you mind talking to my rheumatologist about what my care is about?” And I was searching for the causes of inflammation. Was it her diet? Was it her microbiome? Did she have a late infection? What were the triggers? And I was like, you get those calls like, “Oh, this doctor, it’s going to be an argument. He’s not going to get it. It’s wasting my time, but I’ll do it.” I get on the phone with the guy and he is a Cedar Sinai rheumatologist, and he is like, “Oh, Dr. Hyman, I’ve been using the anti-inflammatory diet with my patients. You have no idea how well it works.”

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Fabulous. Great. I’m glad to hear it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I think there’s a shift in doctors understanding of this. You’ve got William Lee writing the book, [inaudible 00:18:28] To Beat Disease. And there’s a really increasing understanding that food is not just calories, that it’s actually medicine, it’s information and the molecules and the phytochemicals, I mean, that was your original work, was understanding ethnobotany and the power of plant compounds that actually regulate our biology. And nowhere is that more important than food and I don’t think people grasp the power of food to actually not only prevent disease, but actually to treat and reverse disease.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. And rheumatology is made to order for integrative medicine. It’s those diseases. First of all, they have a high tendency to go into remission, which is great, because you can take credit for that. The mind, body component hits you in the face. A typical story, the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in a young woman, is flare up of old joints within 24 hours of a serious emotional trauma.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And then there are these influences of diet, there are many natural remedies. So you’d think that integrative rheumatology would be a really robust field, it is slowly coming into being. We’ve had a number rheumatologists go through our fellowship and they’re interested in working together. So I hope one day that’ll be… Before we immediately turn to these very powerful immune suppressive drugs, we should try these lifestyle adjustments and see how we can modify those diseases.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And I think people don’t realize that there are ways to figure out the cause of inflammation. I had a patient who, who did an elimination diet as part of reading my book, The 10 Day Detox.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And which is essentially getting rid of you a lot of inflammatory foods and gluten was one of them. He’s like, “Dr. Hyman, is it possible that my rheumatoid arthritis can go away in 10 days?” And I’m like, “Well, yes. If it was something you’re eating.” For him, it was. Not all the causes of rheumatoid arthritis are the same. It could be a parasite, it could be gluten, it could be Lyme disease, it could be-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Environmental toxins.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Environmental toxins. Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They call those autogens which describe inflammation.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Right. Yeah. So this is, I think, a real revolution in thinking about the role of inflammation in chronic disease and ways of moderating it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So what would be your anti-inflammatory diet? Let’s break it down, if we want to, because I think what you said is so important, is that all diseases of aging and all chronic illness is really inflammatory disease at some level.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yes. Yes. So I think it starts with what you don’t eat, because the mainstream American diet is strongly pro-inflammatory. It gives us the wrong fats, the wrong kinds of carbohydrates and not enough of the protective elements, which are mostly in fruits, vegetables or spices. So the first rule is to stop refined, processed and manufactured food. That simple. I mean, that’s really what’s doing us in. So see if you can eliminate that from the diet. And then-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I remember, before you go on. I remember you on Larry King once and I heard you say, “The two things that I would recommend everybody, nonnegotiable. Get rid of high fructose corn syrup and trans fats.” And I stole it from you, because it was so brilliant. If you do that, basically you get rid of a lot of the junk out there.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well, the trans fats have mostly been phased out, but we now have, our manufactured food is flooded with refined vegetable oils, which are sources of pro-inflammatory fatty acids and they’re in there because we’ve made them cheap through federal subsidies, same with high fructose corn syrup. So that has to change, but the first step of the anti-inflammatory diet is eliminating as much as possible, those kinds of foods. Then you want to eat a wide variety of produce and I think more concentrate on vegetables and fruits because fruits can be concentrated sugar sources, but you want to eat a great variety of vegetables, of all different colors. Those all have protective elements of them. Same for herbs and spices. The most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent is turmeric, the yellow spice. Ginger, which is related also. But those are… Tea, green tea. At the very top of my anti-inflammatory pyramid is dark chocolate.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You mean your personal pyramid or is this is actually-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Everyone [inaudible 00:22:29]. No, no dark chocolate in moderation has a lot of protective compounds in it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And then I don’t believe that carbohydrates are bad foods as some of the extreme keto and paleo people believe.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I think you have to learn which carbohydrates are better and which are worse. And in general, the one that quickly digest into blood sugar and raise blood sugar. And that’s mostly things made from flour or containing sugar, those are not good. They promote inflammation. Whereas slow digesting carbohydrates, like you find in beans and winter squashes and sweet potatoes, no, those are okay.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And even vegetables, like asparagus is a carbohydrate, artichokes carbohydrates, broccoli’s a carbohydrate.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there actually, I joke and I say, carbohydrates are the most essential thing we need for health and longevity because that’s where all the phytochemicals are. Right.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not the garbage carbohydrates that we’re all eating.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. I was talking to Dan Butner the other day, the Blue Zone.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh yeah. I love him.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
We were talking about beans which have been really vilified in the keto, paleo world. And he said that one of the common threads that they’ve seen in all the Blue Zone areas is regular consumption of beans. They’re good foods. They’re cheap, they’re available, they have a lot of fiber, a lot of minerals, a lot of phytonutrients, slow digesting carbohydrate, and protein, they have everything to recommend.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. I was in Sardinia last summer at one of the Blue Zones and Dan hooked me up and I had this great adventure and one of their core staple foods is minestrone, which just filled with beans and vegetables.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so good. Really good. And it’s also getting an oil change, you also talk about getting an oil change.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. Big one, because-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think I stole that from you too.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
That’s a good one. I like that. Well, I’m a big fan of olive oil, which not only is delicious and has good fatty acid profile, but it has a unique anti-inflammatory compound in it, that’s not found in other oils. So I think that should be your main cooking oil.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s also an antiviral. It’s like a-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yes. True. And if you want an oil that doesn’t have a flavor of olive oil, my first choice would be avocado oil.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
That now has become affordable and it’s got a good fatty acid profile, high-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Everybody needs an oil change and omega-3 fats, you talk about.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And omega-3 fats, absolutely. Which probably are best gotten from the fish sources rather than taking supplements, but mainstream diet is very deficient in omega-3 and very heavy in omega-6s.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So sardines and mackerel and herring and the small fish. Right?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. And sardines. I’m a big fan of smoked kippers, which you get many supermarket, I mash them with mustard and onion and lemon.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
They’re great. And they’re cheap. This is a cheap, high quality food, good source of omega-3 fatty acid.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So true. All right. So nutrition is pretty clear. We need to get rid of the bad stuff, put in good stuff and add these protective foods. And I think a lot of people talk about what not to eat, but you’re also talking about what to eat, which is really important. It’s not just what you eliminate, but it’s actually the protective nature and some of these foods that we don’t typically have. And I know when I go to the grocery store, I think of it as my pharmacy with an F. And I literally go through with a mind of, because I understand what the phytochemicals are and I’ve studied this, I can literally go through and say, “Oh, I want to add this drug and this drug and this drug.”

Dr. Andrew Weil:
That’s great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
“This a prebiotic, and this is a probiotic food. And this has high levels of catkins and this has high levels of curcuminoids and these are high levels of gingeralls.” And I’m thinking all the time about how do I optimize my biology by getting my medicine cabinet, otherwise known as my fridge, all the right stuff.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And you mentioned probiotics and this is I think another area of tremendous revolution in medical thinking. When I was in medical school, people who ate yogurt or took acidophilus were health nuts, this made fun of. And suddenly now we’re seeing that the gut microbiome is a major determinant of physical health, of mental health, of your interactions with the environment. I mean, this is remarkable research that’s being done and then it’s worth thinking about, and what can you do to modify your gut microbiome in a good direction? It seems like one of the best strategies is to eat fermented foods and I recommend learning to make them because I make my own sauerkraut and pickles and kimchi, it’s fun and these are cheap foods and they’re delicious and they really do good things for your insides.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. I used to make my own yogurt in college, my daughter now makes kimchi and I’m like, “Am I really going to eat that?” I’m like, “I’m a little nervous.” Homemade stuff is like, is it’s going to kill me? But my daughter’s now in medical school, and it’s so fasting to actually see how little the career curriculum has changed.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yep.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And how anachronistic it is and how they’re teaching literally 19th and 20th century medicine, which is very reactive and doesn’t understand this basic fundamental question that you really called us to think about, which is how do we create health?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And still short changes nutrition, which if it is taught, is taught as biochemistry and it has forgotten as soon as the biochemistry exams are done.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And still omits mind, body interactions, doesn’t teach about what these other medical systems have to offer. So big need for change. And that’s what our center tries to do, we are remedying all the things that are not taught.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so powerful.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You influenced me highly and there was another physician that actually I met that actually ended up writing me a letter, a recommendation for medical school, named Bernie Segal, who you know well.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he wrote a book called Love, Medicine And Miracles, and he was a cancer doctor.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yep.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Who wrote about all sorts of extraordinary stories and cases of the power of the mind to heal the body and talked about basically the pharmacy between your ears.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yep.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And another good friend of yours, Ted Kadtrip, also wrote a book called The Web And The Weaver, about Chinese medicine, but he then went on to study the placebo effect.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Placebo effect. Great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And the nocebo effect. And so we don’t really think about this and when we’re in our clinic with patients, we talk about stress and maybe you should meditate and it’s given lip service. But when you actually look at the power of this and guys like Joe Despen are taking it to another level, which is a little bit of a mystery to me, but you hear these stories and like you’re like, “Wow.” And your book, Spontaneous Healing, is full of these stories. So can you share a little bit of about your understanding of this mind, body effect, how it works and how to activate it and what people can do to actually make it part of their daily life?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
First of all, I would say Bernie Segal, I think was ahead of his time and did not get a positive reception from the academic medical community to say the least. And he couldn’t believe, when I was doing this at the University of Arizona, he couldn’t believe that I was being accepted out there in an academic center, but times had begun to change. I took a course in medical hypnosis at Columbia University, right when I finished my internship. One of the most interesting courses I’ve ever taken, it was just great and that really awoken me, understanding of the power of using the mind, body connection. So I then also affiliated with a very skilled clinical hypnotherapist who was on the teaching faculty of the American Society For Clinical Hypnosis and he still teaches on our faculty.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And I remember him once saying to me that he thought that all dermatological disease and all gastrointestinal disease should first go to hypnotherapy, before you go to dermatologists or gastroenterologists, because those systems are the most frequent sites of expression of stress related disorders. Anyway, mind, body medicine is a very important part of our curriculum in integrative medicine. So it’s hypnotherapy, guided imagery, visualization, biofeedback, I mean a whole range of these things. These therapies are very time effective, very cost effective and very under utilized in medicine today. And they’re even fun for both the practitioner and the patient, but we don’t think of using them. And I think there is nothing that’s out of the reach of the mind, because everywhere you’ve got nerves, you’ve got the potential for mental influence. There’s an art to discussing this with patients because as I’m sure you know, that patients can easily think that they’re being accused of having imaginary diseases or making it all up.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Or you’re blaming them for the problem.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. Or that it’s all in the mind, which it isn’t, it’s always in the mind and the body, but you can take advantage of that connection.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So how do you understand the biology of spontaneous, having the biology of the mind, body? Because Bernie was great, I mean, it’s funny, we used to write letters back in the day when there were letters and he used to write me, he was bald and he wrote me in a purple pen and he reminded me of Harold And The Purple Crayon, which is my favorite childhood book. But when he talked about this episode of this woman who had cancer and they basically told her that they were going to give her this brand new drug that was going to cure her cancer, but it was nothing. It was a placebo and literally her cancer tumors just melted away. And then a number of years later, they said, “Well, that was really just a study and it really wasn’t a thing.” And her cancer came back and she died. And so that’s just remarkable to think about

Dr. Andrew Weil:
So again, this is another area where I think there’s been a huge change in thinking, although this still has a ways to go. I think that these new brain imaging studies that have become available to look at meditators brains, for example, and see physical changes in the brains of people who meditate or in placebo responses of finding that there are brain correlates of placebo responses. It makes it real for doctors who otherwise thought this was all black magic and wasn’t real medicine. So I think that’s changed things. There’s now a real serious placebo studies, I think it’s being looked at in a different way from the way it used to be.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And our friend Candace Perd who sadly is not here anymore, she wrote a book called Molecules Of Emotion.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And she identified this whole phenomenon of psycho neuro immunology, which is our immune system is literally listening to our thoughts and regulating what’s happening. And it regulates so many things in our body that we just are beginning to understand, like telomeres, like Elizabeth Blackburn’s work showing that for example, meditation can lengthen your telomeres.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. So I think that when I was in that hypnosis course, there is a very well documented literature of experiments, like taking a good hypnotic subject and telling them you’re touching them with a piece of hot metal and it’s a finger and they get a blister, the blister is real and you can do the opposite. You can touch them with a piece hot metal and say it’s cold and they don’t get a blister. I mean, that’s all you need to see, of how powerful that connection is and you want to take advantage of it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And so how do people listening start to incorporate these practices? What is your sort of basic go-to instructions for people to say, “Okay, we have this healing system, our mind can kill us or can cure us.” So I just asked this as an example of this cancer patient, how do you start to lean toward the cure us side of the ledger?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well, first of all, I think everyone should learn and practice some method of neutralizing the harmful effects of stress, on the mind and the body. My favorite techniques are breathing exercises, because they’re so time effective and cost effective and efficient. In addition, here’s one strategy that I use, I can’t always do it, but if you can, as a physician, introduce a patient, to someone who has their disease and is now well, that is a very powerful way of giving them a message that it’s possible to get better. I’ve had many patients over the years who’ve said to me, in retrospect, that the most important thing I did for them was that I was the only doctor they saw who told them they could get better.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I mean, that makes me sad in a way, that why doctors are so pessimistic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think it’s cover your ass medicine, which is don’t promise too much, under promise and over deliver if you can. But it’s-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Lower expectations, so you don’t get in trouble or get sued.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Exactly. I think another problem is that in our hospital training, we tend to see a very skewed population of sick people. We see very sick people and in the very sick population healing happens less regularly than it does in the general population. So I think that skews our view, but the fact is, an awful lot of doctors are pessimistic about healing and they convey that in one way or another to patients.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I know. I had atrial fibrillation and ended up having an ablation and the doctor was brilliant, she was world’s expert in atrial fib, but she read me the right act of what was possibly going to happen to me when I had the procedure, surgery done. And I was like, “A half an hour of terrifying.” “Well, you could die. And we could puncture your aorta, we could do this, you’re this rupture.” And I’m like, “Wow.” It wasn’t exactly inspiring.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I collect some of these stories, Mark, that I put under the heading of this is medical hexing. One I remember was I had a woman patient that had systemic lupus, she was pretty sick and she worked with a rheumatologist and she kept bugging the rheumatologist about what her prognosis was. She must have really exasperated him. And finally he said, “Well, put it this way. I wouldn’t buy any tires with a lifetime guarantee.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh wow.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Unbelievable. Or let me tell you one other, I had a patient from Finland, a woman who had MS and she stayed at Canyon Ranch. And just imagine, first of all, the benefit of coming from Finland in the winter and staying at Canyon Ranch, so she brightened up and she said, “You wouldn’t believe what those doctors did to me in Finland.” She said, “The head neurologist at the hospital, when he made diagnosis, said, ‘Wait here.'” He went out and came in with a wheelchair and asked her to in the wheelchair and he said he wanted her to get a wheelchair and sit in it for an hour day to practice for when she would need the wheelchair. Wheelchair practice.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s terrible.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Terrible.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And I think, you and I have seen great results and I think part of it is because we do believe. One, we believe ourselves in the power of the healing mechanisms, the body. And it’s actually not really a belief anymore, there’s so much science to back it up.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Totally.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And the patient then feels that possibility. And then they actually engage with their health more and they start to believe it and it starts to shift everything.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I think that’s one of the most important things we can do for patients is to give them-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I agree.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
That sense of confidence in their body’s ability to handle things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And I think the other thing we’re learning about is our thoughts influence everything, right? Our telomeres, our microbiome, amazing. Literally those bacteria listening to your conversations, just like Alexa. And they actually start to change and know different bugs or good bugs or bad bugs. So it’s so important to get your mindset right. And I think the mindset story is something that we don’t tell enough in medicine. We don’t teach people how to navigate their thoughts and their feelings. And none of us get any instruction on emotional intelligence. I mean, we learn reading, writing arithmetic, but we don’t learn the most important things in life, which is how to have healthy relationships, how to create health for ourselves and how to manage our money.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
But all those are key components of healthy living. And absolutely this should be taught. By the way, I think we should have robust health education starting in kindergarten and going all the way up through professional education and beginning with the idea that the body can heal itself.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. We know more about how our car works or how our iPhone works than how our bodies work for most people. And I think one of the magnificent things you’ve done, is you’ve taught people what the healing systems are in their body, from both food and mind, body systems and exercise and many other modalities, all the plants and herbs and nutrients in creating healing. And the truth is that most of health does not get created by the doctor, it gets created by your lifestyle and the [crosstalk 00:39:15] full control over, and that are not that expensive.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And sometimes you need some heroic measures, like I did, you probably might have at some point in your life, but thank God for that. It’s just not where the money is right now in terms of how we focus on what’s important, but like diabetes is the greatest example, it’s crippling our economy, globally obesity. And in America, obesity and diabetes costs, I think, 3.7 trillion in direct and indirect costs. That’s an enormous amount of money. That’s a third of our economy, just that, I mean, sorry, a fifth of our economy, just that. And yet it’s curable by food and lifestyle and exercise and stress reduction and all those things and we don’t do anything about it.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
So listen to this. This is very, I think, sobering. A few years ago, the New York Times ran a week long series on the effect of the diabetes epidemic in New York city, on the city. And one article was an economic analysis of it. So-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I read that, it’s terrifying.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Okay. For every clinic that offered nutritional counseling or preventative medical counseling, for each consult, they lost on average of 50 to $100. For every amputation of a diabetic limb, they made $6,000. So there’s the problem right there, prevention doesn’t pay. And until we can figure out how to make it pay, we aren’t getting anywhere. The whole system is corrupt, it is geared toward making money for interventions, for drugs, it is not geared toward incentivizing people to teach prevention.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I think it’s starting. I mean, value based care is concept that says, “Well, we need to get better outcomes at lower costs and you need to be accountable for the results.” I mean, think about it, if you went to your car mechanic and you gave him your car, but he didn’t fix it and charge you a lot of money, you wouldn’t go back to him. Right now we pay for healthcare, even though the results are abominable and our product fees are escalating and their costs are escalating, we’re not seeing benefit. We should be paying for results and that’s really what the system is shifting towards, what Medicare is shifting towards. The problem is doctors don’t know how to produce those results, because they just are trying to do the same things a little bit better, more efficiently.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But for example, Cleveland Clinic where I work, they had an accountable care system where they were paid a certain fixed amount for diabetes care. So if they get, let’s say 20 million a year from Medicare to cover all their diabetic patients, if it costs them 10 million to take care of them, they make 10 million. If it costs them 30, they lose 10 million. So they’re incentivized, but they still don’t know what to do. They still don’t understand that they should be providing food for the patients like they did at Geisinger, where they showed an 80% reduction in cost by giving the patients food, as opposed to drugs. We’ll pay for the drugs, we’ll pay for insulin and all the medications and the amputations and the doctor’s visits and the bypasses, but we’ll pay for a few dollars worth of food, which is insane.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Right. Well, I’d love to see all this change.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I think it’s coming. I think it’s coming. Hopefully we’ll get there. I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about longevity, because I know you wrote a book many years ago called, Healthy Aging.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And that was honestly way before the rest of the world is waking up to these concepts that now are hitting the mainstream around longevity and you’ve got all the tech billionaires really interested in this now and putting billions of dollars into longevity research. You’ve got it being a recognized discipline in science now, where it was a stepchild, but why should we study age when we all get old and we can’t do anything about it. And I think the truth is we can’t. And I just did my biological age test, it’s a DNA methylation test and I’m 62, I think I was 35 when I met you. I’m 62 and biologically I’m 43.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Oh great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so we have the capacity, if we know what to do, to regulate our aging process and often what we see is abnormal aging, it’s not actual, a necessary consequence of getting older. We all get older, but we don’t have to age in the same way. So what have you learned for yourself personally, and also from the science about how we need to think about our longevity and actually turning the clock back?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Okay. Well, first of all, I remain skeptical of life extension. I don’t think we’re going to be able to do much about extending the human lifespan, I think it’s relatively fixed, but so I would say rather we should focus on being healthy as we age and the real question is it necessary get sick as you get older? We see that when people get past the age of 60, 65, a lot of them develop heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, is that inevitable?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And I think it’s not, I think it is possible to separate the aging process from age related disease. So then the goal is to live long and well, and have a rapid drop off at the end. So the technical term for that is compression of morbidity, so you’re trying to squeeze the time of disability and decline at the end of life into a shorter period as possible. And I think you do that by applying all of the methods that we know, all the lifestyle methods that we know that influence health, as you go through life, starting with diet, getting adequate rest and sleep, regular physical activity, attending to stress, all of these things that we know about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. And I think the work by Dan Butner as we mentioned earlier has really helped us identify what are the default mechanisms in these cultures where they live to be 100, I mean maybe the upper limit, it was 122 of the oldest lived person, but most of us potentially could get to 100 if we took away a lot of the insults, now that we’ve dealt with infectious disease mostly, and we’ve dealt with sanitation, we’ve dealt with the vaccination diseases. And now we have the opportunity if we actually shift into a way of living that creates health, to actually-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Now there are a lot of centenarians around these days, they used to be quite rare, but now there are a lot of them, but if you look at them, most of them are sick. Most of them are not doing that well. And that’s not the goal. I mean, you don’t want to just live to high number. You want to live and be able to enjoy life and feel good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Exactly.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
That’s the real challenge, is how do you stay well as you get older?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think that’s right. And I think I was in Sardinia last summer and I met this guy Pietro, who was 95, had just stopped his shepherding work at 95 and was a hiking five miles every day up and down the mountains, he was bolt upright, booming voice, clear eyes. I’m like, “Wow, you’re 95 years old.” And he was sitting there, chatting with his friends and had been eating their traditional diet for years and doing natural activities and built the community. And so all those are defaults and we’ve lost all those defaults, we’re all isolated and lonely, we eat crap food, we don’t move our bodies, we’re under chronic stress.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There was a guy named Sylvio, I met in Sardinia. I said, “Sylvio, tell me.” He was a shepherd and was living on the top of this mountain and I think his family had been there for thousands of years. And I said, “Sylvio, do you have any stress?” And he kind of looked at me like I was a little funny question. And I said, “Stress, like when things are difficult.” He said, “Oh.” He thought for a minute, he goes, “Well, sometimes at night when a goat gets out, I have to go get it.” I’m like, “Oh God.” That’s stress.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I think we are just so inundated with so many insults and it takes a heroic effort to redesign your life, to actually create the conditions for having your health span equal your lifespan, which is what you’re talking about. I mean, the average person in America, I think the last 17 years of the life are spent in poor health and disability. So if you live to be 60, maybe your health band’s 60, but to the next 20 years, you have no health and that’s not good.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. Now, when you look at some of these people that are old and doing well, they’re all over the map, you can find some who smoke and drink moderately. And I talked to one Russian woman who was 103, I think, and was asked about the secret of her longevity. She said, “I never eat vegetable.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s true.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
But I think one of the commonalities that I see is very good social connections.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Social and intellectual connections as you go through life. I think in our culture, an awful lot of older people become isolated. That’s probably gotten much worse during the pandemic, but social isolation I think is a great underminer of health and healthy longevity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And I think I might have read it in your books, but if you belong to a bowling club or a knitting club, it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you belong to something and have some connection, it actually creates some kind of downstream effects. And I think the science of this is fascinating. I don’t know if you’ve dug into this whole research around sociogenomics, which is the-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I haven’t.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Power of so social connections to influence our immune system and our gene expression and you know about the work that in of entrainment, I think I read, you wrote about it, which is where, if you’re in a room with someone, you’re having a heart centered connection and you’re both wired up to EKG and EEG, you can literally see the other person’s heartbeat in the other person’s brain. And so I think there’s so much to this that we’re just beginning to understand about that the biology of these social connections and it’s not just an abstract idea, there’s always a mechanism underneath it.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Absolutely. I saw research from Japan, which nobody here knows about, showing that laughter can actually turn off genes involved in prostate cancer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Amazing. I mean, talk about a mind body interaction. I mean, that’s laughter in genes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s powerful.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you knew Norman Cousins and I think his book, The Anatomy And Illness, also really influenced me when I was in my 20s.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yes. Same.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he had ankylosing spondylitis, which is an autoimmune disease and decided he wasn’t going to take the advice of his doctor, but he was going to watch Laurel and Hardy movies and the Mark’s Brothers and laugh.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Laughter is way to good help.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. That was great. Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s so powerful. And for you, Andy, what are the things that you incorporate in your life now? I don’t even know how old you are, because you look the same as you did when I met you 30 years ago.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I’m going to be 80 in a couple months.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No. Amazing. God, you look… Mazel tov, you look fantastic.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So your, obviously, mind is bright, your skin is clear, your eyes are good. I mean, what are you doing day to day, given all that you’ve learned in your lifetime and all the amazing access you’ve had to the leading edge research in how to keep healthy? What do you do?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well, I follow my own dietary advice. I eat an anti-inflammatory diet, varied all the things that I should be doing. I try to be physically active, I walk, as my favorite physical activity. I have two big dogs that take me for walks and I think being with companion animals is a healthy strategy. I like to laugh and I like to spend time with friends and cook. I really attend to good rest and sleep, I do my breathing exercises. I keep engaged in the world and my teaching certainly provides that. I can’t imagine retiring. I mean, that’s just not of interest to me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I think that’s so key. I think look at the data on retirement, it actually is a death sentence.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. I mean, I’m sure you’ve seen that too, within six months of retiring, many men get really sick or die.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So are there any things that you do that are a little bit extra, you’ve written a lot about supplements and nutritional deficiencies and you’ve recommended a lot of supplements over the years. Where are you at with that now? And what is your thoughts about what you should be-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I take vitamin D, I take CoQ10, I take an antioxidant mix, I take some extra magnesium. I use a variety of mushroom supplements, which I think are really good for immune health. I think that’s basically it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And there’s a lot of work you’ve done in the world of mushrooms. You’ve been very into mushrooms.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we’re entering a mushroom renaissance here.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Quite amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So many friends are starting companies with mushrooms. I have a friend who started a company called Hero Technologies, which essentially using mycelial technology to digest the diaper and the poop.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
How great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it actually can eat all the plastic in landfills. It’s really, it’s amazing.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And there’s this whole field of psychedelic assisted therapies.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And for trauma and depression and end of life therapy, it’s quite amazing to see. Paul Stamits, I know you’re close with, is now getting a lot of attention, is creating these micro dosing stacks. And how do you see the emerging research around mushrooms, both therapeutic mushrooms, adaptogenic mushrooms, and also the psychedelic mushrooms? And I want to draw on your botany background to give us a deep dive into this.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well, I got interested in the therapeutic benefits of mushrooms a long time ago, and I was one of the first people to write about them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You were.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
And try to get people to do research on them. And I first came onto this from looking at traditional Chinese medicine, where mushrooms are highly esteemed as remedies. And there’s been almost no research in the west on them. So I think, especially for immune modulation, for increasing resistance to viral infections, cancer, there’s a lot there. That’s a big area of research. The psychedelic mushrooms, this is part of the whole psychedelic renaissance that’s happening now, it’s long overdue and I think it’s a good thing. And maybe this is the one thing that can save our culture, frankly. I think we’re in so much trouble. And it may be that this is the consciousness change that can happen. It’s possible. In some ways I can’t believe how it is penetrating mainstream culture. I saw an article, listen to this, and this was a month ago, in Town And Country Magazine, of all things, Town And Country Magazine titled, Why Is Everyone Smoking Toad Venom?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
In Town and Country.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I mean, unbelievable. And Vogue had a cover story on psilocybin a few months ago. I mean, this is really out there now. And when I was traveling before the pandemic, didn’t matter what subject I was talking on, healthy aging and inflammatory diet, integrative medicine, I would get about psychedelics. People are curious, they want to know, they want access to it. It’s happening. I think it’s a good thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And how do you think that this movement is going to end up? You think we’re going to legalize it? You think it’s going to be part of our traditional medical therapies for chronic condition? I mean…

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. I think we’re going to see, first of all, I think MDMA will be made available for posttraumatic stress disorder. Psilocybin for drug resistant depression, a few other things like this. I think there will be more and more people trained in how to use psychedelic therapy. So that’s one movement that’s going to happen. The other is I think just penetration of the general culture that people are going to be micro dosing and experimenting. So I don’t know exactly how it’s going to play out. And I have some worries about, are big companies going to try to take it over and control it? I don’t know. We’ll see.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s a lot of public companies that are now investing in psychedelic, mushroom technologies. I think, Paul Stamits, I heard him speak recently and he talked about his work he’s doing around dementia, Alzheimer’s, using micro dosing and using a stack of lion’s mane and psilocybin and [inaudible 00:55:20] and it’s fascinating research to show the impact on these neurodegenerative diseases. How do you think that’s working?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Don’t think we know enough yet. I don’t think we have enough data, but it’s promising, it’s a promising area of research. So I think we should follow it and see what happens.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you said something very provocative, which is basically, if all Americans took mushrooms, magic mushrooms, that everything would shift and why do you say that and what does it do to the brain and how does it change our perceptions in ways that shift things toward a more-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
There’s an awful lot of experiential evidence of people having very radical shifts in how they perceive the world and their relationship to it, as a result of psychedelic experiences. And I think some people become very aware of the environmental crisis and how they behavior influences it, or their connection with nature, connection with other people. We need a change in consciousness if we’re going to avoid disaster.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Things seem to be heading in a very bad direction on all fronts. And I think the only thing that can avert it is a change in consciousness and the only agents that I see out there that have potential to do that are psychedelics, not just mushrooms.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s really true. And I think it got such a bad rap, but it was really a key part of psychiatric research back in the ’50s. And Michael Paul did a great job in how to change your mind, about mapping out how that’s all unfolded and why we got so sidetracked and now it’s all coming back. And I don’t know about you, but I would say the experiences I had in college and now I think it’s okay to talk about it because people-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah, sure.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Most people might not say anything about, but I definitely had the experience of it in the ’70s and it was a thing. And I remember always doing it in a sacred container of nature with friends, not just going to parties and taking a bunch of drugs, but actually having a very intentional experience. And it really profoundly affected the way I saw the world, the way I saw myself, what mattered to me, understanding the intersection and connectivity between things. You and I are similar that way, we see the patterns and the data, we see the way things are connected. We see the ecological view, you’re an ecological doctor. I think that’s really what we’re doing, is ecological medicine.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I think that hugely influenced me and started to shift my thinking towards more of this kind of medicine. Was that something that happened to you? I know you went to South America, you had all these experiences.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. But I began experimenting with psychedelics when I was in college, long ago.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That was Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Right. But I think a profound influence on my way of thinking and my way of thinking about medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And what happened? What were some of the experiences that you had?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well, I think some of it was really seeing very graphically, what was inside my head was connected with what was my head and that I could change things out there by changing things in here.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s so powerful. And then there’s a whole other class, I think that are now, also mushrooms that are arising, that are therapeutic mushrooms, that we really haven’t taken advantage of. That I’ve been using a lot more personally, that I’m using on my patients, cordyceps, reishi, maitake, shiitake, lion’s mane.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
All these incredible mushrooms that-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
But these have been long used in Asian medicine and Japanese medicine, Chinese medicine, Korean medicine, and they’ve been extremely valued and they’ve been unknown in our part of the world until recently.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
So I think they’re good to incorporate into the diet, the edible ones and to consider taking as supplements.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. I actually eat a lot of mushrooms. I eat shiitake and maitake mushrooms, you can buy a whole variety of mushrooms, not those little white button mushrooms, which aren’t that great.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. That’s the only thing we had available for years. And now suddenly we have all these new mushrooms available.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And the science behind them is quite amazing, impressive. Lion’s mane helps the brain heal and-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah. Yeah. There’s a very robust body of research accumulating now on these mushrooms, they were ignored for so long.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Do you take any of the supplemental mushrooms as powders or-

Dr. Andrew Weil:
I take capsules, mostly capsules of lion’s mane, cordyceps.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I actually make a smoothie in the morning and I have the powders and I just mix all of the different mushrooms in my smoothie and I don’t really notice that, it’s fine.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Great. But some of them taste great too, because maitake, shiitake, these are delicious edible mushrooms.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And there’s companies like Sigmatic that now you can make mushroom teas. And a lot of companies are emerging that are making this really quite accessible.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
A good thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So what’s your dreams and goals for yourself for the next 30, 40 years?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Well that’s extremely optimistic. I want to see the field of integrative medicine get on a very solid footing. I’ve always said one day we’ll be able to drop the word integrative, it just be medicine. And maybe that’s not that far away. I’ll be very happy to see that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I think that’s great. And I think you are such an important figure in healthcare and unfortunately it takes so many decades for things to change and you’ve just been at this for, gosh, now five decades.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
But I feel lucky that I’ve been able to see these changes in my lifetime because I think a lot of people don’t get to live to see the effects of their work and I do. So it makes me very happy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s great. And again, you influenced me so deeply and helped me get on this path and helped me realize there was a path.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you were catalytic and instead of following your footsteps at Canyon Ranch, felt really awesome for me. And it was just so beautiful to actually have that support of your perspective as a foundation for stepping out of the traditional format of healthcare.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Thanks for telling me that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I don’t think I’d be Dr. Mark Hyman if it wasn’t wasn’t for you.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Andy, thank you so much for all of your work, for your whole lifetime dedication and persistence. And I know you’re not stopping, you’re still going, you’re still working and still teaching us things and helping us to see that there is a way to think differently about our health, from the perspective of activating our own body’s healing system. That was probably one of the most important insights I ever had as a doctor, which is we have healing system, really? What?

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not just about and surgery. So thank you so much, Andy, for being on the podcast.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
Yeah I enjoy talking with you. Good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I look forward to what’s coming next for you and of course, everybody who listens to this podcast, share with your friends and family on social media, subscribe where you get your podcasts and go follow Andy. Go to drweil.com. Follow him on Instagram @Drweil. Check out his books. I mean, I love Spontaneous Healing, Eight Weeks To Optimal Health. I mean, those are from my favorites. Healthy Aging and there’s many, many more. And of course, Chocolates And Morphine was really way ahead of its time. Which was, I think, your first book.

Dr. Andrew Weil:
No, Natural Mind was my first book.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh Natural Mind. Okay. Okay. It was all about the psychoactive components in our food and medicines and mushrooms. So thanks Andy, for being the visionary that’s helped us all follow in your footsteps and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Closing:
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 health.

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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