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Episode 533
The Doctor's Farmacy

Answering Your Questions About Leaky Gut, Lewy Body Dementia, Low Thyroid Function, And More

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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Today, as part of my Masterclass series, I’m answering questions submitted by my community through the new video app HiHo. I am joined by my good friend and podcast host, Dhru Purohit, to discuss a range of topics, including Lewy body dementia, the ketogenic diet, why fried foods are not a healthy choice, low thyroid function, gut health, and much more. Find a link below to follow me on HiHo and we may select your question for a future episode!

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

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

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

It’s the perfect time to upgrade your wardrobe! Vuori is offering my community 20% off your first purchase. Just head over to vuori.com/farmacy to claim this deal.

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

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.

 
Dhru Purohit

Dhru Purohit is a podcast host, serial entrepreneur, and investor in the health and wellness industry. His podcast, The Dhru Purohit Podcast, is a top 50 global health podcast with over 30 million unique downloads. His interviews focus on the inner workings of the brain and the body and feature the brightest minds in wellness, medicine, and mindset.

Show Notes

  1. The UltraThyroid Solution
  2. The Irritable Bowel Solution
  3. Dr. Izabella Wentz
  4. Exploring alternative treatments for Helicobacter pylori infection
  5. Current knowledge on alleviating Helicobacter pylori infections through the use of some commonly known natural products: bench to bedside
  6. Medicinal plants in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections

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. Mark Hyman:
On today’s podcast, we’re going to dive deep into Lewy body dementia, low thyroid function, leaky gut, H. pylori, and lots more. So stay tuned.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey, everybody. It’s Dr. Mark Hyman. Welcome to a new series on The Doctor’s Farmacy called Masterclass, where we dive deep into popular health topics, including inflammation, autoimmune disease, brain health, sleep, blood sugar, and lots more. Today, I’m joined with my friend, my business partner, and the host of the Dhru Purohit Podcast, Dhru Purohit himself, and we’re so excited to do something really different and fun, which is we’re answering community questions that you’ve submitted by a new video app called HiHo. So you can follow me on HiHo and submit your questions there, and you might see them on the podcast. So today, we have a wide variety of questions and I’m going to turn it right over to drew Dhru.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, a pleasure to be here, excited to jump into all these great questions. By the way, if you don’t know about HiHo, you can find the link in the show notes. It’s a great place to ask questions to Dr. Hyman, and we’re going to be doing a lot of these regularly. We’ll use your questions as an opportunity for Mark to not only answer, but a little bit of an opportunity for me, a seasoned interviewer, to try to pull up the deep dark gems that Mark has on all these incredible topics so we can all-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Are they dark? Are they light?

Dhru Purohit:
You know what? I don’t know why I said dark, dark as in, I just think I meant deep. Yeah, golden gem. That’s a better word.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Deep, deep, and the deep recesses of my mind somewhere. Someone once said I’m like a jukebox. You put in a quarter and out comes everything you want.

Dhru Purohit:
I should have just kept it to that. You’re a jukebox. So Mark, we’re about put in a quarter with the first question that we have from Gary in your community who asks about Lewy body dementia, and we’re going to tee up his video clip over here.
Gary:
My mother passed from Lewy body dementia as did my comedy and adult childhood idol, Robin Williams, who was suffering when he passed. I’d like to know everything you know. Are there any successful treatments? Have people rebounded? Is there any potential cures?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Gary, thank you so much for that. Sadly, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to treat Lewy body patients, but the good news is there’s something you can do about it. Lewy body, for those people who don’t know what it is, is a form of dementia that’s a combo between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. So it’s like dementia with a lot of motor features. So it affects this part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which controls motor function, but also has far reaching effects throughout the brain.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When we talk about dementia, there’s no such thing as dementia. There are dementias, and they’re all different, and they have different causes even, for example, Alzheimer’s may have very different causes. Dale Bredesen, who we’ve had on the podcast has talked a lot about their various causes, whether it’s inflammatory triggers, mold, toxins, Lyme, blood sugar issues, insulin, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal dysregulation. There’s all these things that drive brain dysfunction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there’s dementia that’s classified as Alzheimer’s, dementia that’s Lewy body, dementia that’s called vascular dementia from little mini strokes. At the end of the day, we had to think broadly about what the root causes are. So while on the pathology it may look the same, in other words, when you take someone’s brain, you cut it open after they die and you look at it, you’re going to see the same pattern of cellular dysfunction and the same kinds of pathology on the slides amongst all the people with Lewy body or amongst all the people with Alzheimer’s, amongst all the people with vascular dementia, but that doesn’t mean the causes are the same.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So while I’ve seen patients with Lewy body, they’re different from each other. I just recall one in particular who was quite disabled, who I got pretty late in the process, and in the functional medicine approach, even if I’ve never seen a case of this particular disease before, I know what to do because I’m not treating the disease, I’m treating the body, I’m treating the system, I’m creating health, and I’m removing all the impediments to health and adding in all the ingredients for health, but when I do that, the body’s innate healing system starts to activate. It starts to repair and start to renew and heal.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s actually shocking to me because I’m so brainwashed still by medical school. I’m so brainwashed to think that, “Oh, this is impossible,” even though I know after 30 years of practicing functional medicine that it is, I’m still shocked when I try this and it actually works. I’ll just share a case of a patient that’ll help you illustrate what we can do and what we did find and what actually matters.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This patient was about 85 years old, a woman who really was struggling. When she was brought to me, she was unable to walk. She was in a wheelchair because of the motor dysfunction. She came to my office. We had to have three people pick her up and she was a little lady. We had three people who literally pick her up to stand on the scale to weigh her. She was unable to run her business affairs. She had really a very large successful business, and was on the board, and was heavily involved, and was just no longer functioning. She couldn’t go out anymore. She couldn’t socialize anymore. She was really home bound and wheelchair-ridden, wheelchair, is that ridden, ridden? Wheelchair bound, wheelchair bound, wheelchair bound.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She was referred to me by a friend, and her son and her and I talked for a bit, and she really had trouble speaking. She had trouble talking because of the motor effects. I was like, “Well, gosh! I don’t know if there’s anything I can do, but let’s take a look.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it turned out, even though she was thin, she was diabetic and her blood sugar was very poorly controlled because she ate a lot of carbohydrates. So she may not have been overweight, but she was over fat and under lean. In other words, she was what I would call metabolically obese normal weight. She was thin on the outside, but fat on the inside, and all the metabolic parameters around blood sugar were just way off.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She had also a lot of gut issues and had never really had normal bowel movements, was severely constipated, uses colonics and enemas and laxatives for years and years and years and years. Then she had all these weird other things. She had all these migratory rashes, all of her body, which were yeast infections on her skin, on her breasts and everywhere.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She kept getting these shots from her doctor for energy, which were steroid shots, which is I think criminal. Yes, it’s great to have if you’re climbing Mount Everest and you’re going to die, you take a steroid shot like Decadron and adrenaline shot so you can get off the mountain, but it’s not meant to be used for people who are just a little tired. It’s basically the stress hormone and it causes the brain to shrink. It causes diabetes. It causes all kinds of muscle wasting, hormonal dysregulation, low growth hormone. I mean, it’s just a disaster to be taken on a regular basis.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So this was contributing to her problem, and she also was really significantly nutritionally deficient in many, many nutrients, including B12, folate, B6. So she had tremendous gut issues, she had diabetes, and she had significant nutritional deficiencies and hormonal dysfunction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I looked at the whole picture and I said, “Well, let’s just start to rebuild your system from the ground up.” So the first thing we did was clean up her gut, and she turned out she had tremendous amounts of yeast from all the steroids and antibiotics she’d been on. She was severely constipated, which can go along with yeast overgrowth or we called SIFO, small intestinal fungal overgrowth, which is similar to SIBO, which is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. She was bloated, distended, uncomfortable.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we got her gut normalized. I gave her an antifungal. I gave her probiotics. I gave her a whole gut repair program, gave her magnesium. I took away all the laxatives and got her on MCT oil, vitamin C, magnesium, which really helped bowel movements. So she started normalizing her gut, which is great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then we actually also addressed the blood sugar. So we put her on a modified ketogenic diet, extremely low carbohydrate, higher in fats, and the brain loves this, and particularly in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, there’s really good data showing that a ketogenic diet can be really helpful symptomatically, and I’ve had many other patients with Alzheimer’s, when they get pretty bad, I’ll often try a ketogenic diet when I see them slipping and it’s remarkable. It’s like the light bulb goes on in their brain because the brain works much better on fat than sugar, which contradicts everything we learn in medical school, which is that your brain takes up 25% of your energy requirements as glucose, sugar. So you need sugar for your brain.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Actually, sugar is poison for your brain. Yes, you need energy for your brain, but that energy can be obtained through a very low glycemic diets and particularly through ketones, which are much more efficient and cleaner burning fuel than sugar and can be derived from things like MCT oil, which is a great source of fat that actually turns into ketones in the body and helps mitochondrial function.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The other part of dementia, Parkinson’s in particular and Lewy body, is that it’s a mitochondrial problem, which is an energy problem. So there’s an energy deficit inside the cells, which makes it difficult to move and think into all the things we want to do. So I basically clean up her gut. I got her diet sorted to be extremely low glycemic, full of phytochemicals, super high in fat, very low sugar, starch, and her blood sugar normalized. Her gut normalized.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then I started upregulating some of these B vitamin pathways that have to do with brain chemistry that can be contributing to dementia like B12 deficiency. She was on acid blockers, all kinds of drugs. I had to take her off of it. These people are in polypharmacy. I once visited a patient at home, was a mother of a friend, another patient, and she was on 22 different prescription drugs, which is terrifying, and all the drug interactions and all the side effects, I mean, I don’t need know how that happens. It’s like you see one doctor, they give you a drug, you see another doctor, they give you a drug, and nobody’s talking to anybody else. It’s the failure of modern medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I clean up her gut. I got her blood sugar under her control. I optimized her pathways around methylation, B vitamin status, and I also gave her some hormonal support. Her thyroid was off. Her sex hormones were low. So I basically just tuned her up. I just optimized her systems from a functional medicine perspective. I didn’t know what would happen.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I thought, “Oh, well, hopefully, she’ll feel better, at least she’ll be going to the bathroom and her blood sugar is controlled,” but it was a miracle. Literally a miracle, Dhru. I went to visit her at her apartment in New York. I made a house call and I was shocked. She literally got up out of her wheelchair and she walked down the hall unassisted. I was like, “Holy cow!” Her verbal fluency increased. She was able to get back and do her business. She recorded another album. She wrote a book. It was like, “What happened to her?”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I really learned so much from this case because just by applying these foundational principles about restoring health in the gut, in hormones, in blood sugar, in mitochondria, and also optimizing these pathways around biochemistry that are so important for brain function that have to do with methylation, sulfation, detoxification, she really improved so dramatically.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I wouldn’t have thought this was possible, but the good thing about her was that she had a team. So she had a full-time nurse, 24/7. She had somebody cooking for her. She could afford what I was asking her to do and had the setup to do it at home, and by simply following the principles and, by the way, Benjamin Franklin said it very well, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So an ounce of prevention is early on. You don’t have to do much to stay healthy, but if you’re really, really sick, you need a pound of cure.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So she was needing the pound of cure so it was a very intensive program, but she did it, and the results were really remarkable. I think that people out there listening need to be aware that while we’re seeing rise in case of dementia and Parkinson’s and Lewy body and it seems hopeless right now because traditional medicine just failed at this. There’s been I think over $2 billion of studies, over 400 clinical trials studying all sorts of drug interventions and every single one of them has failed. Even the new drug that “got approved” is joke. It’s super expensive. It doesn’t really make that much difference. It’s incremental, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
“Oh, I’m going to keep you out of the nursing home, extra three months. That’s a blockbuster drug.” No, it’s terrible. It’s like, “That’s not a metric.” So the metric is, can you get back to life? Can you do the things you like to do? Can you socialize? Can you walk? Can you talk? Can you think? Can you be engaged in your life in a meaningful way? That’s the result she got.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think people listening might think, “Oh, God! That’s crazy, Dr. Hyman. That can’t be true. That’s just an anecdote. Where’s the science? Where’s the proof?” Blah, blah, blah. I would just say to you if there’s one case like this, then doesn’t that merit a lot of investigation? We should be literally pouring billions of dollars of federal money into these kinds of research projects. Yet, it doesn’t get funded because they’re like, “Oh, we have to study everything separately. Well, let’s just study blood sugar. Okay. Let’s just treat mitochondria. No, no, let’s just treat the gut. No, let’s just give the B vitamins. No, let’s just this one thing.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, “No. The body is a system. If you want to grow a plant, you’re not like, “Well, I’m just going to give it sunlight, but no soil or water,” or “I’m just going to give it soil, but no water or sunlight.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, “No. You need all the things that are required for health.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like, “Well, let’s just see what works. Water’s good for you. So we’re just going to have you drink water for a year and see what happens.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
“Well, you’ll die.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They’re like, “Okay. Eating is good. Vegetable is good for you. So all you’re going to do is eat vegetables, but you can’t drink water.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
“Well, you’re going to die.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we have to understand that the body is an ecosystem, and that’s what functional medicine is all about. It’s about helping restore the ecosystem of body to a more balanced state and optimizing the functional systems that determine our health. So if you’re out there and you have dementia or you have someone with dementia in your family or Lewy body or Parkinson’s, it’s a lot of work, but it can be dealt with more effectively. It’s one of the most satisfying parts of my practice because people get their life back.

Dhru Purohit:
So many layers there, Mark. I have a thousand followup questions for you. I’m going to get into it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. Go.

Dhru Purohit:
So number one, thank you for sharing that story. I hadn’t heard that one, and that was a really beautiful and touching story. So a few themes that I want to get a chance to pull back from. Number one, you mentioned Dale Bredesen. He’s been on your podcast before. You’ve had many conversations with him. He has a network called Recode, I believe, where he has a whole list of practitioners all around the country that are trained in his protocol. Is that one step? If somebody is in this position or has been diagnosed early, should they consider going to them? Obviously, we don’t have any formal affiliation besides being a fan, right? Just want to make that clear for everybody, but is that one step to go find the right practitioner?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure. For sure. So Dale is an amazing guy. He’s a research neurologist. So he is a neuroscientist, who worked at the Buck Institute on aging, and was an academic scientist. His wife was a doctor as well, but she was a functional medicine doctor and she was always pushing him a little bit. I think my book, The UltraMind Solution, came out in 2009 and he read the book and he, through reading the book, realized that the things that I was observing clinically and the results I was getting clinically were the things that he was seeing in the laboratory on the bench that hadn’t quite reached clinical practice yet, but actually, it had through functional medicine and that led him down this path of rethinking everything he’s doing and looking as a neurologist, as an Alzheimer’s expert, as a dementia expert, looking at these principles and starting to apply them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So he started to apply them in a loose way, and he started seeing these results, and after patient after patient, he got very serious about it, and he’s really taken this work and created not just the books he’s written, including the last one that I think The First Survivors. I think there’s-

Dhru Purohit:
First Survivors of Alzheimer’s, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right. There’s survivors of cancer. There’s survivors of heart attacks, but who’s a survivor of Alzheimer’s? Well, there are survivors now, and I’ve had many of them in my practice. So he basically took that science and combined it with the principles of functional medicine and created a scalable model online and in-person to find out what’s going on with you and it’s called Recode.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we might have a few differences around the agents here and there, but we’re 98% aligned. I think he’s done a great job of making this widespread and accessible, and to just hear him talk and hear him share the stories and, actually, there’s a documentary that they were making years ago, I saw it, I don’t know what happened to it, but it really was about all these Alzheimer’s survivors and dementia survivors.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like, “Okay. Well, if that’s true, then why aren’t we actually doing this at scale?” It’s just like everything else. I mean, we know the cure for diabetes is better food and that’s not a controversial idea. Yet, insurance doesn’t pay for it. Doctors don’t know what to do with the information, and they just keep prescribing drugs.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we’re in the same situation with pretty much everything else that works in medicine. That isn’t mainstream. It’s just marginalized because of perverse financial incentives, because doctors don’t understand it, because the research infrastructure doesn’t fund the kinds of research that shows how systems approaches work. They’re very much reductionist, “So let’s look at this one drug for this one pathway for this one disease and see if it works when we keep everything else normal,” but that’s just not how our bodies work.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s a big part of this podcast and the work that you do, even separate from … You have a nonprofit that does advocacy work and trying to lobby Congress, Food Fix, foodfix.org if people want to check it out, but I would say that this podcast that you’ve created is also advocacy work because how change happens in society is by the spread of ideas. So somebody who’s a research assistant somewhere and part of a grant application team, here’s a podcast because their sister or mother is suffering from something, and all of a sudden, it puts a little seed in their head that there’s a different approach.

Dhru Purohit:
They get excited. They talk to their manager at their research clinic or university. They start to say, “Maybe there’s something that’s there,” and that’s how momentum gets started or a doctor’s listening here, and they’re treating a high profile patient. That patient decides to start talking about your work or how they’ve been influenced by the principles of functional medicine, and momentum builds momentum.

Dhru Purohit:
So a big part of this is just spreading enough education so people get excited enough to want to look because if you try to go direct to the source and convince people, it goes back to that standard max plank quote that people know so well, “Changes in medicine happen one funeral at a time.” Well, I think it said science, but changes in science and medicine happen one funeral at a time.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Basically, the quote is science doesn’t advance by convincing your opponents and helping them see the light, but because they eventually die and a new generation grows up that’s familiar with it. That’s actually the quote, but it’s one funeral time.

Dhru Purohit:
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, one funeral at a time. It was funny because I know you’re studying longevity. Elon Musk was interviewed a couple weeks ago and he was like, the person was asking him, “All your friends or your contemporaries, Jeff Bezos, and this person, all the billionaires are exploring longevity, and they’re putting hundred millions of dollars in a space. Why are you not?”

Dhru Purohit:
He said, “The hardest thing that we have right now is that society actually progresses because the old guard dies and then a new generation comes in with a new approach, and I don’t know if we want a bunch of people living a long time who have all the ideas. They’re going to end up suppressing everybody else.” I thought that was an interesting take on the situation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s interesting. I take that personally, actually. I don’t want to be sent out to pasture. I got a lot of gifts still, so I’m never going to call it quits.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, please don’t. No.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I get it. I get it. It’s interesting. I don’t think age is necessarily a factor. It’s mindset.

Dhru Purohit:
Mindset. 100%.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When I was at Cleveland Clinic, there were doctors in their 70s and older who were extremely open and curious and really connected to functional medicine. Then there were younger doctors who weren’t, but there was just an ossified mindset amongst certain people, and it’s usually out of ignorance or fear and people don’t necessarily know or they’re unfamiliar with it. So I don’t know if age is really the determinant. It’s more mindset.

Dhru Purohit:
I’m going on record. I’m not an agist. I have nothing against anybody at any age, both younger or older. This is really about having a youthful mind at any age, youthful mind, and a youthful mind is an open mind. It’s a mind that wants to learn. It’s a mind that’s open to the idea that we’re going to change our opinions sometimes, and that’s actually how we get better.

Dhru Purohit:
If you look back at key moments in your life, those key moments of either really good things or really often challenging things, if you leaned into the lesson, they opened your mind a little bit and you saw things in a different perspective.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. This reminds me of a Groucho Marx quote. He said, “Be open-minded, but not so open-minded that your brains fall out.” So I think having a good, skeptical, critical mind is important, but also being open into exploring ideas that may be unfamiliar or may seem ludicrous but actually turn out to be right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
As I’m researching my book on longevity, I actually was talking about this whole idea of the microbiome and how the microbiome plays such a huge role in all disease and even aging. I was referencing the work of Élie Metchnikoff, who won the Nobel prize in the early 1900s for the discovery of macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell, but he also had this theory that disease was caused by imbalances in the gut, and that that was driving immune problems and inflammation and heart disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He was initially respected because he was a Nobel prize winner, but eventually, he was ridiculed for his work and people pretty much thought he was crazy. Yet, now, a hundred years later, they’re like, “Oh, yeah, the microbiome, it’s connected to everything.” So it takes a hundred years, 120 years of time to figure it out.

Dhru Purohit:
A great reminder, and still, nonetheless, we have to track on and keep on moving and push in whatever way. If we’re a drop in the ocean, let’s be the best drop that we possibly can be. Mark, a couple other clarifying points on your answer back to Gary, which was really robust. You talked about the ketogenic diet, and a lot of people think immediately bacon, eggs, and a ton of red meat, but really, what you’re talking about with keto is much different. Can you just clarify with that and how you’ve adopted keto into being something that is not all the detrimental things that come from missing key elements?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, I think people misunderstand keto. For example, it’s not a high protein diet at all. It’s actually moderate protein, high fat, low carbs, and you know what’s fascinating is this book I read years ago called Undaunted Courage, about the Lewis and Clark expedition. The food that they used to cross America and discover America in the early 1800s that sent out way by Thomas Jefferson to see what was out there and go west was pemmican, which is a Native American food that’s made up of mostly fat. It’s rendered bison fat and a little bit of protein, bison meat, and berries. So it’s basically 70% fat, 20 something percent protein, and the rest is small amounts of berries and carbohydrate. One counter that-

Dhru Purohit:
Wait. Quick question. How are they eating that? Is it all blended together? How do all those combinations-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, no, they make a bar. They make a bar. It’s like a bar. It was the original protein bar.

Dhru Purohit:
They make a bar. It was the original protein bar.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It was the original protein bar. It was a bar.

Dhru Purohit:
I think I have your next business idea. You should re-release this protein.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, actually it’s funny because I just was in Antarctica and I met this incredible man who’s coming on the podcast, Colin O’Brady, who literally summited every mountain in the world at the top peak on every continent I think in 100 days, and he literally skied across the South Pole, crossed Antarctica pulling a sled behind him with all his gear. He literally came up with these bars that were these same kind of idea, very high fat, these similar pemmican bars.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So those are ketogenic and it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. So the typical view of ketogenic is it’s saturated fat and butter and cream and eggs and bacon, but no, it doesn’t have to be that. It should be a very high plant-rich diet with lots of good fats, avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds, and some saturated fat actually can be good for some people. For some others, it may not, and we talked about this in the podcast. People like me who are thin, and lean, and athletic often have a paradoxical reaction with saturated fat, where they actually get a worsening of their cholesterol.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Whereas other patients who are very overweight, and inflamed, and diabetic, they do amazing like the people in the Virta Health studies where they literally reversed 60% of the diabetics, type two, advanced type two diabetes, people on insulin, on lots of drugs, completely reversed it with a ketogenic diet. So it, really, it depends on the person.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think you can eat a very healthy ketogenic diet that’s full of colorful plant foods, that’s full of good fats, that has moderate protein, healthy protein, and then you can do very well with it and it can be a very health-promoting diet.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The real question is, do you stay on it all the time? I think we haven’t really come up with the answer yet. There’s a whole concept of cyclical keto, which involves going on and off it. Yesterday, we did grand rounds at Cleveland Clinic with Dr. Valter Longo, who’s been on the podcast, who’s studying the effects of a fasting mimicking diet, where he talks about these periodic cyclical stresses where you eat like you’re starving. So he does it with a very low calorie diet, 800 calories a day, but it also can be accomplished with ketogenic diets that you go on and off of.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we’re still learning about this. I just saw New England Journal paper population, I haven’t to read it yet, on time-restricted eating and weight loss. So we’re still doing a lot of research learning about this, but I do think that it’s probably not good to be on all the time, but it can be very therapeutic, and it can be used in certain cases.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Cancer, for example, they’re using ketogenic diets and curing stage four melanoma and pancreatic cancer, which are incurable diseases before now, and they’re using it for brain tumors like glioblastoma, for Alzheimer’s, for autism, for Parkinson’s, for diabetes, for people with seizure disorders.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In fact, that was the first medical use of a ketogenic diet when nothing else works. This is part of what I learned in medical school. It wasn’t a new fad. The discovery was that these kids who were on a ketogenic diet, when no seizure medication would work, would stop their seizures by eating a ketogenic diet because the brain does much better on fat and it’s not so irritable and inflamed.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s great. I think one of the key themes in addition to clarifying that is, really, we’re talking about a massive reduction in sugar, which is primarily coming from all these refined carbohydrates. I’m guessing that your patient that you were talking about before, a good chunk of her diet, in addition to all of the things that she was dealing with the gut issues, et cetera, was probably heavily reliant on a lot of these processed carbohydrates.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, she was eating a lot of rice and sugar and sweets, which are not exactly good for the brain. I think even, I mean, I just got, and we’re going to have this person on the pod because I’m very curious to hear what she has to say, but the new book coming out in June 2022 called The Great Plant-Based Con, which takes apart a lot of the vegan ideology and challenges a lot of the science. So I don’t know what it says yet, but I’m very curious about it. I got a whiff of what it’s about and I’m going to have her look through it. We’re going to have an interesting conversation about it, but I just think we have to be really smart about our diet and personalize it. It has to be focused on quality. It has to be focused on food as medicine. It has to be personalized in a way to match the issues that you’re struggling with or just for promotion of your health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So that’s really why I wrote Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? and The Pegan Diet because I wanted to have a place where people can go and find a coherent view of an inclusive way of eating that actually also promotes health.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay. Before we go on to the next question, last final question off of what Gary was saying, he mentioned Robin Williams. Were you a Robin Williams fan and-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Heck, yes, Mork & Mindy.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. Anything that you want to mention about-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mork & Mindy. Yes. Actually, I met his son not too long ago, and I-

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. He’s launching a new supplement company, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yeah, yup. He’s actually interesting. I think he works with another friend of mine. It was heartbreaking because I saw, I don’t know if you all saw the movie, there was a documentary on it, and it broke my heart because I feel like he didn’t have to suffer. There was a way out. He just didn’t know about it, and nobody around him knew about it. It just makes me angry, honestly, Dhru, and I talk to my daughter who’s in medical school right now and she has a friend who’s in medical school with her and she’s got all these inflammatory weird autoimmune symptoms, and she’s been a doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist, and she’s still miserable and nobody can give her answers and they know where to look. They don’t know what to do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, “Well, this is not hard to solve.” I mean, there are root causes of inflammation in the body that link to autoimmune disease and all the symptoms she’s having and she didn’t go through them. It’s not that hard. It’s toxins, allergens, microbes, infections, ticks, microbiome, diet, stress. I mean, it’s a short list of things. As a functional medicine doctor, my job is to be a detective and to find out what’s at the root of the problem and not just cover over the symptoms.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. The last note that I’ll mention about that, Robin Williams, all the resources in the world, right? A well-off individual from well-deserved a lifelong career of making people laugh and smile and cry and all those things. So he had resources financially and still yet even, and the patient that you mentioned, luckily, she got connected to you and the Ultra Wellness Center, but so many people even with resources struggle to get the right care, and if you’re lucky enough to have resources and most people in the world are not, that’s why it’s even more important to go back to your original statement, which is about prevention.

Dhru Purohit:
If we can think about these things, if we can integrate them and not wait till we get sick, we don’t have to hope and wish that even if you have the education, you need a little bit of a nest egg to even sometimes pursue these things. We’re not going to lie. It’s expensive sometimes. Right? You were mentioning she had a cook, functional medicine tests, other things. So prevention, prevention, prevention, practicing these things now so we don’t end up in that position in the future.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, that’s the problem, Dhru, is that we don’t get taught how our bodies work. We don’t get taught how to create health. We don’t get taught the practices and tools that are easily available to all of us that are inexpensive and accessible that we can use every single day to maintain our health. I’ve learned more and more as I’ve been doing this work for decades and I keep improving and I keep getting better and I keep fine tuning myself, and I use myself as a guinea pig, but it’s really amazing to see now I’m 62 and I feel stronger, healthier, younger than I did at 42.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Even pictures, when you look at me, pictures back then, I look younger and better now, which that doesn’t even make any sense because it was 20 years ago, but that’s possible. I mean, I have a few more gray hairs, but that’s from all the hard work.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. All right, Mark. We’re going to tee up the next question.
Eric:
Mark, I’m a huge fan. Thanks for doing this. My question is what is it about fried foods, even if you’re just frying them at home? What is it about them that makes them so harmful to the internals of a human?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Eric, thanks for that question. I like French fries like everybody else, but there’s a problem when you deep fry foods, and it has to do with multiple changes that happen to the fats, to the sugars, and the proteins in the food you’re cooking. So let’s just start let’s say with French fries because that’s something that is probably the most common fried food that people eat. It’s probably. I think there’s five top vegetables. Potatoes are one of them and it’s in the form of French fries. So literally, it’s one of the most ubiquitous foods we eat, and French fries are delicious, right? They’re crunchy, but they’re made from starch and there’s also protein in the potatoes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When you deep fry them, they form something called acrylamide. Acrylamide is a carcinogenic toxin that forms from the combination of these sugars and proteins and fats fried at a high temperature. So it’s really, really dangerous. Yet, it’s in all fried foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The other thing that happens is we’ve changed the fat we use to use highly oxidized fat. So before, and there’s a great Malcolm Gladwell podcast about this, about why McDonald’s French fries used to taste better is because they fried them in beef tallow. Tallow is beef fat like lard except from a cow, and that’s what they used to fry the McDonald’s French fries.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When we used to make pie crusts, we use lard. So we used solid animal fats for frying, which are much more stable, less oxidizable, and much safer to use for high temperature cooking, but now, then we switched, by the way, to partially hydrogenated fats or trans fats, which was a disaster, which killed literally a hundred of millions of people, hundred thousand, millions of people over the years, been ruled not a safe to eat by the FDA, although it’s still everywhere. I mean, I went to the supermarket the other day and I saw Crisco and all the hydrogenated fat products. I’m like, “What is this still doing here?”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In 2015, seven years ago, the government said we shouldn’t be eating this. It’s not safe, and yet, they’ve given the food industry a long runway and a lot of loopholes to keep selling this stuff. So that was bad. Then they switched now to refined vegetable oils or seed and bean oils, which are also extremely unstable. They’re polyunsaturated fats, and under high temperature, they oxidize.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, what is oxidation? Well, that’s the process of fats going rancid or your apple turning brown that’s left out in the air, your avocado turning brown or your skin wrinkling. That’s oxidation, and when that happens, it creates a cascade of effects inside your body. That creates inflammation, damages your tissues, and in fact, your cholesterol is really not a problem unless there’s oxidized cholesterol on your blood.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So if you want to cause heart attacks and all the downstream effects of metabolic diseases, eat fried food. What was really interesting was a study that came out that a single fast food meal with fried foods had immediate effects on your arteries causing to stiff in and harden and reduce blood flow. So we really need to be smart about what we’re eating.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Do I ever eat a French fry? Yes, but I really don’t make it a habit, and it has to be a very special French fry. If you want to make French fries, you could bake them in the oven, you can have sweet potato fries and bake. There’s a lot of ways to do it that are less harmful, but I think it’s important.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Another thing is the air fryers. I don’t really use one of those. I mean, I don’t know how it works, but it seems like a good idea. I don’t know if you still get the problem because what happens is you also get these we call AGES, advanced glycation end products, which are just damaged proteins like crème brûlée, the crispy thing on top or the crust of bread or a crispy skin. It’s proteins and sugars interacting to form these products called AGES or advanced glycation end products, and they bind to these receptors on your cell called RAGEs. So we’re raging or aging. Literally, I think it was a smart acronym, and that creates inflammation through the body, aging and basically cellular destruction.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s really important to limit your intake of these foods as much as possible. I like crispy this and that like the next person, but I really try not to eat it.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. That’s great, Mark. I’ll add in a couple things to that. I have used an air fryer and I know for a lot of people who do enjoy fried foods, immediate easy step is switch to an air fryer. Don’t be deep frying and other things. Even sometimes people would go out and a lot of people who would say, “Well, I only have fries on the weekend or fried food on the weekend,” say, “Well, get an air fryer at home because that’s going to be better, at least,” but I haven’t seen the deep studies or I don’t know if anybody’s done it to know, like you said, is it that much better, but I can tell you that fried food is my kryptonite. I feel like I have a stealth virus.

Dhru Purohit:
I’ve talked about it with a few functional medicine doctors, maybe even you can have stealth viruses in your tonsils and other stuff that under a lot of stress, and it takes a lot of stress, but when I eat fried food, immediately, my entire throat swells up. I have my nodules, my tonsils, everything swells up a little bit. So I pretty much stay away-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it creates inflammation.

Dhru Purohit:
What’s that?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It creates inflammation.

Dhru Purohit:
It creates inflammation. So for me-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s basically what I was saying. It creates inflammation.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. So for me, I’m like the canary in the coal mine. I can see it immediately show up, but when I have it with the air fryer, which, again, is much more of a treat, not a regular thing in my diet, doesn’t happen to that same degree. So great answer on that. All right, Mark. So I’m going to tee up our next question from Jeanine from Delaware, my home state.
Jeanine:
Hi, Dr. Mark. My name Jeanine Fusco Lano from Delaware. Thanks for all you do. Do you recommend a company like Viome or Everly Well to find out what your triggers are in terms of inflammation and possibly weight gain? Thank you so much.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Janine, thanks for your question, and I think the head of that question is really, should we be excited about self-testing? Should we be able to actually democratize testing and allow people to find out what’s going on inside their bodies, whether it’s through food allergy testing or stool testing or blood testing or saliva testing. I strongly believe that people should be empowered with their own health data, that people are smart enough, capable enough, and with the right guidance and information, they can actually take this information and make meaningful changes to their life and health from it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I really believe this strongly, and I’ve been trying to get people to own their data for a long time. I’ve been doing diagnostic testing. When I was in medical school, the doctor never, never gave the results of the test to the patient. They say, “Oh, your lab tests are fine. Your cholesterol’s fine. Your blood chemistry’s fine. Your blood count’s fine.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, “Okay, but don’t you think the patients should be able to have a copy of their own report?” So I really struggling believe that we should be empowered with our own health data. We should be able to actually self-test and self-diagnose whenever possible.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
However, there are a lot of companies out there producing all sorts of diagnostic tests that are getting a little ahead of themselves, I think. So there’s food testing around genetics and nutrigenomics. There’s food sensitivity or allergy testing. There’s stool test companies out there, and they’re all different.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What I would say is I had someone who spent the majority of my life looking deeply into diagnostics and testing to find out what’s going on with people. They’re all over the place. So I’ll give you an example. We do split sampling on testing, but I have a lot of quantified self-devices just to try them out. So I have an Oura ring, I have a Apple watch, I have a Eight Sleep, I have different sleep apps, sleep watch. I have all this stuff. It’s just amusing to me because I’ll run them all at the same time on the same night and the same … I mean, I’ll come up with really different results and I’m like … They’re not so far off, but they’re like, “Wow! This is interesting. You said I got nine hours. You said I got seven hours. You said my sleep was 80%. This one said my sleep was 90%.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we really still in the era of fine tuning the diagnostics, and I would say these diagnostic tests should be used with caution. You shouldn’t over interpret them. Certainly, if you want to do a food allergy or sensitivity test and you find something you want to try, elimination diet for a little while, fine. Some of the stool testing companies go a little far. They look at the microbiome itself, which is what are the bugs in there? That’s helpful, but you’ve got up to a thousand different bugs. They do all kinds of different things. It changes literally with every meal. So if you take your poop on Monday or take it on Wednesday, it’s going to be different.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Even, we’ve done this, even within the same stool sample, you can sample different parts of the stool, which may represent different meals that you’ve had and they’re all different. So you can send literally the same poop from the same person on the same day to the lab, the same lab, and get three different results.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you have to take it with a grain of salt and understand the context of the test and not overinterpret the test. I literally just went over somebody’s test result, which told them to stop eating a lot of really healthy foods, which I just don’t agree with. I think we are really not there in connecting the dots between, “Oh, you’ve got this particular bacterial profile in your gut. You shouldn’t eat these 12 foods that actually are pretty healthy like avocados or almonds or whatever.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I can understand saying, “Well, don’t eat processed food and don’t eat sugar,” and that’s fine, but I think it’s a little bit of an overreach. I think we’ll get there. We’re learning, and it’s not to say that we actually should ignore those results. It’s just that we have to understand them in the context of our overall life and preferences and diet and health. So that’s how I see them. They’re guideposts, but they’re not, “This is the gospel.”

Dhru Purohit:
I always feel, Mark, a good functional medicine doctor, and there’s a lot of them that are out there and a lot of them that also do remote work with patients these days, they’ll help you understand that the best case scenario from some of these tests, especially stool tests is you’re looking for not so much the individual food that works for you or doesn’t, that’s very hard to do unless if you have a specific allergy that’s there, but most people are dealing with sensitivities and other stuff. They’re going to more help you see, is there a lot of leaky gut, for example. They’re looking at the trends and the themes, and if a lot of foods flag, especially in a particular category as being triggering on some antibody response or immune response, then that might be an indication that, “Okay. There’s leaky gut. We need to dig a little bit deeper. We need to go in that area.” So they’re taking these themes and trends, not so much the individual foods. As you mentioned, it doesn’t really feel like we’re there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, I would agree, and I would add to that that the question’s not what foods are you sensitive to or allergic to, it’s why are you so sensitive and fix that. The goal isn’t to create more restriction, but to create more resilience for people so they can tolerate a more wider variety of foods without having a problem of making them sick.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I think that often gets missed, and I think these tests are overinterpreted to say, “Oh, I’m allergic to these things.” No, you’re not allergic, you’re sensitive. Two, if you don’t deal with the reason you’re sensitive, you’re not going to necessarily going to fix the problem just by eliminating the foods. So it’s much more complex. I think the testing gives people a false sense of what’s right or wrong and what to do and not do, but it’s a much more deeper conversation about how do we heal our microbiome, how do heal our gut, how do we prevent leaky gut, how do we actually reduce food sensitivities, not increase restrictions on our diet.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Our next question is from Melissa, who has a question about leaky gut, which we just talked about.
Melissa:
Hi, Dr. Hyman. So I was recently diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism and leaky gut. I was wondering if there are some ways in which I can heal my leaky gut other than just taking the right probiotics and removing food sensitivities from my diet. Thanks.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, thank you, Melissa, for your question about low thyroid function. We call it subclinical hypothyroidism, but I don’t even think that’s the right word and how it connects to food sensitivities and leaky gut. So subclinical means you don’t have symptoms, but there’s something wrong. The truth is most people with low-grade thyroid problems do have symptoms, but they’re just subtle. So low thyroid symptoms can and be fatigue, depression, insomnia, constipation, muscle cramps, muscle twitching, menstrual difficulties, high cholesterol, all kinds of things that are just we think are “normal” but they’re not.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I do think it’s important for people to get it properly treated. The question is what’s the cause. Low thyroid function is a symptom. What’s the cause? It could be many things, right? It can be heavy metals. It can be environmental toxins, which are really common as triggers for autoimmune thyroid disease, but it also can be what’s going on in your microbiome.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The truth is that the microbiome and leaky gut are really important in discovering what often the root causes are for autoimmunity. So if you have autoimmune thyroid disease, which is maybe the case and, by the way, I wrote a whole ebook called The Ultra Thyroid Solution, which details exactly what you should do in terms of what diagnostic tests you should have, what the diet you should be on, what nutrients are important, what vitamins you should take, what thyroid you should take, how to properly look at things, and if the doctor, for example, isn’t looking at your thyroid antibodies and looking at all the thyroid tests including TSH, free T3 and free T4, they’re not actually getting a full picture, and you may actually have borderline elevated TSH, which means low thyroid, but if you have elevated antibodies, that means you have an autoimmune disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s really important to know because Hashimotos or the autoimmune disease that causes low thyroid function is often caused by gluten. It can be caused by other things, environmental toxins, but it’s also caused by gluten. How does that work? Well, gluten increases something called zonulin in the gut, and Alessio Fasano, who’ve been on the podcast, who’s one of the world’s experts on celiac and gluten is at Harvard, he first studied this phenomena in cholera and discovered that in cholera, the body produces something called zonulin, which is this protein that causes the cells in the gut lining to come apart and creates leaky gut, which is where you get diarrhea. It creates a mess and that’s why people die from cholera, but he also found that gluten causes the same thing, not the same degree, but it causes increases in zonulin, which drive the gut to become leaky.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When the gut’s leaky, basically, you’re allowing food proteins and food particles and bacterial toxins to leak across the lining of the gut, not go through the cells, but between the cells, and go right into the immune system, and 60% of the immune system is right there. So I would say a fair bit of my patients with Hashimotos or a little thyroid have elevated gluten antibodies.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, they might have full-blown celiac or they might, but even if you don’t have full-blown celiac and you have antibodies, it means there’s something wrong. It means, one, you’re exposed to gluten, two, you have a leaky gut, and three, that your immune system got pissed off and created antibodies due to COVID, right? So if you have any antibodies, there’s a problem.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, the question is, is it clinical? Are you having symptoms? Should you worry about it? Depends on your symptoms and overall degree of health, but for many people, it can be a big factor. So the key is, one, find out what the triggers are. Is it gluten? Is it something else. Two, rebuild your gut. Now, that involves, one, a program that I jokingly call the Weeding, Seeding, and Feeding Program. In functional medicine, we call it 5R, but that’s a little more complicated.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Essentially, the idea is weed all the bad stuff, get all the foods that are triggering you, all the bad bugs out, small bacterial overgrowth, fungal overgrowth, parasites, whatever you got, and then seed the gut with healthy bacteria, probiotics, and so forth, then feed it with prebiotics and healing nutrients and polyphenols, things like zinc and omega-3 fats and vitamin A and vitamin D and all kinds of things that are important, glutamine, to help repair the gut lining. So when we do that weeding and seeding and feeding program, it literally can repair the leaky gut and it can become much more resilient.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When I was really sick with chronic fatigue syndrome 20 plus years ago, I couldn’t eat anything. I literally would eat anything and my stomach would blow up like a balloon. I would feel sick. I’d get dark circles under my eyes. I’d get rashes on my tongue, sores all over my body, and I was so reactive to the foods I was eating, and I had to eat Turkey, broccoli, and brown rice for a year because I couldn’t eat anything.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then I learned how to fix my gut. I actually had to fix the mercury that was causing the leaky gut because, like I said, there’s a lot of things that can cause it. For me, it wasn’t gluten, it was mercury. Until you figure out what the issue is, you can’t fix it. For example, you might have hypothyroidism and you might have leaky gut, but the cause might not be food sensitivities. It might be the result. Food sensitivities occur as a result of leaky gut. Also, gluten can cause a leaky gut. So it’s a little complicated, but so can other things like mercury. For me, it was causing a leaky gut that made me sensitive to all the foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you have to go back and think about how do you repair the gut. We’ve had many podcasts about how to heal your gut, whether it’s inflammatory bowel disease, whether it’s irritable bowel, whether it’s reflux. These are really common problems. In fact, the most common problems people go to the doctor with are gut problems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So the good news is we know how to do this now. Unfortunately, I just saw a patient yesterday, Dhru, and it was very disturbing to me. He was a young 18-year-old man, who suffered gut issues his whole life, was on lots of antibiotics, born by C-section, and was just always bloated, distended, constipated. He was treated for bacterial overgrowth, which was the right thing to do because he had SIBO, but they just gave him antibiotics for two weeks and they said, “Okay. See you later,” and they didn’t do any of the gut rebuilding protocol, which is really important because I see many people even with full-blown celiac that don’t get fully better unless you repair their gut lining and repair the leaky gut, which isn’t going to happen necessarily from just getting rid of gluten. You have to fix the whole microbiome.

Dhru Purohit:
I want to give a shout out to one person in our network, Izabella Wentz, thyroid pharmacist, has a lot of free thyroid resources.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely.

Dhru Purohit:
You have your thyroid ebook, which is great. It hasn’t been updated in a little bit of while. So getting some of the latest information out there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s still pretty current, I think, actually.

Dhru Purohit:
The foundations are there. The foundations are there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, for sure.

Dhru Purohit:
The foundations are there. Mark, any program? This is one of the challenges is that, do you feel that gut protocols when it comes to that weeding, seeding, and feeding, do you feel like there are any standard protocols that are available or books that go deep into it and guide you through that process or is it so specific that really people need to work or think about working with a practitioner if they can?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s a great question, Dhru. I mean, I think the basics people can do, and I think we created an ebook called The Irritable Bowel Solution, which is really about using diet and a number of supplements to help with resetting your gut, and that works for a lot of people. I can’t tell you how many people who I’ve seen who I’ve never seen, I mean, who I’ve met, who I’ve never seen who said, “I followed the program. I did the 10-day detox. I did what you said, and I got better.” So a lot of people can get it better without seeing a doctor.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The problem is if you have something that needs to be treated, if you have heavy metals like I did or if you have a parasite that needs to be treated or you have really bad SIBO or SIFO, you need medication, you need to work with a doctor, but for many people, you can use diet and herbs and lifestyle and have a huge impact on your gut health.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Our last question for today, who’s asking about H. pylori.
Suzanne:
Hi. I test positive for H. pylori. I’ve tried to clear it twice with antimicrobials under the supervision of my doctor, but it’s not working. I still test positive. Is there another way?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
H. pylori is a bacteria. It’s really common that causes ulcers, but it can also cause what we call dyspepsia or indigestion, heartburn, reflux. I’ll tell you a little bit about of a backstory on it because it’s fascinating is this bacteria was seen for years by gastroenterologists on biopsies and they thought it was just this innocent bystander, and it wasn’t really causing any of the GI symptoms that they were treating. We used to think ulcers were stress and emotional issues. We used to cut the vagus nerve. I think we’d cut the nerve to the stomach as part of the treatment in surgery to get rid of ulcers, and it was terrible, and we’d give people acid blockers and all kinds of stuff, and people would have to have surgery and bleeding. It was quite a scary disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then we discovered these drugs called PPIs or acid blockers and things like Tagamet and Pepcid and Zantac, which really helped, but there was a scientist, not even a scientist, actually, a doctor, a gastroenterologist named Barry Marshall from Australia, who had this crazy idea that this bacteria wasn’t just a bystander, but was actually the cause of ulcers called Helicobacter pylori.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He’s like, “Look, I think this is the cause,” and all of his colleagues made fun of him. They laughed at him. So he did an experiment, which seems really crazy, but it really worked. So he got a beaker full of this bacteria. He drank it first before he had one of his friends who was a GI doctor scope him. So they did a whole exam, they took pictures, they looked at his stomach, and then he drank this stuff, then he waited a while, and then he got ulcers. Then he scoped-

Dhru Purohit:
By the way, can I just interject one second? I feel like doctors back in the day were so gangster. They would do experiments like that. They would-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
This was not that long ago. This was not even that long ago, Dhru. This was not even that long ago. This is since I graduated from medical school. So it’s not that long ago.

Dhru Purohit:
Wow.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Although that was a long time ago. It was like this was in 1905. This was in, I think, the ’80s or ’90s. Then he basically drank the beaker, got the ulcer, got scoped again, and then he said, “Well, I’m going to give myself antibiotics. I’m going to cure it, and then my ulcer is going to go away.” He basically did that. He basically gave himself ulcers through drinking the bacteria and then he cured it with antibiotics. This really fulfills the criteria for a causation using this concept of Koch’s postulates, which is a scientific term for basically this guy, the scientist, Koch, Koch, who basically discovered how he proved that a bacteria causes illness. So anyway, that was fascinating, and he ended up winning the Nobel prize for this discovery.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So since that time, now it’s standard of care, and we can test for H. pylori through multiple ways. We can test through a stomach biopsy, which they actually do when they do scopes, when they do an endoscopy. They put a scope down your throat and they stick it in your stomach and they can take a biopsy and they can send it to the lab and they can see it or you can do a breath test where you drink this liquid that the bacteria ferment, and you can actually do a breath test, which is probably the most accurate to see if you have an active infection or you can do a stool antigen test where you’re looking for the like we now have antigen test for COVID. It looks for the protein on the bacteria and can actually measure it, and that’s a stool test.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Lastly, there’s antibodies testing, which tells you that your body’s creating antibodies against it, like antibodies for COVID. The problem with the antibody testing, it doesn’t tell if you had an infection or you have an infection. So your cells and immune cells have memory. That’s why when you get the measles vaccine or when you get the COVID vaccine, your body remembers you had an exposure to that bacteria or that virus and it prevents and the infection by creating antibodies against it. So the antibodies can be-

Dhru Purohit:
At least that’s how it should work.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Right. That’s how it should work, right, but the antibodies don’t tell you if you have an active infection. So you have to know what you’re doing. Now, you’re asking, you’ve treated this with antibiotics, you’ve been tested. I don’t know what tests you had. I don’t know actually what happened, but what happens is often, it’s also contagious. So if your partner or your spouse or your lover has it, and they may be asymptomatic, and if you’re in bed with them, you’re going to get it again. So it may not be that you didn’t cure it, it may be that you got reinfected with it. So you have to figure out who’s in your intimate circle and get them tested, too, and they have to be treated, too, or else you going to get it to recur.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, there are cases where it’s recurrent and it may be because the treatment protocols are not effective, and there’s many different protocols, but it usually involves an antibiotic or two and an acid blocker. So it’s an important protocol to follow for two weeks, but it may not work just like antibiotics don’t work for all infections, and it may be resistant or may be a strain of each player doesn’t respond to this particular cocktail. So you might have to try two or three different cocktails of drugs to actually work, but I would encourage you to make sure you’re not in the bed or making out with somebody who might have it and get tested first.

Dhru Purohit:
Mark, I have a couple friends, dear friends of mine, who have struggled with H. pylori over years. First, I want to even add that a lot of functional medicine doctors will tell people that I think the estimates are 40% to 60% of the population has H. pylori. Is that about accurate?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s common, yes, and not everybody’s symptomatic.

Dhru Purohit:
Right, not everybody’s symptomatic. So there are people that are symptomatic and there’s people that are not. Now, the friends of mine over the years that have tried a lot of these standard protocols, antibiotics, and the H. pylori ends up coming back, in that process, they also end up destroying their gut and they end up with a lot of other symptoms on top of the H. pylori symptoms.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s a thing, right.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s a vicious cycle that I’d love to get your take on because it’s like, “Okay. Do I go back to the doctor and destroy my gut again or do I build up my resilience enough, change my diet, change my gut microbiome so at least I can manage H. pylori a little bit better?”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, I would say yes and also that there are herbal formulas and regimens at work that I’ve used so people don’t want to take antibiotics or I’ll try it first, so mastic gum and certain kinds of zinc and certain kinds of herbs and licorice. There’s cocktails of stuff that actually have been effective in my clinical experience. It doesn’t mean everybody will respond to them, but it’s often worth trying the herbal forms of treatment first and seeing if that works.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah, because that’s a whole rabbit hole. We’ll link to a couple articles. I’ll go look up some of your peers or maybe even you have written, and we’ll put them in the show notes to have additional resources for people who want to continue to dive further. Mark, those are our questions that we have here for today. So I’m going to pass it over to you to go ahead and close this out.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Dhru, thank you so much. Everybody, thank you for your questions. I really love hearing from you. I love hearing the questions. I think there are answers that often are not available easily to people who are struggling with really chronic problem, whether it’s Lewy body or low thyroid function or H. pylori or whatever you’re struggling with. I think that’s the beauty of functional medicine that it’s really a map for how we navigate this territory of chronic illness that up to now we really haven’t had a good map for, and that’s really the purpose of the whole field of functional medicine is to help people deal with these chronic issues.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I’m just really glad you’ve offered your questions, and I’d like to hear more of them, and I love answering them. So this is awesome. Thank you all for listening because this has been really fun. I just want to engage with you more and more. So please, please send your questions, and that’s pretty much it for today’s masterclass. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of this masterclass in The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you loved this episode, share with your friends and family, leave a comment. Have you dealt with these conditions? Have you discovered ways that work? We always love to learn. Subscribe wherever you get your podcast and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Speaker 1:
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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