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Episode 536
The Doctor's Farmacy

Answering Your Questions About Sugar Cravings, Migraines, Weight Loss, 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

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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 sugar cravings, migraines, acupuncture, chronic pain, 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, Paleovalley, and InsideTracker.

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.

Paleovalley is offering my listeners 15% off their entire first order. Just go to paleovalley.com/hyman to check out all their clean Paleo products and take advantage of this deal.

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

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

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 Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet
  2. The Functional Medicine Approach to Ending Migraines
  3. How to End Migraines
  4. 5 Steps to Solve Your Migraines
  5. Galleri Cancer Test
  6. The UltraThyroid Solution
  7. Sign up for HiHo

Transcript

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

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If all your friends are eating cheeseburgers and fries, and drinking beer, and watching TV, and you want to drink green juices, and go to yoga class, and meditate, you’re going to have a problem.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey everybody. It’s Dr. Mark Hyman again. 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, gut health, sleep, and lots more. And today, my friend, my business partner, podcast host Drew and I are doing something really fun. We’re answering community questions that you guys have submitted by a new video app called HiHo. You can follow me on HiHo and submit your questions there, and you might see them on this podcast. All right, Drew, what are the questions?

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Let’s jump in. This is Sheryl who has the first question here?

Sheryl:
Good morning, Dr. Hyman. I’m a longtime candida sufferer. And I also lived in a mold-filled building for five years. I’m wondering if there’s any kind of products that I can take that would help with the sugar cravings that I struggle with on a daily basis.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, hi, Sheryl, and thank you for that question about three things, yeast growth in your system, mold in your environment, and sure, cravings. They’re all a little different, a little related, but I’ll tackle them all. The first is the yeast stuff. And, it’s an unfortunate situation that many in the alternative medicine space say, “Oh, you have candida, and that’s the cause of all your problems.” And, that’s just not true. That’s not to say that many people do suffer from yeast overgrowth. And it’s a big problem that I treat. And, in the right patient, a targeted treatment will really help.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, yes, if you have yeast overgrowth, it’s usually because you’re eating a lot of sugar and flour, because you’ve taken antibiotic, because you’re on the pill, because you’re taking steroids. Something’s going on that’s caused you to have this problem. And so, usually getting rid of the cause, whether it’s the diet, starch and sugar, alcohol, processed food, whether it’s a lots of antibiotics and making sure you kind of don’t stop taking those and reset, you can fix this. And, it can be cured with both dietary approaches and also supplements, which can be herbal that kill yeast, like a Oregano for example, or other combinations of herbs.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Probiotics will help a lot. Saccharomyces boulardii which is a very powerful yeast against yeast can be very effective as a supplement. I recommend one called BIOHM, B-I-O-H-M, because it also has compounds that help break up the biofilm where the yeast live in the gut. So, those all are really helpful. And sometimes, you do need antifungal, like prescription antifungal, like Diflucan, or Nystan, or others. So, that’s this. The mold stuff, yes, that’s a whole big problem, where probably half of all the buildings have water damage and many of those have mold and people, a lot of them are exposed to mold, don’t know it. And it can cause very low grade symptoms, brain fog, fatigue, muscle aches, sleep issues, mood issues, as well as other inflammatory symptoms, congestion, coughing. I had mold in my house and developed a terrible cough, really bad, bad illness for me. But, you can address that by removing the source of the mold by helping your body detoxify from the mold with binders and various things. So, that’s a treatable thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, sugar cravings are something else. And, Sheryl, they can be triggered by this fungal growth for sure, but mostly it’s the diet causing the cravings. So, it’s a vicious cycle of cravings begetting more cravings. And, I remember teaching a workshop, God, 15 years ago, maybe on ultrametabolism, which was my book on nutrition at the time. And, this woman came in, and I was doing basically a detox. We got her all sugar, processed foods, elimination diet. It was a five-day workshop. And she’s like, “Look, I’ve been addicted to sugar my whole life. I crave it all the time. I know this is not going to work. I’m willing to try it. But, look, I just give you a warning, I just might not do very well.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, “Okay, just see what happens. That’s fine.” And, day two, she’s like, “I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what you did, but all my cravings are gone.” And so, the cravings are not a moral failing. They’re not a lack of willpower. They’re a problem of biochemistry and hormones. And you have to use science to fix it. You can’t use willpower. Willpower will not work. You can white knuckle it for a little while, but then you’re going to fail, and you’re going to eat more. So, how do you address the cravings? Well, I wrote an entire book about this, about sugar addiction, which is what you’re suffering from, Sheryl. And it’s called The 10-day Detox Diet. It’s The Blood Sugar Solution: 10-Day Detox Diet.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And essentially, it eliminates all the foods that spike insulin and blood sugar. And when you do that, you literally shut off the system that’s driving the craving and it’s essentially about 50% fat, lots of fiber, lots of phytochemicals, whole foods, no processed food, very little fruit, very little or no starchy vegetables. And what happens is very quickly, all your biochemistry and hormones reset, so you’re not craving, and hungry, and wanting all the time. So, you might think it’s challenging, but my joke is, you have to go cold turkey. If you’re addicted to heroin, you say, “I’m just going to have one shot today.” Or, you’re addicted to cocaine so, “I’ll just have one line and I’ll be fine.” You can’t do that. You got to go cold turkey. And it seems crazy and hard, but if you follow the regimen in the book, which is designed to balance your hormones from right at the beginning of the day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, you start with a fat and protein in the morning, lots of fiber, and you start to reset your brain chemistry and hormones from the minute you wake up, and you do all the practices in the 10-Day Detox Diet, literally you’ll have no cravings within a day or two. And then, you’ll start to feel better. You’ll start to lose weight, the inflammation goes down, and you get to reclaim your natural taste buds. And so, we do these programs, I’m doing one a little bit in Turkey. We do this program with people. And in 10 days we see, even less, five days, we see a 70% reduction in all symptoms, from all diseases and, all their inflammation goes down, their cravings go away, they feel better, they have more energy, they lose weight. I mean, it’s incredible. Blood sugar drops 20 points, weight off at about 8 pounds, in 5 to 10 days, we see blood pressure come down 20 points. It’s really quite amazing how quickly the body responds.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, if you’re trying to be incremental and say, “Well, I’m just going to cut down from like a loaf of bread to half a loaf of bread.” Or, “I’m going to cut down from a six pack of coke to three cokes a day.” It ain’t going to work, because you’re still going to be triggering the same mechanisms. So, you have to really one, go cold turkey, and two, you have to design a eating plan that’s going to shift your hormones and your brain chemistry.

Dhru Purohit:
So, first of all, you’re making people in Turkey go cold turkey?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Ah, yeah, I guess so.

Dhru Purohit:
Second of all, I’ll seen you take people through this program before, I’ve done programs like this, I’ve done your program. And the one thing I really want to make sure that, not only Sheryl understands, but other folks that are listening, you still have so many foods that you eat that are enjoyable, that you lose that craving. And you still get a chance to have some like low glycemic berries, and other things like that, and dabble. It’s not like…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not like deprivation.

Dhru Purohit:
It’s not like deprivation diet. It’s a really taking you off of refined carbohydrates and starchy things that throw you on that rollercoaster of blood sugar.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, you get to even eat more. I mean, it’s not a calorie-restricted diet. It just takes away the foods that are hijacking your brain chemistry and your hormones and adds in foods that balance them. That’s it.

Dhru Purohit:
So she should be excited because there’s tons of hope.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Dhru Purohit:
And just takes a little bit of rolling up the sleeves and figuring out the foods that work right for you within this framework and just jumping into it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Let’s go to the next question on our list. And this is from Heidi.
Heidi:
Hey, Dr. Hyman. Would love to hear you talk about migraines and keto. Just started getting migraines after my third kid, never had them in my life. Fun stuff? Not really. Would love to hear you talk about migraines and keto. Aloha.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, so Heidi, thanks for that question. It seems to be one question. It could be two questions. What about migraines? What about keto? What about migraines and keto? So maybe it’s three questions. I don’t know. I’ll just tackle them each separately, so we kind of covered all. Migraines are a huge problem, cause so much disability, so much stress for people, and they’re debilitating. And if you’ve ever had one, it’s the worst. You basically have to be in a dark room, light bothers you, get nauseous, vomiting. It can last for days, hours. Thank God, there’s some migraine drugs you can take to abort it. There’s some preventive drugs. But, none of those approaches address the root cause of migraines. And I’ve written a lot about this. We’ll link in the show notes to articles I’ve written that are on drhyman.com. What are the big triggers of migraines?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I’ll just go through them. And it can be 29 different things, but we’ll go over the big ones. The big ones are food. So, often there are food triggers. Now, the typical neurologists will say, “Yes, there are certain foods like tyramine or cheeses and AGE foods, certain chemicals like aspartame, glutamate, MSG, we know can be trigger, so there’s cytotoxins, there’s certain tyramine in food, and so forth. So, I’ll tell you to avoid those wine, cheese, that kind of thing. Those are reasonable recommendations. But then, there’s a whole other class of foods that are more around food sensitivities or food reactions, and they can be very real. So, you can have sulfite, for example, that make you sick, that are in dried fruit or they’re put on salad bars, but it can be things like gluten, and dairy, and eggs. I mean, I had a patient who had migraines for 40 years.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They were so debilitating she couldn’t plan her life and go out. Turned out, she was sensitive to eggs. She quit the eggs and the migraines are gone. Another patient, it may not be what they’re eating. It may be something else, maybe they got microbiome. I had somebody with bacterial overgrowth in their gut that was so bad. And when we treated her with antibiotics, her migraine went away. Her migraines just gone. There are also patients who, for example, have mitochondrial issues where there can’t produce energy in the cells and they need riboflavin and high dose of vitamin B2, which is riboflavin, like 400 milligrams, which is like thousands of times more than the RDA or they recommend dietary allowance. And even things like CoQ10, which helped mitochondria.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Magnesium deficiencies, very common. I had a patient once with a magnesium deficiency, where she was so debilitated. She was a radiation oncology resident at Mayo Clinic. And she was about to have to quit a residency because she was literally living on narcotics and Zofran, which was a chemo drug for nausea, because she was so sick. And, I talked to her and I’m like, “Well, what’s going on?” She says, “Well, migraines, and I get them all the time and it’s just debilitating.” And I said, “Well, okay, what else is going on? Do you have other symptoms?” “Oh, yes. I have palpitations, I have anxiety, I have insomnia, I have muscle cramps, constipation.” I said, “How often do you go?” She said, “Well, I’m pretty regular.” I said, “Well, how often do you go?” She go, “I go once a week.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, That’s not regular. She’s like, Well, yeah, I go every week. I’m like, No, you have to go every day.”” So, all those symptoms, muscle twitches, constipation, anxiety, insomnia, and palpitations, they’re all magnesium deficiency symptoms, so she had severe magnesium deficiency. Even were like a thousand milligrams or more magnesium per a bunch of days. All her symptoms went away, her migrants went away. And that was her problem. It’s different for different people.

Dhru Purohit:
What about insulin resistance? Does that play a role inside of this as well?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, I don’t think there’s a lot of data on insulin resistance and migraines, as far as I know. I’m maybe just not aware of it. But, I think it’s really foods, it’s the gut, it’s chemicals, it’s a whole host of things, mitochondrial dysfunctions, they can really trigger migraines. And, the treatment is really getting to the root cause, whatever it is. Are this magnesium deficiency, or mitochondrial issues, or food sensitivities, or bacterial overgrowth, or reactions to these various foods like tyramines, sulfites that are in wine, or other things. You need to be really careful. And I’ve written a lot about it and I almost universally can cure migraines. I really had not a patient who hasn’t either completely gotten rid of them or reduced them so dramatically they’re trivial event, and if they happen, they’re not that severe. So, I think it’s really a manageable problem using functional medicine. It’s one of the home run treatments.

Dhru Purohit:
If somebody doesn’t have an access to a doctor like yourself, again, functional medicine can be expensive and they may not have somebody in their region area. What’s the next step for them to do?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. The next step is, a lot of this can be done by self-care, so it’s not that hard. In my articles and blogs, a lot of it’s written with the intent to be a guide for you to do this for yourself, try this elimination diet, take magnesium, take CoQ10, take riboflavin.

Dhru Purohit:
Which all, by the way, are going to make you healthier?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And maybe want to try an herb like Feverfew. There’s other things that are available, too. So, a lot of this is in my writing and blogs, and a lot of it can be done without a doctor.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay, great, Mark. That was the first part of the question. Let’s go to the second part of the question.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So the same question, more about migraines and keto. And I just want to sort of back up a little bit and say that, we now know that the brain, which we were taught loves sugar and has to run on glucose and requires 25% of our body’s glucose, is actually not really accurate. The brain runs far better on a different fuel, which is fat. And in a lot of neurologic diseases, we know this. In fact, the ketogenic diet in medicine was first used to treat epilepsy when all drugs failed. So, when nothing else works, we give them a ketogenic diet. I don’t know, just start with that instead of avoiding all those medications. But that works, in kids with brain disorders, it’s been very effective, in cancer, for example, of the brain, glioblastomas, Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s. Profound impacts of ketogenic diets on these conditions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, in migraines, it’s also a disease of inflammation in the brain and ketogenic diets are very anti-inflammatory. So, by trying ketogenic diet, if you have migraines, if none of these other things that I suggested work, it’s worth a try. My guess is most of the time, you don’t need to go on a ketogenic diet, if you find the root cause or causes, which is the ones that I just listed. But, if you need to try it, it can be a very effective treatment. And it’s something you can take and use over a couple of months, I would give it a two or three months trial and to see what happens, but you might notice changes right away.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Perfect. So that was keto and migraines. Let’s go into the next question. This one is from Rebecca.
Rebecca:
Hi, Dr. Hyman. I’d like to see an episode where you told us, what do you think of the anti-inflammatory properties of mushrooms like lion’s mane, reishi?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, Rebecca, this is a great question because now is the era of mushrooms. Everybody’s into mushrooms, magic mushrooms, psilocybin treatments, lion’s mane, cordyceps, chaga mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms. I use them all, and I think they have very different kinds of properties that are multidimensional. In medicine-

Dhru Purohit:
Especially with psilocybin, multidimensional.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, exactly. Microdosing, psilocybin using microdosing, for example, for treating dementia. They’re talking about it for migraines and cluster headaches. So, there’s a lot of anecdotal and early studies showing that it’s low dose psilocybin actually, microdosing, can have impact on headaches too. So, it changes the neural pathways, neural inflammation. So, there’s a lot to be said for the use of mushrooms. They’ve been used throughout history in cultures like China, which they’re highly prized as therapeutic medicines and are in a lot of the medical products, so they’re really important. And I think, they’re now accessible as products that you can get as powders or you can buy now lion’s mane. I buy lion’s mane when I go to the grocery store and make it for dinner. And you can start to incorporate these mushrooms in your diet or as supplements to help improve your overall health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And what do they do? Well, they contain a group of compounds called polysaccharides, which are these multifunctional sugar compounds that actually regulate immunity. They can be anti-cancer. They can help boost your own immune system to fight infection. They have different properties, for example, lion’s manecan be healing to your brain. Cordyceps is great for adrenal stress, chaga. There’s all kinds of other mushrooms that have benefits. Reishi’s really good for adrenal adaptogen, and it’s helping with also chronic stress. These mushrooms are really a wonderful thing to actually include in your diet. Personally, I use them every day. I have a cocktail of adaptogenic mushrooms that I stick in my smoothie every morning. It’s something called stem at seven, which is a combination of ones, but I’ll add lion’s mane and cordyceps and reishi and chaga into my shake every morning to just keep my system optimized.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, whether it’s it’s true or not… I mean, it’s, it does have anti-cancer effects. I just got my cancer test back, which is the GRAIL Test by Galleri, I think, it’s called, which looks for a liquid biopsy of 50 different cancers, and I don’t have any. Thank God. So, that’s good. But, who knows if it’s the mushrooms or just I’m lucky, but no cancer. Thank you. You’re stuck with me for a little while longer, Drew.

Dhru Purohit:
I’ve stuck with you forever, Mark.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Another hundred years maybe.

Dhru Purohit:
Let’s go. Let’s go. All right, Mark. The next question is from Grace from the HiHo app.
Grace:
Hi, Dr. Mark. My name is grace. My husband and I are big fans of yours. Your books are amazing. It’s changed our lives. Your podcasts are awesome. My big question is on pea protein and what does it do to your body? Is it a starchy vegetable?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Grace, thank you. That was a great question, because it’s a much bigger question than just about pea protein, which is, “Should we be eating pulverized, processed plant proteins as a health food?” And I do have some concerns about this. I’ll just kind of give you a high-level. The most common protein that’s used, and I’m going to talk about pea protein in a minute, the most common protein that’s used is soy protein. It’s isolated, hydrolyzed, soy protein. And, if you understand what this is, and what it’s made from, and how it’s made, you understand that it’s a byproduct, a waste product of making soybean oil. So, when they get soybeans, they take the oil out, which is the high-priced commodity that’s used from this. And we consume about 10% of our calories as soybean oil. It’s in all added processed food and it used to be hydrogenated.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, it’s just in there and it’s highly oxidized and not great for you. Anyway, that’s the oil, but they remove the protein part, and the way they do it is through a process that creates a lot of structural damage. So, proteins are functional molecules that are working through the shape of the molecule, so the protein has to have a certain shape to bind the receptor and to do its job. If you screw up that protein shape by a chemical reaction process, this hydrolyzation process and heat that they use to make the protein, that actually is a different entity than eating a whole soybean. So, if you look at data on people who eat soy like tofu, and tempeh, and traditional soy foods, they’re fine, they don’t cause problems, they don’t cause cancer. In animal studies, in lab studies, they give the mice the hydrolyzed soybean protein versus eating whole soy, the whole soy animals are great. They’re protected against cancer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The animals that eat the processed soy protein, they all get cancer. So, same product in a sense, but one’s a whole food and one’s some extract which has been changed chemically. It’s really important. Now, with pea protein, I think, it’s a little bit better. Clearly, you want to have organic pea protein. You want to hopefully have a regeneratively-raised protein. You want it not sprayed full of glyphosate and chemicals. You don’t want fertilizer and herbicides and pesticides. That’s not good. And then, you want to make sure if you’re eating it, it’s made from whole soy and it’s processed minimally. I mean, from whole pea protein, it’s processed minimally, so it can be okay. But, again, the general problem with vegan proteins is that you need them. In other words, you cannot get the volume of protein you need as a vegan, unless you supplement with processed protein powders.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so, if you see all these guys in these movies like Game Chains, they’re all jacked up and super strong. You talk to them, how they get like that? They have to pound huge amounts of highly processed, concentrated proteins powders in order to get the enough amino acid to build muscle, or they have to take extra amino acid, such as branch-chain amino acids to jack up the leucine levels, which is very, very low in pea protein and other proteins. And, leucine is the amino acid you need to generate muscle synthesis. So, it’s the rate limiting step. You can have all the protein you need. You can have 4,000 pounds of pea protein, but unless there’s enough leucine in it, it won’t get turned to muscle, which is important, because protein can get turned to sugar in your body and just be a calorie that makes you gain weight.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Or, it can be turned into muscle if you have the right amount of leucine. So, I really worry about a lot of these plant proteins that are low in the right amino acids, unless they’re supplemented. So, we created something called the Pegan Shake. And in the Pegan Shake, we added leucine to up with pumpkin seed protein and bovine collagen. It was grass fed, regenerative, and also with pea protein that was organic. So, we jacked up the leucine in order to make sure that when you take the protein, it’s not just burned as calories, it is actually building muscle.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. Great answer on the pea protein. Let’s go to Emma now who has a question about acupuncture?
Emma:
Hi, Dr. Hyman. I’m wondering if you could speak to the role that acupuncture might play in people’s healing journey. I’m an acupuncturist in training to be a functional medicine practitioner, and I’m really interested in the overlap and how they might compliment each other. If you could speak to any experience you’ve seen with this, that would be great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thanks so much. I actually love this question because I studied Chinese, and Asian studies, and theoretical foundations of Chinese medicine in college. The Huangdi Neijing, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. I’ve actually lived in China. I’ve had acupuncture. My sister was an acupuncturist. So, I have a lot of familiarity with this.

Dhru Purohit:
You still speak a little Chinese.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I still speak a little Chinese, [foreign language 00:23:27].

Dhru Purohit:
[foreign language 00:23:27].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[foreign language 00:23:30], that’s how you say acupuncture in Chinese, it means gold needles. I actually wrote an article called Systems of Correspondence about the similarities between functional medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, which are based on the idea of a body as a system, not a bunch of different organs and this whole concept of orbisconography in Chinese medicine, which essentially means, they talk about your spleen and your liver, and your kidney. They’re not actually talking about the physical organs, they’re talking about the energetic spheres of function of these different systems. And then talk about their interpenetration and how they’re dynamically connected and interacting, which is very similar to functional medicine. We have these basic biological systems and they’re all interacting all the time, creating health disease, and it’s about balance. So if they’re out of balance, we get sick.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If they’re in balance, we’re healthy. If your gut’s out of balance, you get sick. If our immune system’s out of balance, we get sick, and so on. So, basically it’s very similar in its framework. The language is different, the words are different, but the frameworks are very similar. It’s really about understanding the balance that needs to be created to promote health. And they’re both systems of health creation. So, I’m super excited that you’re doing this and Lang over functional medicine, I think, it’s really great. My friend, Chris Kresser, is an acupuncturist, also functional medicine doc, so he’d be an interesting one to talk to about it. And it’s a really powerful model for how to really help people, so I’d encourage you to follow that track.

Dhru Purohit:
Did both systems that have a lot in common, what do you think each one of those systems could learn from each other? What could functional medicine learn more from acupuncture in its traditional sense, and what could acupuncture and a lot of acupuncturists who don’t have any training in functional medicine learn from functional medicine?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And I think acupuncture can learn a lot from functional medicine around diet and supplements and how to optimize systems to support as an adjunct of therapy the acupuncture and the work they’re doing underneath it. And, from functional medicine, I think, there’s a lot to be learned from traditional Chinese medicine about how to optimize health, and how to deal with energy systems, and how to move energy in the body through acupuncture, and cupping, gua sha, and a lot of the modalities that really are adjunctive to what we’re doing. So, I always recommend acupuncture. If someone’s got certain conditions that identify with functional medicine, like certain hormonal disorders, adrenal disorders, I often will recommend acupuncture if they have structural issues or pain to actually help them recover from those problems.

Dhru Purohit:
Okay. Beautiful. All right, Mark. Next question is from Angie.
Angie:
Hey, Dr. Hyman. I feel like my passion for healthy living and healthy eating keeps me from having that community that you and Dan Bittner talk about in your podcast, and I just wondered how you deal with that on your wellness journey.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, Angie, this is a big problem. Sometimes you need new friends. It’s much easier to do the right thing when all your friends are doing the same thing. If all your friends are eating cheeseburgers and fries, and drinking beer, and watching TV, and you want to drink green juices, and go to yoga class, and meditate, you’re going to have a problem, right? So, sometimes we need to cultivate new communities, new friendships, and go to places where there are people who have similar values. Hang out and whole foods, go to yoga class, join a club of people exercise or a cooking club. Just get connected with other people who care about the same things and share the same values.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We know from Chris Stock’s work at Harvard, and he wrote a book called Connected, that you’re more likely to be overweight if your friend’s overweight than your family’s overweight. In other words, if your friends are overweight, you’re 171% more likely to be overweight than if your siblings are overweight, which only gives you a 40% increase. And get this, if your friend’s friend is overweight and you never even met them through the power of these social connections, you’re 20% more likely to be overweight.

Dhru Purohit:
Crazy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. So, it’s really important to build a community around you that supports and encourage you with the right behaviors. And I feel like I’ve created the best life because I work with a lot of people and I’m inspired a lot of people. And so, I go to their homes and they all are eating food that I would like to make. And so, I don’t have to like worry that I’m going to have to eat junky food or they’re going to serve me bad food, because I already had them brainwashed and converted, so if it’s the best.

Dhru Purohit:
Yeah. I think the other thing about it for Angie is that, also when you start to shift in your life and you have new goals and you’re trying to make yourself a better person and step into, maybe even it’s not even diet related, it could be less complaining, it could be being a more kind person, giving back to the world a little bit more. One of the challenges is the people that are closest to you, they’re afraid they’re going to lose you because you used to bond over a lot of the old behaviors. So, if that was drinking, well, that was a bonding exercise. If that was complaining and watching reality TV, no shade on reality TV, sometimes there’s some interesting shows that are out there, now, you’re not watching that anymore because you’re into more positive stuff, there’s a feeling and a sense that person is going to lose you.

Dhru Purohit:
So, have some compassion for your friends, right? Still do you. At the end of the day, you have to do the right thing behind you, but have some compassion because sometimes, people will poo-poo your new lifestyle because they’re afraid that they’re going to lose you and that you’re not going to have anything to bond over. And if you slowly, without judgment, start to introduce them to some of the things and activities that you’re doing in a fun way, there could be a way to bring them along for the journey and not have to leave them behind and only have a whole group of new friends. All right, Mark, let’s go to the next one. This question is from Coach JP.
Coach JP:
Why do family doctors, general practitioners, and specialists not prescribe more cell nutrition programs as part of their treatment plans and overall healthcare? And why do they still rely on outdated measures like BMI?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, your question, it makes me smile because is, “Why do doctors not recommend nutrition as part of their treatment plans?” And, “Why do they rely on outdated metrics for health like body mass index or BMI?” are kind of unrelated, but similar questions. The reason that doctors don’t recommend nutrition as part of their treatment plan is very, very simple. We don’t get taught anything about it. In fact, we get taught the opposite, that food has nothing to do with health. If you eat too much and exercise not enough, you’re going to get fat, but otherwise, there’s not much to it, and if you eat too much saturated fat, you might get high cholesterol, and that’s it. But basically, we’re nutritionally illiterate as physicians, doctors have no curriculum in medical school, for the most part, I think, less than 25% of medical schools have the minimum required hours, and of those hours, most of those hours are about outdated science that has to do with nutritional deficiency diseases or malnutrition, like kwashiorkor, marasmus, rickets, ophthalmia, pellagra, beriberi .

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I learned all this stuff in medical school, which I’ve never seen in my entire life. It’s like, I mean, I actually saw a little bit of when I was in Haiti actually with the malnutrition, so I did see a little bit of that. But, it’s such a rare thing. And yet doctors don’t get taught about how food plays a role in chronic disease, to cause it, or conversely, how food is the most powerful tool we have to cure chronic disease. So, doctors know nothing about it, and that’s the problem. And we have a system that doesn’t train doctors. And then, the problem with the training is, since it’s not in the curriculum, it’s not in the test. And if it’s not in the test, it’s not in the curriculum.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, the best way to change nutrition education overnight would be for the government to require 10% of the questions on medical licensing exams to be about nutrition around chronic disease. That would change everything. And the other part is that, doctors aren’t paid to give nutrition advice.

Dhru Purohit:
No reimbursement?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No reimbursement.

Dhru Purohit:
Or very little?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, there was a program started in New York city about education for diabetes. They had 800,000 diabetics and they created a program where they gave them free nutrition consults and all this support, and it was extremely successful. Diabetes was going down, complications, surgeries, admissions to hospital, medication use, was saving huge amounts of money to the healthcare system. But, the hospital had to shut it down because they were losing money because they weren’t doing amputations and all kinds of stuff. So, they’d make like a hundred bucks on a nutrition consult, but they’d make 6,000 if they had to take off somebody’s toe. So, the whole economic incentives were so corrupt that it led to the closing of this program that was actually very successful. We know that in the Geisinger study we’ve talked about in this podcast that, in the Geisinger health system, they gave food in secure diabetics, $2,400 worth of food a year and some social support, and they saved 80% healthcare costs from basically 248,000 per person a year.

Dhru Purohit:
You said 248,000?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I did say 248,000.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s how much they saved?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s how much they spent-

Dhru Purohit:
Oh, they spent on each person?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
On each person, and they saved 192,000 per patient. And so, that’s an 80% reduction in cost. And yet, even though they would save $192,000, they wouldn’t spend $2,400 because the drugs and the hospitalizations are covered, the food is not covered, the education is not covered. So, we have a very corrupt system with perverse financial incentives. As far as the BMI issue, BMI means body mass index, and it’s basically a way to equalize height and weight. So, basically, if you have a high BMI, it means you’re overweight, but it doesn’t really accurately describe if you’re over fat or under lean. So, you could be a 65 year old woman, who’s 30 or 40% body fat, but they look skinny, they’re what we call skinny fat, because they’ve lost muscle and accumulated fat and their metabolic health is the same as someone who’s obese.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
On the other hand, you can have someone like Shaquille O’Neal who has a extremely high body mass index that would be considered obese, but he’s got huge amounts of muscle mass and he’s a big dude, so he’s got the extra weight, but it’s not fat. And so, we need to look at body composition and waste-to-hip ratio as a much better predictor of your cardiovascular and metabolic risks, which is basically a super cheap test. You just take a tape measure and you put around your belly button, and then you put it on the widest part of your hips, and you just divide your waist under your hips.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, if your number is less than 0.8 as a woman or less than 0.9 as a man, you’re okay. If it’s more than that, you’re in trouble. And then, if you want to do body composition, there are scales you can get and there’s cheaper versions. There’s also a true DXA body composition, which looks at the distribution of fat. That’s my favorite, because you can tell where it is. And people can have skinny arms and legs, so if you do a Caliper test, it might be fine, but then you do their DXA scan, you see huge amounts of visceral fat or belly fat, which is the organ fat that’s so dangerous. That kills us all.

Dhru Purohit:
Awesome. All right, Mark. Next question from Patty on the HiHo app.
Patty:
Good morning, Dr. Hyman. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are about armour thyroid. And do you ever use it to treat any of your patients?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Hi, Patty. Well, armour thyroid. Let’s talk about thyroid. And if you’re interested in my thoughts on thyroid, I wrote years ago, which I think is still very up to date, a little ebook called The Ultra Thyroid Report. And, in there, I talked about how to pick thyroid hormones and so forth. When your thyroid is off, you need to find out why. So, not everybody who has an off thyroid needs to take thyroid medication. It could be you’re eating gluten, it could be heavy metals, it could be other toxins. It could be nutritional deficiencies like vitamin D selenium, zinc, really important nutrients that the body needs to, iodine, to run thyroid function. So, you got to make sure all that’s right. But, if you do need thyroid hormones, it’s important to look at the right tests and do the right treatment.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Most doctors will only look at the test called TSH. If that’s normal, they don’t look any further. However, that can be normal and you can still be low functioning in your thyroid. And the normal range is not the optimal range. So, the normal range is 0.5 to 5, but the American College of Endocrinology said, “Well, if it’s over three, it’s a problem. And the higher the TSH means the lower your thyroid function.” Because the TSH is from your brain, basically your pituitary telling your thyroid to make more thyroid. So, if it’s high, it means your body thinks you need more thyroid. But, that again isn’t enough. You need to check the thyroid hormone levels, T4 and T3 and the free levels which most doctors don’t do. And you need to check the thyroid antibodies to see if you have an autoimmune condition. So, all that needs to get done up front.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then you need to make sure your vitamin D level’s okay, selenium’s okay, iodine’s okay, zinc is okay, take your amount of fish oil, make sure you’re not taking things that scrub thyroid, toxins, environmental toxins, gluten, pesticides, all that stuff is in my Ultra Thyroid Report. Then, if you’re deciding on thyroid replacement, most commonly doctors will give Synthroid or T4 or Levoxyl. These are helpful, but they’re limited in their effect because most people have trouble converting T4 to T3. And so, you’re giving a preformed hormone that, I mean, a precursor hormone that isn’t the active hormone. So, if you’re taking Synthroid or you’re taking Levoxyl or levothyroxin, which are all the same, that’s T4, that has to get converted by an enzyme called five prime deiodinases, which takes off an iodine molecule, that’s why it’s T3. And then, that has to work on the cells to create the effects of thyroid, that works on the nucleus of your cells and your metabolism and everything else.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you don’t have enough selenium, for example, or you have something that interferes with the conversion, or you don’t have enough zinc, or you don’t have omega 3s, or you have environmental toxins, or you have yeast that will all interfere with that conversion. And so, you think you’re taking a good amount of thyroid and you might still be symptomatic. And then, if you don’t check your free T3, you don’t know what’s happening. So, your T4 could look okay, your TSH could look okay, but if your free T3 is low, that’s a problem. So, armour thyroid is basically is porcine thyroid. Now, historically, when we started to make hormones, we would grind up the gland and then we’d give it to people. So, we would grind up adrenal glands as steroids, we’d grind up the thyroid gland and give it as a thyroid replacement.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And, that’s essentially what armour thyroid is. It’s it’s ground up pig thyroid, which is exactly the same as our thyroid. And the beautiful thing about it is it contains T4, and T3, and T2, and a whole complex of other things that seems to work better for most people. So, I do recommend it for most people. Some people say, “Oh, you can take Synthroid plus Cytomel, which is T3.” Yes, but the Cytomel is very quickly acting, cause a lot of side effects, not that great on older people, cause it gets too stimulating, it cause more bone loss.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, I like armour thyroid or nature thyroid or the what we call the desiccated porcine thyroids. And those are much better. And, I think, for most people, they do better on them and their symptoms get better. And, often, doctors will say, “Well, your test are fine. You’re okay. Your levels are good. So, you must be fine.” And you say, “Well, I still have blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” They go, “Oh, it’s fine. It must be something else.” No, it means you’re not adequately treated. So, it’s important to get adequately treated and be on the right thyroid.

Dhru Purohit:
That was a great answer, Mark. Very thorough on the thyroid. All right. Couple more questions here to wrap up today’s episode. This one is from Lisa, who is a fan and a follower of your work and has had some tremendous success so far.
Lisa:
Hi, Dr. Hyman, I read your book, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, at the beginning of the pandemic, and since then, I’ve lost 25 pounds, but I still need to lose those last five pounds for optimal health. Help.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Lisa, thank God you followed the program and you lost 25 pounds. Good for you. That’s amazing. That’s not easy. And, often, those last five to 10 pounds can be super stubborn. And, often, say you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. But, if you’re stuck, you need to shift your metabolism, because what happens as you lose weight is you lose muscle and fat. And so, the more weight you lose, you actually end up slowing your metabolism, unless you build muscle at the same time and you increase your aerobic fitness. And, lastly, when you start to lose weight, your metabolism can’t get interfered with because in our fat tissue is stored a lot of environmental toxins, and we’re all toxic waste dumps. And those toxins interfere with our metabolism, they’re called obesogens, and they screw up our biochemistry and make us hold onto weight.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, a couple things. One, take another look at your diet. If you’re struggling, go back to a more extreme approach, which I would always say the 10-day detox diet, which essentially is getting rid of grains, beans, sugar, alcohol, flour, starchy veggies, and just protein veggies, nuts, seeds, a few berries, that’s it. That can often take you to where you want to be.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Second, start a strength training program because that will help. I like TB12, because you can do it at home. It’s with bands. It’s inexpensive. You buy the app, it’s super easy. Third is cardio, and that can be bursts of short intensity exercise. Do sprints for 20, 30 minutes, you do sprint for 30, 45 seconds a minute, slow down, walk for three seconds, three minutes, and then do the same thing until you’re done for half an hour. That will speed up your metabolism. That’ll help you lose your extra weight. And if you watch out for those things that you’re doing, that may be on the edge, like you’re kind of cheating a little bit, and go back to like the 10 day detox diet, I think you’ll drop the weight.

Dhru Purohit:
That’s great. I’ll add in one more other thing is that, often, when you hear people talk about those last 5 to 10 pounds, they have a number in their head that they’re trying to get to. And, that number could be, this is what I used to weigh before, this is what I used to weigh in college, and not saying anything arbitrary. If people want to lose weight, they want to lose weight. There could be a lot of different motivations and reasons behind it. And, do all those things, do all those recommendations. And, sometimes step into the fact of like you made so much progress, you’ve done so well, and do not wait. And I’m not saying that I got this from her message or not, but I often see this, do not wait for those last 5 to 10 pounds before you say, “Now, I’m going to enjoy life.”

Dhru Purohit:
Enjoy your life. Live it, have fun, do all the things that you thought that you’re going to do once you hit your ideal weight. Just do them now and start to bring more joy and less stress into your life around whatever those pounds are. Then, they get lost, great. They don’t get lost, you still are enjoying life and can still make progress. So, it’s both, it’s not either/or, it’s the mindset piece with all the recommendations that are being brought in.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure. For sure.

Dhru Purohit:
So, Mark, our last question here is from Victoria and she’s been struggling with chronic pain and is confused about where to go next.
Victoria:
Hi, I’m 28 years old and I’ve been struggling with chronic pain for the past 10 years. I’ve done all the possible tests, I have no inflammatory markers in my body, and I’ve been diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome, which doesn’t leave me with any solution. I would love your insights on chronic pain.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, Victoria, chronic pain is a real thing and it’s a huge burden on our society. It causes so much suffering, disability, and there really aren’t great solutions. A lot of the drugs are addictive or they have side effects. And, unfortunately, our current medical approach is pretty backwards about it. However, it’s important to think about a broader approach, and I’ll just share a couple of thoughts with you. A lot of pain has to do with our minds. So, there’s pain and there’s suffering. Pain is a physical sensation, the suffering is the meaning we give to that sensation. So, if you’re in a cold plunge, you could be thinking, “This is the best thing for me. It’s rejuvenating my health, and making me great.” Or you could think, “This is cold as F and I’m like going to die and want to get the heck out of here.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, it’s all about your approach and meaning that you give to the experience. And that said, I’ve been in chronic pain, I’ve had chronic pain for 30 years. I get it. I don’t know where your pain is or what it is, but if it’s a structural problem, if it’s a structural back problem or neck problem, there are all kinds of modalities that can help. Obviously, things like chiropractic or osteopathic medicine, massage, acupuncture, and so forth, all are helpful. But, there’s a whole new field of regenerative medicine, which is really what saved me, plus exercise. And regenerative medicine uses different modalities to help deal with the source of the pain, whether it’s using exosomes, placental matrix, ozone, peptides, all these things that are kind of outside the normal practice of medicine, they can be very, very helpful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
In fact, ozone is relatively inexpensive and can be great depending on where the pain is, if it’s a knee arthritis or something. On the other hand, there’s a colleague of mine named Ari Roka who works at the VA in Little Rock, Arkansas. And, in the Veterans Administrations, a lot of people who are soldier veterans who suffer from severe pain and chronic pain. And, he’s had remarkable success by changing the environment and the inputs to the patient. So, the first thing they do is put people through a coaching program to really become more aware of how they can become more actualized humans, how they can essentially deal with becoming the center of their own lives and have agency over themselves, which a lot of people don’t feel in that situation. So, it’s really coaching and helping them understand what their choices are, their patterns, their behaviors, their habits, so they can start to shift those.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The second is an immersion program of a lifestyle change program. So, it’s changing the foods they’re eating to be anti-inflammatory, there’s general exercise, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, very simple practices that are profound and effective. And, what he found was that most the people who go through this that have been chronic patients for years and years and years get better. So, at the end of the program, they’re pain free or their life isn’t impaired by the pain. That’s huge when you think about it. So, it’s both dealing with whatever structural, physical things there are, as well as dealing with the mindset and the approach. And, third is creating a different biological environment in which inflammation doesn’t have a place to kind of flourish. That’s why the dietary part is so important, anti-inflammatory diet, the right nutrients can be really important, whether it’s fish oil or magnesium or other things can be helpful with pain. And then, of course, movement and meditation, and mindfulness, all work.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And Jon Kabat-Zinn has done a lot of research on this, on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. And that is a very well research program that, again, shows dramatic reductions in pains through simply meditating. So, there’s a lot of ways through, you don’t have to suffer. And, I think our current approach has been pretty backward, but using some of these modalities and approaches can make a big difference.

Dhru Purohit:
All right, Mark. That was it for today’s questions on the HiHo app. And thank you everybody who submitted. I’m going to pass over to you to conclude us out.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thanks, Drew. I love these questions because it lets me look into the mind of people and what they’re worried about, concerned about, thinking about. And also makes me sad because people aren’t getting answers to the questions they have about their health. And especially, when we know in functional medicine, there’s so many easy solutions to typical problems that people are not connecting the dots on. So, I’m really happy and glad we’re doing this kind of HiHo Q&A with our community. It’s great. And that’s it for today’s Masterclass. If you’re wanting to ask me a question, please submit the questions on the HiHo, and maybe I’m going to ask them… So, be sure to submit your questions on HiHo, and maybe I’ll answer them in an upcoming Masterclass. And, if you love this episode, make sure you share with your friends and family, subscribe to everyday 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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